In our ongoing series S.U.P.E.R. (Scubaverse’s Underwater Photography Equipment Reviews), Scubaverse.com’s underwater photography editors Nick and Caroline Robertson Brown review new underwater photography equipment, general diving equipment, and some older favourites too.
For the seventeenth instalment of S.U.P.E.R., Nick and Caroline take a look at the LenzO iPhone Housing from Valstech.
Whilst we were reporting for Scubaverse at DEMA late in 2016, we got the chance to meet the Valstech team, including Anthony Lenzo, who is the driving force behind this clever new iPhone housing. He offered us the chance to take away one of these great looking iPhone housings to try for ourselves, and so we took it along on our most recent diving trips.
Whilst you will normally see us with our DSLR cameras, having the ability to jump in the water with our iPhone 6s protected was very attractive. Caroline loves all things social media and so was drawn to the idea that she could post images & video onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram straight from the dive. On our recent trip to Sharm el Sheikh, this was the case, as the dive boat, Camel Tribe, had wi-fi available. So within minutes of coming up from a dive, she had video and images posted to show the wonderful reef we had just dived.
The LenzO housing claims to be the most advanced and safest housing for the iPhone on the market. It is certainly robust, with really good locking mechanisms for the back door and dome port, which give the user great feedback and confidence that all is securely locked down. Caroline was, at first, nervous about taking her beloved iPhone under the water, but the more we used this housing, the more confident we got. The iPhone – in our case the iPhone 6s – fits into the housing snuggly, with the retaining system holding it securely in place. We found there was also enough room to fit a sachet of Leak Insure behind the camera (just for a little added peace of mind). The housing comes in Yellow, Black and Blue, with the special edition blue version supporting the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ocean Futures Society.
What most impressed us was that there was no need to install any special Apps to use the iPhone in this housing. The controls mean that you can access all the camera features, including the ability to swipe between modes, so that you can shoot video, panoramas, time-lapse etc. Impressively, the dual controls also mean that you can use the screen swipe zoom function whilst the camera is in the housing, as well as access the brightness, flash and other functions. All you have to do is make sure your iPhone is unlocked before putting it in the housing. Another great feature included in the LenzO housing is the colour correction filters. Using a simple lever, you can have no filter, shallow water and deeper water red filters to help bring the natural colours back into your photos and video.
The housing looks and feels like a high quality product, unlike many of its competitors. It is depth rated to 100m, and it comes with an optically correct dome lens that gives a true images all the way to the edges. This also give the user the perfect opportunity to share dive “selfies” online before the boat has even got back to port! The dome lens also comes with a hard plastic cover to keep it safe when you are not using it. You can add a tray and lighting, or use it on a tripod.
Given that you are using the iPhone standard photo package to take your shots, you do not need to learn any new software and so is it completely natural and easy to use whilst you are underwater. With a retail price of only $295 this is an accessory that we can see many people opting for. It is great to be able to jump into the water and just grab this compact, lightweight and easy to use housing to be able to take great images and video. It will certainly be included in our camera bag on every trip we do from now on.
Great for tech divers on long deco stops, too
As an aside, a tech-diver friend messaged me on Facebook while we were writing this review. He asked if I would try and use the iBooks app whilst the iPhone was in the Lenzo housing. I moved the iBooks icon to the bottom row, opened a book, and then popped the phone in the housing. I let the phone go into standby. I found that you can wake up the phone and continue reading the book where I left off. Swiping to turn a page is no problem at all for the controls on the Lenzo. When I reported back, our friend said he was off to buy one straight away. Why? So that he can read a book whilst on a 1 hour deco stop. So whilst this housing was designed to work with the photo app, and that is what we tested it for, it seems to have other very useful applications for all types of diver.
Here’s a video of Anthony Lenzo talking to Scubaverse about the housing at DEMA 2016:
…and just in case you missed it earlier this week, here’s Jeff Goodman’s video review of the LenzO:
For more details visit www.valstech.com.
For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com.