Product Reviews

Canon G7XII and Fantasea Underwater Housing Review

We took the Canon G7X Mark II in the Fantasea Line FG7XII underwater housing for some test dives in Gardens of the Queen, Cuba and in Cozumel, to see how it handles itself and check out all the great features of the camera and the housing. This review includes sample photos, tests, wide angle and macro results as well as some videos.

About the Canon G7X Mark II

The Canon G7X Mark II is the mighty successor for the popular G7X (read our review on the G7X). Canon have improved their leading compact camera in almost every aspect, giving the current champion – the RX100 Mark V, a good fight. At only US$679 retail, the Canon G7XII ranks high among high end compacts and offers one of the best value cameras for the avid photographers and especially the underwater photographer.

Gardens of the Queen, Cuba, shot with G7XII + UWL-09
Gardens of the Queen, Cuba, shot with G7XII + UWL-09

Some of the camera’s highlights include:

  • 1.0-inch, 20.1 MP CMOS sensor with new DIGIC 7 Image Processor helps deliver outstanding image quality even in low light.
  • Bright f/1.8-f/2.8 24-100mm lens, fully equipped with an Image Stabilizer (IS)
  • High-speed continuous shooting up to 8 fps in RAW mode, as well as JPG.
  • Crisp 1080p Full HD video in MP4 format.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC capability.
  • In-camera RAW conversion makes it possible to preview modified conditions of images on the camera, without the use of a computer. (That’s pretty handy!)
  • TTL flash exposure even on M (manual) mode!
  • Read this excellent summary of all the upgrades on the Mark II compared to the original G7X.

Overall this is a fantastic camera, capable of producing excellent high quality photos and videos.

Canon G7X Mark II
Canon G7X Mark II

The FG7XII Housing

Fantasea are already well known in the industry, providing reliable, affordable, high quality housings for the leading compacts in the market. Their team puts their hearts and souls into every housing, put it through rigorous testing and quality control, until it is perfect.

The FG7XII was designed upon the successful FG7X and FG16 housings which preceded it, with the much welcomed addition of a 67mm thread on the front of the port, expanding your options for wet lenses and allowing both the easy snap-on accessories and the screw-on 67mm accessories.

Fantasea FG7XII Housing

The Fantasea FG7XII housing highlights include:

  • Full access to all essential camera controls & functions with clearly marked buttons
  • Depth rated to 60 meters / 200 feet (even though they test it down to 80m  / 270ft)
  • Shock resistant construction
  • Ergonomic design
  • Double O-ring protection for a perfect watertight seal
  • Moisture Detector and Alarm, Hand Strap and Port Cover included at no additional cost!
  • 67mm thread port ring allowing for wide and macro 67mm wet lenses and filters

When holding the FG7XII in your hand, you immediately feel comfortable with it. The controls are positioned within reach, the size is just right, and the housing feels very sturdy. The thumb rest is designed to be exactly where you want it, and the right side of the housing is designed for optimal grip with any hand size. Just like any diver, I love mounting points for securing stuff – the housing is equipped with 4 d-rings, one on each corner, allowing you to secure the flash connector plate, a lanyard, diffuser, wet lenses, filters or anything else you see fit.

The two right d-rings also allow you to mount the free hand strap, included with the housing, which takes the load off your wrist and secures the camera to your hand while diving.

Three 1/4″-20 mounting threads are included on the bottom of the housing, allowing you to attach it to the tray of your choice. A standard “Cold Shoe” mount sits on the top of the housing, for adding a focus light, GoPro, or any other accessory.

As I mentioned above the port of the housing is rectangular, compatible with all of Fantasea’s snap-on accessories, but they’ve also included a 67mm thread, which allows you to mount any macro lens directly on the port, and even more important – any wide angle lens! The new Fantasea UWL-09 is the preferred wide angle lens for this housing, creating little to no vignetting, and expanding your field of view significantly, with a gentle fisheye curvature. The Inon UWL-H100 can also be used, as well as the Nauticam WWL-1 and Ikelite W-30.

Fantasea FG7XII Housing with UWL-09 Lens
Fantasea FG7XII Housing with UWL-09 Lens

All the camera’s controls are easily accessible. The shutter trigger is a simple push button, similar to that of a camera and positioned in its natural location. I could easily find the half-press for focusing. The rear dial is controlled with a small gear, which can be reached with the right thumb, but usually easier to manipulate it with both fingers. It may be a bit harder to maneuver for those using thick gloves, but definitely possible.

The ring dial is controlled by a large gear on the left side of the housing. Fantasea were wise enough to include a control to pop up the internal flash, since many of us tend to forget to pop it up before the dive and start cursing underwater… Luckily with this housing, it won’t happen! There is no control to close down the flash, which you may be familiar with from previous housings, but you can easily turn it off with the flash button on the camera.

On all recent Canon compacts, starting from the Canon G7X , you can get TTL flash exposure even on manual (M) mode, which is very important for UW photographers! This way you can shoot with your favorite settings on M, darkening your background with faster shutter speed, while still maintaining automatic and precise flash exposure with TTL compatible strobes, via fiber optic cables.

If you’re not yet ready for an external strobe, Fantasea offers a large diffuser, included as a standard accessory, to utilize the built in flash in a better way, moving the light source forward to skip over the large port and provide good lighting for close up to medium range subjects.

I really like Fantasea’s locking mechanism, which is completely idiot-proof, snaps in place with a loud click, assuring you that your camera is safe and sealed.

Fantasea FG7XII Housing - Locking Mechanism

A very useful anti-glare LCD hood is also included with the housing, providing shade on the back of your housing and helping you get a better visual on the screen in bright daylight dives.

A leak detector is built into the housing, which is highly sensitive and produces a sharp beeping sound, as well as flashing red LED, at the slightest detection of moisture inside the housing. The detection strip is positioned on the very bottom of the housing, which is likely where water will hit first, in the unlikely event of a flood.

No prior setting up is required. Simply slide the camera inside the housing, close the lock, and jump in the water!

Using the Camera and Housing Underwater

I took the G7X II for a spin in Gardens of the Queen, Cuba, as well as several dives in Cozumel, Mexico.

The camera performed beautifully. Focusing was very fast, image quality was superb and the camera is very user friendly, just like most Canon compacts.

Black Grouper, Gardens of the Queen, Cuba
Black Grouper, Gardens of the Queen, Cuba

Diver under boat, Cozumel, taken with the UWL-09 Wide Angle lens, straight from the camera. Notice the slight vignetting
Diver under boat, Cozumel, taken with the UWL-09 Wide Angle lens, straight from the camera. Notice the slight vignetting which can easily be cropped out.

The built in pop-up flash is a bit slow to recycle, so I would suggest giving up on TTL, setting the pop-up flash on manual with the lowest possible setting, then using the external flash on Manual as well. This would be the best way shoot continuously with a flash.

The controls on the housing were very intuitive, and clearly marked so you don’t have to remember anything before hand. All buttons and dials worked flawlessly at any depth I tried it. I also handed it around to a few divers on our group, who used an underwater camera for the first time in their life, and they found it to be super intuitive! It only required 5 minutes of basic explanations and they were ready to shoot.

Nassau Grouper, taken by Louise on one of her first attempts with G7XII + Inon S-2000 Strobe
Nassau Grouper, taken by Louise on one of her first attempts with the G7XII + Inon S-2000 Strobe

The battery life on the Canon G7XII is quite pleasing, lasting 2 dives easily. I do recommend getting a spare battery anyway so you have it ready for the 3rd and 4th dive of the day.

The camera + housing by themselves are slightly positive, so make sure you secure it with the lanyard so it won’t pop up to the surface. Once you add a tray, arms, lighting and wet lenses, the rig becomes negative. Depending on your setup, you may want to add float units to make it neutral again.

Wet Lenses

The new Fantasea UWL-09 lens does an amazing job, expanding your field of view significantly, with very minimal vignetting thanks to the 67mm thread on the housing.

I recommend closing down the aperture to about f/9 to improve corner sharpness significantly when using a wide angle / fisheye wet lens.

Taken with the UWL-09 on F/3.5 - notice the soft corners
Taken with the UWL-09 on F/3.5 – notice the soft corners

Taken with the UWL-09 on F/9 - notice the improved corner sharpness
Taken with the UWL-09 on F/9 – notice the improved corner sharpness

Fantasea FG7XII Housing with UWL-09 Lens
Fantasea FG7XII Housing with UWL-09 Lens

I used the Inon UCL-165 for subtle macro shots, with larger subjects. If you want those nice super-macro shots, you can either mount a 2nd Fantasea SharpEye or UCL-165, or use a single Subsee +10 or Nauticam CMC-1. I found it quite easy to focus on macro subjects, either with a macro lens or without. The G7X II’s AF is very accurate and very quick!

Fantasea have just recently released 3 great new macro lenses – UCL-05LF (+6), UCL-06LF (+12) and UCL-09F (+12.5 Super Macro). These lenses work very well with the Canon G7X II and are highly recommended with the Fantasea housing.

Goby Close-up, using Inon UCL-165
Goby Close-up, using Inon UCL-165

Goby Close-up, using Inon UCL-165 Cropped 100%
Goby Close-up, using Inon UCL-165 Cropped 100%

Arrow Crab, Cozumel shot with G7XII + Nauticam CMC-1
Arrow Crab, Cozumel shot with G7XII + Nauticam CMC-1

Recommended settings

One of the major advantages on compacts, vs DSLR’s and some mirrorless cameras, is the electronic shutter, which virtually eliminates the problem of Maximum Flash Sync Speed and allows you to use shutter speeds of 1/1000 or even 1/2000 with flash!

This effectively reduces your ambient light, allowing you to control it and make sure you get a nice dark background even in bright daylight.

When I’m using external strobes, I like shooting on M (manual), setting my shutter speed to about 1/1000 (on daylight dives), aperture to about f/5.6, or f/9 if I’m using wet lenses, ISO to about 200 and WB to Auto.

I shoot RAW, so it’s easy to change the WB in post processing, as well as adjust the exposure if needed.

The fast shutter speed takes care of the background while the strobes light up your subject.

As I stated above, I switch my pop-up flash to manual, on the lowest setting, to improve recycle speed and conserve battery.

Make sure you turn off your Red Eye function, as well as the AF assist beam which aren’t needed underwater and can get in the way.

You can find the AF method that works for you best – I usually set it to 1-point, One-Shot, but some people prefer the fully automatic AiAF focus, or the Servo mode to continuously focus on your subject while it’s moving. Try it and see what you prefer.

Read my full guide on Recommended Settings for Underwater Compact Cameras.

Cozumel Corals
Cozumel Corals

Bottom Line

The Canon G7X Mark II with the Fantasea housing is an incredible imaging machine. One simple enough to start with, for the beginner underwater photographer, but also easily expandable, with strobes, video lights, wet lenses and filters, to create a compact monster, capable of award winning photos yet travel friendly and easy to handle.

Fantasea have done an exceptional job on this one, creating the best value housing for a super popular camera, which will surely be among the top cameras for UW photographers for 2017.

Purchase the G7X Mark II bundle here

Already have the camera? Get the FG7XII housing here!

For custom packages with optics and lighting, browse here.

Fantasea FG7X II Underwater Housing AND Canon G7X II Camera
Canon G7X II Underwater bundle

Rated ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 based on 1 review
Best value for money ,Overall this is a fantastic camera, capable of producing excellent high quality photos and videos. – by Ran

Ran Mor
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  1. Agus Widodo January 1, 2017

    Hello Ran Mor,

    Good review for G7Xii and Fantasea housing. I am using canon G16 with Fantasea housing at the moment, it’s a great compact setup for macro shooting. Tell me, is there any significant benefit of photo quality if I change to G7Xii? Is the photo quality for wide angle really good? I can’t really see it since your sample here is quiet small.

  2. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor January 10, 2017

    Hi Agus,

    Sorry for the late reply.
    The quality of the G7XII compared to the G16 is significantly better, due to the larger sensor, which allows much more detail in the photos and videos, as well as better low light capabilities, faster focusing and many more improvements.
    The macro capabilities remain excellent on the G7XII, with about 5cm minimum focus distance and incredible results with a diopter lens.
    I’ll be happy to send you some full res images if you like.

    Let me know if you have any further questions!

  3. Agus Widodo January 14, 2017

    Hello Ran Mor, thanks for your info. Yes, I would like to see the hires image of its wide angle, please send to
    Is it getting vignette when using uwl-09 at 24mm?

  4. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor January 17, 2017

    I’ll send it right away!
    Yes there is some vignetting, but it’s very minimal and can be easily overcome by zooming in slightly.

  5. Chassagne May 24, 2017

    I don’t see your guide ” Recommended Settings for Underwater Compact Cameras”.

  6. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor May 24, 2017

    You’re right! My apologies. The link wasn’t working.
    Here it is:

  7. clavel June 8, 2017

    HI Ran,

    I have been on a Nauticam VS Fantasea delima today but I think your post has helped me a lot! I am a canon G15 user but it wanted to retire on me already so time to move on. Would you say the Canon G7XII is the best step up without having to move to the DSLRs? I shoot 80% macro and only does videos with big fishes. Also, from your post, it seems that the Fantasea is “enough” depending on what you add to it and the settings you will be using. Or do you think the Nauticam will also justify the price difference? I do not dive more than 40meters and usually even stay around 25-30 maybe 35 when hunting sharks or Pygmea Seahorses….

    Thanks a lot!

  8. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor June 9, 2017


    I’m glad to hear my post helped! Nauticam do make the best housing. Whether or not it’s worth the price difference, that’s up to you.
    I do think that if your budget is limited, then good lighting or quality wet lenses would aid your photos more than a fancier housing.
    Also, remember than the Nauticam G7X II has interchangeable ports, which is a nice feature, but some people prefer not to bother with that.
    If you don’t already have a good focus light, that would be something I would definitely recommend, as well as a quality macro lens.
    Overall the G7XII is a very big upgrade from the G15, both in terms of image / video quality and performance, so you will be very happy with it.

    Let me know if you have any further questions on the housing! I’m happy to help 🙂

  9. Christian November 15, 2017

    it seems that to perform a custom white balance the G7X II requires around 10 button pushes while for the previous model , G7X, only one-button push was necessary. How do you deal with that underwater ?

  10. Tal Mor
    Tal Mor November 15, 2017

    I would have to consult with Ran who knows the camera better and perhaps is aware of a shortcut. As previously mentioned we recommend shooting RAW and process on the computer as opposed to white balancing underwater.

  11. Christian November 15, 2017

    thanks, you’re absolutely right about that

  12. Rebecca July 31, 2018

    Ran,if youre shooting Video underwater then you need to be able to execute a white balance easy, so how easy is it to do this given it sounds like you have way more buttons to press ? Thanks!

  13. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor August 2, 2018

    Hi Rebecca!

    It’s right that it isn’t as quick as previous cameras, but still takes only 15-20s to perform. Check out this video showing how it’s done:

  14. Tyohar June 19, 2019

    Hi Ran,
    Thanks for the great review. I’ve been using this camera with Fantasea housing and wet lenses and I like the results very much. My question though is about range: I’m considering buying a housing for the 7D II that I have and the Tokina 10-17mm. Will that give a significant wider angle that the G7X with the UWL-09? By how much in terms of mm?
    And how about macro, the 7D II with the canon 100mm macro vs the G7X II with the UCL-09F?

  15. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor June 24, 2019

    Glad you liked the review Tyohar!
    Yes, with the Tokina 10-17mm you’ll get a significantly wider FOV! The UWL-09 gives you about 130 degrees whereas the Tokina with the proper dome will give you a full 180 more or less.
    It’s REALLY wide.
    Also, corner sharpness is much better with the Tokina, and overall quality will be much better with a DSLR vs compact.
    As much as wide angle is awesome with DSLR, macro is where it really shines. The biggest difference between macro with a DSLR vs compact is the working distance. That’s something that simply cannot be replicated with a compact. With a DSLR you can shoot from much further, giving you a HUGE advantage and allowing you to capture photos you would have never gotten if you had to move in closer.

    So to summarize, the G7XII is awesome for a compact, but the 7D II is awesomer 😉

  16. Xavier August 11, 2019

    I’m interested to use a wide lens with the fantasea G7xii housing. Now I have the oportunity to purchase a Inon UWL-H100.
    Is there a vigneting at 24mm?
    How should I set zoom to avoid vigneting?
    Then, if I have to zoom using the wide lens, do I really improve the field of view than shooting at 24mm with no lens?
    Is fantasea UWL-09 a better option?

    Thank,s for your time

  17. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor August 20, 2019

    Hi Xavier!

    Yes, it will vignette significantly. Even with the dome.
    The UWL-H100 isn’t the ideal choice with the G7XII in Fantasea housing.
    You can zoom in but it’ll eliminate most of the wide angle effect.
    The UWL-09 is a better option for sure. You can see my samples here in the post.
    From my tests the Kraken KRL-01 doesn’t vignette at all with the FG7XII, since it’s a bit less wide than the Fantasea ones but physically larger.
    So you would get about the same FOV as the UWL-09 but without needing to crop in post processing.

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