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Aquatica 8" Dome for Ikelite


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#1 mndiver

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 03:48 PM

I recently had the opportunity to use an Aquatica 8” dome made by Aquatica for use with the Ikelite housing and Nikon 10.5. Myself and another diver took it out for a day of diving. We both could agree on the following feedback.

Build: The dome is attached to a solid piece of machined aluminum. It is all one piece. It appears to be a very well made piece of equipment. It should stand up to years of use. Fit and finish were exceptional!

Design: This port is very short to accommodate the 10.5. The port is one piece of machined aluminum with an 8" dome attached. The port is nicely finished in flat black, which should cut out any reflection in bright light. I tried to get a reflection off the back of the port to show up in a photo and couldn’t.

Use: Installation was a snap. The back of the port is made of about 1/4" aluminum. There are cutouts that allow for the housing port clamps to move. Tolerances are really close. Without the cutouts, you could not get the port on or off. It was easier to take off than I thought it would be, even with my large chubby fingers. The fit was perfect!!! Subjective as it sounds (and is), It was easier to slide on than any of the Ikelite ports the two of us had. I used the o-ring off of my 18-70 port for the dome so I know it wasn't just the o-ring. It just went on smoother than the other ports I have if that makes any sense.

The only real "problem" I had was not with the dome, but with the housing. My camera moves inside the housing a bit. The tray simply does not hold the camera perfectly still. If I bump it, it moves. With zoom gears installed this has never been much of a problem since they tend to stabilize the lens. I don’t have a focus/zoom gear for the 10.5 so on some photos the camera was tilted in the housing and port ring showed up a tiny bit in the photo. I did a later dive using some foam to hold the lens in place and had no problems. It just goes to show how tight the tolerances are.

Buoyancy: No surprise here, the large dome did cause the camera to tip port up from its inherent buoyancy. I have four Aquatica 11" arms and clamps attached to two DS125's. With strobes and arms adding some weight the entire package was slightly negative. The other diver would like a weight on the dome. I would not use on. Perhaps it is because the dome is so close to the housing I thought the slight tendency to tip up was not a problem.

Summary: If you have the 10.5 and an Ikelite housing you probably want this dome. It has the optics you expect from the 8” Aquatica dome and works darn nice with the Ikelite housing.

Hope that covers it,

Chris

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#2 anthp

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 04:51 PM

Thanks for the report. Very interesting.

Just a couple of questions...

Did you use it with any other lenses? Does Aquatica offer extension rings at this stage? How much did you pay for the dome?

Thanks.
Anthony Plummer
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#3 mndiver

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 05:42 PM

Thanks for the report. Very interesting.

Just a couple of questions...

Did you use it with any other lenses? Does Aquatica offer extension rings at this stage? How much did you pay for the dome?

Thanks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I used it with the 12-24 in the pool, but not in open water. It worked good for me however I did not have a zoom ring installed (kept it at 12) so I am not 100% sure.

I don't think Aquatica will offer extension rings for this port based on some e-mails with them. I am not sure. Perhaps someone (Jean) from Aquatica can answer that question.

It was on loan from Aquatica so I could try it out. It is about $400.

Chris

#4 anthp

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 06:42 PM

Thanks for the response Chris,

Lucky you, getting a loaner! :D

How did you find the corners on the 12-24?
Anthony Plummer
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#5 critter

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Posted 08 June 2005 - 09:09 PM

Just got the dome today and it is as described. Very sleek with nice machining. For packing purposes you can take the extension ring and put it on the inside of the dome which makes it very compact. Much more compact than my standard 6 inch Ikelite dome port. I put on the wide angle shade I got from an ebay auction for cheap and it is a perfect fit. I shoot the 12-24 and I am anxious to get it into the water. The biggest complaint I had with the 12-24 is when I got real close to a foreground subject the corners were very soft. If I was around 2 ft or so from subject everything was reasonably sharp. I hope that I will be able to do CFWA with sharp corners and hopefully some over/under shots. I need to secure a neoprene cover for the dome and shade together. The cover that comes with it won't work with a shade installed (too small). I plan to use the optional weight that came with the housing in the base.

Tony
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#6 mndiver

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 07:26 AM

Anthony - Yes, the loaner was great. It is always a pleasure doing business with Aquatica. Darn nice folks.

I dive mostly in "not so clear" water so I don't notice any problems with the 12-24 corners. Perhaps if I was in clear water.......

The 10.5 was clear, sharp, all in all a really a nice lens. I didn't care much for the fisheye effect, but darn was it sharp.

Critter/Tony - I am not sure we are talking about the same product. The one I described was one peice. Nothing to take apart. My port and dome were made by Aquatica. Are you talking about the Ikelite port with Aquatica dome attached?

#7 Ryan

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 08:15 AM

MNDiver is writing about a prototype Aquatica part built specifically for the 10.5 DX Fisheye, and Tony is writing about the Aquatica adapted by Ikelite port....

Tony, be sure you tighten those extensions well! I use a strap wrench. Some customers have had some floods by not tightening the extensions enough...

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#8 critter

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 08:45 AM

What kind of strap wrench are you talking about? I guess that is a good reason to leave it tightened down once you get unpacked at your destination. Can't get a good feeling of when the Oring on the plate is significantly compressed for a water seal.

Tony
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#9 Ryan

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 08:48 AM

This is the cheapest one I ran across in about 3 min. on Google....

http://www.blol.com/Strap_Wrench.html

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#10 UWphotoNewbie

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 11:02 AM

All very confusing with two very similar products.

Interesting to find out that the Aquatica version is all one piece. Is it possible that the dome can be optically correct for both the 10.5mm and the 12-24mm without being able to add an extension ring?

Any news on availability?

mndiver: It sounds like you were having problems with the 10.5mm vigenetting slightly if the camera wasn't aligned correctly. Were you using a dome shade? I also have had problems with my D70 housing as well. The camera rotates slightly in the housing and causes one of the control dials to come out of contact with the knob. A slight adjustment by adding a few washers in front of the rubber pads on the dials fixed it (Thanks kdeitz :D ). It may also serve to stabilize the camera from rotating.

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#11 mndiver

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 03:53 PM

I am pretty sure the 10.5 dome is not optically correct for the 12-24 lens, I just used it "to see" what would happen.

I have no idea when it would be available. I know they have at least one, if you sent them $$ perhaps it could be yours.

I had the same problem you describe with the camera moving and then the controls not working. I sent it all in to Ikelite and the made the controls longer but did not fix the tray movement problem. Now the controls work fine, but the camera still moves. Since the controls are longer, I don't think the pads will help (good idea though).

I have added some tape to the posts on the camera tray to make them thicker so that the camera doesn't move. I will test dive it this week.

If Ike is here perhaps he has a suggestion to keep the camera from moving????

I did have some vigenetting when the camera moved. It was aligned correctly at the start of the dive, then moved from side to side during the dive. It is slightly noticable either the right or left top edge depending on which way the camera moved but still troublesome.

#12 UWphotoNewbie

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 02:23 PM

But were you using a dome shade when you had the vigenetting? Or was the dome by itself vigenetting on the 10.5 when it was slightly misaligned?

If the dome is all one piece with no extension rings how is it possible to use both the 10.5 and the 12-24mm?

it seems like the Ike 8" dome works with the 12-24mm and the Aquatica dome works with the 10.5mm. And we're back to one port per lens.... Say it ain't so :-(

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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 critter

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 05:37 PM

Don't know if this applies but there two different types of shades. There is a fisheye shade and a wide angle shade. The wide angle shade is a lot beefier versus the fisheye. I imagine the wide angle shade would cause some vignetting. Haven't tried it cuz I don't have a fisheye lens.

Tony
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#14 james

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Posted 14 June 2005 - 08:32 PM

When I shot the 12-24 on the D100, I didn't get vignetting when using the wideangle shade.

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#15 mndiver

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 07:35 AM

I was not using a shade. The dome itself showed up when the camera was bumped out of alignment. It only showed up a tiny bit and only showed up on some photos. I have "fixed" the problem with some foam placed on either side of the lens. It did not move after that.