Essex Waterhousings Slant-X – New Modular Design

A new type of water housing has been released by Essex, a respected manufacturer of custom and off the shelf housings.

It’s called the Slant-X and it boasts a few unique design characteristics that will be of interest to anyone learning surf photography.

You can find out a lot more about it by following the links at the bottom of this post, but I’ll cover the main features that will interest new surf photographers here:

Modular design

You buy the front “node” piece, with the (removable) pistol grip, a port and the “control back” for your specific camera (currently the Canon 7D is the only one available, with the Canon 5D mkII and III coming soon).

An interchangeable port system is standard on most housings, allowing you to swap ports when you swap lenses. The different backs is something that Aquatech offer on some housings, and something I’ve always thought should be a feature of all housings.

I started out with a Canon 400D, then a 550D, and now a 60D and I’m eye-ing up the 7D already, I still use the same lenses and I plan on keeping the same housing in the future, if I had the opportunity to get a decent one size fits all housing a few years ago I would have been very tempted.

Relatively inexpensive

The front “node” with pistol grip is $899, or add an extra $50 for the innovative back focus pistol grip (more on back focusing in a future post).

The back is $749 and a port is $269, there’s only one port listed at the moment and it’s a flat one with no zoom control so a dome port or longer port with access to zoom is likely to be quite a bit more.

You get a few options for shipping to the UK, cheapest is $90, most expensive is $250.

Still, a total of just over $2000 is around £1300, that’s for the whole set-up, with all the controls you could want.

I’m not sure what taxes you’d get stung with if you actually got one of these sent over, but the most similar set-up you could get in the UK would be an Aquatech CO-7 housing, pistol grip and LP-10 port, coming in at a total of £2080.

User Friendly Design

The latches are just to hold it in place, the compression of the O-ring is done by the relevant surfaces of the two halves being machined to very fine tolerances, this should offer a fool-proof seal.

I’m not sure what happens if you put a ding in the edge of either side, I know my housing gets rested on it’s side quite a lot but as the O-ring groove is a good 5mm away from the edge there’s no danger of any scuffs affecting the integrity of the seal.

But anything that removes the hassle of screwing a plate onto an o-ring is a big plus for the beginner.

Links:

Essex Waterhousing’s main web store: www.surfhousings.com/store

Forum thread by Mike Waggoner of Essex on the new Slant-X housings: http://www.surfphotographersunited.com/forum/index.php?/topic/3588-slant-x-housings-ready-for-sale/

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