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06-02-2016, 05:51 AM   #1
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Sealed button for underwater housing

Hi all! I have a question I thought I might throw out there to see if someone has some inspiration they'd like to share.

I'm considering ( very strongly ) building a simple underwater housing for my K-01 + a small prime. I've taken my K-01 underwater before in a flexible plastic case with clear perspex lens, with mixed results. The issue was that anything deeper than a metre and the front casing would push against the lens under the pressure from the depth and ( in the case of my DA15 ) seem to hamper its focusing since the lens barrel needs to fight back against the pressure to extend. Otherwise, it was just plain difficult to tell where you were aiming or where it was trying to focus when you're underwater, holding your breath, fighting the current, tracking your (generally active) marine target, and the surface light is reflecting off the back of the case.

Thus enthused, I would like to build a simple hard casing for it that will be nothing much more than a reinforced box with a perspex front and back. The speed bump to my plan is the only moving part in the set-up - the shutter button. For something that will be used mostly in clear water at snorkeling depths ( & maybe deeper ), nothing else is as important; I'd just set the camera to auto and snap away. I've been scratching my head trying to think of something to use for that; some people have suggested seating a flexible rubber gromit in the case, but I'd like something a little more secure; something akin to the small, sealed, sprung buttons that you would find on a GoPro case. This would give enough finesse to focus - or at the very least - to activate the shutter.

Any bright ideas of something that could be easily sourced ( i.e, a cheap widget off eBay ), easily manufactured ( I have access to a lathe, drill, and materials + I'm a machinist by trade ), or easily robbed off something else I'm all ears.

06-02-2016, 06:42 AM   #2
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This would be an interesting project. I used to own an underwater housing for a Canon Elph but the camera died before I ever used it in the housing.

Maybe a sheet of flexible silicon bonded to the perspex, maybe sandwiched between sheets of perspex? There could be something under the silicon to make contact with the shutter release. Do you have access to a 3-D printer?

Have you had a look at any of the websites for companies that make custom underwater camera housings? You might be able to get parts from them or ideas for how to accomplish your goal.
06-02-2016, 06:50 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by dcshooter Quote
Another option if you are using clear polycarbonate would be to eliminate the extra potential source of leakage and rely on a cheap blister-button IR remote sealed with silicone or similar and secured to the back.
That seems like a great idea. Those remotes can be had for under $10.
06-02-2016, 06:57 AM   #4
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Another option is to use IR remote to trigger the shutter. and place the IR-diode on the outside of the box.
Then you would eliminate all moving mechanical part that may cause a leak and damage the camera.

You can find IR remote for Pentax for 1-2 dollars on ebay which would not be too difficult to seal and modify with a cable and watertight button.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/RC-Wireless-Infrared-Shutter-Remote-Control-for-Pent...D/320681749679

It will also give you more freedom on where to place the shutter button. You can for instance place the button on an external grip on the housing.

Oops, this idea was already suggested.


Last edited by Fogel70; 06-02-2016 at 07:07 AM.
06-02-2016, 10:30 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I would love to find a fully sealed housing for my K-3ii, but...

Don't most people buy the camera system to match the availability of housings?
Not try to find a housing that fits their camera?


Sort of like you wouldn't buy a polaroid then try to find old film for it, rather you'd find a stock of film and buy the camera that uses it...


EDIT: If anyone find a K-3ii housing I can use for surfing, PLEASE let me know. That would be incredibly awesome!

people in the water would lose their @$#% if they saw a Pentax shooting from the break.

Sorry, got off topic above^^^
I'd agree with trying that IR remote idea.
Could come up with some cleaver ways to seat the remote to the housing and be able to focus and actuate shutter without intruding the case at all!

Can you post pictures if you end up going through with this build?!

Last edited by UserAccessDenied; 06-02-2016 at 10:37 AM.
06-03-2016, 05:33 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies and advice! In reply . . . .

The IR remote idea is certainly interesting. I had previously considered a wired remote, but it seemed unworkable. Saying that, rewiring one with a sealed electrical button/switch certainly has some appeal. I'll keep the IR remote in mind as my back-up plan, but the design I had in mind for the case would probably shroud or cover the IR sensor on the front of the camera and I wasn't aware of a sensor on the back of the K-01? My bad if there is.

The DIY camera housings that the surfer makes are pretty phenomenal! His button design wouldn't be too difficult to make, either.

I had previously browsed some sites that sell housings and parts, but the sampling I took of local Australian-based websites didn't seem to have anything other than basic accessories for sale (lenses, strobes, arms, etc.). I've had another look ( and will continue to do so ), and am now looking at another option that appeals. Instead of a sprung button, it looks like many of the higher quality Ikelite ( and other ) cases have a sealed lever that activates the shutter button. A spring wouldn't be necessary, there are fewer critical sealing surfaces for the O-rings to seal on than for a button/plunger, and it would probably feel a lot more natural to operate. Possibly a little easier to manufacture than a button as well.

Ah; decisions, decisions. I can't promise I'll even make a start within the next 6 months, as I'm a chronic procrastinator; however if I do build one I certainly will make a dedicated post for the interested folk.

And yes, the K-01 was originally intended to be just my back-up camera for my K-5; underwater adventures weren't even in mind when I bought it! It's also an easier shape to make a box to! My flatmate is also a keen photographer ( probably more so than I: he has deeper pockets ), and he's just started playing with a custom housing for his D5300 ( or does it suit his D750? I can't recall ) . . . Psychoanalyze my response to that as much as you like, but I think it'll be fun to go with him on some snorkels/dives whilst rocking the K-01
06-03-2016, 09:00 PM   #7
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I've actually been shooting surf with the k5 in an outex housing lately. You can't see what camera is in there, but people are always super curious.

QuoteOriginally posted by UserAccessDenied Quote
I would love to find a fully sealed housing for my K-3ii, but...

Don't most people buy the camera system to match the availability of housings?
Not try to find a housing that fits their camera?


Sort of like you wouldn't buy a polaroid then try to find old film for it, rather you'd find a stock of film and buy the camera that uses it...


EDIT: If anyone find a K-3ii housing I can use for surfing, PLEASE let me know. That would be incredibly awesome!

people in the water would lose their @$#% if they saw a Pentax shooting from the break.

Sorry, got off topic above^^^
I'd agree with trying that IR remote idea.
Could come up with some cleaver ways to seat the remote to the housing and be able to focus and actuate shutter without intruding the case at all!

Can you post pictures if you end up going through with this build?!
06-06-2016, 04:56 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dflorez Quote
I've actually been shooting surf with the k5 in an outex housing lately. You can't see what camera is in there, but people are always super curious.
Interesting.
You have had good experience with it?
How long have you been shooting with the Outex and have you noticed any leaks?

Thanks!

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