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 sixteenth instalment of S.U.P.E.R., Nick and Caroline take a look at the new housing from Fantasea for the Canon G7X MKII.
Fantasea are producing some great housings that are tremendous value for money at the moment. Recent improvements to the design mean that now the housings have a 67mm thread on the front to make using wet lenses easier. In addition to this, the housings have a cold shoe mount which is great for adding a focusing light to the system. Included with this housing comes some essential accessories like a moisture alarm, hand strap and protective port cover – all features than can sometimes mean you get hit for extra £££. It is depth rated to 60m too. All very impressive for a housing that costs less than £500.
I took it along to our favourite place for testing out new gear, Capernwray, to see what it was like to use. As always with these tests, I put on my 5mm gloves to make sure that the system works OK for those who like their diving in cooler waters, and not just for tropical underwater photography. As the sturgeon are still congregating in one place, we spent much of our dive sat at 6m with these enigmatic fish. To fight the gloom, I attached an INON Grip Base and telescopic arm, a Z-240 strobe, fired via fibre optic cable, to the system. I also used the Fantasea Radiant 1000x spotting light, mounted, neatly in the cold-shoe mount. The grip base meant I did not use the hand strap that comes with the housing, but having used this with a similar housing, I know they work just fine.
The camera itself is one of the top compact cameras on the market at the moment. It features a 24-100mm equivalent lens and its biggest selling point is the large 1-inch 20.1 megapixel sensor. The most important feature in any housing, for me, is the ability to access all the controls without too much fuss underwater. This is certainly the case for the Fantasea housing. The housing has 2 control knobs that can be used to change aperture and shutter speed, and I setup the menu button to be ready on ISO should I want to make any changes. All the buttons are clearly labelled and are wide enough to use even with thick gloves without any problem. If you forget to pop up the flash before you get into the water – no problem – you can do this whilst you are underwater.
I really enjoyed using the system, which is really straight forward and simple to use, and look forward to getting it back in the water to try with some wet lenses. It is small and tidy, but with that has not lost any functionality or the ability to add to the system with lights, strobes and lenses. Be careful with wide angle lenses with this setup, as some are not compatible with the Canon G7X mkII, so do not assume that an existing lens you might already own will work on this system too.
This camera and housing system is fun and easy to use. The Fantasea housing offers real value for money, with plenty of useful features thrown in.
Fantasea is distributed in the UK by www.blue-orb.uk.
For more from Nick and Caroline, visit www.frogfishphotography.com.