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Thoughts on Sony Nex 5n & Recsea Housing


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#1 cheetohcat

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:36 AM

Thought I'd post a review of the Sony Nex-5n Recsea housing now that I've had it for a month or so, and gotten to dive with it several times. I've been getting a few PMs here and on another board about the set up, so I tried to cover off on any of the questions:

First Impressions:
I upgraded from my beloved Canon s90 to the Sony Nex 5n in the Recsea housing, dome port, 18-55mm port, 16mm port, and 67mm snap on wet lens adapter for the 18-55mm port. I was able to first see the housing in person and bought it up from Bluewater Photo near where I live in LA. For the camera system itself, I have the Nex 5n body with 18-55mm kit lens, 16mm WA pancake lens, and the fisheye WA adapter for the 16mm.

The biggest overall benefit I've found thus far is that I am seeing significantly better picture quality, while my actual set up is virtually identical in size. It was important to me to keep the size compact since I do try do several dive trips a year and always bring my full camera set up. For reference, my original set up is the Canon s90 in FIX housing, BTS tray, ULCS arms/clamps, 2x Inon z240 strobes, sola 600 light.

LEFT: Canon s90 FIX Housing with UWL-04 lens
RIGHT: Sony Nex 5n Recsea Housing with dome port
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Build Quality:
The housing just feels rock solid in terms of construction. I have never been a fan of the polycarbonate type housings (I had a few in the past for other cameras and I always ended up replacing them); I do believe you get what you pay for and I prefer the feel and security of the aluminum housing. Nice big fat o-rings securely seal the back cover and the interchangeable ports.

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Controls/Usability:
All controls were clearly marked and the housing has full access to the Nex 5n control wheel and buttons, flash on/off & zoom. Using the camera IN the housing is virtually exactly the same user interface as when the camera is OUT of the housing. Controls were still easy to manipulate as I wanted to change shutter speed, aperture, iso, and focus points on the fly, even with 3 to 5mm gloves on. There was a lot more spacing between buttons etc which was nice to see vs. my s90 which has a rather cramped layout.

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Expansion Flexibility:
I fully admit that the need to switch ports struck some fear and anxiety into my heart as someone use to sealing up my compact camera at home during prep, and then not touching it again until I either 1) needed to changed the battery or 2) I was safely back home again post diving. And lens changes? I used to gleefully swap back and forth with using the Dyron quick adapters on my s90 so I could go from UWA to stacked macro wet lenses in seconds.

I am greatly relieved to say the Recsea alleviated my fears by being very user friendly, but very secure. Port changes were simple with a release button on the front of the housing and then you twist the port off. The ports feel very secure when attached, and I have not experienced any leaks nor seen any vignetting with any of the 3 ports.

For lens changes I did of course have to give up the full flexibility of both WA and macro wet lenses, but that has more to do with changing from compact to a mirrorless compact system. The housing does allow to also easily change lenses at the same time you are changing the port (without removing the entire camera from the housing via the back door). There's a button on the bottom left of of the port opening that allows you to push the camera lens release button so you can simply remove and swap lenses when you are changing ports.

Compatibility with existing parts:
Because the housing is so compact, I easily mounted it to my existing same tray and arm set. There is a strobe mask that mounts on the exterior of the housing and blocks the internal flash. It has two pre-drilled holes that securely hold your strobe fiber optic cables. The top of the housing also has a 1/4" hole where you could add another mounting adapter of your choice or accessory.

I also picked up the snap on adapter that fits onto the 18-55mm port and allows you to mount m67 type lenses & accessories. I am using it to hold my athena ring flash, or single or double stacked macro wet lenses that I carried over from my s90 set up. It's very convenient to be able to bring the wet lenses along and just pop them on/off depending on your subject.

Sample Photos
Note: I almost always shoot with manual camera settings and strobes, so any issues with exposure are mine. :drink:

Wide Angle - just absolutely wonderful. The Nex-5n + 16mm pancake and Fisheye adapter inside the dome port offers such an incredibly wide angle of view. I believe it's pretty much a 180, and I can definitely see the difference vs. the UWA on the Canon s90 with reached approximately 150 degrees. I'm having to adjust my 'go to' positions for my strobes with the extra view. ;)

16mm + fisheye in dome port - ambient light
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16mm + fisheye in dome port - strobes
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16mm + fisheye in dome port - strobes
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Macro - I haven't done as much macro shooting vs WA thus far with it, but my initial thoughts are the combo of the 18mm-55mm + 2x macro wet lenses are fine for the majority the shooting I do (I don't do super macro ...don't know how the heck those guys and gals spot those tiny things!) I am however hoping Sony or a 3rd party comes out with longer focal length macro lens later this year.

18-55mm lens with 2 stacked Inon UCL-165 macro lenses
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18-55mm lens with 2 stacked Inon UCL-165 macro lenses
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Mid - the 18-55 mm lens is pretty useful as well. You do need to use a zoom gear on this lens, but I simply leave it on the lens at all times so I don't lose it, even if I am shooting topside with it.

18-55MM - strobes
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Video - I tend to prefer stills, but I know many of you have questions on this so I shot some video on a recent wreck dive. Will update this review later once I actually get around to editing it...

Overall, I am really enjoying shooting with the Sony Nex 5n and Recsea housing system. For me it just feels like a great combination of capability, flexibility to grow, quality and price point.

Edited by cheetohcat, 15 March 2012 - 01:30 AM.

Sony Nex 5n, Recsea housing/ports, 2x strobes, ring flash, Sola 600, BTS tray, UCLS arms

#2 oskar

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:53 AM

Thanks!

That control wheel on the back and other controls looks reassuring for ergonomics . How do you go about in manual mode changing aperture and shutter (and ISO)

Fisheye looks great, would the rectilinear add on lens work as well in the same dome do you recon? (or anyone)

Cheers
Oskar


Controls/Usability:
All controls were clearly marked and the housing has full access to the Nex 5n control wheel and buttons, flash on/off & zoom. Using the camera IN the housing is virtually exactly the same user interface as when the camera is OUT of the housing. Controls were still easy to manipulate as I wanted to change shutter speed, aperture, iso, and focus points on the fly, even with 3 to 5mm gloves on. There was a lot more spacing between buttons etc which was nice to see vs. my s90 which has a rather cramped layout.


Wide Angle - just absolutely wonderful. The Nex-5n + 16mm pancake and Fisheye adapter inside the dome port offers such an incredibly wide angle of view. I believe it's pretty much a 180, and I can definitely see the difference vs. the UWA on the Canon s90 with reached approximately 150 degrees. I'm having to adjust my 'go to' positions for my strobes with the extra view. :drink:



#3 cheetohcat

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 07:38 PM

shutter speed you can change via the wheel, and I switch to aperture by just pushing the down direction once on the wheel toggle, and then turn the wheel to adjust.

For ISO, I programmed in the Right side of wheel soft key so that I could change it quickly if needed.

Not sure about the rectilinear lens and the dome however. Hopefully someone else will pipe in on that!



Thanks!

That control wheel on the back and other controls looks reassuring for ergonomics . How do you go about in manual mode changing aperture and shutter (and ISO)

Fisheye looks great, would the rectilinear add on lens work as well in the same dome do you recon? (or anyone)

Cheers
Oskar


Sony Nex 5n, Recsea housing/ports, 2x strobes, ring flash, Sola 600, BTS tray, UCLS arms

#4 oskar

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 01:19 PM

Has anybody tried the Recsea + dome with the 16mm + rectilinear add-on lens? How soft is it?

Cheers
/O

An old thread brough back to life, i hope

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#5 Alex_Tattersall

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 11:31 AM

Nice shots!
www.flickr.com/photos/alextattersall

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