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Re-use Gates housing with new cam?


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#1 seclo

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 02:38 AM

Hi,

I am new to the board, and this seems to be the place to get an answer to my question (and apologies if it's a na´ve one).

I have a Sony PC350 digital cam with a Gates housing. The camera has been used for a lot of above water filming and I suspect it will soon give in. And ofcourse HD would be a better option. I really like the Gates housing, and it was a significant investment for me. Is there any way I can use the Gates housing for another, more modern camera? Naturally I am willing to go for whatever would be suitable, as long as it has HD.

#2 sjspeck

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 09:01 AM

Hi,

I am new to the board, and this seems to be the place to get an answer to my question (and apologies if it's a na´ve one).

I have a Sony PC350 digital cam with a Gates housing. The camera has been used for a lot of above water filming and I suspect it will soon give in. And ofcourse HD would be a better option. I really like the Gates housing, and it was a significant investment for me. Is there any way I can use the Gates housing for another, more modern camera? Naturally I am willing to go for whatever would be suitable, as long as it has HD.

Probably not, they're model specific, so the manual controls on your housing won't line up with any other camera. You might contact Gates about a retro-fit - if they do that.

Another problem you might have is that the lens on a PC350 is in a different location than those on the newer HD cameras. It's a much more vertical format camera than current Sony/Canon HD models.

This is a current Sony model - the CX580. Compare the form factor to yours, this one is shorter vertically and longer (deeper).
Posted Image

Yours is quite a bit higher when mounted in the housing. So I'm not even sure a new camera would fit in your housing.

Unless you can center the new camera lens in the port, you'll have all sorts of visual abnormalities. Unless yours has a flat port...

I'd contact Gates, they're very responsive to customer requests.

Edited by sjspeck, 14 May 2012 - 09:12 AM.


#3 Steve Douglas

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 12:19 PM

Gates housings are great but I have never heard of one that could fit multiple cam models. Ask for Pam when you call Gates. She is the customer service manager and should be very helpful.
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#4 HDVdiver

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Posted 14 May 2012 - 04:40 PM

Hi,

I am new to the board, and this seems to be the place to get an answer to my question (and apologies if it's a na´ve one).

I have a Sony PC350 digital cam with a Gates housing. The camera has been used for a lot of above water filming and I suspect it will soon give in. And ofcourse HD would be a better option. I really like the Gates housing, and it was a significant investment for me. Is there any way I can use the Gates housing for another, more modern camera? Naturally I am willing to go for whatever would be suitable, as long as it has HD.



Depends if you enjoy spending the time to basically disassemble your old housing, reposition the new camera on the baseplate (might need to make a new baseplate) and figure out which controls can be reused (might need new shafts and end fittings) and which need to be plugged. Cameras that use LANC type controllers are going to be easier to retro fit. Also, the fact that most new cameras tend to be smaller than the original camera for which the housing was intended helps. Also depends on the form-factor of the housing...i.e. if the lens of the new camera will line up with the port without vignetting.

Need to have access to a basic workshop and some basic DIY skills. Generally the work involved is straightforward...after a lot of time is spent thinking and repositioning the new camera. Very time consuming...but a lot of fun and a good way to recycle an old housing.

Edited by HDVdiver, 14 May 2012 - 04:47 PM.


#5 sjspeck

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 06:25 AM

Cameras that use LANC type controllers are going to be easier to retro fit.

Gates are mechanical housings...

Also, the fact that most new cameras tend to be smaller than the original camera for which the housing was intended helps.

The PC350 has a vertical form factor, newer cameras don't. But the size is a factor - maybe one of the smaller Canons like the HF M500 might fit...But I doubt it - I don't think there will be enough vertical space for the camera body. And the LCD geometry looks different also. It might be small enough though mounted up against the top of your housing, they're pretty tiny since there's no drive mechanism - just 2 CF slots:
Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 2.7 x 2.5 inches

Posted Image

Maybe with a flat port you might get away with it if the camera lens just cleared the lower edge enough to keep from vignetting. But then I don't think you'll be able to open the LCD.

For reference, this is what the OP has:

Posted Image

Posted Image

And of course there's still the issue of re-working the controls.

Edited by sjspeck, 15 May 2012 - 03:13 PM.


#6 HDVdiver

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 04:39 PM

Gates are mechanical housings...



Yes, I know...I used their Sony HC1 housing for several years. But that doesn't prevent retro-fitting a mechanical-to-Lanc control. I've done that several times to get around the problem of hard to access camera buttons.

#7 seclo

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:53 AM

Hi all and thank you for your comments,

I got an answer from Gates Tech Support (Very promptly) that I want to share:

"Im sorry to tell you but each housing is camera specific. Only the camera designed for the housing will work do to control placement as well as optical alignment. Im afraid once your camera dies your housing is obsolete.

Please let me know if you need more assistance."


Since I don't have the time and inclination to modify the controls myself I will just have to accept that my housing will useful only with my Sony PC-350, and nothing else.

#8 peterbkk

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 05:26 PM

We feel your pain. Most of us on this forum have experienced this issue at some time, usually about every 2 years... It is part of the cost of underwater photography.

There are some housings designed with some flexibility to accommodate future camera models but (a) there is usually a trade-off in functionality or ease-of-use and (b) there is no guarantee that the future models will fit or work as the manufacturers refresh their range to entice upgraders.

In any case, camcorders have come a long way since the PC350, so you will be better results with one of the new models.

Just gotta bite the bullet and dig into the pocket...

regards
Peter

#9 seclo

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:38 AM

We feel your pain. Most of us on this forum have experienced this issue at some time, usually about every 2 years... It is part of the cost of underwater photography.

There are some housings designed with some flexibility to accommodate future camera models but (a) there is usually a trade-off in functionality or ease-of-use and (b) there is no guarantee that the future models will fit or work as the manufacturers refresh their range to entice upgraders.

In any case, camcorders have come a long way since the PC350, so you will be better results with one of the new models.

Just gotta bite the bullet and dig into the pocket...

regards
Peter

Thanks Peter,

notice you live in Singapore which is where I lived when I bought my system. Good location to "bite the bullet" - cheap and plentiful electronics... Saw your whale shark video from Batu Katoka - here's a link to video of whale shark at Seven Skies where I am sure you have dived