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arosner

Aquatica 5000 U/W housing

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Just returned from a 3 wk trip to the BVI. Have had good experiences. Easy handling and button accessibility- the on-camera ikons are clearly visible through the plexiglas. The built-on external shade is indispensible for bright lite photograhy. Solidly built, easy to assemble and slightly negative buoyant. The Aquatica's articulated arm(extra $) was a breeze to manipulate U/W in any position.The Aquatica's screw-on U/W 19 mm lenses is fantastic- in fact most of my pics were taken with this lense(see pic attached next to HMS Rhone). When not needed I just unscrewed it and placed it in my BCD. One note is to remember to sparingly add a zinc based lubricant on the stainless steel screws to avoid ionic bonding to the aluminium housing. Apart from that this housing is great for pros and students alike ( I am somewhere in-between).

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A few more comments about the Aquatica 5000 housing from a coldwater perspective...

 

After using 3.3 MP Olympus cameras underwater for more than two years both for work and for fun, I got tempted by higher resolutions. I sold everything and got myself a Coolpix 5000 (Nikon) to use exclusively underwater. Choosing the housing was relatively easy since my main system was already an Aquatica-90 (F90x/N90s). Aquatica (formerly Aqua-Vision) of Montreal offers a nice aluminum housing for the CP5000.

 

Since there was no Aquatica re-seller in my area, I purchased the housing directly from the company. Two days later, the housing arrived. For the first few dives, I exclusively shot macro, using one or two Ikelite DS-50 strobes. The CP5000 in the Aquatica housing is simply an amazing camera for macro without the need for an add-on lens.

 

Next, I ordered the Nikon wide-angle (19mm eq.) lens and Aquatica's port for that lens. Again, the optical performance was very good with no vigneting. Winter and ice in my area put a stop to my ocean dives but I continued to experiment in a pool, learning to use the system to its full capabilities.

 

A word about the housing: it is surprisingly small, with very little wasted space around the camera. Construction quality is identical to their recent 35mm housings and it's rated to 100 meters, which means I will take it along on trimix dives. Almost all camera controls can be accessed from the outside, with a few exceptions like the on/off switch. The back buttons are grouped tightly together. Operating the tiny buttons with drysuit gloves is a challenge but the fact that the buttons have different heights helps a lot. The housing has a standard Nikonos strobe connector that connects to the hot shoe on the CP5000 and gives "near-TTL" capabilities to the system. After some tuning, strobe photography became as easy as with the F90x. The housing has a side handle that is adequate for a single small strobe but for bigger strobes such as twin Ikelite 100a, I use a bottom bracket with two TLC arms. Overall, the housing has a very solid feel to it and is well balanced.

 

Compared to my previous systems, I see fewer limitations with the CP5000/Aquatica system. The arms and strobes are compatible with the rest of my gear and I don't need an expensive digital-compatible TTL sensor to use an external strobe. There are, however, a few things that the camera could do better: the viewing screen is often very dark, even with the recent firmware update. Also, compared to Olympus cameras, the LCD becomes completely dark if viewed from above. Although not related to the housing itself, underwater these problems are even worse and it takes some time to get used to.

 

Overall, I am extremely happy with Aquatica's housing and feel that this digital system will no longer be my "for fun only" system. This is a serious photo tool that gives impressive results and is as rugged as any other professional housing. It also has a lot of potential as a true working tool in marine biology (my line of work), mostly because of its great macro capabilities.

 

Now, if only that ice pack could go away...

 

Richard

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:angryfire:

 

I just purchased an Aquatica A5000 housing for my Coolpix 5000 and followed the manufacturer's suggestion to water test the housing before using it with the camera. I'm glad the camera wasn't in the housing because it immediately leaked at 20 feet. The main o-ring was lubed and installed correctly. Has anyone else had this problem? I've shipped it back and hopefully the problem will be quickly rectified.

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Haven't had any problems with leaks. Did you see where the bubbles were coming from? Did it leak suddenly at 20ft or is that when it was obvious. Did you have strobes on it, and if so did the sync cord have it's oring? If not did you check the bulkhead connector oring? Please let us know what Aquatica thinks was the reason for the flood. Also, I beg everyone on this board to get flood insurance. I will post another thread about this while I'm thinking of it.

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Regarding the details of the leak in the A5000 housing:

This was the housing's "maiden voyage" and I didn't have a camera inside or strobe attached. I put a small piece of paper inside the housing and was only doing a leak test, per the manufacturer's suggestion. The idea was that I would see water being absorbed by the paper quickly if there was a leak. Both the main and bulkhead o-rings were installed correctly. The leak was small and it wasn't obvious as to where the water was coming from. It was noted at 20' due to the capillary effect on the paper inside the housing. Since the housing was brand new and defective, I've returned the housing to the camera store that sold it to me and not to Aquatica. Hopefully, it'll be replaced with a new housing. If I do find out the cause, I'll pass it along. (I did call Aquatica and left a voice message, which hasn't been returned yet.)

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Aquatica will straighten out the problem. Their customer service is #1. I know they are very busy right now and that's probably why you haven't had a call back. If you don't hear from them soon just call them again.

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I agree with rstark. I know they are working on some housings and will get back to you. Sometimes not right away but usually do just when you think they may have forgotten. They have always rectified any issue I have had to my satisfaction.

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