Filmed with Samsung Gear360 in DIY housing.
So you want to take your Samsung Gear360 underwater, and if you are like me you have been woefully disappointed by the options for getting these little consumer 360 video cameras underwater. The Samsung Gear360 does a nice job for topside so i figured what the heck. (and when i say underwater, I don’t just mean snorkeling depth, i mean in the 100′ depth or more range)
A side note, a number of Samsung Gear360 users have reported a focus issue with the back camera as it heats up. I have 2 of these cameras and one has this issue (so it goes underwater) and the one with perfect focus stays topside. The focus issue is likely due some kind of expansion from heat that changes the distance from lens to sensor, what this means to us is that it stops focusing very well for distance, and it is a flaw in hardware, not fixable with a firmware update as far as I can tell.
<the following are all quite oversimplified, hence ‘primer’, if you want more info on things like snells and FOV calculations I will include links at later date>
Underwater primer one: when dome ports are involved, the camera focuses on a virtual image on the inside of the dome port. What this means to those of us with a sad Gear360? It’s issues are far less noticeable underwater because the image on the inside of the dome that it is focusing on is quite close.
Underwater primer two: flat port will equal approx 30% loss of FOV, this is why the gopro ‘freedom’ type housings are very difficult to stitch even though they can go underwater with the little stock housings and if they do stitch, it is for far away stuff.
Underwater primer three: unless your dome port is perfect for your lens, you will still lose some FOV (field of view), so if your camera barely stitches topside, then it will likely not stitch well underwater.
Underwater primer four: (this is old hat for photographers who shoot underwater but i’ll mention it for the un-initiated) More often than not, your camera will have a bit of an issue focusing as close as it needs, so you options basically add a diopter (somewhere between a +1 and +5) or make your camera focus closer (not an issue for the Samsung Gear360, but for sure an issue with any of the stock lens gopro solutions) or find a dome that is big enough and far enough away for the lens to focus on the inside.
Now, what you’ve been waiting for, what i used for my DIY 360 housing:
2 X Telesin Domes (but other domes will work)
1 X acrylic interface disk, 8.5″ by 1/2″ (can go up to 3/4″ and up to 9″ for extra attachment room
1 X 1/8″ rubber gasket material
12 X bolt, wing nuts and washers (these will depend on the domes you choose to purchase)
2 X attachment point nut/bolt combo (for the tripod mount and weight pouch)
1 X 1/4 – 20 threaded connecting nut (like a triple length nut)
1 X thermoplastic or machine shop for making tripod attachment
1 X weight pouch for between 3-4lbs of ballast, or small length of webbing to thread weights on.
1 X base for inside housing (I used the samsung extras kit stick on base, it just happened to be perfect height)