Amphibico FXZ1 Housing
Posted 18 August 2006 - 03:07 PM
After long consideration of the quality and features of every high-end U/W housing available for the Z1, I wound up purchasing the Amphibico Phenom kit with Discovery II lights and power pack, and after my first four dives with it, I'm happy to report - I'm impressed!
First and foremost, the lens port is distortion-free and loses no sharpness. The complaint that I'd read of, and weighed heavily before the purchase, is that there's a slight vignette in the corners when shooting at the widest angle. While I found this to be true, the emphasis is on "slight" and it disappears with the barest of nudges of the zoom.
The controls are logically laid out, very easy to use, and feel quite solid. (For a kit costing over ten grand, they'd better!) I especially appreciated the White Balance button by the right thumb, permitting dead-on accurate color in natural light even past 60' in California waters.
The boyancy is neutral, making it a joy to steer, and the view port for the LCD display is centered on top and very easy to see while shooting. (I'd planned on buying a separate monitor for convenience, but found the top-located screen to be just fine. I'll save the money for a bigger boat.)
The housing and lighting kits come in seperate, very sturdy cases, and assembly for dives is quick and straightforward. (I'll admit here, however, that I actually read the manuals through cover to cover before even lifting the housing out for the first time.)
The arc lights performed evenly and brilliantly for the full 65 minute rating, and only then started to fade. My one wish is that the included flat diffusion filters were convex, allowing wider coverage.
The housing, lights, packaging, and accessories This isn't intended as an in depth review, just a first impression. If anyone considering a housing for their Z1 camera has any questions about the housing or underwater shooting in general, I'll be happy to answer them!
Posted 21 August 2006 - 04:07 AM
Thanks for the review, sounds like an excellent choice. Did you come across any 'lightweight' Z1 housings when you were looking, I need something for surface filming of surf action and I imagine the Phenom would be just too heavy, I have a Gates housing and it's very manageable below a few metres depth but too cumbersome for surface work, any info appreciated, good luck with your filming !!
Posted 01 September 2006 - 10:52 PM
Did you come across any 'lightweight' Z1 housings when you were looking, I need something for surface filming of surf action and I imagine the Phenom would be just too heavy,
For surf work you are better off looking at dedicated surf housings, which are usually custom built on a camera by camera basis.
Such manufacturers include SPL, DelMar and Aquatech. A bunch others and links to their sites can be found on my Surf Photographers Forum.