Lexan Waterproof Camera Housing

Discussion in 'Paddling Photography' started by Batstar, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    All of the recent discussion about waterproof cameras got me thinking. As a result, I spent some time over the holiday season developing ideas of how to construct a durable, waterproof housing for my newly acquired IS 2S.

    My first thought was to find the right size container/box to complement the camera. So, it was off to MEC in hope of finding something that would work. As it was, they had a great selection of watertight boxes to choose from, but the ones that I saw from Pelican were either too big and bulky or too small for the IS 2S. Finally, I came across a clear, medium-sized lexan box from GSI Outdoors that appeared to be a perfect fit and, at $17.50, it was a bargain. It also came with a handy slot on either side that would allow me to attach a tie down to.

    [​IMG]

    A piece of remnant vinyl cupboard/drawer liner makes for a soft base and would prevent the camera from moving around. All that was required was a bit of trimming to get it to lay perfectly in the bottom of the box.

    [​IMG]

    I used some pick-and-pluck foam from a Pelican 1200 and modified it to fit around the camera. I’ve since glued a few more strategically placed pieces of foam to make it even more snug. The flat piece of foam that was used for the lid was acquired from bottom of the Pelican and then cut to fit. I attached it to the underside of the lid with two strips of double-sided adhesive tape.

    [​IMG]

    The end result is a portable and low profile yet extremely durable, waterproof camera housing which should work for all P&S cameras similar in size to the IS 2S. The fit is extremely snug and the camera doesn’t budge at all. In fact, I can tip the box over on its side120 degrees and it continues to stay firmly planted.

    [​IMG]

    A scrap piece of mini cell foam shaped to conform to the peak of the deck will act as a platform for the box. I estimate the total cost of materials to be in the $20-$25 range and required very little effort to put together. I’ll be sure to update this thread once I figure out the best method to lash everything to the deck rigging . :)
     
  2. Dave_Barrie

    Dave_Barrie Paddler

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    Nice work - and congrats on your new camera.....I know you'll like it.
     
  3. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    Thanks Dave. I love all the cool features of the camera with the exception of the loose fitting lens cap. Don’t mean to be a nit pick but that’s the only fault I can find with it. ;)
     
  4. Dave_Barrie

    Dave_Barrie Paddler

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    Yeah, that's a very common complaint but it is that way for a reason. If you left it on and it was tight fitting you could damage the gears when the lens tries to extend.

    Myself, Dan and Mark all ended up getting lens tube adapters and filters. With that set up you can use a better lens cap that won't interfere with the lens. And a polarizing filter really helps when you're on the water.

    You can find more info here:

    http://www.lensmateonline.com/newsite/S2.html
     
  5. Kasey

    Kasey Paddler

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    Great idea and great work - that might work for me too! Looking at your box though was suddenly wondering what the temperature would rise to in a clear box in our Okanagan sunshine....did they have solid-colored ones? I think the temperature would remain lower if it wasn't clear, don't you think? Maybe I could just paint it or something...
     
  6. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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  7. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    Christmas bonuses are cool 8)

    I picked up one of these

    [​IMG]
    and one of these
    [​IMG]
    and made this
    [​IMG]
    so I could do this
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I can't wait to try it out :D 8)
     
  8. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    That is one sick set up!! :cool: :D
    Is that a ram mount?

    Reminds me somewhat of the Samsung Sportscam that I saw the other day, although it likely wouldn’t be quite as weatherproof as yours. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    Yup, with some alterations. But now I don't have a mount for my GPS. :?
     
  10. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    Kasey,

    Pretty sure the lexan boxes are only available as clear units, although the foam that I used will provide some degree of insulation from the heat. There is a larger version of the same box that would probably fit your FZ30.

    Pelican’s boxes are available in multiple colors, have thicker walls and insulating foam that will offer better protection, albeit are heavier, bulkier and more expensive than the GSI products. Definitely a wise choice if you plan on taking an expensive SLR and accessory lenses on board.

    I also have a Pelican 1200 but decided that I wanted something a bit more compact to mount on the deck. It just so happened that the lexan box worked for me. :)

    [​IMG]

    Though not as durable as a hard case, Voyageur has inflatable, waterproof camera bags that might do in a pinch. :)

    http://www.voyageur-gear.com/index.php

    Quickdraw
    [​IMG]
    Mini Quickdraw
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    Here’s a link to the completed deck mounted housing as promised.

    Waterproof Camera Housing

    Hope to field test it tomorrow. :)
     
  12. Dave_Barrie

    Dave_Barrie Paddler

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    That's a nice setup - hope to see you out there tomorrow :p
     
  13. DarrenM

    DarrenM Paddler

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    Very cool. 8) Nice boat too :D
     
  14. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    Thanks guys. Look forward to hooking up with you all. :D
     
  15. Kasey

    Kasey Paddler

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    Hi Batstar...I did pick up one of those Lexan boxes too at MEC a couple of weeks ago after seeing your post. I've attached it to the bungees on the deck with a strap that came with a thermos. I double-attach it with the little strap that came with it....I need to get a piece of foam like you did to make it sit flat on the deck, need to color it somehow and need to find some foam for inside. But I'll slowly get it fixed up right. Have you had trouble opening it yet - when I brought mine home I had trouble opening it I guess due to temperature change. I guess that's why the Pelican boxes have that pressure release valve, eh? I do like though, other than the price difference, the fact that it is easier to open the Lexan box. I found the Pelican box hard to open. Thanks for the idea!
     
  16. Batstar

    Batstar Paddler

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    Hi Kasey,

    Thought that I should post a heads up relating to the GSI Lexan Box that I purchased from MEC. During a brief discussion that I had with Andreas last month, he expressed some concern about the integrity of the rubber gasket and reports of them becoming hard/brittle after several months of use. I contacted GSI directly and was told that they were not aware of any such problems. However, they also followed up by sending me two free replacement gaskets and two additional locking clips. Hmmm…how convenient.

    That said, if any one is considering using or has already purchased one of these boxes for use in a similar application, it might be wise to contact GSI for spare gaskets and clips.

    http://www.gsioutdoors.com/contact.html

    Although I haven’t had the opportunity to use the housing on a frequent basis, I’m hoping to get good life out of the original seal and will definitely be keeping an eye out for any problems down the road. So far it works great in the field and the integrity of the seal appears to be holding up extremely well. Getting the clips to release was a bit difficult at first, but after a few tries it seemed to ease up a bit. If possible, I would definitely suggest you devise a secure system to lash the box down to the deck padeyes rather than just the bungees. Having the box snugged down tight against the top of your deck will also make it easier to open the box. I have complete confidence in the hardware that I used.

    Apparently the boxes are also available in opaque shades of green and red, but so far I’ve managed to see only clear units in stores.
     
  17. Kasey

    Kasey Paddler

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    Thanks for the heads up! Yeah, I only saw the clear ones as well. Huh...will have to look at it to make sure I lash it down a little better too. I was a little worried about the plastic slots in the side cracking, maybe if I lashed it down too hard or bumped them. Always a work in progress, eh? At least I'm not trying to build a whole boat! LOL