Would You Entrust Your DSLR To This Diy Underwater Enclosure?

Next time you head off on that underwater adventure take your camera along with you. [Jkcobabe] shows us how to build a waterproof camera enclosure using just a few components. The box is meant to be used to keep your stuff dry while camping, and the lens housing is made using plumbing fittings from the a home building center. There is a rail system that allows you to mount the camera securely inside, with a flexible button on the outside to actuate the shutter. If anything this is well designed and built, but we might still stick to using disposable cameras under water. Then again, the pros build their own enclosures so we’ll keep our fingers crossed for that $2500 camera as you try to capture that perfect shot.

[Thanks Troy]

24 thoughts on “Would You Entrust Your DSLR To This Diy Underwater Enclosure?

  1. The other DIY option mentioned was TIG welded 6061 aluminum for the body and he machined the port mount out of 7075 aluminum.

    This is a thin plastic box with some 200 and under PSI rated plastic fittings.

    Properly made, this might be good to probably a few dozen – maybe even a hundred feet. But every 33 feet down you go, you add an atmosphere. One atmosphere is about 15 psi. So at 333 feet, you are at 150 PSI.

    I personally have some serious hesitations about trusting a $2000+ camera to this rig.

    Are there any provisions to handle removing the vacuum that will likely form inside the housing? Most pelican cases and such have a valve to handle that. But the valve reduces the “full immersion” waterproof nature of the box.

  2. @Cutthroughstuffguy

    So is what you’re saying is that as long as the diver doesn’t go to 333 feet 200 psi ratings should get the job done?

    We both know that the failure point will be below 200 psi so lets figure 100psi.(safety factor)


    If I’m at 224ft on compressed air the least of my concerns is my DSLR.

    If he silicone greases that hose clamp fitting I’d bet money this thing will go to 100 ft no problem.

  3. At 100+ feet, you are going to start to get nitrogen narcosis. After 200 feet – hope you love breathing helium and are prepared for hours of decompression.

    I went with 200 psi because the PVC is likely rated to 200ish (not sure if he went with schedule 40 or 80). It will likely fail beyond that though. The rest of the fittings (the plastic box and shutter release in particular) are…. likely to fail far before then. Tanks tend to be round and not flat for a reason – much less surface area to have pressure pressing against it. Ever seen a cube decompression chamber or scuba tank?

    This thing SHOULD be able to take 100 ft as long as the quality of the weakest element can take that. Which element that is I can’t say for sure. I doubt the PVC will fail first.

  4. @cutthroughstuffguy
    i know some dslr owners might attempt this, but if you can afford a camera that expensive in the first place, you should have no problem buying an expensive enclosure or getting a new camera if it breaks in this one

  5. Is it just me or does that enclosure look way to small for a DSLR?

    I’d stick my point and shoot in an enclosure like that without second thoughts, but I’d be hesitant about putting in a multi-hundred dollar camera…

  6. CutThroughStuffGuy: not all the pro diy stuff is tig welded, in fact many of the ones used for surf photography are diy carbon fiber setups. Granted i would trust those much more than a wal-mart box, but still neither impossible or excessively difficult to do.

  7. Hi All,
    JKCobabe here, The box though not perfect works great in the 6′ deep pool I had it in. My Nikon D40x fit just fine and survived the trip in the drink. Would I stick the D700 in this box? nope. But for the price it provided a lot of fun and a bunch of great pictures. The crap “o” ring on the box will fail long before the pvc, the box, or the glass lens. If you want to dive with a camera, this is not your housing. Ikelight makes a very cool housing (wish I had one) but it is a little more spendy than my Wal-Mart “water resistant” box. Thanks again to Troy for the post and to Mike for putting it up.

  8. Sport diving much below 100Ft (45 PSI) is generally discouraged. It also gets very dark quickly, so you probably wont be getting good photos very deep without extra lighting anyway.

    200PSI ratings for the camera case and parts are likely satisfactory as long as it is undamaged (no scratches, blemishes or cracks). If you nick the case during construction, get a new case and start over.

    A “no holes” solution for the shutter release would include electrical or optical links through an unbroken case. Some cameras (Canon 5D2 and 7D, probably others ) accept both electrical switch contacts and Infrared pulses as camera triggers (auto-focus/-exposure and shutter release.)

    A magnetic reed switch and external magnet would be the simplest (and likely most robust) option.

    I’d rather lose the trigger to a leak than the camera….

  9. @fartface
    The same kind who really wants a challenge, a good photo, and wants to spend less. Truthfully, I wouldn’t risk it without actually operating on the box myself. I think i agree with h_2_o about prefering that setup to a walmart box, but by using what Brett_cgb said, it actually pays off. when i tried it, I did lose the trigger,(not quite sure what happened, I’ll take a look a little later on) but I have my photos and the camera is still fine. and the pictures I got were fine too. I may post a link to show what I did at some point…

  10. Would I trust it? Not if I made it!

    Seriously, the design is not bad, and if the plastic is rigid enough and the rubber gaskets flexible enough, it should work well at low pressures (not too deep).
    Even purchased ones should be tested at depth well before trusting a camera inside it.

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