Dive Housing – Panasonic Lumix GH5
While researching the ideal housing for a Lumix GH5, I cast a real wide net considering all the different makes and models. I covered the big three housing manufacturers in a previous article – Ikelite, Nauticam & Aquatica – but a few other brands helped define the margins of what is available to take the GH5 shooting underwater.
Acquapazza is a Japanese manufacturer which is most similar to the highly machined products from Nauticam and Aquatica. The APPA-GH5 is also milled from solid aluminum but perhaps features a higher degree of fit and finish, especially to the exterior. If looks are important to you, the APPA-GH5 is available in a fairly wide range of colors as well.
The APPA-GH5 is also on the high end of housing cost for the GH5 with a price tag of 280,000¥ which is about US$2,575 for the bare housing. The parts and accessories are equally premium, at least in price, with a 170mm (6.7″) glass dome port priced around 120,000¥ which is around $1,100. [Acquapazza]
For an entry-level option, you might consider the Seafrogz ‘housing for GH5’. This polycarbonate enclosure wraps around the body of a GH5 camera pretty closely with buttons and control dials very closely matching the position on the camera body. If memory serves me right, the estimated price of the Seafrogs is in the ballpark of $500 for the housing and an acrylic dome lens.
Despite being rated to 130ft, the low cost and medium build-quality of the Seafrogs housing does not inspire confidence to take it to that depth. However, if you were looking for an affordable housing to use in wet environments or for snorkeling, the small Seafrogs could make for one of the easiest to handle (except for the very high buoyancy). [Seafrogs]
On the other end of the spectrum is the high tech and highly versatile Leo3 Wi universal housing. This housing made by EasyDive uses the same electronic mapping buttons as the Leo3 Smart universal smartphone housing . So instead of having buttons that directly touch the camera controls, a wired connection ‘translates’ inputs to the camera.
This means that you have to remember to charge the Leo3 Wi as well as your camera, dive lights etc. The body of the EasyDive Leo3 Wi is also made from machined aluminum, it has all the same pass-throughs, ports and features you’d expect from a high-end dive housing. At 2,490€ or around $3,090 without any lens port or accessories, the Leo3 Wi is one of the more expensive mirrorless housings.
However, if you had purchased this universal housing for any other mirrorless camera, including the GH4 you’d still be able to use it. Likewise, you’ll theoretically still be able to sue it for future models making it a pretty smart investment. [EasyDive]
With the current landscape of GH5 housings thoroughly researched, and there are new models announced every month, I zeroed in on the housing brand with a feature set that appeals to my application, within a budget I can afford. Definitely, check out the unboxing and hands-on of the kit I ended up going with and follow along with me as I familiarize myself with its use.