Jump to content
Mullins

Setup for freediving

Recommended Posts

Hi,

 

I am hoping to get some ideas for a housing/camera combination to use for freediving videography. I've had a good look around on the forum and found heaps of useful info. It seems the Sony HC7 is pretty much accepted as the best option for cheap HD so this is probably the camera I'm looking at using.

 

Specifically, I'm after a housing for the HC7 that's:

 

- cheap i.e. 1k - 2k

- rated to 100m or more, 130m would be ideal. The Amphibico and L&M housings are rated this deep, but they look quite bulky. Those that have used them, how are they to swim with?

- as small and streamlined as possible as it's for freediving only. The Seatool HC7 looks great in this regard, but is only rated to 60m. Also costs a bit more than I was intending to spend. Are there any others out there of this ilk? I would probably be willing to put up with the inevitable obsolescence of a design like this in exchange for excellent streamlining.

 

Also I really want to avoid vignetting... being new to underwater videography I don't have a very good grasp of what causes it, but videos with cut-off corners look hopeless. Is it likely to be a problem with any of the above mentioned housings if I'm using their own wide-angle lenses - or in the case of Seatool, an Ikelite one? How do these lenses generally compare to Sony's standard ones?

 

Thanks in advance,

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dave

As I see it you have three problems.

1. A $1000 - $2000 housing = you may only be able to get a plastic housing.

2. A plastic housing to 130 meters :D

3. An external wet wide angle lens means it must be taken off underwater to get rid of the bubbles.

 

Can you free dive to 130 meters?

Maybe a second hand aluminum setup.

 

Free diving with a housing is not so much about how bulky it is but how well it's balanced underwater and it's design.

For example free diving under Whale Sharks with the large Amphibico Phenom is very easy because it's balanced perfect and has a beautiful top LCD to look in.

Free diving with Amphibico's small A1 EVO with a external LCD is harder but it's alot smaller.

Their old Navigator 900 for the TRV900 or PD100 beats both of them as it has a external LCD and can be driven one handed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Wagsy,

 

Yeah I suppose I am being a bit optimistic on the price front. The Amphibico Evo looks decent, I could probably run to that. But being able to drive it one-handed would also be a big advantage, especially as I can't equalise hands-free... and it looks like a two-handed affair?

 

Streamlining and physical volume are important, as most of the time is spent in transit when deep freediving rather than actually wielding the thing. But interesting to note the big differences in balance.

 

Nope, can't freedive to 130m but I do want a few metres in reserve; I don't want to be taking it right to its stated limit as the manufacturer probably wouldn't be impressed if I then flooded it and asked them to honor their warranty. I'm sure they build big safety margins into their 'max' depth but still...

 

To clarify - I wouldn't be carrying the thing down past 100m, I would only dive with it to about 60m or maybe 70m at most. But it also needs to act as a fixed bottom camera to record deep dives past 110m. Perhaps I could get a little Seatool and start saving for a second bigger, deeper rated case. But if possible I'd like the same case to do both, especially as I'll be travelling with it :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you had the $$$ I think the Gates would be good with the HC7 as you can see the cameras LCD from the back of it and it's built very good.

 

Amphibico's HC7 has that rear electronic LCD screen which can be hard to see due to sun glare and it's just something else to go wrong.

 

L&M has a normal view finder in there to look through but the above 3 are over your budget. :D

 

I have played with the little Sea&Sea for the HC3 which would be OKAY to start off with but it's plastic just like the Seatool one but they would be great until you could get into something better. Hey my first setup was a second hand old Hi8 system so we all have to start somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi Dave

As I see it you have three problems.

1. A $1000 - $2000 housing = you may only be able to get a plastic housing.

2. A plastic housing to 130 meters :)

3. An external wet wide angle lens means it must be taken off underwater to get rid of the bubbles.

 

Can you free dive to 130 meters?

Maybe a second hand aluminum setup.

 

Free diving with a housing is not so much about how bulky it is but how well it's balanced underwater and it's design.

For example free diving under Whale Sharks with the large Amphibico Phenom is very easy because it's balanced perfect and has a beautiful top LCD to look in.

Free diving with Amphibico's small A1 EVO with a external LCD is harder but it's alot smaller.

Their old Navigator 900 for the TRV900 or PD100 beats both of them as it has a external LCD and can be driven one handed.

Considering that Herbert Nitsche holds the World Record for Constant Ballast at 111 meters, I'm wondering if the meters shouldn't be feet.

 

I just got my L&M Bluefin HC7 and will hopefully be freediving with it soon. L&M is releasing a monitor back for the bluefin HC7 housing on Feb 15th so it stacks up against the others. You might want to consider L&M's Stingray housing at around $1800 - it takes the same ports as the HC7 housing, has a monitor back and is more of a universal housing - less controls, but is not prone to obsolescence like a regular video camera housing is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Streamlining and physical volume are important, as most of the time is spent in transit when deep freediving....

 

If transitting is the issue, why not weight the housing and then use a pony bottle and lift bag to get it back up :)

 

I'm only guessing 'cause i ain't been where you're going, but your camera will need pretty good low light capability way down there if you don't take lights with you too...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most definitely metres, Cliff.

 

The Stingray does look like a sensible option, just a little on the bulky side. Would be good if you could let me know how you get on with the bluefin housing.

 

Darren, that's not such a bad idea. However I would probably avoid messing about with pony bottles and lift bags and just connect it to a float at the surface so I could haul it back up after each dive. Would have to be a bit careful about scraping it across the bottom though.

 

I think any footage I take at depth (and there won't be all that much, the bulk of it would be in shallower water) is inevitably going to be quite dark as lights would add too much water resistance and my budget doesn't extend to them anyway. It has been mentioned a couple of times that the HC5 is better in low light, is this definitely the case or just a theory some people have?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Darren, that's not such a bad idea. However I would probably avoid messing about with pony bottles and lift bags and just connect it to a float at the surface so I could haul it back up after each dive. Would have to be a bit careful about scraping it across the bottom though....

 

See, us stills guys ain't that stupid after all... I originally considered a float line, but I wasn't sure if you would want it showing up in all your shots. If you do weight the housing, make sure you have it attached to a line and reel I guess...so if you drop it, you can go up and it can go down... just in case. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Dave

 

How are you doing these days?

 

If you go for the hC3, I'd recomand you the Gates for several reasons:

 

-it's mechanical, better for rustic people like us freedivers...

 

-The design with the open monitor on the side of the housing is great because you can "aim" at what you shoot without being enoyed by the monitor in front of you. You can "aim" at your subject and use "one eye in the corner" to check the frame and focus from time to time and still being able to look around to see the scenery. Very convenient.

 

-Also, the big problem with small cameras like HC series etc, it's the stability while shooting. The shape of the Gates housing and the distance between the handles will help to gain some stability.

 

I've been shooting a lot with the HC3 in the Gates and it's an ok setup even though I prefer bigger cam and housing for their stability.

 

Hope this help.

 

Maybe I'll see you in Dean's Blue hole in march? On my side I'm off to play with the great whites in SA next monday.

 

Ciao

 

Fred

 

www.nektos.net

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Fred,

 

Thanks for that info. I'm doing ok, looking forward to some deep water training. I'm heading to Deans for the two weeks of the competition so I'll see you there!

 

Have fun with the bities, there have been a few around our coast this year but haven't run into any, thankfully...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...