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globaldiver

Quality and issues with Gates / Amphibico?

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I am new to this forum and are planning to buy a housing for my Sony PD-150. I am choosing between the Gates housing for the 150/170, or the Amphibico hosing for the same models.

 

I have a hard time to find "real life" feedback on any of these two housings. Some say that electronic housings are bound for problems in salt water (Southern california diving) and others say that the mechanical housing potentially has more risk of leaks.

 

Is the optical quality different on these two houses? I am looking at the SW35 for the Gates and the regular .55 for the Amphibico?

Is an external monitor almost a requirement for these housings or is the regular viwing sufficient in most casses?

 

Which one would you purchase and in that case why?

 

Appreciative for feedback.

 

Sincerely

 

Anders

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With everything I've heard, I would be inclined to go with the Gates. I have met several people who use the housings in question and the Gates wins hands down.

Not a negative remark about the Gates and not a positive for the Amphibico.

 

Now I say this knowing full well that many people will chime in with their positive feedback and tell me what a dolt I am. So be it.

 

I have read that some people have good experiences with the Amphibico, but I have never seen it in person.

 

This is sooo totally my 2cents,

 

Jibby

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Thanks Jibby,

 

That is kind of what I have been thinking, but want to be sure before I make this, for me, pretty big investment.

Thanks for your input.

 

Anders

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I am new to this forum and are planning to buy a housing for my Sony PD-150. I am choosing between the Gates housing for the 150/170, or the Amphibico hosing for the same models.

 

Another option http://www.seacamsys.com/dvs1.htm The DVS1 was just upgraded with new features (not listed on the web site yet, but email the owner for info).

 

Is it tough? Read -> http://diver.net/seahunt/fend/f_scottc.htm

 

I ordered one for my VX-2100 and using dual 50w HID video lights (Halcyon). I should have it in another two weeks.

 

That said, no 'one' housing is perfect for everyone as we have all different requirements. I spent about a year researching and decided on the DVS1. My diving conditions : cold, dark, crap for vis, thick drygloves, on a CCR (Inspiration).

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The dual 50w light system is what I have been looking at myself. What battery cannister are you planning to use? I was thinking of using the 13.5 to be able to cross-use it with a regular EE 18W HID head when not taping under water.

 

It would be great If you can post a message of how you find this light sysem in use.

 

Anders

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The dual 50w light system is what I have been looking at myself. What battery cannister are you planning to use?  I was thinking of using the 13.5 to be able to cross-use it with a regular EE 18W HID head when not taping under water.

 

I'm using the 13.5hr NiMH battery. I already have 18w and 10w HID lights so that wasn't a factor.

 

I haven't had the 50w HID lights underwater yet, but on the surface it makes the 18w look like a dim candle. :shock: Can't wait to try them out on some wall/wreck dives.

 

I'm on a big trip in the beginning of June to circumnavigate Vancouver Island (Canada) for 11 days and will post comments/pictures/video after the trip.

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That sounds great Kent.

Looking forward to your reports and thanks for your info.

 

Anders

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As an owner of more than one Amphibico housing and more than one Gates housing, I could say both good and bad things about both. I certainly don't agree that Gates wins hands down but at this point I'd be happy recommending either manufacturer. You need to realize that Gates and Amphibico have very different philosophies and one will be much more appealing to you depending on what you value. Amphibico does fewer housings but they're all full custom with both electronic and mechanical controls depending on the needs. Their housings are very easy to use and they've led the industry with advanced optics for a long time. Their customer service was once bad but has been much improved as far as my experience goes. I've never had an electronics failure or flood (in fact any failure at all) in four Amphibico housings I've owned. Gates makes all mechanical controls that are simple and servicable in the field. Their customer service has always been hghly regarded. These two reasons make Gates popular with pros. In addition, Gates, can house cameras easier because there is less development with manual controls. The downside is that the product is frequently less ergonomic than a competitive Amphibico might be.

 

I would suggest anyone considering these two manufacturers look at features and decide what is important. Both offer good products.

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Thanks for the response Craig,

 

That is exactly why it is difficult to choose one over the other. The Gates housing has the Fathom optics which has recieved good reviews, whereas Amphibico apparently do not use Fathom anymore but manufactures their own optics (or use another company they for some reason did not want to tell me which one it was).

 

Does the SW35 wide angle lens have better glass compared to the standard .55 port the Amphibico comes with? Maybe, in reality, there is no visible different in quality.

 

One advantage I can see that Gates hs over Amphibico is that they are located in San Diego (not in Canadda as Amphibico is) which could make it easier if something would happen to the housing. On the other hand I like the ability to pull up the menu while diving if I would need to make any changes.

 

It also seems that the measurements for the two housings are fairly similar. The gates housing is one inch longer, but the Amphibico seems slightly higher.

 

So Craig, if you where to buy a new housing, and both manufactureres has one for your camera model, which one would you choose and why?

 

Choices oh choices....

 

 

Anders

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I meant the WP 35 optics off course...

 

 

Anders

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I have the Gates housing for the JVC HD10. The widest Fathom lenses are not recommended for that rig but the Fathom lens I do have is very nicely built. The standard Amphibico .55x lens is physically much smaller but is also well made. I can't directly compare since one camera is HD while the other is DV. My personal opinion is that both offer high quality optics so you just have to decide for your specific camera. I own the Amphibico 100 degree lens which is fantastic but expensive. They've been slow to introduce the less expensive model.

 

As an occasional user (3-4 time a year at most) I would prefer the ease of use that the Amphibico models offer. That assumes other capabilitites match between the two, of course. Some Amphibico housings are all mechanical like the Navigator and they aren't very feature-rich. If I was using my equipment for a living, field servicability would probably sway me toward Gates. I like that Gates can offer dome and flat ports in addition to wet optics. Amphibico offers a flat port but Gates has more flexibility with the dome and with the superior flip filter and internal filter arrangement they have. I consider the Gates a superior macro rig but I think most divers would prefer the Amphibico if they used them side by side. Electronic controls are3 much easier to use and most amateurs will not take the parts necessary to do a field repair. In that case, a failure on a trip means no video in either case. I've not had an electronics failure ever with Amphibico.

 

Gates has a great reputation for customer service. Getting equipment to Amphibico in Canada is not a problem for US customers but Gates is certainly easier.

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If I were to choose a Gates housing, are there any controls that are important to consider to add on the housing (except moisture alarm) or are the standard controls for the pd-170 house sufficient long term?

 

I assume that I would have more options for comtrol on the Amphibico housing since it is both electronic and manually controllable.

 

Anders

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I have not used this Gates housing but in reading the specs I don't see any missing controls. It supports the ND filter control which Amphibico does not and it provides an internal flip filter. They also offer the 110 degree lens option with this housing. All these features I would consider valuable.

 

Amphibico offers control for the lights on the grip but they only work with their light package. The most used functions are available on the grips so they're easier to use and the manual white balance is a one button operation. The downside of the Amphibico is that the white balance function is tied into the AUTO control so you can't do any kind of exposure lock without blowing the white balance setting. It also gives you no flip filter. That seems like more disadvantage than it is since the camera has a tremendous white balance range. Still, a flip filter is nice for macro because you can put a diopter in it.

 

The VX-2000 had a problem with minimum focus changing when the LANC port was used. People reported this as an "Amphibico macro focus" problem when it wasn't clear who's fault it really was. Gates doesn't have this issue of course (no LANC) and the PD-170 may not either. My housing and cameras did not exhibit this issue in any event.

 

I'd say specifically regarding this camera that the Gates is a more flexible rig for macro due to its better manual controls, its roomier front port design, and the existence of the flip filter. The Amphibico will be easier to operate and might be nicer for wide angle. I personally like the top mounted monitor arrangement that both offer. While I'm very pleased with my Amphibico housing, if I were to do it today I'd seriously consider the Gates instead.

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Thanks for all great information. It has certainly helped me to make my decision. I will purchase the Gates PD-170 housing with the WP 35 port.

I will use 10w HID for now and possibly upgrade later to a Halcyon dual 24 or 50w HID system.

 

Cordially

 

Anders Jelveus

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Yesterday I received my Gates PD-170 housing. What a beautiful piece of equipment.

 

I ordered the housing with the WP35 port and the external LCD monitor, which I hope will work fine. Now it is just to test the integrity of the housing in the pool before I can take it out diving...

 

Thanks for all your valuable input.

 

Sincerely

 

Anders

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