Sealux CD200 Underwater Housing for Nikon D200

The SEALUX CD200 underwater housing for the Nikon D200 camera
By Colin Gans, April 2006

Sealux CD200 housing for Nikon D200 DSLR, 180F dome port, 12-24mm Nikkor DX lens


This review is written from the perspective of:

The camera

The Nikon D200 offers a professional quality digital SLR camera in a smaller package than the flagship Nikon D2X. I have compared its capabilities to its stable mates, the larger and costlier Nikon D2X as a ‘role model’; and the lighter and slightly smaller Nikon D70 from whence I came. While a review of the camera itself is beyond the scope of this article, it is worthwhile noting that from an underwater perspective the main differences between the D200 and the D2X are the smaller physical size of the D200 and the D200’s lower price.

Where I live there is a saying, ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait half an hour’. In the world of digital cameras there could be a similar saying, ‘If you don’t like the price/capability of the camera, wait a year for the next model’. Who would dispute the blindingly fast pace of consumer digital imaging advancement over the past ten years. Between the D2X (released Sept ’04) and the D200 (released Nov ’05) there is a 2.2MP difference in image resolution. This is not as great as some D2X owners would like to think and forward thinking stock agencies who previously drew the line at the quality level of the D2X now consider images taken with the D200. Punters may argue that the newer D200 has most of the quality advantages of the D2X in a smaller and less expensive package. The combination of price, build, size and digital image quality, in today’s terms, makes the D200 a good candidate for underwater use. However, there are a few downsides to moving up the quality ladder. The D200’s higher battery consumption means that I am forced to change batteries each dive day rather than every three or so with the D70. For storing and archiving digital negatives there is a less obvious advantage; firstly for the D70 and next for the D200 over the D2X: the Digital Asset Management costs are lower with smaller RAW files. More so because most photographers store multiple versions of images and this does become significant over time.

Compared with the Sealux CD70 housing

The first thing that struck me about the Sealux CD200 housing for the Nikon D200 camera is that it is actually no bigger than the Sealux CD70 housing for the Nikon D70 camera. In fact it is marginally smaller. The specs on paper show a slightly decreased length (the direction that the lens lies) down from 131mm to 129mm. Fitting a slightly larger and heavier camera into a marginally smaller housing is an interesting approach. The Nikon D70 is already a snug fit inside the CD70; which, is one of the more compact D70 housings available on the market. The CD200 is heavier both topside and underwater. My freshwater testing with a 60mm Nikkor lens and the Sealux PN94 flat port on both cameras in respective housings produced the following results. The CD200 weighed 0.43Kg underwater while the CD70 housing was neutral. Topside the CD200 weighed in at 4.75Kg with camera, the 60mm lens and flat port.

CD70 for Nikon D70
 CD200 for Nikon D200
    The Numbers
          CD70 for   Nikon D70     CD200 for   Nikon D200
    Published dimensions   in mm L: 131, W: 176,  H: 158 L: 129, W: 176,  H: 158
      Published dimensions in   inches L:  5.16", W:  6.93",  H:  6.22"  L:    5.08",  W:  6.93",  H:  6.22" 
    Published   housing weight empty 1.95 Kg   (4.3lbs)  1.99 Kg   (4.4lbs) 
    Topside weight   incl. camera PN94 port & 60mm Nikkor lens 4.5 Kg   (9.9lbs)  4.75 Kg   (10.47lbs) 
    Freshwater   weight incl. camera PN94 port & 60mm Nikkor lens Neutral 0.43Kg   (0.95lbs) 
    Approx. topside   weight with 2 housed SB800 strobes, arms, 180F dome port and 12-24mm lens.  9.5Kg   (20.94lbs)  9.75Kg   (21.5lbs) 
    Published Test   depth 90 m   (295 ft)  90 m     (295 ft) 
    Sealux housing   guarantee 2years 2years

The housing in detail:

i. ii.

i) A lever is provided for the flash mode button (for rear curtain synch) and another lever for the Single servo and Manual focus settings; however, this lever does not have sufficient range to rotate to the Continuous servo setting.

ii) A single control lever for WB and ISO is provided but the third of the trio, to access the QUALITY button is missing.

Challenging controls

Features of the housing which I think would be a challenge for a manufacturer to build are as follows.

The CD200 housing boasts some tried and tested design features such as:

Absent from the CD200 housing are:

My initial feeling is that the two controls which I may miss are the Continuous server AF control and the Function button. The Function button is the lower of the two unlabelled buttons on the front of the camera and is user assignable; default is Flash Value lock. While I do not consider the Function button to be a show stopper, access to the AF-C lever may be a significant omission.

Highlights in brief


The grand viewfinder provides excellent coverage and is a pleasure to use underwater
Lenses can be changed from the front of the housing through the lens port opening while the camera remains mounted

Documentation and materials provided

Observations in setting up


The camera fits snugly on its supports

Observations in Use

The memory card and USB port can be accessed without removing the camera

Build Quality Observations

Initial assembly

The only issues experienced during first time setup were a malfunctioning strobe caused by a stiff strobe foot not engaging far enough into the camera hotshoe. This was resolved after troubleshooting. A minor adjustment was required to the wheel on the main control dial as it was not engaging. A small Allen key was required to extend the wheel closer to the command dial.


I have chosen to use Nikon SB800 speedlights; both single and dual. With the Nikon D200 this had the unexpected advantage when using auto FP high speed synchronization to unreservedly go beyond the camera’s top sync shutter speed of 250s. On the housing I also chose to have an optional second strobe port installed. The first port socket was wired for a Subtronic fixed pin plug which Sealux uses on their SB800 housing cable. The second port used a Nikonos style port with all five pins active. This port has been successfully used for both the Fantasea SB800 housings in iTTL and the Inon optical converter to optically fire dual D180 strobes.

The SB800 Speedlight Housings


CD200,180F dome port, Sealux strobe arms, Fantasea housings for Nikon SB800 Speedlights

Other strobes


The Inon optical converter used in a Nikon style strobe port to optically fire strobes

Inon’s optical converter which connects to a Nikonos style port can be used to control optical strobes such as the Inon DS180. Tests were done using two Inon D180 strobes. All five pins were wired rather than just having two pins active. Using this wiring circuit may however cause other cabled strobes to malfunction such as the Ikelite DS-50 substrobe.

Technical support

Phone support when required was good and provided in spoken English. Jurgen at Sealux has been helpful when contacted.

Compared with other housings

A functional comparison with D200 housings from other manufacturers is beyond the scope of this review suffice to say that I would consider compactness, the availability of good ports and a good viewfinder to be of high importance in my choice. Optical glass is a factor for me. Cost wise I found the Sealux CD200 to be less expensive than other milled aluminium / optical glass offerings.


I am pleased with the CD200 and can see myself getting years of use from this professional level housing. No offering is entirely perfect; affordable, functionally complete, ergonomically flawless, compact, durable, of a high quality build and which minimizes the risk of leakage by simplifying camera set up. Purchasing from a German manufacturer when living on the other side of the world in New Zealand may be considered risky come time for support. When I have needed support however, Sealux have been helpful and have taken my relative remoteness into consideration in resolving issues. On one occasion, rather than insisting on returning the housing to them for adjustment at my request they shipped the part with installation instructions. With further use I will no doubt learn more of the flaws and grow to appreciate the good features. I would recommend this housing.



All opinions expressed herein are those of the writer. No association exists between the writer and vendors mentioned in this review apart from that of paying consumer. Any measurements quoted should be taken as estimates only and they should be used only for indicative purposes only. Feed back on any erroneous information discovered would be appreciated.