Sea & Sea MDX-PRO Mark III underwater housing review

Sea & Sea MDX-PRO MKIII Underwater Housing for Canon 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III
Review by Eric Cheng and Don Kehoe

- design - ergonomics - INON viewfinder - testing/conclusion -

Sea & Sea 1D/1Ds Mark III housing side view
with INON 45-degree viewfinder custom-installed by Backscatter

Custom INON Viewfinder Installation

I had an INON 45° Viewfinder custom-installed by Backscatter. The machining of the necessary hole was flawless and impressive, although it does prevent the use of the stock eye piece. No custom drilling of the viewfinder is necessary in order to use the INON viewfinder, and the stock eyepiece can still be used.

The INON viewfinder glass was crystal-clear and bright. Even on 1D-series cameras, you can easily see the entire viewfinder.

The viewfinder can be rotated a full 360°, and there are detents that hold the viewfinder in 90° increments to allow easy viewing during both horizontal and vertical shots.

The eyepiece is protected by a rubber eye cup, which was comfortable to use. It did, however, have the tendency to hold water, which made shooting splits difficult without first rotating it to drain out the water. The eye cup could be improved by drilling a drain hole in the rubber protector.

The viewfinder obstructs part of the camera's LCD, and makes the left button of the multidirectional joystick difficult to access. Tilting the camera down makes it possible to view the entire LCD.

For those photographers who do not like 45° viewfinders, INON also offers a 180°viewfinder than can also be installed by Backscatter.

Sea & Sea 1D/1Ds Mark III housing side view
with rotated INON 45-degree viewfinder custom-installed by Backscatter

Installation of the INON viewfinder is easy. It is inserted into the stock hole in the back of the housing, and a custom rear retaining ring is screwed on the inside by using a Backscatter custom tool. The installer tool fit perfectly into the rear retaining ring, and was easy to use. We wonder, however, why the custom tool wasn't drilled out to make it lighter. Note: Backscatter reports that the new design of the custom tool will be lighter and double as a body hole cap. It will be available for an additional charge.

I was really impressed by the INON viewfinder when used in conjunction with the Sea & Sea housing. I highly recommend getting in touch with Backscatter to get a custom INON viewfinder for the Sea & SEa housing! It will change the way to do photography.

More from Backscatter: Custom modified Inon 45 or Straight is $900 installed. Unlike other Inon VF offerings on-line, ours is custom designed for each camera / housing combo. Others are using a universal adapter and this will lead to fuzzy corners or loss of coverage. Custom tool is approx $100 or we supply a standard spanner wrench for $40. Original Sea & Sea viewfinder is easy to install, but is best installed with standard spanner wrench. We recommend only users with intermediate to advanced mechanical skills replace the viewfinder themselves. It's actually very safe and easy, but certainly someone will rush and make a mistake.

INON 45-degree viewfinder, without rear retaining piece

Sea & Sea 1D/1Ds Mark III housing with Backscatter custom installer tool

INON 45-degree viewfinder attached to housing before custom retaining piece is screwed on

Sea & Sea 1D/1Ds Mark III housing with viewfinder tool attached

Sea & Sea 1D/1Ds Mark III housing, rear piece with stock viewfinder hole

Sea & Sea 1D/1Ds Mark III housing, rear piece with stock viewfinder hole

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