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400D: Sea & Sea vs Ikelite?


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#1 ktwse

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 06:34 AM

I'm looking to buy my first ever SLR housing, for my EOS 400D. Ever since I decided to do so, I've only really been considering Ikelite. However, a dealer suggest I consider Sea & Sea as well. I was wondering what people here think of the two.

The issue that I have with S&S is that a housing, port and two YS-110 costs nearly twice as much as an Ikelite housing with port and two DS-51. As far as I can tell it would probably be more fair to compare the YS-110 to the DS-125 but apart from that, is the S&S really THAT much better (also going by the "ranking" in the other thread where people suggested Ikelite as the budget option and S&S somewhere in the middle)?

What are the pros and cons of these two packages compared to each other? Would appreciate any help, have tried to read up both here on the forum and elsewhere but it's a jungle for a newbie like me... :rolleyes:

#2 pakman

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 06:47 AM

Another thing to consider is that for some reason, Sea & Sea omitted a lot of the buttons on the back on the 400D housing so you won't have access to the menus (not critical, but nice to have... Like if you forgot to make a certain setting before sealing the housing, you're stuck until the end of the dive...). They've also put the TTL converter inside the housing, raising the overall cost.

Edited by pakman, 27 November 2007 - 06:50 AM.

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#3 LyN

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 07:17 AM

Before having my first DLSR housing, I considered Ikelite to be a budget housing, which kind of made me believe it was the cheapy and not so good one.

However, now I've got my first DSLR rig, based on an Ikelite housing... :unsure: I must admit I find it to be easy to handle underwater. Buttons are easy to use and have feel enough to know what you're doing (like when half pressing the trigger button). I've heard a lot of talking about viewers, but I have no problems to use the one in this housing.

And I still like to see what happens inside it, which helped me to gain confidence with this new housing!

However, I must admint I haven't used any other housing :P

Besides this, if I were to consider another housing for a 400D, I would take a look at the Seatool one... :rolleyes:
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#4 IMSushi

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 09:27 AM

I guess what swayed me into spending a little more (relatively) on the Sea & Sea was ergonomics. Have you held both in your hands? Pick up the Ike, see how it feels, then pick up the S&S. No brainer for me. The handles on my DX-D80 and similar S&S housings are by far superior. There were other issues of course, but this one sticks out in my mind right now.

I also really liked what the YS-110 strobes had to offer. They fit what I want to do. With an Ike housing and Ike TTL, you can only use Ike strobes. (I think?)

I have no idea about missing buttons for the 400, but an internal TTL would be nice.

Edited by IMSushi, 27 November 2007 - 09:35 AM.

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#5 Nunomix

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 01:33 PM

I have a S&S housing for the Canon 350D in which I use a Canon 400D with some very simple adaptation. I had in my hands the housing for the 400D and I didn't want it. The housing for the 400D misses important buttons like the menu button which makes it impossible to use custom WB underwater. I have been having problems with the TTL with S&S and they are still not totally solved.

I was told today that they are making a new TTL converter and they will be sending it to me now for testing. Apart from the problem with the TTL until now, it is a very nice housing (the 350D, not the 400D in my opinion).

I have wrote some stuff in my blog with regard to the new 400D housing if you are interested in taking a look

Good luck with your choice.

Regards,
Nikon D300 / Nikon D700, Tokina 10-17 Fisheye, Nikon AF-S 14-24mm, Nikon 60mm, Nikon 105mm, Sea&Sea MDX-300, S&S TTL Converter, 2xS&S YS-110, S&S Glass Dome Port, S&S Compact Flat Port, S&S Extension Rings SX and 40 Fisheye Focus Light

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#6 ktwse

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 04:42 PM

Thanks for the link Nunomix, and a late congrats to your adv nitrox. :rolleyes: Do continue to trimix to make it safer and even more fun... Also completely irrelevant, have you seen the Uwatec 330 in store? I have been trying to find it for a couple of months, so far with no luck.

To be honest I haven't held either of the housings. That's also very hard to do as it means locating a Swedish diver using either house and persuading that poor sod to meet up with me in the blistering cold for me to hold it and possibly test dive it... Might be able to lure someone into doing so, we'll see.

Lack of menu button sounds like a potential problem, however how often do people actually adjust their WB through the menu? Besides TBH this is nothing that can't be sorted in a matter of seconds in Aperture when shooting RAW.

My main concerns are price (well not in absolute terms but TWICE the price, or at least 1.8 times the price with comparable strobes?!?), quality of the construction, ease of use and ergonomics. If the S&S is superior in terms of quality, usability and ergonomics then I'm willing to accept the steeper price. It's got internal TTL and one sync cord connector. Does this also mean that there are fewer potential leak hazards? This has been one of the major things putting me off getting a d-SLR housing... I am simply afraid of flooding the house. So the house that will be the most idiot proof would be welcome.

Also, the Swedish S&S rep says that they recommend the optical (?) dome (I suppose it's glass?) and not the acrylic dome for the Tokina 10-17. This would raise the cost of the S&S solution even MORE...

Any comments on this? What are the benefits of paying the combined price of the camera and the lens (basically) for a dome port?

#7 pakman

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 06:24 PM

ktwse, when I shoot macro I never touch the custom WB as I always shoot in RAW and do WB adjustments in photoshop. However, if you do a lot of ambient wide angle shots and use a filter, it would be nice to be able to manually white balance and see the results on screen instead of having to wait to you post process... Also, as the 400D S&S housing has a built in TTL converter, you cannot turn it off in the middle of the dive. Again, not a big deal - if you planning on shooting wide angle, I think most people would turn the TTL off before the dive and handle the strobes manually anyways...

I've only used the optical glass dome with my S&S, and it works nicely with the Tokina fisheye. It does add to the total package $$ (or kroners):rolleyes: I'd be interested to hear othe people's results with the acrylic domes (maybe the big one is OK).

I think you'll find a lot of Ikelite users here who will swear by them. Treat them well and most people don't have problems. The Ike ports do look a bit delicate (just my observation). I've got an unlucky friend who flooded one (but he's just got bad luck with u/w cameras :P ). But then, my S&S housing and TTL Converter are sitting at S&S Japan being looked at as something has gone wrong with the TTL function - could be an electrical fault or I may have had a minor leak... I might have gotten sloppy prepping for a dive or it might have gotten roughed up on the way to the site - don't know... So it can happen to both brands...

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#8 ktwse

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 05:41 AM

Sorry for being such a newbie, but why would you turn off TTL specifically for WA?

I probably can get a fairly good deal on the S&S package which makes that quite interesting especially since I would then buy it from a local dealer meaning easier service handling and so on. Shipping it to the US if something happens is not all that intriguing...

I'm a bit concerned about potential scratches on glass domes as I mostly dive wrecks. Does anyone use the 10-17 with the acrylic big dome? And how prone to scratches is the glass dome anyway?

#9 pakman

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 05:56 AM

TTL can be very inconsistent with lighting underwater WA shots.

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#10 Nunomix

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 07:08 AM

ktwse,

Thanks reg. my course. and yes., I want to do trimix as well but only after I get some more experience in decompression dives. I did not see live the Uwatec timer.

As Pakman mentioned, the WB can be pretty helpful, specially if you want to use later on magic filters. The external TTL is also handy when you want to take pictures manually because you can switch it on and off underwater (with the 400D housing you cant do that). What I also do with WA photos is to play with the adjustment knob in the TTL converter instead of switching to manual.

I am pretty happy with the glass dome port. The only thing I still did not figure out how to do with this dome port is to take top/bottom pictures (the size of this dome is smaller than the acrylic one).

In terms of getting your equipment locally, after my experience I strongly encourage you to do so. I have been having lots of problems with the TTL in the S&S and if I didnt have a local dealer, I would be in trouble.

Regards,

Nuno
Nikon D300 / Nikon D700, Tokina 10-17 Fisheye, Nikon AF-S 14-24mm, Nikon 60mm, Nikon 105mm, Sea&Sea MDX-300, S&S TTL Converter, 2xS&S YS-110, S&S Glass Dome Port, S&S Compact Flat Port, S&S Extension Rings SX and 40 Fisheye Focus Light

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#11 BurBunny

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:15 PM

Second the suggestion earlier to also consider the SeaTool housing. If ergonomics and size are of concern, and you're already considering the Sea&Sea, the SeaTool should be be in the running as well. While I doubt they're available to you locally, they're worth a bit of effort. Full controls in the housing, TINY size (height and width were equivalent to my old Ikelite housing for a compact Fuji F810 - though depth is greater), very good build quality. They also allow for both electrical synch cords or fiberoptic connection to strobes.
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#12 ScubaSpen

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 05:34 PM

Hi all

I thought I would add my two pennies worth.

I have upgraded to an Ike housing for my Nik D80 and am very pleased with the decision. Like some of the previous posts TTL is not for all situations, but I find it works best for macro. I like the fact that on the Ike housing I dont have to touch the strobe and use the wheel on the back of the housing to fine tune TTL by +/- 1 or dial it into manual mode with +/- 3 setting. I like the DS-125 strobe, it's a bit heavy but it's got great battery life and gives lots of light.



Also I like the reputation of the Ike service department with quick and sometimes free repair/replacement with global shipping. I had a S&S camera before and the took 3 months to repair a faulty on/off button. They sent it back and it still wasn't repaired and then took a further month back in Japan. I got zero feedback from them even after sending mutiple emails.

All round I am happy with my Ike setup and will never look at S&S again. No menu button on the S&S housing, what were they thinking, you gotta manual WB.

Check out the Ike prices on Adorama.com (US), I used the exchange rate to my advantage and had the lot delivered in a week.

Good luck with your decision.

Spen

#13 AllisonFinch

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 06:01 PM

:)

I have the Ike set up for my D400. I did not like their handles or arms so I used Ultralite systems. The Ike tray handles are easy to replace and Ultralite are far easier to use. I have no trouble one handing my rig with two strobes.

I like the fact that you can see everything through the plexi housing. I can visualize every inch of the o-ring seal after sealing the camera in. I can then see if anything goes wrong and respond quickly.

If I were to go with any other housing, I would concider the Seatool because of its tiny size. That would be about the only reason I would consider spending that much more on another housing than Ike.

I love the instant strobe adjustment on the back of the housing. Two changes I would like to see in the housing, however, would be a tripod mount under the tray and a shoe to attach an aiming light on the top.

I, truely, do not think the Sea and Sea is worth the price considering its real shortcomings (limited adjustments).
.

Edited by AllisonFinch, 28 November 2007 - 06:05 PM.


#14 allen

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 10:49 AM

I will third the suggestions to look at the SeaTool housing. I was fortunate enough to get one in my hands, albeit dry. I really like the compactness of the housing. What was more impressive was watching my wife with it. She has very small hands and was comfortable handling it.

Amber what are you using for a tray and handles?

#15 ktwse

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 03:38 PM

Problem with SeaTool, lovely as they look, is I don't know who sells them here in Sweden and if I were to have a problem...

S&S has the HUGE benefit of being able locally at a decent price with local support and service.

Ike is cheaper. With the DS125 strobes (a more fair comparison) the difference is about $1500, but that's without having discussed discounts on a S&S package with my dealer. I bet I could push the difference down to about $700.

Not being able to change between TTL and manual underwater doesn't seem like a big sacrifice, and adjusting WB doesn't strike me as all that important either. I honestly can't see myself focusing too much on that at a 50 meter dive with 25 minutes BT, even less so during a penetration. If TTL doesn't work with WA I'll most likely keep it in manual all the time, for the same reason.

#16 wmiller

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 12:41 PM

I hemmed and hawed between the ike, sea & sea. It was then suggested I look at the seatool. Yes it was ALOT more $$ than I initially wanted to spend but the trade off was worth every penny. I like the small size (coming from an oly 4040/pt010 housing) and it is very close to the size of that housing. I was able to use my ULCS tray and arms perfectly and my strobe. Not once have I regretted choosing this housing over the others.
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#17 jlyle

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:12 PM

Question about the SeaTool housings:

If the housing is more compact, doesn't that increase the density of the rig and make more negatively buoyant in the water?

My Ike housing (for an Oly E-330) is bulky, but almost neutral in the water, making one-hand shooting a joy.
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#18 LyN

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:32 PM

If the housing is more compact, doesn't that increase the density of the rig and make more negatively buoyant in the water?

Yes indeed.
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#19 ktwse

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 06:54 AM

Hmm, that certainly makes the Seatool less interesting, at least for me.

From what I've read, the Ike housing is nearly neutral. What about the S&S? How negative will it be with two strobes and arms etc?

#20 pakman

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Posted 03 December 2007 - 07:03 AM

My S&S 350D housing (which I use for a 400D) is pretty negative and I presume the 400D housing is of near identical size and of similar buoyancy. With 2x2 ULCS arms and Inon strobes, it's a pretty negative setup with either macro port or dome. You can get used to it, but it is nice using some buoyancy floats on the arms (currently using pool noodles on the lower arms which help in the shallows but are useless at depth when they compress).

Now I vaguely recall when I got to play around with the Seatool 400D housing at a show (topside only), it didn't feel as heavy. Not sure how that translates into in water buoyancy as the Seatool is molded so close the camera.

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