Last week I was fortunate to spend a couple of days near Key West in the Florida Keys with my friend and marine cinematographer Ben Sampson. In addition to fishing for blackfin tuna, we ended up working on some conceptual, fashion-type underwater photography. I figured this would be a great opportunity to use my underwater housing that I bought last year for my Sony Nex-7. I used it successfully last year while swimming with sea lions off the coast of Baja California Sur, so what could possibly go wrong?
Approximately 10 feet down, I noticed a ton of bubbles coming from the housing. The knob that controls the focal length had detached itself from the housing, and salt water flooded in. Turns out, the manufacturer simply pushes the knob onto the housing. It isn’t secured at all — it simply goes into a little gear that turns a larger one. You can pull it off the housing. It also could, presumably, happen with vibration or the simple impact of landing in the water after rolling off a boat. To me, it’s unbelievable that the manufacturer could market something specifically for underwater use when it is this flawed.
My camera was completely destroyed, as was the lens. About $1,300 worth of gear. I was really pissed and contacted the seller / manufacture of the housing, and customer service responded within a couple of hours. They refunded the purchase price right away, without even asking for proof that the housing was defective or asking that I send the housing back to them. Can’t help but wonder if they’ve seen this movie before…!? Here is what they had to say:
“We can offer you a full refund for the case, but we will not be able to help you for your camera. Underwater case manufacturers cannot indemnify anyone for any loss or damage to cameras or lenses caused either directly or indirectly by mechanical malfunction or flooding of the product.”
Hopefully somebody will come out with a well-designed, professional-caliber housing for the Sony Nex camera… in the meantime, let’s just say that I wouldn’t recommend buying this one at all.
Thankfully, Ben brought his Canon 5D III and pro housing, which we ended up using to take the following shots. He definitely saved the day!
Anyway, in case you’re wondering what I ended up doing with my beloved Sony, well… it’s an artificial reef now!
PS: I took it back out of the fish tank after I took the photo… no, the poor fish are not dying because of toxic metals in the water…:)