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Ewa-Marine U-BF100 underwater housing review. by Leif Karlsson

Underwater photography fun and inspiring.

Last year I was lucky to have one of my kayak images published as a cover photo in Sea Kayaker Magazine. Inspired by this success I got an idea of taking under water photos when rolling and playing with my kayak and hopefully have one or two images published. The easiest way to take some UW photos had of course been to buy a watertight adventure camera and get going. But I wanted to have high quality images, to get the quality I wanted I decided to use my Nikon SLR together with a Sigma 10-20mm lens. To find, buy and adjust under water equipment for my purposes turned out to be a small DIY project.

Getting the right gear.

I found that a soft UW housing from Ewa-Marine would be perfect. Since I wanted to install my camera on my kayak it was necessary to have a tripod attachment in the UW hosing.
Ewa-Marine can install a tripod attachment in their housings as a special option.
I got in contact with Ewa-Marine and a Swedish dealer to try to order a housing with tripod attachment. The answers I got were vague. The Swedish dealer told me they couldn't help me. Ewa-Marine advised me to order from a German dealer.
And I was told that delivery time for this special order estimated to 8-12 weeks!

This was bad news for me I wanted it now! I decided to order a housing without tripod attachment (The EWA Marine U-BF100) and to make an attempt to install
the attachment myself.

A metal plate with bolt holes and a tripod tread in the center was manufactured. I bought a  quick disconnect camera plate, installed it on the inside of the UW housing. I made holes for the bolts in the plastic bag type UW housing(i guess the warranty went away at this point) and installed the home made plate on the outside of the soft housing.
I sealed the plates and bolts with Liquisole (Shoe repair glue), tightened the bolts and nuts and crossed my fingers that it would be watertight!
After 24h clue curing I did a test to find out if the UW housing still was watertight.
It was!

D.I.Y UW housing (EWA Marine bag type) tripod fitting.
Above: The Cullmann 40450 + 4 screws and nuts and a home made tripod fitting plate.

For the kayak I made a simple tripod in wood that I could install at the front end of my kayak. I drilled some holes in the horizontal beam to be able to install a ball head in different locations, I used a cheap Dörr HB-36 ball head for this and it turned out to work just fine! . The simple DIY wooden tripod was secured to the kayak with a nylon strap.

Shutter release

I bought a radio controlled shutter release to be able to fire the shutter when rolling the kayak. I found it possible to set the shutter release in continuos After pressing the shutter control button a series of five exposures with one second between each exposure were taken. With this setting I could start the camera before capsizing and get some images during each roll.
With focus set to manual and setting aperture to 8 or 11 I got sharp images with good depth of field.
With the Sigma 10-20mm I was limited to about 12-13mm focal length to avoid image to be cutoff of the UW housing lens port.

A few sample shots (Nikon D7000 Sigma 10-20mm HSM)
Leif Karlsson rolling his kayak, equipment used for this photo described above.

Roll in shallow water to get some light reflected from the sand. Camera
installed at the front of my kayak. Camera settings: focal length: 12 mm. focus set to manual at one meter, aperture 8, ISO 1600, exposure time 1/320

EWA Marine UW photography by Leif Karlsson

Camera installed on paddle. A hole was drilled in my old paddle to install the ballhead. Camera settings similar to the previous image.

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Facts and specifications from EWA Marine

Modell: EWA-marine U-BF100

The U-BF was specially designed with the professional photographer and his digital SLR (like the Canon EOS 1D, the Nikon D3, the Sony Alpha 900 or the Leica S) in mind.(Attention: All lenses used with this housing must have an internal focus!)

Technical Information
width 285 mm (11 inches)
hight 180 mm (11 inches)
depth 165 mm (6 1/2 inches )
front port diameter 95 mm (3 3/4 inches)
Your lens diameter 82 mm max. filter thread
weight 375 g (0,83 lbs)
The housing is rated to be used to a dive depth of 10 m / 30 ft.

Package includes:

yellow carry-case which has a water-proof interior
manual for ewa-marine SLR-photo housings
initial supply of CD5
specially foam padding
ewa-marine CA-82 adapter
RA 77-82 reduction adapter

The big difference between the U-BF and other housings in the U-B.. Series is the fact, that in addition to the little finger insert to operate the shutter release with the right forefinger, the U-BF comes with a "glove" integrated into the housing. This glove is designed for the left hand of the user and allows him to cradle the camera and lens in his left hand the way he would if using the camera without the housing. Having his hand on the lens then allows him to operate the camera and lens manually and access all the details to allow him to make the photo with the exact settings he desires.

It's easy to operate as the camera as its various components and buttons can be operated through the PVC. This is the housing that is ideal for fashion photography in or near a pool or from the surf, sports photography, as well as nature and artistic photography just around the waters surface or in areas where the camera or environment has to be protected from chemical or biological contamination. Naturally and although it is still an option, as the photographer will have both hand fixed onto the housing, the housing isn't really predestined for diving.

Please note: In this housing is shipped with a adapter system to connect the camera's lens to the front port housing. To facilitate the majority of lenses, this adapter has a 82mm filter thread. To facilitate the use of smaller lenses, a RA77-82 filter adapter is also included in the housing. Alternatively a 77mm adapter is available as an optional accessory. Should you want to use smaller diameter lenses, please purchase a filter adapter to fit this lens to the 77mm or 82mm ewa-marine adapter from your local dealer.

The U-BF housing is manufactured from double laminated PVC and has an integrated, optically neutral flat glass port.

It has a pair of non-corrosive and seawater resistant clamping rails which fit together for perfect sealing. They tighten by means of three screw knobs.

EWA Marine makes Underwater housings to fit virtually any camera and camcorders on the market from Pro to consumer level and at a price that make it possible for anyone to try and explore UW photography in a fun and safe way.

Comments, sugestions, requests here!

Ewa Marine DSLR UW house reviewed By Leif Karlsson.


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