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, Baros, Maldives, Aug. 1990 (r90h01-07)
Side view. (r90h01-08)
Automatic air inlet valve (r90h01-10)
Flash unit built into one of Tony Birchley's
injection moulded housings (r90h01-09)
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.