Sunday, 11 April 2010

Panasonic Lumix LX3 underwater

I have an old Ikelite Coolpix 5000 housing (circa 2003) which doesn't get much use these days, so I thought I'd try to fit my wife's wonderful Panasonic Lumix LX3.

It's a great still camera but also does 16:9 HD video and has a really nice 24mm wide lens.

With a minimal amount of tweaking, the camera now fits and I can start and stop the recording.
I tried the flat port first but that gave too much fringing and pincusion distortion so changed to the dome port with excellent results.

After 2 dives, one video and one stills, I'm thinking this is a brilliant compact underwater.
With this bodged together housing setup I don't have any controls other than shutter release (and manual flash output on my Inon Z220 optically triggered) so I used Aperture priority (f/8) with -2/3 EV (to reduce ambient exposure) and Forced Flash (which limits shutter speed to no longer than 1/30th)

Results are sharp all the way out to the corners thanks to the dome port.

Getting the camera into the correct position involved moving the tripod mount hole (and the base plate) to the left and further forward. The the camera had to be as far forward as possible without clashing with the long shaft of the knob on the left of the housing and the lens had to be concentric with the dome port.
This took a little bit of gouging and fiddling of the hole. Once I got the position right I flipped the base plate over and drilled one accurate hole.
Then added some thin plastic strips and tape to to the base plate lift the camera up a little.
I then carved a shutter release knob extension from an old nylon chopping board.

More photos and video here