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TMondell

Sea & Sea vs Ikelite

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I think that there are a lot of price/value calculations that you need to do when you buy a housing. How many dives will you do in a year and thus what is the cost/dive over 5 years. It is probably true that 98+% of all photos you get could be gotten with any housing that keeps the water out. There are of course some photos that you can only get if you have perfect control of your housing meaning every control is where you want it and you know how to use it.

That being said I believe that for most divers Ikelite is not the "if money were no object" choice for a housing, but rather it is the choice for those whose price/value calculations suggest that it is good enough. If all housings were the same price to the consumer how many folks would buy Ike/Nimar housings. Note, IKE strobes are a completely different story.

Bill

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Alot of people just look at the price of the housing first and not at the overal price of the complete setup.

 

Another thing is to factor in ports, extensions, and accessories for your housing. I did a comparison a couple of years ago for two complete setups for a Nikon D7000. One Aquatica and one Ikelite. I basically pick out a housing, two strobes, and ports extenions for Nikon 60mm macro and a 8inch dome for Tokina 10-17mm. For the Ikelite I used DS160 strobes and for the Aquatica used Inon Z240's.

 

At the end of the day there was not much difference in price between the 2 setups.

 

Regards Mark

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For the purpose of overal price comparison I went to a large photographic website which has both Ikelite and Aquatica and used their prices to compare to basic setups for the Nikon D7000 with Tokina 10-17mm and the Nikkor 60mm Macro.

 

IKELITE SETUP

  • Housing for Nikon D7000 $1500
  • Ikelite 8 inch dome $400
  • super wide extension $125
  • Flat port assembly $200
  • Extnsion 5510.22 $150
  • 2 Strobe sync cord $160
  • Ikelite ds160 strobes x2 $1900
  • strobe battery charger $80
  • Strobe arms x2 $500

TOTAL COST $5015

 

AQUATICA PACKAGE

 

  • Aquatica housing $2940
  • Aquatica 8inch dome $520
  • Dome shade $136
  • Extension $220
  • Macro AF port $350
  • opitcal fibre cord $100
  • Inon Z240 x2 $1600
  • Aquatica arms x2 $380

TOTAL COST $6246

 

 

This is just going to a website and gathering prices for comparison. Of course the prices are different between different stores and dealers offering packages. But its to give a rough example.

 

So the difference between owning a complete Aquatica/Inon Z240 package is $1231 over the Complete Ikelite package which makes the Aquatica about 25% more expensive.

 

Now put those to complete setups together side by side and ask yourself is the complete Aquatica package worth the 25% more over the Ikelite? Thats what I did and thats why I changed from Ikelite to Aquatica.

 

Regards Mark

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Housing for a Canon t4i....The two options I could afford would be the Sea & Sea and the Ikelite. But I've read not a lot of people shoot with Rebels underwater. Is this true? Why? Is it worth buying a housing that's twice the cost of the camera? or should I wait until I can afford better topside gear?

Edited by boardumm

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From what I know, the main reason Ikelite is less expensive (not lesser quality) is that the manufacturing process for their housings is completely different than that for machined aluminum housings. Ikelite can select the size of the housing for each camera from a series of standard size housings therefore they only have to maintain a certain number of production molds. They then customize the types and locations of the control buttons for each camera, which are hand assembled. The materials are less expensive, yet extremely durable, and the assembly process is less expensive, even with USA labor. Injection molding is faster than machining each housing individually. Polycarbonate is less expensive than aluminum.

 

"Like every Ikelite product, this housing for the ... is designed, built and tested in the USA. We use locally sourced, top-grade materials from trusted vendors we've been working with for decades. Our housings are built by hand and individually tested for fit, function and waterproof integrity. The average assembly technician is a certified scuba diver and has over 16 years of experience building Ikelite products. We back our products with over 50 years of experience and service within the dive industry."

 

I happen to live in Indianapolis where Ikelite is located and I have a good friend who has worked there for 25+ years so it is a company that I trust. My last camera was in an Ikelite housing and I found it easy to use and travel with. All of that being said, I just purchased a Nauticam housing for my new more fully featured camera because the Ikelite housing for it is quite large and Nauticam has fiber optic cable "ports" that are more elegant than using the stick on velcro mask and flash diverter attachment. I also had "free" money to splurge with (work bonus) so I went for the "ooh, aah" configuration. It has just arrived and my first impression is that the Ikelike housing had better weight distribution. This NC feels very tippy front to back so I will need to see how that plays out once strobes are added and I'm in the water with it.

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Becki:

Actually polycarbonate is about 2x the price of aluminum right now ($1.60 vs. $0.80 per lb) but molding takes a lot less material than does machining. If you think about what you get in a housing, the raw material price of just the material (not the bits like knobs/buttons etc) is only about $10 for an Ike housing and maybe $50 for the Al in a nauticam housing. The real cost is in the engineering/design support.

 

 

Bill

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On dive trips I now see more Nauticam housings than any other...

 

... and, in my experience, you have to unlearn almost everything that you know as a terrestrial photographer. After more than ten years doing it seriously, I still find underwater photography difficult...

 

... but I'm getting there!

 

attachicon.gif2013 Bahamas 432 Tiger Beach Tiger shark.jpg

Amazing photo!!!! I am sooooo jealous!!!! :)

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I have 200+ dives on various ikelite housings, zero issues.. The salt content of the water where I dive is also higher than most places, so housings take a beating.

 

That being said when it is time for me to upgrade cameras, I will do all calculations and considerations of purchasing an aluminum housing. I have no real reason to go with anyone but ikelite as I already have ports and what not, however as they say the grass is always greener on the other side. I would be doing myself an injustice if I don't at least check out the other manufacturers.

 

in my mind Ikelite has an advantage in that they are an american company.

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