Pam, the optical connectors of the AD7100 can be installed in the field by anyone, in a matter of a few minutes, so I would recommend getting the standard -NK version with dual Nikonos, and later, if you want to go optical, just get the bulkhead connector(s). FYI, any service center will be happy to install them for you, but truth be said, they are so simple to install, it would be a waste of good money to do so, unless the housing would be going in for periodical maintenance, then it could be done at the same time.
Regarding longer name, i'll agree with you Davide as long as its not a bunch of letter and number all together, try quickly repeating Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 five time in a row :-)
We got the GH4 a few days ago and had already being working with the GH3 for the initial design of the housing, they are quite similar camera indeed, but definitely, with 4k, access to the video features on this camera need to be taken seriously in the design.
Kadu, I just e-mailed you the procedure for the flash.
Oktay, this allows the camera flash to trigger in the lower position (as opposed as having to raise it fully), keeping the flash down allows for a substantial reduction in height of the housing, it is the same procedure used by Olympus.
The problem is that the suitcase clamps can't do this, so the housing vendors rely on an incomplete face seal and let the water pressure complete the seal. To me this is a poor trade-off and explains the tendency for housings to flood in the rinse tank.
I just want to set the record straight, the so called “suitcase” latch are actually designed to preload the O-ring to a set amount of pressure, we use 45 lbs, but it could be anywhere from 30 to 70lbs, depending on a manufacturer preferences. This preloading will be compressing the o-ring to a depth equivalent of about 100ft of ambient pressure, and that is before it even touches any water. Sorry but, the claim that “suitcase” clamps do not offer a complete face seal or are just holding the front and back together in wait of ambient pressure is not accurate.
If you ask me, so far as I can tell, I have yet to see a “faulty or inadequate” design of housing closure system among the group of housings manufacturers that tends to your underwater photography needs. That group would include us as well as our competitors past and present. No matter what the method, be it side sealing or compression sealing, a housing manufacturer decides to use for sealing and securing their housings, they will be staking their reputation on it. So c’mon, I mean, this industry is pretty Darwinian, if you are ill adapted for the task, you will simply become extinct!
O-rings and their roles in protecting our equipment from ambient pressure is basic elementary knowledge for anyone involved in manufacturing underwater equipment, No one would seriously think, that if a closing system was incompletely, or poorly, doing its job, especially with all the method of sealing a housing available, that a manufacturer would keep using this type of closure for decades. There is a substantial amount of photographic and video manufacturers using these “suitcase” latches successfully; they are also commonly used as a mean of closing up and sealing many of the military and scientific equipment that requires ambient pressure protection.
Adam’s got a point when he says that floods occurrence is normally due to O-rings not being located properly, being damaged or dirty, they do not spontaneously fail unless there is some interference of some sorts involved.
Before even pumping up the vacuum in a housing, A simple and very efficient way of testing to see if the main O-ring is properly sealing is to gloss up the O-ring, make sure the mating surface is clean (both of which you should do all the time anyway) and simply close the back, clamp down the latches and open the housing again, you should see a clear foot print signature of the O-ring on the mating surface (see picture). At this point, what can I say, it is the user’s responsibility to check and that there is no obstruction, nicks or scratches on the path of the foot print signature.
XIT404 has an excellent reputation for third party accessories, they came up with this design quite a while ago and made it available for different brand of housings, their focus gear offer another method of focusing than the one used by many housing manufacturers. Both method of manually focusing have their virtues and followers (I locate my knob so it is underneath, this way I support the housing much like I would a regular DSLR, one hand under the lens, the other on the body).
Bottom line is that I feel it is comforting for all of us to see,that the underwater photography industry is healthy, and can support specialized companies, such as XIT404, which offer alternative accessories for the end users.
Barry, shooting at f/2.8 will have its limitation, you might want to consider using a fisheye such as the Nikon 16mm f/2.8, or the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 (which I preffer), these will yeild better conoer to corner performance at wide aperture, still shooting wide open behind a dome, no matter the lenses will be optically challenging.
Given that you work both on land and are planning to work underwater as well, I would go for the 105mm, top side the added working distance will make a difference when shooting insect, and the same goes underwater with timid animals, but it is a dedicated macro lens, the 60mm with its wider field of view could be an asset for shooting larger fish and close up of larger critter. The environment you are likely to shoot in, should also be taken into consideration, whether your are shooting in the Pantanal, or in the open ocean, these are two radically different water quality
Advantage: Longer and more comfortable working distance, both on land and underwater, this is a major point for me, it is easy to break through the comfort zone of an insect or fish, so adding distance is a definite plus.
Disadvantage: In murky water, the added water between the subject and port might affect focusing adversely; also if shooting larger fish or animal underwater, its narrower field of view might be an issue. Usually more expensive to set up a macro configuration with this lens
Advantage: In Murky water, it should perform better than the 105mm does. The wider field of view means that, you won’t have to back away as much as the 105mm would force you, which also means you have less water in between you and the subject, so improvement in contrast, sharpness and saturation and less backscatter in the final image. The 60mm can be used for larger fish portraits. Price is usually lesser for a macro configuration
Disadvantage: Shorter working distance might make it more difficult to work with insects and small fishes
In the end, I believe that subject matter, not financial matter, should dictate your choice of lens (I know, it is easier said than done), but IMO, there is nothing worse than having the wrong tool for the job.
I think the Nikon D7000 is one of the best balance of performance found on camera to bring underwater, you can get a high quality system without having your wallet cleaned up, the choice DX format lenses are well suited for this type of photography (I feel DX has a better selection of lenses than FX has, and getting the same coverage from fisheye to macro, is bound to be substantially less expensive than it would for a full frame system.
Canon versus Nikon: in your case, with Nikon, your Ikelite strobe can be used in TTL with the Ikelite 4302 or 4301 external TTL converter, it can only be used in manual with a Canon
Only downside I see to the D7000 is that it is not as sturdy built as I would like it to be, but then again, it is not meant to be used by pro photographers or cavemen. and it is solid enough for pretty much all users who care about their gears.
Lens choice, Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye Zoom, either a Nikon 10-24mm or Sigma 10-20mm, Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro or/and Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR, I also use a Sigma 17-70mm on occasion, it has moderate wide angle coverage and a fairly good close up performance and it is, IMO inexpensive.
Alastair, A 4" being a smaller radius dome than the 8", you will need to stop down to get the edges sharp, most of the time, I pretty much shoot the Tokina 10-17mm behind the 4" dome port, I still carry the 8" for splits shots and for shooting super wide lenses, but I could live without it if I had too.