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TRACI
12-03-2007, 09:12
Now that I have purchased a camera, (just have to save up the $ for the housing) , my next worry is flooding.

Is flooding a camera common, I read a quote that said it is not " If " but "when" a camera will flood.

Is there any normal safety precautions I should be aware of when I use my camera for the first time?

Puffer Fish
12-03-2007, 09:23
Most cases come with testing directions... you need to follow them very carefully the first time... and always look for any tiny leak into the case.

Don't know which camera you got, but each design has some differences. And yes.. every case will eventually leak.. but that could be long after you have replaced it. My F11 case has several hundred dives on it... never had an issue.

There some important things you can do to help this:

1. Get an extra set of primary seals.

2. Do not leave the case closed when not in use.

3. Make sure you clean and inspect before every dive.

4. If you decide to take the o-rings out to clean them, they have to go back in the exact same place (this is perhaps the biggest leak causer)

5. Using silicon grease is nice, but sand likes to stick to it. Avoid sand at all costs, if possible.

6. Rinse your case in fresh water, salt crystals are as bad as sand.

7. Make sure you have a little packet of moisture absorbent in the bottom of the case...

8. If you ever see a small amount of water (hopefully drops), try to not shake the water around inside the case... and get the camera out as soon as possible.. and do not use until you are sure you have addressed the issue.

Might have missed something, but those are the high points.

Oh, and I have never had a camera case leak... but I sure have had strobes...

TRACI
12-03-2007, 09:31
How often should the o-rings be taken out and cleaned?

ReefHound
12-03-2007, 09:44
When you first get the case, put in some tissue paper, then take it for a dive without the camera. Maybe also put in a small weight to make it neutral.

I think most leaks and floods are pilot error. Failing to rinse salt off, getting o-ring pinched when closing, getting dust, sand, or hairs caught in the o-ring. Usually these are caused by being lazy, disorganized, or rushed.

My approach is to open and close the case as little as possible. I use lithium batteries that can last the whole day and don't open it between dives to jack around. Check for bubbles when you put it in the rinse tank, and again after you enter the water as you first descend. Rinsing and soaking is really important because while you can check and clean and replace the o-rings, you often cannot do the same for the boots under the buttons, so you gotta dissolve and remove the salt crystals before they cut them.

diversteve
12-03-2007, 09:49
How often should the o-rings be taken out and cleaned?Annually or more often. I do it everytime I first use the housing after it's been sitting for a while. In my case that's typically 3-6 mos.

Just to add to the excellent advice posted previously, be very careful about removing/replacing them. Even the slightest nick could be a problem. Some people use the corner of a credit card, I just slightly roll and push the o-ring between my fingers until it deforms enough to grab it.

I've seen several housings/strobes leak. Including my buddy's (twice in 2 days - different cameras) Both times he was in a hurry. Be very anal about inspecting the o-ring every time before you close the case.

I've had some sort of camera/video housing for over 5 years now, including one that looked like it could leak at any moment due to poor design but everything so far has stayed dry.

I'm very careful about when and where I open my housings, I almost never do it outside if at all possible.

Another thing I'd suggest is if you're going to shoot a lot of pictures, buy a big memory card so you have to open the case to d/l it less often. The flipside of that advice is you'll lose more if you do have a flood.

Puffer Fish
12-03-2007, 09:59
How often should the o-rings be taken out and cleaned?

I clean an inspect the o-rings after every dive trip... but don't remove them unless I have a reason...having a clean case, opening in a clean dry place(as others have suggested) works. If I do have to remove them, I mark one or two spots on the o-ring and case as reference points (both for a top bottom and location).

My case uses one square o-ring - if you take that out, you also have to be careful to put the same side up.

I used a Nikonos for over 20 years without ever having a leak, by the way, so it can be done.

comet24
12-03-2007, 10:21
I flooded a camera a few years ago. It was a Canon digital that was about 3 years old. My housing was fine. The good thing about new cameras coming out every year you can pick up a used one cheap on ebay. I found my same camera that was in very good condition for $50 and it's been working for two years now.

TRACI
12-04-2007, 12:53
Thanks for the info, maybe I will get a few years before I have to replace.

Daved
12-04-2007, 21:32
We were sitting on the dock--little rum punch, little romance. Sun going down. Watching Hurricane Wilma. Amazing light show! WOW! Wanda Lee suggests--in the water--take a picture of the lighting and sun set! In I go.

FLOOD arama ding dong. LCD goes pixel, I see the water in the case--I go pixel-- camera goes bye bye. Salt water, beer and cameras do not mix!

Never rush with Camera
Never change o ring around sand or salt
Never mix Booze and anything above.

Always do it the same way. To differentiate is to fail!

E-bay for second casing or camera is less than half price.;



Dave

rach
12-06-2007, 12:48
Salt water, beer and cameras do not mix!

Never rush with Camera
Never change o ring around sand or salt
Never mix Booze and anything above.





Dave

i second that....my original camera (on #3, however, #2 was lost and returned, not flooded) had a similar fate...alcohol, blondes and UW cameras don't mix! :smiley5:

torrey
12-06-2007, 13:21
I've never had a flood yet in 5 years and I would like to say I'm lucky, but I think luck has very little to do with it. I always analyze the o-ring for sand, lint, hair, etc. before closing it and getting in the water. Something else to remember is not only to look at the o-ring carefully, but also make sure the other mating surface is clean too! I've come close a few times to closing the camera and jumping in after making sure the o-ring looks good, but not realizing there was sand stuck to the other flat side with o-ring grease.

From what I've read of people's experiences, flooding is rarely caused by housing defects...there's almost always a hair or sand stuck in the o-ring.

CompuDude
12-06-2007, 13:37
Most of my floods have been 100% user error... even the one I don't completely blame myself for.

When you first get your housing, I second the advice of taking it on a dive sans camera. Put a couple pieces of kleenex in the housing, as this can help make a tiny leak more apparent. You need to take it to depth, because sometimes a tiny issue isn't a problem at 3-5', but the pressure at 50' can cause the water to get in.

Every time I get in the water, first thing I do is examine the camera to make sure no leaks. For shore diving, I do this as soon as I am past the surf zone, for boat dives, it's as soon as I hit the water.

Take care to close the housing securely every time you get ready to go. Check carefully for hairs, sand, or anything else crossing the o-ring.

If you manage to be vigilant about this and avoid blatant user errors, you should be able to go quite a long time without worrying too much about a flood.

BobArnold8265
12-06-2007, 21:04
I clean and lube my o-rings after each days diving. It's also extremely important to make sure you rinse your gear well in fresh water. If you're really worried about flooding, you might want to consider insuring your camera gear. My is insured through a rider to my homeowner's policy. It's pretty cheap and provides a lot of peace of mind !!

Doug B
12-06-2007, 21:10
I've not heard or seen the comment about not storing the housing with the lid closed. Not sure I agree with it.

My first housing is three years old, no leaks, and I always store it with the lid closed.

Second housing is a year old, no leaks, and ditto, I store it with the lid closed.

I pull the o-rings once a year to re-lube.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check for sand and dirt on the o-ring and mating surface before you close the lid.

Puffer Fish
12-06-2007, 21:58
I've not heard or seen the comment about not storing the housing with the lid closed. Not sure I agree with it.

My first housing is three years old, no leaks, and I always store it with the lid closed.

Second housing is a year old, no leaks, and ditto, I store it with the lid closed.

I pull the o-rings once a year to re-lube.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check for sand and dirt on the o-ring and mating surface before you close the lid.

The issue with closed versus open is one of o-ring compression. Both the case design and the type of material the o-ring is made of effect this. Some systems handle it just fine, others do not.

Most of the Japanese cases would last maybe 3 years with the case closed... and a silly long time with it stored open.

RonFrank
12-06-2007, 22:52
You are best off following the advice of the manufacture. That assumes the manufacture bothers to address this in the owners manual.

I pull my orings after each trip, and store them in a bag, just like they were delivered. Folks suggesting putting them back in the *RIGHT* spot obviously just leave them in. This works... until it does not.

Ikelite recommends pulling the orings after each dive and lubing them . I follow this advice. I do this for housing seals, and port seals. Orings in the housing need to be inspected every few years. These are not replaceable by the user. Ikelite and most other manufactures have a maintenance schedule where one sends in the gear, and they recommend necessary maintenance at a reasonable cost.

If you dive a LOT, than pull the orings and replace them on a regular basis. Keeping the orings in a zip lock will help prevent them from drying out. But that may not be practical if you dive daily. If like most folks you do not dive on a regular basis (like daily), then pull them.

Using silicon is a MUST! Sure it attracts sand, but who is doing this type of maintenance in the sand, like on a beach? Silicon is a must for proper seating and slipping at depth, and to keep the oring from drying out. Don't overuse silicon.

Use a lint free cloth and alcohol or a similar fast drying no residue cleaner to clean the area where the oring sits on the camera housing. I generally do a good cleaning of the housing, and lube of the oring prior to a trip. Once I'm on a trip, I will lube the oring, and clean the housing seal area daily.

There seems to be a misconception that messing with the oring, and regular cleaning is somehow voodoo, and bad. Likely this comes from the if it's not broken don't mess with it mindset. However, that is wrong. Those that dive daily for years, and never service equipment are always proven wrong.

If you value your equipment, than do the maintenance. NO ONE who services equipment is going to tell you that greasing your oring, and cleaning the housing is a poor choice, in fact the opposite.

Edited: I forgot to mention.. GET INSURANCE! :smiley2:

I use a Personal Articles policy from my Homeowners. There is also DAN/DEPP. The only reason not to use insurance is if you kit is not worth the cost of the policy + the cost of a claim. IOW's if you have a $400 camera + housing, and the housing costs $150 paying a $100 annual premium, and a $100 deductible may not really make a lot of sense to cover a $250 camera.

Puffer Fish
12-07-2007, 05:19
You are best off following the advice of the manufacture. That assumes the manufacture bothers to address this in the owners manual.

I pull my orings after each trip, and store them in a bag, just like they were delivered. Folks suggesting putting them back in the *RIGHT* spot obviously just leave them in. This works... until it does not.

Ikelite recommends pulling the orings after each dive and lubing them . I follow this advice. I do this for housing seals, and port seals. Orings in the housing need to be inspected every few years. These are not replaceable by the user. Ikelite and most other manufactures have a maintenance schedule where one sends in the gear, and they recommend necessary maintenance at a reasonable cost.

If you dive a LOT, than pull the orings and replace them on a regular basis. Keeping the orings in a zip lock will help prevent them from drying out. But that may not be practical if you dive daily. If like most folks you do not dive on a regular basis (like daily), then pull them.

Using silicon is a MUST! Sure it attracts sand, but what idiot is doing this type of maintenance in the sand Silicon is a must for proper seating and slipping at depth, and to keep the oring from drying out. Don't overuse silicon.

Use a lint free cloth and alcohol or a similar fast drying no residue cleaner to clean the area where the oring sits on the camera housing. I generally do a good cleaning of the housing, and lube of the oring prior to a trip. Once I'm on a trip, I will lube the oring, and clean the housing seal area daily.

There seems to be a misconception that messing with the oring, and regular cleaning is somehow voodoo, and bad. Likely this comes from the if it's not broken don't mess with it mindset. However, that is wrong. Those that dive daily for years, and never service equipment are always proven wrong.

If you value your equipment, than do the maintenance. NO ONE who services equipment is going to tell you that greasing your oring, and cleaning the housing is a poor choice, in fact the opposite.
Ron, I think you hit the nail on the head with "follow the mfg's recommendations. I would remove mine if the mfg provided that directions, they don't... on mine, they have the:

1. Clean and inspect after every dive and lube with grease (lightly). In their case, the o-rings will not dry out, they don't want the material to stick to the plastic when being closed, and be distorted.

2. Do not leave the case closed (sort of the same as taking them out - to prevent a "set" in the rings.

3. Once ever 6 months, remove and clean, but mark where they came out and put back in the exact spot and side they were removed.

4. Once a year... replace.

Different design, different material (these as a soft, molded square, and they take a set very easily. As you use them, they get impressions in them, that if you removed and put back differently, will leak.

Black, actual o-ring material would be very different.

CompuDude
12-07-2007, 08:07
Tip for removing o-rings without scratching anything:

Guitar pick. Way better than the corner of a credit card.

Grin
12-07-2007, 08:21
I think I heard of someone getting his flooded camera replaced by his regular old DAN insurance. Maybe BS / Maybe not! But worth checking. There has to be some reasonable insurance available for this somewhere if not.

RonFrank
12-07-2007, 09:41
I think I heard of someone getting his flooded camera replaced by his regular old DAN insurance. Maybe BS / Maybe not! But worth checking. There has to be some reasonable insurance available for this somewhere if not.

Certainly contact DAN on this, but I don't believe this to be true. DAN sells a seperate policy to cover flooding for photo gear. I get DAN and DEP mixed up (I don't use either) but I *think* DAN requires that one first insures all the dive gear, and than you can add photo gear on top of that.

CompuDude
12-07-2007, 12:37
I think I heard of someone getting his flooded camera replaced by his regular old DAN insurance. Maybe BS / Maybe not! But worth checking. There has to be some reasonable insurance available for this somewhere if not.

Certainly contact DAN on this, but I don't believe this to be true. DAN sells a seperate policy to cover flooding for photo gear. I get DAN and DEP mixed up (I don't use either) but I *think* DAN requires that one first insures all the dive gear, and than you can add photo gear on top of that.

DAN sells medical insurance and equipment insurance. Separate policies, separate payments. They used to require you to cover your dive gear before you could list photo equipment, but (a) I've heard that many no longer apply, and (b) it's a good idea anyway. I was rather stunned when I added up the value of all of my gear and bought insurance.

I've used (successfully) the equipment insurance for two flood claims. There is a $250 deductible for flood claims (ouch!) but it still certainly helps when replacing a $500+ camera.

TRACI
12-07-2007, 14:41
That is a good idea, I am going to try and get joined with DAN before my next trip in January.

cummings66
12-07-2007, 16:33
The only problem is my camera doesn't cost what it did when I bought it. The insurance would save me about $100 towards replacement and that's still a fair chunk of change. I've kind of looked at camera insurance as one of those things that if you can go a couple years without a flood you break even. If you consider that I might save $100 off my camera all it takes is a couple years of no accidents and I can essentially start saving money to upgrade by putting that insurance money aside for the future.

It's a must have if you got expensive gear, but questionable for a setup that's not that complex such as my A620 and housing. Anything else I have would not be damaged by a camera housing flood. A strobe on the other hand costs good money and if you had that I could see covering them, but in the end it's a numbers game. Do you feel lucky?

AUTiger
12-19-2007, 00:44
#1 - Get insurance. I suggest DAN or DEPP. I use DEPP. I've only had one claim (dropped a housing) and they took care of it.

#2 - Every flooding that I have personally seen was caused by user error and carelessness. Be consistent and double check everything. Look at the seal for hairs. Look at the mating half of the housing. Close the housing. If you have a clear housing, examine the seal.

#3 - I remove and lub my seals before every major week of diving and at least every couple of outings. I inspect them every time I load the housing.

So far, I've survived five years with no floods.

David

jugglematt
12-19-2007, 03:15
the dreaded camera flood
i bet after posting ill be hit with a flood .

my advice would be
when you set up your camera
find a place away from dust ,sand and things that will distract you, never crack you camera on a boat between dives ,
get a clean dish towl and lay it down ,
make shure your hands are clean and sand/dirt free, even sand in your hair can fall onto your oring!
i use a small penlight and visually inspect the oring in the housing, running the light along the whole oring(you will see sand and hairs that you wouldent see by lamp light).
when you have cleaned the oring and reasembled again inspect the oring with the housings door closed.
finally turn the camera on and make sure it takes a photo and fires the strobe
develop a routene and try to avoid breaking it or you will forget to do something like inserting your memory card or you will put your battery in the wrong way( ive done both )

its not really that complicated its just another skill like setting up you dive gear

most of all have fun and share you images with friends
Regards
Matt

cyclone3565
01-14-2008, 07:02
Hi Puffer Fish,

same here, my wife and I have used our Nikonos setups for many years and have never (knock on wood) have a flood. Southern Nikonos does a great job with our annual service and I am quite anal with the o'rings. They work great. I have tried digital but to date have not found a camera that comes even close in quality.

WAHMof2
01-28-2008, 09:25
Good info! Our housing manufacturer does state to keep the o-ring out of the camera in a ziplock when not in use. Makes sense to me.
What about all the little o-rings around all the buttons? Do they have an average life span? I see no way to take them out or clean them.

Puffer Fish
01-28-2008, 10:46
Hi Puffer Fish,

same here, my wife and I have used our Nikonos setups for many years and have never (knock on wood) have a flood. Southern Nikonos does a great job with our annual service and I am quite anal with the o'rings. They work great. I have tried digital but to date have not found a camera that comes even close in quality.
Funny, as my Nikonos was the only thing I never had leak. I lost strobes and SLR cases.

Puffer Fish
01-28-2008, 11:11
Good info! Our housing manufacturer does state to keep the o-ring out of the camera in a ziplock when not in use. Makes sense to me.
What about all the little o-rings around all the buttons? Do they have an average life span? I see no way to take them out or clean them.


I have two strobes that state to leave them inplace and do not lubricate, and two that say to remove when not in use and lubricate....I assume they both have their reasons.

The seal on the buttons? Well, that was what went on my last SLR, so I am a bit sensitive to that issue.

One one hand, they should not be exposed to outside issues like the case back seals are, so they should last longer. However, they are used in a moving environment, which is prone to wear (something the case back is not).

In my case, I had a very small pit develop in the 304 ss shaft, and that damaged the oring. It took over three years, in the tropics.

Today, those shafts may be plastic (don't actually know - but should), so that issue may be gone.

I think you can assume that at some point, they will start to leak, the issues is, when?

I also assume (and it is a very big assumption) that there is a recommended "rebuild" time for all the expensive cases. I know that I just throw my case away every three years now.

RoyN
02-03-2008, 20:54
I probably have flooded at least 4 cameras, but most were Sealife's Reefmaster mini because for some reason, water got into the outside compartment and would fog up the lense. My Canon S50 which was my workhorse died because of flooding. Very sad, but have to be careful or the camera's time to go to heaven is on the horizon.

bversteegh
02-03-2008, 23:02
The new (relatively) microfiber clothes are the greatest thing since sliced bread for working on a camera. I buy them at Walmart - but the great thing is they are lint free, and really good at trapping small stuff. I religiously rinse in fresh water, and then dry with a towel after every dive (I predominately dive liveaboards, so do multiple dives per day). After the initial dry with an old cotton towel (lint is our enemy), I then go everything again with a microfiber towel before I ever open my case.

Always open your case with the back pointing down - and have a towel ready to wipe up the little drops that are between the door and oring. Again, I highly recommend the microfiber towels for this, as they leave no residue/lint. As I have an Ikelite housing, I pop the main oring on the door - dry it with a separate microfiber cloth (since there will be a trace of silicon on the oring that I don't want to smear on anything else), and then VERY lightly lube it when I reassemble for the next dive. Don't stretch the oring when you lube it; just pull it loosely between your thumb and index finger, with just a tiny drop of lube on your fingers. The oring should change color (a wet look), but should not feel greasy. Too much lube is asking for trouble, as it attracts lint/dust/sand and other nasty things.

As far as insurance - I have a homeowners rider (just like for jewelry or any other scheduled item). I have a fairly expensive DSLR setup (Camera, housing, 2 strobes, 4 lenses and ports); and my cost is under $60 year for replacement coverage - including theft or loss (I had a friend lose his setup in blue water - fell over the side of the boat, and was gone) - and that was covered. The DAN policy won't cover accidental loss I believe - but bottom line, DAN/DEPP is way more expensive than a personal property rider. The only downside to a rider - if you have multiple claims, some companies may impact your homeowners policy (up to termination).

PhD4JC
05-07-2008, 13:27
I have flooded 3 cameras thus far
I presently have the cheapest 6 mp digital camera with the cheapest case I could find (The combo cost ~$300)

the following comments were the ones that applied best to my cases



Don't know which camera you got, but each design has some differences. And yes.. every case will eventually leak.. but that could be long after you have replaced it. My F11 case has several hundred dives on it... never had an issue.

There some important things you can do to help this:


3. Make sure you clean and inspect before every dive.
--be careful not to be OVERzealous in the cleaning. This is one way that I have damaged cameras

4. If you decide to take the o-rings out to clean them, they have to go back in the exact same place (this is perhaps the biggest leak causer)

5. Using silicon grease is nice, but sand likes to stick to it. Avoid sand at all costs, if possible.

7. Make sure you have a little packet of moisture absorbent in the bottom of the case... (you can use dessicants from shoe boxes or medicine bottles, what I have been using successfully most recently)

also, cameras are more likely to leak at shallower depths, than deeper depths



Might have missed something, but those are the high points.

Oh, and I have never had a camera case leak... but I sure have had strobes...

Truered1
06-19-2008, 14:23
LIke Comet24 says, good thing you can pick another up on E-bay. I have had a Canon A620 for about 4 years ($400 new) when I got certified. Then spent about $150 for the housing on E-bay last year. In October I dropped the camera on the patio and cracked the oustide and it only works when it wants to. Didn't want to by a new brand or model I was so comfortable with this one, so I went to E-bay. Won one for less than $125. Guess what last week diving I didn't have it set in the case right and it was sealed but all the buttons didn't work. So I opened it - BAD MOVE - to put it in correctly, tried to make sure no hair, dust or sand was on the ring and closed it. Half way thru my 65 ft. dive I took a photo and then ut oh, there was water in the housing. I turned it on its side to save the 2 GB memory card and didn't bother going up since we are in salt water. Once I reached the surface I let the water out and waited for the boat. Handed the camera up they took the burning batteries and memory card out before helping me out. We saved the card and all the photos but not the camera. Now back to E-bay, it is an amazing and easy little camera and takes amazing photos for its value. If you would like to see any, let me know and I can send you some links. Happy Diving