Dear Gates Dealer,

As you are aware there has been a delay launching the Gates FX7/V1 housing, and for good reason. Allow me to bring your attention to some important and significant new features of this product that are ‘firsts’ for Gates.

Size and weight. The key design objective for the FX7/V1 is simple: provide a compact, lightweight and travel-friendly pro-grade housing to the globe-trekking underwater videographer. In the past, 3-CCD feature-rich underwater video systems were doomed to suffer excess baggage charges in large cases of heavy equipment. Not so for the FX7/V1.

Prosumer and professional customers will appreciate the FX7/V1 housing lines follow the camera closely, minimizing size. Further, a variety of new and skillful machining techniques help make the FX7/V1 housing more than 35% lighter than similar housings manufactured just a short 3 years ago. This means the FX7/V1 system will, in most configurations (such as housing, port, monitor and hard case) fall well below the 70 lb / 31 kg international checked baggage restriction.

Controls. Gates is the first to remind customers that reliable mechanical controls require a learning curve. Time is often necessary to understand and acquire a ‘feel’ for them. Once learned they become second nature for easy and effortless camera control.

Every generation of Gates housing endeavors to improve the mechanical controls for ease of use. The FX7/V1 housing is yet another significant step in straightforward camera control. Rotational actuators, lock outs, travel stops and other functional design details on the FX7/V1 dramatically close the convenience gap historically found between electronic and mechanical controls.

Optics. The continued partnership of Gates and Fathom Imaging brings the latest in ‘no compromises’ imaging: the SWP44B. This port is designed specifically with the FX7/V1 in mind. In fact, changes in the Sony camera like 16:9 CMOS sensors and short focal length necessitated an entirely new lens. Indeed, the original SWP44 is not compatible with the FX7 and V1 cameras. The HD images produced by that combination are far too soft and well outside the acceptable limits of a Fathom product.

Similar to the SWP44, the new SWP44B will retain up to 120 degrees FOV and full zoom through capability, however it will be smaller, lighter and benefit from third generation underwater lens technology that only Fathom Imaging can produce.

Trim and balance. A long standing tenant of our customer support philosophy is ‘Configure for the Customer’. That is, there is no ‘one size fits all’ system with a Gates. Every application is different and every Gates system is prepared specifically for that application.

As such, not every configuration of a Gates video system is neutrally buoyant. The basic configuration (which includes the housing and standard port) is always slightly negative and balanced. In the past, however, the addition of a monitor, Fathom lens and lights would often result in a negatively buoyant system, necessitating measures to return the system to neutral.

The FX7/V1 system is different. Adding the EM43 high resolution monitor is a mere 2 oz negative. The new Fathom SWP44B is neutral*. Adding either of these options to the housing means virtually no change to the overall system trim and balance.

The FX7/V1 housings represents a significant step forward for Gates toward the goal of ‘configuration neutrality’. That is, every configuration will remain neutral and balanced underwater.

We have great confidence the FX7/V1 housing will be well received by your customers. Travel friendly, improved controls, neutral and balanced, and ‘no compromises’ HD imaging are features your customers will enjoy and appreciate.

And of course this system is classically Gates: ‘bulletproof’ and backed by our 2-year renewable warranty. Don’t take a chance….take a Gates!

* Based on design data. At this writing the Fathom SWP44B is not yet into production for final weight/buoyancy measurements.