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mndiver

Member Since 19 Mar 2003
Offline Last Active Apr 08 2009 02:14 AM
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Topics I've Started

Aquatica 8" Dome for Ikelite

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

mndiver.com
Ike Housing, D70, DS125's, Aquatica Arms/Clamps, some lenses and ports.