Sony A73 & A7R3 water housing comparisons. (Aquatech Elite I vs Liquideye C2060)
Some quick thoughts and impressions on both Liquideye and Aquatech housings.
Both housings are being used by legends all over the world, swimming in conditions I would never think to swim in. The Aquatech uses a larger "box" to be able to fit more camera body styles in the one size box. The Liquideye is more camera body specific, allowing them to shrink the housing considerably. This also helps shave weight off the Liquideye. Also, with the more form fitting housing, it allows for access to the C1 & C2 custom buttons on top of the camera. The ability to use these additional 2 custom function buttons is great. WINNER - LIQUIDEYE
Both housings offer complete control of all (almost) camera functions. Neither allow for mode control, and only the Liquideye offers an on/off switch. This is, I think, one of the better functions. It allows me to set up my housing in a controlled environment the night before shooting. I can then turn the camera off and go to sleep. In the morning its just a quick check of the back plate lock down bolts, turn on the camera and swim out. WINNER - LIQUIDEYE
The Aquatech uses 4 clamps to secure the back plate, and the Liquidey uses 5 preset allen bolts to secure the back plate. Occasionally with the Aquatech housing, the back plate wouldn't line up perfectly with all the controls (user error) after clamping it down. The Liquideye never misses. I never had any issue of the Aquatech clamps coming undone in the water. And if you engage the Aquatech clamps correctly, I really don't know how you could, as it's a 2 step process to disengage the clamps. While the Liquideye guarantees button alignment every time, I still preferred the Aquatech clamps because of the speed to close it up. Even on the rare occasion where I had to reset the Aquatech back plate, it's still much faster then screwing down the 5 allen bolts on the Liquideye. Winner - Aquatech
Trigger systems are different for both. The Aquatech (Elite 1) trigger was too large for my hands. I also didn't like the 2 button trigger, 1 button to engage focus, and 1 button to fire the shutter (The ELITE II is totally different trigger and I have not tried it). It was so big, that I would use the shutter button on top of the housing to fire the shutter. This was fine shooting with my 85mm but not so much shooting wide. The new trigger on the Liquideye, the PGXII (I upgraded from the original trigger that came with my housing. The PGXII trigger is now the stock trigger that comes with the Liquideye housings) is the best I have ever used. The PGXII trigger is some sort of voodoo. There is no cable going through the housing shell. Instead they are using some sort of magnetic system to make the trigger fire the camera. This is by far the best trigger system I have used. There is no doubt that the camera fires, as you can feel a "click" in the trigger. Shooting wide angle with this trigger is piece of cake. It is also considerably smaller then the Aquatech ELITE I trigger. WINNER - LIQUIDEYE
The zoom control systems are also quite different. The Aquatech uses a zoom control "knob", whereas the Liquideye uses a zoom control "handle". I find the Liquideye system much faster at racking zoom. The Liquideye gear sleeve is one whole piece, whereas the Aquatech has a split down the middle of the gear sleeve, making it a little looose on the lens. I had issues with the Aquatech gear sleeve slipping while zooming in and out. The Liquideye gear sleeve is a much tighter fit that doesn't slip at all. WINNER - LIQUIDEYE
Customer service from both companies has been outstanding. From me hassling both companies with numerous questions, to getting issues resolved has been top shelf. The only caveat is Liquideye is in Bali. Aquatech has a service center 90 miles from my home (and one in Australia). Thankfully I have never had to send back the Liquideye housing. I had a couple of issues with the Liquideye (user error)but they were able to talk me through it via email and snap chat. Winner - LIQUIDEYE & AQUATECH
Both Aquatech and Liquideye have most ports and zoom gears needed for today's lenses.
Bottom line, these are both great housings. I have also owned Salty Surf Housings (Australia) and ESSEX Housings (California), 2 more great housings. But the value you get from the Liquideye is, I believe, much greater than any of the other mentioned brands. A Liquideye A73 or A7R3 housing with a port for the Sony 85mm 1.8 is $1295.00 US dollars, shipped. The same feature packed Aquatech ELITEII (housing, port, and pistol grip) is $2139.00 plus freight and sales tax. WINNER - LIQUIDEYE
Finally, I am not a pro, just a weekend warrior, so your mileage may vary. Feel free to ask me any questions about the Aquatech, Liquideye, Salty Surf Housings or the Essex housing.
Back View w/pistol grips.
Aquatech and Liquideye pistol grips.
Aquatech is on the left and Liquideye is on the right.
Me with the Liquideye A7R3 housing
I am 5'6" tall, weigh about 160 lbs. and have a really fat head. That will give you an idea of the housing size with port for the Sony 85mm 1.8.
Smallest housing I have seen for any of the mirrorless camera bodies, and still offering (almost) full camera contol and the on/off switch.
If you're looking for a great inexpensive way to start shooting in the water, look at the Sony A6xxx bodies. And in a Liquideye housing it makes for a super portable travel setup. Here is my brother from another country, Renato Cardoso Gualberti using his Sony A6500 in Nicaruaga.