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Aquatica for Canon 7D mk II - Your review is apreciated

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Hi Folks

 

Do you own an Aquatica Housing for Canon 7D mk II? Or did you get the chance to use one?

 

What are your thoughts about it? What do you like it? What do you do not like so much?

 

Anyone willing to share a review of it?

 

Thanks

 

Pedro Alves

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Pedro, I have shot the housing in question in Belize, here are some pictures taken with it while I tested the internal Ikelite TTL converter. Obliviously as the individual in charge of Aquatica Technical department, it is not for me to comment on my own products line. Those images where all shot in TTL mode with either a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro or Canon 17-40mm f/4, the purpose of which was to test the reliability of the TTL converter.

 

My personal cameras are Nikon D800e and in this aspect, I found the transition from Nikon to Canon quite simple (aside from the reversed aperture and shutter speed controls position). I found the camera to be quite pleasing to operate and the file it gave where rich in color and dynamic range. My impression is that with such a camera, the human element become the limiting factor in image quality, be it with an Aquatica or another brand of housing, the Canon 7D Mk II is definitely underwater friendly.


and two more

post-1676-0-58019000-1452885223_thumb.jpg

post-1676-0-80793500-1452885245_thumb.jpg

post-1676-0-14252800-1452885407_thumb.jpg

post-1676-0-70245000-1452885419_thumb.jpg

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Hi Jean. Thanks for your comments.

 

Any Aquatica for Canon 7D mk II owner or user over there willing to share his/her opinion about this housing?

 

I have noticed that the latch system has been changed from the previous Aquatica housings. It does not have the spring latches that several times hurts the hands, and has been changed by a hinge and a rotating latch. To the guys that have experience with both systems, what do you like more? What gives you more confidence?

 

How do you like the new system for the front and the back of the housing close together, more or less similar of the systems used by the housings made by the camera brands for the compact cameras?

 

Thanks in advance

 

Pedro Alves

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I don't like the new latching system at all. It is no longer possible for me to do a seal check with my fingers. I used to always run a fingertip around the o-ring, and the sealing surface, as I can more easily feel any hairs or sand grains than see them. With the new latching system, there isn't room to do this in several places. And with the back always attached rather than removable while open, the camera will no longer balance lens-down on the macro port with the back open. So I have to close the back repeatedly while working on the rig. If I did not have an investment in ports and other accessories, I'd consider switching brands.

 

-Mark

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Hi Mark

 

Thanks for your comments.

 

I understand that you do not like the position of the o-ring and the hinge that does not allow you to have 2 separate parts of the housing for the regular operations of changing batteries, card, etc. Although I never handle this housing that was my thoughts.

 

This is the same system the small housing for compacts has, and I remember when I had mines that It was quite difficult to take out the o-ring to clean it and at least 2 times I got the o-ring out of the groove and stuck, and i did not flood the housing because I saw it through the acrilic.

 

The system of groove and o-ring on my actual Aquatica housing I like it a lot. Easy to take out and clean the o-ring, easy to take it back on position, and not extra effort on the o-ring to close the housing (it does not need to be dragged with the closure of the Bach part of the housing....).

 

Of course that this "fear" of something being wrong with our precious equipment can be reduced with the presence or a vacuum system, but it is a risk point that could be avoided.

 

But about the latch it self? I had the spring ones with my ikelite housing (3 latches) and then 2 spring latches when I came to Aquatica. Of course that 2 was better than 3, but even so I hurted the finger sometimes, both closing, both opening. And this new one that rotates (besides the o-ring position and the hinge)? Do you like it? Does it works well? Does it hurt you in any manner? Is it easy to operate (being so close to the handle)? Does it feels robust and gives you confidence?

 

And all the other aspects of the housing? How are the ergonomics? How to you feel the shutter? Are the main dial, quick command, zoom knobs smooth and precise?

 

Lots of curiosity!....

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The actual latch is fine. I have no question that it is properly latched closed when closed, and no concern that it could pop open. There's nothing to pinch my fingers (not that I had any problems with the previous latching system either).

 

I have a vacuum system in this housing, but that's actually another source of complication that could fail. I had my first ever flood in twelve years of underwater photography with this housing. It was shipped with a defective vacuum system, and through mis-communication with Backscatter was unable to get it fixed prior to my first trip with the housing. So I dived without using the vacuum.

 

The rest of the ergonomics of the housing I like. The shutter and knobs are easy to use. I've had no trouble with them slipping, something that I have seen on some other housings. The housing is about as small as possible with this camera body.

 

I also got the Ikelite controller for true TTL strobe operation installed in the housing, and that works too. It's nice to have that option, though I still work in manual most of the time because I'm familiar with that and have more control.

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Thanks again Mark

 

A flood is the worst nightmare for an underwater photographer... How did that happened?

 

The vacuum system you have is from Aquatica or from backscatter?

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We did a dive in high current, with instructions to get down to 60 feet as quickly as possible. So I was already that deep before trying to turn on the camera and discovering water drops inside the housing. By the time I could surface, it was already half-full of water. I'm not sure exactly what caused the flood. I'm suspicious that it might have been the vacuum port, but we were unable to determine for sure. The main o-ring was damaged by the time it got back to Backscatter, but I quit taking much care with the housing following the flood and the damage easily could have happened afterwards.

 

This is the Aquatica vacuum system.

 

Insurance paid for replacing the camera and lens, and overhauling the housing. I'm just back from my first dive trip since the flood. Things worked OK, but I am still unhappy with this housing.

 

The strobe cables inside the housing can very easily come unplugged. I had one dive without functioning strobes, and twice more where my pre-dive check discovered that they wouldn't fire, so I had to open the housing, fix the cables, and re-seal it.

 

With the door hinged so that it barely opens more than 90 degress, one time the door slammed shut while I was working on the housing, chipping the plastic latch. It still works for now, but I can imagine that breaking it beyond repair.

 

-Mark

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The hinged back on the Aquatica seems to introduce more problems than it solves. Hope Aquatica is not going to use this design on future housings for D500 etc? Does anyone know if Aquatica is planning on using the hinged back for future housings such as the one they are likely to make for the D500 etc?

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