Underwater housing. Tips for beginners on how to use it correctly.

Underwater housing. Tips for beginners on how to use it correctly.

Underwater housing.

Underwater housing is designed for underwater photography with camera that is placed inside the body of the housing. For simplicity, we will look at underwater housing for digital cameras. Typically, housing is designed for a particular model of camera and even "very similar" models are not compatible due to another location of buttons and other controls. (When buying, be careful!)


The pressure at different depths is significantly different from surface pressures (every 10 meters immersion - is one atmosphere). But the internal volume of the underwater housing is practically unchanged, so the load on the plastic increases. For this reason, there is the concept of the maximum depth at which the box can be operated. It means that even a slight bump on the body of underwater housing at "maximum" depth may cause its destruction.


Scratches on the housing.

Try to avoid mechanical damage to the underwater housing. Most often this happens when the unit is strapped on the wrist, and you're in shallow water or on the coral reefs. In such situation do not let the housing out of your hand (unless your life depends on it).



In underwater housing there are so-called O-rings. (Usually there is one O-ring, but sometimes two, depending on underwater housing).

O-ring is usually located right on the cover in a special groove. The ring itself - a very important thing and must be handled very carefully.

So, when you buy a new underwater housing one O-ring is usually already on the regular place and lubricated with special silicone grease. A second (spare) lies in a separate bag along with a tube of lubricant.


You bought a new underwater housing?

My congratulations!

Before you start shooting underwater you need to figure out how will the housing behave at depth? Will it give any leaks or ruin an expensive camera?

The underwater housing check is very simple: make a dive with an empty housing, but before that put some tissue inside of it. If after the dive tissue stays dry – that means it is all good and good to go.


Before diving.

When closing the housing (and this must be done before diving in calm conditions) carefully (before closing the lid) inspect the O-ring "thoroughly" for the presence of fine lint, hair, sand grains, etc. Found "debris" must be removed (dry clean finger or the corner of a lint-free material). Now check O-ring for the presence of lubricant along the entire length. If somewhere the O-ring is "dry", you can add a little bit of silicone grease without taking the O-ring out of the groove and smoothen the excess with your finger.

Now carefully close the lid and snap lock it.

Next, you need to inspect the O-ring again while the housing is closed. If all goes well, you will see a thin strip of "flattened" ring around the perimeter.

Now be sure to test the functions of digital camera. Turn on the camera, make sure that all the main buttons work and the memory card is in place.

Before diving it is recommended to put your underwater housing in a bucket of water. Before the actual dive take out the housing from the bucket and check for any water inside, so in case of sudden depressurization you have a chance to save your expensive camera. (There were cases when the problem emerged only at 10 meters deep, at that point nobody can do much, unless you do an emergency ascend ...).


After diving.

After each dive, the housing must be washed in fresh water, shake lightly and wiped dry. When you open the housing, gently wipe the small droplets of water in the zone of contact between the O-ring, the lid and the body of the housing. To avoid any water getting trapped inside before the next dive.


Servicing an O-ring.

To remove O-ring and lubricate it, only recommended before continues series of dives (usually the first day of diving). Reason why is because, when lubricated O-ring stored between trips will still pick up the dust. Keeping underwater housing closed is not recommended, because the ring will get wrinkled.

If you still decide to change silicone grease - carefully remove the O-ring from the groove, without using sharp objects. The ring can be discarded if it has cracks or cut. The same applies to "stretch" O-ring, so when putting it back do not overdo it!

Wash your hands and wipe them dry. Using a lint-free cloth or tissue, remove the old grease. Do not put on the O-ring on the table – keep it in your hands. Squeeze a little bit of grease on index finger of your left hand. Put the O-ring on index finger, then press and hold it with left thumb. Now, pull the O-ring with your right hand through lubricated fingers, with this motion you will spread the grease evenly. After applying the lubricant put O-ring at a regular place.


Silicone Grease and sealing box

I would like to draw your attention that silicone grease does not affect the tightness of underwater housing, especially the amount of it! The main and only functionality of silicone grease is maintenance of O-ring in working order and to protect it from unnecessary friction and thus wear.


Entrance to water

The underwater housing is most vulnerable while doing a “Giant leap” entrance or similar methods. These can result in a snap of wrist strap, "penetration" of buttons seal (water immediately flows into housing). Also keep in mind you can damage the housing by hitting it against hard objects such as your buddy head or instructor tank etc.

In order to minimize these probabilities – first enter the water and then ask somebody on a dive boat to pass the housing to you. Well, if this variant is impossible (for example - drift), when entering the water, hold the housing in the left (slightly bent) arm above the head (but not over your head), so during the jump your underwater housing will experience minimal impact loads.

Immediately after, check the functionality of your camera and check for any water presence inside the housing. No water? - Well, thank God.


Have fun and take some wicked photos!

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