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nathanm

Best housing for Canon 1Ds Mark III?

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I am interested in getting a housing for my Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III. I also have a 1D Mark III and it would be nice if I could use the same housing for either camera - near the surface the high frame rate of the 1D Mark III might be useful.

 

Likely lenses would be Canon 14mm II, 15mm fisheye, 16-35mm II, 50mm macro, 100 mm macro. I would want the housing, a very large dome port, perhaps a smaller dome port or flat port, and probably a macro lens port, and of course flash arms. I believe that I would want to get one of the accessory optical viewfinders also.

 

Subal offers a Mark III housing Subal seems to get high marks from everybody, and would seem like a reasonable choice. They have a nice looking optical viewfinder, and all of the other major accessories. Despite looking at lots of data I am unclear if there are any unique advantages to Subal.

 

Aquatica housings also have their advocates, as with Subal I don't know what is uniquely great about their housing.

 

Same story with Sea & Sea. Their optical viewfinder does not seem to be as big (or expensive) as the Subal / Aquatica / Seacam viewfinders so I wonder if it is comparable. This might be a slight negative for them.

 

Nexus does not seem to offer Canon housings, at least that I can find on their website.

 

Seacam says they will have a Mark III housing in 2008 - it is unclear from the web site whether it is already shipping, or not. I have a big dive trip planned for December, so that may eliminate them, or may not if it comes out soon.

 

I am very intrigued by the Seacam polecam set up. It is wickedly expensive, but looks like it could be great for some things, like photographing billfish when they come up to the boat before being released, or sharks on the surface.

 

I plan on using 6-wire connectors such as the S6 flash port so that I have the option of using ETTL flash. Seacam touts it as an exclusive, but I think I can get S6 ports, or functionally equivalent 6-wire ports in any housing, can't I? Sea & Sea offers their own version of 6-wire, which may or may to be plug compatible, but it must be electrically the same.

 

The pole cam and the S6 ports do seem to give Seacam a technology edge. On the other hand it seems to easily be the most expensive housing. Indeed the Seacam is 1.5X more expensive than the Sea & Sea, and 1.9X as much as the Aquatica. So, I could get most of the way to two of the cheaper housings for the same cost. That said, I can afford the Seacam if it really better in a way that I would notice.

 

I have not seriously looked at other housings, but if there are some I should consider let me know.

 

So, how do I decide between these choices. I think that any of them would probably work, but I want to try to make the best, or anyway, best educated choice. This might be special features, or special accessories not found elsewhere, or things that work better on one versus another.

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It is not an easy decision. I've used the Seacam and Sea & Sea, and I think they are both fantastic. Report from the Subal are also very good.

 

We reviewed the Sea & Sea housing some time ago:

http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/sea-sea-mdx...housing-review/

 

And yes, you can get 6-pin on any housing. If you aren't comfortable doing the mods yourself, you can get someone else do to it. I had Ryan at Reef Photo do some mods for me.

 

I have to admit that the polecam looks really slick. I've played with it, but do not own it (I have an Aquatica remote setup wired through the Seacam remote bulkhead). There are less expensive, less well thought out solutions out there, but none are integrated as well as the Seacam pole is.

 

Backscatter installs INON viewfinders on the Sea & Sea housing. I've used it, and have found that it is as easy to use as the Seacam one is. It rotates more easily, and is something I wouldn't use to maneuver the housing with (I frequently have one hand on the Seacam viewfinder when shooting), but it is also much less expensive.

 

Basically, I don't think you can go wrong with a decision, and you'll have to figure it out based on feature set (all roughly comparable -- edge to Seacam) and price. Be sure to include the price of components, because they also vary widely. And some housings are harder to get than others (waiting list).

 

Good luck. :chatterbox:

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You should also consider the lineup of ports each manufacturer has. The housings mostly determine ergonomics but the ports can directly effect image quality.

 

I think you should change the "probably a macro lens port" to a definitely. :chatterbox:

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I've got a Seacam housing for my 1D Mark III. Chuckie from Canon was at Frink's Master Classes in June and let me borrow a 1Ds Mark III for the housing. Both the 1d and 1Ds worked excellently in the same housing. I'm sure the same would be for the other manufacturer as it's more or less just the guts of the two cameras that are different.

 

I guess I went with Seacam because Steve Frink, Liz and Barbara at Frink Photo are such great people to work with. Having taken the Digital Immersion Class from Steve using my 5D in an Ikelite Housing, I guess I had a little Seacam envy and wanted to be like everyone else on the boat - damn gear envy. I had a 1D Mark III in a Seacam housing for the Master Class. I opted for S6 connectors on my housing and love them.

 

You can shoot all the lenses you've mentioned below with the Seacam Superdome. I'd look at which Port & Viewfinder combinations from the various manufactures give you the most options for the least cash.

 

I only talk about Seacam because it's the only housing manufacturer I have experience with. If the dollar continues to strengthen, the housing will be less expensive - I guess that's a bright side...

Edited by BotSO

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BotSO has a really good point. The Seacam USA folks are really great at making sure your needs are met. I have really enjoyed working with them over the years, and they have never let me down.

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I am not a Seacam user, but I think that they do make the best housings for the Canon 1D series (and I say this as someone who does not think that all Seacam's housings are best options for other cameras). If the cost is acceptable then look no further.

 

Alex

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Well, I decided to order a Seacam outfit.... we'll see how well I like it once it arrives, which won't be for a couple months....

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I got mine recently and I am VERY pleased with the housing. I just hope to get it wet soon.

 

Cheers

James

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Seacam USA did take care of me and I think very highly of Stephen Frink, but Seacam backed out on commitments it made to me. As a result I sold off my Seacam equipment. I think they make fantastic equipment, in some ways better than everyone else, but they show no interest in making a competent manual focus macro port and, in my opinion, Harold cares about some customers more than others. Being treated second class is not the way to earn my business, and that's exactly what Seacam did in my case.

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Even though I do not own one of their housings; it seems to me, at least if one lives in the US, that Aquatica has to be very high on the list for aluminium housings. From talking to Aquatica owners, reading posts on Wetpixel and elsewhere, my impression is that they provide the best value at the present time, when one considers all factors including build quality, responsiveness to client needs, price, service etc.

If I was not already invested in Subal, and their D700 housing held a D300 as well, I'd probably be switching.

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To follow up: The Seacam System Port works fine as an MF solution for the Tamron 70-200 macro. Of all the macro zooms available for the EF mount, this is probably the best.

 

Cheers

James

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Well, James, the Systemport is at the heart of the matter. I don't know what lenses are supported by the Systemport now, but I know that none of the Canon macro lenses were supported when the MkII housings were new, I know that Seacam had no acceptable manual focus solutions for those lenses at the time, and I know that Harold promised and then backed out of a commitment to update the Systemport to work with Canon macro lenses. After backing out on the Systemport, I asked that Seacam purchase my gear back from me. They refused, though Frink found a buyer for some of my pieces. I ate thousands of dollars worth of nearly new Seacam gear. From my perspective, Seacam showed me the finger.

 

I believe that Seacam makes nice products and that Seacam USA is great to deal with, but I believe that Harold has first and second class customers and I don't enjoy being treated second class.

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James -- where is that Tamron 70-200 macro review?? :lol:

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Hi Eric,

 

I'll get right on it after I change this diaper :-)

 

Cheers

James

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Just for the records, our 1Ds Mk III housing are available with the S6, Ikelite or Nikonos type connector and are remote cord ready out of the box, and most important :-) they are now shipping.

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For others considering the Seacam, the current shipped housings have no multi-controller access. I found out about that in May with Matt's housing and just saw another one. Now how often do you switch AF points underwater is down to your shooting style... but the person I was with last week was moaning pretty hard. Well that's because I told him about that feature. Amazing how many people update firmware without reading the fine print. I borrowed his housing for my 1D and shooting ring of fire to center point with the controller is easy as pie.

 

I'll get right on it after I change this diaper :-)

 

Wash your hands dude!

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You can still switch AF points quickly underwater with the aperture/shutter dials. The major feature lost is the ability to move around in a zoomed-in review image, which is not always necessary with the "zoom in to focus point" custom function enabled.

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Yep. I read Drew's post and thought "Wait a sec, I just did that w/ the command and subcommand dials..."

 

Cheers

James

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Yep. I read Drew's post and thought "Wait a sec, I just did that w/ the command and subcommand dials..."

 

Cheers

James

 

That's old school dude. Using the thumb on the multi controller is faster. To me anyways. It's all so subjective this "best" housing thing.

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Drew - no, it's simple! The best housing is the one you just bought, and the worst housing is the one you just flooded :-P

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