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Sony spk vs high end housings


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#1 madtom

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 09:08 AM

Hi all,

I've been using a Sony cx550 w/ the Sony sports pack housing to observe and document freshwater fish at snorkeling depths. My footage is amateurish, but I've had enough fun and gotten enough attention that I'm becoming serious about improving the quality of my vids.

My question is.... Whats difference in footage quality between my $150 sony SPK and an up to $2500+ Aquatica, Gates, Amphibico, Light and Motion etc., housing?
I know there must be a big difference, I just don't know what it is. As I only snorkel, depth ratings of beyond a few feet aren't necessary and I usually use natural light.

I guess what I'm asking is will spending $2000 on a housing upgrade make a noticeable difference in video quality or would the money be better spent elsewhere?

I look forward to hearing the thoughts of the group.

#2 uwxplorer

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 04:12 PM

I guess what I'm asking is will spending $2000 on a housing upgrade make a noticeable difference in video quality or would the money be better spent elsewhere?

It depends on the functionalities you already have access to with the Sony housing. If you are missing one-push focus lock, that could change things for you (assuming you currently use autofocus). Or one-push manual white-balance (although it is finicky at best at depth in the CX550V it should be fine in shallow water). Another difference is that the other housings will give you access to a choice of wide-angle lenses or macro-diopters which could widen your palette of shots. Finally, they are usually bulkier and thus a bit more stable in water, which could help with shaky footage (assuming that is an issue).

#3 jcclink

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 04:32 PM

Available quality optics is a big difference.
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#4 Drew

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 05:46 PM

The diving housings are constructed to withstand pressure that those SPK packs can't. Also I'm not sure how long a time the SPK packs can stay submerged.
If you snorkel and can free dive down to say 40ft, then you'll need a sturdier housing. That said, I know many surf shooters who use less complicated housings because it's just easier to handle. But I've also seen SPK packs flood while under a wave for a while.

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#5 jonny shaw

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 01:46 PM

Plastic / acrylic housings do end up leaking in the end if you use them a fair bit also. They also suffer from fogging a lot more that Aluminum housings. Plus all the points above

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#6 Steve Douglas

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 05:11 PM

and finally, a glass dome will always be superior to acrylic.
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#7 Beckytv

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Posted 04 October 2011 - 05:03 AM

I too had a Sony SPK housing for my CX550, and after battling the way the viewfinder worked and having to add weight to it,I gave up and bought a Patima Smart III housing.
Since I had ordered an Amphibico at the time they closed up shop I had to make another selection and found the Patima to the in the same price range at the Amphibico Turtle. (around 1200.00) I now have full control over the manual options on the camera which I didn't have with the SPK and the rear monitor makes framing much easier. It is a lot heavier than the plastic housing but like others have posted- should hold up better and not leak when freediving. The SPK was a great way to get hooked into underwater video but you are wanting to be able to have more control of the options upgrade to a housing that meets your price point.