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I'm thinking about building simple waterproof housing for camera. I don't expect high quality I want to record some videos good enough to identify fish species, nothing more for now.

My housing will be simple cube made of thick plexiglass (10mm / about 3/8 inch).

I may need to experiment with few cameras (webcam, raspberry pi camera module, good compact still camera, or maybe even dSLR once my box will be fully tested).

Questions:

  1. Do I have to compensate water refractive index and put some lens in housing wall?
  2. Do I have to make a different or additional adapter if I use a camera more complicated than a fixed focus webcam?
  • You may also need to think about access to controls. The commercial underwater housings are all highly specific to particular camera models precisely because of the need to provide a water/pressure tight button or knob for each camera control to be used underwater. – Icycle Mar 30 '14 at 16:59
  • Related: Apparent size of objects underwater – Chris Mueller Mar 31 '14 at 15:58
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Professional underwater enclosures use either a flat or semi-spherical dome for lens to shoot through. The air/water interface naturally acts as a lens, so there will be some distortion if flat where as a dome can produce a lens due to bending of light passing through the air/water interface.

That said, be careful to realize how much pressure your box actually has to hold up to and how you seal it. Water exerts a TREMENDOUS amount of force. Every 33 ft you descend is 14.7 pounds per square inch of force being exerted on every inch of your enclosure. Trying to design a box that will seal well against this pressure, let alone allow any kind of control of the camera while under that kind of pressure is a tricky proposition.

Underwater enclosures have their high price for good reason. They are complicated devices to make properly.

  • I know how much pressure is under water. My walls are that thick (10mm) for easier design and more surface for glue sealing, not for high pressure. I will put it 10m/33ft under water, there is 2 bar pressure and thats all. – Kamil Mar 31 '14 at 20:58
  • @Kamil - ok, yeah, if you are only going 33 ft down, that is a lot more manageable than needing it to go deeper. Be sure to depth test it past that a couple times before you use it though to make sure it doesn't fail while the camera is in it. (I figure you probably know this, but I'd hate to not say it and have a mistake made.) – AJ Henderson Mar 31 '14 at 21:05
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I think the problem is exactly the same that you have when you are watching a flat fishbowl, since the walls has not curvature you don´t have dimentional changes.

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    you do get distortion with a flat fishbowl - you just need to be close to the wall of the bowl to see it. – dav1dsm1th Mar 29 '14 at 20:14
  • @dav1dsm1th You saying that camera closer to plexiglass will cause more disortion? Thats very useful information. – Kamil Mar 31 '14 at 21:01

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