I love my Sony a6000 for surf photography, but it’s hard to find a water housing with a pistol grip to make it easy to shoot surf photos.
I also love the cheap Meikon water housing that I use it with. Together they make an awesome budget set-up for surf shooting. But there are some limitations which make it less easy to use than something like the Aquatech CR-60 housing that I also have.
Modifying the Sony a6000 Meikon housing
I’ve made a couple of modifications to my Meikon housing which allow me to use it more effectively for surf photography.
Adding a pistol grip to the Meikon Sony a6000 housing
I’ve added a KNEKT GPLT trigger to the bottom of the housing which I’ve attached a metal tent peg to so I can release the shutter with the pistol grip style trigger.
Here’s the parts list, followed by my step by step how to for this simple pistol grip how to:
- KNEKT GPLT trigger – $99 – this provides the ergonomic grip and the lever for the pistol grip action
- Rubber gasket material – sheet for $3 – you only need a tiny piece so you might have something suitable lying around
- Tripod bolt – 12″ length of threaded steel for $2 – you only need half an inch or so, you might have a bolt handy that will do it
- Tent peg – 10 for $5 – the metal kind, you could use any similar piece of metal but a tent peg is ideal
- Cable tie – 100 for $7 – any cheap plastic cable tie
- Rubber tip – 20 for $5 – I used one from an old Ikelite dive housing I had lying around, the closest thing I can find are tips for a dog training collar
If you’re generous and we work out the cost per item this comes to a total of less than $100 for the pistol grip, or less than a dollar if you already have the excellent KNEKT GPLT trigger.
How do you construct the Sony a6000 Meikon pistol grip?
Step by step here’s how it’s done:
- Mark the 1/4″ 20 threaded bolt at the right length – I screwed an old bolt with the right thread count for the tripod screw into the housing first, once it went as far as it would go I unscrewed by a turn or so and marked this length.
- Cut the 1/4″ 20 threaded bolt to the right length, screw the same bolt into the KNEKT trigger and put the trigger in a vice, or just put your foot on it if you don’t have a vice handy, then cut it off making sure to leave enough thread to engage well with the trigger and the housing, I just used my marker from step one and common sense for this bit.
- cut a small piece of rubber – you need a rubber washer to make the connection solid between the KNEKT GPLT trigger and the housing, I used a small piece of gasket rubber I had lying around from another project, just snip a hole in the middle of it for the bolt and screw the bolt into the KNEKT GPLT trigger then into the housing until it’s tight.
- bend your tent peg – I used the pre-bent end for the shutter button so the straight end needed to be bent into a circle so the lever on the trigger would pull down on it, it’s a case of trial and error getting the length and shape of loop in the peg right, it doesn’t take long.
- Stick the rubber tip on the peg – I had to pad it out a bit with some duct tape to make sure it was a snug fit, but the tip helps the peg stay in place on the shutter control and stops it slipping off.
- attach the cable tie – I just looped it through the little plastic leash loop on the top right of the housing, its only there to keep the peg in place if it slips off the shutter control, if you get the right shape in the peg it’ll stay where it is 99% of the time anyway.
- Enjoy your new Sony a6000 Meikon Housing pistol grip.
That’s all there is to it, the pistol grip is responsive and easy to use, it makes shooting surf photos with the Meikon housing a pleasure, you can easily shoot one handed and you get much finer control over bursts of photos, both of which are essential for decent surf water photography.
Coming soon: Add a lens loupe to the Sony a6000 Meikon housing
Here’s a shot from the last session I had which happened to be on a very sunny day, I was using the LCD hood and it made it much easier to see what was going on and frame my shots compared to the bare housing.
There was some light getting in through the gap between housing and LCD so it wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was definitely an improvement.
I’ll go into some more detail on this modification once I’ve used it a bit more and refined it.
Other options for Sony a6000 pistol grips
I’ve also experimented with just a standard handle, the $23 Ho Stevie GoPro handle has a useful tripod screw incorporated into the design which means you can screw it into the bottom of the Meikon a6000 housing easily, but without the pistol grip lever you still need to shoot two handed, although it does make it a much less frustrating experience if you’re used to handling a pistol grip style housing.
DIY aluminium electronic pistol grip
I’ve only got a few details about this one so far but it looks really promising, Instagram user RL Ashby, aka Rawbdizz has fabricated a handle with shutter release and video pause/rec as far as i can tell, he’s attached it to the bottom of the a6000 Meikon housing and put the wire through a sealed hole in the bottom.
I’ve got a few more bits of information but I’ll save them for a full post on this when I get some more, it might be available to buy in the future apparently and I look forward to using it if I get the chance.
If this works with the Meikon Starbea Sony a6000 water housing then it could be the best budget option for surf photography available (once Meikon have a dome port available for the Starbea housing anyway).
Stay tuned for some more modifications, I’ve seen a dome port mod for the Meikon a6000 housing already but I haven’t had a go myself yet, I’ll dig out the details and post again when I can.
As always if you’ve got any questions about my pistol grip set-up leave a comment here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.