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FX1 Housing options

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Hi Guys, im not sure if this has been covered elsewhere, i've looked around and couldn't find a concise thread about ALL the housings for FX1/Z1u, a quick cheat sheet if you will...

 

[to the mods, please delete if this is covered elsewhere!]

 

I thought a fair method would be to list upto 3 positives and upto 3 negatives about your housing and not much else! The subject of amphibico vs. gates etc has been done already, so no arguing please! I thought it might make a nice review for everyone (ie me) that is looking to buy one....

 

For instance, if i had to review my Amphibico VX2k i would say the following to get things started:

 

Pro's

1. Good ergonomics and reliability on the Grips

2. Relatively Small

 

Con's

1. No flip filter

2. 2 wasted buttons for lights in the grips

3. Not overly impressed with the optics (but i didn't upgrade them, so to be expected)

 

Seeing as how i do not own an FX1 / Z1 housing this will be my last post in this thread!

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Hi,

 

I've just bought a L&M Bluefin HD for my Z1U.

 

However, I've not dived with it yet (although used it in a hot tub!) - nor have I ever used and underwater camera housing! I am a pro cameraman though, so know a thing or two about cameras!

 

I can't really list pros and cons definatively yet but what I would say is this unit is of exceptionally high build quality and the images so far are really good. I also bought the ultra wide (weitwinkel) Angle lens which is a monster and gives an incredible wide angle view - bit disapointed with zoom through though as it only goes to 75% but the great wide angle will make up for that - especially if I decide to buy the 80 deg lens too.

 

Don't know if that helps - but I'm sire others will chip in too.

 

Paul.

Edited by Digizz

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Bit hard to keep it to just 3....

 

Phenom

BAD...

To Big to travel with easy.

Still abit of vignetting on full wide.

Had to replace the right handpiece as record button was faulty. :P

......

Good Points..

Very solid

Very easy to get the camera in and out and open/close the door.

Very easy to use and perfectly balanced underwater.

One handed operation by top handle, came in very usefull at times while shooting.

LCD screen :lol:

Vary zoom wheel

94 degree (maybe 90 ish) port gives 100% full zoom through even with a #2 macro diopter on the flip arm. :P

Abilty to get in tighter from a distance zoomed in with the macro+2 flipped up.

And I can go from this

good.jpg

 

To this on the same dive and anywhere in between.

good1.jpg

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Here are my top 4 pros and cons for my Sony Z1 in Light and Motion Bluefin (with L&M halogen lights, 80 degree port, flat port, flip macros).

 

PROs

 

1. Correct buoyancy without adding external tubes or foam

2. The best top window for viewing camera's LCD screen

3. Great purpose-designed flip-macro lenses

4. Uncoated hardened glass 80-degree plano-concave port is less vulnerable than other housings' ports

 

CONs

 

1. No mechanical manual focus

2. Cannot do a slow enough zoom in or out for my liking

3. No access to an assign button (I would often like to run in AE override mode if I could)

4. Potential for electronic failure compared to mechanical control housings (but didn't happen yet)

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Hi,

 

I've just bought a L&M Bluefin HD for my Z1U.

 

However, I've not dived with it yet (although used it in a hot tub!) - nor have I ever used and underwater camera housing! I am a pro cameraman though, so know a thing or two about cameras!

 

I can't really list pros and cons definatively yet but what I would say is this unit is of exceptionally high build quality and the images so far are really good. I also bought the ultra wide (weitwinkel) Angle lens which is a monster and gives an incredible wide angle view - bit disapointed with zoom through though as it only goes to 75% but the great wide angle will make up for that - especially if I decide to buy the 80 deg lens too.

 

Don't know if that helps - but I'm sire others will chip in too.

 

Paul.

 

Dare I even ask what you were using it for in the hot tub?

 

I have the L&M Bluefin HD housing

 

pros:

Solid -- no way this sucker gonna leak

Good manual controls (Gain, WB etc.)

Access to the camera LCD-- no external monitor needed

 

cons:

big for travel

access to gain specifically is a bit limited

WB is kind of awkward (but may be inherent in the camera due to the placement of the button)

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Dare I even ask what you were using it for in the hot tub?

 

 

 

:):lol: Couldn't possibly say ! :wacko:

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CONs

 

1. No mechanical manual focus

 

 

No manual focus? I didn't think there was a housing that had no manual focus. I never shoot in auto focus unless I am filming super macro. Aren't you having any problems with a wa shot going in and out of focus? What have you been doing with that?

Steve B)

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CONs

 

1. No mechanical manual focus

No manual focus? I didn't think there was a housing that had no manual focus. I never shoot in auto focus unless I am filming super macro. Aren't you having any problems with a wa shot going in and out of focus? What have you been doing with that?

Steve B)

Steve the Bluefin has manual focus but it's electronic whereas I would prefer a nice chunky mechanical geared knob like my Gates had or like the Bluefin's excellent iris knob but bigger.

 

The Bluefin has a momentary auto-focus button on either handle and this puts the focus into manual mode. Typically if I'm using my 80-degree port and I focus on the reef a few metres away then it locks in at 0.3m (sometimes 0.2m or 0.4m). The long depth of field means that's fine for a lot of stuff at that sort of range or further away but if say a manta swims from distance then really close, it will lose sharpness when it's close. As a result I am typically running in auto-focus and being religious about keeping all lenses spotless so the cam's got no lens dirt to focus on. And I'm getting away with it, even when the water isn't that clear. I don't think I've had a single "hunt" yet with this setup whereas when shooting pelagics I did occasionally with the Gates/VX2K in auto-focus. But tiny scratches on the plastic port were mostly to blame for that. Having said all that, if I have the presence of mind I will sometimes hit the momentary auto focus for a shot of a pelagic out in the blue and then switch back to auto-focus if it comes close. I find it difficult not to wobble a tiny bit when I do that though.

 

If you want to manually adjust the focus on the Bluefin then you have electronic "near" and "far" buttons on the left hand-grip. The trouble with these is that the focus shoots really fast from near to far so all you can really do is jab at them until you think you've got it right. I was shooting a ribbon eel and the auto-focus was focussing on the reef behind it. So I went into manual mode but it took me about a minute to get the focus right on the eel's head, whereas with my Gates I could have wound the focus knob in and out and nailed it in a few seconds. Luckily the eel was patient with me :lol: In reality this is only a problem for a very small minority of shots.

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I find it difficult not to wobble a tiny bit when I do that though.

 

 

 

Nick - do you think the buttons on the handles are a bit too stiff? Seems to me with my (very limited) experience of the housing, that they could be a lot softer which would reduce the shake when using???

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Nick - do you think the buttons on the handles are a bit too stiff? Seems to me with my (very limited) experience of the housing, that they could be a lot softer which would reduce the shake when using???

Possibly but if they're too soft then (depending on the design) they may well depress by themselves at depth.

 

On our Britannic '98 expedition some of the guys with Amphibico VX1000 housings found at depth that the buttons were depressing themselves or not returning. As a result Amphibico increased the stiffness of the springs behind their buttons. When I later used the Amphibico VX2000 housing I found that this left me with aching joints in my thumbs after a liveaboard trip. I never get those pains with the Bluefin so it's fair to say that they've got the stiffness about right.

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Nick, thanks for the explanation. I wonder if the L & M button is just a matter of getting used to the feel of it or will you always have difficulty dialing in the focus. Just how sensitive is the button? I would think the more sensitive the better. By the way, I was diving in Phuket during the Tsunami...wish I knew you then.

Steve B)

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Steve, the near and far focus buttons tend to be a bit unpredictable. It's like there's a delay before it works and then it shoots to the opposite end of the scale. Admittedly I haven't had much practice with them since auto-focus will do for the majority of macro shots but I must admit their unpredictability has led me to be lazy a couple of times, letting the auto-focus lock on say one shrimp when in fact I would prefer it to be on another. "Arty" shots with a deliberate transitional zoom from one subject to another are a total no-no.

 

The wide and telephoto zoom buttons are a bit unpredictable too. Judging how fast you need to double-press them to get a fast zoom is a bit hit-or-miss, and sometimes you have to try a couple of times before you get the fast zoom. I remember Shawn also commenting on that.

 

To be honest I would prefer all manual controls. But I don't regret my choice of housing one bit. The controls are not the reason I bought it.

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I've found the same too so far - double press of zoom is quite difficult to get right. Focus seems to be OK at the closer end and then moves very quickly at the further distances.

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