Dicapac WP-S10 DSLR waterproof housing

DH3_7869_Dicapac_WP-S10_Nov_09

The Dicapac WP-S10 DSLR underwater housing with Nikon D200 and 20mm 2.8 lens

As I mentioned in my previous post I picked up a cheap $149 AUD underwater housing before I went on holiday to Fiji. I figured it would be cool to play around with some shots in the water and I knew that being a hell of a lot cheaper than a ‘proper’ DSLR underwater housing there would be limitations, and perhaps even disaster.
I wasn’t taking any chances, so I loaded up the Dicapac WP-S10 with my old Nikon D200, the bag clearly accommodates an assortment of DSLR types and sizes but I found a camera the size of the D200 with the battery grip taken off was about the biggest camera you’d get in the bag comfortably. You wouldn’t do it anyway, but the D3/D2x size bodies have too much bulk between the bottom of the camera and the lens, therefore not fitting into the lens port on the housing correctly. I would imagine that this bag would fit any of the Canon and Nikon bodies except for the “pro” bodies (1DmkII,III etc and D2x/D3 etc) Basically anything that doesn’t have a bulky battery grip will fit in this thing. I thought that it would be fun to use this for some snorkelling and also found it was great to use in times that I would never take a camera, such as sailing and even just playing around in the pool.

The usability was something I knew from the start would be tricky. The housing has a plastic finger sleeve on the right hand side so you can access the shutter release button and with a bit of playing around you can also control the front command dial. There are also two finger holes in the lens port that are accessible when the port is extended that I assume are for the zoom ring of a zoom lens. I got a Nikkor 17-55mm 2.8 DX lens into this port to see if it would fit and found even when it was dry I could not zoom. There is not enough movement with these finger sleeves to turn a focus or a zoom ring. To operate the camera underwater I figured aperture priority would be best as I could still access the front command dial and would be able to switch apertures to get my desired DOF and shutter speeds. I also used the back AF-On button for focusing (it’s how I focus all my cameras anyhow, but in this case using the half-press shutter button technique would be difficult because the plastic finger sleeve tends makes it hard to feel the balance of the shutter release button with your finger).

The lens port is a bit of a funny design and because it is made of rubber and extends to accommodate different lens types and focal lengths, it doesn’t stay in place very well.
My lens of choice was a 20mm 2.8, I wanted to get the fisheye in there for maximum wide angle coverage but there was just too much vignetting from the front ring of the lens port. Because the 20mm is fairly short in length the front port tended to move around a bit and if you aren’t careful vignetting can occur easily as the front part of the port moves out of alignment with the lens. I found that by holding the front port while I was composing a shot worked, but next time I might try some other way of securing it, maybe with gaffer tape or something similar. As I mentioned earlier I got a 17-55mm 2.8 DX Nikkor in there and it filled the extended port nicely. The front element of the lens port is 85mm in diameter and the port extends to 15cm. The 17-55 is a bulky lens and roughly the same length as the 24-70 2.8, (I don’t know if I’d be putting a $2000 lens in this thing though!) so I imagine that would be the biggest lens you’d get in the housing. I think most people who would use this would probably want to stay at the wide end anyway.

Image quality was surprisingly good, the front element is made of UV coated polycarbonate and expected it would scratch easily, although after giving it a battering it still looks perfect! The clarity and colour of the images seemed to be as though it wasn’t there at all, so I suppose in a way it is just like shooting through a cheapish UV filter.
The housing comes with a strap and during one snorkelling dive I pretty much just had the camera strapped over my shoulder and swam with it trailing me in the water. It floats pretty good even with a heavy-ish camera like the D200 inside. The instructions say it’s waterproof to 5 metres and I got it down to probably only two metres, but not once in all the times I took it out did it get even a drop of water inside, it does seem to be a lot better than it looks! Inside the box there are also a number of foam inserts which you can use to customise the interior to give your model of camera a snug fit. The manufacturer’s website is here (although doesn’t give a great deal of info, I think most is lost in the Korean to English translation) and the shop where I first saw this thing is here

Below is a gallery of images of the housing and there are also some images of it in action in my previous post from Fiji here

In conclusion I reckon this is great for the photographer who doesn’t do a lot of water work, but could use this for the odd portrait or even just for some different and fun holiday snaps like I did. $149 bucks. Thanks Korea!

25 Responses to “Dicapac WP-S10 DSLR waterproof housing”


  • Nice one mate! Would you trust a 5D is this thing?

    Looking for something different for a shoot around xmas… I reckon this might be the go.

  • very nice Danos

  • I’m a beginner by all means and taking a trip to Hawaii soon. I was on the fence about this product. Many people say it was great or it was horrible. I gather most of the negative ratings are from people expecting to get professional quality for $100. Anyways after reading your post and seeing a couple shots you took with it, I am definitely going to give it a try. Thanks for all your help. Many people talk about it but you gave examples that showed what it can do and you helped me visualize what type of lens I should be using with it. Kudos,

    Danny

  • @Dan. Yes I would trust a 5D in it. As long as you take proper common sense precautions such as submerging the bag underwater for a couple of minutes to check it’s all sealed up properly etc, I can’t see any drama.

    @Danny. Glad it helped you out! I too had a lot of trouble finding any good info on this product, so I just took a gamble and it worked out pretty good!

    Dan

  • Glad ya liked the shot’s on my blog man. I was stocked on the case and have had a lot of fun with it. I can see my self using in a lot more in the future. Thanks for the review, It was dope. V

  • So good Dan. I wish they made it for the Lomo!

  • Hi Dan,

    I have heard good and bad stories about these. Obviously there is no taking them deep so you can’t scuba dive them (and you can’t use a strobe with this bag), hence you can’t really use them for underwater photography.

    What remains is pretty much exactly what you describe. If you want to take an SLR into the pool or do under/overs, this bag will get you started.

    Cheers,

    Simon

  • wow great photos and also a great review on the housing, i’m heading on a cruise in a few months , and I have been looking at getting a cheap waterproof P&S, but i think I will get one for my 50D or 20D

  • Well said, Very good information.

  • I have just bought one of these off ebay and I am thinking I got a dud. Your images show what I would have considered acceptable. Mine produces a bleary blur. I have tried auto focus, manual focus (I used it without the bag) repeat shots.

    I wonder if people who are saying they are awful are getting really bad examples, as I seem to have done.

    Nick

  • So does the front lens port “glass” seem to be causing the fuzziness do you think? Is it still that way if you shoot through it dry. Mine definitely makes the picture quality drop, but I found if I stop down from f5.6 or more it produces acceptable images. I wouldn’t shoot through it wide open at f2.8 or even f4. I think most of my underwater stuff was shot at about f8.

  • I am pretty sure it’s the lens length. I shot at 200mm f7.1 with a max aperture of f4, for the very reasons you describe.

    It has been confirmed by the company that the trouble is length of lens. I found that anything over about 70mm was just not acceptable. Even at f22 it was dead soft.

    I have been told that _all_ cases are like this….I am not so sure.

    This was all out of the water. I intended to use it for water sport stuff and wet weather shots. Any underwater work would be secondary.

    I think what annoys me is that they sell it with the long snout, which indicates that a long lens is OK.

  • Really keen on underwater shooting and this certainly looks like it could be a good one. Tossing up between getting this for my 60D or buying a Lumix FT2 point and shoot….decisions

  • Nice review. I thing I’m gonna give a try this one before going deep.

  • Just read this reply – very useful indeed so thanks for that and great photos of it in action, I am really tempted to get one of these! Do you think there is room to plug in a remote release when in use? I was thinking of maybe using a remote with a pocketwizard (old style) in the bag if there is room for it………… any idea?

  • Hey Jamie, There is definitely room to pug in a PocketWizard, although it wont be ale to attach to the hot shoe. You could have it sitting in the bag beside the camera body and plugged into the PC sync port. (sorry for the mega delayed reply!)

  • Good Information. I am reading reviews on this product. Watching videos to prove that it really does work. As, I would like to bring my Nikon D7000 with me down 16feet deep. So, can I just check with you among the photos that you took with this product, the one that you listed at the corner right with the fish underwater, may I know how deep did you go ? Thanks! :)

  • Great review. This was the first I found and I don’t need to look for other review anymore as it was very informative. This is definitely on my list of accessories. I am planning to use my Afs-35mm f1.8 lens and a D5000 considering underwater low light conditions will need a fast lens . I am just concerned on the long snout which as you said will give a lot of vignetting. Even though will still give it a try.

  • Hi Nisa, I think you could definitely take the case 16feet deep, although the case is quite bulky and I found the deeper I went, the harder it was to compose a picture. The image of the fish was taken about 8-10 feet underwater on a rough day with poor visibility. There were some pretty strong currents stirring up the sea bed, hence why the water is a bit cloudy.

  • Hi Mon, I think you’ll be fine with that lens combination. I was using a 20mm 2.8 for nearly all the shots I did with the case. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it can be useful. I wouldn’t use it if I was shooting in the water all the time.

  • Very helpful and informative Dan.

    Thank you for this. I am convinced and will try this stuff.
    Thanks,
    Eljun

  • Hi Guys,

    First of all some good clear shots there.

    I got this to do surf photos, and I am finding a bit of a pain the front lens droplet issue. MOst of my shots are ruined by water droplets which of course end up in the face of the kiter/surfer/sea creature… I have tried rubbing some onion(yes onion) since I´ve read that it breaks down the water and stops t form accumulating on the lens. Some other blogs said about washing up liquid…but that just leaves lines and a mess all over the front glass. Any ideas will be welcome.Other that that I think this is a good option for the paupers that want to get in the water but do not have 2000 spare to buy a proper housing.

    Cheerios and good shooting

  • Hey Dan,

    loved your Review, although there are a lot of questions I have to ask you.
    I’m gonna be on a Holi Festival soon, so I am planning to use this bag in a whole different way.
    I’m not gonna protect my camera against water, I have to protect it against “powder”.

    Here’s a vid of a similar event, for you to know what I’m talking about:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh-o5g4tLVE&feature=youtu.be

    So here are my questions:

    1. I’ve got a Sony A77 and I’m willing to use my 50mm f1.8 – Do you think this is gonna fit? Can I put the Lens-Case-Rubber-thing back far enough so that it fits for a short fixed focal length?

    2. When I read your review, other reviews and your replys, I conclude that there’s absolutely no way to put my camera with a battery grip in this, correct? Or do you think theres any way to handle this?

    3. I’m gonna shoot outside the water, so thats my main question. Do you think the quality is acceptable?
    I mean, it’s 24 MP and I’m used to clear and sharp images. Do you think this bag decreases the Quality much outside of the Water?

    4. It’s gonna be the whole day and, as I hope, it will be sunny or at least clear and bright light.
    Did I understand that correct that you would recommend to close the shutter to at least 5.6 ?

    5. Most important. You think this bag’s the best solution in my case?

    Thanks in advance,

    Alex

  • Hey Alex,
    I think the best answer to your questions is that this is cheap bag designed for infrequent use in and around water. I wouldn’t try to shoot surfing with it, or to dive deep with it. It’s basically a heavy duty splash case. Out of the water, it is bulky and restrictive.

    Two things. I think you definitely will see quality degrade using a 24 mp sensor. Anytime you put another piece of glass like a filter or whatever on, you lose something – and that is true with the front ‘port’ of this bag, Remember, this bag costs less than some pro level UV filters! The front port on this thing is not optical grade glass. it’s acceptable for the odd water shot, or to do some fun different pictures in and around water, but if I was doing something where quality was a concern I would rent an Aquatech housing.

    Also I think that for the festival you’re going to shoot, maybe just a really big ziplock bag and a uv filter holding the bag on (with a hole cut in the bag at the uv filter) should be perfect. The Dicapac bag doesn’t allow you to access all the dials and buttons on your camera – it’s very restrictive and sometimes clumsy to operate the camera when it is in the bag.

    Also you will have a bit of a problem with the 50mm lens with the rubber lens port. It can extend on it’s own and get in the way a bit.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Dan

  • Hi there,

    I’ve had the same issue. Did you try spitting on the front of the lens – just like divers do with their goggles? It worked for me. I still had the odd water droplet ruin a frame, but as they say, you get what you pay for!

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