Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Glass Ports for Underwater Housings Are STILL Susceptible to Staining or Etching

I've been a fan of acrylic domes for underwater housings over glass domes for years.  I recently was convinced to try glass domes again -- and I discovered that manufacturers STILL have not solved the problem of these glass domes etching or staining!

Many underwater housing manufacturers are moving towards using glass ports for housings now.  I first encountered this problem with a Subal dome 20 years ago.  According to Subal, if one did not scrupulously wipe off the water off a glass port, it would stain over time.  Sure enough, that glass dome stained.  No one that I know, in all the world of underwater experts, knows how to remove the stain once it hits a glass dome.  I would never have bought a glass dome if I had known that this sort of thing was still a problem.

So underwater shooters -- be careful.  If you have a glass dome, be sure to dry it off with a microfiber cloth after every dive.  Never leave a wet neoprene cover on a glass dome.

I've just been jumping in and out of the water off Isla Mujeres, several times a day, so trying to wipe down my dome port and keep it dry and maintained to prevent further staining has been a real pain in the butt.  I am going back to acrylic domes.

I've always preferred acrylic domes because I can fix any scratches myself.  In Bali a few years ago, I forgot my dome polishing kit, and I just used sand from various beaches and ended with toothpaste!

One source tells me that glass is preferable to acrylic because it flares less when shooting into the sun.  I hope to test this sometime. 

Berkley White, prolific shooter and owner of Backscatter, wrote me:
To prevent etching, you must never leave a wet dome cover on the dome and blot off the dome after rinsing.  Even then I use a little Novus2 every few days to minimize mineral build-up.

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