Some months ago while I was editing my ’06 Bali diving videos, I had commented that the shots could have been clearer and sharper if I had used my newer Sony DCR-PC350E videocam (even tho’ I had bought it in early ’05).
D googled for a suitable underwater housing and found one from Sea & Sea. As the PC350E is considered to be an old model now (compared to the HD ones), the Sea & Sea VX-PC350 Digital Video Housing is a discontinued model, which means the company doesn’t manufacture it anymore but will sell it if there is a set available. Luckily for us, Sea & Sea still had one last set in its US store but was wary of D’s HSBC credit card. Hence he had to ask his American friend to purchase the housing, paypal the money to him and ship the set to HK. The usual price was US$1700 but D got it for US$550. That’s about 66% discount.
Although I knew what my b’day gift was going to be, it was still a nice surprise to see it on the dining table on my b’day. In fact, on the morning of my b’day, I was kinda groggy walking to the kitchen to make TJ’s milk, when I took a cursory look at the housing on the table and wondered why D had not put the Ikelite back on the shelf. On closer inspection, I saw a birthday card leaning against the Sea & Sea, read the message and realised that this was my new toy. Later I learnt from D that he had woke up around 2am on my b’day to assemble the housing and wrote on the card.
Thanks babe… this will be more useful than the Cartier or Tiffany ring that I have been thinking about, but hey, there is always next year. 😉
That afternoon while TJ was napping, I fixed my videocam into the new housing and tried out the controls. Suddenly the Ikelite looked really ancient. 😉
And when D returned home from work, I was raving about the Sea & Sea while D fiddled around with the controls. Throughout the entire conversation, TJ was attentive and listened to everything we said and that was when D told TJ that when he is older, he would have many gadgets to play with.
The videocam which I had used during my dive trips was a 2nd hand Sony PC5 in a bulky manually operated Ikelite U/W housing. Come to think of it, the Sony PC5 and Ikelite housing were also my b’day pressie from D in late 2005. We had just learnt to dive early that year and were going on our first overseas dive trip in the Similans during the Chinese New Year of 2006.
Since I was into taking videos and video editing, D sourced around for a good buy and came across one on eBay. An American, who was a professional underwater videographer for a TV station, was selling the PC5 and Ikelite housing as this was his backup and he wanted to upgrade his main gear. The nice chap also threw in some extra lens, filters and the Pelican hardcase. The Pelican would have been expensive to buy on our own, so it was nice of him to give it to us.
Well, I was over the moon when I got these that year and since I was just beginning to dive and taking videos underwater, I didn’t mind 2nd hand gear as these would give me the necessary learning opportunities without worrying too much over “drowning” precious new gear. 🙂 Accidents could happen, especially to dodos like me. 😉
The PC5 and Ikelite had served me well throughout 2006 when we dived as much as possible, knowing that after we have TJ, I wouldn’t be able to dive much during the initial couple of years. I still can’t believe I manage to lug the heavy duty Ikelite around, besides my other dive gear, to places like Similans, Phi Phi, Dayang, various dive sites in HK and our final trip in Bali.
As I am not going to dive in the near future, D is helping me to sell off my very well-maintained Seaquest Diva LX and Mares V16 Proton Metal regulator (just went for its annual servicing). Anyone wanna buy? I reckon it will be at least another year before I dive again, and during this absence, these gear would just be hanging there and could deteoriate if not used on a regular basis. Besides, it would be good to get some $$ and later on, when I do return to diving, there will be new gear to purchase. 😉
Same rationale goes for my PC5 and the Ikelite, except I will be giving them to our dive instructor friend. He can then use it to teach underwater videography or rent the gear out to leisure divers when he leads oversea dive trips.
In terms of weight, both are hefty housings but it doesn’t make any difference in the water. Technologically, the Sea & Sea is more advanced than my Ikelite. Pretty cool gear.
Now I wondering when I could actually get to dive so as to use my new toy. By then, it will be quite an old toy … heheh.
Happy Happy B’day To Me…