Q:I don't have an action camera yet. What do you recommend?
A: For the best absolute video footage, we personally use the Sony FDR X3000 and make them our primary cameras. The Sony FDR X3000 is just such a great camera, shooting in 4K fully stabilized with a high frame rate (100MBS). It is the most capable action cam in low lights we have found. It's just a fantastic true professional level camera.
After that, it becomes a bit murkier as that industry is still relatively "young" and new action cams are emerging every year. For example Yi is making huge strides forward in producing a very high quality action cam and we always look forward to their new release. Many other manufacturer such as SJCAM and GitUp offer quality products at half the price of top action camera manufacturers. For the money, you get good enough quality. Also, these cameras have features that you won't find in top tier cameras. Such as being able to have the camera record videos automatically when external power is turn on with a timer. That feature alone is enough to compromise a little bit on the video quality as it is often the difference between getting the "money shot" and running out of power at the worst time.
Of course, there is GoPro® and we like the HERO® 4 and 3+ black edition the best. These two models were great because they had a 30 pin connector which allowed the user to easily add a secondary battery which allowed for longer shooting time. Unfortunately, they did away with that connector on the HERO® 5, so for us and our applications, the 5 stays in the bottom drawer while the HERO® 4/3+ get deployed. Incidentally, you can get both the 3+ and 4 black edition on the used market for cheap money.
We look forward to when companies like Canon, Nikon and Panasonic really make an effort at competing in this action cam market. While these manufacturer do have "action cam", the present product line up is nothing worth mentioning really. Which is a shame since all of these companies, like Sony , have decades of proven experience in the video/photography industry.
Legal Disclaimer: Group B Distribution Inc is not associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected Sony, JVC, SJCAM, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon, DJI or other action camera manufacturers. We proudly design and manufacture our own gear independently. This product and/or service is not affiliated with, endorsed by, or in any way associated with GoPro ® Inc. or its products and services. GoPro, HERO, Karma, Session and their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of GoPro, Inc.
Q: Just got my housing. Is there anything I should really remember to do maintenance-wise?
TL/DR : Always rinse the housing in fresh water after use. Never pull out and re-use an O-ring. Replace your O-rings often. Always inspect the O-ring / O-ring grove for the smallest grain of dirt or damage.
Q: Should I use a silicone lubricant on the O-rings?
A: Only on the GPH's O-rings. This is due to having to twist the endcap/viewport on the GPH to create a seal. The silicone prevents the O-ring from over-stretching/tearing when sealing up the GPH. Even then, we recommend using silicon lubricant very, very sparingly. Keep in mind that silicone lubricant doesn't make a housing more "waterproof". We do not recommend using any silicone on any camera housings. Due to our product design, using silicone on the camera housing's O-rings is does not provide anything beneficial. If anything, it is a liability.
TL/DR: Only on the GPH unit, not necessary the other housings.
Q: How much force should be applied to the screws to tighten up the housings?
A: Not much at all. You are only looking to create a seal. There is a tendency among users to tighten the screws as tight as it can go and add a quarter turn for "good measure". The last bit is completely unnecessary and will damage the screw threads in the housing. Keep in mind that at greater depth, immense external pressure is being applied to the housing itself. This pressure effectively helps sealing the unit. On the GPH unit, hand tighten the end-cap and view port firmly.
TL/DR: A firm twist is good enough. Don't go medieval on it.
Q: When I got the housing out of the water, there was a little bit of water coming out of the viewport area. Is it ok?
A: Yes, it is completely normal. It's most noticeable on the GPH unit. This is due to the O-ring being behind the lens. So sometimes, a little bit of water can get trapped between the front of the O-ring, the side of the lens, and the blue bezel assembly. The internal chamber of the housing itself should be dry.
Q: How do I prevent condensation from fogging up my camera's lens?
Silica packs are used to prevent condensation from forming inside the housing itself to a certain degree. Condensation can occur when you work in a very humid and hot climate and send a housing very deep, where it is cold. This temperature difference precipitates the moisture trapped in the housing to form a film on the lens. Silica packs, highly absorbent paper, even rice as been placed into the housings to absorb some of moisture. You can also use products used on scuba divers' masks and apply it to the camera's lens and the housing lens (inside the housing).
TL/DR: Silica packs.
Q: I got the Nautilux flashlight but it won't turn on. My batteries won't charge What is wrong?
First, make sure the shrink wrap around the batteries has been removed. It's a very thin film that can be easily be missed. Remove that film. Check that when you insert the batteries into the flashlight, the positive side ( little cap in the center of the battery) is pointed towards you. Screw on the LED half tightly.
TL/DR: Remove film on batteries, verify batteries' position, twist the batteries compartment to the LED half tightly.