We can't all afford underwater cameras (or should we say underwater housings) and some of us just don't want to - we love the ease of just whipping out or phone taking the snap and then carrying on enjoying what we're doing. It seems underwater housing manufactures have also realised this and within the last few years tons of phone housings have been coming out allowing us to use our phone underwater!
While there's a quite a lot on the market we choice the two main players to review and share with you how well they perform.
Gulp.. it's time to take our beloved phone underwater.
- Universal fit. Aka fits most phones (all iPhones, most Androids)
- Vacuum port system means no more stress worrying if it will leak
- Well built, almost impossible to break, super study and very secure
- No filters needed
- Option for lenses
- Good value for money starting at $299
- Max depth 80m/260
- Easily point and shot button on top
- Easily attach accessories like a tripod on tray for lights
Photos from the housing: Maldives
- The old app that connects the housing to the phone is hard and slow to use (update they suggest to not use this one and use their new one)
- You can't manually adjust much at all once you are under
- You need batteries for the housing which again run out very fast
- You have to buy a lens as an extra
- The vacuum pump is fiddly and if you lose the screw on top you are unable to use the housing
- Still great photos without having to spend extra on lens/lights
*please note they have started to run their programme through the Dive+ app which allows a lot more freedom in adjustments and has auto colour correction on editing.
We loved how sturdy and safe the Kraken housing felt as soon as we held it, it made us feel some-what of a trust in it right from the get go. Let's all be honest and say the main thing we are worried about when taking our phone underwater is it will leak and then bye-bye phone. Along with the vacuum seal we definitely had no concerns of flooding the phone.
The most disappointing part of the housing was actually the app itself. So hard to use, and takes up so much of the phones battery as it has to be connected via bluebooth. On a couple of dives we got "low battery" warning that we have set on our phone to put it into energy saving mode, and once it was on our screen there was no way to get it off while in the app, so we were unable to use the phone and housing any time the battery got below 20%. (yes, we could have turned this off in the phone settings but when on a liveaboard a dead phone usually stays dead the whole day).
The photos you see above were shot straight from the housing with no lens or strobes. We'd love to invest in a lens and some strobes to make the pictures that much better quality, but then are we going into camera territory and suddenly spending a lot more on equipment than originally wanted? This point is not specific to the Kraken as all phone housings will be the same.
Ideal for the occasional diver who wants almost-ready-to-post pictures straight from the surface and anyone that doesn't want to fork out a load of money on new equipment. Also good for beginner photographers who want to get a feel for underwater photography and learn the real basics before investing in kit.
- Full manual control with "control arms" underwater
- Dome lens included
- No app needed
- Built in "flip" filter - simple trigger on side changes filter
- Easy to put in
- Light to carry and travel
- Pressure tested to 100m
Photos from the housing: Indonesia
- Only fits 1/2 models of phone. Meaning you can't share it/will need a new one if you upgrade
- The manual adjustment control arms are quite stiff and there are some buttons they can't reach
- No vacuum seal which means a higher risk of flooding
- Prices go up to $745
A huge advantage of the Lenzo - which you can tell from the photos - is the included dome lens, giving the pictures a much better quality and clarity. As well as not needing to connect to an app it preserves your battery and you can put it on airplane mode. It's very light, almost too light to feel secure however we never had any leaks.
We also really like the simple filter switch with two different filter options allowing us to see quickly and easily which filter is needed without having to touch the phone controls.
*note these photos we took using the Lenzo are not using the Dive+ app we used with the Kraken and edited with the simple iphone editing software
Their original housing Lenzo for iphone 6/6s is only $199 but if you have any other phone the price significantly increases up to $749 for iphoneX compared to the Kraken at $299 - that's a huge difference, although we would say you need to add on a dome lens with the Kraken.