Taking your camera underwater for the first time is both exhilarating and terrifying. Did you assemble the housing correctly? How do I make sure it doesn’t fog up? How do I know if I’ve sprung a leak?
1. SHOWER BEFORE ENTERING THE POOL
Surely you’ve seen that sign before you took a dip at the hotel pool… and you probably ignored it. If you’re that person, don’t ignore our advice to test your housing underwater before putting your camera and lens inside. Make sure you know what all of the pieces are, what they do and how to assemble your housing properly with our video tutorial. Then assemble everything and submerge the housing to ensure it stays water tight without any expensive gear inside.
2. YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND BABY, RIGHT ROUND.
When you have your housing assembled and you’re ready to get into the water you’ll want to slowly submerge it. In the initial dunk, you’ll see some air bubbles from the handles and bottom plate. Slowly rotate the housing completing a full 360 turn to release any trapped air. From then on, if you see bubbles coming in a steady stream from the housing that means you’ve got a leak and should abort the mission. Always remember that if air is coming out, water is going in.
3. BECOME LORD OF THE RINGS
The key to the modular construction of the Ikelite housings are the various o-rings that maintain a watertight seal. In order for them to work, they must be completely free of debris (dirt, sand or hair), properly seated, and lubricated. Remove each one from the housing and inspect it. We include silicone lubricant that acts as a water barrier with every rental. You’ll want to be sure each o-ring is covered in a light coating of silicone to ensure a good seal while taking care not to stretch them.
Next you’ll want to be sure the o-rings are seated properly. There are 3 main rings you’re concerned about. One giant one that goes around the back plate of the housing, and two that reside on the port that connects to the front of the housing and screws into the dome.
The back plate o-ring is the easiest to maintain and will take on a solid black appearance when you attach the back plate. To do so you’ll want to close both side clamps simultaneously. This makes sure you don’t pinch or squish the ring out of place.
The same goes for the two o-rings on the port. One o-ring is behind the threads where the dome screws on. The third o-ring is found at the port/housing connection. It is held in place by the four clips.
4. STRIP YOUR WET SUIT, NOT YOUR THREADS
There are two areas you have to be careful not to strip or cross thread on the housing. The first is where the dome attaches to the port. Making sure this screws on straight is important to getting a good seal.
The next area to watch closely are the screws that attach the clips where the port attaches to the housing. These clips are designed to have some play in them so you can pull the tab and retract the clips to remove the port. If they should become loose, be cautious while tightening them so as not to strip the plastic which holds them in.
5. I TRIED TO TAKE A PICTURE OF THE FOG…BUT I MIST
Nothing is a bigger kill joy than getting into the water with your housing all ready to go only to have the inside of it start fogging up because of a temperature change. There are two tricks to avoid this. First, be sure to add a silica gel packet or two into the main housing before sealing it up. This will help absorb any moisture that was in the air when you assembled the housing.
The second is try to minimize the temperature difference between the air inside the housing and the water temperature. For instance if its hot and sunny and you’ll be getting into cooler water, try to avoid assembling the housing in sun to minimize the temperature differential.
Follow these tips and you’ll have a much better experience with your Ikelite housing rental. If you don’t have one yet, see our full lineup of housings HERE.