Want a cheap way of shooting right under the surface of water without having to buy a special housing for your camera? Alex over at I did a thing recently built himself a PVC periscope-style device for a total cost of around $10, and the results are great.
Here’s a 5-minute video in which Alex shows how he built the thing and what it can do (note: there’s a tiny bit of strong language):
Alex says he built the device because he wanted to see what was going on under the surface in his frog pond. Shooting with his DSLR from above the surface wasn’t cutting it, and he didn’t have a way to safely let his camera look underwater.
To build his do-it-yourself solution, Alex purchased a PVC pipe, a PVC elbow joint, a cheap picture frame (for the sheet of glass), and a cheap mirror (for the round mirror). The glass is attached to one end of the PVC pipe to serve as an underwater window.
The mirror is placed at a 45-degree angle inside the elbow to let you see underwater when staring down the device.
Alex glued everything together with epoxy (for mirror to elbow), silicone (for glass to elbow), and PVC cement (for elbow to pipe).
“The device worked a lot better than I thought it would and produced fairly decent videos and images,” Alex tells PetaPixel. “The device would work a lot better on higher resolution cameras as the crop won’t affect the image quality as much.”
Here’s a few sample photos captured with the device and a DSLR:
“Also if anyone else wants to make one, installing a circle light on the inside would be very useful,” Alex says. “As for the cost of the device, I spent around $10, which is much cheaper than any commercial options on the market.”
You can find more of Alex’s videos and follow along with his work by subscribing to his channel on YouTube.