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Upgrading from D300


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#1 clairegoodwin

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 05:05 AM

I'm finally biting the bullet and upgrading my Nikon d300 in subal housing. I have two ikelite ds125 and mainly shoot with 60mm macro or 10-17 tokina for wa. I use my photographs for science and public education so while I obviously want nice photos I'm not looking to try and shoot Nat geo quality (and I am the biggest limiting factor anyway!).

I know I need to go and do lots more research but wondered if anyone had an opinion about the best options for me. Would be great to be able to keep some stuff to keep costs down if possible although I am prepared to make an investment as my current system has done 10+ years.

Some considerations:

I had thought of getting another subal housed system but I am in Canada so nearest dealer is across the border. I do want another metal housing - aquatica or nauticam probably best options. However if I went with subal I could keep ports and view magnifier and sync cables. Are port adapters worth considering? I have a dome and macro (would need to look up numbers).

To full frame or not? I know the tokina lens won't be compatible with full frame and I do like it. I guess probably d750 for full frame and d500 for not (I know d850 is out now but not sure extra cost is worth it).

Opinions and recommendations for further reading very welcome.



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#2 Kraken de Mabini

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 06:54 AM

Good questions.  Your preferred type of shooting, macro or wide angle is the deciding factor for which type of camera and housing to get.   For macro, the D500 and D7200 are excellent cameras, for wide angle the D750 and D810 or 850.  (Two of my dive buddies just got the D500 and are delighted with it, I have the D7100 and it is a fine camera).

 

As you already have a Subal, it makes sense to stay with Subal, and get the matching housing.  As far as ports, if you have T3 ports then make sure the port ring is also a 3, same to T4.  As Subal is in the midst of relocating to Serbia, it is a good idea to buy from a dealer, such as Reef Photo in Florida, or similar, rather than from the factory.  

 

That way you can continue to use all the other expensive accessories such as ports, arms, lenses, which add up sooo fast!

Best of luck!



#3 Kraken de Mabini

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 07:09 AM

  Allow me to add that it is a wise idea to add a vacuum leak detector to your shopping list.  I use the Leak Sentinel Type 5 Vacuum Leak Detector made by Vivid Housings for my Subal ND800 housing, and it has saved my camera from two leaks from a few grains of sand in the O ring.  The leak detector is easy to use, as the detachable pump creates a sufficient vacuum within 15 or 20 seconds.  Vacuum can be established minutes to hours before the dive so that one can dive with peace of mind.



#4 TimG

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 09:07 AM

Hi Claire

 

I bit the same bullet as you a few years ago and went from the Subal ND300/D300 to FX with the Subal ND800 and the Nikon D800.

 

Yes, the advantage was retaining Subal ports (the 105VR and, initially, the DP-FE) and the 45 degree viewfinder - which I love. I had to ditch the DP100 and Tokina 10-17 and switched to a Nikon 16-35mm and Sigma 15mm.

 

The only problem I found was that the Nikon 16-35 really needed the DP230; and that dome was fine too for the Sigma 15mm. It is pretty big though and a challenge - albeit doable - when travelling. 

 

I have to say the results with the D800 were terrific - well I thought so. Great resolution and colour saturation, loads of pixels for cropping. Big thumbs up.

 

I decided recently to look at an upgrade (the usual rush of blood to the head) and was uming and aahing between the D850 and the D500. Or staying put. I finally decided the D850 was too expensive and unproven underwater; I had psyched myself up too much to stay put.... and, finally, went for the D500 which, after one trip, looks great. And I'm back with the Tokina 10-17 with a DP100 plus my Nikon 105 (no Nikkor 60).

 

So I've done the full revolution. DX-FX-DX: D300-D800-D500. 

 

And I now have a ND800 and D800 for sale!

 

FX or DX? I'm not sure yet. FX for macro was great, superb for wide-angle. I've not yet used the ND500/D500 for serious wide-angle but it sure is good for macro.

 

Kraken makes a good point on the Type 3/Type 4 issue.  There is though a Subal Type 3/4 adaptor so all is not lost if you have Type 3 Subal ports and your next housing, if Subal, is Type 4. My experience of the port adaptor is that it works well but I'd suggest you do need an adaptor for each port - they are not quick and easy to switch between ports.

 

Hope this gives a bit of food for thought.

 

Tim


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800 and D500, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE, Tokina 10-17,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#5 trimix125

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 09:48 AM

Hi,
was using dthe D300 in Hugyfot some years, then changed to a Olympus OMD5 in a Nauticam housing,
and now again Hugyfot, the D500.

The D300 was / is great, the D500 tops it easy ;-))

Ihave Hugyfot and other ports, as i had differnt housings in the past, or bought expensive ports from other companies, and use them with adapters. Only Problem could be to get the right lenght, if you add an adapter.....

With a Subal i would wait until the next 2 months, then it should be clear what is going on.

Otherweise i would think about Nauticam, they should be a lot cheaper in your place than in europe....
Subal with shipping and taxes / customs will not be a small amount of money....

Or get Tims D800 setup, and you have a great update....

Regards,
Wolfgang



#6 clairegoodwin

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 12:11 PM

Thanks all. Lots of food for thought there. Swaying towards the d500 now but will get some housing quotes. I do mainly shoot macro.

Kraken good idea about the leak detector - I've not had any major leaks in my subal yet (touch wood!) But did in my older ikelite set up - one catastrophic. Certainly nice to have peace of mind. I'll double check my port type if I do go for another subal - I think I am the older one.

Tim interested that you went back to dx was there a particular reason or did you just like that camera?

Wolfgang good point about subal. I'm reassured after seeing the latest updates on here but would be good to be completely confident.

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#7 Undertow

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 12:15 PM

Get the D500 and keep your 10-17. That camera is a beast and the 10-17's versatility and compactness with a small dome is unrivaled underwater. Ignore the "FX are the pro cameras" mantra nonsense. Mostly came from Nikon ill-serving the DX line for a few years. 

 

I've shot a D500 alongside my D810 topside and would seriously prefer it for certain things like macro. Image quality is 100% up to par, though I don't pixel peep. 

 

If you can easily do that Type3 to Type4 conversion, Subal makes the most sense to keep ports and viewfinder. Otherwise if you're in Canada check out Aquatica, I'm on my 3rd housing since 2006 and they've been fantastic. Prices are very reasonable, perhaps more so from within the country. 

 

The other option would be to just switch to a mirrorless system like Sony or Olympus. They're so compact and image quality will still blow you away when paired with quality lenses. 

 

Cheers,

 

Chris


Edited by Undertow, 20 January 2018 - 12:17 PM.


#8 Kraken de Mabini

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 02:04 PM

We seem to have a reasonably uniform consensus, ie, the Nikon D500 as a great camera, housed in a  Subal with a bayonet port Type 3.  

If need be, the Subal bayonet port is easy to remove and exchange, as it is secured by a few screws, plus an O ring.  ReefPhoto has the bayonet ports, I seem to recall; the person to call is Kevin Palmer, he is up to the minute on housing matters.  If memory serves me, last we spoke Kevin tended to favor Nauticam housings; the adapter for Subal ports is a tad over $200.  To me Subal vs Nauticam sounds like a toss up, throw both high up and choose the housing which lands on its side.



#9 TimG

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 02:40 PM

Id just argue if youre going Subal, go Type4. Its better for the Nikkor 105, I found. Just easier getting the lens in and out without removing the camera from the housing; and without knocking the focus limiter switch accidentally.

Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800 and D500, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE, Tokina 10-17,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#10 okuma

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 04:13 PM

Claire:

We just took possession of two Nikon D500 cameras and Subal housings from Reef Photo

They were ordered in late November during the time of many comments about Subal's financial problems.

We did not experience any problems.

Each was equipped with the Subal TTL and flash triggers. Reef set up and dialed in the TTL units and they are spot on.

This was our fourth set of Subal housings from Reef.

We are still using our original ports and ordered the new housings with the type 3 housing ring.

We are also on our second upgrade of Vivid vacuum systems. As a supplier, Vivid is one of the best - ranks up there with Reef !

Regardless of which housing you go with, I strongly recommend the Vivid.


Underwater Photography:
If it is so easy every one would be doing it!

Nikon D 500, Subal Housing, Inon Z 240 strobes.


#11 TimG

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 11:41 PM

Agreed on the Vivid. Great piece of kit!

Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800 and D500, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE, Tokina 10-17,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#12 TimG

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 03:55 AM

Another couple of thoughts:

 

Like Okuma, I've had bits and pieces  and contact with Subal since "the concern" and have had no problems at all.

 

You asked, Claire, why the switch from FX back to DX.

 

I think, as you suggest, it was more about the camera than the format. I'd read/seen very good things about the D500; the D850 is expensive and, in the past at least, I have liked to buy two camera bodies: one to use topside whilst the other is in the housing - and  available in case of a flood/malfunction of a camera. I could get 2x D500 for the price of one D850. Trying to reduce total travel weight/volume was another advantage I thought with the D500/DX.

 

As Chris says, D500 macro is knock-out. I can't honestly say about wide-angle yet. The viz was often pretty grim on my recent trip to Anilao/PG and the Tokina CFWA shots are generally rubbish - although I can see the potential in some Rhinopius-on-the-reef shots. A trip to Bonaire later this year should give me some opportunities to test out the WA aspect. It was this that gave me the greatest pause for thought on deciding between DX and FX, D500 and D850. I have just been blown away by the wide-angle qualities of the D800. I really didn't want to lose this.

 

Someone, Alex? Adam? suggested keeping both systems: horses for courses - D800 for WA; D500 for macro. Sadly my partner's baggage allowance doesn't extend that far. Nor her patience and understanding  :crazy:

 

Tim

 


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800 and D500, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE, Tokina 10-17,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#13 clairegoodwin

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 05:15 AM

Thanks everyone this has been a really useful discussion. Although fancy your partner not wanting to sacrifice their baggage Tim .

I will definitely look into to vivid vacuum systems as well as the various housings. Good to hear of your positive subal experience Okuma.

Chris I had thought of a mirrorless system as an option. Certainly a lot lighter to travel with and I have friends who get great results with the Olympus pen and similar. That's a while other debate though (and one I may return to when I get some quotes in!).

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#14 trimix125

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 06:24 AM

Hi Claire,

if mirrorless, i would have a look for the Sony A6300 and family...
Smaller than Dslr, but in DX format, housings like Nauticam with only 1kg!!!

I had the Olympus OMD5, which was fine, but poor in low light situations....
A problem of the small sensor size.
That was the reason to change it.

But if i have a look to my cabin bag ;-(((

And my girl friend takes under water pictures too....

Regards,
Wolfgang



#15 fforbes

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 03:35 PM

***ahem** I just so happen to have the Nikon D500 camera for sale, with everything it came with, including the box and blank warranty card, at $500. off the going price ( $1400). It is listed in the "Classifieds" forum. If you are interested, let me know.


Fletcher

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Nikon D800, Subal, Sea&Sea D1's

#16 ChrisRoss

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 05:52 PM

Thanks everyone this has been a really useful discussion. Although fancy your partner not wanting to sacrifice their baggage Tim .

I will definitely look into to vivid vacuum systems as well as the various housings. Good to hear of your positive subal experience Okuma.

Chris I had thought of a mirrorless system as an option. Certainly a lot lighter to travel with and I have friends who get great results with the Olympus pen and similar. That's a while other debate though (and one I may return to when I get some quotes in!).

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Certainly mirrorless have also come a long way and the price and lens selection is very attractive.  If you look at prices for Nauticam housings, the NA-EM1-II is $1900 while the D500 is $3500.  They are also much less demanding on domes, with  the 170mm Zen dome doing a great job with the likes of the Oly or Pany 7-14mm lens.  Macro is also well served with the olympus 60mm lens.  I have just upgraded to the EM-1 MkII and find it great, AF is a big step up from the older models with C-AF that works quite well including tracking.  I don't buy the low light argument as I'm mostly shooting 100% strobe light and in any case the increased DOF from the smaller sensor means I'm not needing to stop down to f11-16, I mostly shoot at f8.   

 

As far as travel goes have a look at my kit packed into a standard domestic carry on size roller here:  http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=5814&page=6 just scroll down to find my post.



#17 PeteAtkinson

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 06:40 PM

Considering how you use your pictures, and that the D300 is a great camera (and spare bodies are available cheaply) I am wondering why you feel the need to upgrade at all? If you go full-frame you will likely miss the 10-17 Tokina very much (I do). Sure the D500 is a great camera but do you need that added resolution or other features? Even if you keep your current system, a vacuum check is a great idea. I use Vivid Sentinel.

It sounds to me like you have the ideal system for what you do.



#18 clairegoodwin

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:33 AM

Thanks for the input on mirrorless Chris and Wolfgang. I'll look into those. I guess one reason for keeping with Nikon is that I am familiar with it but sure I could learn a new system with practice.

I'll definitely check out your advert fforbes - although probably not quite in position to buy yet.

Pete good point and exactly why I have been dithering. My hand has been forced rather. I had a lot of issues with my current set up last summer with strobes not firing. We couldn't pin point the issue (multi-meter testing seemed to find no problems), switching sync cables (several different ones) and strobes didn't work, seemed to be both sides. It would work fine on surface when tested and then fail at depth but then work fine next dive so presume a wire somewhere that was squeezing under pressure. I did buy completely new sync cable and it worked on my last dive but I am not confident. I need my images for work so this was more than annoying. I looked into sending the housing for a service but this is over 1000 dollars plus parts as my nearest agent is in the states. I think my d300 may also need a service as i feel i am having focussing issues. Then I started wondering if it was worth it as eventually I will need to replace anyway......So that's the logic.

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#19 trimix125

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 05:06 AM


Hi Claire,

the strobes were a reason for my to change from wire to fibre wire...
Had the same troubles on a trip, and didnt wanted that for the next...

Hi Chris,
low light is a thema if you are not allowed to use strobes ;-))
That happens in some places for big animals.
And could get more, what is in my thoughts not a silly idea.
Specially in protected areas, for rare species, this can be the future.
And good for the animals, if passed by a dozend differs a day, so that their habitate looks like a permanent thunder storm....

For me it was the visit of Malapascua, philippines.
On the tresher shark dives are no strobes or lamps allowed.
And at 6 am in 30m of dark, green water my Olympus OMD5 was simply not good enought.
Iso up to 1600 and you see the difference.
Last year i used the D500 for that, and that was wow!

Regards,
Wolfgang


Edited by trimix125, 24 January 2018 - 05:08 AM.


#20 PeteAtkinson

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 08:31 PM

Claire, when testing strobe cables with a multi-meter, check, obviously for low impedance along each conductor. But also check for infinite impedance between the conductors. I have cables that got dampness within, and checking on a high range showed slight conductivity between some wires. And it produced all kinds of headaches until I discovered this and changed the cable.