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Meikon Sea Frogs underwater housing for the Fuji X-T3


George
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First, some background. I often take my gear near water, your know, crossing rivers, canoeing, gold panning, along shores, stuff like that, and sometimes getting my gear wet is a concern. If any of my cameras are submerged they would be wrecked and rendered useless. Taking cameras near water, or out canoeing therefore is something of a concern. I've tried going canoeing with cheap rugged cameras but the image quality is, to be honest, absolutely shite. Okay for social sharing and cockroach infested Facebook I suppose, but the image quality is so bad I can't work on them and don't even try any longer.

About a year ago, I did some research on underwater camera housings. My goodness, some of them were more expensive than my X-T3 and lens put together. I have no doubt whatsoever the Nauticam gear is pure excellence, but at over £2500 just to keep my gear dry if I capsized while canoeing was far too much money for me. This gear is for scuba divers going down to 300ft and has all sorts of bells and whistles and brackets for lights and probably even makes coffee. Nice gear, but buying one of these would be like buying a sledgehammer to tap in carpet tacks.

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Anyway, after a lot of hours of searching and reading and browsing I gave up. No way I was going to consider spending over 2k just to keep my camera dry if I fell in the water. My canoeing, however, suffered dramatically. I no longer enjoyed it and gave it up. Seeing all those amazingly wonderful photos and not being able to capture them tore me up inside. Going home with no photos after seeing so many wonderful opportunities totally put me off canoeing altogether. It felt a bit like standing in a pub on your own with no money. Only place to go was home.

I also spend time with seals along the shore which involves slithering around on slippy seaweed with waves breaking close at hand, so having some kind of waterproof protection for my gear is necessary. I don't need a fancy scuba diving kit, just something to keep my camera dry for a few seconds if I fall in water getting shots like this.

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 Last week I decided to have another look, but after another two days and many frustrating hours reading more reviews and visiting more websites, I almost gave up again. Didn't look like it was going to happen.

Then I discovered a Chinese company, Meikon, which had a sales office in Hong Kong. Some brilliant guy over there had realised not everyone needed to go down with a camera to 300ft and designed an underwater housing for snorkelling and shallow diving. Can't fault the Chinese when it comes to innovation. This is their Sea Frogs FP2 underwater housing for the Fuji X-T3 + 16-55mm. And it was only £400. Ordered one from their website and it arrived today.

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Here is the housing beside my XT-3 with the 16-55mm, a view of the inside of the unit, and the unit with my camera inside ready for use.

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As I've become more comfortable with my canoe and I've learned how to stay upright and not capsize, today was the day to try out this camera housing for the first time. It took me a while to figure out why I couldn't get the lens into the housing. There was a screwy thingie with a plastic tab preventing the zoom rubber ring thingie around my lens from going into the housing. After a while I came to the conclusion that the screwy thingie was only there to keep the zoom rubber ring thingie in place during shipping from the factory. Eventually I removed the screwy thingie and the plastic tab and then everything was simple. You have to slip the zoom rubber ring thingie onto the lens and then slide the whole camera inside and make sure the cogs on the zoom thingie interlock with the zoom rubber ring thingie. All very simple when you see how it all works. I also set the aperture to f/8 and centered the focus box before closing the housing. When closing the housing, make sure there is absolutely nothing, not even hairs, on the seals before clamping everything shut.

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Then it was off up to Loch Brora for some fun!

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I found a problem with the housing clipping the corners when wide open. There are two easy fixes. First, you can simply zoom in a little bit until the housing doesn't catch the corners, or you can shoot wide open and crop later in post. Not really a major problem. Another problem I found was that with the extra glass noise was introduced to the images. Again, nothing that wasn't fixable in post and my noise reduction software handled it no problem. Here is a full sized image showing how the housing clips the corners wide open. I shoot 16:9.

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Other than that, I loved it. I hung it around my neck, used a camera lens cloth to wipe away the occasional drip on the lens, and had a wonderful day out. Here are 3 of the photos I came home with, all keepers, all very good quality images after removing noise in post.

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100% crop. Sharp enough for me!

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