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Welcome to Dive Gear Reviews, a comprehensive guide to scuba diving equipment. Scuba diving is an expensive pursuit, so looking up reviews for a particular article of equipment is a wise precaution before investing any hard-earned money in it. However, consumer reviews may or may not be written by an experienced diver, and magazine reviews could be suspect due to the advertising ties of the publication in question. Dive Gear Reviews provides cross-referenced reviews assembled by an expert, making it possible to see at a glance what multiple sources said about a particular piece of scuba equipment. If one magazine loved a scuba regulator or a dive computer, but the consumers hated it, that information will be found here.

Ikelite 6242 Underwater Houseing for Canon Powershot S110 Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Ikelite 6242 Underwater Houseing for Canon Powershot S110 Review Posted in: Between $251-$500, Underwater Cameras

Almost all divers want to take pictures to remind them of their underwater adventures, and would-be underwater photographers generally fall into two categories: the scuba version of the average joe, who wants a point-and-shoot (POS) camera for underwater use; and the hardcore shutterbug or gadget-lover who wants a professional quality camera, tricked out with doo-dads.

The POS group’s first solution to their problem is to reach for aftermarket underwater housings, converting an existing POS digital camera into a dive-ready piece of equipment, and that is where Ikelite comes in. The Ikelite 6242 takes the popular Cannon S110 and turns it into a dive camera as good or better as most of the purpose-built dive cameras on the market. The housing is simple — it’s tough, clear plastic with a big o-ring seal and a hefty locking mechanism, rated for 200 feet (60 m). Because it is from Ikelite, it is compatible with a range of Ikelite accessories, from wide angle lenses to photostrobes. Stuff from Ikelite routinely gets high marks from reviewers and customers alike, so you can count on high quality.

The problem here is the price tag: the Ikelite housing for the Canon S110 is listed at $325. The cheapie end of the purpose built camera line is priced underneath the housing alone (Sealife Reefmaster II and especially the Intova CP9), while the better examples of purpose-built POS dive cameras (Sealife DC1400 and Intova IC14) are less expensive than the housing plus the camera.

Buying an Ikelite underwater housing for a Canon S110 only makes sense if you already own the camera, not if you are starting out from scratch and shopping for the complete package. In that circumstance, getting the solid Ikelite 6242 is a sensible option. There are cheaper aftermarket housings out there, but do you really want to put your digital camera into a cheap housing that might spring a leak?

Average Price: $325


Watershot iPhone 4 Underwater Housing Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on Watershot iPhone 4 Underwater Housing Review Posted in: Below $100, Other Accessories, Underwater Cameras

The iPhone4 Underwater Housing from Watershot is exactly that: an aftermarket housing that converts an iPhone into a workable underwater camera. This separates it from the Scuba Capsule, which comes with an app designed to covert your iPhone into a dive computer. The Watershot accessory is basically just like any aftermarket underwater camera housing, except it is designed for your Apple smartphone.

Upon examining the iPhone 4 housing, that distinction becomes clear. It even looks like the typical plastic underwater camera housing, complete with spring-loaded buttons, a lanyard, and a tripod mount point. The housing can also be fitted with Watershot’s underwater photography accessories, including lenses, color filters, lights, and the pistol grip. The housing is rated for 130 feet (40 m), sufficient for recreational diving. It comes with a one-year warranty, and thus far the consumer feedback has not reported any major faults.

This is a simple piece of gear, and it’s main advantage is that it is cheaper than comparable aftermarket underwater housings for pocket digital cameras. If you want to turn an existing camera gadget into an underwater camera and you have an iPhone 4, this is probably the way to go… just so long as you don’t mind exposing your iPhone to the risks of leaks and dive boat accidents.

Average Price: $99


IST Dolphin Tech JT40D BCD Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on IST Dolphin Tech JT40D BCD Review Posted in: BCDs, Over $500

With it’s modular design and heavy duty construction, the primary virtue of the IST Dolphin Tech JT40D is its adaptability. The harness and its set of doo-dads allows a diver to add pockets, weights, crotch straps and just about whatever else might be desired for a particular dive. The hefty 5 lbs stainless steel backplate is designed specifically to reduce or eliminate the need for trim ballast, and the BCD’s dual tank straps can be fitted with a tank as large as 95 cubic feet (15L). Rounding out the package is the 40 lbs air cell.

With the ability to freely add and remove kit from the BCD’s harness, just about the only thing the JT40D isn’t good for is travel. Even so, a traveling diver could strip the harness down to the bare minimum and go with that; while not exactly lightweight, it isn’t travel unfriendly either. The tough construction ensures it will last a long time, and the harness was built with an eye on expanding to fit a diver in a drysuit.

Divernet gave the BCD a 7 out of 10, and while the consumer commentary on the BCD has been neutral: no complaints, but no ringing endorsements either.

Average Price: $600


IST Super Stretch 3mm Wetsuit Review

Written by Dive Gear Reviews Editor. Comments Off on IST Super Stretch 3mm Wetsuit Review Posted in: Between $101-$250, Wetsuits

The IST Super Stretch 3mm is a wetsuit that delivers flexibility and above average warmth for a suit in its class. The suit is double-blind stitched and triple-glued, with O-ring seals on the wrists and angles and a big, skin-to-skin back zipper, so you can count on it to keep water out. It also has stretchy panels in all the right places, granting extra flexibility. The velcro pad for catching the zipper tassel is a nice touch, since it keeps the tassel from becoming a “danglie” during a dive.

Basically, this is a snug, warm, lightweight, and not overly constraining wetsuit. It comes in five sizes, S through XXL, but black is the only color.