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Housed smartphone as a budget monitor

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Edit: forum ate the text of my post, leaving only the image. Weird, trying to retype.


Just saw this on the DiveVolk website - https://www.divevolkdiving.com/products/divevolk-sealink-contact-type-underwater-wifi-signal-transmitter


This looks like a very interesting option. As far as I can tell, pros of this are:


  • Cheap - at $230 for the SeaTouch 4 MAX housing and $200 for the waveguide, it's well below even the cheapest underwater HDMI monitors (Weefine WED-5). Even if you don't want to risk your main phone, you can get a dedicated one for $100-200 by using a mid-range model from a few years ago.
  • No housing penetrations - fewer o-rings to maintain, and it can be used with housings that lack an M14/M16 port for an HDMI cable such as AOI and SeaFrogs.
  • Can control the camera from the phone screen instead of housing buttons.
  • Can be used as a standalone system, for example if you want to go snorkeling and don't want the hassle of your bulky main rig.


Counterbalanced by cons:


  • Lag - I don't know how bad it would be, but it's gotta be worse than an HDMI link, given the need to encode and decode a WiFi signal. Ditto for frame rate and resolution.
  • Single available size - bigger and bulkier than some of the smaller dedicated monitors, smaller than others.
  • No recording capability.
  • Requires camera support for WiFi remote control.
  • Very short range - no way to use as a polecam.


Given that I'm in the SeaFrogs ecosystem, which makes access to 45-degree viewfinders and HDMI monitors difficult to impossible, I'm quite tempted to try it out.

Edited by Barmaglot
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Thanks - sorry to hear the forum swallowed your post, had that happen a couple of times as well, it's weird...

I would be very concerned about lag - I have used the Panasonic wifi control app a couple of times on land with my phone and laptop, which works fine to control the camera, but lag was really noticeable, and it didn't seem like a practical remote display solution because of that.


The other issue i can see is battery usage and possibly overheating. Wifi functions typically use a lot of battery, which is really of the essence for video, and typically generate quite a lot of heat ( when using a smartphone as a wifi hotspot for instance).
This could definitely be an issue UW, on both sides of the loop.

It's a very tempting approach for cameras that don't offer practical HDMI options (compacts, some action cams for instance), but probably needs to be tested on a case by case basis



Edited by bghazzal
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I just got a new (well, slightly used) A6700 and tried it with Sony Creators' App on my phone via WiFi (on land; the housing is still on the way). Panning around, with the phone held immediately above the camera, I can see a little bit of lag between the camera LCD and the phone screen, but it's perfectly workable. I don't have a way of measuring it, but eyeballing, I'd say in the 100-200ms range. It's possible that my tolerance for lag is higher than average though, as my day job involves lots of work on remote systems over links with significant latency.

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As recently as couple days ago I was in the same situation which monitor solution I should give a second go. So it's still in my head and so I might be long on this one 🙂  I actually bought this Divevolk solution after having terrible experience with Weefine's WED7 couple years ago. The problem with workarounds like divevolk is that they do not tend to work when one would need them. Forget about the lag, it's not that bad, the connection and the reliability of establishing it over and over - at least on Sony - is the real issue for me. So when I imagined logistics on a live aboard where most of my dives are with 3-4 dives per day checking the footage in between the dives - it was a real nightmare. Plus the element attached to the housing should be placed on acrylic effectively blocking access to camera monitor... So I swallowed the pill and bought Shinobi with Nauticam housing... I was also researching the other Chinese units, Kraken with their 3000 nits looked promising but all that proved to be a vaporware. For one their negative buoyancy is like 600+ grams (what they say, so double it, I think Wed7 was like 1000g if I remember well) and second they lie in their marketing specs about the size, ability to import LUTs etc... And so the available options for at least 1000nits monitor shrunk quite a bit and since I preferred long battery life over recording capability it was Shinobi. Good luck.

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