Okinawa, Photography, Underwater
Comments 4

Ikelite K5 Housing – Open Water Test

Dive Buddy Shawn Miller

Dive Buddy Shawn Miller

Tested out the underwater housing for the K5 at Cape Maeda this morning. Hiroshi and Shawn were my buddies for the dive. As more experienced underwater shooters, they could make sure that I’d sealed everything down properly.

Dive Buddy Hiroshi Tsuji

Dive Buddy Hiroshi Tsuji

So what did I learn?

The housing didn’t leak and you can operate all buttons while underwater.

There also appears to be a button (labeled Fn Button in the manual) that allows you to press the lens release button. I may contact Ikelite to see if I’m just being dimwitted or if this is some design issue. (I didn’t try to use this while underwater.)

Operating functions that require doing two things at the same time are tricky e.g. pressing the ISO button and turning the rear e-dial. This means using exposure compensation underwater will be more problematic than simply using manual mode and adjusting exposure with the e-dials.

The controller for the “Green Button” can easily get stuck. Probably not an issue as I don’t use the Green Button normally, but strange nonetheless.

Live View is useful as it can make composition much easier when you can’t see through the  viewfinder.

When underwater the autofocus gets it right more often than I do.

Shawn Miller - Finding Nemo

Shawn Miller - Finding Nemo

A few more things about underwater photography:

You get colder than on a regular dive as you’re not swimming as much. After 45 minutes I was feeling decidedly chilly.

You need to be completely comfortable with your camera. Underwater in the dark is not the right time to start learning which button does what.

You need to be completely comfortable diving. This makes for better photography, but is more important for personal safety. Things like buoyancy control and checking gauges should be second nature before adding a camera, particularly a large cumbersome one. If you have an emergency, you don’t want to be fumbling around for your regulator only to find it tangled up in all your flash cables and straps.

Hiroshi Tsuji - The Abyss

Hiroshi Tsuji - The Abyss

All in all, a good dive. Hope to get in a couple more before heading down to Yonaguni.


  1. For my Olympus XZ-1 I have a UV housing that’s great, but somehow the clever guys at Olympus have forgotten that you might want to do exposure compensations underwater, so while there is a button for activating the +/- EV function, there is no way to operate the thumb wheel, that you have to use if you’re going to use the +/- function! Bummer! Have as yet not found a work-around, but there might be one! I’ll soon make my own underwater flash from a cheap flash, similar to yours (also Chinese), in slave mode!

    In contrast to most UV housings it is very light, compact, and fairly cheap, and yet very professional looking (OK down to 30 meters, or so)!

    Been using it in rain, and snow, as it protects the camera very well from the weather, the entire UV housing beingm approximately, the size of your Pentax 645D! And you have a nice thread on the outside of the UV housing, so you can attach close-up lenses! Pretty slick!

    Just awaiting nice summer waters, to test it down under!

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