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10-01-2015, 06:58 AM   #1
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Waterproof DSLR?

Just a thought. Wouldn't it be great if Pentax came out with the world's first fully immersible DSLR, with a couple of lenses? Before I get flamed for this, think about it. Pentax is a niche player, with a reputation for rugged, weather-sealed cameras. It would make sense for them to pioneer this. There is a need for waterproof cameras. People spend fortunes on expensive cumbersome UW housings, which are difficult to adapt to different cameras, if not impossible. Even a camera immersible to just a few metres, would be pretty huge IMO. That would cover a lot of activities: marine applications, all surface watersports, snorkelling and reef diving, as well as any kind of weather; snow, rain, avalanches, floods, hurricanes. (ask me about the limitations of weather-sealing).

No, it isn't impossible. Nikon has the AW-1 which is a small mirrorless camera, with a small sensor which limits its appeal. It can go to 15m. They're treading on Pentax's turf aren't they? An APS-C or FF camera would be a gamechanger. It wouldn't have to be an SLR necessarily. A mirrorless camera would also work. A waterproof K-01, for example. But a waterproof version of the FF to come (K-1?) would become the world's rugged outdoor camera par excellence, without rival.

10-01-2015, 07:30 AM   #2
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The problem I see is the amount of sales they would get - or rather, lack of sales. It might not be able to justify the price of research and production, if this camera was a stand alone, special model and not the flagship. Perhaps also problems with overheating?
10-01-2015, 07:42 AM   #3
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This could work but the lens selection would be limited to one or two lenses. Underwater, I'm thinking that a wide-angle lens makes most sense, as you can't generally see very far underwater unless it's crystal clear.
10-01-2015, 07:52 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Why an ILC at all? You can't change lenses underwater. Wouldn't a large-sensor, waterproof, fixed-lens camera do the job as well or better, in a smaller package, and be a lot simpler & cheaper?

Edit: I was going to come back and add fixed battery and storage and wireless transfer, and @MJSfoto1956 beat me to it.


Last edited by THoog; 10-01-2015 at 10:18 AM.
10-01-2015, 08:07 AM   #5
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Nikon 1 AW1 is rated to 49 feet depth. I think it is CX size sensor but still, that sounds like it would work.
10-01-2015, 08:12 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Why bother when you can buy underwater housings? And if you get a clear one you might be able to spot when it is leaking.
10-01-2015, 08:19 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Being one of the many that have a ruined Nikon 1 AW1 from water infiltration I can tell you it is harder than it looks to pull this off. My take: for it to be commercially viable for consumers it will require a fixed battery and storage (a la iPhone) and all file transfer via wireless and all charging via cableless chargers. And yes, a fixed lens too -- 24-70mm equivalent would be enough. In other words: a 100% sealed camera with no access ports, doors, etc.

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10-01-2015, 08:54 AM   #8
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A DSLR would be overkill as you don't have much use of OVF under water.
So a mirrorless camera would be enough, with a design optimized for underwater use. Very large buttons and dials for use with thick wet suit.

But I don't think it's much advantage to use K-mount as you probably do not want to use the camera or underwater lenses on land unless you have too in horrible weather conditions.

10-01-2015, 09:04 AM   #9
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underwater ricoh GR II?
10-01-2015, 09:13 AM   #10
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A "waterproof" MILC design would be the way to go. Take something that is small and make it slightly bigger with beefier hardware and seals. Our little Q may be a good candidate. The result would probably be something slightly smaller than Nikon's offering. All of this would make sense if there is more than one waterproof lens available to mount on dry land before going underwater.

Now, if Ricoh really wants to score some sale then they ought to figure out a way to enable swapping lenses under water! I don't know what kind of purge system they would have to invent and how the protective glass layers would withstand salt water. Subsea electronics have tackled this question and the answer is cable bundles for copper and fiber lines that cost several tens of thousands of dollars.
10-01-2015, 09:20 AM   #11
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A GXR like design might be the best, as it could make it possible to switch lenses under water.
10-02-2015, 05:37 AM   #12
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APSC fixed lens camera with a wide LCD should do the trick. Maybe yes, fixed battery plus other things that will totally seal it.
10-03-2015, 03:00 AM   #13
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Personally I like the idea of a camera that is just as useable above the water as under. One that you would use in extreme environments, and use your regular lenses on too. Changing lenses underwater, perhaps not. But as someone said, housings are an awful fiddly encumbrance. It would need an ergonomic rethink and a new kind of lens gasket. I think there's room for improvement there over the AW1, by the sounds of it, and the Nikonos has never truly been replaced. Who would but it? Just about everyone currently struggling with housings is my guess.
10-03-2015, 04:08 AM   #14
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I'm an old scuba diver who hasn't gone down since 1991. Probably the furthest I'll do now is skin diving. Maybe an enhanced Ricoh GR that can do 15 meters would be for me
10-03-2015, 05:02 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by totsmuyco Quote
I'm an old scuba diver who hasn't gone down since 1991. Probably the furthest I'll do now is skin diving. Maybe an enhanced Ricoh GR that can do 15 meters would be for me
A underwater GR would need different specification and design so it might not work well for both underwater and on land.
- You need to be close to the subject under water for best clarity, so the camera have to be wide angle and with good macro capabilities.
- You loose 1/3 of the FOV under water so an ultra wide or fish-eye lens might work best. A zoom lens could be better to use for both under water and on land.
- A retractable lens would might not be possible to seal for under water use, so the lens would make the camera larger. If using a zoom lens it would make the camera quite large with internal zoom and focus.
- Sealing would make the camera larger in general.

So in the end this might make the underwater GR the size of FI Sony RX10. And make it a completely different camera from the GR we have today.
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