Friday, July 23, 2010

Information about Watershot Inc's housings for Canon dSLR cameras:

Unless you are a regular follower of my blog, you landed on this blogpost by following a link to it found on my website's Watershot page ( ). Welcome to this blogpost about the Watershot housing system.

Early in 2009, I was offered the ability to become a dealer for Watershot, Inc. and their housings for select Canon dSLR cameras. I accepted and doing so proved to be most beneficial to my own underwater photography. I began using the Watershot housing system before deciding to represent the product. Because I am not in the business, per-se of selling either scuba or UW photographic equipment. So, I wanted to make sure if I took that step forward, the product I would offer to 'my guyz' would be of best quality and of the greatest value. I believe the Watershot housing meets both of these requirements and have been using and marketing the Watershot housings for over a year.

Watershot makes housings for Canon's 500D, T1i, and this housing will also nest Canon's XSi.  This housing is sold as a kit and comes with the flat port and zoom ring gear for the EF-S 18-55mm lens.  It retails for $2300.  During DEMA in 2010 Watershot introduced their housing kit for Canon's 550D, T2i.  The T2i kit is offered with the WS tray and handles at a retail price of $2500.  Watershot also makes a housing for the Canon 5D MK II dSLR camera. The retail price for the Watershot Canon 5D MKII housing is: $3300. 

The 500 series housings come with a bulkhead (a second is an option) to accomodate synchronization with the strobe via a Fiber Optic cable.  The housings can be ordered with bulkheads that accomodate the use of traditional electrical synchronization cords.  These options enable the housing to marry-up quite nicely with an array of strobes manufactured by Sea and Sea, Inon, Ikelite and others.

Watershot offers a standard flat port ($199) and both a 6 inch ($899) and 9 inch dome port ($1799). These ports are made using aluminum bodies and optical quality AR coated glass. They mount to the housing using the tried and true bayonet mounting system. Also introduced during DEMA of 2010 was a 203mm Acrylic dome port ($999). Watershot has an array of port extentions to accomodate several lenses made by Canon, Tokina, Sigma and Zeiss.

Ports, port extenders/extentions, zoom ring gears or focus gears are available for the following lenses: Macro- Canon's EF-S F/2.8 60mm Macro, EF F/2.8 100mm Macro, Sigma AF Macro 50mm F/2.8, Sigma AF Macro 70mm F/2.8. Zoom- Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS F/35.-5.6, Canon EF-S 10-22mm F4/5.6 USM, Canon EF 24-70mm, Canon EF 16-35mm, Sigma AF 10-20mm F/4-5.6 ESX DC, Sigma 17-70mm DC Macro, Tokina AT-X DX Fisheye 10-17mm. Wide Prime Lenses- Canon EF 15mm F/2.8 Fisheye, Sigma 15mm F/2.8 Fisheye and Sigma 10mm F2.8 EX DC. Watershot supports the following Zeiss lenses: 18mm, 21mm, 50mm, 80mm.

Pricing for zoom ring or focus ring gears is $99, and between $149-$249 for the various port extentions.  

Watershot housing for Canon EOS 5D MK II (above)
Watershot Dome port, a port extender and zoom ring gear (pictured above)  

These housings were very well thought out and are as compact as can be and are very ergonomical. I have one-handed this housing with  strobe and made images in the portrait mode. The housings were designed with simplicty in mind and are simple to assemble/disassemble. No tools are required and a shooter can set up the housing/camera/lens/port system in a bit over 5 minutes time. Lens changes can also bemade in minutes and there is no wiggling or jiggling of pieces to make it all come together and function. The teeth on the crown gear and focus/zoom ring gears are large and provide very robust operation when meshed. The union is strong with no slippage.

The shutter control and zoom/focus controls are large and very smooth, and, all the other controls work as they should. I.E. you press or move one, and something happens!  Some examples of how well thought out the housings are:  Watershot used shallow engraving to label controls that are not obvious as to what they do.  Watershot machined grips into the leading edges of their ports and extenders making installation and removal of these easy.  They also use index marks on the ports and extenders along with one on the housing to make installation and removal of these a virtual 'no brainer'.  The other controls and knobs are also large with ample spacing between them and this facilitates their operation while wearing diving gloves.

The housings are made by machining a single billet of 6061 T6 aluminum and hard anodized and has a lustre satin finish. Great quality with sex appeal! All the metal buttons and control shafts and springs are made from 316 stainless steel. A metal considered best for underwater use as it contains no iron and will not rust. All high use buttons and knobs are double o-ring sealed, as well as all shafts unless not practical. Any other components used, seals, o-rings, etc are made using materials that meet, or beat, the industry standards.

The service when needed has been excellent across the board. Timely and effective. Not only by Watershot to me but also to my Watershot clients. Over my years in underwater photography I have grown very kean on the service standard set by Ikelite. I rate Watershot's service its equal.

The photographs below were taken by me using the Watershot 500D housing, flat and dome ports, with Canon's 500D (T1i) camera and Canon's 60mm Macro (Flamingo Tongues), Canon's 18-55mm IS (Trumpetfish portrait) and Canon's 10-22mm ( Turtle with diver) lenses:


While a relative newcomer to the market, the Watershot housings are well travelled.  They have helped photographers come home with keepers from Indonesia, the Bahamas, Bonaire, Belize, Roatan, Cozumel, the Florida Keys, the green waters of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, the cold waters of the California coast and the frigid waters of Antartica. 

The Watershot housing and system is very high quality product at a comparatively low and competitive price point. I have been using it for over a year and during 100s of dives, in three countries and imaged using Macro, midrange zoom and ultra wide angle zoom lenses with it. It is a dream tool to use to do the job of underwater photography with. 

I can help you put together a complete system, housing, strobe and necessary components such as camera trays, handles, strobe arms and clamps, synch cables/cords.  Contact me if you need any additional information or have any questions.
Good diving and shooting to you all.


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