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Ikelite Housings Vs the rest

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With a D100 I am finding the Ikelite Housing a 1/3 the cost of some of the others. Helix told me you can't go wrong with it for value . UW phototech guy laughed and said no comments and wouldn't say any more. With the D200 comming out there may be a lot of 100 housing out there. DO you get what you pay for? Please help. I am from the old school Nikonos V and 15mm lens and am ready to get Digital UW.

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Hi, the Ikelite is cheaper, no doubt about it. But it is also bigger and heavier. You have to have one port for each lens (there are no extension rings). The controls are also not as precise as the other housings. So, you do get what you pay for.

 

Now, with the D200 I am sure there will be many used D100 housings (including Ikelite) for sale at low prices. There is a Subal at our classifieds here:

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10521

 

It is still a lot more than an Ikelite, but you can always bargain and/or wait for the cheap ones to start showing up on eBay.

 

Luiz

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Ikelite housings, made for every common dSLR camera (Nikon D100, D70(s), D50, Canon 10D, 20D, Rebel / 300D and Rebel XT / 350D, Olympus E300 and 500) are every bit as good as any expensive aluminum housing IMHO......

 

Ergonomics Luiz refers to have been improved in every generation. If you check specs on weight, especially the newest smaller SLR-DC model for your Nikon D100 you'll find minimal difference in weight.

 

Plus the advantage of actually being able to see your camera is safe inside is undeniable.....

 

Still comes down to the photographer and spending more time below the waves with their equipment.

 

YMMV

 

David Haas

Sample Images at:

www.pbase.com/dhaas

www.ikelite.com "What's New" link

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Here are the weights (from manufacturer's websites) of some D100 housings (from heavier to ligher):

 

Aquatica: 3.5kg (7.7 lbs)

Ikelite: 3.25kg (7.15 lbs)

Subal: 2.25kg (5 lbs)

Hugyfot: 2.2kg (4.8 lbs)

Nexus: 1.95kg (4.3 lbs)

Jonah: 1.65kg (4 lbs)

 

The lighter housings are proportionally smaller. I really don't think 1kg is minimal, but if you're not concerned about weight/space Ikelites are definitely a good option.

 

Now, the biggest design problem in Ikelite housings for Nikon dSLRs to me is that the camera is mounted to the back of the housing. Since the CF compartment door in the D70 and D100 is on the back, when you need to replace the CF card (which is relatively often if you shoot raw and don't want to spend too much money in huge CF cards) you will have to not only open the housing, but also take the camera out and remove it from its base. Try doing that in a small boat between dives!

 

I agree that with the current low price of CF cards this is not a big issue for cameras like the D100 and D70 (I think a 2gb card will hold a day of raw photos on these cameras), but it will certainly be an issue for the D200 with its 15mb raw files.

 

Now, Ikelite makes good housings. They don't cost as much as the others and that's a great advantage. But I wouldn't say that they are every bit as good as aluminum housings. I've used an Ikelite for the D70, and I use my Subal very often, I know they are not the same. The real question you have to ask is how much more you are willing to spend to have the advantages of the aluminum housings. It is the same thing as camera choices. The sensor on the D50 is every bit as good as that on the D70, capable of producing the same images, but the D70 has its advantages. Are they worth the $300 price difference? Maybe, it depends on your needs.

 

If you want more information on D100 housings, check the reviews! Here are the links for a few:

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/ikelite-d10...view-in-photos/

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/seacam-d100...field-journal1/

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/jonah-nd100...for-nikon-d100/

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/nexus-d100-housing/

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/aquatica-d100-housing/

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/subal-d10-h...for-nikon-d100/

 

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/sea-sea-dx-...for-nikon-d100/

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"DO you get what you pay for?"

 

Like most things in life there are trade-offs. As you pay more you often get housings designed very specifically for one camera, with very flexible interchangability of ports/extenders/viewfinders, options on flash connection system and more, You may also get better ergonomics (this is an issue for some but not for others) more attention to detail (neutrality is governed by overall density for example) and potential longevity (many ignore this in the high turnover digital world).

 

If a used Ikelite system is within your budget and you are happy to use it then it is capable of very fine results. I am currently seeing a lot of images from a lot of photographers (submissions) and although a good photographer will produce stunning results from the best equipment available, there are some fabulous images shot on 'value' gear too.

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Really there are no BAD housings. All of the housings are equally safe. No one is more likely to flood than another. Also the the housing has no effect on the quality of your pictures. No one will ever look at your picture and say, if only you had used a more expensive housing that picture would be perfect.....

 

It is my opinion that the housing is the least important decision when building your kit.

 

I would never compromise lens or body quality to get a more expensive housing because the body and lens do effect the final output.

 

You could do a D200 in Ikelite for the same cost or less than a D100 in Subal. IMO the D200/Ikelite is a much better decision. If you were building a race car, would you skimp on the engine to give it a cool paint job?

 

Pick out your camera and lenses first. Then see how much you have left for a housing.

 

I am a very happy Ikelite user. But I will agree with the others, you do get what you pay for. If I had unlimited funds I would go with Subal. But I dont have unlimited funds as I am a college student with no job....

 

Back to my car example, the difference between an Ikelite and the more expensive housings is like the difference between a toyota and a lexus. Both will get you to work equally well. In some ways the toyota even has advantages. But if you can afford the lexus without giving up more important things, you will enjoy the lexus.

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Lexus is made by Toyota...

 

:(:)

 

No further comments...

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I certainly would not trade any of my Corvettes for six Ferraris if you want to use car analogies, just as I have always said ten thousand dollars will not buy more capability or waterproof integrity. But, you may look better coming and going with the aluminum exotica which is why we joke about what chicks prefer, and refer to the Ikelite system as Clearly Superior. This dissertation is not to be construed as a promotion for used housings, only for new housing purchases............

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Amigos,

 

I didn't mean to say other housings are bad, just wanted Photobeat to understand that a lot of glitz and other "features" touted as necessary for good underwater photo creation will rarely translate into stupendous photos. Read Alex Mustard's comments on the Antibes photo results and the "consumer" level cameras people used by a large percentage....

 

I've owned a few expensive aluminum housings over the years, and for my $$$$ they weren't worth it.....Other may disagree and that's fine.

 

On the weight comparisons, does this include handles and a tray on some of the aluminum housings specified? I'm not sure, but would question that. Also, the port extension debate is another funny one.....If people are taking as much equipment as discussion posts describe, is saving 1.5 lbs. for a specific Ikelite port is really going to make or break your travel packing?

 

Every high end aluminum housing customer I've had on my trips is "loaded for "bear" and spends a lot of time switching stuff around. I don't know, maybe that's part of this hobby, playing with your gear :(

 

Didn't mean to offend anyone for their choices!

 

David Haas

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My feelings on this..

 

With the way digital camera are released, there is no way you can keep up with them with the expensive housings.. It is not like the era of F5's where that WAS your camera.

 

I din't shoot underwater with my F2m's but we used them every day for over 20 years in my business.

 

With digital we have gone from E-10 to D100 to D70 in 4 years. That would have been

20K at least with the metal housings.

 

Joe

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Since the CF compartment door in the D70 and D100 is on the back, when you need to replace the CF card (which is relatively often if you shoot raw and don't want to spend too much money in huge CF cards) you will have to not only open the housing, but also take the camera out and remove it from its base. Try doing that in a small boat between dives!

 

Options arriving for the Ikelite crowd soon, Luiz. And yes, small boat applicable, fairly inexpensive. This will effectively be a null issue.

 

~Matt Segal

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Thanks to everyone, The comments on optical quality were important to me although no one mentioned the Ikelite smaller dome size. But Joe makes an important point about the improvement in cameras. The 20 megapixed will not be far away and how many housiings will I have buy before then. I think the Ikelite is a good value for this rapidly changing technology. I already want the D200 but I think my D100 will remain a solid backup for when I do upgrade. If it floods I would rather loose a d100 than a D2X or the future D5X or whatever. I am good with Photoshop and the interpolation programs are better and better with a 6 megapixel imnage so I am thinking cheaper is smarter. I was also told that Ikelite has TTL for the D200 comming out and D70, Doesn't help my d100 much but that is a plus for the Ikelite systems. Thanks for those reviews I will start reading them.

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I certainly would not trade any of my Corvettes for six Ferraris if you want to use car analogies, just as I have always said ten thousand dollars will not buy more capability or waterproof integrity.  But, you may look better coming and going with the aluminum exotica which is why we joke about what chicks prefer, and refer to the Ikelite system as Clearly Superior.  This dissertation is not to be construed as a promotion for used housings, only for new housing purchases............

 

I'm pretty sure Dirk Pitt uses an Ikelite so you may not be correct about the chick magnet factor Ike. :)

 

David as you know aluminum housings have a moisture sensor to alert the user should they screw up with an oring. :( Something I would hear and see more likely than having to notice water in the housing.

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Also, the port extension debate is another funny one.....If people are taking as much equipment as discussion posts describe, is saving 1.5 lbs. for a specific Ikelite port is really going to make or break your travel packing? 

 

Just to clarify the point about the ports (and show that it is actually not funny), I will give you a practical example. It is not the weight, but the space. I have five lenses that I use regularly underwater, the 10.5, 16, 17-55, 60 and 105. I always carry on my housing, ports, camera and lenses with me in the airplane, and everything fits in a carry on bag. With the option of extension rings, I only carry two ports (one flat and one dome) and two rings. With Ikelite I would need four ports (two flats and two domes) to be able to use the same lenses.

 

If it floods I would rather loose a d100 than a D2X or the future D5X or whatever.

 

Get insurance and forget about it! I would never house any dSLR and not insure it.

 

Luiz

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I always carry on my housing, ports, camera and lenses with me in the airplane, and everything fits in a carry on bag. With the option of extension rings, I only carry two ports (one flat and one dome) and two rings. With Ikelite I would need four ports (two flats and two domes) to be able to use the same lenses.

 

 

I do almost the same except that I carry on my strobes and check in my dome port. I'm amazed that you can fit a dome port in a carry on with all that other stuff.

 

I think traveling with one dome, one flat port and 2 extension rings is a big advantage over having to pack 2 domes and 4 to 5 flat ports, which is what I think I would need without the extension rings. I'm not even sure that Ike has flat ports that cover the list of combinations of lenses and teleconverter I wrote down in the other thread and allow manual focus.

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I'm amazed that you can fit a dome port in a carry on with all that other stuff.

 

Here is my secret: the camera goes inside the housing :( I know Ikelite suggests you not to transport the camera like this, but it is not like I will throw my carry on bag around. I am just as carefull with it as if I was carrying the camera outside the housing.

 

Luiz

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Amigos,

 

Moisture detectors I've seen over the years are flaky.....Go off from condensation if the housing is sealed in a moist environment and then subjected to a temperature increase. If it goes off underwater, you'd still need to turn the port down and see if dribbling is going on inside and make a rapido' ascent to try and save your camera....Just my humble opinion after years of watching people on trips use lots of various brand housings and moisture detectors. Looking inside my housing as soon as it's handed to me where I can hand it back up quickly if I screwed up assembling it is still much safer IMHO....

 

On multiple ports versus extension rings, I've posted many times you can combine port use, for instance using an extended dome port for a mid-range zoom for certain macro lenses, both Canon and Nikon. When I was a Nikon shooter I used the 12-24mm and 60mm macro inside the same dome port. Worked fine.....Although I had to get a few inches closer at 1:1 with the macro. Still worked.....The newest Canon EF-S 60mm is real tiny and would likely work behind certain dome ports.....

 

I guess I also still can't believe people are carrying the loads of stuff on planes they say they are. I know many Wetpixellites are serious advanced shooters, and losing photo equipment you planned to make images with at a destination would sure put a damper on a trip. I must be in the minority checking housing, ports, strobes, cord arms and carrying only my land camera / lenses / flash and iPod aboard....

 

I AM contemplating a change based on all the theft concerns in keeping a padded divider set from a fairly large Pelican case, and buying a sub $100 rolling suitcase to ship stuff through in. Still would protect my UW gear and allow easier clothes stuffing, etc. Plus look like regular luggage and likely be lighter by a huge margin. I also try and not schedule flight times real tight. Allow some margin for delays, mis-routed luggage, etc. I have a form I print out with my intended flight / destination and cell phone number. Change it in my computer, drop inside for TSA and get on the plane.....

 

As I said before, buy what you like and go dive and make pictures. That's what it's all about anyway :(

 

David Haas

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HI ALL,

 

I read all these points with interest & I don't know if I am missing the

point. Do'es it matter what you shoot with or what you house it in, surely

its about the enjoyment you get from diving in the deep blue & the wonderful

sight & the photographs you take to show others what they are missing.

Well thats what I do & what I wonderful hobby I have.

 

DIVE SAFE & TAKE GREAT PHOTOS. :):):)

 

 

ANdy :(:):D

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I completely agree Andy! Shoot with whatever you are comfortable with, and don't doubt that other people are more comfortable with systems that are different from yours. That's the best philosophy!

 

I am sure I'd much rather spend 1.5k in an Ikelite system than 5k in a Subal IF I was more confortable with Ikelites. I don't like them for many reasons that are important to me (maybe not to others, but to me they are), but I know they are perfectly fine for many people, and I have absolutely no problem with that. I just really don't like when people start saying that all housings are created equal and that people only buy aluminum housings because they are "status symbols". And this *always* happens when there is a discussion about Ikelite versus aluminum.

 

Ok, I will stop now. This is turning into a non-sense Nikon versus Canon, Apple versus PC topic. :):(

 

Luiz

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Luiz and everyone else are absolutely right - what matters more than anything is that you get out and shoot. It doesn't matter if you have a 20k camera system and housing if you can't afford to go diving or don't know how to use it. Get a system that you are comfortable with and can get in the water. Consider your diving, your depth needs (this is where the material difference becomes important - my choice of an Aquatica over an Ikelite was because of the deep wrecks I dive when in the Great Lakes - most plastic housings (ike, sea & sea, etc) are good to 180ft or so, and the Aquatica is good to 300ft).

 

Working on a dive boat, I've seen people with every type of housing. We get quite a few Ike housings, old housing modified to house other cameras (20d in a DX-30/60, for example), metal housings, and even some homemade housings. What is most important is that you know how to use it. A great example is one trip in the bahamas where we had several divers with ikelite housings, and 2 divers with seacam/1DsMarkII combinations. The Ikelite/350D divers were consistently producing better pictures than the divers with the Seacam housings - this doesn't mean that the seacam is an inferior housing, just that knowing how to use your equipment is the most important thing.

 

That being said, if you can, get your hands on some housings, see how they feel to you, and then go diving! Whatever you chose, you'll be able to produce great images.

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What about Sea & Sea housings?

 

I am thinking about upgrading from my F810 digicam to a DRebelXT. One of the reasons is that S&S is coming out with what looks like a very nice metal/plastic moulded housing. I really like the look of it's small size and hydrodynamics.

 

Seems like the price is just a bit more than Ike. S&S has pretty good quality control and reliability, something that Ike needs to work on, IMHO. Poor QC, great service, in my experience.

 

Do the S&S ports work on the same basis of using extension rings? This seems like a fairly major space and $$ saver over Ike housings.

 

Jack

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