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Underwater setup! Help!!

sony camera underwater housing Meikon budget lenses wet lenses port Sony Alpha a7

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#1 GermainM

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 09:11 AM

Hello fellow photographers and divers! 

I have some doubts that are killing me internally and keep me from sleep 😂. 

I have thought of buying a Sony Alpha a7 mark 1, and keep it as my dive camera. Since its not too expensive, its compact, and it does a great job. I am also considering getting the A7 s, which will potentially improve the results and the price difference is not too much. It would be worth it. 

My reason to go for a Sony Alpha as my dive camera is because their underwater housing are extremely cheap (the Meikon ones) and ive read great reviews about those housings. Also because they are overall quite good and it would work great as a backup, light camera to use aside of my massive 6D + 70-200mm setup. 

I am planning to just go for the 28-70 kit lens, since its also cheap and it does deliver as expected. Price range is 170-250 euros as used... I am planning to get the camera and lens as second hand. 

My only issue with this setup is that the Meikon housing for the mark 1, does not have a dome port. And it is something I would quite love to have. The housing designed for the mark 2 however, does support a dome port. So in theory, In order to have a dome port, I would need to start looking at the mark 2 series...
For the price of a Sony Alpha a7 II, I could get the A7S (mk 1) and the a7s would be a lot better for what I need... (4k, and low light monster). Now if I have to get the A7S II, then the price would already drastically increase and its out of my budget. So its not worth it just for the dome port. 

I would love to know your suggestions. If I my setup is not worth it, if there is a better option for me... If the dome port is at all THAT necessary... If you could point out any flaws in this setup im thinking of... things I would eventually regret, I would be FOREVER thankful!!

Should I still go for this setup with the A7 and sacrifice the dome port, in order to save as much money as I can? 
Of course im not expecting professional level pictures, but also not GoPro level pictures.. I want something that looks somewhat decent.
I was not planning to exceed a budget of 1000 euros... (A7 + LENS + Housing would be a total of ca. 800-1000 (tops) euros, if I decide for the A7S instead, it would be a total of ca. 1250)



#2 ChrisRoss

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 07:42 PM

There's another issue with the Meikon housing, from a website selling them

 

"Provides mechanical controls for all essential camera functions except the zoom"

 

Without a zoom gear the whole thing seems a bit pointless to me.  If you are after a compact backup consider something like Canon G7X MkII in a Fanatsea housing or one of the older Sony RX100 also in a Fantasea.



#3 Barmaglot

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 10:29 PM

There's another issue with the Meikon housing, from a website selling them

 

"Provides mechanical controls for all essential camera functions except the zoom"

 

Without a zoom gear the whole thing seems a bit pointless to me.  If you are after a compact backup consider something like Canon G7X MkII in a Fanatsea housing or one of the older Sony RX100 also in a Fantasea.

 

I believe you're referring to the Meikon housing for the A7 II series, not the original A7. The latter is no longer offered on Meikon's own website, but it's sold elsewhere, and it does appear to have a zoom knob, albeit an awkwardly placed one: http://www.meikestor...7-a7r/3027.html

 

That said, there's a reason the original A7 cameras are so cheap - they're essentially a v1 product, with many annoying quirks and issues. A7 II series went a long way in correcting those, and by most accounts, in A7 III, the product line has finally matured, but an A7 III is $2k for body only, and even a Meikon housing for it is $600 + shipping, not counting extra ports or vacuum system, or other accessories that you will need.

 

Maybe consider a used A6300? It'll be somewhat more expensive, but the Meikon housing for it has all the controls and vacuum port, and with an adapter, it will work well with the Canon glass that you already have in its 'backup land camera' function. It's also very compact when paired with a small lens - 16-50mm PZ, 16mm f/2.8 or 20mm f/2.8 primes, etc. A6000 is available for a few hundred dollars less, but A6300 works much better with adapted lenses, which may be a factor for you.



#4 ChrisRoss

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 11:34 PM

Yes it's the A7-II and that definitely does not support zoom.  The A7-I it's hard to tell if it supports zoom, I found one on Ebay and it had a key drawing and labelled the knob you see as Manual focus, but the websites don't say anything specific.  The cases are also very buoyant so need some weight to make them usable.



#5 Barmaglot

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 11:56 PM

You can see here that there is a knob above the lens and to the left:

And here you can see the corresponding wheel inside the housing; you can also see the rubber bumpers that hold the camera body in its proper position:

On the Sony 28-70mm lens, the focus ring is located at the end of the lens, while the zoom ring occupies the middle: https://www.sony.com...F5F9&bgc=F1F5F9

Therefore, unless I'm missing something obvious, this knob is used for zoom rather than manual focus.



#6 GermainM

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 07:54 AM

There's another issue with the Meikon housing, from a website selling them

 

"Provides mechanical controls for all essential camera functions except the zoom"

 

Without a zoom gear the whole thing seems a bit pointless to me.  If you are after a compact backup consider something like Canon G7X MkII in a Fanatsea housing or one of the older Sony RX100 also in a Fantasea.

My only issue with those cameras is that I would never use them outside of the water, which is why I was aiming at a Sony A7. Because I would then probably end up using it sometimes too if I wanna have something good and compact. Those two cameras would be awful for me to use and would end up just as my diving cam and nothing else and that would be a bit pointless. 

 

 

I believe you're referring to the Meikon housing for the A7 II series, not the original A7. The latter is no longer offered on Meikon's own website, but it's sold elsewhere, and it does appear to have a zoom knob, albeit an awkwardly placed one: http://www.meikestor...7-a7r/3027.html

 

That said, there's a reason the original A7 cameras are so cheap - they're essentially a v1 product, with many annoying quirks and issues. A7 II series went a long way in correcting those, and by most accounts, in A7 III, the product line has finally matured, but an A7 III is $2k for body only, and even a Meikon housing for it is $600 + shipping, not counting extra ports or vacuum system, or other accessories that you will need.

 

Maybe consider a used A6300? It'll be somewhat more expensive, but the Meikon housing for it has all the controls and vacuum port, and with an adapter, it will work well with the Canon glass that you already have in its 'backup land camera' function. It's also very compact when paired with a small lens - 16-50mm PZ, 16mm f/2.8 or 20mm f/2.8 primes, etc. A6000 is available for a few hundred dollars less, but A6300 works much better with adapted lenses, which may be a factor for you.

I guess its pretty much the same issue here. I would not use a 6300 for photography in land... stay as my underwater gear and I don't know if I wanna throw up to a thousand for a higher quality GoPro haha. 


What if I got the Sony A7 II and the housing for it? would that be a much viable or logical option? I would get the dome port from the casing, the zooming abilities, and still have a pretty good camera for underwater or even outside of the water. With improved specs compared to the A7-I 



#7 Barmaglot

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 08:10 AM

You might want to get in touch with @davec13o2; he has an A7R II and the Meikon housing so he can give you first-hand information. Note that the Meikon housing for A7 II series, unlike their housings for A7 and A7 III, does not have a zoom gear.



#8 GermainM

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 09:16 AM

You might want to get in touch with @davec13o2; he has an A7R II and the Meikon housing so he can give you first-hand information. Note that the Meikon housing for A7 II series, unlike their housings for A7 and A7 III, does not have a zoom gear.

So the one for the A7-I does indeed support zooming but the one for the A7-II does not? then we are back into getting a A7-I instead, right? I found online a dome port with adapter for the A7-I housing, it is a bit pricey (180 euros) but it would solve that one issue I guess.
So if I were to get an a7-I or A7-I S, I could still zoom underwater and get the dome port for extra cash. Would that work alright? with a 28-70mm kit lens... I could probably also fit another prime if in the future I decide to get another lens (although I doubt it right now) 







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