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DX-D100


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#1 underwatercolours

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 08:38 AM

Hi all, I'm brand new here. I was referred here from another forum.

I just got my DX-D100 housing from Sea & Sea and am headed down to Cozumel in a couple of weeks to test it out. I have already noticed that the Function Control knob doesn't work because the inside wheel slips when trying to make contact to the camera control. Sea & Sea is working on a fix for this. Any tips from other DX-D100 users? For now I'm using two DX120 strobes and/or an Ikelite 200.

#2 james

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 08:41 AM

Here's an idea,

Can you put a felt pad or a thin rubber stopper on it? That might help keep it from slipping.

Another thought is that it may engage once you get to depth and the housing compresses a bit.

Cheers
James
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Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#3 underwatercolours

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Posted 06 March 2003 - 09:03 AM

Thanks James!

Right now I've got several layers of thin double-sided tape wrapped around the wheel. This is what Sea & Sea suggested. It does make contact and turns the wheel, but it is difficult to tell whether the wheel is spinning, or if it actually turned the function control knob on the camera. Even harder to tell whether this will work at depth. I'll let you know.

Bonnie

#4 donauw

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 12:59 AM

I was able to get the wheel working with several wraps of friction tape...I marked the top of the housing with the sequence P, A, S, M for the settings (although they do show up in the viewfinder).

I suspect you will also, like many of us, find that many of the rear housing buttons do not function below about 15 feet. The preview button on my (now back with Sea & Sea...) housing DID continue to work. However, I found it best to setup the preview with the histogram showing, because none of the 4 keypad buttons worked underwater. That way you can get a good handle on exposure (at the expense of some composition information). I was unable to toggle through any of the image review functions underwater. Also, you may not be able to make any menu changes underwater...make sure you check your settings before you dive (i.e. white balance, image quality, etc.).

You may also want to check out how the housing hits on your regulator above water. I tried mine initially in a pool with a larger reg and it pushed the bottom of the housing out too far. I had no problem with a smaller regulator (i.e. Atomic) or rebrether hose and mouthpiece.

Having said all this, I did get some great pics with mine. Just be prepared for some frustration. See posts at http://wetpixel.com/...f=18&t=1723&hl= for more information.

#5 underwatercolours

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 08:01 AM

Thanks Don, this is all so surprising. This is my third Sea & Sea housing (others are not digital) and they all worked so flawlessly. I didn't know about the reg issue either, but I too have an Atomic so hopefully it won't be a problem. Do you know if others have had the back button problem?

On another topic, do you use the aperture ring at all or make your adjustments all electronically?

Thanks

Bonnie

#6 donauw

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Posted 07 March 2003 - 03:37 PM

I also have had other Sea & Sea housings (still have the NX100 Pro) and liked them very much. The DX D100 seems to have been rushed into production.

Yes, others seem to have had the problems with the buttons and rear controls, but some have not - go figure.

I do not use the aperture ring. The subcommand (aperture) control is on the aluminum portion of the housing and works well.

Enjoy your trip and let us know how it goes!

Regards,

#7 Slippery-when-wet

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 01:09 PM

Recall: Sorry Don apparently it was a wind-up...

#8 donauw

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Posted 08 March 2003 - 03:46 PM

Any details on the recall? I could not find it on Divernet.

Regards,

#9 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 10 March 2003 - 01:41 PM

If anyone is interested in seeing just what the D100 is capable of in Macro

Check these

#10 markh

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Posted 13 March 2003 - 01:17 AM

Wow, those macro shots are absolute masterpieces.
Dirk Pitt taught me everything!!!!
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#11 underwatercolours

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 04:59 PM

I'm just back from 12 days in Cozumel and my first time using the Sea & Sea DX100 housing. I'm working on a report, which will be on-line soon. Here's a quick preview and link to photos...

After my first dive I hated the housing. It is too bulky, too heavy on land and too buoyant underwater (with the wide dome port). I had problems with my dual synch cord on the first dive. Later I switched to my single strobe synch cord and slaved the second strobe with produced a little better results. The settings I was accustomed to using with film camera housings were now scrapped and I had to start over with tests to figure out how to shoot down there. Still discouraged, I was tempted to pack it away and use my NX90 film housing for the rest of the trip.

But I forced myself to keep working at it. When I switched to macro, I had a whole different experience. The housing was no longer floating away on me (due to the flat port), and the shots I was getting were amazing.

By the end of the trip I felt a little better about it, but still have some reservations about the size and buoyancy of the housing. More details on this in my report coming as soon as I can stop scratching my jellyfish stings. Check out the photos on the Under Watercolours web site.

Bonnie

#12 james

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 05:30 PM

Thanks for the quick report Bonnie. Look forward to seeing some of your shots.

Cheers
James
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Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#13 craig

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Posted 28 March 2003 - 06:06 PM

I agree with the bouyancy issue. I'd forgotten about it since I had access to an ankle weight and some zipties. Mine was about a pound positive with the big dome and 16mm lens.
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#14 ehanauer

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Posted 29 March 2003 - 08:31 AM

I've been using the DX100 since January, approximately 25 dives. Despite some teething problems, like some of the back controls not working consistently underwater, I've had excellent results to the extent I've put my film cameras up for sale. The housing is slightly positive with the big dome, but provides sharp images corner to corner. For examples, check out my website, www.ehanauer.com. All the Tahiti images, plus the P-38 image in the wreck section, were shot with the DX100. Additionally, all the New Zealand images were shot on land with the D100 (I was shooting video uw on that trip).

Eric :huh:
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#15 underwatercolours

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Posted 29 March 2003 - 01:41 PM

Making the Digital Switch
One photographers first experience with a housed digital SLR

I had planned to write a simple review of my new digital SLR housing but found myself constantly comparing it to my beloved film housing, which I have been using for several years. Iíve been shooting digital underwater since the first point-and-shoot housings were available, but when Sea & Sea announced the DX-D100 for the Nikon D100 digital camera, I put my name on the list to get one ASAP.

My first impression of the housing was that this thing was a beast! Camera inside with no lens weighed over 10 pounds. When comparing options at DEMA, I found that added weight and bulk was going to be the norm for this first round of digital SLR housings available at that time.

The D100 fit perfectly in the housing and all the buttons and switches lined up and worked flawlessly with the exception of the function dial. This is the dial on the top left side of the camera, which controls the shooting mode, ISO, white balance, quality and AF-area. On the suggestion of Sea & Sea, I wrapped a couple of layers of double-sided tape around the wheel on the housing so it would make contact with and effectively turn the dial. This worked, but underwater it was difficult to see what setting I was at. The tape just made my camera dial sticky, so I scrapped that idea and I set the camera to manual, ISO 200, automatic white balance, RAW and just kept it there. Sea & Sea tells me a fix is on the way for this dial. Once it is functional, it will still be difficult to tell where the dial is set at since the plastic portion of the housing just above the dial is frosted. Iím not sure why they didnít make that part of the housing clear like the control panel window on the right top of the housing. Perhaps with the fix they will add some marks on the outside dial to alleviate this problem. I really like the clear housing back. The LCD is clear and visible both above water and below. I didnít have any of the back button issues I had heard about. Everything there worked flawlessly. The cameraís quick response made all of these buttons very effective.

Since all my Sea & Sea accessories are compatible with this housing, I used the same synch cords, arms and strobes and I would with my NX90 housing, this being the Sea & Sea flexible arms and dual YS120 strobes. I also attached a Light & Motion Sunray MOD light to aid in focusing.

I did my first dive using the wide dome port with a 14mm lens. I shot in manual mode most of the time. I was very impressed with how easy it was to change the shutter speed and aperture using the dials on the right side and back of the housing, which are conveniently positioned. Unlike my NX90 housing, the on/off switch works perfectly too. Using this port the housing was very buoyant. I later strapped a 2# weight to the bottom of the housing to keep it and me at a comfortable buoyancy level, making it a little heavy. A 1.5# ankle weight might have been perfect. My NX90 housing using the same port is only slightly buoyant and considering the DX-D100 housing weighed considerably more than the NX90, I was surprised by this.

I quickly learned that all the settings I used for film no longer applied. The first dive was frustrating because I had gone back to being a beginner. I had problems with my dual synch cord, which worked fine on the surface and by the end of the dive I didnít have any strobes at all. I did have to turn down my LCD brightness, since is was a bit too bright underwater.

When shooting wide angle I typically always shoot up toward the sun. Cozumelís bright sunny weather, amazing visibility, and unlimited supply of strikingly colorful subjects creates the perfect place to do this. I already knew I would have problems with burn-out, but hoped to find the perfect balance of strobe power, ambient light and sun to make this happen. By stopping down my aperture and using by using dual strobes at full power to light my foreground subject, I did have some success. However, the minute I put my macro port onto that housing, my wide angle interests became low priority.

Macro shooting with this digital setup is nothing less than amazing. From the first shot, I could get perfect exposure and focus in nearly every image. I was still completely manual, with my strobes now at 1/2 power. The D100 Playback Menu settings allow you to adjust the Display Mode to include a histogram and/or highlights display when the image is previewed. I found this to be invaluable underwater. The display showed me immediately if the highlights were blown out. The display is very obvious and you can immediately determine whether or not youíll need to adjust your aperture or shutter speed. With such predictable results, I had a hard time going back to the issues I have yet to resolve with wide angle. I guess thatís a good reason to go back to Cozumel for a follow-up trip.

Another frustration was one that I didnít expect at all. The immediate feedback of shooting digital was bittersweet. I was immediately seeing my rejects. When I shot film, the poor exposures and out-of-focus frames quickly made it into the trash and were soon forgotten. With digital, I would see my mistakes immediately and my ego was a bit bruised by the reality. Of course this was a blessing in disguise, since in most cases I could re-shoot until I got it right. After a while I felt like I was cheating.

With my NX90 housing I can dive any reef in Cozumel and shoot 36 frames in one dive unless visibility or other conditions donít allow. I typically use up the roll whenever possible, knowing I would not want to do a second dive with any less than a full roll of film in my camera. With the 1 Gb Micro Drive, this was no longer an issue. I could shoot as many or as few images as I wanted. I had plenty of storage space for both dives. Compared to other underwater digital housed cameras Iíve used in the past, the D100 made it very easy for me to tell which ones I could delete while still underwater in the event I did run out of room. Since I travel nowhere without my G4 Powerbook and my digital wallet, I backed up my daily gatherings every evening.

Who says size doesnít matter?

Iím not a large person, so the weight and buoyancy of the housing was a bit hard to get used to. Had I been on a live-aboard, lugging the gear around might not have been as much of an issue, but diving in Cozumel always requires some schlepping from hotel to dive boat. I believe Iím a stronger person as a result of it, or possibly Iíve just gotten better at flirting with the Mexican Divemasters to get their assistance. I also had to request a bigger rinse tank on the dive boats. My housing no longer fit into the tubs they typically use.

I wish the housing was smaller and lighter weight. Iím already spoiled by all the advantages of digital and will not go back, but at the same time Iím not ready to put my NX90 housing on ebay. In due time Iím going to get tired of paying even more money for the overweight baggage I carry with me all over the world. Maybe now is a good time to hire that full-time assistant. Iím also planning to add a second bulkhead to the DX-D100 housing to avoid potential synch cord issues.

You can see the photos taken with the Sea & Sea DX-D100 housing on my web site.

Bonnie

Some specs:
Nikon D100 camera body weighs 1 pound, 12.2 oz.
Nikon N90s camera body weighs 1 pound, 14.6 oz.
Sea & Sea NX90 housing weighs 5 pounds without a port
Sea & Sea DX-D100 housing weighs 8 pounds, 8.6 oz. without a port

Posted ImagePosted Image

#16 james

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 09:28 AM

Hi Bonnie,

Thanks for the detailed housing/camera review. As you have learned, Digital SLR's take some getting used to. That is why I'm especially impressed when I see a good wide angle shot - like Eric Cheng's.

I agree with you 100% that digital housings can be bulky. In my mind, this is because digital cameras change "form factor" so often that housing manufacturers have had to adopt a "one size fits all" housing design. Ike has been doing this for years and that's why he is always "first to market" with his digital housings. Sometimes because of this quick start advantage, Ike is the ONLY one to make a housing...

Sea and Sea has decided to adopt Ike's approach with their DX housings and if you're a Sea and Sea film housing user, it's going to take some getting used to.

FWIW, there are a few housings for the D100 that don't have "extra space" in them, but it comes at a price (of course). The Nexus is a masterpiece for example.

Cheers
James Wiseman
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Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#17 Bad boy

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 10:01 AM

Great photos Bonnie, as usual. I didn't do that good even after ten trips with my camera.
:huh:
How has Sea & Sea been about fixing the things that don't work?

#18 underwatercolours

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Posted 31 March 2003 - 10:52 AM

So far, fantastic. I sent them an email this morning and got a phone call back from Miki in the service dept within an hour of my email, asking me to send the housing in for the fix and additional bulkhead. In many years of doing business with Sea & Sea my experiences have always been way above average. I'm sure they'll take good care of me. :huh: