Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Best Vacuum System for DSLR Housing


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 tangfish

tangfish

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 95 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle <-> Bangkok

Posted 31 October 2017 - 03:55 AM

Hello divers with housings that have vacuum systems, which model do you love/hate and why?

 

Trying to decide between models such as the Leak Sentinel, Backscatter one, or one I haven't thought of yet. I know many of you have the Nauticam one, some have the Aquatica Surveyor, but I most likely won't be getting a Nauticam or Aquatica housing (can they be installed on another brand housing?).

 

I know some complaints are that you need a special vacuum pump vs. models that can use any wine bottle pump (which sounds nice).  I also like the ones that are more streamlined to the housing (I saw one person's which was protruding up high off of the housing and it looked like it could get caught on things).

 

Thanks for the recommendations for or against particular models.



#2 divengolf

divengolf

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 204 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Virginia
  • Interests:User name says it all- Dive &amp; Golf, plus a little fishin' when I can.

Posted 31 October 2017 - 04:53 AM

I've used the Leak Sentinel since they introduced version 3, I upgraded to version 4 a year or two ago and am quite pleased with it. Version 4 has temperature compensation and the ability to turn it off and not have to reset it later. I use it in an aquatica housing. I removed the external microphone, and installed the LS in that port. The manufacturer provides adapters for most housings. Before you decide I contact Vividhousings and confirm that they have an adapter for the housing you're considering. AFAIK you can use any vacuum pump as long as you have the small fitting that screws into the LS. Mine protrudes only about 1 to 1-1/2 inches from the housing and has never been an issue with fouling.

I have never tried any other vacuum system as I have been very pleased with the LS. When I first purchased mine, the pricing was far more attractive than either manufacturer installed or other third-party systems. I've not priced it lately to confirm if this is still true.

 

Harry



#3 TimG

TimG

    Sperm Whale

  • Moderator
  • 1858 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Amsterdam
  • Interests:Sunlight reefs, warm seas, fine wine, beautiful women. And Manchester City Football Club

Posted 31 October 2017 - 06:27 AM

Hi 

 

I agree with Harry. I've been using the Leak Sentinel for 3-4 years now and find it excellent. I've upgraded the system as Miso has released updates - usually for a small charge. It's neat, easy to fit and use, does what it is supposed to, changing batteries is relatively easy and inexpensive and it provides a huge amount of peace of mind and extra security. 

 

I've had false warnings once or twice which are not great for the blood pressure and heart rate but are usually connected to temperature drops or some such and have happened well into the dive.

 

I'd put it on the No Brainer list of u/w photo equipment. For what they cost, why would you not have one?


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE - Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#4 tangfish

tangfish

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 95 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle <-> Bangkok

Posted 31 October 2017 - 07:07 PM

Thanks for these accounts Harry and Tim! So it sounds like the leak sentinel’s newest version takes temperature fluctuation into account to avoid false alarms- that sounds like a pretty good feature.

Anyone here have the backscatter system?

#5 JohnVila

JohnVila

    Clownfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 24 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vanuatu

Posted 31 October 2017 - 10:12 PM

Hi. You won;t regret getting the leak sentinal. To be honest I prefer the leak sentinal  over the Nauticam unit (I currently use Nauticam as it came with my new gear) - primarily because it can be set well before the dive and put into standby and turned back off without opening the housing. With the nauticam you must open the housing to turn off the switch which can mean the unit stays on longer than you want.

 

I am more than happy to recommend the creator of leak sentibal --- Miso --- and his product, I live in remote Vanuatu and frankly Miso has been terrific to deal with ! Cheers John



#6 tangfish

tangfish

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 95 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle <-> Bangkok

Posted 01 November 2017 - 12:18 AM

Wow, that’s an awesome endorsement and I certainly like that you can save the battery while doing your predive prep the night before.

#7 pbalves

pbalves

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 75 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Portugal

Posted 01 November 2017 - 03:05 AM

Leak Sentinel / Mico is the way to go!
I bought 2 systems from him.

One complete for a friends Ikelite housing (version 4). It works fine.

Another bought was a standalone valve and pump for my Aquatica housing. The Aquatica housing had the surveyor already, that is able to measure the change in the pressure, so I just needed to add a valve. I do not like the valves from Aquatica, backscater, ikelite, nauticam as all of them are on L shape or too bulky and it seams to me that it is more probable to get things stacked there.

Besides that, it is less expensive!

The surveyor from Aquatica is possible to be bought stand alone. It has the Benedict that also has a moisture alarm, signaling by light and by sound. The draw back is that you need to open the housing to activate the survival and then proceed with the test.

The leak sentinel allows you to activate it without opening the housing, and it allows you to make the test in the day before and switch off the sensor till the few moments before the dive, allowing some saving in the battery.

And Miso is very solicitous.

#8 JimG

JimG

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 312 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Yorkshire, UK
  • Interests:Photography - underwater and avian, natural history

Posted 01 November 2017 - 04:00 AM

Another vote for Leak Sentinel. I was an early adopter soon after it came out. I can honestly say it is the most worthwhile add-on bit of kit I have ever bought. I use it with an Aquatica system and have upgraded to the Mk 4. Have never had any false positives; it has all operated flawlessly

 

Like others have commented above, Miso is brilliant in terms of service, assistance and advice - I needed a small spare part recently which he supplied FOC despite my unit being about five years old. Promptly too - two days from Slovenia to UK.. I am very impressed. And don't be put off by any thoughts of a language barrier - his written English is as good as most stuff you see on Wetpixel!


Jim Greenfield - Canon 5D Mark 3/Aquatica
My Web Site


#9 sunnyboy010101

sunnyboy010101

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 64 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vancouver Island

Posted 01 November 2017 - 08:38 AM

The leak sentinel certainly seems to be the way to go, especially for an older Nauticam housing. My housing would need to go back to Nauticam for a new circuit board to use the N. system, and for about the same cost the Vivid system has everything on the connector. The only downside I can see at this point is with Nauticam, if you are using the port as a hot-shoe flash connector, you can buy a dual flash/vacuum plug, but the leak sentinel only comes in the one flavor - so you'd give up the flash connection.

 

Unless there's another port on the NA-7D that can be used for the vacuum port?



#10 JohnVila

JohnVila

    Clownfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 24 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vanuatu

Posted 01 November 2017 - 03:05 PM

The leak sentinel certainly seems to be the way to go, especially for an older Nauticam housing. My housing would need to go back to Nauticam for a new circuit board to use the N. system, and for about the same cost the Vivid system has everything on the connector. The only downside I can see at this point is with Nauticam, if you are using the port as a hot-shoe flash connector, you can buy a dual flash/vacuum plug, but the leak sentinel only comes in the one flavor - so you'd give up the flash connection.

 

Unless there's another port on the NA-7D that can be used for the vacuum port?

Hi - not familiar with that housing but I believe it has 3 available ports? Presumably M16 and M14? I recall when I changed from my NArX100II to NAD500 housing that there were step up/down adapters available for both types and leak sentinal can be ordered with many different port size options.I would imagine any of the ports could be used.Cheers john



#11 JohnVila

JohnVila

    Clownfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 24 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vanuatu

Posted 01 November 2017 - 03:20 PM

Wow, that’s an awesome endorsement and I certainly like that you can save the battery while doing your predive prep the night before.

When Miso upgraded to the v5 (I have two v4's) he made battery changes so much easier, no more fiddling with screws! I have been using the nauticam valve now for 8 months and prefer the fact that with the leak sentinal it is all integrated. I dive every Sunday morning and quite often don't return home until the end of the day. The switch for Nauticam vacuum is inside the housing - with the leak sentinal I would prepare the housing the evening before, pull the vacuum and leave it overnight using the overnight function. Before heading out to dive, an hour before, switch back on and the vacuum is measured straight away. Complete the dive and turn off the unit. Rinse off and then bring home many hours later for a thorough soaking. With the nauticam - if you want to prepare the night before then battery will be on until you finish the dive and open the housing again.

 

Batteries are cheap- but once I seal my housing I don't like to have to open again until the dive is complete - owning two long haired cats makes me VERY cautious with inspection of the o-rings !! Having flooded a camera due to a stray cat hair a few years ago I won't get in the water with my camera now unless the vacuum seal is green!! Better to be safe!

 

If you need anymore info I would be happy to pass on contact details etc. Miso is one of those gentleman in the underwater photography world - he has a product that works, backed up with impeccable service, good price and a can do attitude that is second to none. At least that has been my experience having used two v 3 which I then upgraded to v4. If I did not have the nauticam valve I would get the v5 with no hesitation. Miso even supplied me with spare parts, batteries etc at the outset recognising that it is difficult for me to source u/w gear in Vanuatu! That is service.

 

Happy diving

 

John



#12 sunnyboy010101

sunnyboy010101

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 64 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vancouver Island

Posted 01 November 2017 - 06:07 PM

Hi - not familiar with that housing but I believe it has 3 available ports? Presumably M16 and M14? I recall when I changed from my NArX100II to NAD500 housing that there were step up/down adapters available for both types and leak sentinal can be ordered with many different port size options.I would imagine any of the ports could be used.Cheers john

 

No idea. The manual is less than helpful. There's definitely an M16 port that's been used for the hot-shoe plug, and can be doubled up for flash and vacuum if you buy the Nauticam version. But that means a trip back to Florida, and as I've already had camera parts stolen from the Miami airport, I'm in no rush to send stuff back to Nauticam.

 

There's another possible opening on the left side (looking from the rear of the housing) that has a gigantic coin turned plug, But nothing in the manual and I'm not touching it without solid advice and even photos.



#13 JohnVila

JohnVila

    Clownfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 24 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vanuatu

Posted 01 November 2017 - 06:51 PM

 

No idea. The manual is less than helpful. There's definitely an M16 port that's been used for the hot-shoe plug, and can be doubled up for flash and vacuum if you buy the Nauticam version. But that means a trip back to Florida, and as I've already had camera parts stolen from the Miami airport, I'm in no rush to send stuff back to Nauticam.

 

There's another possible opening on the left side (looking from the rear of the housing) that has a gigantic coin turned plug, But nothing in the manual and I'm not touching it without solid advice and even photos.

 

Agreed - manual not very helpful! It refers to an "opening for optional accessories (e.g hydrophone)". I would imagine it could be used - I cannot find a reference to the plug size but would hazard to say m16? Being on LHS I wonder if a vacuum detector installed there would protrude too much. Sorry to hear about your gear! Best of luck John


Edited by JohnVila, 01 November 2017 - 06:51 PM.


#14 hellhole

hellhole

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 189 posts

Posted 02 November 2017 - 08:33 PM

Hi. You won;t regret getting the leak sentinal. To be honest I prefer the leak sentinal  over the Nauticam unit (I currently use Nauticam as it came with my new gear) - primarily because it can be set well before the dive and put into standby and turned back off without opening the housing. With the nauticam you must open the housing to turn off the switch which can mean the unit stays on longer than you want.
 
I am more than happy to recommend the creator of leak sentibal --- Miso --- and his product, I live in remote Vanuatu and frankly Miso has been terrific to deal with ! Cheers John


Edited by hellhole, 02 November 2017 - 08:41 PM.


#15 tangfish

tangfish

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 95 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle <-> Bangkok

Posted 03 November 2017 - 02:48 AM

Yes John, could you please kindly pm me his contact info?

I won’t be getting a Nauticam housing so the hotshoe thing isn’t an issue I think.

Thanks for all the helpful replies everyone!

#16 onokai

onokai

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 218 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Arcata
  • Interests:U/W photo-Diving-Tuna fishing

Posted 12 November 2017 - 07:45 PM

The leak sentinel V is really nice-I dove it early this year on 40 dives with zero issues. I have a subal housing and I really like the green light.

I do not like the backscatter to light unit.Its also to big

the leak sentinel V is super small.


 Subal ND30- Housing
Way to many strobes to list
 subal d300 setup with Ikelite 161 strobes
Still a film divasourus at heart in a digital world


#17 ChrisRoss

ChrisRoss

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 69 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Sydney Australia

Posted 21 November 2017 - 04:35 AM

I have the Nauticam system on my housing and I pump it dowm at around 7:00am before heading off for the dives and back home, soak the housing and it is generally no earlier than 5:00pm when it goes off.  I've done over 100 dives on the housing and the original battery is still going strong.  So my estimate is 500 hours without a battery change. (Most day = 2 dives =  50 double dives x 10 = 500 hours)



#18 tursiops

tursiops

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 195 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 21 November 2017 - 07:18 AM

I have the Nauticam system on my housing and I pump it dowm at around 7:00am before heading off for the dives and back home, soak the housing and it is generally no earlier than 5:00pm when it goes off.  I've done over 100 dives on the housing and the original battery is still going strong.  So my estimate is 500 hours without a battery change. (Most day = 2 dives =  50 double dives x 10 = 500 hours)

I'd guess more like 5000 hours, not 500, or more. It is a big battery and small LED. I routinely set my camera up the night before, and check for the green light in the morning before I go diving. I'd choose which unit based on some consideration other than worrying about the Nauticam battery getting used up.



#19 Nicool

Nicool

    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 252 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Antibes, France

Posted 21 November 2017 - 05:45 PM

Hi,
I've been using various systems over 4 housings: hugyfot (on D7000 housing), then leak sentinel (v2 or 3, can't remember) on Nauticam EM5 housing, then backscatter simple airlock on same housing, then on nauticà D300s housing, then Nauticam's latest system on Nauticam D500 housing.

I've had various issues with the leak sentinel, like wrong orings delivered (things happen, why not) but then the leak sentinel flooded. I suppose user error, but to me not great design (which certainly has been improved since then).
However i looooved my backscatter airlock (basic version with manual pump and no led). It seems it can't go wrong, i even forgot the cap once and nothing flooded.
I am now using the nauticam electronic one (i still like the led, even if i am telling myself it's totally unnecessary) but i contemplate adding the backscatter one in another port of my housing, just for redundancy.


Envoyé de mon iPhone en utilisant Tapatalk

#20 tangfish

tangfish

    Moray Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 95 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle <-> Bangkok

Posted 21 November 2017 - 07:20 PM

I've had various issues with the leak sentinel, like wrong orings delivered (things happen, why not) but then the leak sentinel flooded. I suppose user error, but to me not great design (which certainly has been improved since then).


Interesting! First negative account of a leak sentinel, which I’d pretty much settled on.

Can you tell me more about that leak incident? Did it actually leak *through* the leak sentinel or give a false positive reading?