Assembly of the of the Ikelite DL200 Dry Lock underwater housing, Part II! If you haven’t read Part I, go there now. We cover a lot of important things in that post, many of which can assist in protecting your expensive gear. Here, we show how to install a camera and lens into the housing.
Picking up where we left offIn Part 1, we did a dry run with the Ikelite and performed a 360-degree dunk test with no camera in the housing, in order to check for leaks. To install a camera and lens, start by completely drying the housing off, inside and out.
1. Prep your Camera
The Ikelite DL200 fits these four cameras: Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 5DS and Canon 5DS R. Lens compatibility and port selection is found in Part 1.
Make sure to charge batteries, install a memory card and attach any filters being used. It's no fun getting into the water only to notice the battery is almost dead or that there is no memory card in the camera.
2. Remove the Back Plate of the housing
To begin installing the camera, start by removing the clear back plate of the housing using the three lid snaps. Release the top snap first, then the two sides snaps simultaneously. Swing the latches away, so the back plate is free, then set it aside on a soft surface like a towel. Be careful of the black foam that surrounds the camera's LCD screen. It can be crushed/deformed if you rest the backplate foam side down.
3. Remove the Dome & Port Extension Tubes
Next, remove the front dome and port extensions using the three retaining screws. You don't need to separate the dome from the extension tube; it’s okay to keep them together during this step.
4. Attach the Quick Release Plate
To install the camera, start by sliding the black camera plate out of the front half of the housing. This flat plastic plate has a 1/4-20” screw. Screw this plate into the camera’s tripod mount with the raised edge of the plate resting against the rear of the camera. This ridge prevents the camera from twisting on the plate.
5. Prep the housing Controls for the Camera
Once the camera plate is secured, look inside the main housing. There are a few levers and controls that need to be positioned so that the camera doesn’t snag them when inserted.
Pull up on the mode dial control knob
Point the lens release lever up towards the top of the housing
Flip the live view start/stop level up and out of the way
6. Attach the TTL Cable and the Housing
To connect the TTL cord, slide the cable into the hot shoe. There is a marking on the top of the connector that shows which way is forward for the connector. Even if you aren't using flash, connect the cable so it isn't loose in the housing during use.
7. Install the backplate of the housing
Line up the two halves of the housing and gently press the back down with even pressure. Flip the lid snaps into position and close the two side lid snaps at the same time. Then latch the top snap. Check to make sure there is an even black seal with the o-ring all the way around. If not, remove the back and try again.
8. Remove the Housing Cap and zoom Gear Retainer
These items should have been removed for the dunk test in Part I. If you missed it, we highly recommend you do a dry run before you jump in the water with your camera in the housing. Take a look at that post here.
To remove the retainer ring and housing cap, start unscrew the Zoom Gear Retainer Ring with the Zoom Gear Retainer Tool. Then flip the housing port side down to remove the camera’s body cap through the port.
9. Prime vs. Zoom Lens Setup
If using a prime lens with no zoom, mount the lens and move onto the next step. If your lens is a zoom and you want to be able to zoom while the lens is inside the housing, install the zoom ring.
10. Install the Clear Zoom Ring
Start by dropping in the clear zoom ring with the teeth towards the bottom. Then, slip the black gear retaining ring over the zoom ring. Tighten that retaining ring with the black “C” shaped tool. The retaining ring can cross thread pretty easily, so if it doesn't spin freely at first, back it out and try again. Once tight, test the zoom control knob on the side of the housing to make sure that the clear zoom ring spins freely.
11. Install the Zoom Clamp on the lens
This part is designed to grab onto the zoom collar of a lens so it can rotate via the connection to the zoom gear. It uses spring tension to get a tight fit, but it may require some spacer foam depending on the lens. Be gentle with this part so not to damage the springs.
12. Align the Zoom Collar, Zoom Gear & Lens Mount
Before mounting the lens, line up one of the vertical ridge lines on the clear zoom ring with the indexing mark on the mount of the camera. Next, locate one of the tabs on the springy zoom collar and line it up with the index mark on the lens.
13. Mount the lens and zoom ring
The tricky part is sliding the lens in, making sure that the zoom ring and zoom collar slide together while still mounting the lens. This may take a few tries, but once the lens is mounted, test that the zoom function works via the zoom knob.
This image show's the zoom ring removed from the front port of the housing for illustration purposes.
14. Attach the Port and Dome
Make sure one screw is lined up with the center cutout on the housing port and that the dome’s hood is oriented top to bottom. Press them together and tighten all of the retaining screws. Remember, just finger tight with the screws. Don't over-tighten them.
15. Do a systems check before getting in the water
Once the dome is on, check all the buttons to make sure everything is working. Double check the Vacuum Valve Plug is locked in place. Now we're ready to get back into the water! Remember, slowly submerge the housing into the water opposed to just jumping in with it.
16. Check for leaks
As soon as you’re in the water safely, perform the same 360 dunk test as before to ensure there aren't any leaks. Once the air that's trapped in the handles and under the unit escapes, there should be no more bubbles. Remember, air bubbles = water leaking into the housing! If you do notice a leak, point the housing down with the dome at the bottom and exit the water as quickly as possible.
17. Make some awesome
That's it! You're ready to get some awesome underwater images & video! Diving somewhere deep or dark? Shed some light on the situation and check out the Ikelite DS161 Strobe/LED Kit or the Stella Pro 5000 LED to really make your subject pop.