AquaTech Underwater Housing

Canon 5D Mark II

In a previous post I reviewed underwater point-and-shoot cameras. The cameras from Olympus and Panasonic were a lot of fun but lacked the control most serious photographers would want.

Point-and-shoots are easy to carry and easy to use  and that portability comes at a price though, they have relatively slow shutter reaction, no detachable lenses, can’t shoot in RAW format… I could go on.

So how do you shoot underwater and still keep the control?  Well the solution is simple – take the Canon 5D Mark II under water with a case from AquaTech. I decided to take one out for a test-drive!

It was a sunny weekday afternoon when UPS unexpectedly dropped off the underwater casing so I called Brynlee and asked her how well she could hold her breath,  “I can do it!  But, can I keep my nose plugged?” she asked.

“Unfortunately you cannot touch your nose,” I explained.

There was a long pause, “I can do it!” she promised.

So off we went to shoot in an outdoor swimming pool and just try some things out.

When we showed up we realized the pool was extremely cloudy from a recent water treatment.  The water was completely safe, just cloudy for another day or so.  This technical problem is easily solved when you have control over your equipment and the AquaTech underwater casing allowed me to have access to nearly EVERY necessary button on my 5D Mark II while underwater. The water visibility was less than 6 feet, give or take, so the camera controls got a very good test since I had to change everything from shutter speed, aperture, ISO, auto-focus point and pretty much every other setting you can think of.

It was a weird experience changing these without actually toughing the camera and  I realized something interesting…

I actually don’t consciously know how to change many of the settings use all the time.  I actually couldn’t remember how to change the shutter speed… my hands just knew how to do it when I was holding my camera but at this second I wasn’t actually holding my camera directly so I had to stop, and think hard about how I normally changed the shutter-speed.  After I got over that barrier the controls became much easier, but it gave me some food for thought about the necessity of really knowing your equipment.  I think it’s a good sign when you know your equipment well enough that you work with it on a completely sub-conscious level… reserving the rest of your brain-power for the idea at hand.

I do have two (very, very small) complaints, one, you can’t manually focus and two the casing makes the camera a bit bulky but there is a very nice bonus – if you drop the camera, it floats!

Here are a handful of finished images from the shoot (retouched in Lightroom and Photoshop).

This was just a preliminary test but I am seriously, seriously tempted to add one of these to my permanent collection of equipment, I’ll be posting some additional results in the coming weeks!  If you’re interested on current pricing and additional specs visit B&H Photo online.