Mangrove MVD L-2 for Sony HDR-HC1 and HVR-A1 review

Aditech, a Spanish manufacturer of video housings started by Juan Sentis, recently sent me a housing to evaluate. Normally, I try not to review the smaller single sensor housings as they change models annually and the review becomes quickly irrelevant. However, when Juan told me he had managed to get electronic white balance on his housings and it worked for several Sony cameras, it got my attention.

Unfortunately, due to the scheduling and location of the test (the Wetpixel Staff Trip in the Philippines), I wasn’t able to secure the latest HC-9 or SR-12 for the test. I did have the HVR-A1P available so I decided to use the older camera as the test mule since I was familiar with it and it was also a good test on the backward compatibility of the Mangrove series (which claims to cover quite a few models of Sony cameras, from the latest models to the older ones like the HC1/A1). The review was done over two weeks in the Philippines.

As usual, I posted the comments of the manufacturer in parenthesis and italics to give them a way of presenting their side of whatever issues they have with my review. This way a fair assessment of the housing is achieved by giving the manufacturer a chance for rebuttal and add information while the reviewer can report findings.

The Housing

The specification of the housing is quite impressive. Anodized aluminum tube shell with Delrin back sporting a 3.5” LCD high resolution color monitor with a flip shade and 12 separate electronic buttons actuating 12 different functions and modes.  The functions of the electronic controls are:


The Mangrove MVD L-2 housing with the WP80 attached

The front port is a 56mm screw-in interchangeable port that allows a plethora of 67mm add-on lenses via a threaded flat port such as the Inons and Epoques. Macro lenses are also attachable via this port. For wide angle, Mangrove has a few options like the Inon UW100 or their own WA-24. For even higher quality, Aditech brought in lenses designed by Fathom Imaging. Even though there was such choice, the Fathoms WP80 was the only lens tested in this review. Even more impressive is that the housing is rated down to 200m /660ft, a great boon for technical divers.

In the standard kit, accessories that come with the housing include the handles, two adjustable balance weights (this is an optional accessory, since it is not necessary when using video lights), and a wet (visual/audio) alarm. The housing I tested included the optional HD-UP handle and the optional electronic white balance controls, but basically it comes pretty much well equipped to begin shooting.