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UW housing rental - why can't I find it?

Discussion in 'The Canon Corner' started by devolution365, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. devolution365

    devolution365 Contributor

    I'm one of those people who dive once a year while on vacation in warmer climes, but I'm also a photographer (serious amateur). 2 years ago I bought an Olympus C-5000z and a UW housing for it on eBay for a total of about $250. I've gotten some ok pics with it, but moving from an SLR to that thing is painful -the shutter delay often results in me getting nothing but a tail fin in a picture, etc.

    So, my question:
    I'd love to put my Canon 30D in a housing and take that with me, but $2k (or even $1k for a used 20D housing for my backup body) is a bit much for something I'd only use once a year. I googled around trying to find a place that'd let me rent one (they rent lenses, so...?), but found nothing online. Does anyone know of an online store that does UW housing rental?

    If not...
    I'm leaving in less than 3 weeks for a cruise (don't know which island we're diving at yet) and would love to have a better option than my Oly to take down with me this time. If it's true that there are no online rental places for housings, then I'd love to hear your suggestions on point and shoot cameras that have housing options available. My budget is probably around $500 total +/- (camera and housing), I HAVE to have the ability to pick just the center AF point to focus with, and having manual modes available would be a nice plus.

  2. fisheyeview

    fisheyeview Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL (The Diving Capital of the Worl
  3. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
  4. devolution365

    devolution365 Contributor


    ...yeah I found a lot of video camera housing rentals and related things that were quite expensive. I don't get it... So... How about point and shoot camera + housing suggestions?

    Thanks for the replies,
  5. alcina

    alcina Missing Diva. ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Western Australia
    What's not to get? Housings are expensive and only fit one model and there's not a massive market for hiring so that all translates into solid hire prices :wink:

    Check out the Sticky for great information on various compacts and housings - there are links to discussions and images for a wide variety of systems. You can click the Pink Link in my signature or go to the top of the main UW Photo area for the Sticky.

    I'd simply head for a Canon A series and Canon housing. Will it be a huge difference to what you are used to with a dslr? Yes. Are they more than capable little systems? Absolutely. I just ordered two more 570s coz I love 'em so much.
  6. devolution365

    devolution365 Contributor

    alcina said:
    ...I don't know. The housings are about $2k new, $1k used. Who knows what the shops get 'em for? But, I'd easily shell out $200/wk to rent one. Go ahead and pitch strobe rental and insurance ontop of that -or make it be at my own risk. That's fine too. Want to make a bit more? Buy a Canon 20D to rent out with it for people who don't want to take their own camera or who can't find a housing for their new 40D yet ;-) (after all, all Canon's work pretty much the same). $500/wk with the camera would be a steal!

    $2k for the housing (new) @ $200/wk rental price = 10 rentals and its paid for itself minus labor for inspection, shelf space, inventory, etc. (Shipping would be charged ontop of rental.) -Used at $1k = 5 rentals...

    $500 for a used 20D (if you're budget conscious and willing to go used) @ $300/wk = 2 rentals and it's paid for. Want to go new? Get a 30D w/ kit lens for $1k and you'd have to rent it out 4 times for it to pay for itself.

    ...I don't know, but I see money in it.

    As far as a P&S goes, I figured you guys would be asked the question too much to be willing to help. That's fine. It'll probably take a trip to the store to actually try using them before I figure out which one to buy anyway.
  7. dhaas

    dhaas Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Stow OH

    Your math is skewed on cost even for a dealer to have housings to rent. Plus the liability of someone renting a housing, opening and closing it over a trip's time frame without flooding their camera is another reason dealers aren't jumping to do what you think "has money in it".

    The same person who will BUY a decent dSLR plus lenses needed for UW shooting thinks $400 / week to house that same camera is too expensive. It isn't worth the time or expense to rent someone a housing for $200.00. There simply aren't enough customers out there wanting it. Add in the camera, too? Hah! People don't read the manuals when they OWN a camera, so good luck trying to get any decent results with a different model camera. Which leads me to..........

    Using a dSLR underwater, especially with a flash is NOT a point and shoot proposition.....There is a bit of a learning curve. So you also end of giving coaching out for free. Time = $$$$$ and many don't want to pay for it these days......

    Here's a short list of housings for current popular cameras you'd have to have.........Add up the cost, plus ports for a variety of lenses, You'd need multiple ports as each housing rental customer would need something, and many would want the same port for popular lenses.

    * Canon 5D, 20D, 30D, 40D, Digital Rebel, Rebel XT, Rebel XTi
    * Nikon D40, D40X, D70, D80, D200, D300 (coming soon)
    * Sony Alpha 100
    * Olympus E330, 410
    * Fuji S5

    So if you think there's all this money in it, go start your own housing rental business. I won't even invest in small P&S models these days because people don't want to pay a fair amount for me to initially buy and maintain systems that can produce results, show them how to use it, and of course charge them for insurance if THEY flood it.......

    Not being nasty, just realistic :)


    David Haas Underwater Photography
  8. devolution365

    devolution365 Contributor

    I own a side-business, so I'm at least a little familiar with the fact that those simplified numbers are not entirely realistic, so sure -double them. It still seems like it'd work to me. I'd do it, but my business is set up as a sole proprietorship and you'd definitely want a corporation for the liability. I just figured that shops renting scuba supplies would already have protection for liability against all that could go wrong with that.

    Anyway, I'm finding Scubaboard to be about as fun and enlightening as it was a year ago when I last signed on. It's too bad so many fall back on canned responses or ego-posting rather than realize that the person posting is a person asking for help or hoping for intelligent discussion. Keep that in mind for the next post you read. Perhaps I'll try again next year...
  9. dhaas

    dhaas Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Stow OH

    No, no, no, don't take my response as canned or nasty. I need to add more smiley faces so people read the written word as intended, delivered with empathy and fun :)

    Your photo links show you are a good shooter already.......My comments were based on 37+ years in the dive business. It's undergoing massive changes, mainly due to what is found here. Online sharing, information, etc. And I'm one of the few who has evolved a bit embracing digital back in 2001!

    Having liability insurance doesn't help when someone has their camera go Blub, Blub and of course they never did anything wrong :( So as I tried to descibe, it's not like renting a coffee maker and you're brewing great Java the next minute......Set it up wrong, force something while assembling it and your beautiful Canon 30D will be a wet paperweight, fast......(!!!!)

    Most dive shops don't know diddly squat about setting up any digital camera, much less a dSLR. Most only rental scuba gear as an additional small revenue stream from class use of that gear. Again, just being realistic and from my experience owning a dive store back in the day.

    I think your best bet would be to invest slowly in your own housing, especially since you are already a knowledgable shooter and then go make pics under the waves. Alcina, BladePhotographer and others (including lowly little ole' me) are here for you with real world advice from people who actually can help you! So I hope you do continue to ask questions......

    If you can make a go of buying systems and renting them, all the better. My post was just meant to illustrate typical problems renting people specialized equipment. The frequency and $$$$ costs involved simply will not add up.

    Nothing more intended and I surely didn't mean to insult you :)

    Hope to see some of your UW pics here or on your flickr link soon!



    P.S. - We NEED more photographers of your caliber on here!

    Too many folks try and convince people you can shoot a Whale shark with a $300.00 P&S camera, no wide angle lens, etc. Bad advice only makes people dissapointed in UW shooting. It IS POSSIBLE to take good photos with smaller, less expensive cameras, but one needs to know that like all things in life there will always be limitations. I often use a Canon A640 with one or two small strobes for close up / macor shooting and even with a wide angle optic and am happy with the results!

    Do I prefer my Rebel XTi with some nice lenses? Sure.......And I do enjoy helping people understand the choices and what will or won't work is all......
  10. devolution365

    devolution365 Contributor

    My thought was to have just a setup for one type of Canon and one type of Nikon, maybe, not a housing for every conceivable camera -just one for people to "try before they buy" although I'm realizing that the cost for rental would be at least around 1/4 of the cost of the housing, which would make me hesitant to rent the camera + housing (if I didn't already have the camera I'm proposing that this imagined shop would happen to have a housing for...). :p

    I guess it's possible that I'm foreseeing demand for such rental opportunity because I want it (and no one else would?) -I'm not sure. It's just extremely frustrating to go back to any P&S after using an SLR daily for years. Like you said, P&S's are capable, but I'm not familiar with the camera, the menus, etc and they aren't as flexible as an SLR.

    GRR! -I'd love to get a housing and rent it out to people privately... I imagine I'd write up a liability waiver that said something like "I (the renter) agree that Erica told me that this housing is NOT waterproof. I have expressed my intention to rent the housing only as a prop and will not put a working camera in it."

    Hmm... An excuse to go ahead and buy a housing? >:p

    ...really, I think I'm going to spend the $$$ on some graduated and non-graduated ND filters for on-land photography and save the rest... I'm just going to have to live with the frustrating Oly C-5000z experience this time around :(

    Thanks for your input and the kind words about my photos,

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