Image courtesy of Nikon
As the weather gets warmer and you head off on holiday, you might consider using one of Nikon's waterproof housing systems to enable you to shoot with selected Nikon cameras underwater.
If you have a Nikon 1 J1 or J2, or 1 J3 or S1, there is a housing for your camera. Housings allow you to to take your camera down to a depth of 130 feet.
Care and maintenance of a waterproof housing is vital for keeping it in top condition and protecting your kit.
Before you even think about putting the camera in the housing and taking it underwater, you should perform a leak test to make sure everything is working as it should. Use your sink at home to submerge the empty case, and press the buttons on the housing to make sure there are no air bubbles appearing.
Take the housing out of the water and thoroughly dry it off. Then you can open the case to check for any moisture inside. If it's dry then it's time to test the housing with the camera inside.
Before inserting the camera check that the battery is fully charged and a memory card is inserted. Take the camera strap off the camera and extend the lens barrel using the retractable lens button. Turn the camera off. You'll then be able to attach the zoom gear sleeve to the lens.
Place the inner-reflection prevention ring on the front of the lens, to stop the lettering on the front of the lens appearing in the photos. Insert the camera into the housing, following the guidelines. Place a packet of silica gel between the bottom of the camera and the housing to help prevent condensation.
Check that the O-ring is in place and free of dust, sand and other foreign objects before latching the housing shut securely. Then, you can perform a final check for leaks by slowly submerging the housing and checking for air bubbles again.
Caring for the O-ring
The O-ring is what makes the housing watertight, so it's important to check it's condition every now and then.
The O-ring can be removed with the O-ring remover. Clean the old silicon grease with a soft cloth, taking care not to leave any fibres behind. Inspect the O-ring for cracks by bending it gently. Inspect the channel that it sits in for foreign objects.
You should only grease the O-ring with the silicon grease that is designed for your specific housing. Use your fingers to spread a drop of the grease over the O-ring, evenly covering it. Replace to O-ring ensuring that it's not twisted or protruding from the guide.
Before removing the camera from the housing rinse it. Dry the exterior with a soft cloth and then remove the camera.
After removing the camera reseal the housing and place it into a basin of fresh water to soak for a few hours. Operate all the buttons and controls a few times to remove any accumulations of salt or debris. Remove the housing from the basin, wiping it with a cloth and leaving it to dry in a shaded, well ventilated area.
To find out more about the Nikon underwater housings available, take a look at the Nikon website