It took a while for Nauticam to sort out a few issues but finally I received my Nauticam Shogun housing this week. I'm not going to write a full review. I'll leave that to those better qualified. But here are some photos and first impressions. After a few days diving in Lembeh at the end of this month, I will give an update on how it performs in action.
Of course, the Shogun monitor is great for seeing what you are shooting and being able to record ProRes HQ 422 10 bit video puts it into the realm of much more expensive systems.
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Firstly, the NA-Shogun is big. Needs to be big to allow room for the Shogun, a big Sony battery and some cooling fans. This system is not for the casual videographer. However, with bigness comes stability. The addition of this housing, line astern from the camera housing, will definitely help overcome some of the "pitch" stability issues inherent in the "still" camera format when shooting handheld video. It also adds a lot more mass (but not in-water weight) - great for stability.
Secondly, it is well-engineered. All the housing functions are available, except the menu - but then you should not need to play with the Shogun menu underwater. The function buttons give you control over focus assist, histograms, etc. The "overhead" mount bar give a lot of flexibility for positioning. The HDMI cable seems to be solid - if you are careful with aligning the plugs. It includes a full leak detection and vacuum system. The base plate provides many options for mounting legs for macro. Note: the housing does not actually connect to the base plate. The overhead arm holds the monitor housing. The base plate stops the whole rig from falling over with the weight of the Shogun housing. It's also for connecting legs. (Once I have worked out my preferred viewing angle, I might add a rubber-stopper to the base plate to give the bottom of the Shogun housing something to rest on - not necessary but might stop any wobble through the arm.)
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Thirdly, it took me a while to get it set up the first time. But that's probably my incompetence - it's been a while since I played with Meccano. Now that I know how to do it, I can get it done in about 20 minutes. But, of course, you only need to set it up once at the beginning of a dive trip - you can do everything you need to do inside the camera housing and the Shogun housing with them all connected together.
Fourthly, unassembled, the GH4 in its housing / port and the Shogun in its housing, two video lights and their arms and some accessories all fit into a large carry-on size photo backpack. No need to check it in. If my checked luggage is delayed, I can still go diving and shoot, at least for a couple of hours.
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The Shogun battery (Sony NP-970) lasts about 90 minutes of run time - maybe longer. There's space inside the housing to look at putting in an extended battery system for longer. A 1Tb SSD holds 2 hours and 20 minutes of ProRes HQ 422 10 bit video.
This coming weekend I will test it in a pool (maybe my fish pond) and get the buoyancy and balance right. I think that it needs a 1kg dive weight strapped under the rear of the rig - the Shogun housing is positively buoyant but the GH4 housing is slightly negative - together they still float. A dive weight and a cable-tie should fix it.
Then it's off to Lembeh to see if it is worth the investment. I'll keep you posted.
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