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Nikon D3 and Subal ND3


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#21 wobby

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 07:17 PM

Alex,

Thanks for posting such a great article, was looking forward to the latest edition each day.

Now can you also do one for the D700, D90, D......

All the best

Nigel
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#22 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 01:34 AM

Thanks guys. I would happily do more reviews, but they underwater photography world is just not set up for them. People just don't have housings and cameras available for this purpose, which I feel is a pity.

In this case the review was possible because of the generosity of Ryan and Craig. I was supposed to get the D3 from Nikon UK, but this fell through as my trip coincided with some small sporting event in Beijing! Nikon are particularly keen to lend their D3 to Canon shooters at the moment!

Anyway, I agree it would be great to have more reviews available, particularly ones where photographers have not just bought the system.

Alex

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#23 craig

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 06:37 AM

I think reviews like this are invaluable and this one is especially well done. Since I believe you, Alex, are far more qualified than I am at this job, I'd be happy to lend you equipment any time I'm in a position to help. If you are interested in testing a modified D300, let me know. ;)
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#24 james

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 09:25 AM

Alex makes a really good point about reviews: the best most un-biased review is usually done by someone who did not just buy the housing. I've done a few reviews like that (owned the Aquatica S2 housing but reviewed the Seacam), etc. I own the Seacam housing for the Canon MkIII but I'll soon be testing the Aquatica housing.

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#25 Warren_L

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 10:12 AM

Alex makes a really good point about reviews: the best most un-biased review is usually done by someone who did not just buy the housing. I've done a few reviews like that (owned the Aquatica S2 housing but reviewed the Seacam), etc. I own the Seacam housing for the Canon MkIII but I'll soon be testing the Aquatica housing.

Cheers
James


The inherent problem with this is that there aren't a lot of people that have access to housings they don't own, so the majority of comments about housing systems are going to be from owners. But you should also expect a fair degree of bias since if you're like me and do your research before you buy something, you'd likely choose the one you like the most to begin with. That shouldn't be a surprise.

I own the Aquatica housing for the D3. Perhaps you and I could swap housings and write reviews. ;)

Edited by Warren_L, 19 September 2008 - 10:13 AM.


#26 Drew

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 10:12 AM

Well James
The other side of that is that being an owner, that someone can certainly be less likely be umm mindful of the manufacturer's sensitivities :)
It's a very narrow path. ;)
But absolutely, people need to know the pros and cons of every brand. Objectively.

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#27 craig

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Posted 19 September 2008 - 11:13 AM

Alex invested weeks of dedicated diving to the review and he was already familiar with Subal and Nikon pro bodies. That's a rare luxury that must have contributed to the quality of the review. His perspectives on AF, lenses, and full frame go far beyond what we normally see in a review.

If I had tested the same setup without having owned Subal before, my dominant impression would have been how I hated the handles. I'm petty like that. ;)
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#28 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 12:51 AM

I'd be happy to lend you equipment any time I'm in a position to help. If you are interested in testing a modified D300, let me know. :)


Thanks for the offer, Craig. Regarding the modified D300 - I actually think that is best tested in the pool since the main interest is to see how it performs specifically against an un-moded D300.

The other side of that is that being an owner, that someone can certainly be less likely be umm mindful of the manufacturer's sensitivities :)
It's a very narrow path. ;)


I agree that this is always factor. If a manufacturer or dealer has been kind enough to lend you there kit there is a pressure to be positive. It is different with dive gear tests because all the manufacturer's are lending out kit all the time. But camera kit is different because it is rare that kit is made available for review. I'd like to think I would have written the same things about the D3 whether I had got it from Nikon UK or Craig.

Personally, I am happy writing it as I see it. There is no point doing a review of an expensive and complex product if you not going to get into the nitty gritty. That said I always try and make criticism constructive. For example with the Subal ND3 I was underwhelmed by the standard viewfinder - suggesting users get either the GS or 45 degree one (I haven't tried the latter myself yet - hoping to tomorrow if the weather holds). I even squeesed in some critique of the Subal 105mm VR port that does not have space for a dioptre, despite it not being anything specific to do with the D3! Again putting forward an alternative solution. I think that some reviews can get bogged on a negative point. deal with them and move on.

Alex invested weeks of dedicated diving to the review and he was already familiar with Subal and Nikon pro bodies. That's a rare luxury that must have contributed to the quality of the review. His perspectives on AF, lenses, and full frame go far beyond what we normally see in a review.
If I had tested the same setup without having owned Subal before, my dominant impression would have been how I hated the handles. I'm petty like that. :)


Well, it was rather enjoyable doing the diving and photography! One of my overriding impressions was how easy the D3 was to get used to. When I look at the pictures I don't even consider that this was my first time using the D3 seriously and my first time shooting FX digital.

I sometimes get the impression I am only one who likes the Subal handles, but I really don't like those round Ultralight ones that so many people use! Yuck!

Alex

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#29 John Bantin

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 02:08 AM

I agree that this is always factor. If a manufacturer or dealer has been kind enough to lend you there kit there is a pressure to be positive. It is different with dive gear tests because all the manufacturer's are lending out kit all the time. But camera kit is different because it is rare that kit is made available for review. I'd like to think I would have written the same things about the D3 whether I had got it from Nikon UK or Craig.


Alex


Nikon UK lent me a brand-new-to-the-market Nikonos RS in 1992. It flooded. They said it was my fault because "it was designed to go to 100m". They never lent me anything again! How many units do camera manufacturers sell to underwater photographers? Just to put things in perspective, my friend Ari, when boss of Suunto, was very pleased to announce to his opposite number at Nokia that Suunto was brand leader in diving computers. The Nokia man asked how many units Suunto made in a year. It equated to 5-minutes worth of Nokia production!

Just a point about reviewing dive gear. I've had threatening letters from the lawyers of most manufacturers over the years. (I say "Sue and make me famous!)

Edited by John Bantin, 20 September 2008 - 08:37 AM.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#30 Tjsnapper

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 07:47 AM

The D3 certainly looks like the real deal, I have used one for a day, (sadly above water), as Nikon are keen to convert as many Canon guys as possible, especially with the absolute balls up that canon made with the 1D Mk III focusing. I was sorely tempted by one but considering the 17K of accessories and lenses that i would have to part with as well, my feet were soon back on the ground. Having said that I ma sure that Canon won't make the same mistake again and the MkIIIn or MkIV will be just as awesome as the D3.
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#31 Drew

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Posted 20 September 2008 - 06:00 PM

I agree that this is always factor. If a manufacturer or dealer has been kind enough to lend you there kit there is a pressure to be positive... I'd like to think I would have written the same things about the D3 whether I had got it from Nikon UK or Craig.

I would think you were under EXTRA pressure to approve of Craig's particular camera because if you didn't, he'd have to return it ;)


I sometimes get the impression I am only one who likes the Subal handles, but I really don't like those round Ultralight ones that so many people use! Yuck!

I don't mind the ULCS ones, but I think the Seacam crescent handles made of composite materials is as good as stock handles come. But that is the problem in general isn't it? It all boils down to preferences. Writing a review without involving too much of personal preferences is difficult.


Nikon UK lent me a brand-new-to-the-market Nikonos RS in 1992. It flooded. They said it was my fault because "it was designed to go to 100m". They never lent me anything again!

You went to a 100m with a RS? Mine flooded at 72m... that's when I went to video in 95.

How many units do camera manufacturers sell to underwater photographers?

Well it's a big enough industry to support a decent number of housing manufacturers. I actually would be interested in actual numbers so we can present this to the camera manufacturers and ask for features that matter to us.


The D3 certainly looks like the real deal, I have used one for a day, (sadly above water), as Nikon are keen to convert as many Canon guys as possible, especially with the absolute balls up that canon made with the 1D Mk III focusing. I was sorely tempted by one but considering the 17K of accessories and lenses that i would have to part with as well, my feet were soon back on the ground. Having said that I ma sure that Canon won't make the same mistake again and the MkIIIn or MkIV will be just as awesome as the D3.

Well to be fair to Canon, the AF issue only pertains to certain shooting conditions. Quite a bit of the other AF issues were new users not knowing how to work the AF since it was a completely new design(which could have been the real problem, redesigning something and making it so complicated). No doubt Canon screwed up for sport/wildlife shooters and they lost some ground in the pro market. But I haven't heard of any underwater shooter having difficulties with their AF in housings.

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