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External monitor for photography (vs a viewfinder attachments)?


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So while looking into viewfinders for nauticam since I got a new housing, few things I realized:
1. They are extremely expensive

2. Quite heavy on land, and also fairly bulky as it sticks out of the housing

3. Blocks using the back of the screen pretty much due to its size

 

Given that, does anyone actually use an external monitor for shooting photos? I know its very common for video shooters, but wondering if this is something people do, and what is the experience like? Given a weefine HD5 (https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1777812-REG/weefine_wed_5_5_underwater_monitor.html) is substantially cheaper than a nauticam 45 degree viewfinder (i think its 1300 USD vs 1000 USD? Aware that there is a Inon for nauticam, but apparently doesn't work for my A7C II housing, only for DSLR housings), might be a good option?

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There was a thread discussing this back on Wetpixel, and the general consensus is that it works, but there are some caveats. Monitors in general are significantly more bulky than viewfinders, and add a lot of drag, which gets significant if you have to swim against a current. They also add a bit of lag into the display pipeline, which may or may not be tolerable for you. Weefine monitors in particular have some rather unfavorable opinions on them from users, see these threads:

 

 

As a budget alternative, Divevolk offers a WiFi extender kit for their SeaTouch phone housings. This would allow you to connect to your camera using the Sony Creators' App and even operate it from the phone screen. Downsides are increased lag and reduced frame rate, plus the extender must be mounted over the housing's display window and thus block part of it. Using WiFi also cuts into the camera's battery life.

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Hi,

I had the same thoughts a few years ago and then discarded them after initial research. The products available on the market at that time were generally for recorders, large and heavy and extremely expensive.

In 2020 I wanted to know again and did a lot of research again, but a pure monitor housing was not available. I then sat down with a colleague who had been building underwater housings for many years and we built a small series of monitor housings. The aim was to not let the whole thing become too big or too heavy.

I have been using the housing since 2021 and have done around 150 dives with it. I primarily take photographs, but I also occasionally filming.

 

I've never used an angle viewfinder myself, so I can't really say much about it. But I wouldn't give away the monitor anymore. For wide angle, I have the monitor above the housing and can look at the camera from above at a very comfortable angle and can also take photos and films close to the ground without any problems. For macro, I have the monitor at the back of the housing and can also adjust the angle so that I can have a good view of the viewfinder image depending on the situation.

 

A possible alternative today would actually be a smartphone in an appropriate housing; as already described, there are certain solutions for this. For me personally, the WLAN version would not be optimal; I would rather have a cable connection.

 

Greetings from Switzerland,
Tino

 

2020-10-21_09h-34m-05s-by-Tino-Dietsche.jpg

my buddy with his Z-6 and the monitor housing

 

2020-10-21_09h-59m-25s-by-Tino-Dietsche.jpg

 

PHOTO-2023-09-29-10-04-16.jpg

me during a dive with a wide angle setup (image copyright by Robert Hansen)

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