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Best DSLR Housings For Surf Photography

Best DSLR Housings For Surf Photography

Introduction

CANON housings
NIKON housings

Budget/Universal DSLR housings

FAQ / Q&A / Dome Care

(To be updated..)

Photographing the surf is probably one of the most challenging yet rewarding fields out there.

Getting into surf photography requires a fair amount of dedication. Knowing how the surf works and the basics of photography doesn’t take too much of an effort to learn, especially when you’re interested in it. Capturing photos in this ever-changing environment you are guaranteed to get some really unique shots!

Anyways,

Hat’s off to all the surf photographers out there, capturing those extremely awesome shots in the surf!

TERMS

  • DSLR – Digital Single-Lens Reflex camera
  • Full Frame – 36 x 24mm sensor (Same as 35mm cameras). It has more than 2.5x times larger surface area of an APC-C sensor.
  • Half-Frame (APC-C) – Cropped Sensor 22 x 15mm sensor (Most entry-level and mid range DSLR’s)
  • APS C – Advanced Photo System type-C. (C stand for classic)
  • Dome port – Round shaped lens cover that allows to take 50-50 shots
  • Waterproof housing – A case that’s totally proof, generally used for taking underwater shots
  • CSC – Mirrorless camera

 


Best DSLR domes for surf photography

Down here you’ll find a list of reasonably priced yet decent rigid underwater housings for the most known DSLR’s out there UNDER the $1000 mark! Most of them vary from 300-600 USD, but a fair amount of pro-gear is around 1500USD.

Entry level brands:
Sea Frogs
Polaroid
PULUZ

High-end brands:
Ikelite

Besides using the cameras in the surf, the domes can be used in snowy, rainy or dusty environments to get some nice extreme weather shots!

Read more about the waterproof housing Q&A down below


CANON
Waterproof Housings

Models reviewed: 80D / EOS 5D Mark III / EOS 550D / T5I (650D) / T4I (700D)


 

Canon 80D
Waterproof case by Sea Frogs

Canon 80D is a mid-range 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor digital camera released in 2016

$569

Specifactions

  • Professional waterproof case for Canon 80D
  • Case net weight: 1268 grams
  • Compatible with: 18-135 lens
  • Materials: Polycarbonate, Abs plastic, clear plate glass, stainless steel, EPDM rubber
  • Recommended temperature range: 0 – 40°C / 32’F – 104’F

Features

  • Each housing is tested individually to prevent any leakage
  • Perfect experience: It can be connected to flash, fill-in light, handle and other devices
  • Provides 360-degree full protection for your camera
  • 24-month warranty and 30-Days money back guarantee
  • Dustproof, anti-staining fingerprint, easy cleaning
  • Clear view of the camera’s information and control functions
  • Spring-loaded “O” ring seal
  • 1/4″ tripod screw on the bottom
  • Every key of inside can be pressed to control freely as you want

Attention before use:

  • Check whether good of performance before use by closing the waterproof case and hold in underwater at least 200mm deep with 5 minutes
  • Check for sand and dust inside of case
  • Make sure there’s no water inside before putting the camera inside – any moisture inside can create moisture inside of the cam
  • Before closing the case, please coat around the joint (O-ring seal) with the lubricant grease to get the good sealed

Order from AMAZON

 


 

Canon EOS-5D Mark III
Waterproof case by PULUZ

Canon EOS 5D (Mark 3) is a professional grade full frame 22.3 megapixel DSLR released in 2012.

Puluz $530

Specifications

  • Professional waterproof case for Canon EOS-5D Mark III
  • Materials: PC, Optical glass, Stainless steel, EPDA rubber O’Ring
  • Compatible with: 24-105mm lens
  • Operating Temperature: 0-40 Degree C / 32- 104’F
  • Waterproof Level: 130ft / 40m
  • Weight: 1715 g

Packing List:

1 x Waterproof Case
1 x Neck Strap
1 x Hand Strap
1 x O-ring Seal
1 x Cleaning Cloth
1 x User Manual

About PULUZ:

PULUZ is specialized in products development and sales for accessories of Cameras and Camcorders – Providing the best product
If you have any question of our products and service, please feel free contact us.
With your trust and support, we can do better in the future.

Warranty:

12-month worry-free product guarantee and return/replacement within 30 days after receiving for every purchase from PULUZ.

 

Buy from AMAZON

 


 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III / Mark IV
By Sea Frogs

Sea Frogs $543

 

 

Specifications

  • Professional waterproof diving case for Canon EOS 5D Mark 3, Canon EOS 5D Mark 4
  • Compatible lens: 24-105mm
  • Material: PC, Optical glass, Stainless, EPDA rubber, rubber O-ring seal
  • Waterproof depth: 40m (130ft)
  • Weight: 1715 g
  • Operation temperature: 0℃-40℃ / 32 – 105′ F

Features

  • Inbuilt leak detection sensor & Dual fiber-optic ports.
  • Hi-Impact polycarbonate housing
  • User buttons are labelled on housing, same like working on the camera itself
  • Lens mold Polishing proceeding
  • Images Transfer mirrored LCD View Panel
  • We promise to guarantee repairs within a year

Package Includes:

1 x Underwater housing
1 x Flash diffuser
1 x Cleaning cloth
1 x Silicone grease(5ml)
1 x User manual

Buy from AMAZON
Accessories: Wide Angle Dome Port

 


 

Canon 5D Mark III
By POLAROID

Polaroid $500

Specifications

  • High Impact, clear polycarbonate case
  • Photo viewing glass
  • Cold shoe lighting mount
  • Useable up to 35 Meters (100’ft)
  • Easily accessible knobs and controls to use all camera functions

Contents

  • Housing – High impact clear polycarbonate case
  • Manual
  • Hand Strap
  • Neck Strap
  • O Ring & Water Sealing Lubricant

Note: Image shown above may vary slightly from actual product shipped depending on model.

Buy from AMAZON

 


 

Canon T5I (650D) / T4I (700D)
By Polaroid

Specifications

  • Professional underwater diving port for Canon 650D/700D
  • Compatible with 18-55 lens
  • Useable up to 35 meters / 100′ ft

Features

  • Protects your camera out of water and moisture in muddy, dusty, snowy and rainy conditions
  • Photo viewing glass
  • Cold shoe lighting mount
  • Easily accessible knobs and controls to use all camera functions

Contents

  • Housing – High impact clear polycarbonate case
  • Manual
  • Hand Strap
  • Neck Strap
  • O-Ring
  • Water sealing lubricant

Order from AMAZON

 


 

Canon T2I / EOS 550D
By Polaroid

Canon EOS 550D is a entry-level/mid range half-frame 18-megapixel DSLR released in 2010

Polaroid $380

Specifications

  • Professional diving port for Canon EOS 550D (T2I)
  • Compatible with 18-55mm lens
  • Waterproof raiting 35 m / 100 ft

Features

  • Cold shoe lighting mount
  • Photo quality viewing glass
  • Protects your camera out of water, muddy, dusty, snowy and rainy conditions
  • Easily accessible knobs and controls to use all camera functions

Contents

1 x Housing – High impact clear polycarbonate case
1 x Manual
1 x Hand Strap
1 x Neck Strap
1 x O Ring & Water Sealing Lubricant

 

Buy from AMAZON


More models for Canon 70D & T3I by Polaroid are currently unavailable.


NIKON

Models reviewed:  D500 / D750 / D810 / D5500 / D5600 / D7000 / D7100 / D7200


 

D7000
By Polaroid

Nikon D7000 is a mid-high range APS-C sensor 16.2 megapixel camera released in 2010

Specifications

Professional diving port for Nikon D7000

Features

$230USD
  • Photo Quality Viewing Glass Cold Shoe Lighting Mount
  • Useable up to 35M / 100ft
  • Access to all the knobs and controls

Contents:

  • Housing – high impact clear polycarbonate case
  • Photo quality viewing glass
  • Cold shoe lighting mount
  • Manual
  • Hand Strap
  • Neck Strap
  • O Ring
  • Water sealing lubricant

 

  • Please Note: Image shown above may vary slightly from actual product shipped depending on model.

 

Buy from AMAZON


See more for D7000
Sea Frogs $469 from AMAZON
Meike $455 + shipping MEIKE.COM


 

D7100
By Polaroid

$310USD

Specifications

  • Photo Quality Viewing Glass Cold Shoe Lighting Mount
  • Useable upto 35 Meters (100′)
  • Protects Your Camera Out Of Water From Mud, Dust, Snow And Rain
  • Easy Accessible Knobs And Controls To Use All Camera Functions

Contents

  • Housing – high impact clear polycarbonate case
  • Photo quality viewing glass
  • Cold shoe lighting mount
  • Manual
  • Hand Strap
  • Neck Strap
  • O Ring & Water Sealing Lubricant

Please Note: Image shown above may vary slightly from actual product shipped depending on model

Buy from AMAZON

See the model from Sea Frogs ($479) from AMAZON


 

D7200
By Polaroid

Specifications

  • Water resistant up to 40 m / 130 ft
  • Temperature: 10-40’C / 50 – 104’F
  • Compatible with 18-55mm lens
  • Material: Polycarbonate, ABS plastic clear plate glass, stainless steel, EPDM rubber

Features

  • “O” ring sealed with spring-loaded
  • Clear view the camera information and control function
  • 1/4″tripod screw on the bottom
  • Dustproof, anti-staining fingerprint, easy cleaning
  • Transparent hard plastic material and waterproof

Notes

  • Before closing the case, please coat around the joint with the lubricant grease to get the good sealing effect
  • When underwater over 25-30 meters, there’s a rate to appear that the buttons on case can’t be pressed well and easily

Currently unavailable by Polaroid

Alternative, high end model for both 7100 and 7200 is available by Ikelite


 

NIKON D750
By Sea Frogs

Specifications

$599
  • Designed for Nikon D750
  • Underwater rating: 60M / 200 ft
  • Compatible lenses: Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM / Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM / 
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G / AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR

Features

  • It can be connected to flash, fill-in light, handle and other devices
  • Each housing is tested individually to prevent any accidents
  • Provides 360-degree full protection for your camera
  • Perfect for rainy, snowy, windy, dust or muddy conditions
  • All of waterproof housing are backed by 24-month warranty and 30 days money back guarantee

Features

  • ABS plastic polycarbonate waterproof case
  • Clear plate glass
  • Stainless steel
  • EPDM rubber
  • O’ring sealed buttons with spring loaded mechanism to protect your camera properly
  • Dual Optical cable connector
  • Can mount Seafrogs wet lens dome port
  • Camera tray mount connectors
  • Underwater hot shoe base mount

Package Includes:

  • Underwater housing for D750
  • Wrist strap
  • Shoulder strap
  • Spare O’ring
  • User manual

Order from AMAZON

 


 

Nikon D500
By Sea Frogs

$529

Specification

  • Professionally designed for Nikon D500
  • Ideal for shooting water-activities photos like surfing, snorkeling or diving under water 40 meters,it can also be used under rainy, snowy, windy, dust or muddy circumstance.
  • Underwater rating: 60 M / 200′ ft (Waterproof grade IPX8)
  • Temperature range: 0-40°C (32-104°F)
  • Suitable lenses: Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | A Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM
  • Materials: Polycarbonate ABS plastic Clear plate glass Stainless steel EPDM rubber O’ring
  • Dual Optical cable connectors

Features

  • Each housing is tested individually to prevent any accidents
  • It can be connected to flash, fill-in light, handle and other devices
  • Provides 360-degree full protection for your camera giving an unprecedented shooting experience
  • Backed by 24-Month Warranty and 30 Days Money Back Guarantee
  • Waterproofing:Seal(crimp-type O-ring)
  • Dual Optical cable connectors
  • Can mount Seafrogs wet lens dome port
  • Camera tray mount connectors
  • Underwater hot shoe base mount

Package Including:

  • 1 x Waterproof underwater case
  • 1 x Spare O-ring
  • 1 x Neck strip
  • 1 x Wrist strip
  • 1 x User manual

IMPORTANT 

  • Please remove any protection filter that is installed on your camera, as well as any additional grip, before inserting the camera inside underwater housing

Order from AMAZON

 


 

D810
By Sea Frogs

$570

Specifications

  • Professionally designed for Nikon D810
  • Waterproof: 40 meters/130 ft

Features

  • Can be connected to flash, fill-in light, handle and other devices
  • Provides 360-degree full protection for your camera
  • 24-Month Warranty and 30 Days Money Back Guarantee.

Attention before use:

  • Check whether good of performance first
  • Check whether have sand and dust inside of case
  • Must close the waterproof case and put it into underwater at least 200mm deep with 5 minutes on condition of disassemble
  • Make sure there’s have no water inside the case before entering
  • Use the oil included to grease the O-ring before closing the case each time

Precautionary Measure:

  • Use a large number of fresh water (running water or drinking water) to thoroughly clean the outside of the waterproof shell before opening
  • Higher than 40°C will damage waterproof
  • Make sure the whole case is locked before going into the water, including the safety lock device
  • Gently dry the case after rinsing it through with clean water to avoid any stratches
  • Vestigital seawater will lead to corrosion metal parts equipment, it will affect button, two hinges and safety lock device
  • Use soft and clean fabric to clean equipment inside.

Package Includes:

1 x waterproof case for Nikon D810 Camera
1 x Cloth
1 x Neck strap
1 x Hand strap
1 x O-ring
1 x Water sealing lubricant grease
1 x English manual
1 x Original package

Buy from AMAZON

 


 

D5500 / D5600
By Ikelite

$1430

Specifications

Waterproof rating: 60m / 200ft

Features

  • Controls are not provided for Diopter Adjustment Control or Flash Mode/Compensation Button
  • Ikelite bulkhead connector with built-in TTL circuitry
  • Slightly negative buoyancy in fresh water
  • 2 year limited warranty
  • All important camera functions are accessible
  • Ikelite bulkhead connector with built-in TTL circuitry

In the box

  • Housing
  • Rear o-ring #0132.59
  • Base with dual quick release handles #4077.68
  • Port hole cover #0200.91
  • Waterproof bulkhead cap #9104.5
  • Universal zoom set up to 2.8-inch diameter #5509.27
  • Universal zoom set 2.8 to 3.0-inch diameter #5509.28
  • Silicone lubricant 1cc tube

Read more from AMAZON

 


Best Budget DSLR housings

There is a cheap and easy way getting into surf photography if you’d like to give it a try first. Waterproof bags for DSLRs, which cost under 100$ . This set-up might look a bit dodgy, but does the trick in low to medium surf conditions. Suits all DSLR’s models alike.

DiCaPac WP-S5 – Small
DiCaPac WP-S10 – Large

I would not recommend anything less than the DiCaPac when getting a “plastic bag” casing. The only con with DiCaPac is that you have to remove the lens before entering the camera inside the bag. A body-cap must be close-by at all times if you don’t want any dust particles droppin in the camera or the lens.

How to use it?

  1. Install the body cap
  2. Place the camera inside the bag
  3. Hold the bag upside down
  4. Remove the body cap
  5. Add the lens
  6. Before closing the bag, make sure there’s not too much air inside the bag.

FAQ / 101

How to use the DSLR housing?

Using a DSLR in the surf is a challenging task. First, you need to know how the whole surf works with all the swells, rips, winds, reefs, sandbanks, take-off’s and much more. You’ll also be needing proper swim fins in the surf. Taking photos in the surf without the fins can be very dangerous.

  1. Wax the screen of the dome by using a candlewax / any other wax. Draw some light lines on the screen and buff it all in with a cloth to keep the water running down the lens
  2. Avoid taking photos in shallow areas since the sand in the water can leave some micro-scratches on the lens

Why to use the DSLR in the surf photography anyway?

A camera with a large sensor allows to take super good quality shots with good depth of field and colors. Unlike the GoPro, where you have to get really close to the subject, the DSLR allows to take shots from a fair distance. You can choose from the 18mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm or up to 105mm lenses to get some really unique shots out there.

Alternatively, a DSLR is a perfect all-rounder that can be used on the shore using with a telelens as well.

DSLR or CSC (Mirrorless) for surf photography?

Both of the cameras allow to change lenses and take high-quality photos, but which one is better for your needs?

CSC Pros
+Smaller
+Lighter
+Less complex technology
+Faster continious shots (Due to no mirror closure)

CSC Cons
-No optical viewfinder
-Shorter battery life compared to DSLR’s since the focusing is electronical through the LCD

DSLR Pros

+More lenses available
+Optical viewfinder!!
+Faster autofocus
+Better battery life

DSLR Cons

-Large and bulky
-High end gear gets really expensive


Full frame or crop sensor DSLR?

Full frame cameras and the lenses are more expensive, but provide the most professional image quality (2.5x larger image area). If you are ready to shoot professionaly, a full-frame camera is a must which will give you the whole freedom with all the possiblities.

Crop Sensor DSLR’s, mainly entry-level and mid-range cameras with a proper lens are more than enough for a hobby photographer. Although, if you are planning to get a camera for a long time and are thinking of getting into it professionally, a full-frame camera is a better investment.

Which are the best DSLR brands for surf photography?

The most used high quality waterproof casings are manufactured for brands like: Nikon, Pentax, Canon, Sony

Is diving port overkill for surf photography?

Tehnically not. Diving ports are equipped with two handles that are really useful when diving, but might be a bit of an redundant accessory for surf photography. Since diving takes place in low-light environments, most of the casings are equipped with flash mounts which can be very useful in surf photography alike.

Which is the best lens for surf photography?

18-105mm range gives you the best outcome when taking shots in the water. If you are using longer lens, there might not be enough light to get a proper shot. I’d say 35mm / 50mm are rather good, but if you can afford a 85mm or 105mm lens, the outcomes are completely unique.

Although, If you want to get really good close-up shots in the barrel, a fisheye lens is a must! From 8mm to 16mm.

Do I need filters?

UV-filter for sure. The sun and reflection on the water doubles the exposure which is both good and bad when taking photos of surfers.

RAW or JPEG?

RAW image is larger, but will give you heaps more options for post-processing on Photoshop/Lightroom for professional results. RAW is for quality freaks.

JPEG is usually more than enough and easier way to go.

WHAT DSLR SETTINGS TO USE IN SURF PHOTOGRAPHY?

Shutter Priority

  • ISO: As low as possible, from 200 to 400. Higher iso makes too much noise on images
  • Aperature: Low on brighter (F4.5), High on darker conditions (F16) The lower the aperature, the more blur on the background you’ll get.
  • Shutter Speed: 1/1000th – 1/1250, 1/1600,
  • White Balance: Cloudy / Sunny – depending on the weather
  • Spotting: Centre-spot – for correct exposure rating.
  • Single/Continious: Continious on the surf, single for calm water paddling shots etc

Exposure compensation: +1 when it’s very bright, or up down to -1 when it’s getting dark


To be updated soon!