The Best Under Water Housings in 2023
The Best Under Water Housings of 2023, the ultimate guide to the worlds best manufacturers of cases, housings, dome ports, sports housings and more!
Housings can be made out of plastic such as glass filled nylon or polycarbonate GDome, Aquatech, Fantasea and Ikelite. Some housings are milled our of solid aluminum blocks like Nauticam, Aquatica and Sea & Sea. There is also a combination of plastic and metal as seen in certain Sea & Sea water housings for Canon cameras.
Who are the best under water housing manufacturers in 2023?
Here are some opinions on different under water housing makers around the world. The majority of these housings are of good quality, so be sure to do your research to see which one is ideal for you. Please keep in mind that, depending on where you live, some housings have restricted support for parts and repairs.
GDome water housings - Started off as a manufacturer of affordable GoPro dome ports in 2015, and since then expanded the line of GoPro dome ports to work with, DJI, iPhone, Samsung, DSLR, Mirrorless Cameras and more. Many of the worlds best videographers and content creators use GDome products due to the affordability and versatility.
Ikelite housings – The most well-known home brand on the market. Because several models are created from a single mold, they are not as compact. There are many devoted clients as well as some detractors. This is a fantastic deal, especially because older models included a TTL converter. The inclusion of a TTL converter in all of the housings is a significant benefit. The TTL converter is optional on their latest models, lowering the price even further. Some have claimed that their older port-locking system is more susceptible to flooding than other designs. They have strengthened their port locks as of November 2009. Ikelite underwent a new redesign in 2016 and introduced their "dry-lock" mechanism, which is a significant upgrade, and they are now considered as reliable as, if not more so, than other brands.
Sea & Sea housings - Although prices have been creeping up, this is a solid mid-range option with a great housing for the Nikon D850, Nikon D7, and EOS R. The RDX series for the Nikon D40/D60 is a new polycarbonate version for lower-end dSLRs like the Canon T6i that allows the strobe to fire over fiber optics. Fiber optics and optional TTL converters are supported by the aluminum MDX series housings. In comparison to other manufacturers, Sea & Sea has done an excellent job of keeping their underwater housings smaller.
Aquatica housings - Solid mid-range option with deep depth ratings, a reputation for listening to customer feedback, and use by both recreational and technical divers. They have a wide selection of aluminum DSLR and mirrorless housings to choose from.
Nauticam housings - They began as a small business in Hong Kong, producing a mid-range aluminum Nikon D90 and D700 underwater housing, with additional models on the way, including the D300s. After pioneering various improvements, such as the unique port-lock system, Nauticam is now regarded the industry leader in underwater housings. They support a broader range of cameras and lenses than other manufacturers, including many high-end movie cameras, and their housings are often regarded as among the best on the market.
Marelux housings - Marelux is a very young underwater housing builder. They make high-quality housings out of an aluminum alloy with a tough anodized finish that can resist the most extreme environments.
Isotta housings - Isotta is an Italian company. Their aluminum housings are smaller and less expensive than other models, making them increasingly popular around the world. They've gained the moniker "Ferrari of the Sea" due to their unique crimson color.
Fantasea housings - They no longer make dSLR housings, but polycarbonate housings for popular compact cameras and Sony mirrorless cameras like the A6400 and A6500 are still available. They just released a flash trigger and incorporated a vacuum system to their Sony mirrorless housings.
Light and Motion - Electronic controls are used to operate the camera and strobe. Users swear by them, despite the fact that electronics can malfunction at any time. Light & Motion no longer manufactures housings, focusing instead on lighting.
Olympus - For their camera models, they create polycarbonate housings.
Fisheye (FIX) – A housing for the Canon G10 and G11 is made by a Japanese firm. Seatool's sister firm.
10bar – A Hong Kong-based company produces a number of low-cost compact and DSLR housings, including one that works well for the Lumix LX3.
Kraken - producer of smart phone housings with wet wide-angle lenses as an option
Seatool – They are well known for their video housings, but they also make camera housings for a few different models. The popup flash is available in several housings.
Hugyfot – A Belgian firm. Housings made of solid aluminum, a mid-to-high-end option. Housings for a variety of DSLR cameras.
Patima – Korean firm, similar to Epoque. Prices range from low to mid-range. Aluminum and stainless steel are used to construct the housings. Supports Canon small cameras as well as a few DSLRs.
Subal - Austrian-made high-end option. The ports are all made of glass. Users praise the excellent ergonomics. Subal released housings for the Canon 500d, Nikon D90, and Canon 7d in late 2009.
Seacam - With all glass ports, this is considered a higher-end option. Many professions use it. At the end of 2009, Seacam announced a Canon 5d Mark II housing and a Nikon D300s housing. The company is based in Austria.
Sealux - All glass ports, a German company, produces well-made aluminum housings for a variety of digital SLR cameras.
Watershot - They offer a machined aluminum underwater housing for the Canon 500D and Canon 5D mark II, and they are situated in San Diego, California.
Zillion - based in Japan, It's difficult to get outside of Japan.
Nexus - Housings in the mid to high range, based in Japan. Their D90 housing has a strong reputation, and their fiber optic support has garnered positive feedback.
Epoque - Based in Japan, they compete with Ikelite by offering less expensive housings for the Canon digital rebel series. Fiber optics are supported in some of their more recent housings.
Ewa-Marine - These seem like hefty, pricey zip-lock bags. People use them for snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, and other activities.
Do water housings affect your Buoyancy underwater?
With a dome lens, some of these housings can be quite buoyant underwater. Prepare to add a significant amount of extra weights to your setup.
What if you upgrade your camera?
You'll almost certainly need a new housing if you opt to upgrade your camera. Keep in mind that many UW housings have a lesser resale value than when they were first purchased when choosing how much to invest on one.
What are the most important features for a DSLR / mirrorless / GoPro / Cellphone under water housing
As mentioned earlier buying a underwater housing is an extremely personal choice. The following features may or may not be important to you. If they are, you should discuss them with your underwater camera shop.
When in the housing, you have access to the camera's controls.
The controls for the essential buttons are found on the majority of underwater housings. Some controls may or may not be useful to you; for example, I usually use the shutter and video button, but only use the zoom on rare occasions. Others, on the other hand, have opposing viewpoints. Make sure your housing can handle the controls you'll be utilizing.
The water housing's depth rating
If you're a technical or deep diver (more than 40 meters), be sure your housing has a depth rating.
Fiber optic connection support
For their underwater strobes, some people are starting to prefer fiber optic connections. Some Nexus, Seatool, and Sea & Sea housings are beginning to support this, and there may be others. Check out your specific model.
Aluminum and polycarbonate are the most popuar, with aluminum usually being more durable but more expensive.
Smaller, lighter housings are mainly desired.
Flotation in the water
Larger housings tend to be more neutrally buoyant. I personally prefer a buoyant housing in heavy surf breaks as it acts as a flotation device between shooting. Smaller aluminum housings, can be quite negatively buoyant underwater, because of this, larger "buoyancy arms" are becoming increasingly fashionable.
Mounting style for ports
When it comes to how their ports mount, some manufacturers have a better reputation than others. GDome, for example, has an excellent port mechanism, and owners rarely experience issues with their bolt and nut port/housing connection.
Ports for Underwater Housing
Although mirrorless and DSLR housings usually have a built-in port, compact camera housings do not. Depending on the type of lens you're using, you'll require a different port.
The price of ports and zoom rings
Don't forget to factor in the extra cost of ports, extensions, focus rings, port covers, and zoom rings when calculating the price of a housing.
Support for various port and ring sizes
Smaller underwater housing manufacturers may not be able to accommodate all of your desired lenses. Examine the number of ports available, whether they accommodate small and large dome ports, and the size of the extension rings.
Options for the viewfinder
If you're interested in using an external viewfinder to help you see your subject better and/or easier through the viewfinder, look into your options and the pricing, as they can be costly.
Large lens support is available.
Some lenses, such as the new Canon 16-35mm II or the Canon 11-24mm, can be quite wide; check to see if your housing can accommodate them; not all can.
Alarms for leaks
Leak alarms are incorporated into some housings, and I know for a fact that this has rescued multiple cameras. Because you can see within the housing if water droplets occur, some housings, such as Ikelite, may not require a leak alarm.
Ergonomics of the aperture / shutter speed dials and shutter release
Some housings vary vastly in how easy it is to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and release the shutter. Ideally, you should be able to operate the housing with one hand. Really the only way to determine this is to try out the housing.
Underwater housings for compact cameras
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) housings, such as those from Canon, Fuji, and Olympus, are commonly referred to as "OEM" housings. Underwater camera housings are also made by other firms (third parties).
Canon housings - Canon housings for the g7X Mark II, g9, and g10 are reasonably priced. One disadvantage is that there is no hot shoe for connecting a sync cord to the strobes.
Housings from Fuji – These are quite well constructed. They have a mechanism with two o-rings.
Ikelite housings are sturdy and used to be a touch big, but their compact camera housings have shrunk significantly. Compact camera housings that are considered "higher grade" than OEM housings.
Patima housings are a high-quality aluminum housing that has recently become more popular.
Olympus housings are widely regarded as excellent housings for a camera maker.
Underwater Housings for Nikon
Nikon cameras, particularly their mirrorless and DSLR variants, are the most popular cameras for serious underwater photography. Nikon small cameras aren't known for having characteristics that make them suitable for use underwater.
Popular cameras include the Nikon Z6, Z7, and D850, with housings from Nauticam, Isotta, Ikelite, and Sea & Sea being the most recommended.