NAUTICAM D700 – FIELD REVIEW
Field test of the Nauticam D700 housing by Alex Mustard. Australia 2010.
Nauticam was launched into the world of underwater photography at DEMA 2009, where owner Edward Lai showcased his impressive range of housings. On the Wetpixel forums few products have generated such anticipation and, it is fair to say, salivation from underwater photographers. There has been widespread praise for the build quality, design innovation and ergonomics, especially because with a clever port system the Nauticam can take ports from other manufacturers. Making Nauticam a serious option for most folks. But much of the chat has focused on these being quality housings at a price that undercuts many existing brands. Welcome news for all underwater photographers.
I arranged to borrow a Nauticam D700 housing during my trip to temperate Australian waters in February and March 2010. The shoot, in the cool and often murky waters around Sydney and Melbourne, provided a variety of real-world photographic challenges for the system. The trip also gave me the chance to meet and dive with a number of Australian underwater photographers and collate their views on the Nauticam and to compare it to most of the popular housing brands (diving alongside Subal, Seacam, Aquatica, Nexus, Sea & Sea & Ikelite). Everyone I met was eager to see the Nauticam and to find out if it justifies the excitement that has greeted it on the forums. The question on every photographer’s lips was “Can we believe the hype?”
I am grateful to Edward at Nauticam, Alex Tattersall at Underwater Visions (Nauticam UK) and Peter Mooney at Scubapix (Nauticam Australia) for making this possible. I would also like to thank Peter Rowlands of UWP Mag for lending me his D700 so that I could run a complete Nauticam system alongside my Subal D700, which I have reviewed here on Wetpixel. Please refer to that review for details of the D700 underwater, here I want to concentrate on the Nauticam housing and design philosophy and I hope most of my comments are relevant to their whole range of housings.
With so much positive press since the launch of Nauticam, I have tried to adopt an objective and critical eye. This is a very fine housing, but there is no benefit in me searching for different ways to say it is great. As with the other reviews I have done on Wetpixel, I have praised features and innovations I found useful and where I have found negatives, I have suggested some areas for improvement. Please note that many of these criticisms could also be levelled at other housings, but I felt readers would appreciate a detailed review of this new line, rather than another everything is perfect review.