Take Your Video Underwater

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Video cameras have only recently begun to add water resistance to their built-in housings, but even with that protection, they will still need protection from rain or being totally submerged in water. It's a scary prospect to submerge your hard-earned gear, so let's look at some options that will protect your investment when you really need that water shot but the mega-budget, slow-motion effect just doesn't work for you.

As has been previously explored on B&H Explora, there are several types of housings for compact DSLR and mirrorless cameras, from hard plastic to soft PVC, which can effect bulk, functionality, and depth, so you've got a few choices to make. For example, hard cases are more rugged and can go deeper, but soft PVC is lighter and can retain access to more camera functions.

Ewa-Marine Underwater Housing for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Ewa-Marine Underwater Housing for Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

If you're planning shots out on a boat or a surfboard, the new GoPro HERO8 Black is waterproof to 33' without a housing, so splashing and dropping or light surface snorkeling can be done without a housing. But for shots of the sea floor or swimming underwater, you may want to add a protective housing, which allows the HERO8 to be protected down to 196'. If you're using a 360 camera like the Insta360 ONE X, the Dive Case will keep the camera safe up to 98', and it has large, clear domes around the lenses to preserve the wide view and protect those lenses. The PIXPRO SP360 Action Camera with Extreme Pack includes a case that also allows you to dive down to nearly 200'.

GoPro HERO8 Black
GoPro HERO8 Black

On the surface, bite mounts are popular to keep your camera above water when you’re swimming, and the Joby Action Grip will float in the water in case your camera slips. If you're surfing, the GoPro Surfboard mounts will get you great action shots while they are attached to your board or kayak, and they include anchors and tether straps to prevent loss.

GoPro Bite Mount with Floaty for HERO8 Black
GoPro Bite Mount with Floaty for HERO8 Black

For larger cine cameras like the Canon EOS C100 or C300 series, the Ewa-Marine V102 or V300 PVC housing will waterproof the camera down to 32.8'. They allow you to access all the camera controls and feature a glass lens cover to keep your images clear. For a more sophisticated production, there are larger rigid housings that go down to 300'. For example, the Amphibico Genesis FS-700 is available for cameras like the Sony NEX-FS700U, while the Amphibico Rouge supports the RED SCARLET or EPIC. These housings offer access to camera functions and they feature electronic controls, record sound, and provide cable ports for monitoring. If you're really into motion shots underwater and want to control the camera remotely, try an ROV (Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle) like the Cinegears ROV, with a built-in 4K camera, or a VR-controlled ROV like the QYSEA FIFISH V6 that allows you to view what the camera sees through a VR headset. The V6 features lighting and motors that propel it through the depths down to 328' just by turning your head!

Ewa-Marine V102 Underwater Housing for Canon EOS C100 or C100 Mark II
Ewa-Marine V102 Underwater Housing for Canon EOS C100 or C100 Mark II

Lenses, Domes, and Filters

The deeper you go into the water, the more need you will have to light your shots underwater, as explained in this Explora article. The SOLA, from Light & Motion, offers bright LEDs and is rated down to nearly 300'. It features red LEDs that preserve your night vision and remain invisible to ocean creatures, and it lasts for hours. It's also important to think about color, as well. Filters allow you many options to filter out certain wavelengths and glare when you're underwater, since light is redder near the surface and becomes bluer as you descend. You can choose specific filters if you're recording fluorescent fish in the deep blue, or if you want to filter out general blue and capture the flora and fauna, or reduce the green to capture a variety of colors. FotodioX even offers a WonderPana Go Underwater kit for GoPro with different filters for you to choose, and Bower offers multiple color inserts for the GoPro Dive Housing.

Light & Motion SOLA Photo 1200 LED Dive Light
Light & Motion SOLA Photo 1200 LED Dive Light

To expand your field of view underwater, a dome lens such as the 0.5x Wide-Angle lens, from SeaLife, is also helpful to protect your lens and widen your lens’s field of view. Lens multi-coating prevents it from fogging up underwater.

SeaLife 0.5x Wide-Angle Dome Lens with 52mm Adapter for DC-Series Cameras
SeaLife 0.5x Wide-Angle Dome Lens with 52mm Adapter for DC-Series Cameras

Finally, when gearing up for underwater shots, don't forget essential accessories like a wrist strap to make sure you're always tethered, polish for lenses and housings so they don't fog up underwater—and it's always helpful to drop a desiccant inside your housing to make sure any bit of moisture stays away from your equipment.

Ruggard Floating Wrist Strap
Ruggard Floating Wrist Strap

Let us know below how you've used your camera in the water, and be sure to check out all the available video cameras and accessories on the B&H website or try them out in person at the B&H SuperStore when you’re in New York City.

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