The main purpose of the leash is to prevent the camera floating off (either downwards into a deep abyss or upwards to the surface) if I have to let go of it to use both my hands (or I accidentally let go). However, equally important is that it must be straightforward to release the camera if the situation arises such as a tangle.
So, I set out to make myself a custom leash that was:
Cheap to make
Materials used can be immersed in salt water
Easy to separate myself from the leash
Bright colour so it can be easily seen
I started out by taking a walk through Bunnings to see if there was some sort of pre-made leash I could buy. If not, I was thinking about some sort of plastic rope or webbing.
I didn’t find a pre-made leash, but I got looking at the polyester webbing. 10m of 25mm wide plastic webbing was reasonably cheap, but what surprised me was the vast array of different connectors and accessories to suit the polyester webbing, and they were all really cheap. Like a few dollars per packet.
All sorts or accessories were available; clips, swivel shackles, d-rings made form plastic or metal, tensioners and more. I reckon I’ll be using this stuff more in the future.
Having always wanted to take decent (read: macro photos with a digital SLR camera) underwater shots whilst snorkeling and SCUBA diving, I had pined over an underwater housing for my Canon 40D. However, if you’ve ever looked into underwater housings for SLR cameras, you’ll know that they are horrendously expensive ($2500+ at the bottom end of the market)! A new housing can cost as much or more than the camera body itself and that doesn’t include the lens ports which are costly as well.
Secondly, my camera is old (bought in 2007), almost ancient by digital camera standards! So getting a new housing for the camera is impossible because the underwater housing manufacturers make a new housing for the next camera released. No point making housings for old cameras, that’s not where the money is.
I had bought an underwater point and shoot camera (Olympus TG-4) a few years ago to test the waters (note, there’ll be a few intentional and unintentional water related puns in this tale today) and it was OK. It definitely took photos underwater and is a solid piece of gear (I even made a bunch of accessories for it). However, I was never truly satisfied – the photos could be grainy (due to low light and a high ISO), photos were a bit flat (need a powerful flash), focus was difficult and don’t even consider cropping the picture. I wanted to take NatGeo quality photos and that requires a decent camera and decent lenses. Which I already owned. I don’t want to downplay the little point and shoot, it has taken some great photos shown below, however, the success rate is very low, probably 1 in a 100.