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Subal or Nauticam?


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#41 SPP

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:35 AM

This is my personal take on DSLR housings.............

I buy DSLR housing for fun & pleasure, as I don't do much UW photos and I don't really like big size DLSR housing, but I must have it as I will take my DLSR UW once in a while. I love camera size like RX100 small baby sized and I do fun video 99% of the time anyway.

For me having no access to real hands-on camera housing I can play with when needing to buy one, when choosing DLSR housing I need to go to BackScatter.com , read reports and visit all manufacturers website to see the photos of the housing internals and externals and hopefully the user manual for control placement description. I then use it to look at how they do the controls, since I have the real camera on hand.

Reading review on how good they are, is not really helpful, more so on Wetpixel because the testers are so polite and kind hearted. I want someone who is an equivalent of the bitching Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear when it comes to spitting out details manufacturer will cry & hide about. What's good about Wetpixel review is that some are very detail on what the functions are, port locking mechanism and so on but I have yet to read shitty camera housing review on Wetpixel.

With all these and a basically itchy handed me, I can construct an image of which housing I want and which housing I do not want. Based on my previous experiences with camcorder housing from custom made video 8 ones, to Sony yellow banana, to Amphibico. Camcorder housing is a piece of cake compared to DSLR ones, dang, poor soul for the manufacturers of DSLR housings. Gates can charge US$6000ish for Panasonic HVX200A while it is so much easier to make than say a D7000 housing which for alumimum ones is US$3000 - US$3,600 ???

I bought my 1st aluminum still camera housing , its a NEX7 Nauticam based on a friend's recommendation, as I am UW photo dummy. Its the video and small foot print I am after not the still photo. Having the chance to look at the internals and with friends owning A, B, C, D housing brands, I began to comprehend the design logic and philosophy of the various brands of housings. With passion for fine mechanical engineering, I do appreciate a great deal when aluminum housing manufacturer use their designer's brain capacity to the fullest, instead of trying to make a low cost housing at a mere -20-30% cheaper over its competitor. I believe 90+% of global aluminum housing owners do not make a living from their underwater photo gears, so this is mainly a hobby thingy and hobby is money down the drain in return for pleasure = fair deal.

Its easy for me when choosing housings for anything bigger than a GoPro kind of micro size.
For NEX7 size and upto DSLR , I weed out what I do not like first, budget is last consideration. Its easier this way.

- I do not want plastic housing. PERIOD. I will go for aluminum. If ever there is a rough user, I am worse than rough if not as rough as one can be.
I have dropped my NA-D800 front part and port 87, no camera or back door on it. 3 feet to my boat deck, no big deal, the port bayonet did not break.
On land I change my cheapo 18-55mm lens for 550D almost every year if I am on active survey duty. They get knocked till they die and went to error mode.

- I do not want a housing which does not have superb port locking mechanism and it must have a lock.

- I do not want a housing when I change lens, the camera and lens must be taken out of the housing because some dumb designer decided to save cost and design some crazy port locking system using screwdriver or notch or whatnot which can only be accessed from housing interior and there is no lens release from housing exterior.

- I do not want a housing which the main body lock uses those primitive tool box kind of lock. In this day and age of more affordable CNC machines, why the heck I want to get my fingers crimped like when using Sony original yellow banana camcorder housing donkey years ago ? I also hate the need to perform SIMULTANEOUS locking of left & right for tool box type main body lock and when opening up such primitive lock, the 3rd one on top is always another time consuming and frustrating one. Simply its too Fred Flintstone design for year 2012. I want a nice spin-to-drill kind of main body lock and must have a safety lock. I also do not want spin-to-drill kind of main body lock with placement mirroring one another for left and right. I am a mechanical freak and any DSLR housing with built in flash, the top part has approx 25-30% more surface area to lock and unless manufacturer space the two locks apart balanced distance wise......... considering the fat bulge for the strobe, I am not happy mechanically. Users do not pay attention to details of this sort but for me, if any designer understood how I think of lock positioning for balanced pressure if using two spin-to-drill kind of main body lock, the designer has used his brain capacity more efficiently...ha ha ha. Nauticam D800, two main body locks..... I have calculated to near 55/45 balanced, hence the right side main door lock is lower than the left one. I started noticing this when two of my friends had one Nauticam 7D ( ugly tool box kind of lock and 3 of them ) and Nauticam D7000V ( two spin-to-dril locks ) side by side.

- I do not want housing which does not relocate a camera's rear multi-controller buttons or dials or often used controls closer to my right or left thumbs, because the manufacturer wants to reduce cost. Dang, I want the housing for pleasure, why take that pleasure away for US$500 less retail price ?

- I do not want DSLR housing which does not use lever trigger for important controls like shutter, ISO, playback, video record and etc etc, the more conversion to trigger lever, the more I like it. Push buttons are pressure effected by depth, I don't like it. Not that I pass 55+ meters on my dives, I just do not like what can be improved and yet NOT improved, its a waste of the great human mind/brain. Trigger lever works like a tank valve, the shaft spins on a fix axis for movement , just like A 207 BAR tank pressure , it can still have its valve spinning smooth. I also like when two of my most important fingers ( thumb and index ) do most of the work for controlling the controls on the housings while I grip the camera handle. I am speaking of housing produced in 2012.

- I do not want housing which does not have bulkhead which I will need to use an HDMI cable for monitor output. My eyes are getting bad now and reluctant to wear corrective lens on my mask. I can't see well close up he he he. I also use this hole/port and a dummy HDMI plug with Gates Housing vacuum plug on it and I have a 94 liter per minute vacuum pump to test my own housing sealing before and after a dive trip. I test to 25 inch Hg and not 11.
I do not use HugyCheck in the housing on a dive trip but I use UV lamp to detect particles on o-rings my eyes can't see. I don't want wires running around in my housing internal except for HDMI to the DP4, or else I would have bought a HugyCheck or that one other brand I forgot the name.

- I do not want a housing which has no fiber optic port, even though the DLSR camera model itself does not have a built-in flash. Soon there will be mini strobes to put on hot shoe, so FO port is a must have, just like Nauticam 5D MK3, it has two of them. If I choose strobe-less camera, I wil use Inon Z240 smart optical TTL for macro for a dummy UW photo dude I am. I hate electrical wires for UW use, unless its a good wet contact ones, something like this :
http://seaconworldwi...tor-low-res.pdf

- I do not want any often used camera housing control/s , while it is a trigger lever type, one must push in-out-and-spin to perform some commands.

- If possible, good looks of the housing exterior.
Good looks is very personal taste, to each and his own choosing but here is what I rate as sexy. What I do not mention, means I do not like the looks.
Either to stiff with very square edges or looks funny. Again this is personal taste. Function , controls or finishing not related, simply the dimensional looks :

BASED ON D7000
- Nauticam D7000V if seen from the back. I dont like the look of NA-D7000V from the front.
- SeaCam if seen from the front, the back also nice too actually

BASED ON D800
- Nauticam D800 if seen from the front
- Seacam D800 if seen from the back


I can enjoy camera housing just playing with its controls and its internal links, I don't have to bring it underwater I already get the kick from thinking how one does all these engineering marvels and solutions to each and every camera controls design challenges for the housing. When I see innovations, or intelligent design on a housing, that I like because I see the human side of the engineers and such design ideas comes useful for my own day job.
DSLR does not commonly have the luxury of Sony Lanc kind of controls which can by electrical signal or today by infra red remote control I think, perform key controls function without needing much mechanical ingenuity....so to me they are unique mechanically.

I last retired my Amphibico for Sony TRV900 camcorder in 2006, due to size. Never took photo back when before DSLR days, because such an UW photo dummy like me will suffer if using Nikonos V kind still camera. I got access to plenty of Nikonos IV or V back then, but they are simply for the more capable guys and not me. I even have a close dive buddy who always wanted me to try his Nikonos RS ............I told him no way !!!
Land photo using SLR 35mm OK by me, UW........nope. Now the digital camera is so forgiving for dummies like me and able to view what we shoot UW and take a 100 of photos, keep 1 good one, deletes the rest of the 99 and brag to my son who loves fishes.....ha haha. ..... what a world apart digital camera is my........ my....a wonderful world indeed.


What else do I REALLY want in a housing if I can dream about it ?

- Aquapazza kind of Inon patended magnetic focus and zoom gear on the ports for any ports I choose.

- Shutter buttons using trigger lever but I can adjust it for travel, pressure/friction for both half shutter and final shutter release, a true 2 stage adjustable. The adjustable part I want, the 2 stage my NA-D800 has it already.

Well so much for camera housing dreaming on a Saturday nite hehhehe.

Have a Happy weekend Gentlemen.
.

#42 eyu

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 10:45 AM

Was the Bouyancy comparable? Given the same amount of Stix floats?


Both housings with flat ports, Subal with 10 jumbos and Nauticam with 6 large and 6 jumbos were a little negative.

Nikon D800E, D800, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS with StiX floats


#43 unlis

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 07:17 AM

Why not you try Nexus?
www.nexushousing.asia
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#44 eyu

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:44 AM

Why not you try Nexus?


Does Nexus have a D800 housing?

Nikon D800E, D800, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS with StiX floats


#45 Deep6

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:10 AM

Does Nexus have a D800 housing?


I don't thiink so. D7000 & D700 look like the latest models for Nikon.
http://www.anthis.co.jp/
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#46 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:13 AM

I thought that they did. I am sure I saw photos.

Alex

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Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#47 Deep6

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 11:18 AM

I thought that they did. I am sure I saw photos.

Alex


Totally my bad Dr. M. Posted Image The Anthis JP site needs to be updated.

Posted Image

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#48 E_viking

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 02:58 PM

Whenever I get to see a Nexus Housing I am pretty surprised/impressed at how good they seem to be.
On the other hand, I assume that those Housing are relatively local to some certain regions of the world..
Just like the Hugyfot Housing, which is very common in some parts of Europe, as well as the Isotta housings in sothern Europe.
In my opinion there are a lot of of UW-housing manufacturers out there that make good housings.
What is important to me is what kind of service can I get without sending it around the world.

Nikon D800, Nikon 60, 105, 16-35, Sigma 15, Nauticam D800, Zen 230mm, Subsee +5 & +10, 2*INON Z240


#49 unlis

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:54 PM

World is flat now. You can get servicing from authorized distributor in Asia ad US. Perhaps it will not cost much to ship it from Germany to US/Asia? To my knowledge, there are few distributors in EU who can help with Nexus servicing. But main point that by using Nexus it may take years for call to service :). However, some users may prefer to pay 3 time more for Austrian made product and get instant service ;) .

So, coing back to initial of point of this subj. why not Nexus?
www.nexushousing.asia
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#50 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 05:38 PM

You don’t happen to be the exclusive dealer of Nexus in Singapore do you?
www.flickr.com/photos/alextattersall

www.nauticamuk.com
www.uwvisions.com
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#51 unlis

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 06:40 PM

Yes, you are right Posted Image
Thats why I am curious, why we discussing about only 2 brands Posted Image

Alex, please dont take me wrongly. The world is "flat"... Some people buying expensive product (housings) in online shops globally, but then coming back to formal distributors, cause online shops running low margin business with no capability for after-sales support. And my point was not to say that Nexus better or cheaper than Nauticam. Just to remind public that there are other options available Posted Image
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#52 tdpriest

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 05:49 AM

I gave up on a much-loved Nexus system because I couldn't get the support that I needed. So far, Nauticam has provided excellent support...

#53 eyu

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:56 AM

Yes, you are right Posted Image
Thats why I am curious, why we discussing about only 2 brands Posted Image



Granted there are other D800 housing, but the starter of this blog was only interested in the Subal and Nauticam housings.
He wanted feedback from those who have used either.

Also it would courteous of you to give your affiliations.

Edited by eyu, 14 November 2012 - 06:57 AM.

Nikon D800E, D800, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS with StiX floats


#54 rumblefish

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:38 AM

I'm comparing one or two other brands to Subal because that is what I own now. I dive a lot (well, maybe not as much as Alex) so ergonomics, toughness and smooth, reliable controls are the major selection criteria for me.
I don't think Nexus is available in The Netherlands, I never saw one in the field. Aquatica looks interesting but in The Netherlands it is sold through a regular camera shop with no expertise in underwater photography and there is no service. What also counts is that my ports and viewfinder are in excellent condition so I can continue to use these if I stick with Subal.
I will probably make up my mind after the BOOT show in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Edited by rumblefish, 14 November 2012 - 07:38 AM.

Nikon D600, Nikon D80, Tokina 10-17mm FE, Sigma 14mm, 24mm macro, Nikon 60mm macro, Sigma 180mm macro. Nauticam NA-D600, 45° viewfinder, Subal ND80, GS180 viewfinder. Sea&Sea YS350 and YS90. ULCS arms.


#55 tdpriest

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:54 AM

Whatever happened to SeaCam?

#56 Drew

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:01 AM

Rob, I'm confused.Have you decided on the D800 or D600? There's a plethora of choices for the D800 but what are the housing choices on the high end anyways?

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#57 unlis

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:59 PM

I'm comparing one or two other brands to Subal because that is what I own now. I dive a lot (well, maybe not as much as Alex) so ergonomics, toughness and smooth, reliable controls are the major selection criteria for me.
I don't think Nexus is available in The Netherlands, I never saw one in the field. Aquatica looks interesting but in The Netherlands it is sold through a regular camera shop with no expertise in underwater photography and there is no service. What also counts is that my ports and viewfinder are in excellent condition so I can continue to use these if I stick with Subal.
I will probably make up my mind after the BOOT show in Dusseldorf, Germany.


Personally, I think, main difference between Subal and Nexus is size and price. Both product are well done engineering. But if local support is critical, of course better to stick what is available.

I gave up on a much-loved Nexus system because I couldn't get the support that I needed. So far, Nauticam has provided excellent support...


Tim, do you mean for sales or after sales? For distributor or consequently enduser ?
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#58 Edward Lai

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 05:26 AM

I did a break-in dive week in Bonaire a few weeks ago, I dove with a Subal and my dive buddy with a Nauticam for our D800s.
Side by side the Nauticam looks larger then the Subal. Both were set up with Inon Z240 strobes, ULCS arms and Stix floats


We had a chance to put both Subal and Nauticam D800 housings side by side in the Dema show; and I can confirm that Nauticam is smaller on all three sides.

Not that I am saying any one of them is better, just a matter of fact. Different manufacturers have different philosopies in housing design, and I am glad there remain a decent degree of friendliness and respect among us, all major housing manufacturers, who are all working very hard to fulfil different demands in this small market.

Edward

#59 Drew

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 07:02 AM

Thanks Edward for the confirmation.

Whatever happened to SeaCam?

I think Rob wants fiber optic ability which the Seacam does not have. At least I think that's why he's limited it to Subal and Nauticam.

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#60 kmsellin

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:40 AM

Hi,

I just got my Sea&Sea MDX800 housing. I haven´t put it in water yet. But this is my third S&S housing and I have never had a problem. They have been to Norway, Malaysia, South Africa, Egypt...yes you name it. Never one single problem.

This house looks like the best yet. And its also good for 100meters. Only thing I din´t like is that they took away leaklamp and 5pin connection. They are now optional.
The port looking system feels safe. Its bayonet fiting and a looking pin inside.

Let me now if you need more info.