Water Housing Users Guide – Part 4 – Housing Check List

I’ve made enough goofs with my water housing now that I’m in a good position to make a water housing check list which I can follow every time I set up my housing, my housing doesn’t have many controls for the camera so I need to be sure to set it up right before sealing it into the housing. My Canon 70D does have WiFi though so if I leave this enabled I can at least connect that way and change settings, but it’s often just as quick to take it out and set it up again.

I’ve written it on the back of a business card and taped it inside my housing so I can quickly go through each item as I’m putting the camera inside the housing.

Cheat sheet taped in place in the back plate of my housing

Cheat sheet taped in place in the back plate of my Aquatech housing

I might have forgotten one or two entries here, and some special scenarios (on camera flash) involve more entries than others but this should help you if you’re starting to use your camera in a housing.

  • Test Shot – just in case you have a lens error, this has happened to me before, I had to run all the way back to my car to open the housing, clean the lens contacts, and close it up again.
  • Clean port – I have got out into the water a few times before realising there is some dust or sand on the inside of my port.
  • Focus Switch – make sure it’s in manual or auto
  • Focus tape – if it’s manual focus make sure it’s taped, the bit of tape sticking the card to the inside of the housing can be used if there’s nothing else handy
  • Focus Mode – you’ll probably want it in AI Servo or equivalent, I’ve left it in single shot mode before by accident
  • Focus Point – it’s easy to forget that you’ve changed the focus point before putting the camera in the housing.
  • Lens Zoom – I’ve accidentally left my Tokina 10-17mm fisheye at 12mm instead of 10mm before
  • Camera Mode – maybe you’ve left it in Manual and you want shutter priority?
  • ISO – check if it’s in Auto or at whatever level you decide, it’s one thing that you can’t change on my housing
  • SD Card – just make sure it’s got plenty of space, I try and use an empty card for each water shoot, you can’t swap cards very easily when out in the water.
  • Shooting mode – it should be in high speed continuous for nearly every situation
  • Flash – check the flash settings, naturally you only need to worry about this when shooting with a flash
  • Check o-ring – make sure there’s no sand or hair on the o-ring, several times I’ve done the housing up and only noticed some sand on the o-ring after tightening up half the bolts
  • Test Shot – the housing’s sealed and ready to go, take another test shot before getting to the water, put your eye to the viewfinder and make sure all works as expected

If you’re after more tips on using a water housing don’t miss the first three parts of the water housing users guide:

  1. Water Housing Users Guide – Part 1 – Basics
  2. Water Housing Users Guide – Part 2 – Which Port Should I Use?
  3. Water Housing Users Guide – Part 3 – Prevent Water Drops, Wet Port Vs Dry Port



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5 responses to “Water Housing Users Guide – Part 4 – Housing Check List”

  1. […] Water Housing Users Guide – Part 4 – Housing Check List […]

  2. […] Water Housing Users Guide – Part 4 – Housing Check List […]

  3. Anthony Avatar

    Hi there,

    I have just discovered this site, its great and im really enjoying it. I have just recently purchased a used SPL housing for my 7D and im finding it hard to obtain some tech info. Im wondering if anyone might know the answer.

    Is there any specific silicon grease I should be using for the SPL Housing O-rings as ive heard some brand silicone grease can swell up the o-rings, also would you advise adding some grease to the controls as ive read that maintains the integrity of those rubbers and should it be the same grease as for the O-rings?

    Im considering purchasing a food grade diving silicon grease.

    I have sent some emails to SPL direct but they’re a bit vague with answers. Also, how long on average should the o-rings last if well maintained? can I find replacement o-rings at a regular dive store and what kind? or do I have to send it back to America.

    Sorry for all the questions, im from Australia, so sending this back to San Diego for repairs with the shipping cost to and from and conversion rate for the repair fees would cost a fortune for me. My best bet is to be vigilant with my own maintence

    Kind regards


    1. Ben Pascoe Avatar

      Hi Anthony,

      Glad it’s useful for you.

      I’m still using the same small tube of silicone grease that came with the first Aquatech housing I bought – about 5 years ago maybe?
      I haven’t got it handy, but I could check it out to see if there are any details on it.

      As long as it’s designed for housing o-rings then you should be OK. The food grade diving silicon grease would be fine I expect.

      I’ve never had to replace an o-ring in any of my housings. I use it on the controls – as directed in the instructions, a little bit on the metal rods and then work it in and out a bit.

      I don’t use it at all on my main o-ring, I just inspect it carefully every time I use the housing and use an air blower to remove any debris like sand or hairs from it.

      Based on some advice from the Aquatech Sports housing instruction manual I’ve not used grease on the front or rear o-rings of my housings for years. I only use it on the controls and even then only every couple of months or so.

      Here’s a quote: “O-ring grease should NOT be used for the Main or Front Compression O-ring, any grease could attract unwanted dirt, sand, etc. ”

      Full manual here: https://aquatech.net/pages/instruction-manuals

      The most important thing is to keep it out of the sun, don’t leave it tightened for too long and rinse it well with fresh water after taking it in the sea. If you’re careful it should easily outlast your camera.

      I’d see if SPL can offer any sort of servicing process for it, they might be able to suggest somewhere in Australia that can do it, rather than sending it all the way back to the USA.

      1. Anthony Avatar

        Hi Ben,

        Thanks for the detailed and prompt response, it’s great to hear you’ve never had to replace an o-ring, I’ll check out that link. I have found a grease brand that seems good, I’ll give that a try.

        Thanks again, keep up the good work.

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