Depth Compensating Flexible Camera Housing
by David Knight

In 1989 I built a depth-compensated flexible underwater camera housing.  This was based on a ewa-marine housing, with an automatic air inlet valve connected to an auxiliary life-jacket feed on my SCUBA regulator (preventing the housing from collapsing on descent), and a two-stage air outlet valve (preventing the housing from over-inflating on ascent).  This apparatus was originally intended as a prototype for a possible commercial product, but it required rather more skill to operate than a conventional pressure-resistant housing and was deemed unlikely to be commercially successful.  
     Still, I took a great many photographs with it and rather liked using it.  Some pictures of me with it are given below.  The camera is a Canon AE1 with a Sigma 50mm 1:1 macro lens. The flash is a simple manual unit built by me and connected to the housing using a Belling Lee Buccaneer IP68 connector (these seem to work perfectly well at 40 m underwater).

DWK with prototype housing
DWK with prototype housing,  Baros, Maldives, Aug. 1990 (r90h01-07)

DWK with prototype housing, side
Side view. (r90h01-08)

Detail auto air valve
Automatic air inlet valve (r90h01-10)

Flash unit built into one of Tony Birchley's injection moulded housings (r90h01-09)

Operating the camera
Operating the camera through the housing glove (r90h01-12).  Unfortunately, the flash arm doesn't support the weight of the flash unit in air, but 1" ball-joint arms were not so common in those days.


Photography & Optics