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newdiver

Seafrogs Sony A7C Housing

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Hi, I have been waiting for a cheaper alternative for the A7c housing because Nauticam is out of budget for casual divers like myself. I am wondering if anyone has played around with the Seafrog's housing and how does it compare with their A7 line up of housing in-terms of size and if it is really close to their A6xxx line?

I currently have an A7III in Seafrongs housing but prefer to carry something smaller.

https://seafrogs.com.hk/collections/latest-arrival/products/sony-a7c-seafrogs-40m-130ft-waterproof-housing

Edited by newdiver
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I don't think you'll save much in terms of size and weight - SeaFrogs housings tend to be pretty bulky, and they have the dimensions for this one right there on the page at 20cm wide by 15cm tall. It does look like an improved design, with a side-mounted shutter trigger to use with tray handles, locking metal hinge clasps, and an optical bulkhead in lieu of an electrical sync port, but those are very incremental things. If you're currently shooting your A7 III with a dome, you will probably drop more bulk and weight (and gain image quality) by switching to the 28-60mm lens with the appropriate port and a WWL-1.

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I did some further investigation, though there is a difference but it isn't a lot, I was hoping it will be the a6xxx size. I have only used the a7iii on one liveaboard trip and I didn't have strobes with me. The result from the a7iii with 16-35mm f4 in 6" dome port is not what I was expecting and it was partly due to the fact that I was mainly shooting at f8 without a strobe. It seems the 16-35mm needs to be stopped down to achieve sharper images.

I have been thinking about my setup prior to my next diving trip hopefully in early 2022. The a7c combo with 28-60mm and the Nauticam wet lens has been a consideration but the housing has been keeping me back, since forking out the sort of money Nauticam is asking for is difficult to justify for me.

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If you're shooting natural light, strobes will make a world of difference, far more than any combination of housing, port and lens.

For the reference, I just checked the dimensions on my A6xxx housing, and it's just about 20cm wide by 15cm tall by 13cm deep (without port), so pretty close to that new A7C one. I've had my housing next to a SeaFrogs A7 III one on my last trip, and the difference in sizes is minimal - A7 cameras are pretty small to begin with, main difference being the viewfinder hump on top.

Edited by Barmaglot

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I have since bought two inon z330s and optical cables, though I haven't tried them yet but will get to it one day. In the meantime I am questioning the whole setup due to its bulk as it was difficult fitting the dome port into the cabin suitcase on a domestic flight. I am thinking it will be even more of a challenge on international flights. 

Actually Seafrogs have identical measurements for the a6xxx and the a7c housing.

  • Width: 20cm (7.8")
  • Height: 15cm (5.9")
  • Length: 18cm (7")
  • Weight: ±1356 GR (2.9 LBS

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4 minutes ago, newdiver said:

I have since bought two inon z330s and optical cables, though I haven't tried them yet but will get to it one day.

How are you planning to trigger them? Did you replace the sync plug on the housing with an optical bulkhead, or were you planning to use them with another housing?

5 minutes ago, newdiver said:

In the meantime I am questioning the whole setup due to its bulk as it was difficult fitting the dome port into the cabin suitcase on a domestic flight.

Dome port size is a function of the lens and sensor; A7C will use the exact same domes as any other full-frame camera. If you want to avoid large domes while shooting wide-angle, you need either fisheye (but choices are limited on the Sony platform, and even more so with SeaFrogs) or wet lenses. The SeaFrogs A7C housing comes with a new port for the 28-60mm lens - it is not listed as available for ordering independently, but it's possible that they'll sell you one if you ask. With the 28-60mm lens and a flat port, you can run WWL-1/B, which is considerably more compact than a dome, and will give you better image quality, particularly in comparison with a 6-inch dome on full-frame.

11 minutes ago, newdiver said:

I am thinking it will be even more of a challenge on international flights. 

Actually international flights are more relaxed about carry-on size and weight than domestic ones - for one thing, the overhead bins on long-haul airliners tend to be considerably bigger than on regional jets or turboprops.

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11 hours ago, newdiver said:

Hi, I have been waiting for a cheaper alternative for the A7c housing because Nauticam is out of budget for casual divers like myself. I am wondering if anyone has played around with the Seafrog's housing and how does it compare with their A7 line up of housing in-terms of size and if it is really close to their A6xxx line?

I currently have an A7III in Seafrongs housing but prefer to carry something smaller.

https://seafrogs.com.hk/collections/latest-arrival/products/sony-a7c-seafrogs-40m-130ft-waterproof-housing

I've had the housing for the A6xxx and id say the quality isn't something that will last as long as nauticams aluminium housings. it is though a very similar size to the a7c housing so is slightly bigger than a compact housing but it depends on your budget as sea frogs is great if your only doing a few dives but make sure to get the vacuumed pump but if you have the budget either go second hand or push up to something like ikelite for the better protection of your camera.

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I have used but never reviewed a Seafrogs housing for Sony A7R IV with both flat and dome ports. Like the Olympus housings of past they are rated to recreational diving limits of 40 meters which works for many. 

The new smaller A7C design looks quite robust at the price point and I like the double lock system over the rotary cam system. Also like the trigger pull over the up/down trigger press. Does not appear this housing works with the pistol grip for surf photography. 

I also would recommend the vacuum system. The housing includes a optical flash trigger which works like a small strobe rather than setting off two LED lights like many glass triggers. I am sure this will reduce battery life. If I were buying I would order the $670.00US version for Sony 28-60 and then add the 90mm macro port. Both have the 67mm threads so wet optics can be used. Ikelite does not appear to offer a 28-60 port at this time. 

On the Seafrofa.hk web site in the blog they have a visual comparison with the SF housing for A7R III against the A7C housing for those who want to see the size difference.

This is an extremely competitively priced full frame system V. sub-FF offerings.

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42 minutes ago, Phil Rudin said:

The housing includes a optical flash trigger which works like a small strobe rather than setting off two LED lights like many glass triggers. I am sure this will reduce battery life.

AFAIK that trigger has its own built-in battery, so it doesn't touch the camera battery. The use of a strobe bulb rather than a LED is probably advantageous in triggering strobes that need a strong signal to fire (e.g. YS-D3), but unfortunately its recycle time precludes most burst shooting.

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7 hours ago, Jacobguymedia said:

I've had the housing for the A6xxx and id say the quality isn't something that will last as long

Yes, I already own their a7iii housing and quality isn't there for serious technical drivers, the rating is only 40 meters.

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4 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

 I also would recommend the vacuum system. The housing includes a optical flash trigger which works like a small strobe rather than setting off two LED lights like many glass triggers. I am sure this will reduce battery life. If I were buying I would order the $670.00US version for Sony 28-60 and then add the 90mm macro port. Both have the 67mm threads so wet optics can be used. Ikelite does not appear to offer a 28-60 port at this time. 

On the Seafrofa.hk web site in the blog they have a visual comparison with the SF housing for A7R III against the A7C housing for those who want to see the size difference.

This is an extremely competitively priced full frame system V. sub-FF offerings.

I have the vacuum from the a7iii housing. I also have the UWTechnics's TTL converter for a7iii housing that I haven't yet installed, not sure if this will work with the A7c housing. 

I also have the macro port, I actually have most of the bits and pieces as I have been buying them for the a7iii. And now that an affordable A7c housing is available, I am keen on buying the A7c setup with the wwl-b lens from Nauticam. But not sure if it will be a wise move to get a more compact setup and also get better photo and video quality. 

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29 minutes ago, newdiver said:

I have the vacuum from the a7iii housing. I also have the UWTechnics's TTL converter for a7iii housing that I haven't yet installed, not sure if this will work with the A7c housing. 

I also have the macro port, I actually have most of the bits and pieces as I have been buying them for the a7iii. And now that an affordable A7c housing is available, I am keen on buying the A7c setup with the wwl-b lens from Nauticam. But not sure if it will be a wise move to get a more compact setup and also get better photo and video quality. 

With the WWL setup you need  to be sure that the port for the 28-60 lens fits well.  If it is too far from the port glass you will need to zoom and lose some of the field of view due to vignetting.   The port can work fine  for the bare lens but can cause vignetting if the spacing to the lens is too far.

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2 hours ago, newdiver said:

I also have the UWTechnics's TTL converter for a7iii housing that I haven't yet installed, not sure if this will work with the A7c housing. 

As-is, it won't - the main board will fit, as it slots in place of the leak detector that is ubiquitous in SeaFrogs/Meikon housings, but the A7 version uses an optical bulkhead with an integrated LED that replaces the wired sync port in the housing, which is not there for A7C. There are no interior shots of the A7C housings on SeaFrogs website, but since it has the optical ports pointing upwards, I suspect that it uses the same reflector part inside as the A6xxx housing, and the LED board from the A6xxx version of UW-Technics converter should fit.

2 hours ago, newdiver said:

And now that an affordable A7c housing is available, I am keen on buying the A7c setup with the wwl-b lens from Nauticam. But not sure if it will be a wise move to get a more compact setup and also get better photo and video quality.  

As Phil has kindly pointed out, there is a size comparison between A7 III and A7C housings here. To me, the difference seems very small, especially in light of the rest of the gear that you need to pack, and certainly not worth paying for a new camera body and housing, but ultimately it's your call. The 28-60mm lens, port, and WWL should be just as usable on your existing A7 III as they would be on the A7C.

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2 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

With the WWL setup you need  to be sure that the port for the 28-60 lens fits well.  If it is too far from the port glass you will need to zoom and lose some of the field of view due to vignetting.   The port can work fine  for the bare lens but can cause vignetting if the spacing to the lens is too far.

Yes, I need to find out the figures to work out the exact distance.

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18 minutes ago, Barmaglot said:

As-is, it won't - the main board will fit, as it slots in place of the leak detector that is ubiquitous in SeaFrogs/Meikon housings, but the A7 version uses an optical bulkhead with an integrated LED that replaces the wired sync port in the housing, which is not there for A7C. There are no interior shots of the A7C housings on SeaFrogs website, but since it has the optical ports pointing upwards, I suspect that it uses the same reflector part inside as the A6xxx housing, and the LED board from the A6xxx version of UW-Technics converter should fit.

As Phil has kindly pointed out, there is a size comparison between A7 III and A7C housings here. To me, the difference seems very small, especially in light of the rest of the gear that you need to pack, and certainly not worth paying for a new camera body and housing, but ultimately it's your call. The 28-60mm lens, port, and WWL should be just as usable on your existing A7 III as they would be on the A7C.

Thanks to everyone for their valuable input. I checked UStechnics website again and you are right it won't fit as is, however if the optical port can be removed, it can be replaced with the UWtechnics one?

You are right in that size wise it doesn't seem that slim, however the a7c features such as gyro stabilization and 60P in 4k is of interest to me and like you said whether or not the investment is worth it I am not sure.

I have asked UWtechnics for their input on the TTL converter and let's see what they come back with.

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56 minutes ago, newdiver said:

Thanks to everyone for their valuable input. I checked UStechnics website again and you are right it won't fit as is, however if the optical port can be removed, it can be replaced with the UWtechnics one?

Again, I'm not 100% certain on this, as I haven't seen the insides of the A7C housing, so I'm basing it off my A6xxx Salted Line housing. Since the camera pop-up flash on A6000 through A6500 fires forward, and the fiber optic windows on the housing face upwards, there is a 45-degree reflector inside, meant to redirect the pop-up flash light into the fiber optic cables. This reflector is held on with two really tiny screws. In the SeaFrogs blog post with the size comparison, on the front view, you can see the edge of a rectangular black part through the top of the port opening - I'm pretty sure that's the back side of the same reflector.

At any rate, the UW-Technics TTL converter for SeaFrogs A6xxx comes with a little board that has two LEDs on it - when you install the converter, you remove the two tiny screws holding the reflector in place and use them to attach this board in place of the reflector; the two LEDs point right into the fiber optic ports. If the A7C housing uses the same reflector design as the A6xxx one, then the same LED board should fit; if it uses a different part that has the mounting holes spaced closer or wider apart, and/or fiber optic windows in a different spot, then you will need to have Pavel make you a custom board.

Another possible pitfall is cable lengths - you need them to be long enough to reach the camera hot shoe and the LED windows from wherever it is that SeaFrogs decided to place the leak detector board in this housing.

Unlike the A7 housing, you do not need to replace the external part with the fiber optic plugs (this thing) - all the changes happen on the inside of the housing.

1 hour ago, newdiver said:

You are right in that size wise it doesn't seem that slim, however the a7c features such as gyro stabilization and 60P in 4k is of interest to me and like you said whether or not the investment is worth it I am not sure.

OSS/IBIS is less important when you shoot with strobes, as they tend to do a good job of freezing motion. 4K/60P is nice, I suppose, but are you that heavily into video to make use of it?

 

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On 9/26/2021 at 1:46 PM, Barmaglot said:

Again, I'm not 100% certain on this, as I haven't seen the insides of the A7C housing,

Unlike the A7 housing, you do not need to replace the external part with the fiber optic plugs (this thing) - all the changes happen on the inside of the housing.

OSS/IBIS is less important when you shoot with strobes, as they tend to do a good job of freezing motion. 4K/60P is nice, I suppose, but are you that heavily into video to make use of it?

 

The inside of the a7c housing is exactly as the a6xxx line up and I have confirmed this with Seafrogs. However if I go with the a7c housing, this means my UWtechnics converter will become redundant since it can't be used for the a7c housing. 

I actually got the info wrong on the a7c being capable of 4k/60P and it is not, it is similar to a7iii and can only do 30P. Gyro stabilization is only for video.

I am also thinking if I can get the 28-60 port for the a7 housing and then getting the wwl-1B. However as @ChrisRoss mentioned not sure of the distance from the glass with the Seafrogs's setup.

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8 hours ago, newdiver said:

The inside of the a7c housing is exactly as the a6xxx line up and I have confirmed this with Seafrogs. However if I go with the a7c housing, this means my UWtechnics converter will become redundant since it can't be used for the a7c housing. 

If it uses the same mount for the reflector, then you can use the UW-Technics converter, all you need is to get the A6xxx LED board, which is a very simple part with two LEDs.

8 hours ago, newdiver said:

I am also thinking if I can get the 28-60 port for the a7 housing and then getting the wwl-1B. However as @ChrisRoss mentioned not sure of the distance from the glass with the Seafrogs's setup.

The new port that's been released with A7C housing is made specifically for the 28-60mm lens. The A7(R)III housing uses the same camera positioning in the housing. I see no reason why the 28-60mm port would have any fitting issues on the other A7 series housings with the same port mount.

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Seafrogs.hk has now posted a video for the A7C housing operation which gives a better look at the housing. Among other things in the last few seconds you can see that the lens at 28mm seems to come pretty close in the inside of the port glass for use with WWL-1/1B. It looks about the same as the lens at 28mm inside the Nauticam port. 

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On 9/28/2021 at 7:35 AM, Barmaglot said:

If it uses the same mount for the reflector, then you can use the UW-Technics converter, all you need is to get the A6xxx LED board, which is a very simple part with two LEDs.

The new port that's been released with A7C housing is made specifically for the 28-60mm lens. The A7(R)III housing uses the same camera positioning in the housing. I see no reason why the 28-60mm port would have any fitting issues on the other A7 series housings with the same port mount.

Do you know where one can get the LED board other than UWtechnics? I am keen on this experiment.

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6 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

Seafrogs.hk has now posted a video for the A7C housing operation which gives a better look at the housing. Among other things in the last few seconds you can see that the lens at 28mm seems to come pretty close in the inside of the port glass for use with WWL-1/1B. It looks about the same as the lens at 28mm inside the Nauticam port. 

Yes Phil, I saw that too and it will hopefully work with WWL-1B. Is a WL the best setup for wide angle? I am assuming it is improved performance over a dome for both photo and video?

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3 hours ago, newdiver said:

Do you know where one can get the LED board other than UWtechnics? I am keen on this experiment.

It's a custom part; contact Pavel.

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On 11/4/2021 at 2:27 PM, Barmaglot said:

For what it's worth, I just checked SeaFrogs website, and the 28-60mm port is now available as a separate part, $90 with zoom gear included.

https://seafrogs.com.hk/collections/flat-ports/products/flat-short-port-for-sony-fe-28-60mm-f4-5-6-lens-autofocus-only-zoom-gear-included

 

Yes, I have one on order, though I don't have the lens yet :) 

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