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Sea & Sea DX100 - Brief report, 1st dives


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#1 donauw

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 01:40 PM

I just returned from a week of diving on Grand Truk with the Sea & Sea DX100 housing. Having had good experience with the Sea & Sea NX100 Pro and my F100 (and all the ports, gears, cables) it seemed to make sense to get the DX100. Observations:

1.It is clunky and not particularly ergonomic. Underwater, though, it is close to neutral with 2 Ike 200's attached. The lower housing tends to bump up against larger regulators but seems OK with my Atomic and OK with Drager Dolphin rebreather mouthpiece. After practice, controls are not much of an issue.

2.The viewfinder is somewhat limited but does not seem a big problem with a low volume mask and some adaptation.

3.Virtually NONE of the controls on the plastic part of the housing work consistantly below about 15 feet. Fortunately, the one that did seem to work the best was the LCD preview button. However, none of the toggle switch buttons would work and I was stuck with the choice of a histogram overlying the image all the time or none of the time. The main control wheel (allowing the change from Manual to Aperture to Shutter to Program, etc.) was not functional, either.

4.Sea & Sea service techs need to spend some time at Ikelite for customer relations training! All attempts to inquire about the availability of fixes for the above were met with, "Send it in and we'll look at it..." That I did ($37.50 shipping plus insurance, thank you very much)!

In short, NOT a great effort by Sea & Sea. :angryfire:

I'm on the waiting list for Light and Motion...

Regards,

#2 wesley

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 01:55 PM

I have a difference of opinion regarding the DX100. I have been diving with it on about 12 dives in Monterey California and Fort Bragg and have had excellent results....even with all the extra gear necessary to dive here.

The viewfinder in my opinion is not an issue at all.
Felt great underwater...a bit bulky on land but hey isn't everything about SCUBA diving bulky on land.
Controls...I had no problems with any of the controls...I had heard some people say this about the housing but even at 120 feet everything worked perfectly.

My only complaint is about the ys90dx....it leaked into the battery compartment at depth. Didn't ruin the strobe luckily.

hey donauw....if you are going to sell it let me know as i have a buddy that would love to buy it from you. Man those light and motion housing look amazing...but ouch$ :unsure:

#3 craig

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 04:57 PM

I have one I will definitely be selling. It includes the 8" dome port. I've replaced it with a Nexus as was my original plan. Function control does not work on mine either.
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#4 donauw

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 05:43 PM

Hmm, Triggerfish's experience gives me hope that perhaps Sea & Sea has a fix (well, make that fixes...). It will probably be easier to sell if it actually works :unsure:

#5 Gerb

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 07:05 PM

I've only made one trip with my DX100 (10 dives). The only real problem I encountered was the shutter lever set screw coming loose. 2nd time but thanks to Craig's warning I had the right allen wrench (1 1/2 mm I think). The local photo pro asked if I'd encountered any sticky toggle controls. I had not, but his had problems below 60' and his dome port blocked access to the MSC switch.
I found the housing handled well underwater, and yes a larger viewfinder would be nice, but shooting only the 60mm Macro, it was not nearly as bad as I had expected.
I'd say Sea & Sea's quality control as well as the service tech's aught to take lessons from Ikelite. I think Ike makes a better housing and if I were to change I'd go that way. Wonder when the first one will hit the street?

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#6 scorpio_fish

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 10:05 AM

Don, what kind of power settings were you using on your strobe setup? Macro, wide angle, f-stop info would be helpful.
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#7 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 11:48 AM

This is one reason Sea & Sea give their housings away... Magazines feel commited to good write up's. We in the UK have similar experiences with S & S quality control and non existant aftersales. It doesn't matter what went wrong with the camera (even new) it is always an incompetent customer.... Even if it was a leak caused by non user O rings.

On one occasion all S & S strobes were recalled to have gas valves fitted after a couple exploded - They had the cheek to charge everyone who sent their strobes in even tho' the parts were supplied free by Japan!

I do not know why they use these useless springs when cams are more effective and take up no more room, they are also easier to use with gloves on. To be fair most Japanese housings suffer the same fate and problems at relatively little depth.

After the likes of Ike's, UK-Germany & Nexus they should change the brand name to C & C!

#8 donauw

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 03:06 PM

Scorpio -

Wide angle 1/60th @ f11 or f16, strobes @ 1/2 or 1/4.

Closeup/Macro 1/60th @ f16, f22, f32 strobes at 1/4 and 1/8.

Regards,

#9 wesley

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 04:20 PM

Wow Sea and Sea is getting beat up...

I have not had to contact Sea and Sea about this housing as of yet. Took it out again this weekend in Monterey and got some amazing shots. I am really liking the lack of TTL on the D100 for underwater shooting...I know that sounds crazy.

I would love the Light and Motion housing though as the electronic strobe controls would be sweet...but then again...more to go wrong.

The way i look at it...the sea and sea housing is cheap (comparitively) and the D100 will be replaced by something else fairly quickly so i am not going to invest too heavily quite yet.

#10 donauw

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 04:52 PM

Umm...$2000, cheap? Can't wait to tell my wife! :D

#11 craig

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 05:09 PM

Umm...$2000, cheap?  Can't wait to tell my wife!   :D

My S&S was $1750 and my Nexus was $2400. No comparison quality-wise. The price difference is a small fraction of what a typical trip costs for me.
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#12 wesley

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 05:19 PM

Thats true..trips are expensive...in fact diving is pretty darn expensive...small price to pay though.

Hey How do you like that Nexus? The only reason I didn't buy the Nexus is that I already have Sea and Sea Ports and didn't want to invest the money in new ports.

#13 craig

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 05:51 PM

My first trip with it leaves the end of this week. So far all I've done are hot tub test dives.

I am much more impressed with it in real life than I expected to be. Everything operates smoothly and correctly. The camera is easy to remove and install. The thread-on ports aren't as hard to set up as I expected them to be. Overall I'm very pleased. We'll see if I can still say that after the trip.
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#14 davephdv

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 06:46 PM

Wesely. I agree. I really like the lack of TTL. Best thing that ever happened to my UW Photography. Ike e-mailed me to ask what I thought of the D100s DTTL and the SB 80DX strobe. I told him that wouldn't use it but that I suppose that he will have to develop it because of all the people that think they need it.
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#15 scorpio_fish

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 04:25 AM

Thanks for the feedback Don. Gives me a starting point.



Ike e-mailed me to ask what I thought of the D100s DTTL and the SB 80DX strobe. I told him that wouldn't use it but that I suppose that he will have to develop it because of all the people that think they need it.



Seacam resurrected their flash gun housing for old Nikon flash units for this very reason when they came out with the D1 housing. It seems to work well for macro, but I can't imagine switching out strobes for macro to w/a. Just more crap to carry and more ways to mess things up. Ikelite has some very sharp minds at work. I'm sure I could think of better things they could be working on.

Some people think this is heresy and I've got some testing on it in the works, but the beauty of digital raw is the ability to alter exposure and white balance. If one can get within a half stop using manual strobe settings, the correction is fairly easy.

I'm a big fan of TTL because it accurately does what it is supposed to do, which is not the same as saying it gives you correct results on every shot. It eliminates a mental step in the process and is usually more accurate than my guide number calculations. I see far less advantage to TTL with digital. I can't change the exposure of a slide (unless I scan it). Manual strobe control can easily let you get close enough to the proper exposure that a little digital tweaking can't fix.
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#16 james

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 09:05 AM

I love my TTL for macro (with the S2). I found that I just need to set the cam on F22 @ 1/125th and put the strobes on TTL. Then dial in +1.0 flash compensation and I get perfect exposures every time.

This is what I used last week for my night dive in Grand Cayman - I was shooting at the closest focus point for the lens - about 9 inches out 1:1.5 macro.

For fish portraits and stuff "Further out" I think strobes on full is the way to go.

Cheers
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#17 wesley

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 09:48 AM

Definitely nothing wrong with TTL for digital...I always loved TTL for Film and I thought I would miss it but I don't at all. I hardly touch my shutter speed...usually leave in the 1/125th or 1/160th range and just adjust the ap. I have the YS90DX pretty much down to just a couple of settings...full for wide angle (unless I have a subject in the close foreground) and half for macro and adjust the ap). Working so far.

#18 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 10:01 AM

I think that you're right, James. As soon as you want to shoot moving subjects or action macro TTL is a must. Of course it is easy to get exposures right with manual flash - but when you only have one chance on that really top class subject we need TTL...

Housing a DTTL gun (e.g. SB80DX) is pretty easy - I have now got my SB80DX working with my Subal housed D100 - but it would probably best to buy a camera like the S2 in the first place that TTLs with all Nikon/Nikonos compatible strobes.

And I am sure that it will come as no shock to anyone who knows Subals that their D100 housing is ergonomically superb.

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#19 wesley

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 10:33 AM

What housing did you buy for the SB80DX?

#20 colincci

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 06:57 AM

I just got back from a week of diving in the Exuma Cays with a D100 and a Sea & Sea housing. I had fantastic results. Both the D100 and the housing worked flawlessly. The only problem I had was on one dive, one of the buttons which controls the autofocus zone stuck. I pressed it a few times and the problem cleared.

I was shooting with a sigma 14mm in the 8" dome port and with a Micro Nikkor 60mm and also the AF Nikkor 28-105 mm zoom in a flat port. Everything worked great. Although I was not using any focus or zoom gears. I had some great results with the 28-105 which I mounted fully zoomed (105mm) and locked in macro focus mode. The only problem was, other divers kept finding and showing me big stuff when I had this config. One fellow swam over and dragged me to photograph a 7' sleeping nurse shark. With the 105 in macro mode, I couldn't have photographed it's eye ball! Might have to see if I can get a zoom gear for this lense.



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