Hugyfot D70 housing review
Posted 17 September 2005 - 06:57 AM
A while ago I promised to write up a short review on the Hugyfot D70(s) housing. Due to various other commitments and even some issues with the housing itself, it has taken it's time. However, here's the first part on the housing itself. I will write on usage more when I get some more divetime on the kit.
The housing, as expected by Hugyfot/Greenforce is very well made by machining out of a solid aluminium block. The finish is satin dark grey, not painted but I suppose anodised. It feels very nice in the hand, but seems to scratch reasonably easily.
All the buttons are in the right places and I can really say that this piece of kit really scores quite high on ergonomics. The shutter and both rear and front control wheels are where you'd expect them to be and I especially like the AF-AE lock lever to the top left of the housing. This falls just right under my finger when holding the housing with the Hugy trademark neoprene strap. When using a second handle to the right, it does not work so well...
My only gripes about the handling are the missing Flash comp. button (Yeah, I know, soot manual, blaa blaa blaa...) and the fact that the front control wheel requires almost a full turn to shift the exp. time by one stop (I use 1/3 stop increments and the speed to the front for consistency with my topside kit). The rear wheel is perfect as is the focus control, of which more later.
Inside, the first thing that caught my eye was that the inside of this housing is bare metal, when the old Hugy housings had a soft fabric. No biggie, that. The closure of the housing is through two bolts that fall nicely into place when aligning the pieces. The main o-ring is very secure, although the one that came with mine from the factory felt just slightly too long.
The leak detector battery as well as the Heinrichs-Weikamp iTTL chip are located to the left of the front part and still I can just about fit the USB cable to the camera without removing the camera from the tray. Fitting the camera into the tray is not a one-handed operation, but requires quite accurate alignment. The orginal fingerwheel to fasten the camera is a joke.
Now, When I first got the housing, I tried it with my trusty Tamron SP 90mm macro lens using my old focus gear. This was a very tight fit and practically unusable. After some emails exchanged with the factory they concluded that the measurements in the gears probably had changed when Greenforce took over the manufacture. Hugy promptly sent me a new style focus ring, but this was even worse. After a couple of nights of tweaking I finally concluded that the camera tray was misaligned inside the housing. After some shimming, the camera now sits straight in the middle and all the focus gears align as expected. Minor stuff, but very time consuming.
After a couple of dives on the housing I can say that underwater it performs very nicely. The housing itself is slightly negative with camera and a small dome, so some form of bouancy addition may be necessary with heavy strobes and arms. I dive almost exclusively with thick drygloves and even with these on, all the controls are totally usable.
Sizewise, this is indeed a small housing. The comparison with Hugyfot Atlan 81 for Nikon F80 shows that it is not much larger. I'll try to shoot comparisons with other housings some time soon.
All in all, after the initial gripes I'm happy. I now have loads of ports and lenses to use with my D70s and I look forward to getting to some serious action in the first weeks of October in the West of Sweden. Below is one image from m/s Coolaroo wreck here in Helsinki shot with this setup (Nikon D70s, 15mm Sigma FE, f2.8, 1/8 sec, ISO1600).
Posted 17 September 2005 - 07:11 AM
Luiz Rocha - www.luizrocha.com
Nikon D800, Aquatica AD800, Ikelite strobes.
Posted 17 September 2005 - 07:15 AM
Nice review Timo, thanks for posting. I noticed in the first photo that the housing has a small magnifier for the viewfinder, does that help? I mean, does it really magnifies and makes composition a bit easier underwater?
It probably magnifies the viewfinder somewhat - enough to help in composition- but not enought to be much help in focusing I'm afraid. Due to the problems with focus rings, I have not been able to shoot any macro (or anything else needing to focus - I shoot the 15mm in fixed focus) yet, so I'll report on that when I get back to diving in two weeks or so.
Posted 18 September 2005 - 01:04 AM
So far, Hugyfot housings do not have magnified viewfinders.... and the standard viewfinder is not enough, at least in my opinion (please, note that I need to wear glasses, so my sight is not as good as I would like it to be). I’ve sent an e-mail to Hugyfot asking if they are going to produce a grand viewfinder and the answer was "yes, in the future....".... and nobody knows when the future will be here..
To me, the biggest problem is with composition... I cannot watch the whole frame at once... I need to move my head a liittle bit.... Sometimes, I need to use the autofocus spots on the screen to figure out if the scene is composed as I want or not...
I agree with Timo regarding to the fornt control wheel.. It takes its time to change exposure...
Anyway, I enjoy my Hugy housing.... but I wish I had a bigger viewfinder, Sealux type.
I wrote a review in UWpix
D70, Hugyfot housing, 2 Inon 220, Sea&Sea YS90,
Posted 31 October 2005 - 09:47 AM
1. I looked at one at the start of the year and was interested in the claim that it was suppose to be able to be operated with one hand - in the strap - but when I tested it on land, the strap tends to stretch and it was hard to grip the smooth egg shaped surface especially without any finger grips.
Do any of you have a problem operating it with one hand (assuming strobes in the right place) underwater whilst holding on to a rock for balance?
2. Can you see the whole image from the viewfinder? I am still not clear although I gather that the image from the magnifier is not the best?
Posted 31 October 2005 - 02:44 PM
1.- Yes, no problem..... unless you use a very heavy setup (let's say, a couple of Subtronic Mega Color). With a "normal" setup, yes, you can operate with just one hand....
2.- No, at least in my case (I wear glasses)... I need to move my head slightly in order to see the full frame....
Hope it helps.
D70, Hugyfot housing, 2 Inon 220, Sea&Sea YS90,
Posted 31 October 2005 - 05:54 PM
1) I find that operating it with one hand is easy with a balanced rig.
2) The 4 corners of the view finder are slightly dark, and you do need to look down a bit to see the light meter, etc.
Posted 02 November 2005 - 06:32 AM
I really like the look of this housing. I am a big Hugy fan.
Wanna buy an F80 housing from me?
On a more serious note, though, I'm still fighting with problems in the manual focus system. Either the focus gear works or the front control wheel works. But rarely both at the same time.
I'm going to take a file to it over the weekend in search of a permanent solution.
Posted 04 November 2005 - 03:47 AM
Looks like a nice piece of kit! Where does one buy these housings from?
I bought mine straight from the factory. http://www.hugyfot.com. Try talking to Pascal Eeckhoudt, mailto:email@example.com
I think Cameras Underwater in the UKare a reseller as are some German diveshops, but dealing with the factory was very easy and pleasant experience.