Sorry have not been back to you earlier with feedback but am currently filming here in Palau for a documentary so little time. Anyway please see feedback below.
Opening the shipping box I was very pleased to see the presentation and boxing of the housing and accessories, really sets it up as a great product. Having gone through all the parts one thing I would say is that for a lot of people they might find the instructions very basic and maybe an expanded set of instructions for mounting the lens’ etc would help. Alternatively a good online video, set by step would really help some people. I managed to work it out fine but I work as a professional cameraman so it would make sense to me !!!
Overall the quality and build of the housing and accessories looks great and I was really excited to get this in the water.
I first tried the housing out with only the headphones and no lens and in shallow water, to be careful !! The housing works flawlessly and whilst you do have to keep pressure on the screen whilst selecting apps or scrolling up or down, which you should point out in instructions or videos, I was really happy that I could access any apps I wanted to which is a huge thing for me. I tried the headphones and a couple of things to let you know here. I found the quality of sound to be not that great and also having to pair them at the surface meant that the battery on the phone was really affected, especially on long dives which is usually what I do when filming. Also having that charging point, which is relatively large, dangling around was a real pain and I could see that this would get caught up on other equipment. I also tried playing music without the headphones and straight through the phone and found this to be more than acceptable, in fact it is relatively loud so much so that my safety diver could also hear my music and podcasts 😊
After trying the housing shallow a few times I then had to start work on a filming shoot which will last a month and involves dives to 75 Meters for up to 3 hours with 2 of those being decompression stops. I am extremely happy that the housing is fine to 75M and you can even still access all the phone apps and functions even at that depth, which I have tried!! With the long decompression stops it has given me ample opportunity to test the camera and macro and wide angle lens with and without the red filter, whilst listening to my favourite music and podcast on those 2 hours of decompression which is nothing less than a game changer for long dives.
The macro lens I am very impressed with. It is sharp and allows a close focus on subjects. In conjunction with lights is really produces good results for an iPhone and I have been very happy. The wide angle lens does show some very soft corners in the image, a problem with a lot of wide angle prime lens’ when used wide open, i.e. F2.8. It does increase the field of view significantly but if you want sharp images then you will find that you have to crop the images in post. I also found that it is very important to align the lens in the mounting bracket properly otherwise you do get vignette quite heavy. This might be something you really want to point out in the instructions or videos. The first time I tried it was hard to see any problem on the iPhone screen but when I downloaded and brought the images into Lightroom it was very clear. I found the best way to check was to zoom in on the screen and check the corners, realign the lens if necessary and then continue to shoot.
The red filter I used both at depth, 55 meters, and a lot in the shallows and having used filters for many years on older video cameras I found this to be too heavy a red. At depth it really introduces a magenta cast to images, which you can correct for in Lightroom to some degree, and in the shallows (6 meters where our final decompression stop has been) the whole image becomes red and requires a lot of post processing to bring back the original colours in the scene. I would suggest that you make this filter a little less strong or maybe point out that you will need to colour correct or that it should only be used between 10 – 25 meters where I found it seemed to work the best but still required some post processing of the colours.
The HUGE and possibly greatest benefit for me as a professional cameraman and technical rebreather diver is that more often than not on shoots I end up doing decompression and to have the ability to listen to music, play podcasts and even watch movies to whittle away the time is nothing short of AMAZING !!!! I have been showing this to my safety divers and also another cameraman that I am currently working with and all of them will be heading to your web site to order !!! The headphones are not a huge issue for me as we are on full face masks and underwater communications most of time so it makes it almost impossible to put the headphones in anyway and the sound is loud enough for me straight from the iPhone. All in all I am amazed and massively please by your product and will happily recommend this to everyone I know, though the one thing all that I have showed it so far agree is that I think your price point might be a little low !! We all agreed that $150 is a bargain, though I am not sure if that is what the retail price will be.
I have uploaded a few images to a DropBox folder that I have taken with the housing and also a few of me using the housing in shallow water whilst doing decompression. I have done a very quick edit of them but really did not spend a massive amount of time in post. Please feel free to use them if you like as well as any of this feedback as I am a huge advocate of your product and overall am hugely impressed by the housing.
I hope this helps and if you need anything else from me please let me know. Also, is there a link where people can order these directly ? Would be happy to share that with anyone that asks about the housing.