When looking at a waterproof case for your SLR camera, there are more options available than you might expect. I was in the market for a waterproof case for my GH2, which I use for my current movie. For me this case is a great option and it will meet my needs very well and I will explain why. However, for many this may not be usable due to the specific needs of the user.
The advantages of this case are quite simple. It's inexpensive to start with, but still gets the job done. The image quality is not compromised as the build quality in this price range is better than I would have thought. In fact, the glass covering the lens is UV coated and shows it. I've only taken test shots with the case so far but the pictures looked fantastic and there was no question of testing that I could use this for my purposes. The case itself is essentially a waterproof bag for your camera. The mechanism to keep the case watertight is a snap-lock gasket on the top of the case that, when closed, rolls up to be locked in place with two Velcro straps. It doesn't sound safe, but I was impressed with how well it actually worked. As long as you use it properly, there is no risk of leakage. The back of the case is nice and clear so you can easily see the screen or use the EVF.
Some of the characteristics that should be the strengths of the product seem to be neglected and are often the weaknesses of the product. For example, the case has two finger holes near the lens and one near the shutter. This allows you to change your focus / aperture ring and use all of the features in and around the shutter area. Unfortunately, especially with certain lenses, it's quite difficult to change focus in this way. I tried three lenses and the worst was my Lumix Leica 25mm 1.4 lens. It's a pretty small lens and the focus ring is very delicate which makes using the finger holes in the body very difficult. I only found it useful if I adjusted the focus first and then put the camera in the case, which was annoying as this is the lens I have to use. My SLR Magic lens is easier to use because it has a built-in ring gear for focus. One idea to help with this would be to put a follow focus gear on your lens to see if that makes it easier to reach through the body. The product is also advertised as adaptable to different sized lenses. This feature of the case is not accurate. To adjust the length of the sleeve for your lens, basically empty the bag until it fits snugly around your lens. This also by no means works perfectly. With my small 25mm lens, it was difficult to keep it short enough that I ended up grabbing the glass part of the case and pulling it close to the lens while shooting, which worked. My 12mm SLR Magic lens is way too wide to be used in the housing as you can see almost the entire ring of the housing when you take a picture.
All in all, this case was good value for money. For $ 140, I wouldn't think of anything further, especially considering that a better solution to solving the problems listed above would likely cost at least $ 3000-4000. If I had to do a lot of underwater photography, I would definitely invest in another product. But for a single shot, I can get it working knowing my gear is safe. And who knows when I'll next use it now since it just sits there.
I'll be posting a video of our underwater shoot soon.
Noam Kroll is an award-winning filmmaker from Los Angeles and founder of the boutique production house Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television and in various publications around the world. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!