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Subal ND4 - discussion of housing setup, including Pv, Fn and AF-ON(vert).


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#1 buddy

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:48 AM

Sorry, could not resist to post these kind of "unpacking and first handhold" pictures of what I just received by the friendly man from UPS:

first final production Subal housing ND4 for Nikon D4!!!!!!!!

This is an amazing "biest". All "deficiencies" in former Subal housings are corrected with this masterpiece IMO:

- portlock
- dedicated buttons for AF-ON, Flash On-Off, Fn and Pv
- all function buttons are reachable by the hands without leaving the hands off the housing
- seperate ISO button
- dedicated start video button
- leak detector by sound and sight
- more to be figured out in the next few days....

here some pictures (sorry for IQ but only by my old iphone 3), have fun:

1208 Janine-0001.jpg

1208 Janine-0002.jpg

1208 Janine-0005.jpg


2 more "blind" buttons available, e.g. for HDMI-connector (--> Atomos Ninja...)

1208 Janine-0004.jpg



5 buttons to be reached easily by the right thumb and forefinger:

- shutter release (front; forefinger)
- Fn-Pv button (middle-front section; forefinger, forward for Pv and backward for Fn)
- Video record button (middle section, forefinger)
- AF-ON (back; thumb)
- AF-On Vertical (back; can be reassigned for flash-off for instance)

1208 Janine-0006.jpg

1208 Janine-0008.jpg

1208 Janine-0009.jpg


this shows the ISO-button to be used with the thumb of left hand:

1208 Janine-0012.jpg

{EDIT BY MOD - AM - TOPIC TITLE CHANGED]

Juerg
www.jvpictures.com
Nikon D4s, Nikon 16-35 /f4 VR II, 70-180,105mm f/2.8, Subal ND4 housing and ports, 2 Subtronic Fusion (flash and video lights), Sigma 15mm /f2.8, Subal 4" Minidome


#2 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:11 AM

Congrats on the new arrival.

That ISO button looks good. It is easier to see all the controls than on Predrag's black one.

Alex

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#3 loftus

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 10:04 AM

Looks very nice; nice improvements. Great to see that they've responded to the type of improvements seen with Nauticam housings. Does the port lock work with extension rings?
Have they applied all these improvements, particularly ISO button to the D800 as well?
Must admit I am partial to the clean look of Subal housings.

Edited by loftus, 06 September 2012 - 10:08 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#4 buddy

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 04:18 PM

yes they do work directly with the extension ring type 4 and also on type 3 mounts providing the new bayonnet adapter is mounted. Don't know about the D800.

Juerg
www.jvpictures.com
Nikon D4s, Nikon 16-35 /f4 VR II, 70-180,105mm f/2.8, Subal ND4 housing and ports, 2 Subtronic Fusion (flash and video lights), Sigma 15mm /f2.8, Subal 4" Minidome


#5 loftus

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 05:43 AM

yes they do work directly with the extension ring type 4 and also on type 3 mounts providing the new bayonnet adapter is mounted. Don't know about the D800.

Sorry, just to clarify, if you have a dome port with an extension ring, does the ring lock to the housing AND the dome lock to the ring? In other words is the complete setup locked or can the dome still rotate off the extension ring?
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#6 EXTREME

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 12:25 PM

Wolf Eel: good luck with that amazing gadget :)

Predrag Vuckovic
SUBAL PRO TEAM
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#7 buddy

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:01 AM

Sorry, just to clarify, if you have a dome port with an extension ring, does the ring lock to the housing AND the dome lock to the ring? In other words is the complete setup locked or can the dome still rotate off the extension ring?

yes, in this case only the extension ring is locked and the dome port still could turn.

Juerg
www.jvpictures.com
Nikon D4s, Nikon 16-35 /f4 VR II, 70-180,105mm f/2.8, Subal ND4 housing and ports, 2 Subtronic Fusion (flash and video lights), Sigma 15mm /f2.8, Subal 4" Minidome


#8 loftus

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 04:27 AM

yes, in this case only the extension ring is locked and the dome port still could turn.

Hope they fix that soon - it's a real weakness in Subal. Seen that port twist off twice with others at the back of the boat in rough seas with total floods. I came close once or twice. Just got in the habit of always jumping in holding the port.
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#9 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 12:20 AM

I am a bit late to the party, but I finally collected my housing last week and dove it at the weekend. I have been using the Nauticam NA-D4 for much of the year, plus some brief liaisons in Egypt and Mexico with the D800 (also in a Nauticam). So it is nice to have my own housing again (that I can customise a bit), rather than borrowed gear.

As the eagled eyed will notice, I have three flash synch's set up. One is really a spare in case of a water damage in the field. This will probably be replaced with a different port when some of Subal's accessories come online. But at present they are working only on housings - dealing with the backlog of orders.

I also have a vacuum seal on my housing. The D4 is expensive, so I went for belt and braces.

SARD12_am-32519.jpg

One of the most obvious new features is the access to both the Function and Depth Of Field Preview controls (Fn and Pv as Juerg notes) - the first time I have had access to these on any housing I have used. I know Fred B commented recently that he would like to see these controls on housings.

So far I have used depth of field preview for checking focus and bokeh on macro shots, without removing my eye from the viewfinder. I think it will also be useful for checking corner sharpness at various apertures when shooting wide rectilinear lenses. Not got my 16-35mm with me - so haven't tried that.

My favourite use for the function button, so far, is as flash off.

Actually both these buttons are programable on the D4, so I have swapped them over. This means on the housing I have to push the lever forward for depth of field preview and then pull it back for flash off.

The lever is just above the shutter release, so your spare index finger (I always shoot the Subal's with my middle finger) falls directly onto this lever. When you want to shoot a silhouette, you just pull back on your index finger as you release the shutter with your middle finger.

Hard to explain without a photo. Here is a photo showing my hand on the housing (low quality as I just took it hand held indoors):
untitled-33257.jpg

It is very nice and obviously can be used in a fraction of a second (while still looking through the viewfinder and without taking your hand off the shutter) to get a silhouette and then get a flash shot instantly afterwards. Going to be great with mantas/turtles/divers etc.

Much more to write about this housing and using the D4 underwater, which just went through its 36,000 photo already! Will try to add some thoughts in the coming days.

Alex

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#10 eyu

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 12:03 PM

Alex,

What Subal accessories can we expect to see?

I still have a few dollars left to spend after buying the ND800 and new zoom gears :-)

Elmer

Edited by eyu, 17 October 2012 - 01:44 PM.

Nikon D800E, D800, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS with StiX floats


#11 buddy

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 02:55 PM

Alex,
welcome to the club! But I did not manage to have it in the water yet, but going to Lembeh in November....

A few remarks/questions:
What is this vacuum seal? From Subal or DIY? Somethin similar than the Hugycheck?

Second, I also have the flash off on this same lever. But by pulling the lever (towards your body) you really activate the Pv button on the camera (which is standard for depth of field control), not the Fn. But off course, you can reassign the Pv with Flash OFF function. On the other hand I do not use the depth of field control; it is useless IMO, especially in a rather dark environment as in the water (as you know this actually closes the aperture down to the preselected lens opening, and by this I usually can see almost anything anymore...maybe my eyes are getting old as well....). I have programmed this Pv button for activating the first item on my customized menu, which the different shooting modes (A=Video; B=Full Manual on RAW; C=Action shooting with Aperture and ISO Auto; D=HDR on TIFF).

One more question: for what do you use the AF-ON vertical button? same as AF-ON? I have set it up for exposure lock, but since I am shooting mostly manual this will not help much I guess (I wished that this AF-ON vertical button could be reassigned for Flash OFF, but this is not possible unfortunately....

As far as future accessories: do you think they will come up with a HDMI connection, to support an external monitor or recorder like the Atomos Ninja or so?

that's all for now!

ciao

1.jpg

2.jpg

3.jpg

Juerg
www.jvpictures.com
Nikon D4s, Nikon 16-35 /f4 VR II, 70-180,105mm f/2.8, Subal ND4 housing and ports, 2 Subtronic Fusion (flash and video lights), Sigma 15mm /f2.8, Subal 4" Minidome


#12 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:13 PM

A few remarks/questions:
What is this vacuum seal? From Subal or DIY? Somethin similar than the Hugycheck?


The vacuum seal is simply a valve that allows you to slightly depressurise a housing (with a hand pump) before a dive and ensure that the seals are tight. The first ones I saw were on big video housings (Peter Scoones Betacam housing for the BBC's Blue Planet). The first one I saw on a SLR housing was on Julian Cohen's Subal D3 housing, which was made for him by David at Scubacam Singapore.

Mine was made by my friend Paul, who I don't think is interested in doing them commercially. He just made a few for himself and some friends. He's on Wetpixel - so he can correct me!

The product is off the shelf, but needs to be fitted to synch socket and sealed. Then fitted to the housing.

The standard valves have a small potential to seep water under large pressures. Say diving below 50m. My friend Paul modified the cap of mine to stop this happening. I am not sure many people have realised this. There was another D4 housing at Subal that had a valve on it (not one of Paul's) and this leaked through the valve when Subal pressure tested it to 70m.

I showed the Subal guys the difference with my valve and they are going to recommend the mod to that D4 owner. My valve was fine in the standard 70m Subal pressure test.

The main reason for the valve is to give you confidence that the seals are holding before the dive. It also acts a useful port lock (on older housings without port locks).

Potentially it could help you pick up on problems of buttons touching when a housing pressurises at depth. On a few occasions on my workshops I have seen people's housings lock up or do weird things underwater that they don't on the surface. Usually this is a button being pushed when it shouldn't. It is a very annoying thing to fix - because to test the fix - you need to waste another dive. By de-pressurising the housing on land you can see any problems at the surface and figure out the fix without diving.

Subal are going to look at offering a valve, that hopefully will be a more cohesive part of the design than the aftermarket ones.

Alex

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#13 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:16 PM

NOTE I have changed the topic title so that other users of this system can find this useful discussion on setting up the new controls.

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#14 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:26 PM

Second, I also have the flash off on this same lever. But by pulling the lever (towards your body) you really activate the Pv button on the camera (which is standard for depth of field control), not the Fn. But off course, you can reassign the Pv with Flash OFF function. On the other hand I do not use the depth of field control; it is useless IMO, especially in a rather dark environment as in the water (as you know this actually closes the aperture down to the preselected lens opening, and by this I usually can see almost anything anymore...maybe my eyes are getting old as well....).


Yes, I have swapped them over. So it is pull back with the index finger (the easier movement) for flash off and then push forward for depth of field preview.

I like depth of field preview, but this is the first time I have had access to this on a housing - so I am no expert on using it underwater. I agree it is not useful when shooting at f/22! The examples I gave were for middle aperture shooting (f/8-f/11) - for an open aperture macro shot where you want to see how the depth focus on the subject and the bokeh are balanced. Or for shooting at similar apertures with a wide rectilinear (where slightly more stopped down would be ideal, but not possible) and seeing how the corners hold. I have no issues with the level of brightness at f/8, for example.

That said, I might change the function to something else if I find I am not using it.

One more question: for what do you use the AF-ON vertical button? same as AF-ON? I have set it up for exposure lock, but since I am shooting mostly manual this will not help much I guess (I wished that this AF-ON vertical button could be reassigned for Flash OFF, but this is not possible unfortunately....


Again, I am only just starting. I have changed the thread title, so that hopefully more people will come along and comment on what they find is useful.

At the moment I use the standard AF-ON for AF-ON! And I use the AF-ON(vert) for AF-Lock. Both kind of do the same thing. But are used differently.
If I know I am going to use AF-ON, then I will deactivate the shutter AF before the dive or for a whole series of shots. If I get into a rushed situation where I need to used locked AF, and I don't have time to deactivate the shutter AF, through the menus, then I simply hold the AF-Lock (AF-ON(vert)) lever down while I shoot. That's the plan, anyway.

But I am really interested to hear what other users find works for them.

Alex

p.s. It might be also worth writing to Nikon NPS and asking them to put more options on the AF-ON(vert) button in the next Firmware update. I suspect it is quite easy for them to do.

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#15 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:36 PM

As far as future accessories: do you think they will come up with a HDMI connection, to support an external monitor or recorder like the Atomos Ninja or so?


What Subal accessories can we expect to see?


I am sure that they will announce at DEMA. They had a working prototype of one item now, but they will start working on producing them when they have worked through the backlog of housing orders. The three of us have got our housings, but many people are still waiting (especially for D800 and 5D3) and I don't think they would be very happy to Subal putting too much man-power into accessories until those housings are delivered.

I will say you are guessing in the right areas and you will both notice that the Subal housings for the D800 and D4 are designed with a large gap on the left side for connectivity - and there are spare sockets on the outside of the housing in that area too!

Alex

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Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#16 buddy

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 12:41 AM

interesting times are coming up, indeed....thanks for the great explanations. will try this depth of field control as weill in Lembeh.

A word to the AF-ON (did not really understand what you are telling in your activation/deactivation). I use it as follows and believe with this I have "the best of 2 worlds":

I use exclusively AF-ON with the AF-ON button (AF-ON is on "AF-ON only" in custom menu A4 and will NOT be activated by the shutter half-pressed). Now, in combination with the Focus Mode Selector switch set to AF-C (continuous-servo Autofocus) -which I keep so in all the times- you actually get continuous autofocus functions by keeping the AF-ON button pressed continuously. AND in addition and without changing anything else you get AF-S functionality by pressing the AF-ON button and releasing it when you want focus lock (notice that you do not change the focus mode selector to AF-S but leave it on AF-C).

Isn't that smart?

.... Some of the disadvantages with this are fixed with the D4 and/or are not important for underwater:

1. In previous Nikon camera releases (e.g. D3s) the AF-ON button did not activate the Vibration reduction on VR lenses. this was only activated when pressing the shutter release (and thus was sometimes too late to actually activate VR-functionality). This was changed by Nikon by listening to professional photographers who mostly use the AF-ON only technique (but who also want instantly have VR functionality).

2. With Nikon Flash lights the AF-ON button was/does not activate the illumination guiding light (not important for uw)

3. the AF-On only technique with the switch set to AF-C does not give you the "beep sound" when focus has reached on your target. Obvisously this comes only with AF-S settings. Not important for UW (not loud enough anyways inside the housing), but might be helpful in topside portraiture sessions. In such case I usually switch the focus mode selector quickly to AF-S.

4. It was controversily discussed elsewhere (dpreview I believe) that the accuracy of AF-C is less than in AF-S, but I cannot confirm this. Maybe somebody else knows more about this.

Juerg
www.jvpictures.com
Nikon D4s, Nikon 16-35 /f4 VR II, 70-180,105mm f/2.8, Subal ND4 housing and ports, 2 Subtronic Fusion (flash and video lights), Sigma 15mm /f2.8, Subal 4" Minidome


#17 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 01:33 AM

My friend Miho sent me this photo of me in action (well underwater with the housing) last night (taken on Sunday):

P1018754.jpg

Alex

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).