Boxfish Luna is a new underwater drone that can go as deep as 1,000m (3,333ft) and can house a Sony mirrorless camera. With the Sony Alpha 1 inside, Luna can offer full-frame 8K 10-bit video or 50MP stills. With the lightweight tether cable, the operator has full control of the drone and the camera.
When it comes to underwater filming, there are obviously certain challenges. Disregarding the easiest scenario when using a waterproof action camera, the right housing for a camera can get very complex and expensive. My colleague Graham wrote an interesting article roughly a year ago about his underwater shoot with the Gates camera housing and an ARRI Alexa Mini LF. In 2019 I wrote about the Navatics MITO – 4K underwater drone that was successfully funded with a Kickstarter campaign.
Boxfish Research is a manufacturer of underwater remotely operated vehicles based in New Zealand. The company just announced Boxfish Luna – an underwater drone that can house Sony Alpha cameras. Let’s take a short look at its features and specs.
Boxfish Luna – Underwater Drone
The Boxfish Luna ROV (remotely operated vehicle) can house a Sony Alpha camera with a lens. Thanks to the recent Sony Alpha 1 announcement, the Luna can therefore offer full-frame 8K 10-bit video or 50MP stills as well. If 8K is not needed, the ROV can, of course, house a more affordable Sony camera such as the a7S III that can perhaps be even more useful in darker environments with higher depths.
The Luna features a new 200mm (8″) optical dome to offer a clear image. It can get as deep as 1,000 meters (around 3,333 feet) below the water surface. According to Boxfish Research, the operator at the control station has full control over the camera including zoom, shutter speed, aperture, focus, white balance, ISO, or exposure mode. The Boxfish console for controlling the drone includes 17″ UHD screens for live view monitoring.
The drone is tethered to the boat by a lightweight (neutrally buoyant in saltwater) fiber optical cable so there is a direct connection with the control console. The standard length of the tether is 200m, but there is an option for even 3,000m+ long cable. The lens used in the drone is the Sony Zeiss FE 16-35mm f/4 so the droen should be able to provide ultra-wide-angle images as well.
The ROV’s eight thrusters can provide six degrees of movement so the drone can get into remote underwater locations as well. The drone’s battery should provide up to 15 hours of runtime and thanks to the sealed quick access port it can be charged easily in the field. There are two waterproof lights with adjustable arms and ball mounts at the front of the ROV. They should provide a maximum of 2 x 8,500-lumen high CRI output and they are dimmable.
The body of the Boxfish Luna is made out of hard-anodized aluminum alloy and the dome is acrylic. The size of the vehicle is 714mm x 435mm x 351mm and it weighs 24kg. The operation is guaranteed from -10˚C to +55˚C. There are also many optional accessories for the Boxfish Luna.
Price and Availability
According to Boxfish Research, The Luna is available now. The company did not publish the price, so if you are interested, you can contact them. It is also possible to book a live-streamed online demo of the drone from the company’s HQ in New Zealand.
Have you ever filmed underwater with a larger camera? What do you think about the Boxfish Luna ROV? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.