Sony a6500

SEAFROGS UNDERWATER CAMERA HOUSING REVIEW

Are you looking for affordable and reliable underwater housing of your Sony camera system? If yes, please read on and check out the video review below…

If you are interested in seeing a review on the Seafrogs a6xxx salted line housings which my colleague Gary Tyson reviewed please click the link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qXNBsT_Yfs

Free divers from  Azul Freediving  shooting with Sea Frogs UW housing for Sony A6xxx series Salted Line. Image taken with Sony a9 www.christiaanhart.com

Free divers from Azul Freediving shooting with Sea Frogs UW housing for Sony A6xxx series Salted Line. Image taken with Sony a9 www.christiaanhart.com

After doing some extensive research online I came across Seafrogs based in Hong Kong who specialise in underwater housings of Sony, Fuji and many other camera systems.

At first, the price of other brands put me off the idea of purchasing an underwater camera housing. Generally, most housings cost much more than your entire camera and lens system, which can feel out of reach for a lot of photograpers.

Bearing in mind of course that I understand the importance of using a housing that will fully protect my gear. A large portion of my photograph assignments are on the water, ranging from wake surfing, wakeboarding, paddle boarding and other watersports.

Image taken with Sony a9, 16-35mm f/4.0 www.christiaanhart.com

Image taken with Sony a9, 16-35mm f/4.0 www.christiaanhart.com

Previously I had been using a cheap pouch system for wake surfing. This mostly consisted in me being positioned low on the back of the speed boat. I was nowhere near confident enough to submerge the camera. It was enough to stop salt water splashes but not ideal. I quickly realised I needed a housing that I could trust and take into the water to help me get the dynamic angles I wanted.

Over the past 8 months, I have been using the Seafrogs Sony a9 housing with the 16-35mm f/4 Sony Zeiss lens. I have used this with the dome port and flat port which enables wet (underwater and half in/half out of the water) and dry shooting (above the surface).

Recently the team from Seafrogs invited myself and my colleague Gary Tyson to test some of their new under water camera housings in Puerto Galera in the Philippines. Of course, we were very excited to be part of the week-long testing with free divers from Azul Freediving as or subjects. I am not a scuba diver so I was shooting from just below the surface as well as diving down to 4-5 meters to shoot the models.

Behind the Scenes with our team shooting a free diver in Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Behind the Scenes with our team shooting a free diver in Puerto Galera, Philippines.

Over the week’s shoot, I tested the newly released seafrogs a7r3 housing against the a9 housing.

I must say they are very similar and both performed flawlessly. For photographers who want the option of using a higher resolution camera for stills and video, the a7r3 housing is the way to go. One of the advantages I found in the new a7r3 housing was being able to attach a pistol grip which is great for shooting in the surf.

There is also a tray system available for all housings with two handles for videographers which enables smoother controlled movements and the ability to attach a variety of lighting accessories.

The dome port is very versatile when using larger lenses such as the 16-35mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm 2.8. The housings cover almost all of the Sony lenses (full details of combative lenses can be found below and on the seafrogs website.

Another great addition is the white color housing which definitely stands out more, especially for surf photographers to be more visible in the water.

One of the main features which I would like to see on both housings is to have the ability to move the joystick on the back of the camera. This wasn’t a huge concern but having the ability to be able to move the focus points would be an advantage when wanting to frame a shot differently. In saying this there are options within the focus point set up in the camera to track subjects.

All other buttons on the camera are accessible. For stills I didn’t have the need to adjust much once the shoot had started. I played around with aperture f/2.8-f/8, depending on the light and depth of the water I was shooting in, shutter speed ranged from 1/320sec up to 1/640sec, ISO Auto, I set the max to 3200, the majority of the images ranged from ISO 100-320 and in deeper water 3200. The view finder is very nice but I must admit I prefer to use the live view screen.

Photo taken with Sony a7r3.

Photo taken with Sony a7r3.

Photo taken with Sony a7r3.

Photo taken with Sony a7r3.

Housing Safety specs - This is a big deal! Anyone placing a valuable camera into an underwater housing needs to be sure their gear is safe! Having the vacuum pump seal and leak detection alarm gives me the confidence every time I use the housing. Double O rings are another added benefit for peace of mind.

  • Vacuum Pump System port

  • In-built leak detection sensor

  • Interchangeable port system

  • Synchro cable port

  • Standard flat port (Optical glass)

  • 6" Dry dome port (Optical acrylic)

  • Stainless steel mounting plate 1/4" Thread

  • 40m / 130ft Dept rate

Sony a7r3 compatible lens housing options

Dome port

  • Sony FE 12-24mm F4G (No manual zoom or focus available)

  • Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM (No manual zoom or focus available)

  • Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM (No manual focus available)

  • Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM (No manual zoom or focus available)

  • Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS (Only at 24mm. No manual zoom or focus available)

  • Sony Distagon T* FE 35mm F1.4 ZA (No manual focus available)

  • Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS (No manual zoom or focus available)

  • Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS (No manual zoom or focus available)

  • Sony FE 28mm F2 + Fisheye Converter SEL057FEC (No manual focus available.Minor vignetting effect)

  • Sony FE 28mm F2 + Ultra Wide Converter SEL075UWC (No manual focus available)

  • Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS (Manual zoom available)

  • Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* (No manual focus available)

Standard port

  • Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS (No manual zoom or focus available) - Works from 17mm to 35mm

  • Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS (No manual zoom or focus available)

  • Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM (No manual focus available)

  • Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS (Manual zoom available)

  • Sony FE 50mm F1.8

  • Sony FE 50mm F2.8 Macro

  • Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss Sonnar T*

Image taken with Sony a9 www.christiaanhart.com

Image taken with Sony a9 www.christiaanhart.com

Photo taken with Sony a7r3.

Photo taken with Sony a7r3.

Summary

In my view, Sea Frogs have created an exciting product which enables anyone from amateur to professional photographers/videographers to access the underwater photography world. Whether it’s shooting action water sports to recreational divers or commercial level shoots there is a housing to suit everyone. Why I recommend Sea Frogs, there are two key factors that stand out, quality and price. In the early days of researching Sea Frogs there weren’t many reviews. The reviews I could find were all very positive, this is another reason I wanted to express my thoughts on the product and to show what can be achieved through the images you see here which I captured.

To receive a discount on any Sea Frogs housing enter the code, f8ch at checkout, visit seafrogs.com.hk to order now.

Disclaimer:

The following review is based on my time using the housings and I must reinforce we were not paid to do this, all views are my own honest thoughts about the systems.

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