Commercial Topdown Box Comparison

ange062

New member
Not looking to fab my own, and only seen a few posts around here about commercially available solutions. I use a D90 with Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro and through a little research have found:
1) Avast Marine Works topdown box
http://www.avastmarine.com/ssc/do/product/Top-Down-Porthole
(looks too short for real closeups, but won't be able to focus with the longer versions)

2) Poorboy Aquatics photo box
http://www.poorboyaquatics.com/geo-look-down-photo-box.html
(cheap and adjustable mount)

3) Melevsreef topdown photo box
http://www.melevsreef.com/shop/tdpb.html
(seen in person and solidly built, long enough to get decent depth while large enough in diameter to be able to manually focus)

Any thoughts, reviews, etc from personal experience on any of these? I've seen the melevs in person, but the lens mount was broken off and I didn't get a chance to use it. Never seen the others.
 

ange062

New member
Well I borrowed the melevsreef version from my LFS today (though the camera mount part was broken off from a drop). Works great and I snagged some really cool pictures of the tank! One thing I did notice was that "ghosting" on the clear front element happened pretty often from reflection of light coming in from the back of the box. It became a real nuisance when I pulled the 100mm macro off and switched to my 35mm.

Given the design of the Avast "tube", I think it would best eliminate this issue since it's pretty form fitting to the lens. The longer of the two versions would also give me more room for framing with my fixed length lenses. So, I think I am going to give that one a try. Will report back once I get it.
 

daveonbass

New member
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by ghosting...but if it's from reflections then I wonder if you got a new version. I got my melevesreef from Mark himself...and I love it...takes great photos. I like how the mount is long and wide unlike the second example. It's really sturdy and holds up even when you push further into the tank and the water creates pressure againt the mount. Also, it's nice because unless you have a massively huge and heavy camera the whole thing will float in the water once you let go and rest the mount on the rim of the tank. I highly recommend it to anyone.
 

ange062

New member
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by ghosting...but if it's from reflections then I wonder if you got a new version. I got my melevesreef from Mark himself...and I love it...takes great photos. I like how the mount is long and wide unlike the second example. It's really sturdy and holds up even when you push further into the tank and the water creates pressure againt the mount. Also, it's nice because unless you have a massively huge and heavy camera the whole thing will float in the water once you let go and rest the mount on the rim of the tank. I highly recommend it to anyone.

Yes, I mean reflections on the front piece of acrylic on the box from light entering the back of the box. It may be setup related as I don't have much room to work in my 28g cube so it's a challenge to get the box away from the light. At any rate, it's a nuisance in my particular application so I am hoping the Avast works better.
 

BlueCorn

Retired
Premium Member
I went a much simpler route that virtually eliminates reflections from the box not fitting.

I never use the lens hood for my 100 macro. I glued a piece of acrylic to the end of it and used a router to trim it flush. I ended up with a "top down" box that perfectly fits my lens and it cost me almost nothing.
 

ange062

New member
I went a much simpler route that virtually eliminates reflections from the box not fitting.

I never use the lens hood for my 100 macro. I glued a piece of acrylic to the end of it and used a router to trim it flush. I ended up with a "top down" box that perfectly fits my lens and it cost me almost nothing.

That's actually a pretty darn good idea!!! :) I may just have to find a piece of glass that is semi-close in size to the hood and silicone it on!! I never use the hood on my macro either...
 

ange062

New member
I just realized that I actually use my 35mm too for topdowns so I guess a box is still a better and more versatile solution.

I actually use the hood on my 35 for non tank work so can't modify it, and they aren't interoperable.
 
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