Way back in the early 'fifties when the pioneers of scuba diving were still making names for themselves, René Hugenschmidt decided that he wanted to make a career in the embryonic industry. A talented Swiss engineer, he produced an underwater housing for European cameras like the Hasselblad and Rollieflex, but as Japanese 35mm cameras began sweeping all before them in the market place he soon swapped over to accommodating 35mm Nikons. His housings were so beautifully engineered, they were the equivalent of an exotic German or Italian sports car. The only problem was that would-be owners had to join a waiting list that might be several years long. Hugyfot housings were in a class of their own.
Time moves on and René Hugenschmidt is no more but exactly fifty years after he first started, his brand and its reputation got taken over by an engineering company based in Belgium where Hugyfot housings are engineered today.
As a long-time professional underwater photographer, I've owned housings but all of the top makes including Subal, Seacam, Aquatica, Nexus,and Sea & Sea. They are all good but when Hugyfot introduced its vacuum leak-test I was totally convinced that was the housing for me. The primary function of a submarine housing it to keep the camera inside it dry and functioning. Now all of the housings I mentioned can do that provided there is no user error. Alas, in more than 350 individual dive trips, I made that error a couple of times. The scars never heal. Not only do you lose your camera and lens but often it means a trip completed without any pictures. Although I always carried a duplicate spare camera with me in case of mishap, once you flood one, you are overly concerned you might flood the spare camera too.
The Hugyfot vacuum leak-test checks with a pressure sensor that no air is leaking into a housing that has previously been pumped down to a negative pressure inside. A red light signals danger whilst a steadily pulsing green is good. Once I had equipped myself with a Hugyfot housing, I could travel with a single DSLR and the green pulsing light would enable me to sleep comfortably whereas a red would see me out of bed in a moment. No more jumping into the water, wondering if this was the last time that camera inside the housing was going to be serviceable. I never lost a camera in a Hugyfot housing and I never carried a spare from that day onwards.
Hugyfot housings are very robustly built, and their design is relatively simple. The controls are mainly push-buttons that pass directly through the bulkhead of the housing. This means that the position of the control buttons are dictated by the position of those controls on the camera. Nauticam housings are now much more sophisticated with offset controls for a better anatomical design but you must decide if the complications of that are too much of a liability if you are going to be shooting in a remote location. Sometimes there's merit in simplicity.
The Hugyfot designer eschewed cam-catches and went for bolts. This means there is no risk of a Hugyfot housing being accidentally unlatched in the freshwater rinse tank and as a side effect of the vacuum leak-test, the housing is impossible to prise open while the green light is showing thanks to ambient water or air pressure. You might even need to tighten the bolts after vacuum sealing the housing since the vacuum pulls the two halves of the clamshell tightly together.
The company has specialized so far in making housings solely for popular DSLR cameras, in particular those bearing the Nikon or Canon brands, with lens ports for the most popular lenses used underwater. However, the company now also makes a housing for a GoPro Hero 4 and its immediate predecessors, and this is remarkable in that it has the option to mount a submersible housing for a monitor. It turns the GoPro into a really professional bit of kit.
Pressure-rated to 200 metres, it allows a continuous operation of the GoPro for 6 hours instead of a more usual 40 minutes and in Pro Plus guise it bears a separate 4.3 inch external monitor mounted on its double-decker rig with standard one-inch balls for mounting additional lights. The GoPro housing can also take a red filter or macro lens that simply swings into position when you require. The Hugyfot accessories for the Gopro have redefined that little camera's role in making professional video recordings underwater.
All Hugyfot housings have these standard mounting balls fitted and they can be used in conjunction with variable buoyancy arms that you can adjust to make your rig perfectly balanced in the water.
Now here is the good news! Ocean Leisure is now able to supply you with Hugyfot products direct from the manufacturer in Belgium. This means that any product is available from stock to the UK within a couple of days. Ocean Leisure will be able to give after-sales-service on Hugyfot products that is second to none and better than most. Come in and compare what's available.