Field review: Canon EOS 6D, NA-6D housing and Zen DP-100 port

Nauticam NA-6D housing

Nauticam, in its now traditional fashion, started shipping their housing for the EOS 6D on 15 May, with the cameras having been available from around 1 March.

The company is apparently now following an evolutionary progression in its housing designs, with features and improvements from previous models being incorporated into new models. For example, the designers at Nauticam have moved what they view as essential controls off the housing body and onto levers. The NA-6D is no exception with dual levers being used to control Record, Play/Review and AF-On.

In addition, this housing is the first Canon housing in Nauticam’s line-up to use the multi controller pad that was debuted on the company’s housing for the Nikon D800. This gives multidirectional access to the camera’s 8 way controller on the rear of its body.

Two paddle levers fall under the user’s right hand. The lower activates the manual AF control, whilst the upper starts and stops video recording.

Aperture and shutter speed controls (or Main and Quick Control dials) are both located on the right hand side of the housing, and have large diameter knurled wheels. Two small levers are also located on the right hand side to switch between video and still modes and to control ISO.

The shutter release is the two-stage geared version that is found on most other Nauticam SLR housings.

On the right hand top of the housing are located buttons to control metering area, drive mode and AF operation select. There is also a port, which is supplied with a Nikonos 5 pin bulkhead, although other options are available.

Moving on to the rear and as mentioned above, the multi controller pad gives direct access to the camera’s multi-controller and sits neatly under the user’s right thumb. Just above it are two buttons; one the “star” AE lock and the other for AF point selection. To the left is the “Q” quick control button and below is the image erase.

The housing has a large LCD window that allows a full view of the camera’s screen. It is also equipped with Nauticam’s standard optical glass viewfinder, although I chose to add my own 45° magnified one (this may have been a mistake-see later). On the left hand rear of the housing are the info and menu buttons.

Above these are the camera’s on/off switch and cameras mode dial control. This is set up so that the dial’s lock release button is “permanently” depressed, allowing the user to change the dial’s settings with one hand if required. Forward of this again is another port, which is supplied with another Nikonos bulkhead. I chose to install the Backscatter Airlock into this port.

Moving further left and rearwards are two more paddle levers that access image playback and Index/Magnify/Reduce controls . On the left hand side of the housing is the zoom control wheel (which has a decoupler lever) and, further forward again, a lens release button.

The NA-6D has Nauticam’s standard handles, port lock system and housing latches. It also has two fiber optic ports. Lastly, it is equipped with potential strobe arm mounting points on both the handles and on the housing body itself. These are linked with removable stainless steel plates to control movement when the housing is used with heavy strobes or video lights.

Zen DP-100-NCR 4” dome port

Zen’s optical glass dome ports are well established. The DP-100-NCR is s 4” port designed specifically for use with Nauticam housings (other fittings are available) and the Canon 8-15mm lens.

What makes this port unique from other DP-100 variants is the fact that the shade can be removed. At an 8mm focal length, any dome shade is visible in the image. Conversely, at other focal lengths, the lens needs protection from sun flare (or strobes if used).

The port has a bayonet fitting that simply allows the shade to be twisted and removed, potentially even underwater if required.

The port is made of AR coated BK7 optical glass and weighs a meagre 600g. Using a small dome makes a great deal of sense when shooting large, fast-moving animals out in the blue. Corner sharpness is not a huge issue given that the subject tends not to fill the frame, and pushing a large dome through the water is hard work! It is limiting when attempting split shots.

  1. Introduction, EOS 6D and EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens.
  2. Nauticam NA-6D housing and Zen DP-100 port.
  3. In use, conclusions and acknowledgments.