Sony ZV-E1 // Ikelite Underwater Housing Assembly & Camera Settings [VIDEO]

Sony ZV-E1 // Ikelite Underwater Housing Assembly & Camera Settings [VIDEO]

By John Brigham

The ZV-E1 is Sony's smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens camera with in-body image stabilization. With the same sensor as the a7S III and FX3 cameras and good battery life in a compact package, the ZV-E1 is begging to be taken underwater.

John Brigham shares the journey from picking up the camera to designing the 200DLM/A Underwater Housing for Sony ZV-E1 # 69121, then walks you through setting it up with the PZ 16-35mm f/4 lens.

Watch the video below to follow along as Ikelite VP John Brigham goes through how to set up your housing, or jump to:

  • Sony ZV-E1 Camera Settings
  • Installing the Camera
  • Adding Dual Handle and Trigger Extension
  • Installing a Lens, Zoom Gear, and Port
  • Vacuum Testing for Leaks


    Sony ZV-E1 Camera Settings

    There are a few important things to look for when setting up a new camera. In this particular instance I want to focus on setting the recording temperature to high, altering the power settings so I don't have to turn the camera on and off underwater, change the shutter to record, start, and stop, and lastly to make sure that I don't record anything without a card installed.

    Recording Temperature: Menu > Setup > Power Setting Option > Auto Power Off Temp. > High
    Power Settings: Menu > Setup > Power Setting Option > Power Save Start Time > 1 Minute
    Change the Shutter: Video Mode > Menu > Setup > Operation Customize > Rec w/ Shutter > On
    Release without Card: Photo Mode > Menu > Shooting > Shutter/Silent > Release w/o Card > Disable


    kelp taken with sony zv-e1

    During our most recent trip to Long Beach, California for the 2023 Scuba Show, we got the opportunity to take the Sony ZV-E1 underwater in Catalina. It's compact size, stabilization, and full frame sensor made it fun and easy to shoot and has a great application underwater.  


    Installing the Camera

    Assembly of this system is quite simple. In this case, because I was shooting video, I did not use strobes. Now, that being said, you can pair this housing with a hotshoe, a bulkhead, and strobes. But we're going to skip that side for right now and dive right into putting the camera into the housing with the lens, the port, and the dual tray and handle.

    1. Unlock the right and left lid snaps, lift the acrylic back from the housing and set aside.
    2. Remove the camera mount from the camera base inside the housing.
    3. Using a flathead screwdriver, attach the 1/4-20 bolt located on the camera mount to the bottom of your camera. Ensure this is screwed in snuggly to prevent any movement of the camera.
    4. Ensure any controls are out of the way and install the camera by sliding the camera and mount into the camera base inside the housing.
    5. Check the sealing surface of the housing as well as the o-ring on the acyrlic back of the housing. You will not need lubricant for the o-ring on the housing back, as this is a compression seal.
    6. Replace the acrylic back onto the housing and lock lid snaps.
    dual handle and trigger extension for ikelite underwater housing
    The Dual Handle and Trigger Extension make this system super ergonomic. They also make getting steady and smooth video that much easier underwater.


    Adding Dual Handle and Trigger Extension

    We highly recommend adding the Dual Handle # 9523.64 and Trigger Extension # 4077.95 as this will optimize ergonomics when shooting underwater. And, if you're adding strobes, allows for easy attachment and removal of strobe ball arm components at the touch of a button for added convenience above and below water.

    1. Using the provided hex key, loosen both set screws on the housing trigger lever and remove the lever.
    2. Replace this with the extension and using the hex key, tighten the set screw.
    3. Replace the lever on the end of the extension and tighten both setscrews. 
    4. Flip your housing onto its face so the acrylic back is facing up.
    5. Grab your Dual Handle and orient it so that the buttons will be facing your underwater.
    6. Using the included hardware, thread the screws with washer up through the holes into the 1/4-20 threads on the bottom of the housing and tighten using a flathead screwdriver.


    sony 16-35 zoom gear installation for ikelite underwater systems

    The Sony PZ 16-35mm F4 G Lens is one of our favorite wide angle zoom lenses to shoot underwater with a compact mirrorless system. Plus, it's easy to install with the Zoom Gear # 5515.44 and Zoom Dome Port # 5516.17.


    Installing a Lens, Zoom Gear, and Port 

    1. Slide the Zoom Gear # 5515.44 onto the Sony 16-35mm PZ lens with the "front" (indicated on zoom gear) facing away from the camera body.
    2. The zoom gear's friction fit will correspond with the zoom ring of the lens.
    3. Remove the body cap from the camera, remove the rear body cap from the lens, and align the two white dots on the camera and lens as you typically would and bayonet the lens into place.
    4. Slide the gear sleeve down into the port opening of the housing.
    5. Remove the lens cap on the camera.
    6. Ensure that all three thumb screws on the Zoom Dome Port # 5516.17 are unscrewed as to remain out of the sealing surface area.
    7. Check the DLM port o-ring for any unwanted debris and then run a small amount of Ikelite lubricant around the o-ring.
    8. Repeat this step with the sealing surface of the dome port.
    9. Place the port on your housing ensuring that the drive gear will be on your left when you use the system.
    10. Firmly press the dome port down onto the housing creating a seal.
    11. Make sure your drive gear and gear sleeve are working in unison.
    12. Hand-tighten all three thumbscrews.


    ikelite vacuum pump to check for leaks

    Don't sweat the small stuff. A vacuum leak detection system allows you to check for leaks after assembling your housing and prior to entering the water. 


    Vacuum Testing for Leaks

    At this time you have a fully waterproof system, but I've added a Vacuum Kit # 47012 that we'll install next. While this isn't required for waterproof operation, we do recommend it as it provides peace of mind and provides a double check that you've assembled everything properly and aren't experiencing any leaks.

    1. Release the vacuum valve cap and insert the barb of the vacuum pump.
    2. Pump the housing to create a vacuum.
    3. What number you pump the vacuum to is not the critical part, the critical part is that the needle does not move once you've stopped pumping.
    4. For reference, I go to 10mmHg and ensure the needle doesn't drop. If you notice the needle moving at this point you have a leak somewhere and should find out what is causing it.
    5. Ideally, you want to vacuum your system the night before a dive and then check the reading again in the morning to make sure it has not changed. If you don't have all night long, even 10 or 15 minutes should give you enough time to detect leaks, but the longer timeline the better.
    6. Do not leave the vacuum attached overnight or for prolonged periods of time.
    7. Always ensure you have reinstalled the valve cap on your housing before diving.


    That's all there is to it!

    Before you dive in, double check everything for functionality. Take a picture, record a video, make sure your controls are operating fine, and that you can zoom your lens. Now you've got a fully assembled, waterproof system, and one that we love for recording underwater video. If you have any questions about this system assembly, or any other, email us today.


    John Brigham Ikelite Vice PresidentJohn 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.


    Additional Reading

    Manual Fiber Optic Transmitter for Ikelite DL and DLM Underwater Housings // Installation and Use [VIDEO]

    Stop Doing This to Your Strobe Battery Pack! [VIDEO]

    How to Polish an Acrylic Dome Port [VIDEO]

    Checking for Housing Leaks Using a Vacuum Pump and Valve

    5 Situations Where You Need a Strobe Underwater [VIDEO]

    My Must Have Underwater Housing Accessory // Cable Top Handle Grip [VIDEO]

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