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Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing Review

Shooting underwater is fun and opens up a whole new photographic world!

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing

Images Copyright Nick Stubbs

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing
Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing Review - I have seen more elaborate, solid and well constructed underwater camera housings. My first impressions when I saw the plastic Ewa Marine was "cheap and cheerful". However, I felt sure that the housing was secure, especially after reading many reviews and talking to other owners.

The more expensive housings are made of a solid, poly-carbonate plastic with O ring seals and heavy duty clip fastenings. However, the Ewa Marine range of housings are altogether more flimsy to the touch, but don’t let that put you off.

Do you remember the smell, texture and feel of a deflated dinghy from when you were young? This is what the Ewa Marine Housing is like. The plastic is very thick and difficult to damage so rest assured your camera is safe.

The Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing can be used for the following quite effectively:

  • On small boats to lose the fear of falling in
  • In the surf for great water sports action photography
  • While swimming in a pool or in the sea
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    Snorkeling just about anywhere
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    Diving to a depth of around 50 meters
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    Anywhere that there is water, dirt or a dusty environment

In short, this relatively cheap housing is great to give you piece of mind whenever there is water about without breaking the bank.

I personally find this a great addition to my kit for underwater stock photography of my kids. Or even for shooting them during watery play-fights, water sports or artistic underwater stock photography. I have even used the bath as a mini, sub-aquatic studio! The fact that it houses the dedicated speedlight is a bonus.

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing Review - Preparation

The kit comes with an attachment ring (size dependent on camera and housing) that screws into your filter thread on the lens. This helps keep the lens in place once inside the housing. It also comes with a few bags of silica gel to help absorb any condensation that may appear inside the plastic housing. Use this as it helps to prevent the lens cover steaming up when you hit the cold water.

Set your lens to auto focus and focusing points to "all". You will find it hard to adjust these once underwater. I normally set the camera to shutter priority at about 400th/sec and the speedlight to auto to ensure no camera shake and a well lit shot (E-TTL).

Take the strap off and place the camera in the housing first and then attach the speedlight once in place make sure both are switched on before sealing the unit.

I would recommend using a super wide angle lens if available. The water tends to crop the reach of your lens quite a bit due to diffraction/refraction or whatever it is called. I will look it up one day and edit this but hopefully you know what I mean.

Note: I personally use the 16-35mm lens set to 16mm on the Canon EOS 5D's. Plus the super wide, and relatively inexpensive but "oh so sexy" semi fisheye Canon EF 15mm Lens on the 5D Mark II and 5D Mark IV. The border in between water and air acts like a natural lens but makes objects actually appear closer than they are. In fact it eliminates the effect of your wide angle lens by a factor of 0.7x so bear this in mind when shooting.

Once the camera is inside, you seal the underwater housing with a tight turn of just three screws. These force the plastic together making it impossible for the water to get in. You are also able to add or remove air for buoyancy control using one small valve (again, similar to the type on a dinghy).

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing Review - In at the Deep End

Ewa Marine recommends that you test the housing underwater without the camera first to ensure the product is not defective. Maybe it is because I fully trust Ewa Marine or I was looking for an excuse to upgrade my camera. Whatever, I just went for it.

I must admit that my heart was pounding when I first got into the swimming pool and sank the unit underwater. No bubbles! Phew!

It took a few times underwater until I got the hang of this underwater photography lark. It is difficult but just about possible to see through the viewfinder whilst wearing diving goggles. Viewing on the rear screen is ok due to a clear piece of plastic just where it should be.

Shooting

If you don’t have your buoyancy right it is difficult to get comfortable taking underwater images as you keep bobbing to the surface. Let some air out of the housing and weigh yourself down a bit and you are good to go.

Practice makes perfect. You need to learn a new set of skills when shooting underwater such as aiming and firing away without looking through the viewfinder. When shooting in deep sea, obviously you have more control over your buoyancy. You also have more time to think about the shot, especially as you have air to breathe!

Be aware of the condition of the water. If it is choppy and visibility is relatively poor, switch the flash off. It will only illuminate every particle in front of you rendering the shot useless. This even happens in a swimming pool if there is lots of activity.

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing

Image Copyright Nick Stubbs

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing
Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing

Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing

Don’t settle for just one shot as you won’t be able to check your images properly. Take a bunch like I do with my son when he is jumping into the water 200 times a day! Experienced underwater photographers have confirmed that the cameras auto focus and speedlight both continue to work perfectly at depth.

As you descend, the air is pressed onto the camera. Because of this, the pressure inside the underwater camera housing will remain the same as the surrounding water pressure. This is the reason why Ewa Marine housings are so safe to use.

The Ewa Marine Underwater Camera Housing is designed to fit almost all common SLR cameras on the market, irrespective of the model or manufacturer. It will take the camera with battery grip attached. Or if removed, it comes with a foam replacement to allow the camera to fit snugly in the housing. A weight or two in addition to the camera is also recommended as the buoyancy is a little too "light".

All in all, and for the price, I would say this is a very handy piece of kit to have around. It is light and very portable and I am still waiting for a bride to say yes to a trash-the-dress-in-the-pool session after a Spanish wedding!

Please note: If you are altogether more serious about doing deeper dives and underwater scuba photography, I would recommend the Ikelite range of underwater housings for quality, ease of use and durability.

Note: All Images on this page were taken with the Ewa Marine AXP with Canon EOS 5D or EOS 20D and are strictly copyright to Nick Stubbs.

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