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Request Housing advice for the D200?

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After getting some great advice from the board, I've decided on purchasing the D200. (the D2X still is on my mind but think the D200 is the way to go mainly due to size considerations.) For lenses I'm looking at the 10.5 and am waffling between the 60mm vs the 105mmVR. My question to the board is what housing do you guys recommend for the D200? I've been leaning toward the Sea & Sea mainly due to the fact that it looks fairly compact but I've heard that it is fairly negative. I'm open to any comments.

 

For lighting I'm looking at the S&S YS 90 or maybe 120. Still researching that. Since I'm starting from scratch on my U/W photography I'm thinking of going with just 1 strobe for now and then upgrading as my skills improve. I love macro work so I figure I can get by for now with just one and might do ok with some wide angle.

 

Heading to Bonaire in August and have just signed up for a trip to Australia aboard Mike Ball's boat in October. I'm so jazzed about the GBR. Trip of a lifetime. Hope to get my gear in the next month or so and use Bonaire as an initial training ground.

 

Lastly, where is the best place to purchase my gear, in tems of price and service.

 

TIA and stay wet,

 

Dave

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If possible go into a store and handle different housings or look at other folks housings before making a decision. Of course you also have to decide how much you want to spend. Few would argue that probably Seacam and Subal, Huygefot are probably at the top end in quality, but also in price. Evaluate the dealers too, service is an important consideration. I drove down to Ft. Lauderdale and spent a few hours at Ryan Canon's Reef photo. I played with Nexus, Sea&Sea and Subal - all nice housings, but I liked the ergonomics of the Subal the best. I also get great service from them.

Other folks swear by Ikelite and Aquatica, the new Light & Motion for the D200 looks cool with it's electronic controls etc. I do not think you can go wrong with any of the brands mentioned, that's why feeling them and evaluating their features in your hands is best if at all possible.

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HI,

I agree go & play with as many housings as possible see which housing fits your hands

& how the controls fall in to place. Cost is also a big consideration as it is not just the housing

you need but veiw finders, ports, strobes, flash arms it soon adds up to a large amount of money.

I think all housings have good reports so you will not be disapointed what ever you purchase.

Just go & have a play before spend your cash.

Andy

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Getting to actually play with the gear is a nonstarter issue. I live in Little Rock, AR, dead smack in the middle of the southeast U.S. and there isn't any dealer that carries equipment on hand. That's why I'm looking for the experts input. Most of my decision is going to be made by what I read and see on the net.

 

Dave

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I think you have to then decide first what you want to spend. I suggest you talk to Ryan at Reef Photo - that will cover Subal, Sea & Sea, Nexus, and Light and Motion housings. Quite likely you'll even be able to rent / loan something for Bonaire.

Then talk to Stephen Frink about Seacam. Both are honest guys that I think will be straight with you even though they have something to sell. I can't speak for Ikelight.

Tom Stack in Key Largo handles Aquatica. (Also Mauricio Handler)

Obviously I'm partial to my Subal, and I'll be happy to chat to you about it if you like.

 

Getting to actually play with the gear is a nonstarter issue. I live in Little Rock, AR, dead smack in the middle of the southeast U.S. and there isn't any dealer that carries equipment on hand. That's why I'm looking for the experts input. Most of my decision is going to be made by what I read and see on the net.

 

Dave

Edited by loftus

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I am partial to Sea & Sea (but then I already had the ports since I went from a Sea & Sea housing for my F100 to the D200). It is negative, but I have never found this to be an issue. I shoot it with the Tokina 10-17 FE in the Fisheye Dome Port, with the 60mm in the Custom Flat Port, and with the 105mm VR in the Custom Flat Port with the XS Extension Ring. I use dual INON z220's. I have done 4 dives in a day with the 105mm VR, and never found it to bother me.

 

Maybe my wrists are just stronger than others from when I was a youth..............................what? I played lacrosse. ;)

 

Ryan is down in Bonaire right now. I think he will be back on Monday, but you can always talk to Richard. I believe they will do rentals that they will credit toward the purchase if you decide to by the setup.

 

If you do any deco diving you might want to look at the Light in Motion housing. You can play PONG on your deco stops. ;)

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My question to the board is what housing do you guys recommend for the D200? I've been leaning toward the Sea & Sea mainly due to the fact that it looks fairly compact but I've heard that it is fairly nega

 

It's like asking, "What car should I buy?"

 

There are 3 general price groups:

 

1) Ikelite - MSRP $1500. Plastic. TTL with Ike strobes. Ports inexpensive, too. Sub-optimum control knobs, no MSC switch, does not use port extensions for the most part. No optional viewfinder.

 

2) Mid range - Aquatica, Sea & Sea and Nexus. I'm too lazy to list details/pros and cons.

 

3) More $$$ - Seacam, Subal and Light & Motion. I'm still too lazy to list details/pros and cons.

 

I have owned one in each price group. If Ikelite is all you can afford, then buy it, take pictures with it, and be happy. Please buy the 8" dome as the 6" dome might destroy your happiness.

 

If you can afford more, look at the second group.

 

If you can afford anything, look at the last group.

 

Is the extra price worth it for the last group? I can't answer that. There are some added benefits to the last group, but whether it justifies spending the additional premium is a personal decision. Does a Mercedes Benz or Lexus provide more than Volkswagon or Toyota? Yes. Is it worth the extra price? There is no correct answer. There are plenty of people driving all four brands of vehicles.

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Heard at some forums that the sea and a sea housing for D200 will be discontinued....rumours in two ways....

- some problems with the housing....

- maybe they introduce their TTL system inside the housing....

Who knows?....

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I have an aquatica and I am happy with it. My only criticism is the weight and awkwardness of the controls, but I don't see any of the others being much better. If you get a housing get a magnifying viewfinder, (Aquatica, Subal, Secam and I think Nexus have them available)

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Heard at some forums that the sea and a sea housing for D200 will be discontinued....rumours in two ways....

- some problems with the housing....

- maybe they introduce their TTL system inside the housing....

Who knows?....

 

Among the many different housings I own, the Sea & Sea for the D200 has worked without a hitch and done around 500 hours underwater in many harsh environments so far. It's a good tool for the job and if it's the job that is important to you, that is what counts. IMHO Don't bother with a mini dome port on any housing though. If they are replacing it, it will be for some major new development. Now they have the tooling it makes sense to continue until demand for D200 housings dry up. (Don't get me started on problems I have had with housings from small cottage industry manufacturers.)

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As an adendum to 'get a magnifying viewfinder', I'd say 'if you can stomach the pricetag'. Personally, I'd prioritize my lens collection and worry about the viewfinder another day. Frankly, they are overpriced.

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As an adendum to 'get a magnifying viewfinder', I'd say 'if you can stomach the pricetag'. Personally, I'd prioritize my lens collection and worry about the viewfinder another day. Frankly, they are overpriced.
Hell, everything we touch is overpriced :(:):D;), but one simply cannot discount the advantage of shooting the Nikon 60 or 105 on a DX sensor thru a magnified viewfinder. Or shooting over-unders without sticking your face in the water. Or swimming with a school of jacks, firing away, looking straight thru the viewfinder because you don't have to tilt your head to allow room between the housing back and your chin, for the regulator.

 

Honestly, I never opt to use the Seacam Pro (the flat finder). It is always either the 45 or 180. They make the activity more comfortable and in some case more productive. One might even call the 45 environmentally "green" for the way it allows the diver to access deep into the reef without laying his/her body down. Some people have the eyes to shoot thru the smallest of viewfinders, by for those of us without that ability the accessory viewfinders are quite important.

 

And after all that I just remembered the OP bought the D200 based on physical size.......so I don't think he is a candidate for additional gear to pack, like viewfinders ;)

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Not an easy choice for sure. A lot to choose from and some big bucks involved. Its especially tough if you can't get to at least see and hold the housings. But then that's probably the issue for a lot of us as there are just not too many convenient dealers. My last three housings have been bought sight unseen based on very good dealer email advice (Seaoptics) and reading the posts here. Happily I have been delighted with all three which were, err, Subals :D

 

There has been some good advice on working out what your realistic budget might be. There are a lot of expensive extras in terms of strobe arms, focussing lights, battery chargers. Oh, and then ports. Those need to be factored in to avoid nasty surprises

 

All the major housings are "good". If there is an option of renting for either Bonaire or GBR, that might well be worth a try. It would give you a good idea of what feels right. And that, balanced with the cash, seems to me to be the key. And then, if you're still not sure, get a Subal. :D

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Honestly, I never opt to use the Seacam Pro (the flat finder). It is always either the 45 or 180. They make the activity more comfortable and in some case more productive.

 

Honestly, Iggy, you're just a big girl, aren't you? :D

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