Custom epoxy/fiberglass waterproof housing for the Panasonic HVX200
For a sample movie shot through this housing click here.
This housing is based on the housing designs we have been making since1992, which tailor specifically to the top-side watersport cinematographer. The design addresses many of the frustrations weve heard about an inability to find a commercially available low profile housing for the HVX-200 that can be used for watersports like surfing, wakeboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboarding, etc. This housing can be used for diving but it is not designed for that purpose. As such, please note that it has not been depth-tested although we have had this style of housing down 55 to 65 feet with no problems. Also, it does not offer any fluff such as plug-in electrical connectors for lights, and it does not have a domed front port. Here are some specifics on this housing:
The housing body is made out of resin and fiberglass, which allows us to produce a shape form-fitted to the camera, making for the smallest housing possible. This is particularly important for the HVX-200 as it is a relatively large and heavy camera to swim around with in the surf. Its akin to using a 16mm film camera. A form-fitting shape helps in two other ways as well; the rounded sides minimize resistance when swimming through waves or against currents and they create a stronger structural shape.
There are two styles of housings to choose from, one which accommodates the Century 0.6 wide angle lens, and one which accepts the Century 0.7 zoom-through wide angle lens. The housing that fits the 0.6 lens will also work just fine with the camera with no accessory lens attached. However, if you use the 0.7 housing without the wide lens then you will experience some vignetting at the fully zoomed out position.
From Front to Back:
The Front Port:
The front port is 1/4 inch glass. We use glass because of its resistance to scratching. Long ago we eliminated using acrylic or polycarbonate front ports because they are so prone to scratching, even while doing simple things like cleaning the lens. Video is particularly sensitive to showing scratches on the lens as you often pan through different lighting conditions throughout a shot, which can easily highlight scratches. So we use glass.
The port is removeable.
The Camera Controls:
The controls are standard Ikelite controls. There are three of them and they control the on/off, record start/stop, zoom, and instant autofocus buttons
The on/off and record start/stop are operated by the same control.
The placement of the controls allows you to start and stop recording, and to zoom, all without ever removing your hands from the side handles. Knocking the start/stop control lever back with your thumb will start and stop recording. This allows you to continuously frame your shot and instantly start and stop recording at any time without interruption, which allows for efficient use of the space on your P2 cards. There is no need to just let the tape roll as is common with cheap miniDV tape.
Also, there are two handle options depending upon your needs. There are side handles for two-handed filming, which would probably be the most popular option considering the weight of this camera. But there is also a pistol grip handle for one-hand use.
The Rear Port:
The rear port is 3/8 thick acrylic. The port is attached with eleven 3/4 8-32 countersunk machine screws. It will take about one extra minute to seal up this housing as compared to a housing with quick-release clamps but we are absolutely convinced this is the way to go. We are not fans of clamp-on systems in the surf. Using a screw-on system also allows you to finely tune your seal each time. This is as rock-solid as you can get so we think the extra minute is worth it.
For a more detailed description, including thorough instructions about using this housing, please click here. For a sample movie shot through this housing click here.
Please call or email us if you have any questions about this housing that we did not answer here. We have been making housings for our own cameras and our friend's cameras for over 15 years and every once of knowledge we have gained from that has gone into this housing. Everything from size, materials, ease of use, functionality in the surf, and flexibility of shooting options has been incorporated into this design. We think you'll like it.