Have you been thinking about shooting underwater but the thought of using a waterproof housing seemed daunting? At LensProToGo we make renting Ikelite underwater housings easy! We provide turnkey solutions to fit a broad range of cameras and lenses.
In this post, we run through all of the parts, assembly instructions and teach you how to do a dry run without a camera in the housing. Get your swimsuit and towel (go ahead, we’ll wait!) and let us help you get in the water with the Ikelite 200DL housing for the Canon 5D Series cameras, featuring the easy to use Dry Lock system!
When renting the Ikelite 200 DL (Dry Lock) kit for the Canon 5D MKIV, 5D MKIII, 5DS, 5DS R, included is the:
- Ikelite 200DL Underwater Housing
- Dry Lock Lens Dome & Cover
- 3x Lens extension ports (28mm, 42mm, 50 mm)
- 3x Zoom Gear kits (5509.12, 5509.14, 5509.28)
- Zoom gear retainer & retainer tool
- Camera Quick Release Plate
- Port Cover Cap
- Silicone lube packet
- Pelican 1560 Case
FIND THE LENS YOU’RE USING ON THE CHART
Determine what lens you’ll be using and use the chart below to select the appropriate port extension tube or a combination of tubes for your lens. Once chosen, remove the Ikelite housing, port extension tube(s) and its accessories from the included Pelican case. Grab a towel to place the items on so they don’t get scratched or sandy.
In this example, we’ll be using the Canon 5D Mark IV with the Canon 17-40mm f/4L, so we’ll need the 50 mm port extension tube. Some lenses might use multiple extensions, and some lenses (like the Canon 8-15mm f/4) only use the dome. Once you’ve got the right port extension tubes, put them aside for the next step.
STEP 1. REMOVE AND INSPECT O-RINGS
The most important parts in any underwater housing are the o-rings. They keep water out of the places where two surfaces meet. Before assembling, locate and inspect each o-ring seal on the housing. Here is a list of the o-rings we’re looking for:
- Main o-ring (for back plate of housing)
- Front o-ring
- Port Extension Tube o-ring(s)
To get the o-rings off use a small, non-sharp, prying tool. Be careful not to cut the o-rings or damage the plastic channels they sit in.
Once removed, inspect each one individually. Make sure there are no nicks or cuts in the rings and that there is no sand, hair, or debris on the o-rings themselves. It’s important to do this because those things can compromise the watertight seal.
STEP 2. LUBRICATE ALL O-RINGS
Once the o-rings have passed inspection, put a tiny bit of the supplied silicone lubricant on your fingers. Lightly coat the o-rings by gently pulling them through your fingers. Make sure not to stretch the o-ring while doing this. Only use the supplied silicone lubricant as it’s specifically formulated to be safe for the o-rings. Other lubricants may cause the o-rings to swell or break down.
STEP 3. REINSTALL O-RINGS
Replace the o-rings back onto the housing and port extension tubes in the following places:
- One to the port extension tube
- One to the back of the Ikelite housing
- One to the front of the Ikelite housing
STEP 4. REMOVE BODY CAP AND ZOOM RING COLLAR
Before assembling the housing, remove the screw-in body cap and the zoom ring collar from the front port. To do this, use the zoom gear retainer tool (looks like a tall/skinny “C”). Line it up with the notches in the zoom ring collar and unscrew it. Unscrewing the zoom ring collar will also free the body cap. If you’re using a prime lens or don’t plan on using the zoom control, put this back in the case for safe keeping.
STEP 5. ATTACH BACK PLATE TO MAIN BODY OF HOUSING
Line up the front and back sections of the housing and gently fit them together. Make sure the big o-ring is not pinched or squished anywhere before locking the lid snaps.
STEP 6. LATCH LID SNAPS
Latch the lid snaps on the left and right of the housing at the same time, applying even pressure. Then secure the top lid snap.
Once all three clamps are locked, do a visual inspection of the o-ring seal around the entire edge of the back plate. Make sure that it’s solid black all the way around. If you see any clear spaces, that’s an air gap which means water can get in. If you do see any gaps, unlatch the lid snaps and try again.
STEP 7. ADD PORT EXTENSION TUBE(S)
In this example, we’re using the Canon 17-40mm f/4 which requires just one port extension tube, but if you’re using more, you’ll stack them together using this same method.
Flip the housing over on a soft surface to add the port extension tube(s) and dome. The port extension tubes are designed to click together and is secured with set screws. To install:
- Back the set screws out so they are flush with the inside edge of the port. If they are not flush before installation, you can damage the housing or o-rings
- Line up on of the screws on the extension tube to the indent at the top of the housing mount.
- Press the extension tube into the housing. You should hear a pop when it clicks into place.
- Tighten the three retaining screws around the tube. These only need to be finger tight. Don’t use any tools.
STEP 8. ATTACH THE DOME
Like the extension tubes, back out all of the screws so that they’re flush with the inside edge of the dome. To get the proper orientation for the dome look for the screw that resides on the outermost ring. These will mark the top of the dome. The screw will line up with the indent on the top of the tube.
Once lined up, just like before, push down until you hear/feel it pop into place. Now tighten the retaining screws to secure the dome. If oriented correctly, the wider parts of the dome’s hood will be on the top and bottom.
STEP 9. CHECK THAT VACUUM PLUG IS SEALED
Finally, check that the vacuum valve plug is in place an locked. It’s the plug with the little ball chain and can be found on the lower right-hand side of the housing if you’re looking at the front. If this plug is not sealed, the housing will not be water tight.
STEP 10. GET IN THE WATER (SLOWLY)
It’s time to get into the water to check the housing without your camera in it. It’s always helpful to get into the water first, without the housing, and have someone hand it to you once situated. Be sure the housing enters the water slowly and gently.
STEP 11. CHECK FOR LEAKS WITH A 360 DUNK TEST
Turning the housing in a slow 360 rotation in each direction is a great way to clear any air bubbles in the handles and to check for leaks.
The way we know the housing is sealed is that there will be no air bubbles coming from the housing. Air coming out of the housing means that water is getting in. A constant stream of air bubbles coming from anywhere at the back of the housing or the port/dome area is a sign of trouble.
SUSPECT A LEAK? IMMEDIATELY ROTATE THE HOUSING SO THE DOME IS FACING DOWN AND EXIT THE WATER.
Even with no camera in the housing, there are electronics in the housing that are part of the TTL flash system that can damage the housing’s electronics. Once out of the water, dry off the housing check all o-rings again, then the port and dome installation.
SUCCESSFUL DUNK TEST?
If your housing was water tight, the dunk test was successfully! Move on to part two, where we’ll show you how to assemble the housing with your camera, and lens.