The Prelude 60D housing with Seaflash 150 strobes
When Seacam first announced the Prelude series of housings for the high entry-level cameras like the Nikon D7000 and Canon 60D ViDSLRs, I was admittedly surprised. I’d always assumed that Seacam would only produce housings for higher end cameras. However, for Nikon, it made sense to make one for the D7000. The D7000 outperforms the D300s in most aspects, has more pixels than the D700 and shot 1080/24p video. Here on Wetpixel, Alex Mustard proclaimed it “the best Nikon available for the price” (and for DX, at any price) and I agreed.
Likewise, the Canon EOS 60D is priced below its predecessor by $100 and is very popular with the production crews as they like the video output (basically equal to the 7D) and performance value.
The Prelude series is Seacam’s entry into lower end camera housings and is designed for the new user coming into underwater photography. The marketing blurbs are pretty straightforward. “Where quality meets affordability” and “A 100% Seacam housing for 40% less cost.” All the trimmings without the fat as it were. All very exciting for Seacam fans.
Then the first buyer of the D7000 Prelude housing realized the trimmings were a bit more than just the fat. It transpires that not all the buttons on the camera had reciprocal controls on the Prelude D7000 housing. There were a few limitations to what functions could be accessed.
While I was at ADEX Singapore this April, I had a long talk with Harald Hordosch, owner of Seacam, who was there to show off the Prelude range and also the new S10 3x viewfinder. I pressed him for answers to the questions with regards to the D7000 Prelude housing concerns in the forum.
Harald’s design philosophy for the Prelude housing was very clear: “Less is More!” Borrowing from a quote from one of the pioneer modern architects, Mies Van De Rohe, is great, but that’s marketing. The point is that the housings have to perform, even in a minimalist design.
I was admittedly skeptical when Harald described how he came about the design. Then he suggested I test the Canon 60D housing to see what he meant. I was dumbfounded yet intrigued! It’d be a challenge for me to have an open mind about changing technology and also different techniques of shooting. It’s easy to criticize Seacam’s (or anyone else’s products,) but without even trying the housing or camera underwater (I had some experience with the 60D shooting video topside}, it’d be foisting off an uninformed opinion about a product I’d never used.
Logistically, it wouldn’t be a nightmare as I already owned Seacam ports and accessories. I also was on my way to South Africa for the Ocean Safari and a third of my gear was already there (including ports). Being a Seacam owner, I was also very interested to see how this new housing worked. So I accepted his offer to test the Prelude 60D housing with the new S10 viewfinder and the Seaflash 150 (which apparently hasn’t been reviewed before in the last 2 years?) in South Africa (and later Indonesia).
Seacam Prelude 60D Housing with S10 Sportsfinder viewfinder
Seacam SeaFlash 150D with flash arms
Canon EF100mm f2.8L IS Macro
Canon EF100mm f2.8 Macro
Housing, strobes, strobe arms and accessories provided on loan by Seacam.
EOS 60D Camera provided on loan by CPS Canon Singapore.
All other equipment that wasn’t mine was on loan for this review and returned.
Acknowledgements and special thanks to:
Matthew Koh of Canon CPS Singapore
Harald Hordosch for the housing and strobe loan for the review and providing accessories.
David Cheung and Sanah Z from Scubacam Singapore for providing logistical support.
Mark Van Coller for the loaner lenses in South Africa
Alex Mustard for sitting down and bantering about housings with me.
Scuba Seraya and the very accommodating staff for allowing me to take over the big table at the back and running my own schedule for dives.