Summary: The PGXII is the best pistol grip I’ve ever used for surf photography, it’s available for all current housing models in the Liquid Eye range. It’s a fantastic upgrade to a great housing
I’ve had the Liquid Eye PGXsII pistol grip for a little while now, and although I’ve only been able to use it in the water a couple of time so far, it’s clear that it’s the best pistol grip I’ve ever used.
Here’s my video showing how the pistol grip works and comparing it to a few different pistol grips from other brands, as well as the original Liquid Eye pistol grip that I’ve been using with the C6000 housing:
PGXII and PGXsII differences
The two different pistol grips are designed for the different sizes of housing that Liquid Eye offer. They’re slightly different sizes, but otherwise they work in the same way.
I’ve been using the smaller PGXsII pistol grip on my C6000 housing for the Sony a6000.
PGXII and PGXsII price and features
Both the grips cost 190 Euro, or $220 US, and you can buy them direct from Liquid Eye.
They both feature the same construction and the same features.
They allow you to easily know when you’re auto-focusing your camera and when you’re releasing the shutter. That doesn’t sound that impressive, until you’ve used a lot of pistol grips, and found yourself not sure if you’re focusing or taking a photo, or accidentally releasing the shutter too early, or not at all, when a wave passes.
I suggest you watch the video to see how it works, that’s the easiest way to understand what’s going on with this new pistol grip.
Essentially, it’s a very intuitive, robust design that makes your pistol grip as easy to use as it can be. Taking the thought out of triggering the shutter means you can concentrate on all the other aspects of shooting surf photos.
Should I upgrade to the PGXII or PGXsII?
If you’ve already got a recent Liquid Eye housing, it’ll probably be compatible. My C6000 is 3 years old, and I just had to undo 4 bolts and swap out the cable on the inside to use the new pistol grip.
If you’ve got a compatible housing, then you won’t often get a chance like this to do a complete upgrade on one of the main interfaces between you and your camera in the water. If you shoot with a pistol grip a lot at the moment, I’d definitely go for the upgrade.
If you want to use the S-LD-4916 6″ dome port, then you’ll need the new pistol grip, as it wasn’t compatible with the older style grip.
I really appreciate how Liquid Eye have designed the PGXII and PGXsII to be backwards compatible with their existing housings. It’s rare to see that kind of dedication to not only coming up with a new, better design, but one that can be used by most of the customers you already have.
I’m often asked about the relative advantages of different housing brands, and this is a big win for me for Liquid Eye.
The other brand that has released a new pistol grip recently is AquaTech, and it’s not compatible with any of their old housings. The design means that it’s impossible to use the new grip on an old housing. It’s also not 100% clear that the design will be better for everyone. Their old pistol grip with separate buttons (shown in the video), might be better for some people who like back button focusing, but they’ve got no way to keep using it if they want the latest housing body from AquaTech.
Why is it so good?
It’s hard to explain exactly why it’s so much better. You get a feather light resistance for the first stage – which triggers the auto focus, and then with medium force, the shutter release stage clicks satisfyingly back, letting you know you’re taking photos.
You need to try it out, but even then, if it’s your first pistol grip, you’ll probably underestimate the value of it, because you’ve got nothing to compare it to.
I haven’t even mentioned the way it works by triggering the camera through the housing body – so there’s no hole in the housing for a wire or bulkhead. It doesn’t need batteries or anything though – in case you were wondering. It’s a bit like magic, once you get the trigger lined up inside the housing (only an issue if you’re upgrading from an old style pistol grip), you just bolt it on and it becomes an extension of your camera.
Check out the Liquid Eye website for more information on the PGXII and PGXsII pistol grips, as well as a full range of housings for all popular camera bodies and lenses, which now come with this new pistol grip as standard: