Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Question - Are all ports created equal?


  • Please log in to reply
56 replies to this topic

#1 whitey

whitey

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 400 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Port Hedland in Australia's Northwest
  • Interests:All forms of nature photography. Dive medicine. The ocean.

Posted 24 May 2004 - 04:53 AM

G'day folks,

I'm currently deciding between two cheapish manufacturers of DSLR housings - Ikelite and Aquatica.

I've been tending towards the former due to the magic word 'TTL', but I must confess I'm ignorant as to whether the housing manufacturers' ports vary in optical quality. The Ike ports look a bit cheap (sorry Ike!), but do they do the job as well? I can handle be mocked by other divers for not having an aluminium housing, but I am pretty picky when it comes to image quality. I'd appreciate your opinions. Thanks!

Rob Whitehead

Shooting with Phase One and Canon. EWA-Marine Factory Test Pilot.

www.pilbaraphoto.com


#2 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9968 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 24 May 2004 - 05:26 AM

The image quality between the two port systems is roughly the same. They are both acrylic ports.

The Aquatica port system uses extension rings so that you don't need a separate port for each lens and the Aquatica system can accomodate a few of the more "exotic" lenses that won't work in the Ikelite system.

Because of the smaller dome, some zoom lenses require a diopter when used with the Ike dome, but don't require one when used w/ the Aquatica.

Ike's manual focus port solution for the Nikkor 105mm is SWEET (my opinion, I just tried one).

HTH
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#3 scorpio_fish

scorpio_fish

    Orca

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1412 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 24 May 2004 - 07:46 AM

I've used both. The differences are:

1) Ikelite requires separate ports for various lenses, whereas Aquatica uses bayonet mount port extensions. I would travel with an Ikelite dome, plus two flat ports (60mm and 105mm). Some wide angle lenses would have required a different dome port. Packing can be problematic, whereas I can travel with an Aquatica dome, flat port and four extensions to cover at least six lenses.

2) Aquatica's dome port produces better wide angle results than the Ikelite and the very wide end (wider than 24mm 35mm film equivalent). I get beat up on this statement, but all I know is the results I've gotten along with some others, while others claim they've had no edge distortion with the Ikelite dome.

3) There is no difference in flat ports.

While I would love to have TTL for macro, it's not that big a deal.

Aquatica's shutter release mechanism on the A300(and its film housings) is better than Ikelite mechanism, whereas on the D100 and S2 housings it is no better than Ikelite.

Size: The old Ikelite SLR-AF case was much bigger than an Aquatica housing. But the Aquatica D100/S2 case was bigger than their F90/F100 cases, and I believe the newer Ikelite D300 and D70 cases are smaller than their old cases. The Aquatica AD300 housing is based on the old A90 case and is neatly compact. So, there may or may not be a size advantage to either. Depends on the model.

Durability: Plastic vs. Aluminum. No difference that I could ever tell.

Handles: Some people dislike the Ikelite handles and prefer the form fitted grip. I was in the minority and liked the larger bulky Ikelite handles.

Coolness factor: Who cares? Just take the pictures.

Without price consideration, I would always choose Aquatica. Factor in price and it becomes a personal decision as to whether any advantages are worth it.

#4 Marjo

Marjo

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 467 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:St. Croix USVI
  • Interests:Conservation photography, climate change resilience, species and habitat conservation

Posted 24 May 2004 - 01:07 PM

Hi Whitey,

I purchased the Ike housing,mainly because of the price and the great reputation that Ike has. However, now that I have had mine for a few months and have seen the Aquaticas also, I really am thankful that I picked the Ike although I was a bit clueless. If I would pick all over now that I know a bit more, I would still pick Ike, for two reasons:

1) If I would have TTL I would be tempted to disconnect brain and shoot TTL all the time and that would be a BAD thing. I am sure there is a whole thread out there somewhere in the archives on whay that is so, but if anyone wants to open that can of worms, feel free...

2) More importantly, the Ike clear housing is great because you can SEE that your housing is sealed properly. YOu do not have to guess and worry. This is good, because I live in a less than sterile environment and it seems as no matter how well I clean my o-rings, some dust or doghair always comes floating along at the last seconds and schtukks to the rings. It has happened a few times that I was sure that I had clean rings and when I look thru the housing I saw some dust or hair. I have not flooded yet (knock knock). I would not trade this convenience for anything!

#5 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9968 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 24 May 2004 - 01:24 PM

Think of TTL like air conditioning. It's a nice feature - you can use it or you can set your strobes manually. But if you don't have it at all, you can't suddenly make it appear out of thin air.

I don't often hear people say "Thank goodness I don't have air conditioning. Sweating makes me a better person, and I'd soon grow fat and lazy if it was cooler in here." Yes, you can go without it most of the time, but there are occasions where it is absolutely necessary to function.

When given the option of having a feature and turning it off if you don't need it, or not having it at all - generally, it makes good sense to have it.

This may soon be a moot point if Ikelite gets TTL conversion circuitry into their Canon housings.

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#6 Ryan

Ryan

    Great White

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1045 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Lauderdale, FL

Posted 24 May 2004 - 02:14 PM

I don't have or desire ttl, and don't feel that it is ever necessary with digital imaging. I understand the percieved convenience factor...

Ikelite's port does not allow MF with Canon's 100mm USM. Instead, you must AF to get close, lock focus, then move the housing in and out for fine focus. Aquatica has a little knob for that lens...

founder of Reef Photo & Video
manufacturer of Zen Domes

distributor of Nauticam in the Americas

 

n2theblue at reefphoto.com


#7 herbko

herbko

    Herbzilla

  • Super Mod
  • 2128 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northern California

Posted 24 May 2004 - 02:34 PM

Slightly off topic: I have a question for those who's use Ikelite housings. Do you need to put in desiccant packs to keep the ports from fogging? Especially in cold water. I know from experience that the Olympus housings will always fog in cold water and sometimes in warm water without the silica packs. The alumium housings do not need them.

My theory is that it's due to the higher thermal condutivity of alumium. It cools down faster than the glass or plastic ports, so the moisture inside will condense on the body and not the ports.
Herb Ko http://herbko.net
Canon 5D; Aquatica housing; 2 Inon Z220 strobes; Canon 100mm macro, 17-40mm ; Sigma 15mm FE, 24mm macro, 50mm macro

#8 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9968 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 24 May 2004 - 02:39 PM

Hi Herb,

I have used Ike housings (both consumer and DSLR) in warm, and in California waters, and I never had a fogging problem.

Ryan,

Ike makes an MF port for the Nikkor 105mm that has a built in A/M shift collar and built in MF gear. It's pretty cool - nothing needs to be mounted on the lens for installation. Will that port work with the HSM 100mm Canon lens? I have heard the Canon lens is much "fatter."

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#9 Ryan

Ryan

    Great White

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1045 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fort Lauderdale, FL

Posted 24 May 2004 - 03:23 PM

Ike makes an MF port for the Nikkor 105mm that has a built in A/M shift collar and built in MF gear. It's pretty cool - nothing needs to be mounted on the lens for installation. Will that port work with the HSM 100mm Canon lens? I have heard the Canon lens is much "fatter."


Girthy is actually the term I prefer, but yeah, you've got the idea. :D Ike's simple 105 port is excellent, but wouldn't even be needed with a USM lens, which switches to mf simply by turning the barrel (just like our beloved af-s glass in the a/m setting).

founder of Reef Photo & Video
manufacturer of Zen Domes

distributor of Nauticam in the Americas

 

n2theblue at reefphoto.com


#10 ikelite

ikelite

    (In Memoriam)

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 24 May 2004 - 08:34 PM

Herbko: What did you notice the last time you picked up a cold drink in an aluminum cup?

#11 herbko

herbko

    Herbzilla

  • Super Mod
  • 2128 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northern California

Posted 24 May 2004 - 09:30 PM

Herbko:  What did you notice the last time you picked up a cold drink in an aluminum cup?


It's cold and moisture condenses on it.

I think I understand why ports on aluminum housings do not fog ( water condensation on the inside ) when immersed in cold California water. It's strange when you think about it. The housing usually is sealed at room temperature at whatever humidity is present. When that air cools down to the 50 degree water temperature, there should be condensation. I know that in the Olympus housing the moisture will condense on the port and fog it unless you put moisture absorbing material inside. My guess that the reason aluminum housings do not need it (and everybody who's done this for awhile tells me that they do not), is that the aluminum will cool down before the glass or plastic, so the moisture will condense on the aluminum first and the air will be dry at the water temperature by the time the port reaches that temperature.

Now if you tell me the ports on your plastic housings do not fog, I'll believe you, but I must confess I don't understand.
Herb Ko http://herbko.net
Canon 5D; Aquatica housing; 2 Inon Z220 strobes; Canon 100mm macro, 17-40mm ; Sigma 15mm FE, 24mm macro, 50mm macro

#12 UWphotoNewbie

UWphotoNewbie

    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 857 posts
  • Location:Broomfield, Colorado

Posted 24 May 2004 - 09:55 PM

My Ikelite D70 housing did not fog on my last trip. I did close the housing in a cool dry room, put a moisture muncher inside, kept it out of the sun, and of course didn't use the internal flash. I don't know if the moisture muncher was necessary but I wanted to be sure, for sure, for sure.

Weather its needed or not there is pleanty of room inside the new SLR housing to add a large sized moisture muncher. I put mine in front of the body below the lens.

I also had lots of room for a Leek Detector from Marine camera distributors. And if the housing does leak, (knock on wood!) I feel more comfortable in Ike's housings than in the aquatica or Sea & Sea. There seems to be more breathing room and I can see what is hapenning inside.

I think the reason the Oly housings, and my Canon housing tend to fog has more to do with the internal flash and small volume of air to heat up than anything.

UWPhotoNewbie: Not such a newbie to diving and UW photography.

Nikon D70: 60 mm, 11-16mm, 105mm, 15mm, 10.5mm

Ikelite iTTL Housing, dual Ikelite DS125

Nikon D600 topside 14-24, 28-300, 70-200, 35,50,85


#13 whitey

whitey

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 400 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Port Hedland in Australia's Northwest
  • Interests:All forms of nature photography. Dive medicine. The ocean.

Posted 25 May 2004 - 03:20 AM

Thanks all for your replies, even the ones about metal drink cups. :lol:

Some comments and further questions:

The image quality between the two port systems is roughly the same. They are both acrylic ports.

Is acrylic inferior to glass? Do I need to sell my left kidney on Ebay to purchase a different housing system with glass ports? And I'm guessing there are factors other than material alone that would determine the quality of a port optically eg diameter, manufacturing technique.

the Aquatica system can accomodate a few of the more "exotic" lenses that won't work in the Ikelite system.

I can't think of any Canon lenses the Aquatica can handle that the Ike can't. I don't think either support the 12-24 Sigma.

Aquatica's dome port produces better wide angle results than the Ikelite and the very wide end (wider than 24mm 35mm film equivalent). I get beat up on this statement, but all I know is the results I've gotten along with some others, while others claim they've had no edge distortion with the Ikelite dome.

This gets to the heart of the matter. A certain wetpixel member with a fog-free Aquatica housing seems to have produced some very impressive 15mm fisheye shots through the Aquatica dome witha 300D. I haven't seen wide angle shots to match it from the Ikelite housing system. I wasn't sure if it was operator dependent, or if the Aquatica 8 inch dome had superior optical qualities to Ike's smaller domes.

There is no difference in flat ports.

That would make sense to me. I even have faith in EWA-Marine's flat-port quality. :?

Coolness factor: Who cares? Just take the pictures.

I think this piece of advice is incorrect. I definitely read somewhere on this forum that 'chicks dig aluminium housings'. Perhaps I can spraypaint the Ikelite...

If I would have TTL I would be tempted to disconnect brain and shoot TTL all the time and that would be a BAD thing. I am sure there is a whole thread out there somewhere in the archives on whay that is so, but if anyone wants to open that can of worms, feel free...

I'm keen to disconnect brain and shoot TTL. I feel it is a good thing. I won't open that 'can of worms', though.

This may soon be a moot point if Ikelite gets TTL conversion circuitry into their Canon housings.

Mr Brigham seems confident his eTTL engineers can come through with the goods in the near future. I await further develops with great anticipation, and have deferred purchase of an Aquatica/300D for this reason. Alas, it appears Ikelite are currently researching a new, fog free drinking cup...
:lol:

BTW Ike, 10D measurements are approx 14cm*7.5cm*9cm if your caster requires them for the 10D housing Mk2. I have 10D and a good ruler and am happy to recheck the dimensions if it would help... :D

I don't have or desire ttl, and don't feel that it is ever necessary with digital imaging. I understand the percieved convenience factor...

Millions would agree with you. Personally, I'm not dropping $3000 on a housing system in 2004 without TTL. I believe it's more than convenience factor. (Must close 'can of worms' again).

Will that port work with the HSM 100mm Canon lens?

HSM? Next you'll be calling it the Canon 100mm HSM Micro lens! Damn Nikon shooters... :wink:

Rob Whitehead

Shooting with Phase One and Canon. EWA-Marine Factory Test Pilot.

www.pilbaraphoto.com


#14 ikelite

ikelite

    (In Memoriam)

  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 874 posts

Posted 25 May 2004 - 04:02 PM

We hear very few condensation complaints. The "dirty little secret" is fogging is usually result of leakage. Amount of leakage may be so insignificant that you do not realize problem exists, but enough moisture is introduced into the housing to cause condensation. "O" rings in the multitude of push buttons could pass the slightest amount of moisture. Aluminum is wonderful about passing moisture and requires special sealing procedures. I don't understand how water can pass between the aluminum molecules. I didn't believe the professor stating that atoms and molecules were runing around bumping into each other in a block of steel. I did understand it was time for me to get out of that class.

#15 Jolly

Jolly

    Lightning Kraut

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 835 posts
  • Location:Germany

Posted 26 May 2004 - 05:39 AM

I think it is pretty obvious that a larger dome produces better image quality (in the corners).

One reason IMO:
Optical characteristics of lenses are decided by fomulas, which manufacturers of lenses never announce to the public. I think in general underwater housing manufactueres design dome ports more based upon optical tests with various curvatures.
The bigger the diameter the less the optical 'error' shows up in the final result.

I've never seen perfect sharpness in the corners with super wide angle and fisheye lenses in conjunction with small domes (exception: nikonos cameras). :shock: I really would like to. So please beat me up and show me some :lol:

Julian
| Canon 5D I+II / Sealux CC5-GD I+II custom converted | 2x Ikelite DS-125 | ULCS |

#16 whitey

whitey

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 400 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Port Hedland in Australia's Northwest
  • Interests:All forms of nature photography. Dive medicine. The ocean.

Posted 26 May 2004 - 06:15 AM

I don't anticipate moisture condensation in the housing being a big problem.

Even if it does happen, it's easy enough to use a 'moisture muncher' in the housing.

I'm still not clear on the port quality issue, though.

Just been reading the Seacam site:

Constant highquality images are guaranteed by specially matching, optically neutral, and hardened mineral glasses. The sort of glass used for this purpose is most finely ground and polished to give the ultimate transmittance of light, which ensures first-class picture quality.

Well, I'm after the 'ultimate transmittance of light', so to speak. Will I be disappointed with acrylic ports, in particular the Ikelite for ultrawide (weitwinkel) angle?

Rob Whitehead

Shooting with Phase One and Canon. EWA-Marine Factory Test Pilot.

www.pilbaraphoto.com


#17 kdietz

kdietz

    Orca

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1338 posts
  • Location:Fort Worth, Texas

Posted 26 May 2004 - 06:27 AM

I have rationalized port quality differences as minimal for my uses.....especially since we are shooting thru water

That seems to be the equalizer in my mind....would be different if we were shooting thru air.....I may be oversimplifying things, but I'm happy :lol: :D

Karl
Karl Dietz...Nikon D200...Ikelite iTTL housing...10.5mm...15mm FE...12-24mm...17-35mm...60mm micro...105mm micro...dual DS-200's
www.kdietz.com

#18 tshepherd

tshepherd

    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 880 posts
  • Location:Westfield, NJ, USA

Posted 26 May 2004 - 07:25 AM

My feeling is that for the vast majority of us, there's probably not a significant difference. I'd say that technique, especially lighting, is going to be more of a hurdle on ultra-wide (weitwinkel) angle than whether you choose acrylic or glass dome ports.

Just my $0.02...

#19 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9968 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 26 May 2004 - 07:37 AM

If we weren't shooting through water, we wouldn't need a dome port at all - a flat port would be fine. Think of a dome port as a negative diopter, because that's what it is.

When you go to the camera store to buy a diopter, there are lots to choose from. Some people buy the $15 Tiffen diopter and some people pay $50 for the B+W, and some people even spring for the Nikon 5t at $150. Most people won't be able to see a difference in image quality between the three, but sometimes you can and it's blaringly obvious. Whether it's worth the money is a personal choice.

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#20 Donovan

Donovan

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 30 posts
  • Location:Key West, Florida
  • Interests:historic shipwrecks, ecology

Posted 26 May 2004 - 07:50 AM

I recently bought an Ikeilite housing for my Nikon D 100 with a 10.5 mm lens. Edge sharpness is at least as good as my 16mm lens behind an Aquatica 8 inch dome.
The size of the dome large or small makes no difference that can not be corrected either through focus or diopter. The 8 inch dome will simple handle a variety of lenses. What is important is that the radius of the dome should be egual distance from the optical center of the lens...nodal point.
The 8 inch dome was invented in the late 60's to fit National Geographic staffer Bates Littlehales Ocean eye housing. Bates used a Pentax 17 mm lens modified to fit a nikon F mount. as I recall it had about a 120 degree angle of view. Nikon was years away from their own full frame fisheye lens.
At about the same time Walter Starke and Flip Schulke were puting lenses behind compass ports on the nikonos. Thus the era of dome ports began.
Bates was my mentor.
Splash,
Don Kincaid