Maldive panoramic photo

So, there I was with another summer holiday season approaching rapidly on my door step. My wife and I managed to strike a good deal and get our self a trip to Maldives that we thought for many years.

Maldives from Above

Since Maldives is not your closest proximity destination, we put a lot of thoughts into it before placing order and plundering our bank accounts. We read plenty of reviews about things to do and to see, from which we learned a lot. Since I’m not a passive/relaxation type person, to me it was obvious – water and mostly underwater activities is what I will be doing. Don’t get me wrong the passive relaxation time is a Must, but for a whole day is not what I had in mind.

Maldive One of the Beautiful Islands

Since Indian ocean is full of underwater life and fauna I realized that since I made a switch from Canon gear to Fujifilm I had no underwater housing available. Long hours of research and previous experience with outstanding DiCaPac convinced me in their product line once again. I also considered underwater housing rental but in the end this would cost me more than buying new one.

WP-S3 Underwater Housing Package

Unpacked Wp-S3 Housing

The underwater model housing was suggested by knowledgeable customer support agents from DiCaPac. WP-S3 is the one I went for, considering the Size of X-T1 and X-Pro1 and lenses that I had in my bag. Considering new underwater enclosure I did look for alternatives based on numerous factors and still came back to same manufacturer, this might say a few things already. First of all, the build quality is decent; The functionality is adequate for what you pay; top-notch experience with customer service  and previous product usability/durability made it quite clear for me.

Fujifil X-T1 Underwater

Shallow Depth photos Underwater

I can say straight away – if you aren’t interested reading till the end , in few words – the product survived all initial tests and came back unscratched/no leakage reports and with great photo results attached below that I’m happy with. It took few 5-6 meter dives, lot’s of snorkeling and great time on the beach with Camera inside the housing.

Underwater Enclosure For Fuji

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 257 [1600x1200]

When I received that package in the post and opened the box it felt natural like with the previous version for Canon/Nikon (WP-S10) with few minor differences, with most obvious was smaller size. Plus I received a few additional goodies that I will talk at the end of this review.

Now you might be skeptical about putting 1.8k. worth of camera equipment into rather cheap underwater case. But, from my previous experience with even more expensive camera set-ups in same manufacture housing it played out as planned and with great success. (Read more about previous experience with WP-S10)

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 074 [1600x1200]

Little Star If You Can Spot it

Scared Fish by photographer

Following my previous post about underwater housing and photography I don’t want to repeat myself about things like: how to prepare your camera for the first time, few little tricks that might help, camera settings etc. Also, certain features that apply to DiCaPac WP-S3 and WP-S10 are shared, but I rather talk about actual feeling I got from using it with Fujifilm cameras systems. For my initial test I used Fuji X-Pro1 and X-T1. Both cameras performed well, but my personal selection falls towards Fuji X-T1.

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 044 [1600x1200]

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 041 [1600x1200]

Yes, I did spot turtles many times. But, almost all of the times when Fuji was with me, they where quite deep to have a better shot close up…

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 105 [1600x1200]

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 108 [1600x1200]

Snorkeling and Fish Spotting with Fuji in Dicapac

If you are still reading this, I’m guessing you are a happy owner of Fujifilm camera/s (X-E1, X-E2, X-S1, X-M1, X100S/t, X-pro1 and X-T1) from their top of the range and most likely you are asking yourself same questions I did when I was caring out my initial research on waterproof housing.

How easy is it to access control dials wile submerged? What about aperture ring accessibility? How hard is it to fit the camera and prepare it for underwater photography? What lenses can be used with WP-S3 and much more???
I will try and answer to the above questions with knowledge I already have, starting with the most obvious:

1. Control Wheels and Control Dials accessibility

I can say I was pretty much satisfied with controls on the right side of the camera. I could change most of the settings swiftly when Camera was sealed in underwater housing and submerged. Clicking away was a breeze, Shutter speed was easy to adjust, while exposure compensation was the closest one to the finger pocket. the Rear menu control buttons where responsive and I did use it few times with Q menu, but not as much as with right hand controls.

Unfortunately, I found access to left Control dials and shooting mode selection tumbler rather useless since there was no finger pocket comparing with the right side. If you are using Fuji X-T1 you can forget about camera shooting modes selector and a switch between Auto-focus, Ai-Focus and Manual focus. With ISO dial it is slightly easier since you can do a pre-setup within the menu and set it to Auto in a first place before sealing it away.

Did the left side gave me troubles? Sometimes, for example I once didn’t notice the change when sealing the camera, until it was to late and the camera was already underwater and changing ISO setting from 100 to Auto was a bit of a challenge.  Nevertheless, this hasn’t ruined my expectations regarding WP-S3 or underwater shooting experience. I did overcome this obstacle by been careful when setting up my camera settings before sealing off.

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 115 [1600x1200]

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 119 [1600x1200]

A Underwater Yellow Taxi

Underwater photography close up

2. Aperture ring aaccessibility

As you might know Fujifilm lenses are using traditional aperture ring selector on the lens and not on the camera. This design and approach made my life so much more easier and enjoyable in my daily shooting routine with Fujifilm. Unfortunately, with Wp-S3 housing the aperture ring is inaccessible, once your camera and lens is sealed you won’t be able to adjust your aperture settings. This was the biggest concern to me – before buying this housing. Is there a way around it – No! How you go about it, Easy: you either set it to Auto or set to most desired Aperture and seal it away until you feel like changing it again by opening it up. Was this hectic in some cases – Yes it was, did I get desired results in the end – Yes I Did!

What is more surprising is that WP-S10 (Full size DLSR Housing model) lens compartment tube had  two finger sockets that would easily allow me to change aperture or focus manually, but unfortunately WP-S3 Model doesn’t have it. I can assure you, you can live without it for short water sports, snorkeling or underwater holiday breaks, but for professional use I doubt this will suffice. To be honest if you would do underwater photography on a daily basis you should consider professional enclosure worth 2-3 k. at least.

Snorkeling In Maldives Island

Underwater Fauna with FujiFilm X-T1

Turtle photo in Maldives

Turtle on the move

3. Camera preparation

Sealing process is pretty much straight forward. But, certain steps should be taken when preparing your camera and lens. I have touched base on this in my previous post that is 99% related to the process I will mention here in short version.

A. Before sealing do a test without a camera and sink it for a few hours with a piece of paper.

B. When sealing your camera (Especially Outdoors) make sure that no dust, sand, water splashes gets on your sensor or camera for that matter before you lock the lens in place and seal it with lens tube compartment.

C. Get the air out as much as you can, unless you like a floating buoy instead of underwater camera.

D. Take a neck strap, totally worth it in many cases, put anti-fog material in to have free from fog photo shooting.

E. Use some extra padding to secure your camera in the way it has less movement.

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 050 [1600x1200]

Variety of sea life

Before  5 meter dive

Going deeper with Dicapac WP-S3 and X-T1

4. Lenses use with WP-S3.

I have used with great success Fujinon 18mm and 35mm Lenses. My 56 mm. F/1.2 unfortunately didn’t fit because lens tube compartment was tad to small. Also, you can forget about fish eye as once again the lens compartment is not build for super-wide angle lenses. Samyang 8 stayed in the bag together with 12 mm. cause it had the same issue. If you have one of the kit lenses 18-55 or 27 mm, I’m sure it will fit, but remember your zooming ability is gone together with aperture ring since it doesn’t have access for fingers to control it.

House reef photo

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 204 [1600x1200]

House reef magnificent

Looking for pearls

After reading all my above concerns you might say that this isn’t for you, but if you are an occasional underwater photographer looking for high quality waterproof cases under 100$ () you can’t go wrong. I have read plenty of reviews, had a chance to hold few alternative underwater housings before and still came back to DiCaPac.

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 183 [1600x1200]

Coral Life

Blue Submarine

My overall though of underwater enclosure from DiCaPac is positive and some of the images speak for themselves, I hope you will find them interesting enough to spend your money and get shots that your camera would never do without the WP-S3.

If DiCaPac one day will stumble across this review I hope they will take my points into consideration, that could be real game changers in next version they might release. Please, add extra finger pocket on the left side of the enclosure of your waterproof housing for camera so user can access both sides of the control dials, also include a lens tube modification to reach for aperture ring like the one you have on Wp-S10. Also, I didn’t mention anything about flash use underwater as I tend to use only natural light, but in case of 5-6 meter dives when it gets darker small flash head would be a huge plus.

Other than that, Dear DiCaPac thank you for great product and service I will continue trusting your product and using it.

DCIM100GOPRO

To finish of with my review on quality waterproof cases for Fuji on a budget I want to say, that my holiday was a blast thanks to DiCaPac and their underwater enclosure. I did enjoyed using it, and it’s currently resting on my shelf until the next summer holiday. Find few more photos below that I took on my holiday this year. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did? If any of you have any questions please feel free to post beow or send email and I will do my best to get back to you.

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 081 [1600x1200]

underwater treasure

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 097 [1600x1200]

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 194 [1600x1200]

Some few shots from underwater Maldives

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 075 [1600x1200]

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 087 [1600x1200]

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 141 [1600x1200]

Close Photo of Maldives sea life

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 018 [1600x1200]

Underwater Maldives - Fuji X-T1 + DiCaPac Wp-S3 - 019 [1600x1200]

Dear readers, if you are still reading this, please forgive me for not mentioning about video functionality with Fuji X-T1 in WP-S3. The post you read already quite long and I will brag about video in my next one. With few words to mention DicaPac waterproof phone cases. Thank you 🙂

 

 

8 Responses to DiCaPac WP-S3 Underwater Housing For FujiFilm X-T1- XPro1

  1. Fred says:

    Nice captures! What settings did you foundation to be best under water? Aperture, ISO, speed, WB?

    • kvitalij says:

      Hi Lotto,
      I’m happy you like the images.

      WB – Was set to UNDERWATER most of the time.
      My ISO settings where on AUTO with MAX ISO 3200 and min ISO Shutter speed 1/100
      Shutter speed dial set to AUTO and Aperture was around F2 – F4
      Played with various settings, but this worked out best for me.

      A Lot depends on in what waters you will be photographing and amount of sun that gets through.
      At the beginning it is hit and miss, until you find optimal setting that works in certain environment.

      Bets of luck.
      V

  2. Kostya says:

    покатался на черепахе? 🙂

  3. Marcellinho says:

    So gorgeous! I’m kind of a chekicn so I don’t do it but I know you can see some very beautiful things on Hawaii’s reefs too. (I just float on the top when I snorkel). Looks like a fun day trip!

  4. Mikael says:

    what is anti-fog material and where do I get it from?

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