We have two rental options available for RED DSMC2 cameras.
Our compact DSMC2 housing, and our DMSC2 I/O housing.
Both housings work with the Raven, Scarlet-W, Epic-W, Weapon, and DSMC2 (Gemini, Helium & Monstro) cameras.
The DSMC2 housing is great for action shots or where a compact housing is required.
The I/O housing provides opportunity for larger monitors and SDI output.
Both come with leak detection systems fitted, for peace of mind.
The I/O housing can be optioned with a SDI bulkhead and waterproof cabling, providing directors monitoring.
15m and 45m cables available.
Various ports, including Leica-R CINE-MOD available.
Rates from AUD500/day or $1500/week.
We now have an amazing set of Leica-R CINE-MOD EF mount lenses available for rental.
Leica Elmarit-R 24mm f2.8
Leica Summicron-R 35mm f2
Leica Summicron-R 50mm f2
Flat port with focus and iris control – suits Salty RED DSMC2 housings.
6 inch dome port with focus control – suits Salty RED DSMC2 housings.
These lenses have been CINE-MOD’d by Duclos lenses, which involves a Canon EF mount conversion, 0.8 module gears, declicked iris, and a 80mm front ring on all lenses.
We chose these 3 lenses because they all work in the same lens port on our RED housings.
Lenses available to rent individually or as a kit in a custom Pelican case.
Rates from AUD125/day/lens or AUD350/day/kit.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
One of the most asked questions lately is ‘what fisheye can I use with the A7iii/A9’?
There are a handful of options out there, however in my opinion, at the moment there is no ‘perfect solution’.
If you are after the highest quality option, and have no budget constraints, then go for the Canon 8-15mm + Sigma MC-11 adapter.
If your budget can’t stretch for the 8-15mm, and you don’t think you will need autofocus, then the Rokinon 12mm f2.8 is a great option.
My top four options:
|Sony FE 28mm + 16mm Fisheye Converter||US750||Autofocus.
Gives you two lenses (16mm + 28mm)
|Quality concerns of converter.
Long and heavy with the converter.
|Canon 8-15mm + Sigma MC-11 Adapter||US1400||Canon ‘L’ quality.
Very fast autofocus.
Circular and full frame fisheye options.
Only slightly lighter and smaller than the 28mm + converter.
|Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f2.8||US500||Cheap.
|Manual focus and manual aperture.||M-D6.1 + 25mm extension
M-D8.1 + 25mm extension
|Rokinon 8mm f2.8||US300||Cheapest.
Super compact setup.
|Manual focus and manual aperture.
Only covers APSC size sensor.
The ultimate solution
If you want the highest quality fisheye lens, and budget isn’t of concern, then the Canon 8-15mm fisheye coupled with the Sigma MC-11 adapter is the ultimate solution. It is significantly more expensive than other options, however you may already have the 8-15mm if you are a recent ‘Canon to Sony’ convert, or you may be able to find a cheaper second hand one from someone also switching to mirrorless.
The 8-15mm range provides opportunities to shoot circular, as well as 180 degree full frame fisheye. The autofocus is amazingingly fast, even though it is not a native Sony lens. It fits perfectly in our M-D6.3 dome port.
This is my personal setup, mostly because I also use the lens on my RED Scarlet-W camera for video/cinema work.
Why not the Rokinon lenses?
The Rokinon/ Samyang fisheye lenses are definitely an enticing option at the low price point. However the downside to these lenses is that they are manual focus, and manual aperture only.
The 8mm is a really nice compact option, however only covers the APSC sensor size, meaning you won’t be taking advantage of the full frame sensor size of the A7iii/A9. However it is the smallest lens of the options, meaning it will give you the most compact setup in a housing.
Historically, fisheye is shot in manual focus, mostly to give you reliable results. However, with the speed and accuracy of autofocus on the new Sony A7iii and A9 cameras, focus reliability is less of a concern that it was 5 years ago.
The difficulty with manual focus, is that your focus point needs to be set before you close your housing. This limits you in the style of shots during that session. This is because when shooting underwater you need to focus differently to focusing above water (the reason is a whole other lesson in itself – Google “dome port virtual image”).
So, if you have your focus point set for shooting above water and you want to shoot underwater in the same session, all your underwater shots will be out of focus. An autofocus lens obviously overcomes these issues.
Wide Angle Alternatives
If fisheye isn’t your thing, but still want to shoot wide with your full-frame Sony camera, there are a handful of wide angle lenses. In order of my personal preference:
- Sony 12-24mm (requires the larger STANDARD port system)
- Sony 10-18mm (No vignetting in full frame mode at 14-16mm)
- Sony 16-35mm (not super wide, but is super versatile with the reach to 35mm).
- Laowa 12mm f2.8 Zero-D
There are a few other fisheye and wide angle options out there, however I have not tested them so cannot comment on them. These include the old school Canon 15mm fisheye + MC-11, and a couple of Sigma EF fisheye option + MC-11.
Do you have any other recommendations for fisheye or wide angle on a Sony full-frame camera? Email email@example.com, and I can include them in this article.
The Sony A7iii is the ultimate bang-for-buck camera you can buy in 2018.
Well, that’s pretty much all you need to know, but I guess you might want to know why I think this.
The A7iii offers a full frame sensor, high frames per second shooting, and 4K video all at a relatively affordable price, all packed into a compact & lightweight camera body. This puts it high on the list of surf photography suitable cameras.
- Compact body. Compared with traditional DSLR cameras (like the Canon 5D) the A7iii is tiny! This is great for shooting in the water when coupled with a compact housing.
- Battery life. The A7iii uses the new NP-FZ100 batteries. The battery life of the A6X00 and A7ii was one of the biggest let-down of these cameras. The new batteries offer approximately 2.2x the battery life compared with the A6X00/A7ii. More than enough for a solid swim, or a couple of sessions shooting from the beach.
- Full-frame. The full-frame ‘look’. Better low-light performance, more depth of view, wider field of view, when compared with a crop sensor camera.
- 10fps shooting. You might fill up a card quickly, but you will have plenty of choices picking the best shot when capturing the fast paced action.
The A7iii shares the same basic camera body as the A9 and A7Riii, so works perfectly in our A9 housing.
As such, we have decided to rename this housing to our ‘ɑ-PRO’ housing.
We have two options for housings:
- ɑ-PRO standard housing – suits A9, A7(x)iii cameras
- ɑ-PRO BOOSTED housing – suits A9, A7(x)iii cameras with the battery grip.
The standard housing is super compact, and amazingly light!
The BOOSTED housing offers a crazy amount of battery power in the water, probably more than you could swim in one session. However, I personally shoot with the BOOSTED housing for a few reasons:
- Add a 128GB card and you can shoot multiple sessions without removing the camera from the housing.
- The ODI Vans side handle, offers added stability (and looks bad-ass!).
- Better balanced with larger lenses. Using Sony GM lenses means larger ports that often overshadow the standard housing. The larger BOOSTED housing offers a more balanced setup, yet is still compact compared with other manufacturers housing offerings.
What makes our housings different to other manufacturers?
- Compact, form fitting design – not a ‘one size fits all’ approach
- On/Off switch
- Custom paint options
- Multiple port options, including ports for 12-24mm, 16-35mm and 70-200mm
- 20m depth rating
Here is a photo, sent to us by one of our customers.
This shows our ɑ-PRO BOOSTED housing (right) next to another manufacturer’s standard A9 housing (left)
If you have more cash to splash around, you might consider the A9 or the A7Riii.
The A7Riii offers an insane 42MP, whilst the A9 provides 20fps and blackout free EVF shooting.
If the budget does not stretch to the A7iii, consider an A6500 (or the even cheaper A6000 or A6300).
The Sony A7iii is a relatively affordable camera, that has professional level features suitable for surf photography.
If you are looking to take your shooting to the next level, or simply want to downsize from a DSLR, the A7iii is one of your best options on the market today.
There’s a variety of housings on the market available for the A7iii, of which will all also suit the A7Riii or A9 should you ever want to upgrade in the future.
Keeping water drops off your ports is essential in shooting good photos or video with your housing. One stray water drop can ruin the shot, so it is important to implement appropriate method of keeping your port clear.
There are two popular methods for water drop free shots; wet port and dry port.
Wet port is the easiest method, and refers to keep a thin, consistent layer of water on acrylic element of the port. This is best done by using the spit technique.
Before you enter the water:
- Ensure your port is free of dust and debris.
- Spit on your port and lick it, as to spread the spit evenly over the entire acrylic element.
- Let the spit semi-dry before entering the water. This usually takes 5-10 minutes.
In the water:
- Dunk the housing and then lick the port, as to remove any large spots of spit stuck to the port. Your port should now look clear.
- Hold your housing underwater until just before you want to take a shot. As you lift the housing out of the water there will be a thin layer of water sticking to the front of the port.
- Return the housing to the water and wait for the next opportunity for a shot.
- The performance of the spit technique will depend on what you have eaten or drunk before you shoot. Eating an apple or chewing a mint will help give your spit the right consistency for good results. I know one photographer who has a compartment dedicated to Mentos mints in his camera bag.
- Spit and lick your port before hopping into your wetsuit and before loading your camera into the housing. This will give sufficient time for the spit to dry before you are ready to enter the water.
- If you have let the spit semi-dry before entering the water you should not need to constantly lick the port throughout your session.
- Do not use your fingers to spread the spit around as you will introduce unwanted oils from your skin onto the port.
Dry port refers to keeping your lens port completely free of water.
So, how are you supposed to keep your port dry if you are swimming in water!? Well, it is quite a tedious task, particularly if you are constantly diving under waves. However, once you practice it a few times you will get the hang of it and the results will speak for themselves.
Before you enter the water:
- Apply a small amount of unscented candle wax to the acrylic and buff it in using a clean, dry cloth. You want to buff it sufficiently so you don’t see a haze of candle wax. The port should look clear.
In the water:
- Lift the port out of the water and then use a squeegee to wipe away any water drops.
- I use a 3M Squeegee, which can be purchased from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/3M-Applicator-Squeegee-PA1-B-Blue/dp/B00657SFPE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523232375&sr=8-3&keywords=3m+squeegee
- You can also use a window cleaner style squeegee, which is commonly available for purchase at your local supermarket or hardware store.
- Punch a hole in the squeegee and attach it to your housing leash or on your spare hand with a short tether so you don’t loose it in the water.
So which method do you use?
It is best to experiment with both methods and find what gives you the best and most reliable results. These tips are based on what I have tried and tested in my 15 years of shooting surf photography and may not work for everyone.
My rule of thumb is:
Wet port method for dome ports, and flat ports when shooting with focal lengths <50mm.
Dry port method for flat ports when shooting focal lengths =>50mm.
- 8mm fisheye / 6 inch dome port = wet port method
- 25mm wide angle / flat port = wet port method
- 85mm / flat port = dry port method
- 70-200mm = dry port method
Some people swear by the dry port technique when using a flat port, even with wider lenses. And yet, some people swear by the wet port technique even when using longer telephoto lenses. So, simply use these tips as a starting guide, and experiment to find what works best for you with the lenses you shoot with, and the conditions you shoot in.
One of the most common questions we are asked is: what size dome should I use?
Well, the answer mostly depends on what style of shooting you do, what lens you are looking to use in the dome, and sometimes your budget.
When we talk about the size of the dome port we are referring to the overall diameter of the acrylic element.
Other variables with domes are the height of the acrylic element, and the length of the port itself. We have done the hard work and optimised the height of the acrylic for all diameters of dome so you do not need to worry about this. However, you will need to consider the length of the port based on what lens you are looking to use in the dome. We will discuss this towards the end of this article.
First, let’s look at the dome ports we offer, and what the pros and cons of each.
4-Inch Dome – The best for shooting above water, in-barrel shots with a fisheye lens.
- Compact size
- Small surface area, minimising potential for water drops and reflections
- Can result in un-sharp image corners when shooting underwater
- Difficult to shoot over/under shots.
6-inch Dome – The most popular and versatile option
- Relatively compact size, particularly on larger mirrorless or DSLR housings
- Sharp image corners when shooting underwater and when correctly matched to the length of your lens.
- Over/under shots are possible with this size dome.
- Larger surface area, compared with the 4-inch, increasing the potential for water drops and reflections when shooting above water.
8-inch Dome – Ideal for underwater and over/under shots
- Over/under shots are easy with this size dome.
- Sharp image corners when shooting underwater
- Larger and bulkier, difficult to store/carry.
- Larger surface area, compared with the 4-inch and 6-inch, increasing the potential for water drops and reflections when shooting above water.
We also offer custom order 10-inch and 12-inch domes. These larger domes are best used for over/under style shots, as they are very buoyant and difficult to sink underwater.
For best optical results, the front of the lens should align (or close to) the base of the acrylic of the dome.
We stock domes of varying lengths to suit the most popular lens options, alternatively you can match one of our stock domes and a port extender to match your desired lens setup.
Product naming convention
We use letters and numbers to identify our ports.
The first letter determines the port system. M= MINI, S= STANDARD, C= CINE
The second letter identifies the port as a dome. D= DOME
The third letter/number is the port diameter.
The number after this corresponds to relative length of the dome, with a larger number corresponding to a longer dome.
It is easiest explained in the table below:
|Product Name||Port System||Dome Diameter||Relative Length||Ideal lenses|
|M-D4||MINI||4-inch/100mm||Short||Rokinon/Samyang 8mm 2.8ii|
|M-D6.1||MINI||6-inch/150mm||Short||Rokinon/Samyang 8mm 2.8ii|
|M-D6.3||MINI||6-inch/150mm||Long||Sony 16-35mm f4|
|M-D8.1||MINI||8-inch/200mm||Short||Rokinon/Samyang 8mm 2.8ii|
|M-D8.3||MINI||8-inch/200mm||Long||Sony 16-35mm f4|
|S-D6.1||STANDARD||6-inch/150mm||Short||Canon 15mm fisheye|
|M-D6.3||STANDARD||6-inch/150mm||Long||Sony 12-24mm or Canon 8-15mm on a RED housing|
|M-D8.1||STANDARD||8-inch/200mm||Short||Canon 15mm fisheye|
|M-D8.3||STANDARD||8-inch/200mm||Long||Sony 12-24mm or Canon 8-15mm on a RED housing|
*Product coming soon. For now use M-D6.1 + 25mm Port Extender
Hopefully that helps you choose what dome port is right for you.
Feel free to contact us if you need further assistance, and don’t forget our Lens Port Reference Charts found here:
We now have housings available for rental!
We also offer Sony A6000, A6500, A9, and RED DSMC2 cameras for rent to approved applicants, as well as lenses and housings accessories.
Rentals are based out of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
International rentals are available.
Contact us for rental fees.
|Sony A6000 Flash||Yes|
|Sony A9 with battery grip||Yes|
|RED DSMC2||Yes- Raven|
|Alexa Mini + Leica Summilix-C||Yes – via Cinoptix|
|Panasonic EVA1 (Coming 2018)||No|
Discounted rates apply for multi-week rental.
You can also rent cameras, lenses and housing accessories from us.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details or to book in a rental.
A few quick FAQs about our pistol grip triggers.
Why shoot with a pistol grip trigger?
A pistol grip is a handle that attaches to the bottom of the housing. The handle is fitted with a button that triggers the camera’s shutter via a cable connected to the cameras ‘remote’ port.
Shooting with a pistol grip allows you to hold (and trigger) the camera with only one hand, which makes it easier to swim with your housing, and easier to position yourself into critical sections of the wave to get the best shot.
A pistol grip trigger is typically used with fisheye or wide-angle lenses, where you would not necessarily be looking through your viewfinder when shooting. You can still use a pistol grip when shooting with longer lenses, although some shooters prefer to use the top shutter button for a more natural grip when looking through the viewfinder.
What is the difference between the ‘single-stage pistol grip’ and the two-stage pistol grip?
The single stage pistol grip features a ‘one-press’ button. This button fires the shutter with one press.
The two-stage pistol grip features a ‘half-press to focus’ and ‘full-press to fire’ button. There is a tactile click at the half press and again at full press, making single-handed autofocusing with the pistol grip very easy.
Both grips look exactly the same, it is just the feel of the button that is different.
Why would I want a single-stage pistol grip?
If you shoot using back button to focus, or with a manual focus lens, the single-pistol grip is your best option.
It provides a very responsive shutter action, ensuring that you never miss a shot.
What happens if I use a single-stage pistol grip with auto-focus lenses?
If you have not deactivated half-press focusing (‘AF with Shutter’ for Sony’s) in your camera settings you may experience a minor delay in the shutter firing as the camera will seek focus before it fires the shutter. Alternatively, the camera may start firing, but take a couple of shots to find focus. It is a similar situation as pressing your camera’s shutter button very quickly without first finding focus.
If you prefer to focus with the back-button you have probably already disabled half-press focusing, as such there will be no delay in firing when pressing the single-stage button.