Resurrecting a £43 water housing and starting surf photography from the beginning, again...

So this last year has been so hard for so many people, us included, being a newly formed small limited company we slipped through all the gaps when it came to getting any government assistance (fortunately our readership have been incredible), and whilst we work other jobs to survive we had to dispense with all camera gear to keep things rolling. No big deal, I'd accumulated a bit over the years and they are merely tools, but got to say I have really missed getting in the water and shooting, in fact it's been approaching 16 months since I took a picture now. Now we come out the other end our priority is making amazing magazines, and the photography side has to start from ground zero again. Obviously the dream would be to drop £10k on a new Sony A1 and a slick new Aquatech housing, but that is just a dream, especially when £10k actually translates to about £200 in reality. So what can be done, well I started scouring online, and thought this could actually be an interesting route back/route into photography, the reality of it all. The Waterhousing was going to be the tricky bit, but I sold some old surf gear and pooled a total of £350 in the end, so is it possible to get into shooting again for that...

It took two months but finally this came up...

Incredibly this Aquatech DV-3 housing with two ports cost £43, now this is an oldish housing but still takes the available LP ports, which is a bonus. The previous owner had advertised it as being for the 1ds range of cameras, but a quick check and it turns out it will take everything up to a 1Dx, albeit with less buttons available, but as it turns out that isn't an issue. 

So it arrives, port goes on, into a bucket of water. It turns out I own sieves that leak less... however structurally the housing is absolutely fine, so probably was solvable. Four of the control buttons on the back are broken so they were the obvious culprits, but they turned out to be ok, they don't work, but they don't leak. The main seal and shutter button was fine, so that left the port. Turns out the o-ring, the bit that seals everything was completely knackered. Fortunately over the years I have randomly collected a lot of spare o-rings. and had one that fitted. It still leaked... So every o-ring and control was stripped, cleaned and greased, it then went back in the bucket, was swished around a lot, and we had a dry housing. Now that doesn't mean it's going be watertight when I get the first set to the head, but it's a start.

That left a budget of £307 for a Canon 1d series camera and a 50mm lens. There wasn't much movement lens wise, they are solid, never depreciate and managed to get one for £60, leaving £243 for a professional camera body.

Well you can pick up a 1d or 1d Mk2 for that price, but they are shocking cameras, image wise. However the MkIII actually has some good points after these downers, it's an APS-H, so not full frame, and the autofocus is not good (don't really use in water anyway), it's low light abilities above ISO 800 are pretty bad (not 7d bad, but bad), but it has a rather lovely organic looking image in decent light. There is something about the 1DIII sensor which produces nice images, and it rattles along at 10 frames per second. Now the only problem is, the cheapest go for around £360, a steal, for a weather sealed pro camera, but out of my reach. A bit of searching and I found one for £225, the catch, it had been dropped, it still worked fine just the flash mount had been obliterated, thus rendering the weather sealing and use of flash useless. So naturally I paid the £225 and with the spare £18 purchased some duck tape...

Now lets see what we can do with it, can we get good shots with all this ancient gear? Well we're going to go on a little journey and take you into the varying world of shooting images from the water. Naturally like when you get a new board the chart has gone to complete junk, so it may be a while...