Taking photographs with smartphones is ubiquitous topside but, until recently, housing options for using your phone underwater have been limited – the near-infinite variety of camera sizes and controls makes it difficult for manufacturers to keep pace with smartphone technology. Now, a new generation of Bluetooth-controlled housings with adjustable mounting brackets has revolutionised the available options. With smartphone cameras and video capabilities able to compete with the best of traditional compact digital cameras, perhaps it is time to take the plunge…
Before you buy
It sounds obvious but you need to check that your smartphone will fit inside the underwater housing and that its operating system is compatible with the app that the housing requires for use. The manufacturers of the housings listed in this article all have quite detailed guides for which smartphones are known to be compatible with their housings, but also rightly point out that its virtually impossible to cover all possibilities. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular options for underwater smartphone housings on the market at the moment.
The Korean start-up’s underwater housing is currently only available from its Indiegogo and Kickstarter crowdfunding pages, but the Diveroid all-in-one universal smartphone housing, dive computer and logbook is definitely one to look out for. The polycarbonate and glass casing is rated to 60m and effectively logs your dive while you’re diving, adding photos – including selfies – on the fly. The housing has an in-built real-time colour correction facility and is designed to take a range of accessories, including grip trays and external flashes.
Kraken/Weefine Smart Housing $325/€269
Kraken is the North American name of the Weefine, a universal housing constructed from anodised aluminium that is compatible with a wide range of both iPhone and Android-based devices, as long as their dimensions fit the internal housing, and the camera lens is in the right place. The housing is rated to 80m, with a vacuum system to monitor for leaks, and the app supports full manual control of the camera. The housing can be fitted with wide-angle and macro lenses, and a ‘Pro’ version has an added temperature and depth sensor for around €90 extra.
Sealife SportDiver £269
One of the newest housings on the market. SeaLife is a specialist underwater photography company and you can be sure they have done their homework when it comes to housing manufacture. The SportDiver’s heavy-duty casing is constructed from polycarbonate, stainless steel, aluminium and optical-grade glass, is rated to 40m and weighs in at just 641g. There are dual alarms for internal moisture and vacuum pressure of the housing. The SportDiver is compatible with most Android models and all iPhones from iPhone 7 through iPhone 13 Pro Max. The SportDiver is reasonably priced and is available in a package with a SeaLife Sea Dragon 2500 light for £595.
Carbonarm Diveshot €590
The Diveshot, from Italian manufacturer Carbonarm, is machined from a single block of aluminium, with a guaranteed depth rating of 60m. Control of the camera is, as with other housings, via Bluetooth. However, unlike other housings, Carbonarm has replaced physical buttons with optical sensors, operated by moving a finger over the sensor. Both the main camera and the phone’s front-mounted ‘selfie’ camera can be used, and the app allows the user to switch between video and photo mode through the use of a single ‘button’. A compatible vacuum system, hydrophone and mounting gimbals are available as optional extras.