Living on Okinawa, I can scuba dive most weekends. If you shore dive and only pay for tank rental, a day’s scuba diving actually works out cheaper than an evening bowling. I’ve tried underwater photography a couple of times before. First with an EWA Marine bag for my Nikon film camera that was good down to 5 meters, but limited functionality. Then I got a used Sea & Sea MX-10 submersible camera that you could take scuba diving, but the optical quality wasn’t great. I sold off the MX-10 and for the last 8 years have dived without a camera. From 2012, however, things are going to be different.
Ikelite recently started production of a housing for the Pentax K5 / K7 cameras. I ordered an Ikelite housing from the States and picked up a K5 on sale at Amazon Japan.
The housing is rated to be waterproof to 60M (20M below the maximum depth for recreation divers) and allows you to access all the functions of the camera while underwater.
You must attach a lens port to the front of the housing to complete the system. The type of port will depend on the lens you are using. For the 10-17mm fisheye lens I can use the standard dome port. The port comes with a shade that will vignette the image if the lens is wider than 12mm, but the shade is removable.
Taking your camera underwater is not cheap at around US$1200 dollars for the housing plus a couple of hundred dollars for the port. If you wish to use flash underwater you can get specialist strobes from Ikelite that mount onto the arms of the housing. I will probably get these in the future, but they are not required for the shots I want to take in Yonaguni.
So far I’ve read the manuals and tested it out in the bath. I thought about a test dive today, but weather conditions weren’t really favorable. Hopefully I’ll get in the ocean sometime this week as I need to be comfortable with the new gear before heading down south to Yonaguni next month. You don’t want to be fumbling with new equipment when you’re also trying to deal with cold water, ocean currents and … sharks.