Posted 04 December 2007 - 09:18 PM
Received my Ikelite 40D housing about a month ago. Love the camera and the housing. But, I was not wild about the viewfinder. So, I investigated alternatives, including having Backscatter mount the Inon 45 degree viewfinder. Backscatter admitted it was major surgery (very different than installations on Nexus, Sea & Sea, etc). So, I found a link on a wetpixel forum to a French company, Plongimage, selling a very similar product with one critical difference.
The Plongimage viewfinder is designed to clamp onto the back of the housing (on the viewfinder ring) rather than being permanently mounted by machining the back of the housing (as is done by Backscatter for the Inon finder on the Ike housing). It is designed so that water flows in and out of the narrow space between the viewfinder and the back of housing.
This company says they developed their design in collaboration with Inon and the unit says Inon Optics on the side. They say they moved the focus point back somewhat to allow for the greater distance between viewfinder and camera eyepieces when compared to the standard Inon which is mounted into the housing backplate.
I ordered one of these viewfinders from France last week and was able to pool test it last weekend. I am very happy with the results. With my usual low-volume mask I can see all of the large field of view without moving my eye, with only very slight blackout in the corners. The viewfinder data display is easily seen with a very slight eye movement. The view was identical to what I saw on friend’s Nexus with the regular Inon 45 viewfinder. It swivels the same way.
I’m off to PNG next week and so it will get a thorough testing there. The added bonus is that if it doesn’t work out or if I don’t want it on a particular dive, it is easily removed (I would remove it at the end of each day anyway to rinse it thoroughly). In theory you can even take it on and off DURING a dive, just seems like it would be a lot to juggle.
Downsides? This company does not have a US distributor. I shudder to think about trying to get this serviced. Price is in Euros and it is a bit more than the Inon finder in US$ (probably due to the terrible exchange rate). It looks like another company, in Spain, may sell a similar version (same price).