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Dear Housing Manufacturer, my wishlist is ....


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#41 CamDiver

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 06:54 PM

2. Three flip arms for: CC Filter, Macro Lens arm with assorted changeable dioptors, and Expodisc or similar White Balance Filter. Dan


Wondering why you would want to use single element diopters instead of dedicated achromatic diopters? Having switched to achromatics I doubt I'll ever go back to using single element filters again. The quality is night and day.

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#42 videodan

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 02:29 PM

Mark and Nick, good suggestions. Achromatic glass would be great if they can fit it in. Achromatic diopters are thicker, but will reduce chromatic aberrations. We don't want to fight with difficult buoyancy problems when making quick configuration changes on our housings. We'll update our wish list. Any more suggestions are definitely welcome.


Updated Wish List.

Our wish list is for the upcoming Sony XDCAM EX camera housings.

1. Design housing with one premium wide angle lens (Full Zoom Thru, zero distortion) to complement the Fujinon 14X lens. Housing to be perfectly balanced for that lens.

2. Three flip arms for: CC Filter, Macro Lens arm with assorted changeable "achromatic" diopters, and Expodisc or similar White Balance Filter.

3. Full electronic/mechanical controls for all key functions, including Assign Buttons.

4. Gain adjustment must be easily accessible.

5. Gyro Stabilizer for steadier shots.

6. Achieve neutral buoyancy when lights/monitor are in place without adding external floatation (i.e. make it positively buoyant when lights/monitor are not fitted and then add weights to make it neutral when there are no lights/monitor fitted).

Most important of all: Start designing now, so we don't have to wait over a year after the camera starts shipping to get our housings. Shoot for no more than a two month wait. Yes, it can be done.
Daniel Deck
Light & Motion Bluefin HD, Sony FX1, L&M HID's
Previous: AquaVideo FX1, L&M Bluefin Pro V900

#43 Drew

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 03:15 AM

Guys, I think we have to keep in mind a few things with your requests.
1. Feasability: is the technology really available. Gyro stabilizers? The size of the housing would be near the old Imax camera.
2. Bulk: Making a housing more buoyant really means making it bigger, esp with the ALU housings.
3. Costs: While the bulkier housing will be great for stability in pans, it'll also cost more and travel will mean paying for shipping as well.
4. Limits of Physics: Achromatic diopters are great. However to use them behind a WA lens is asking a lot. First of all, all lenses are designed to have minimal space between lens elements to ensure best quality and minimize the size of the lens element. Moving it back not only compromises quality but also forces the lens element to be proportionately bigger. Again this is pure physics.
I also disagree on making a positively buoyant housing as a matter of function. Many don't dive with lights and there are so many different systems of lighting that this makes little sense. A well balanced neutral housing, with monitor is the most desirable setup. Nowadays, many of the HID lighting systems attach the batteries to the bottom of the camera, which is why a few of you are complaining about the weight underwater. I put CCF on the light heads and arms to offset the weight. This also prevents the movement of the center of gravity and balance. Battery is on me so I don't have to carry any lead weight.
As a housing manufacturer, I would make sure my housing would sell as a solo product first of all then build accessories around it.
The other unfortunate truth is that underwater shooting is a niche or at best secondary market. So camera manufacturers aren't about to give prototypes to housing manufacturers early. So while you can design some aspects of the housing, you need the camera to make a real product. 2 months after launch may be possible, but I'd rather lots of testing and updates before any product moves. Afterall, at this level, you keep the camera and housing for at least 3-4 years. It's worth a few months wait.

Drew
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#44 videodan

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 02:58 PM

Not to argue, but I do disagree on a few topics.

1. Feasability: is the technology really available. Gyro stabilizers? The size of the housing would be near the old Imax camera.

Gyro's are very simple, inexpensive, and would not take up that much space or add that much weight. Remember, the housing in the water will be near neutral, so gyro's could be small. This is just throwing around some ideas. I certainly would not avoid a good housing just because it didn't have gyro stabilization.

2. Bulk: Making a housing more buoyant really means making it bigger, esp with the ALU housings.

Nobody wants a buoyant housing. We want it close to neutral without having to add too much weight or additional buoyancy. This is why I recommend building this housing with one premium do everything lens, so it will be well balanced and neutral. I don't think anyone buying an $8,000US camera and a top of the line housing would want a cheap base lens, and then add a premium lens and have it 4-5 lbs. front heavy.

3. Costs: While the bulkier housing will be great for stability in pans, it'll also cost more and travel will mean paying for shipping as well.

The EDCAM EX is only slightly heavier and larger than an FX1/Z1. Housing should be similar size.

4. Limits of Physics: Achromatic diopters are great. However to use them behind a WA lens is asking a lot. First of all, all lenses are designed to have minimal space between lens elements to ensure best quality and minimize the size of the lens element. Moving it back not only compromises quality but also forces the lens element to be proportionately bigger. Again this is pure physics.

We can at least try, right? It may be quite feasible, maybe not.

Many don't dive with lights and there are so many different systems of lighting that this makes little sense. A well balanced neutral housing, with monitor is the most desirable setup. Nowadays, many of the HID lighting systems attach the batteries to the bottom of the camera, which is why a few of you are complaining about the weight underwater.

L&M did a great job with their HID light system. My FX1 housing is trimmed perfectly with the batteries installed at all times, and I don't even change the trim weights when I mount the lights, just makes it slightly more negative, but very usable. The housing has to be designed with specific lights, which will definitely be the manufacturers lights. Get used to them, or deal with the consequences of changing them. A monitor will be a necessity with the XDCAM EX as the on camera monitor is in an awkward place for viewing with an underwater housing. The housing should be designed with a high quality monitor as standard. Will add this to the list.
Dan
Daniel Deck
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Previous: AquaVideo FX1, L&M Bluefin Pro V900

#45 videodan

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 03:06 PM

Updated Wish List. 5/17/07

Our wish list is for the upcoming Sony XDCAM EX camera housings.

1. Design housing with one premium wide angle lens (Full Zoom Thru, zero distortion) to complement the Fujinon 14X lens. Housing to be perfectly balanced for that lens.

2. Three flip arms for: CC Filter, Macro Lens arm with assorted changeable "achromatic" diopters, and Expodisc or similar White Balance Filter.

3. Full electronic/mechanical controls for all key functions, including Assign Buttons.

4. Gain adjustment must be easily accessible.

5. Gyro Stabilizer for steadier shots.

6. Achieve neutral buoyancy when lights/monitor are in place without adding external floatation (i.e. make it positively buoyant when lights/monitor are not fitted and then add weights to make it neutral when there are no lights/monitor fitted).

7. Design housing with high resolution adjustable angle monitor in a good location as standard equipment, to allow for good viewing, and neutral trim and buoyancy. Streamlined for low hydrodynamic drag.

Most important of all: Start designing now, so we don't have to wait over a year after the camera starts shipping to get our housings. Shoot for no more than a two month wait. Yes, it can be done.
Daniel Deck
Light & Motion Bluefin HD, Sony FX1, L&M HID's
Previous: AquaVideo FX1, L&M Bluefin Pro V900

#46 Nick Hope

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 08:11 PM

2. Bulk: Making a housing more buoyant really means making it bigger, esp with the ALU housings.
3. Costs: While the bulkier housing will be great for stability in pans, it'll also cost more and travel will mean paying for shipping as well.

Drew, all I'm really asking is for other manufacturers to do what L&M have done with the Bluefin. The fact I didn't need to add external homemade buoyancy to offset the weight of my lamp batteries was a major factor in me choosing it. Having said that even the Bluefin requires a little buoyancy with the UWA lens as Shawn has found out. I think it would only have been a minimal size increase to build that much extra buoyancy into the body of the housing and then he wouldn't have to muck about with adding foam etc.. On a 3D CAD system it's pretty easy to predict buoyancy.

#47 shawnh

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 10:14 PM

My 2 cents:
1. Would like to address bouyancy such that housing accomodates all lenses without added floats (agree with Nick)
2. Though i would love a dozen flip filters, i understand the requirement that the cam lens be close to the housing lens. Enabling 2 flips with ALL lens options would be great. Providing more diopter options at reasonable cost would be cool.
3. Super slip and multi-position external HD monitor would be great.
4. Low distortion UWA lens that provides solid performance in the med-wide to ultra-wide (weitwinkel) range. I am happy with using a macro/flat port for macro shooting.
5. Access to the WB multi-position switch would be very cool for quick switching of WB presets (eg. shallow and deep, lights vs no lights)
6. Access to essential functions through both electronic and manual controls (record, zoom, AF lock plus existing manuals).

All of the above can be achieved at reasonable cost and little R&D. #2 & #4 may require some more work.

So Drew...what happens with this list...the housing fairy puts it under the manufacturers pillows :)
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#48 Nick Hope

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 11:16 PM

Wondering why you would want to use single element diopters instead of dedicated achromatic diopters? Having switched to achromatics I doubt I'll ever go back to using single element filters again. The quality is night and day.

Sorry if this is a little detailed for this thread. I'm not sure exactly what makes an achromatic diopter achromatic but shouldn't the custom-designed aspheric rectangular diopters ("flip macro") used in the Bluefin be superior, at least in terms of distortion towards the corners, than the spherical Century Optics achromatic diopters? In theory anyway?

#49 Drew

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 01:11 AM

Shawn
This thread was meant to allow feedback to the various manufacturers on possible features to be included. Obviously there are engineering issues and obviously cost issues on developing such suggestions. The idea is to give them ideas to implement to their future designs. I know quite a few read the forums.
Nick, achromatic and apochromatic lenses use multiple lens elements to reduce chromatic abberration and light loss. Multiple elements also minimizes resolution drops. Any single element diopter will have resolution and light loss as well as CA. Spherical abberrations and coma are minimized with an aspherical element. Hope this clarifies things.

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#50 ronrosa

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Posted 18 May 2007 - 04:37 AM

This has been a fun post to read, but I wonder how easy or difficult it will be for housing manufacturers to implement the wishes.

I'm very inexperienced compared to the members on this board, but I'll offer my opinions anyway.

Buoyancy: Are the buyouancy issues housing problems or accessory problems or both ? My housing by itself was slightly negative. I added a super wide angle lens that was very negative. The lights I chose were negative. I don't always use lights and I don't always shoot wide angle. IMHO, it's the lens, and lights that need more buoyancy. I wear my batteries on my belt. The lamps need a little buoyancy. Ultralight is addressing the issues with their new more buoyant arms.

Lens: I like having the option of using a flat port for macro. A super wide lens will be expensive, big, possibly negative and most likely will not be as good for macro as a flat pot. I like to have choices, but it would be nice if all the lens choices were neutral in weight.

Monitor: Options for external or internal mounts. Size and buoyancy kind of conflict each other. We all want a nice wide monitor, that is slim and also neutral. But to make it neutral they will have to trap some air which means adding size. To make the monitor slim, the batteries will have to be in the housing, adding negative weight to the housing.

#51 ronscuba

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Posted 09 July 2007 - 02:53 PM

Item #6 from the Housing Wishlist Thread:

6. Achieve neutral buoyancy when lights/monitor are in place without adding external floatation (i.e. make it positively buoyant when lights/monitor are not fitted and then add weights to make it neutral when there are no lights/monitor fitted).


The housing manufacturers are listening. The Gates FX7 housing is about 4 lbs positively buoyant. They ship an external weight with the housing to make it neutral. You can also use regular dive weights to adjust the buoyancy depending on what accessories you use such as monitors, lights, arms, lenses, etc..

This should make things much easier than adding buoyancy with closed cell foam or enclosed tubes.

My housing ships this Friday. Can't wait.

#52 rlmalisz

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 07:56 AM

Simple request, absolutely doable, maybe not cheap:

Replace the flipout red filter with an electronically controlled LCD filter. They make these extremely thin and optically transparent these days, so one of these could be afixed directly to the back of the main port. The filter could allow continuously variable filter strength, so at 10FSW you get just a smidge of red, and at 50FSW you get a lot more. This removes the need for a mechanical flipout for color-correction, which means single fliout designs can now support color correction and a diopter.

I'd also like to see an electronic, LCD red filter for lights. Different problem.

--Richard

#53 videodan

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 08:23 AM

Simple request, absolutely doable, maybe not cheap:

Replace the flipout red filter with an electronically controlled LCD filter. They make these extremely thin and optically transparent these days, so one of these could be afixed directly to the back of the main port. The filter could allow continuously variable filter strength, so at 10FSW you get just a smidge of red, and at 50FSW you get a lot more. This removes the need for a mechanical flipout for color-correction, which means single fliout designs can now support color correction and a diopter.

I'd also like to see an electronic, LCD red filter for lights. Different problem.

--Richard

Excellent idea, but I'd take it a step further. Add in a light quality sensor, a microprocessor, and the variable electronic filter, all built in to the camera, and have the ultimate in automatic white balance. Any Sony engineers reading this?
Dan
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Previous: AquaVideo FX1, L&M Bluefin Pro V900

#54 Drew

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 07:11 PM

After looking at the HVR-MRC1 that comes with the Sony HVR-Z7, I think every housing manufacturer needs to make enough space to put one in every housing (especially the top end ones). The MRC1 allows HDV recording onto CF II flash cards and can record in all flavors, 24/25/30p, 50/60i. With a backup in miniDV tape, this device is perfect for acquisition and the ability to record past the 83 minutes of DV tape without dropouts.
And yes, it does work with any HDV camcorder with a firewire output.

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#55 Nick Hope

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 11:57 PM

Look forward to posts about how to dismantle the HVR-MRC1 and fit the components into the smallest place possible!

I'm up for it. Where's me Dremel... :)

#56 Kellywags

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Posted 06 May 2008 - 05:45 AM

Well I realise that I am probably in the minority as far as videographers go- being a very petite female, however I am going to add my two cents worth to the wish list just in case...

1. Definately a flip screen because not only does it allow ease of filming, but a small mirror always comes in handy to check that one's mascara is definately as waterproof as the cosmetics company claims.

2. Speacial 'lady sized' hand pieces with smaller distances between the controls to prevent wobble when readjusting grip to adjust zoom, focus or other manual functions.

3. A little windscreen wiper on the lense so I don't have to use so much paper towel to dry the lense for up top shots (the divemasters are complaing about all the scrunched up tissues all over the boat).

4. An option for pink powder coating...just to match my fins.

Hmm that is all for now.... and for the record, I love my Amphibico Evo and mourn my Amphibico Navigator- that was truly my best dive buddy ever! ;)

#57 Drew

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 12:19 AM

Kelly
I've solved 2.5 of your 4 requests.
1. Wags says you look better without makeup, plus mascara isn't biodegradeable :) . Can't agree on the flip screen for shooting though.
3. Get a big piece of optical chammy. It's better for the environment too. What is it with girls and tissue paper?!? Grrr
4. Use Seavision masks, everything becomes a reddish pink hue. Also better for the environment.

So Wags gets the couch and the Amphibicos get the bed? :D

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#58 marksm

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 09:23 AM

I'd like to see some sort of padded travel plate or a sleeve or special cut foam to feel comfortable and allow transporting my camera in the housing. With such a solid protective shell, I think this would be great.

Power the external monitor off internal battery and reduce size of external monitor box.

Make a port slug for traveling without a lens port in camera and to reduce possibility of dust or contamination into housing.

Make proper screw on dust caps for the back of ports when not in use or for extra ports. Should protect rings, threads, and from dust contamination.

Make a carry handle for the top of housing. Allows for easier handling in and out of water so torque isnt put on one side or handle when handing up to boat. Makes it easier for putting in and out of travel cases. Allows carrying to your side so less likely to hit lens or viewfinder...ok maybe less likely.

#59 marksm

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 07:15 AM

When labeling housing controls make them make sense. If manual focus is to the left side of the control, don't label the control "Auto/Manual" label it "Manual/Auto". The same applies for Iris, Focus, Macro, etc...

Be consistent in this labeling and positioning/orientation. For Example, on the Gates EX1 housing. All control positions toward the front of the housing that have an ON/OFF are in the OFF position when moved forward except the Iris Manual Adjust which OFF is in the up position instead of forward. Forward is actually ON which can damage the camera if it is powered in this position.

These ergonomic and occupational design nuances make a big difference in the adaptation of new equipment and reduce learning curves for the end user.

#60 wolfeeldiver

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Posted 12 October 2008 - 09:00 AM

My housing thoughts: Manufacturers should make any knobs / push controls large enough, with knobby / knurled / scalloped edge shapes so that cold water divers wearing thick gloves can better grasp and rotate them. On one of my housings some of the knobs are difficult to get a firm grasp wearing thick gloves. All it would take is a more "scalloped" design of the knobs.