QUICK REVIEW: PATIMA IPHONE 4S VIDEO HOUSING
Last week I reviewed Patima’s Canon PowerShot S100 housing, which is an incredibly sturdy piece of housing design. Now it’s time for the Korean manufacturer’s latest and indeed more “exotic” product. Today’s high-end Android and iOS smartphones have very capable cameras and work especially well as a video camera. So why not take one underwater? You can now If you want to as Patima’s latest will let you take your iPhone 4 and 4S diving with you. The Patima iPhone housing is named i-Patima and will withstand pressures down to 300 meters. Yes… you heard right: three, zero, zero. This unbelievably sturdy housing also comes in little green droid flavour as you can put the current big hitter and iPhone rival, the Samsung Galaxy SII, into another version of the casing. There is also a model available for the LG 3D Android smartphone, which will allow you to record HD 3D video underwater. But as the test model I have here is for the iPhone 4S I will concentrate on this one.
This housing is a video, or if you wish a stills, housing. What this means is that it has the controls only for the stills and video functions and you will not be able to make calls or browse Deepshots once your phone is inside the housing. The Patima casing only has five buttons which are enough for the crucial camera functions.
This housing just looks amazing and anyone I have seen pick it up in the office have been struck by its… well awesomeness. It looks like an extremely heavy duty ingot of silver with built in windows. It truly is weapon grade and I’m sure you can “shoo away” overly enthusiast sharks with it if needed. The housing is closed with two big metal clasps which make sure there is absolutely no way it to open once in use. It weighs about 400 grams without the phone and you can also add a nice aluminium handle to it for a small extra charge. (See the pics)
To use the housing you will need to upgrade your iPhone 4/4S software to the latest version. It is best to customise your “quick start tray” (pardon me if I don’t know all the right i-thingy jargon… I’m an Android user) so that you have a camera shortcut included in the tray also. The buttons you have for the phone controls are the on/off/sleep button on the side of the housing which is needed for obvious reasons. Note that the phone needs to be turned on to standby before putting it in to the housing. The next button is for the home button. By pressing the home button twice you will activate your camera functions and then the 3 remaining seemingly conductive touch screen buttons work for the video/stills mode changer, for the shutter release slash record and for the gallery/review button. You will only be able to view the last picture you have taken as you can’t move about in the gallery. Nice and simple.
Patima actually isn’t the first company that has designed an iPhone housing. There was/is an American company that has been planning to make a housing for the phone. I spotted the casing from Kickstarter website a while back. The only problem with this housing is that is costs about £550. The Korean Patima iPhone / Android housing is only £270 pounds and it is hard to imagine how the Yankee version would be any better really.
UPDATE: Because of the latest iOS software update the way to use the iPatima housing does not work exactly as described here. Download the i-Patima app from app-store, which will disable the locking slider and allow the normal usage of the housing.
Conclusion: The Patima iPhone/Android housing is the ultimate video housing for your smartphone. It is aimed at the technical diving market but I can see it could work in any situation where you will need extremely tough protection for your phone when videoing. If you are planning to dive deep the Patima housing is the only off the shelf housing that will allow you to take any camera to the crushing depths of 300 meters. Even the mighty Gates housings are depth rated only to about 140m and these mini submarines can cost five figure numbers. The iPhone in the i-Patima housing is hands down the cheapest and the smallest video capable set-up you can take beyond the 60m mark. The Patima housing is also the only real diving housing officially available for the iPhone 4 and 4S models currently.
IPatima housings are currently being imported to the UK by Ocean Leisure Cameras