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Subal or Nauticam?


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#21 buddy

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:51 AM

On the thread corrosion topic, I would like to note that there will always be corrosion when two dissimilar metals are put together then immersed in saltwater. Every aluminum housing I have ever owned (including most major brands) has had handles and other attachments secured with stainless steel screws, and all of these have shown a tendency to corrode and either disintegrate or weld themselves together over time, in spite of meticulous rinsing and soaking. I have not tried the teflon paste, but I have used a product called Lanicote for years with great success. The trick is to disassemble the housing parts and coat all the threads with whatever type of grease you choose before ever taking the housing into the water. This begs the obvious question: why can't the manufacturers do this? For whatever reason, they don't, and you should. The only other way out is to go with Ikelite, or other non-metal housing.


All the connecting holes in Subal housings are not directly threaded. The holes for the handles, tripods and top mount are filled with Helicoil systems (a self thread made in aluminium filled into the hole by the Helicoil technology). This way a stainlees steel screew does not get directly into contact with the aluminium housing and will not corrode. Just a little example of the quality in technology of a Subal housing. Can't really say anything about the Nauticam, except that when I checked the current Nauticam D4 against the one from Subal in a recent dive fair, I felt that the Nauticam was more bulky and less ergonomically than the new ND4. But cerntainly just a personal impression on a high level of both housings.

And the inmprovements Subal made over the last few housings are really impressive, as Alex already mentioned. In addition, if using all ports and extension rings with latest type 4 style, then also a full port lock of port and extension ring is available (not in my case since I am still using type 3 ports and extension rings on the type 4 housing,connecting both port adapters). I also noticed recently when testing the leak warning that sound and sight is now effective (a sound beep in former N3 housing was not given, I believe). So for me a change in brands was never a question.

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#22 loftus

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 03:32 AM

I only have 2 major criticisms. The oxidation issue is well documented in the thread and here. My other issue is the zoom and focus gears required the rubber rings of the lens to be removed. I think it is a negative on design and practicality.

On the rubber ring thing, I actually like the fact that the ring is removed as this the reason that the zoom gear fits and meshes so well. It can only fit in one precise position, so no adjustment needed or slipping occurs requiring readjustment. I have never taken a zoom ring off a lens once I put it on, and I just keep the ring in the original lens box in case I ever want to put it back on.
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#23 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:00 AM

Subal niggles on the forums at the moment too:
http://wetpixel.com/...topic=48387&hl=

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#24 tdpriest

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:30 AM

Despite my destructive habits, I have had a Nauticam survive long enough to service, which was done with accuracy and efficiency. I value the benfits of a supportive Nauticam network. I once had enough money to buy a Subal housing, but at that time support was a bit erratic...

#25 Drew

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:29 AM

On the rubber ring thing, I actually like the fact that the ring is removed as this the reason that the zoom gear fits and meshes so well. It can only fit in one precise position, so no adjustment needed or slipping occurs requiring readjustment. I have never taken a zoom ring off a lens once I put it on, and I just keep the ring in the original lens box in case I ever want to put it back on.

In my years of using screw/slip in gears, I've never had it slip once installed properly. It's an unnecessary step in my opinion. As I said, it's not a big deal... unless one uses their lenses with other focus and zoom rings (for eg. topside video). or borrow/rent glass to test. We're all different in needs and usage, what works for one person doesn't work for others. It doesn't mean the product is inferior, unless there are known QC issues (and obviously it depends on what the QC issues are!).
We all know there are manufacturing tolerances in cameras and housings. Misalignment can easily occur with a few mm discrepancy. Stuff like that is somewhat fixable in the field. Manufacturing defects like dome ports popping off etc etc, while obviously not a common occurrence, are trip ending.

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#26 rumblefish

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:13 PM

Thank you all, this is very helpful. I haven't decided on the camera yet, most likely candidate for now D600.
In Europe there is a € 400,00 price difference between the two (I compared D800 housings as there are no D600 housings available yet, Subal slightly more expensive. I noticed that a Subal housing costs the same in $ in the US as it does in € over here). On the other hand, if I stick with Subal I can keep the ports (without adapters) and viewfinder.
There is one confession I have to make: in 20 years of using Subal housings I never had any of them serviced. So after sales is not really an issue. I like the smoothness and the one-click-is one-f/stop feel of the controls. The inside of the Subal housing looks relatively empty compared to Nauticam, which I think is a good thing.
What I like about Nauticam are the 45 degree viewfinder and the placement of the controls and push buttons on the back plate.

Edited by rumblefish, 05 November 2012 - 12:14 PM.

Nikon D600, Nikon D80, Tokina 10-17mm FE, Sigma 14mm, 24mm macro, Nikon 60mm macro, Sigma 180mm macro. Nauticam NA-D600, 45° viewfinder, Subal ND80, GS180 viewfinder. Sea&Sea YS350 and YS90. ULCS arms.


#27 Steve Williams

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:06 PM

. The inside of the Subal housing looks relatively empty compared to Nauticam, which I think is a good thing.
What I like about Nauticam are the 45 degree viewfinder and the placement of the controls and push buttons on the back plate.


I'm sure you know that the ergonomic placement of the controls drives the requirement for the added linkage. These simple mechanical linkages should not really affect the actual reliabilty of the system. They are pretty simple.
I'm curious why you locked in on these two. As long as we're having fun with housings for the D600 why not include the Sea & Sea, the Hugy and the Aquatica? All are great units that will be more than adequate for the job.
Price wise I'm guessing the cost breakdown is going to be pretty similar to the 5D Mk III;
Subal - $4000 US, Nauticam - $3600 US, S&S - $3400 US, Aquatica - $3200. It price differential carries through to all the ports and accessories too. The Subal 45 degree viewfinder is $1300 or so while the others are all around a $1000. If I were you I'd put the entire system together and look at the price before deciding. I also get a look at the real deal housings and wrap my hands around it before laying down the cash.

Good luck,
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#28 okuma

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 10:00 PM

They both are good housings.
If you can, go to a dealer that carries both housings and see which one "Fits" you best.

Wife and I both have Subals and use UltraLite round, rubber coated grips. They are laterally adjustable , so you can set them for your finger lenght.
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If it is so easy every one would be doing it!

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#29 MJvC

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:18 PM

I own both systems. I have used my Subal with my 5DMkii for almost 3 years. I love the level of engineering in it but my life with Subal has not been trouble free on 4 or 5 occasions i have had small amounts of water in the bottom of the housing. This was almost certainly user error but every time it has happened I have been convinced the water has come in through the port/extention ring system. Either due to the port shifting or to a bump or to extreme current. I have now taken to using Gaffer tape to secure my port and extention ring in place.

The other point is the length of time it takes for the relevant manufactures to bring there housings to market. The reason i went with Nauticam for housing my 5DMkiii was it came out in June and I have been able to do 3 dive trips with it. I believe and stand to be corrected that Subal's housings for this camera are only comming online now almost 6 months later. I am a firm believer that if you are going to spend a conciferable amount of money on a camera and house it you need to be an early addopter to get the maximum life out of it. Whether you are a pro like Alex looking at paying your rig off during its life or an amateur looking at getting the most for your money.
I have been very happy with my new Nauticam and the ability to be able to plug in a HDMI monitor was a huge bonus for me. The viewfinder is superb but slightly bulky. I absolutely love the security of the complete port lock system and the ergonomic's are great and time will tell how it stands up to the tough diving conditions we have here in South africa but so far so good.
Just my 2 cents.

#30 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:42 AM

What I like about Nauticam are the 45 degree viewfinder and the placement of the controls and push buttons on the back plate.


I like the Nauti 45 too - well I should since I was involved in its development!

You can use one on the Subal easily enough:
http://wetpixel.com/...showtopic=46144

Alex

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


#31 SPP

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:02 AM

Nauticam D800 has that rear dial control which can do 45 degrees quadrant pressing, hence you see the housing rear buttons are not the 4+1 as what others uses, but its a dial ( sort of ).
It can do North-East pressing for 45 degrees shift of say, focus point. No other housings I seen for D800 can do this. How important this is, its your call.
This makes the links extra complex when u open up the housing, as compared to Subal.

The ISO and the PLAYBACK being converted to a nice big trigger lever instead of buttons on the NA-D800. This add another set on links and etc etc. So more crowded interior.
Overall its money worth the extras.
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#32 tdpriest

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:04 AM

Nauticam D800 has that rear dial control which can do 45 degrees quadrant pressing, hence you see the housing rear buttons are not the 4+1 as what others uses, but its a dial ( sort of ).
It can do North-East pressing for 45 degrees shift of say, focus point. No other housings I seen for D800 can do this. How important this is, its your call.
This makes the links extra complex when u open up the housing, as compared to Subal.

The ISO and the PLAYBACK being converted to a nice big trigger lever instead of buttons on the NA-D800. This add another set on links and etc etc. So more crowded interior.
Overall its money worth the extras.
.


I don't think that the linkages are too bad, they look more complicated than they are. I would expect the Subal housing to be ergonomic, too; it might also be a bit easier to travel with. I'm pretty happy with my Nauticam: it's certainly even easier to use than my old D300 housing.

#33 SPP

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:12 AM

The linkages are elegant, complex yes but very elegantly made in the name of ergonomic and full function to mimic D800 actual operation of that rear dial.
I rip mine apart already, out of curiosity.That is what I like about Nauticam, has good looks in and out.

Nauticam NEX7 is another great engineering in medium-baby small footprint.
I wish my Nauticam RX100 cost US$50-100 more and I get the self-tensioning top dial like my Nauticam NEX7.......simply awesome. I guess they want to keep it low cost.

I also wish housing manufacturers learn from Feinwerkbau or Styer airgun on how to make adjustable trigger. Apply that for the camera shutter release mechanism, man US$150 extra on the retail price will be worth it. Create that last friction point or resistance before shutter release and adjustable 50-200 grams extra effort for thick glove users when and if needed. Those German & Austrian made pneumatic Olympic 10 meter target airguns or air pistol has the best trigger mechanism in the world.
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#34 E_viking

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:42 PM

I don't think that the linkages are too bad, they look more complicated than they are. I would expect the Subal housing to be ergonomic, too; it might also be a bit easier to travel with. I'm pretty happy with my Nauticam: it's certainly even easier to use than my old D300 housing.


Easier to travel with? Why?

Nikon D800, Nikon 60, 105, 16-35, Sigma 15, Nauticam D800, Zen 230mm, Subsee +5 & +10, 2*INON Z240


#35 eyu

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 03:33 PM

The Subal is smaller in size then the Nauticam.

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#36 E_viking

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:40 AM

Is that a real life side-by-side comparison?

From a specification point of view. It seems to be the other way around!
Subal gives dimensions without Handles and Nauticam with Handles ( classic Apples vs Pears ).
Nauticam: 351*194*134 (mm) at 2.81kg, with Handles
Subal: 270*205*150 (mm) at 3.2kg, without Handles
I could imagine that each Handle are atleast 40mm wide. Which would give the same width of both the Housings.

Well, those values should be balanced to the Bouyancy UW. Has anyone done a comparison on it for a D800 Housing?

Nikon D800, Nikon 60, 105, 16-35, Sigma 15, Nauticam D800, Zen 230mm, Subsee +5 & +10, 2*INON Z240


#37 eyu

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 03:46 AM

I did a break-in dive week in Bonaire a few weeks ago, I dove with a Subal and my dive buddy with a Nauticam for our D800s.
Side by side the Nauticam looks larger then the Subal. Both were set up with Inon Z240 strobes, ULCS arms and Stix floats

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#38 John Bantin

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:29 AM

Are there no other manufacturers of housings that are as good?

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#39 E_viking

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 05:24 AM

I did a break-in dive week in Bonaire a few weeks ago, I dove with a Subal and my dive buddy with a Nauticam for our D800s.
Side by side the Nauticam looks larger then the Subal. Both were set up with Inon Z240 strobes, ULCS arms and Stix floats


Was the Bouyancy comparable? Given the same amount of Stix floats?

Nikon D800, Nikon 60, 105, 16-35, Sigma 15, Nauticam D800, Zen 230mm, Subsee +5 & +10, 2*INON Z240


#40 rumblefish

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 06:29 AM

Are there no other manufacturers of housings that are as good?


I'll look at Hugyfot, too -- get my hands around one and play with the controls.
Where I dive I meet a lot of Hygy users and they are happy with their housings. Plus the Hugyfot factory is only a two hours drive from where I live.

Nikon D600, Nikon D80, Tokina 10-17mm FE, Sigma 14mm, 24mm macro, Nikon 60mm macro, Sigma 180mm macro. Nauticam NA-D600, 45° viewfinder, Subal ND80, GS180 viewfinder. Sea&Sea YS350 and YS90. ULCS arms.