Water Setup for Sony a6000

Let’s be real. Water housings for DSLR cameras are crazy expensive. They can often cost more than the camera itself, sometimes twice as much depending on how many controls you want on the housing. For example, I shoot with a Sony a6000 in the water and when I first bought it I got a great deal on a bundle at Best Buy where I got the camera with the kit lense and the 55-210 telephoto lense for about $700. The best price I have seen so far for a housing for the a6000 for basic or no controls is around $800. It’s nearly useless to have a housing with no controls because I have never not adjusted settings while in the water. I am constantly adjusting my shutter speed and f-stop since I usually shoot sunrise or sunset. The best price I have seen for a housing with basic controls is around $1300.

So, the only way I will be able to use one of these housings I’m speaking of is if I find a wad of cash lying aroundโ€”which would be highly suspicious, especially if it had dye all over itโ€”or if someone decides to give me one. Neither of these scenarios is likely to happen, so I found a solution that isn’t perfect, but it gets the job done for about a quarter of the price of a normal water housing.

After I got my camera and did my research, I came across the Meikon underwater housing on Amazon that was meant for scuba diving. At the time I got it cost around $220, but you can get it now for around $170 on some pages. The best thing about it is you have all of the controls that you would have if the camera was out of the housing. I was ecstatic when I found it because trying to convince my wife that I needed to spend $800 on a basic housing after buying a $700 camera was simply not going to work.

One of the downfalls is that the housing doesn’t come with a grip that is ideal for shooting waves. I also found a solution to that. On the bottom of the housing there is a universal 1/4″-20 thread, so naturally you can screw anything into it with that thread size. Conveniently, GoPole makes a universal adapter for their products so that their mounts can be used with cameras besides GoPro. I took the GoPole Universal Adapter and screwed it into the bottom of the housing. I then took my GoPole Bobber and mounted the whole setup onto the Bobber. In the end, I had something that resembled those housings that cost way too much. Here is what my housing looks like when everything is together:

I have to be honest, there are definitely some downfalls to this setup. It really should not be used in heavy surf since the housing is designed for scuba diving. I attempted to take it out on a heavy day at Seal Beach and immediately took it back in after the first wave. Also, there is no viewfinder port so you can’t use the viewfinder while shooting. You sort of just have to shoot from the hip, or do your best to use the monitor. And lastly, like I said above, it doesn’t have a trigger. This leaves for some awkward two-handed shooting as you hold the grip in one hand and hit the shutter with the other.

All of that to say, until that day comes when I find a wad of cash or someone is generous enough to give me a water housing for my a6000, the setup that I have described above absolutely gets the job done for a very low price. I’ll put the Amazon price breakdown below:

  1. Meikon water housing: $169.99
  2. GoPole Universal Adapter: $12.99
  3. GoPole Bobber– $22.86 (right now)

That’s a grand total of $205.84. Even with the downfalls of the setup that I mentioned above, you really can’t beat that price for a setup for being able to shoot waves in the water with a Sony a6000. I hope this helps. I know some people use a similar setup but with minor differences. Comment below on your cost-saving tactics or if you have any specific questions. See you in the water.

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8 Comments

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  1. Awesome man. Big fan of your work. Can’t wait to shoot Blacks and the Harbor now that I moved back.

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  2. Hey, i have the a6000 as well and love it. There’s a company on insta called @customcraftwaterhousings who sell triggers made for the meikon housing. I bought one for $250 and love it. May sound expensive, but the $170 housing and a $250 trigger comes out to much less than even the most basic surf housing.

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    • Yeah I’ve heard of him making triggers for the Meikon housing. The guys I know who use it love it. I also heard he is making viewfinder ports for it as well. Depending on how much people are wanting to save, for me, if I’m going to get both of those things for the Meikon I would just buy a standard housing for not a whole lot more. But, if you just really want a trigger, it’s still a really affordable route to go. Good info!

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  3. Hey Brandon. Thanks so much for the info. I just got a Sony a6000 and think Im going to take your advice on the housing. Question for you. I’ve always shot in the water on a go pro, and am just learning how to use the sony. I know it depends on different factors, but generally speaking what settings do you use? When I shoot my daughters soccer games, I usually have it on Sutter Priority with a setting of 1/250 or 1/300. That seems to capture fast moving action pretty well. Do you have any tips/insight? Thanks so much for taking the time to show us your set up, It’s really inspired me to get back into the water

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    • Hi Jeff, good questions. I plan on doing a whole blog post in the near future about my settings I use. But, for now I can give you a rundown of what I use. First, I would actually recommend a faster shutter speed for your daughter’s soccer games to capture the fast action. 1/250 or 1/300 is probably good enough, but you might notice that the images come out sharper if you bump it up to like 1/2500 or even 1/4000. So, in the water, I know a lot of guys shoot in manual but I shoot in shutter priority most of the time. Since I shoot at sunrise or sunset I usually adjust it as the light changes. In lower light sometimes I can get away with 1/800 and have the wave still be sharp. I also will sometimes drop it down to like 1/250 to get some speed blur. But, as the light starts to get brighter, I bump up the shutter speed in a progression. I have found that 1/1600 is a pretty sweet spot to shoot waves. Once the light gets as bright as I think it will get, I’ll go up to 1/2000. I recommend shooting on shutter priority for now until you get a handle on things. It’s such a good camera that letting it do some of the work is perfectly okay. I also drop my exposure down to -.3 to make sure my shots don’t get blown out. You can always add exposure but you can’t take it away. Also I put my focus mode on continuous auto focus. Then I put my focus area on center. Lastly, I try to keep my ISO at 400 or below to make sure I get rich color and no grain. Hope this helps. Let me know if you need anymore help.

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      • Wow Brandon. I can’t thank you enough for the info! Just waiting on my housing to show up so i can take this thing in the water. Im really looking forward to more posts on your blog. I appreciate all the time and effort you’re putting into it. Its already been such an incredible resource. Thanks again!

        -Jeff

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      • No problem at all! Glad I could help, and I can’t wait to see what you get with your new setup. Let me know if you need any other advice. Happy shooting!

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