Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been attracted to two things: a camera and the ocean.
The idea of capturing the beautiful power of waves crashing against the shore has always excited me, thus fostering my passion to shoot in-water surf photography.
Getting started with surf photography can be an exhilarating but daunting experience.
With a plethora of camera models, varying costs, and the fear of damaging your gear in relentless surf, it's easy to feel overwhelmed — but I have been in your shoes before and I'm here to shed some light on the matter.
Reflecting on my own experiences, I recall a particularly unforgettable moment while shooting in the water at Mavericks, where waves have the potential to reach 40+ feet in height.
It was a day that tested both my skills as a photographer and my courage as a surfer.
As I swam out into the lineup, just a 20-year-old kid with swim fins and a ten pound camera, my heart raced with a mixture of excitement and utter fear.
With each passing wave, I found myself fully immersed in the moment, completely focused on capturing the essence of Mavericks through my lens.
My water housing proved to be more than up to the task, providing the durability and functionality needed to withstand the relentless force of the surf.
And though the conditions were challenging, the resulting images captured the energy and majesty of Mavericks in a way that words couldn’t describe.
Photos: Jared Weintraub
As a dedicated surf photographer, I understand the importance of having the right equipment to capture those breathtaking moments in the water.
In my experience, finding the perfect water housing is about more than just protecting your camera from the elements. It's about achieving a seamless blend of functionality, durability, and performance, allowing you to focus on capturing that one shot.
That's why I've taken initiative to compile this comprehensive guide to the best water housings available today.
After countless hours spent shooting in the surf, I'm excited to share my insights and recommendations with you.
The Best Water Housings for Surf Photography
Option 1: Aquatech Water Housings
Aquatech is synonymous with quality in the world of water housings, and their offerings for surf photography are no exception.
The Aquatech housings are engineered to provide a secure fit for your camera, ensuring maximum protection against water ingress while maintaining full functionality.
Constructed from durable materials such as polycarbonate and aluminum, these housings can withstand the rigors of the ocean, allowing you to focus on capturing the perfect shot.
Cost: Starting at $1000, Aquatech water housings represent a significant investment for aspiring surf photographers. However, their robust construction and reliable performance make them worth every penny.
Advantages: Aquatech housings boast excellent build quality, ergonomic design, and intuitive controls, making them a favorite among professional photographers. Their precise engineering ensures a snug fit for your camera, while the ergonomic controls allow for smooth operation even in challenging conditions.
Disadvantages: The main drawback of Aquatech water housings is their higher price point compared to some other options on the market. Additionally, while their durability is unmatched, they may be too bulky for photographers looking for a more compact solution.
Option 2: Outex Pro Kit
For photographers seeking a versatile and customizable solution, the Outex Pro Kit offers an innovative approach to water housing.
Unlike traditional hard housings, the Outex system utilizes a flexible cover that stretches over your camera, providing a watertight seal without compromising functionality.
This modular design allows for easy access to camera controls and accommodates various camera models, making it ideal for surf photography enthusiasts with different gear setups.
Cost: With prices starting at $400, the Outex Pro Kit is a more affordable option compared to some of its counterparts.
Its modular design also allows for easy customization, with additional accessories available to enhance your shooting experience.
Advantages: The flexibility of the Outex Pro Kit sets it apart from traditional hard housings, allowing for easy access to camera controls and compatibility with a wide range of camera models.
Its lightweight and compact design make it perfect for travel, while its modular construction allows for easy customization with additional accessories.
Disadvantages: While the Outex Pro Kit offers excellent versatility and customization options, it may not provide the same level of protection as hard housings in extreme conditions. Additionally, setting up the system and ensuring a proper seal can take some practice and may require additional time.
Option 3: AquaTech AxisGO
For iPhone users looking to capture stunning images in the water, the AquaTech AxisGO offers a compact and lightweight solution that doesn't compromise on performance.
This innovative housing allows you to take your iPhone into the surf, providing full access to your device's camera features while keeping it safe from water damage.
With its robust construction and intuitive design, the AxisGO is perfect for on-the-go photographers who want to capture the action from a unique perspective.
Cost: Starting at $40, the AquaTech AxisGO is an affordable option for iPhone users looking to dive into surf photography. Its compact and lightweight design makes it perfect for travel, while its durable construction ensures your device stays protected in the water.
Advantages: The AquaTech AxisGO offers a compact and lightweight solution for iPhone users looking to capture stunning images in the water. Its robust construction and intuitive design provide maximum protection for your device while maintaining full functionality in the surf.
Disadvantages: While the AquaTech AxisGO is an excellent option for iPhone users, it may not offer the same level of customization or compatibility as dedicated housings for DSLR or mirrorless cameras. Additionally, its availability may be limited compared to more established brands.
Water Housings Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do I keep my underwater camera housing from fogging up?
To prevent fogging, consider using anti-fog inserts (the easiest being a tampon) or applying an anti-fog solution to the interior of the housing before use.
Additionally, ensuring a proper seal and minimizing temperature differences between the inside and outside of the housing can help reduce condensation.
Q. How do you make sure your water housing doesn’t leak?
Regularly inspect the O-rings and seals of your water housing for any signs of wear or damage.
Before each use, perform a leak test by submerging the empty housing in water and checking for bubbles.
Avoid exposing the housing to extreme temperatures or pressure changes, which can compromise its waterproofing.
Q. How long does a water housing last?
The lifespan of a water housing depends on various factors, including its quality, maintenance, and frequency of use.
With proper care and regular maintenance, a high-quality water housing can last for several years.
However, it's essential to monitor its condition and replace any worn or damaged parts as needed to ensure continued reliability.
Water Housings for Surf Photography: Conclusion
Investing in the right water housing is essential for capturing stunning surf photography.
Whether you opt for the rugged durability of Aquatech, the versatility of Outex, the reliability of Liquid Eye, or the portability of AquaTech AxisGO, each option offers unique features to enhance your shooting experience.
By choosing a housing that suits your needs and maintaining it properly, you can confidently dive into the waves and unleash your creativity, knowing your gear is well-protected.
So, grab your board, strap on your housing, and let the ocean be your canvas!