Want a more detailed summary of the differences? Read the extended article.
Don't have time for the video? Read the transcript instead.
The Sony a7C II and a7CR are two powerful new compact full frame mirrorless cameras. Both cameras are physically identical and can operate interchangeably within the same camera housing.
But there is a in important decision to be made when you get ready to invest in a housing: DL or DLM/A? I’ll walk you through the differences and give you the information you need to choose the housing that’s perfectly suited to you.
Port System and Lens Support
The central difference between the two housings is the port system. DL refers to our large diameter Dry Lock port system. DLM is our Dry Lock Micro port system which is a smaller diameter to allow for a smaller housing.
The most important thing is to check the port charts to make sure that the lenses you plan to shoot are supported in the housing of your choice.
If you enjoy shooting wide angle zoom lenses and over-under shots, it’s worth noting that only our DL system supports zoom operation with a larger 8” diameter dome port. In the DLM system you would need to choose between a 6” dome port with zoom control, or use the wide angle lens at a fixed focal length behind the 8” dome.
You can shoot a large diameter 8" dome port with the compact DLM housing, but you won't have access to zoom. The smaller diameter 6" dome support has a zoom control built in.
I found that the Sony a7C II camera has pretty good battery life. I could take several hundreds of shots over 3-4 dives per day without recharging. Video does drain the battery more rapidly and in my experience, the battery needed changing after about 2 dives when shooting video.
With either housing, you can leave the camera mount attached to the bottom of the camera when you go to change the battery or SD card.
But what if you could charge and offload photos without taking the camera out of the housing? That’s my dream, and it comes true with the USB-C Charging and Data Transfer Bulkhead.
Only the DL housing has enough room for the attachment of a USB-C cable inside. You can install our optional USB-C bulkhead and connect the camera to a computer while it stays in the DL housing. After it’s charged, just replace the waterproof cap, pull a vacuum again, and you’re ready to dive.
The DLM/A housing is so small that it just doesn’t have room for the USB cable. You will need to remove the camera body from the housing to change the battery. For many lenses, that means removing the lens and port before opening up the back of the housing and taking the camera body out.
We revolutionized underwater photography in 2023 with the ability to charge and transfer data from your camera while it's stays inside of the housing.
For the same reason as the USB-C charging, only the DL housing is expected to be compatible with third party bulkheads for HDMI Monitors. I just don’t think there’s enough room inside of the DLM housing for an HDMI connection.
Size & Weight
If you’re considering a smaller full frame camera, it’s likely that you want a compact system to shoot underwater. The DLM housing is the smaller and lighter option at half the size and weight compared to the DL version. Because it’s so form fitted, it will be a little more negative underwater so you may want to add buoyancy aids depending on your choice of lens and port.
The DL housing is larger to accommodate large diameter professional lenses and accessory data connections.
Vacuum Leak Detection System
Most underwater photographers like to go into the water with some assurance that they will come back to the surface with a dry camera inside. The best way to test it is using a vacuum leak detection system.
Our vacuum valve is super low profile to stay out of your way when you’re using the housing. It comes standard on the DL housing model. The DLM does not include it out of the box but it’s a super simple installation and John shows you how to do that in the video that pops up here.
LCD Screen & Viewfinder
Once underwater, I prefer to view settings and compose my photos using the large, bright LCD screen on the back of the camera. And you have full view of that with either housing. Only the DL housing supports the use of the camera’s electronic viewfinder (EVF). We have our Super-Eye viewfinder built into the housing, which can be easily swapped out for an enhanced Straight or 45º Magnifying viewfinder. But Sony didn’t put their best EVF technology in these new a7C cameras, so it may not be worth the extra investment if you don’t already own the magnifying viewfinder.
If you really want to use the camera's EVF then you'll need to go with the 200DL Underwater Housing. But you can save battery life by sticking to the rear LCD screen instead.
Both housings support multiple flash triggering options and you can read about those in the extended article. You can attach a strobe with an electrical sync cord straight away, or change out the bulkhead to a fiber optic transmitter.
Overall, I think the 200DLM/A Underwater Housing is a no-brainer for shooters who want to downsize their gear without sacrificing image quality. I like that it’s so small and I’m not shooting any larger lenses like the 16-35mm f/2.8 GM.
If you also own a 2nd Sony full frame camera, like the a7S III or a7R V, then I think it could make a lot of sense to go with the 200DL Underwater Housing. It shares the same ports and accessories with our housings for Sony’s professional cameras. It also supports our revolutionary USB-C Charging & Data Transfer Bulkhead which for some people may be all I need to say to make up their mind.
For more detail on the above points and a chart summarizing the differences between the two housings check out the full-length article.
Ultimately both housings are highly functional and ergonomic options for these cameras. They are built here in the USA. And of course either way you go, we’re for you with any help or photo advice you need. Just email us at email@example.com.
See the 200DL Underwater Housing for Sony a7C II, a7CR # 71481
See the 200DLM/A Underwater Housing for Sony a7C II, a7CR # 69124