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Aquatech U/W Camera Housings
Tyler Barrick, Student/Intern, Photographer
Athens | OH | USA | Posted: 1:36 AM on 10.16.05
->> I was navigating through the Aquatech website and came across their surf housings. Quite a slick case for U/W photography...

Anyway, has anyone used the DV-3 Housing for the Canon digital or have an esitmate on what the housing would cost?


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Jonathan Hobbs, Photographer
Grand Junction | CO | USA | Posted: 12:31 PM on 10.16.05
->> They are the Ferrari of housings. According to the last price list they emailed me earlier this year the DV-3 is $2495, lens ports are anywhere from $250 to $525, and the pistol grip release is $395.
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Charlie Garcia, Photographer
Miami | FL | United States | Posted: 8:58 PM on 10.16.05
->> Aquatech's arnt worth the money IMO. SPL waterhousings or Del Mar's are just as good at a fraction of the price. Aquatech quoted me nearly $4,000 for a housing, pistol grip, and port for my D2H.

Sean at SPL quoted me $1500 for the same set up, a flash housing was another $500. The decision was simple when it came down to it.

BTW, Donald Miralle used an SPL to shoot swimming in the Olympics in Athens.
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Tyler Barrick, Student/Intern, Photographer
Athens | OH | USA | Posted: 9:47 PM on 10.16.05
->> Charlie,

Thanks for the info. I was able to see and help setup Donald's housing during the Sports Shooter Academy last February and was impressed with the construction and quality of the housing. Can't beat the price either.

I was curious about the DV-3 but with the price tag that it has, its not gonna happen anytime soon...


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Jonathan Hobbs, Photographer
Grand Junction | CO | USA | Posted: 9:55 PM on 10.16.05
->> I agree they have some very nice features but they are not worth the Ferrari price. I got an SPL and I don't regret it one bit. I got a housing, pistol grip, fisheye port and 70-200mm port with zoom control for around $2000, and you can't beat the customer service of SPL. For the same setup in an Aquatech it would have been over $4000 at the time (December '04). I've used the housing several times now for swimming locally as well as surfing and snorkleing in Tahiti and absolutely love it.
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Mike Isler, Photographer
Santa Barbara | CA | US | Posted: 1:26 AM on 10.17.05
->> I need to chip in here on this thread, since I own the DV-3 housing.

My DV-3 housing is fairly customized, with the removable DS-5 flash housing for the 550EX, as well as the pole shutter release. I have the 15mm fisheye port, as well as ports for the 16-35mm and 24-70mm, with zoom controls. My DS-5 flash housing has two backplates... one for use with just the flash, and one for use with a PocketWizard with or without the flash. With my MultiMAX, I can trigger flashes remotely, trigger the camera remotely (above water but in a wet environment), or use the camera in relay mode to remotely fire the camera then have it fire strobes. I also have 50' of water-pluggable triggering cable so I can remote-mount my camera underwater, similar to Miralle.

I have looked at many housings, since water photography is what I do. I have owned several, and have spoken to many photographers before making my decision. I owned housings for my F5 and D2H before switching to Canon, and the previous housings were made by Sea Research in Florida.

Here are some of the factors in my decision to go with AquaTech:
- User replaceable front elements. You can purchase an extra element for your lens ports... if one gets scratched or trashed in the field, you can simply swap in your new one in a matter of minutes and continue shooting. With housings from the other companies, elements are not user replaceable.
- Off-the-shelf accessories and ports. If I want a 70-200mm port, AquaTech can just pull one off the shelf and send it to me. Since all AquaTech housings come from computer-designed molds, they are all identical, so all ports are interchangeable. If I want a pistol-grip instead of my pole, they can just ship me one without me having to send out my housing to have it fitted. Sean P LaBrie (of SPL) makes his housings out of welded aluminum. They are all one-off, and there's no guarantee that two are identical. With AquaTech, they are all the same.
- Customer service. I have heard many things about some of the other camera housing makers, and most are just one-man shows. It can take a long time to have repairs or modifications done, and if you have a problem, it can take a long time to get things fixed. AquaTech maintains a rental and loaner inventory, so if my housing has to go into the shop, I can still have access to a housing.
- Ability to use my 1D or 1V (or EOS-3) in the housing. I have a $100 kit for my housing that I can swap out a baseplate and adapt my housing for film or digital in under 5 minutes. While they are a very similar shape, the 1V and the 1D are not interchangeable in most housings. With the DV-3 and the kit, they are. All controls remain in the same place, and everything remains familiar.

In the interest of disclosure, I spent 4 days at the AquaTech facility near Sydney, Australia, a few weeks ago. I looked over their manufacturing and fabrication processes and was quite impressed. Their company is not simply one man with a machine shop and some other tools, building housings in spare time. AquaTech has separate staff for customer service, billing, and fabrication, and also offers on-site assistant services... if one has a large shoot and wishes for an AquaTech rep to be on-site with spare parts and extra housings, that is available.

Yes, AquaTech housings are expensive... but Charlie, with AquaTech's D2H housing, you have many more features and controls than SPL's offerings. Wireless transmission capability, all buttons usable, off-the-shelf accessories and ports... you get a lot for your money.

What it all boils down to is judging what you need. Several of my fellow water photographers have started with housings from other manufacturers and have ended up with AquaTech products in the end....and there's a reason for that.

Mike Isler
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Thread Title: Aquatech U/W Camera Housings
Thread Started By: Tyler Barrick
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