Sony A7iii Surf Photography

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.


A7iii Housings

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:


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)


Camera Alternatives

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.


How to: prevent water drops from ruining your photos

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

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:

  1. Ensure your port is free of dust and debris.
  2. Spit on your port and lick it, as to spread the spit evenly over the entire acrylic element.
  3. Let the spit semi-dry before entering the water. This usually takes 5-10 minutes.

In the water:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Shoot!
  4. Return the housing to the water and wait for the next opportunity for a shot.


Quick Tips:

  • 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

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:

  1. 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:

  1. Lift the port out of the water and then use a squeegee to wipe away any water drops.
  2. Shoot!


Quick Tips:


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.

Which size dome port is right for you?

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.

Shot by Scott Ruzzene


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
  • Cheapest


  • 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.


Lens length


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-D6.2* MINI 6-inch/150mm Medium Sony 10-18mm
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-D8.2* MINI 8-inch/200mm Medium Sony 10-18mm
M-D8.3 MINI 8-inch/200mm Long Sony 16-35mm f4
S-D6.1 STANDARD 6-inch/150mm Short Canon 15mm fisheye
M-D6.2* STANDARD 6-inch/150mm Medium Canon/Nikon 8-15mm
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-D8.2 STANDARD 8-inch/200mm Medium Canon/Nikon 8-15mm
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:


Camera Housing Rental

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.

Housing Camera Available
Sony A6000 Yes
Sony A6000 Flash Yes
Sony A6500 Yes
Sony A9 Yes
Sony A9 with battery grip Yes
Panasonic GH5 No
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 for more details or to book in a rental.

Pistol Grip FAQs

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.

Colour & Paint Options

Life is boring when everything is the same. That’s why we offer multiple colour and paint options for your housing. Every housing is custom painted, so you get to choose the colour and/or paint scheme for your housing. Our housings sit unpainted until your order is placed to ensure that your choices are not limited.

A6500 housing in Multi-Colour “Galaxsea” splatter

Our Sony A6X00, Lumix GH5, and Canon 70D/80D housings also have the option for our ‘BLAST’ anodised finishes. These finishes not only look bad-ass, but allows us to provide a more affordable option for your housing. The ‘BLAST’ finish provides superior corrosion protection, however cuts out the extra step of painting the housing, allowing us to pass on cost savings to you.

So why paint your housing?

Paint adds an extra layer of protection, as well as providing a means to customise the look of your housing. All painted housings are also anodised, therefore have two means of corrosion protection.

Paint options:

Single Colour provides an opportunity to paint your housing any single colour you wish. We can custom mix colours, or you can select from many of the previous examples. The paint is a durable two-pack solution, similar to the paint on your car.

A6500 Housing in Single Colour “Blue Pearl” paint.

Multi-Colour is our most exciting option. The splatter paint scheme has proven very popular for those looking for housing that stands out from the crowd. A two-tone fade is also possible. Or combine a two-tone fade and splatter! We are now also offering our new Cross-Hatch Paint scheme.

GH5 Housing in Multi-Colour “Cross-Hatch” paint scheme

A6300 Housing in Multi-Colour “Splatter” paint.

Housing Blast Blue Blast Grey Single Colour Multi Colour
A6000 BASIC Y × × ×
A6000, A6300 & A6500 × Y Y Y
A6000/A6300 Flash × × Y Y
A7ii Series × × Y Y
70D/80D × Y Y Y
7DMK2 × × Y Y
5DMK3 × × Y Y
1DX × × Y Y
XT-2 × × Y Y

70D Housing in “BLAST GREY”