In the previous articles I primarily discussed shooting underwater digital stills. But I actually shoot both video and digital stills, both for pleasure and for my work, and since underwater video technology has been around longer than digital stills there are currently a number of excellent video housings available and more manufacturers are bringing digital still housings to the market.
My personal choice for both video and digital still housings is Light & Motion Industries. For video, I use a Sony VX 2000 3 chip camera in a Light & Motion Blue Fin VX2000.
To see some samples of videos created with this gear please
The reason that I prefer Light & Motion products is that they provide a totally integrated solution to underwater imaging. As you can see from the above image the housing and the lighting elements are combined in an elegant solution. The battery pods (using NiMH rechargeable batteries) are aerodynamically integrated into the main housing body AND they can be easily removed for maintenance. Light & Motion lighting solution, which is available on all of their housings, is the thing that really separates them from the competition. As a matter of fact, many divers who purchase another brand of housing will also buy Light & Motion lights, which can be modified for most of the major housings out there.
All camera controls are available, most through infrared handle controls, and others are manually adjustable. The ability to shoot totally in manual mode is critical in obtaining the best video and all situations.
Light & Motion also provides the finest Optics available and their new UWA 100 lens provides both super wide angle and macro in the same lens. They also have several choices in external monitors. The Blue Fin is also available for the Sony V900 series cameras.
I also use a Light & Motion Mako housing. This housing is designed for the Sony PC110, 110,115,and 120 cameras. The housing is very small, compact, and light and is based on the same revolutionary design as the BlueFin. The housing is so easy to use that you can actually shoot topside images with the camera in the housing. This is great for taking shots on a skiff or small dive boat as you head out to a dive site.
Again my choice for digital still housings is Light & Motion. Unlike other manufacturers, Light & Motion has been the leader in bringing the highest quality and most versatile digital still housings to the market. Others are now making housings but Light & Motion is the leader in this area.
Always visionary Light & Motion broke new ground with its Tetra for the Olympus 3000 series cameras. I use the Tetra with an Olympus 3030 and models are available for the 3030, 3040, and 4040 cameras. Every camera control is accessible and there are ports for one or two strobe units. The housing is virtually indestructible and really fun to use. As with their video products, high quality optics is another aspect of the Tetra system. One of the most remarkable options is the Wetmate lens system.
This system actually allows you to change lenses underwater. The housing comes with a standard port with a threaded mount to which you can add the 100-degree wide-angle lens or the macro lens anytime during your dive. You can zoom entirely through the wide-angle lens with no distortion.
The most recent additions to my visual arsenal is the Olympus E20 5 megapixel SLR and the Light & Motion Titan. This system brings an affordable professional system to the market. High quality optics, access to all camera functions, and total strobe capacity makes this my housing of choice for all my professional level work.
The most innovative aspect of the new Titan is the ROC. ROC is a revolutionary new strobe control device that is built into the Titan Housing, which allows the user to obtain up to 12 manual power levels on most common TTL compatible strobes. One or two strobes can be attached to the Titan housing by using either a Nikonos or Wetlink bulkhead. Power levels for each strobe can be matched evenly or set independently of one another, allowing the user the flexibility to deal with complex underwater lighting situations. Fingertip strobe control is located via push buttons on Titan IR handles and allows for 12 manual adjustments. Also included is a conveniently located LED Panel that informs the user of current strobe setting. ROC is bringing strobe control and housing integration to a new level.
These products are my personal choices for my work but there are lots of great products out there and a little research will allow you to make an informed decision as to which housing / camera combination will work for you.
Links to other housing manufacturers: