What is the difference between glass dome ports and plastic (polycarbonate or acrylic) dome ports

Dome ports, as everyone who has used one knows, are prone to scratching. So why use one in the first place, if a flat port is far easier to maintain? 

Due to light refraction, dome ports enhance underwater pictures by around 35%. Think of it this way.. scuba masks are essentially wide flat lens elements in front of your eyes, when you are under water, objects appear larger than they are in reality. This is the same principle for flat lens elements.

Dome ports eliminate this problem by preserving the large field of view of a wide angle lens underwater. A wider field of view allows you to get closer to your subjects, meaning sharper images due to less water and particles in the water between the camera and subject. 

Now that we have cleared up why you want to use a dome port the next question is what kind of dome port is best?

Should you use a plastic (acrylic or polycarbonate) or glass dome port?

  • Acrylic ports are less expensive, lighter, and smaller, and in our case stronger but they are  more easily scratched.
  • Glass dome ports are significantly more expensive and heavier. They are more scratch resistant and have superior natural water-shedding abilities.

Some glass dome port makers claim that they have better optics. However, it is yet to be proven that glass dome port image quality is better than plastic dome port image quality. 

As someone who has used both a glass and plastic dome ports, my preference is for a plastic dome port over the glass, despite the fact that glass is more scratch resistant, I simply can not justify the additional cost of a glass dome port. 

Plastic dome Ports can be up to 100 time more affordable than a glass model, at that price you can simply replace your dome if it gets scratched.

When people talk about "better shedding of water" it is clear that the have not tried the GDome Anti Water Droplet Gel, water shedding issues on plastic dome ports is automatically sorted.

Looking to remove scratches from your plastic dome lens? I highly suggest buying one of these kits to buff out any light scratches.

Having a cover for you dome port is a life-saver. Traveling on a boat or in a backpack is a sure way to scratch your dome lens without any protection.

The biggest thing is to be conscious and careful with regards to looking after your dome port, look after your gear and your shots will be amazing for a long time to come. 

Regardless of if you choose to go for a glass or plastic dome housing, you need to keep your dome port protected, if you keep your dome in pristine condition, you will be able to capture excellent content. Learn your weaknesses and how to improve with the tools you have. If you choose the acrylic port, make sure you use the anti water droplet gel, and enjoy the smaller, lighter, and less expensive rig. If you acquire the glass port, avoid a lot of the contact between the port and the rocks / coral and make sure you insure your rig! 


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