Camera and housing

Dive gear maintenance: Cameras

Everyone I know has a different theory on what works for their cameras and funnily enough often very different and conflicting opinions work for different people. This is what I do…

Before you think “Wow, how clever!” please note that over the years I have, on arrival at the bottom, discovered the following:

  • no camera in the housing
  • no memory stick in the camera
  • memory card full
  • no batteries in the camera
  • flat batteries in the camera
  • more water in the housing than out of it

These things happen, but with proper care and planning you simply reduce the odds of a mistake.

Camera and housing
Camera and housing

Before a dive

Before a dive I assemble the unit by inserting fresh batteries and a formatted memory card. I use a lens pencil to gently rub the glass inside the housing and outside the housing using the soft rubber pad.

I then remove the O ring, wash it gently in shampoo or mild soap and allow it to dry. This is a good time to meticulously clean the groove on the housing with a soft lint free cloth so its ready to accept the O ring.

I then place a small blob of silicone grease in the palm of my hand and gently massage the O ring through the grease making sure it is all covered in a thin film of grease. I then fit it to the housing. Close the camera NOW as this is the time it will collect dust and other particles.

Turn it on at the surface, then go diving!

After a dive

After a dive, soak the camera housing with the camera inside (this makes the housing negatively buoyant so it doesn’t float on the surface). Keep the fresh water lukewarm and press all the buttons several times whilst the housing is submerged, especially the buttons you don’t often use underwater. My video camera has a filter and a wide angle lens and I remove these items from the housing and soak them all individually, carefully brushing the threads with a soft toothbrush.

Take the unit out of the water and try to lie it on a towel with the buttons facing down so the water will drain from the small recess in which the buttons, seals and springs are housed. This assists in preventing build-up in these small spaces that are hard to clean. If you are going to open the housing before it is dry avoid water entering the housing and try not touch the camera with wet hands.

I prefer to remove the O ring seal, twist it gently into a figure of eight and place it in the housing and then close it for storage. I feel this allows the seal to maintain its integrity as opposed to being squeezed during storage. I don’t like to leave the housing open but do prefer to store the camera in a sealed container in a cool, dark, dry place.

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Scuba diver, teacher, gadget man, racing driver, boat skipper, photographer, and collector of stray animals

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