- Adding a dome to your camera allows you to take a picture that is both above and below water. Hence the name, 50% air and 50% water, 50/50.
- aka split-level or over-under pictures
- Without a dome, the water line is too close to the lens, preventing a clear shot. The dome moves the water line back enough allowing you to get the shot. Without it, your camera will leave one side of the picture out of focus.
- There are two versions that I will show you how to make, one with a soft back and one with a hard back
- Both of these domes cost less than $3 dollars to make. Brand name domes cost up to and beyond $100.
- This intstructable works for all adventure cameras and not just the older GoPro Hero 1 that I use.
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Step 1: What You Will Need
For the soft back dome
- plastic dome
- balloon (pick dark colors to reduce reflection off of the dome)
- rubber band
For the Hard back dome
- plastic dome
- round plastic tupperware lid
- an adhesive that works on plastic and is waterproof
Tools that might come in handy but are not necessary
- exacto knife
- fine grit sandpaper
- drill with bit
- rotary tool aka dremel
- waterproof paint
Where to get a plastic dome: I got mine at a local hobby store as part of a blank customizable Christmas ornament. Even though its not the season for it, they still had a few lying around. I picked up two different sizes for $1.50. I also heard that the dome from security cameras work great. Just make sure it is plastic and not glass. A true half sphere is needed for best picture results.
Where to get the right size tupperware lid: order some BBQ for take out, good chance the sides will come in a container that works and if it doesn't you still have BBQ.
Step 2: Soft Back 50/50 Dome
- Cut the tip off of the balloon
- remove the hook loop if you are using half of an ornament for your dome. Insure it is smooth to prevent the balloon from ripping.
- Stretch the cut side of the balloon over the dome, make sure the opening is in the very center of the dome
- Place a rubber band tightly over the balloon
- fold the excess balloon over the rubber band and around the edge
- cut the other end of the balloon
- wrap the hole around the lens of the camera
Yep its that easy
Step 3: Hard Back 50/50 Dome
- measure shape and size of the lens cover on you camera
- find the exact middle of the lid and cut out the hole, exactness is key here as you want it to fit tightly so that water does not leak in and the camera does not fall out of position
- cut a hole for the front button if required. The hole is usually small enough that a regular drill bit works best.
- paint the lid if you choose, remember the paint should be a flat dark color to prevent reflections off of the dome and must also be waterproof and made for plastics. Spray paint works better than brush on paint.
- place a line of silicone around the holes you made in the lid on both sides. This will strengthen the plastic a little bit but mostly it insures a tight and waterproof fit.
- attach the dome to the lid via the adhesive. There are several ways to do this. I recommend filling the edge of the lid with a thick band of silicone, even it out with your finger, and then place the dome onto the lid. Remember to give the adhesive the proper amount of time to cure.
- attach the camera and test for fit and water leakage. Add more silicone if needed. Double sided tape and plumbers tape can also help in securing the camera to the dome.
- If the dome you picked is wide enough, you might be able to attach the container to help keep the water out of the dome.
Yep this one is easy too
Step 4: Tips and Pros/cons
Pros and cons
- very cheap, easy, and quick to make
- If lens is scratched, it is not an issue to replace
- relies on cameras original waterproof case so there is no fear of damaging the camera
- domes do not block the cameras accessory mount
- Not as durable as the expensive domes
- access to front buttons is limited (especially with the hard back)
- parts are not biodegradable and may be lost in rough waters. (soft back)
- while building, insure not to scratch or dirty the dome as it will affect picture quality.
- keep a microfiber cloth handy to remove water drops
- use on bright sunny days to get the best light for the underwater half
- the soft back is easier to store in a backpack or kayak but the hard back is more secure when using.
- no reason to make it look pretty when you know its going to be put through its paces and is replaceable.
- Anti fogging strips might prolong how long you can play with it at one time.
Participated in the
Photography Contest 2017