In this Gear Review, we will be taking a look at the new and improved AxisGO underwater housing for iPhone from AquaTech Imaging Solutions. The AxisGO is a completely waterproof phone casing that is designed to fit around your specific iPhone Model. Equipped with a 6″ acrylic dome lens and an optional pistol grip for ease of shooting – the AxisGO is a great solution for any fishing photographers looking to take their game to the next level without breaking the bank. Recently, we had a chance to get our hands on the new and improved iPhone 12 casing. Check out our thoughts and experiences below.
We here at Flylords are no strangers to Aquatech’s products. Since the very beginning, capturing the mystical underwater world of trout, bonefish, and anything else that swims has been at the top of our shot lists. Over the years we’ve developed a special relationship with AT’s products, and can rarely be caught on a trip without them.
This all being said, in the realm of fairness, we met the cardboard box on our doorstep with equal scrutiny to any other piece of gear we planned to review. Upon opening, we found our assumptions to be true in that not much had changed about the construction of the case since the prior model. Now, before you assume that could be marked as a negative – consider it more in the realm of: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. We loved the original case, and besides it being able to securely fit an iPhone 12, it hadn’t been subject to any unnecessary changes purely in the vein of accommodating new bells and whistles.
Our model came equipped with the case, the lens, and a pistol grip that attached to the phone via Bluetooth to take photos. Once we placed the phone inside the case, it securely snapped closed and was pretty much ready to go. The case passed the office inspection, but as well all know, that doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t hold up in the field.
First stop: Sweden. In a recent arctic adventure that took place in the scenic hills of Swedish Lapland, we enjoyed some of the county’s unparalleled majesty as we tossed little dry flies underneath the relentless rays of the midnight sun. Cast after cast, we witnessed massive Arctic Grayling come up to the surface for an unexpected lip piercing and the ride of a lifetime. In documenting these fish, we wanted to take into careful consideration when handling them and keep them submerged for as long as possible. Being cold water species, such as trout and salmon, these fish are fragile, and in the heat of the summer, something as simple as a photo can in some cases prove fatal.
This is where the underwater housing really works its magic. In being able to capture these beautiful native fish in their natural environment, we’re rewarded such an experience that is as much a privilege for us as it is for the fish. With only a quick dip and a few seconds of squeezing the trigger, we were able to send these fish on their way – where they will most likely never encounter another angler again. The AxisGO allows us to capture a diverse array of shots, such as underwater, half and half, and fully emerged (even with the housing on), without sacrificing any clarity.
Moving forward a few weeks, we made our way back to Colorado. One of our favorite activities in the Rockies is packing away a half day’s worth of gear, and 3 day’s worth of lunch to hike our way up to scenic alpine lakes in pursuit of lesser-pressured cutthroat trout. When packing for these missions, it’s important to take into consideration that we will be doing a fair bit of walking, mostly uphill for that matter, so every piece of gear we want to bring has to fit on our backs.
It’s here that the AxisGO boasts its versatility, as its lightweight and compact design allow it to fit easily in the bottom of anyone pack without adding any noticeable additional weight. Normally, to capture the caliber of shots we were aiming for, a large underwater housing system and a DSLR would have to consume the entirety of someone’s bag, thus using up essential space that could be allocated to essential fermented hydration cans (in layman’s terms: beer).
Once we reached the top and settled in, the bite was ON! Large red-bellied cutties shot up like nuclear missiles to consume gently placed foam caddis flies. Underneath the surface, we were able to record their heads thrashing and tails pulsating against the unfamiliar sting of the hook, capturing some breathtaking images of not only these beautiful trout, but the magnificent landscape that surrounded them. As soon as we had had our fill of explosive eats and unsettling exchanges of outrageous laughter, we returned to the trailhead to head down. Without the burden of any worry, we slipped the AxisGO right back into its neoprene lens cover and stowed it away for the next adventure.
Ease of Use:
What we consider so special about the AxisGO, is that it brings the ability to shoot great photos underwater to anyone. Considering the emphasis on the Keep Fish Wet movement, and taking extra special care of the fragile resources that are our coldwater fisheries, it’s now more than ever that we as anglers and photographers have to find ways to adapt towards more ecological and environmental means of capturing our experiences on the water. For anyone looking to continue developing fishing content, we greatly encourage you to look into purchasing a means of shooting underwater.
If you’re looking to take your fishing photography to the next level, but don’t have $4-5k to drop on some fancy camera housing and a DSLR, the AxisGO is not only a perfect alternative but an excellent solution. Considering its compact size, weight, and it’s extremely friendly consumer interface, this underwater is the perfect tool for professional-looking photography at a fraction of the price.