So I was asked to do an underwater Maternity shoot and was faced with the age old dilemma of how to keep my camera dry. I wasn't about to invest a few thousand dollars in an underwater housing just yet so after a bit of online research I came up with my solution - The Dicapac Waterproof bag.
I ordered it from www.bhphotovideo.com and waited. Upon its arrival I was like a kid in a candy store and quickly tore open the packaging to find a very well packaged product. The manufacturer sure did a great job and it definitely gave me a bit more reassurance on it being a quality product. Inside the box, was the housing itself, a neck strap, some silica gel and a basic instruction manual. The bag/housing is waterproof to 16 feet which is perfect for the style of work I was doing in a pool and I am familiar with the closing system this bag uses, which is simply a zip lock seal, then the top folded several times over and Velcroed closed. Simple but it works. I will admit to being apprehensive about taking $5000 worth of gear into the pool but inevitably just committed to doing so.
As a side note, most camera floods are user error and when using any housing, check and check again making sure that you have a perfect seal, then when in shallow water check for any air bubbles or leaks before descending deeper. The clear back on the housing will quickly show you if there is any water inside the housing, allowing you to ascend to the surface and get your camera dry before any major damage is done.
I'm not going to lie, the housing is a cheaper solution but produces quality photos with some practice. The viewfinder on your camera becomes null and void and you have to rely on the live view mode on the back screen of your camera. I was using a 16-35mm Canon lens and had the focal length set before descent as you cannot manual focus or zoom easily once at depth. Settings are hard to change but the shutter release button was easy to manage. The housing itself actually has a finger hole allowing you to control the shutter pretty easily.
One thing I did notice was buoyancy, I fought with it the entire time and on my second shoot actually added a 2 pound soft weight to the housing and made sure to expel any trapped air before sealing it all up. This made it much easier to manage underwater and was one less thing to worry about.
Another thing to note is vignetting, make sure to pull the port flush with the lens to avoid this common occurrence especially with ultra wide lenses.
All in all I am very happy with the Dicapac Housing and will continue to use it until I buy an Ikelite Housing or similar. Its a simple solution for anyone wanting to take their SLR underwater for snorkeling trips or the like.
The Dicapac can be bought from BH Photo here:
Setup: Canon EOS 5D MK II, Canon 16-35mm 2.8 L, Dicapac Housing