Sony a6600 // Ikelite Underwater Housing Assembly [VIDEO]

Sony a6600 // Ikelite Underwater Housing Assembly [VIDEO]

The Sony a6600 is popular for combining high quality imaging in a compact camera body with an interchangeable lens mount. The Ikelite 200DLM/E Underwater Housing is a full featured solution for waterproofing this camera at depths up to 200 feet (60 meters).

Follow along as John Brigham walks you through installing the a6600 camera and Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens. A wide variety of other lenses are supported. Visit the Sony DLM/E port chart for compatibility information. 

Scroll down for full transcript.

 

Most Popular Accessories

The Sony A6600 fits quite nicely in our 200DLM housing. So let me walk you through exactly what you need to do to put this housing together. 

I have quite a few optional accessories added to this system, and that just fits my personal shooting style. For example, I have a Dual Tray and Handle, and not only does that provide me with stability in the water, it also provides me with two mounting points, so now I can have a left and a right strobe or a left and a right video light.

In conjunction with that dual tray and handle, I also have two Trigger Extensions, one for the shutter and one for the back button focus. That brings both of these curved levers that you'll find on the housing out into my right hand here, making it a lot more comfortable to trigger and do back button focus.

Lastly, as far as optional accessories go, I also have the valve for the Vacuum Kit installed here. This is going to let me pull a vacuum on the system, which will do two things. One is it makes sure that I didn't miss an O-ring during assembly, And two, it reinforces all the closing mechanisms of the system. So if I find myself in rough water at the surface, I know that that vacuum is actually going to be pulling all of these parts together.

 

Installing the Camera into the Housing

So let's go ahead and get the camera installed. I'm going to set the housing down on its front face, and I'm going to release the locking mechanism on both sides. To do that, lift up on the lock and lift the lever, same thing on the other side. Then we can lift the lid snap over the lid hook of the back, and that lets us just simply lift the back off of the of the housing. Set that aside.

Taking a look on the inside of the housing, you'll notice that we have a manual hotshoe. This will come with the housing. Now, when I say manual hotshoe, that means that there is a ground contact and a trigger contact. So if you are triggering strobes, you will set the strobes to a manual power setting on the strobe switch itself.

Also inside, we have a camera mount. We'll pull that out, and featured here is a 1/4-20 screw. That, of course, is going to correspond to the 1/4-20 mount of your camera. So before we put that on the camera, let's go ahead and realign all the controls, make sure they're up and out of the way, that they aren't going to provide any kind of resistance or interference when we slide the camera inside. Set that aside.

If we look at our camera here, I have the standard 16-50mm lens, which I'll be shooting. In this case, it's pre-installed and I don't need to front load this lens, so I'll leave this attached to the camera.

Then I'm going to attach the camera mount to the camera using a flat-headed screwdriver. If we look at the camera mount, you'll notice there's an anti-rotation wall. That prevents rotation of this camera mount on the camera. That wall actually sits up flush against the camera body in between the screen and the body itself. We're going to align the screw with the screw port on the camera, and then we're going to take a flat-headed screwdriver and tighten that down. No need to over-tighten this, but do make sure it's snug. If we have any misalignment here, that's going to translate to misalignment with our controls. We want to make sure this is firmly placed on your camera. The other thing that's nice about this camera mount is that there is another 1/4-20 hole put into it, so now I can theoretically leave this on my camera indefinitely and still be able to put it on a tripod.

To install the camera in the housing, all I have to do is take the manual hotshoe, slide it all the way forward into the hotshoe of the camera, make sure that my controls are out of the way, and I'm going to align the camera mount with the camera base inside the housing. I'll take the opportunity now to make sure that my controls are realigned on the camera, which they are.

It’s easy to set the Sony a6600 up to ergonomically start/stop recording using the camera’s C1 button. This button is accessed using a bright red push button on the top of the housing.
Learn more.


Movie Recording Start/Stop with C1 Button

Now, what you're going to notice here is on the top of the housing, there is a red anodized push button. That would be corresponding to movie start/stop record. Now, if we go into the custom settings of the camera, I will go ahead and pre-customize the C1 button on the camera to start/stop video, and that will ensure that my red anodized button is going to start/stop video when it's in the housing.


Installing the Camera into the Housing

To continue on with assembly, I'm going to take the opportunity to make sure that the sealing surface is clean and free of debris, and I don't have anything - specifically like animal hair, debris, or sand - that's going to affect my seal. This sealing surface utilizes what's known as a compression seal, meaning that we do not have to use lubricant to overcome friction.

If we turn our attention to the acrylic back, we'll notice that the sealing o-ring sits around an outside perimeter and it never takes an inside turn, so it always wants to stay in that position. We can look and make sure that our o-ring is clean and doesn't have any debris on it. We can also look underneath it and make sure that there is nothing that's going to affect the sealing surface of the inside corner.

Now, we're going to seal the housing. What's really nice about this system is that when I lift the lid snaps over the lid hooks and I press down, they both ensure that they lock in place so that it won't open accidentally.

With the clear back, I have a clear visual indicator that that o-ring is sealed, and I have a perpetual view of my camera and making sure that it is exactly the way I want it to be and that there's nothing happening inside the housing.


Installing the Zoom Gear

I'm going to turn my attention to the front of the housing, and here is where you're going to notice the port mount. The port mount has an o-ring sitting in a channel. This is a piston seal o-ring, so we do want to make sure that we use lubricant because that lubricant is going to overcome the friction when we slide the port on. The lubricant does not create a seal, it just overcomes the friction, so we just need enough to make that o-ring shiny.

To do so, use some of the included lubricant with your housing. It doesn't take very much, just a small bit on your index finger and your thumb, and then run that around that o-ring. You're going to make sure that you're applying lubricant to the o-ring, but you're also getting a visual inspection of the o-ring, and oftentimes you can feel something on the o-ring before you can even see it.

Once we've lubricated the o-ring, we can turn our attention to the gear sleeve. You'll notice it has a conical shape with friction pads on the inside. This corresponds to the 16-50mm lens. I'm going to drop it down and as you do you'll notice that there is some resistance as it meets that lens, and then we simply push it down onto place, and that zoom gear is going to zoom the lens.

As you're applying lubricant to your o-rings and sealing surfaces, make sure you're feeling for any debris like hair or sand - you will often feel debris before you will see it. These careful inspections will keep your housing operating properly.

 

Installing the Dome Port

The teeth around that gear sleeve are going to correspond to the drive gear on the inside of the port. I go ahead and I push the drive gear knob out so that the knob is as far out as possible. Make sure that all three of these thumbscrews are backed out and not protruding to the inside. We don't want those to nick an o-ring, and we can take a little bit of that lubricant and also apply it to the sealing surface of the port itself. Again, applying lubricant while feeling for anything that might compromise the seal.

Once we've checked that our thumbscrews are out of the way, align your drive gear knob to your preferred shooting style. I prefer to have it on my left-hand side so that I can pull the shutter trigger with my right hand. Once your aligned, apply downward pressure until you're equally seated the dome port all the way around. Check to make sure that your drive gear drives the gear sleeve.

Then I like to apply a little downward pressure while tightening each of the three thumbscrews. You do not need to over-tighten the thumb screws, and you do not need to use a tool as these are just retention thumbscrews, the seal occurred when the two pieces glided together. You'll notice that when you put a vacuum on the system, that the housing and dome port will actually be pulled together, again, reinforcing that closing mechanism.

From this point, I'm ready to get in the water after I've applied my vacuum. It is important to know that if you use a vacuum, that you have to release the vacuum in order to open your system back up. Other than that, you're good to go and get in the water.

If you have any questions whatsoever, shoot us a comment below, or feel free to shoot us an email to ikelite@ikelite.com

 

Additional Viewing

Sony a6600 // Start/Stop Movie Recording with C1 Custom Button in Ikelite Underwater Housing [VIDEO]

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John Brigham Ikelite Vice President

John Brigham is the Vice President & head of product development at Ikelite. He was born with a flair for design and an entrepreneurial spirit as son of Ikelite founder Ike Brigham. He worked his way up in the business and is a natural fit in the R&D side of things. John dives the equipment as much as possible to test product and put himself in the "fins" of the user. You may also find him on the other end of an email or phone call when you reach out for product advice and support. When he's not underwater he's flying drones, setting off rockets, training his German Shepherd "T2", and spending time with his family.

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