Jump to content
DiverPam

Nikon D90 - seeking feedback on housing and lens setup

Recommended Posts

I am seeking feedback on housings and lens setup for a Nikon D90. After much research and getting my hands on the D90, I have decided to go with this D-SLR. I like all of its features plus the fact that is has video. (I am moving from a Canon point and shoot in an Ikelite housing with DS125 strobe). I am interested in getting feedback on a good setup for the D90.

 

Housing - I am undecided between the Ikelite and Aquatica housing. I cannot get my hands on them because there are no dealers in our area. I like the ablity to see into the Ikelite housing (O-rings okay, no leaks,), but I think that there buttons are stiff and not user friendly. Looking at the placement of everything on the D90 housing, it seems like the Aquatice is more user friendly - especially with the aperture and shutter speed adjustments knobs. The other issue, I have a DS 125 Ikelite strobe now and wonder whether or not the TTL setup with Ikelite is worth it. And how hard it is to use this with the Aquatica.

 

Camera and lens - Our local photo shop has a D90 "kit" package with the body plus 18-105 mm lens. Not sure about the lens with it. I do not see where this lens would benefit me at all underwater. I definitely want a 60mm lens, and would like to have one other good all laround lens for now for underwater.

 

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I know that there are several questions in here, but appreciate your patience with a newbie to this forum.

 

Thanks - DiverPam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi Pam

 

I think you'll find people with TTL are glad they have it, and people without it feel fine without it.

 

You can purchase the newly offered external ikelite TTL converter separately to use with non-ikelite housings I believe.

 

Ikelite and aquatica are both good housings. You might find the aquatica ergonomics better, but the total cost will be greater.

 

You won't use the 18-105mm underwater, most people start with a 60mm & flat port, and a tokina 10-17mm and dome port.

 

hope this helps,

Scott

Edited by sgietler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Pam,

 

I've just gone through the decision process myself and started a Thread on the D90 which you may not have spotted. I was in

a similar position in that I was upgrading from an Ike compact rig too. In the end I decided to move on from Ikelite including the

DS125 strobe which I sold with the rig. I had narrowed it down to a choice between Aquatica & Nexus with a view to using the

strobe I had long admired the Inon Z240. Although more expensive than the Aquatica I felt that the Nexus housing had many

distinctive advantages over the other that clinched it for me.

 

1. Info window on top of housing.

2. Slightly better ergonomics.

3. Flash lever to raise or lower cameras flash.

4. The option of using both Fibre Optical and Electrical sync cables.

5. High quality optical grade glass ports.

6. The dedicated compact dome port for the Tokina 10-17.

7. The potential to upgrade cameras in the same housing.

 

Both are finely built units but as this was a huge investment for me and I intend to stick with it I really looked at it long and hard.

The Aquatica is certainly excellent value but I think the Nexus takes you to the next level before the REALLY expensive options. As

for Ikelite there are those, myself included, that view the Ikelite port clip system with suspicion. I watched in wide eyed shock as

my buddies port popped off his housing moments before he was about to giant stride in off a pier once. Those sort of things stick

in your mind. I also decided that as I was going to end up with a much larger and more cumbersome rig I wanted it as light and

compact as possible, both in and out of the water. So, hence my decision to ditch the DS125 and go for the Z240 instead.

 

Don't let cost be the only deciding factor in the decision. Early on in my researching a friend gave me this advice "Pick the best

system you can't afford".

 

 

HTH

Cheers,

Jim.

 

EDIT- PS when looking at kit lens the 18-55mm may be the best option for an all-rounder and it will fit in the same port as the 60mm.

Edited by JimSwims

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it. I have not checked out the Inon strobes - yet. Do they work with the DS125 when using 2 strobes?

 

Thanks - DiverPam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are wanting to use one Inon and one DS125, it would seem possible if you have the connections for the Nikonos cable installed on your Nexus housing. I would expect you would have to control the strobes manually.

 

I went through the same process as you and Jim. I came to the same conclusion as Jim for basically the same reasons. My Nexus D90 housing is on order. Should be here in about 12 days, 16 hours and 7 min...but who's counting?

I went with the tokina 10-17 and the dome designed for it for wide angle.

I hope that is the right choice but still internally debating the small dome.

If I had gone with the 160 dome, I would have more lens choices but would have a larger dome for travel plus I would need another extension. Smaller, lighter travel was part of the Nexus decision point so I went for the smaller dome. I am worried that I might not be so good at getting close enough and want to try a 12-24 later, which would NOT fit in my new dome but would if I had gotten the 160+extension. Will I be good at getting that close for photo's? I was amazed at how wide angle the 10-17 really is. It arrived a few days ago and have been testing it on land.

 

By the way, the raising/lowering device for the internal flash does not come standard on the Nexus D90. If you want it, ask for it and it costs a bit extra - about $150 extra. I went for it.

 

I also went for the 60mm flat port and an extension for a 105mm so I can use either and only own the one flat port.

 

If you want to use the DS125, you can have connections for Nikonos cables installed on your Nexus but it costs extra. About $300 extra, more or less, for 2 connections. It will not be TTL without additional devices for additional cost. If you shoot only Manual control for strobes, you would be set.

 

I use Z240's for the past yr and love them. They are TTL with the Nexus via the provided fiber optic connections, no extra cost - I already own the cables but they are low cost. The TTL worked well overall for my G9 but I can see where TTL might not be the ticket on the 10-17. I will just have to experiment and learn.. which is part of the fun!

Hope that helps a little.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the feedback. I ordered the Nikon 60 mm and Tokina 10-17 lens today. Cannot wait for then to get here. Need to finalize my housing choice. My husband says that he created a monster in 1997 when we started diving and I got into UW photography. The price keeps going up and the toys that I want keep adding up :)

 

Where I can find a site with the Nexus D90 housing on it? I have been looking but all I find is the Nexus D80 Housing and nothing in the USA.

 

Thanks - DiverPam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Where I can find a site with the Nexus D90 housing on it? I have been looking but all I find is the Nexus D80 Housing and nothing in the USA.

 

Thanks - DiverPam

 

 

Hi Pam,

 

unfortunately info in English is VERY sparse for Nexus products and the Nexus USA site is long overdue for an update. I went through Enzo in Taiwan and

can highly recommend him. You can also go to the Nexus Japan site and get Google to translate the page for you but that does produce a lot of gibberish.

They do have a detailed pdf about the D90 housing on the site but I couldn't work out how to translate that

 

Cheers,

Jim.

Edited by JimSwims

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pam,

You can get a lot of questions answered from Ryan at Reef Photo. They are competitively priced with Asian sources and cover the warranty but are not authorized dealers. I ordered mine from them and it should be here late next week...counting the seconds.

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just purchased an Aquatica D90 housing and got it in the water for the first time today. I have to admit I am very impressed with it. The new features and compact design are a real step above my previous D70 housing. I will be writing a review on it soon, so far it will be a very positive review.

 

As for the Aquatica and your Ikelite strobes. You can actually order the Aquatica housing with Ikelite bulkheads and utilize the Ikelite TTL. There is a TTL sensor that is shipped standard with the housing, you just have to tell them you want an Ikelite bulkhead for your Ikelite strobes.

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ikelite vs. Aquatica. Simple choice. If you can afford an Aquatica, then buy the Aquatica. The ergonomics of the Aquatica (or any major Aluminum housing) are far superior. If you can't afford the Aquatica, then buy the Ikelite and shoot away unaware of the disadvantages.

 

Even if you buy another brand, you can still get an Ikelite TTL adapter for TTL use if you want. Granted, I've had three different ones fail on the last three trips.

 

My Aquatica housing was retrofitted with an Ikelite bulkhead, which is now an option when buying.

 

Aquatica now has a port locking system and the glass dome is fantastic, heavy and expensive. The 8" dome still works quite well with the 10-17mm Tokina. The macro port also comes in glass, so JimSwims point 5 is incorrect.

 

If one really wants fiber optic cables, then the Nexus is the right choice. Absent that, I don't see any distinct advantages.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also consider that the DS125 and Inon Z240 have different power and color temps. So you will have to balance the 2 should you mix them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once again...thank for the continued information. I can see that this forum will be my next best friend for a long time to come. I did not realize the TTL sensor was standard with the Aquatica housing - good info. I have decided to go with the Aquatica housing, but I am now trying to fiugre out what to do with the dome - which one - the 8" or 6"? I have the 10-17 Tokina lens and have been told that it works in the 6". Any thoughts on one over the other?

 

My husband and I just scheduled a trip to the Keys in September so I can play with all of my new stuff :) And I just got back from there in mid July. Never enough diving.

 

Thanks for all of the info - DiverPam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I did not realize the TTL sensor was standard with the Aquatica housing

 

The TTL adapter does not come with the Aquatica. One can purchase the adapter from Ikelite. It plugs into the bulkhead and you then plug the sync cord into the adapter. Sorry for the confusion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's here!! ;) My housing, dome, macro port, etc - are all here. And I cannot wait to get in the water with it all. We are leaving this weekend for the Keys (as long as the weather holds out and nothing happens on the home front).

 

Thanks for answering all of my questions and the feedback on my setup. I also want to say thank you to Fred at Backscatter - he has been great during all of this too. He helped to set everything up once I made my decisions.

 

Everything is scattered all over the dining room table - and I have been playing with it all for the last several days - getting used to the setup, feel of everything, etc. I am sure that I wll have more questions after I get back, and hopefully some pics to share.

 

My husband just keeps asking how much more is this going to cost?

 

Happy diving - DiverPam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

its a sexy little beast isnt it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
its a sexy little beast isnt it?

 

VERY! Getting in the pool tomorrow with the housing to check it out.

 

I did find out while playing with it that turning the camera on before you put it into the housing is a must - then you can turn it off after you get it sealed up.

 

Taking notes and putting in my camera bag as I go.

 

DiverPam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a firm believer in doing a dynamic pressure test on all new gear with o-rings vs the typical static test that manufacturers perform. A static test in a pressurized tank hopefully shows that nothing leaks without moving any of the controls. However, it is possible that control movement may provide a leak path. Therefore I suggest diving the housing to 50-60 ft without camera, and move all the controls several times. If it passes this test, then I'd feel comfortable installing the camera & start taking beautiful photos. But that's just me. Good luck with your new rig. It's a great setup.

Edited by jcclink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm a firm believer in doing a dynamic pressure test on all new gear with o-rings vs the typical static test that manufacturers perform. A static test in a pressurized tank hopefully shows that nothing leaks without moving any of the controls. However, it is possible that control movement may provide a leak path. Therefore I suggest diving the housing to 50-60 ft without camera, and move all the controls several times. If it passes this test, then I'd feel comfortable installing the camera & start taking beautiful photos. But that's just me. Good luck with your new rig. It's a great setup.

 

Thanks - did a dynamic test in the pool today (housing only) - up to about 12 feet. I know that it was not "at deptth" but what I had available before we leave. Did a test with the flat port and then with dome and extensions. You would have thought I had a new baby the way I was handling my new gear. Everything went fine. I used all of the controls several times over with each setup to see how if would go.

 

I was really surprised at how bouyant the setup is without camera and strobe on it. My Ikelite housing was not that bouyant. Interesting.

 

DiverPam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
most people start with a 60mm & flat port, and a tokina 10-17mm and dome port.

 

I'm on the verge of housing my D90 and am thinking about what ports to go for. I have a 10-17, Sigma 17-70 and 105mm Nikkor. Also have 1 Inon z240. I can't afford to get 3 ports, probably not even 2 (I can't really afford the housing!). What would you start with out of the 10-17 and 17-70? Bearing in mind that the z240 won't be able to light the fisheye at 10mm. I'm probably heading to the red sea in october.

 

Cheers,

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm on the verge of housing my D90 and am thinking about what ports to go for. I have a 10-17, Sigma 17-70 and 105mm Nikkor. Also have 1 Inon z240. I can't afford to get 3 ports, probably not even 2 (I can't really afford the housing!). What would you start with out of the 10-17 and 17-70? Bearing in mind that the z240 won't be able to light the fisheye at 10mm. I'm probably heading to the red sea in october.

 

Cheers,

Tim

 

I also asked lots of questions (on here as you can see and of others) before I committed to my housing and new equipment upgrade. I decided on the aquatica with a 6' dome and a flat port. I was having trouble deciding between the 6" or 8" dome. I did this after talking with Fred at Backscatter who used the Aquatica housing and the 6" dome himself. He had dove with the same setup the week I ordered mine and was able to answer my questions. Here is what he told me. If I am interested in over/under pics then an 8" dome or bigger would help. I did not go that route. The 6" dome is about $200 cheaper than the 8" dome. (which helped make part of my decision). Also, the 6" dome is smaller and easier to travel with. I like the handling far. The 10-17 Tokina fits in the 6" dome - but needs an extension. I have learned in the last few weeks on here that most lens need an extension with a dome. I also have one strobe and will have to stay put with that for awhile myself - used up all of my mad money on the new housing and ports.

 

Based on what I have learned on here so far, most folks would say start with the Tokina 10-17 lens if you have to choose just one lens setup to start.

 

One of the questions others on here may be able to answer is how one strobe will do lighting at 17mm.

 

As for the housing, I upgraded from an Ikelite housing (my previous camera system). I am very pleased with the setup and feel of the Aquatica so far. It is more user friendly, buttons are much easier to use. I like the port locking system.

 

Will have all of my stuff underwater next week in the Keys. Will be glad to tell you what I learned.

 

Good luck with all of this - feel your pain since I just did all of this in the last month myself. - DiverPam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am thinking of getting a D90 and housing. Trip to Indo coming soon (2+ wks) so decision time is now I guess. Had D70 for years but never underwater. I got a G9 and Ike setup and didnt like it (slow, etc) so I sold the housing. Still have 2* DS125 + arms. So do I get a D90 and Aquatica housing? Or do I get a D300s (wait for housing) or wait and see what the D700x is all about?

 

What advantage would a D300s have over a D90?

 

If I got anything I would use the Nikon 60mm (new) and Nikon 105 AF (older) and Tokina 10-17. Should I get the AF Macro port or the manual one? Can you use the manual focus without the gears (save money for now)? Shooting topside I use AF 99% of the time.

 

Seems people go with the 6" dome mostly. I dont plan on over/under shots. Any reason to get a bigger dome?

 

Would like to eventually shoot TTL but I am fine going manual for now. Option is nice though. So I guess I order it with Ike bulkheads and get the ittl hardware later. Anything wrong with this plan?

 

I do really like the idea of optical flash trigger, but since I own the DS125s and 50% of people shoot with them, I really see no clear way to justify the Nexus housing. I will just wait until the next major upgrade I guess. So I guess for me its do I get this rig now for this trip or wait for a D300s or D700x getup.

 

Nice thing about those others is it will likely open up the world to Sea & Sea, Seacam, etc housings. What advantage do these other systems have over Aquatica? Not just in terms of their systems (ports, etc) but also accessorys by others (I know some systems will take other manufactures domes, etc).

 

Also what about accessory viewfinders. Aquatica doesnt have a 45deg. Is this a big downside? How useful is the one they do offer?

 

Also on diopters - told that to use my 105 I need a port (and that it would be nice to shoot the pygmys) - and do I need a diopter? Which? Woodies? (Anyone have a good link as to exactly how to know what diopter does what and why/when I need it).

 

Note I sadly only get to go diving for a couple 1wk trips a year (although this trip should be 14+ days of diving)... so this is not a heavy use setup for me.

 

Thanks!!!

Jeremy

Edited by jeremyl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can you actually put a system together in 2 wks? Your choice of housings may be somewhat limited on this tight schedule. AF should be fine with 60 macro, but you'll want MF with the 105. The old version requires a special port to access the AF/M switch on the lens barrel. The new VR version has AF with manual over-ride, so standard macro port should work (same as for 60mm with extension ring). AF is also much faster than old 105. Don't really need diopters with these lenses you're considering, but some like eyeball shots, so they use diopters and/or teleconverters. Find a housing first then buy the camera.

Edited by jcclink

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What advantage would a D300s have over a D90?

 

I 'll leave this one to the pundits ;)

 

If I got anything I would use the Nikon 60mm (new) and Nikon 105 AF (older) and Tokina 10-17. Should I get the AF Macro port or the manual one? Can you use the manual focus without the gears (save money for now)? Shooting topside I use AF 99% of the time.

 

As JCCLINK wrote the 60mm is OK with AF, the 105mm (old type) is a dog with AF and if you plan on using it a plenty do get the AF/MF port and gears but remember this; to house the 60m AF-S in AF will cost less than 300usd retail and to house the older 105mm in AF/MF with all the gears extension etc. you will have to spill 900usd plus on the counter. My 2 cents... stick to the 60mm for now

 

Seems people go with the 6" dome mostly. I dont plan on over/under shots. Any reason to get a bigger dome?

 

I use the 6" with the Tokina and like it very much it is a breeze to pack as well.

 

Would like to eventually shoot TTL but I am fine going manual for now. Option is nice though. So I guess I order it with Ike bulkheads and get the ittl hardware later. Anything wrong with this plan?

You can get TTL with the standard default bulkheads or with the Ikelite TTL version, with the Ikelite bulkhead you need their 4301 iTTL converter with the Aquatica standard bulkhead (Nikonos 5 pins) you need the 4302 iTTL, its the same converter but with a Nikonos plug.

 

I do really like the idea of optical flash trigger, but since I own the DS125s and 50% of people shoot with them, I really see no clear way to justify the Nexus housing. I will just wait until the next major upgrade I guess. So I guess for me its do I get this rig now for this trip or wait for a D300s or D700x getup.

 

See Pundits response :D, I can tell you that the Aquatica housing D300s most likely will have optical as well as electrical (Nikonos or Ikelite, your pick)

 

Nice thing about those others is it will likely open up the world to Sea & Sea, Seacam, etc housings. What advantage do these other systems have over Aquatica? Not just in terms of their systems (ports, etc) but also accessorys by others (I know some systems will take other manufactures domes, etc).

 

Too biased with this one, :wacko: will let someone not attached and unbiased to the industry respond.

 

Also what about accessory viewfinders. Aquatica doesnt have a 45deg. Is this a big downside? How useful is the one they do offer?

 

A lot has to do with line of sight, if you can get pass the initial awkwardness of looking down while tracking a subject in front of you, then they are fine, some of our dealers have third party 45 deg available for our housing (pretty much every body uses the same 45deg finder but with various attachment)

 

Also on diopters - told that to use my 105 I need a port (and that it would be nice to shoot the pygmys) - and do I need a diopter? Which? Woodies? (Anyone have a good link as to exactly how to know what diopter does what and why/when I need it).

 

Diopters are fringes and unless you are in the water often and have time to master them, then they often can be regarded as challenging more than anything else :( There is a lot of threading on this subject, so some reviewing of these might help, one thing to remember they are not really for the 60mm but mostly usefull to the 105mm lens (so back to that dilemma)

 

Note I sadly only get to go diving for a couple 1wk trips a year (although this trip should be 14+ days of diving)... so this is not a heavy use setup for me.

 

Vector in all the cost of a D90 package versus the cost for a D300 (very likely in the same price bracket as the D300s) and make your choice, the IQ between the two is very similar, but hey! live a little too, thinking with your brain all the time can be so boring at time :) its also nice to let the guts take their turn!

Edited by Viz'art

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I probably have waited too long. Local Aquatica rep says they are ~3wks out. I guess if I begged Jean maybe I could get stuff in time. Everything I think is in stock someplace except the housing (B&H actually says housing is in stock with Nikonos bulkhead, but that doesnt help me much). Just been too busy at work to think about this trip and now it is upon me. Maybe I will just take my G9 with OEM housing and beg someone to let me take their DSLR out for a spin while I am there.

 

Jean - I feel you on the "live a little". Thats why I am even considering a $3.5K+ "toy" that I only play with a couple weeks a year. At least my new $3K 65" Plasma I will use almost every day :wacko:

 

Question - TTL v/s non TTL Ike Bulkhead for the Aquatica. whats the diff? As I understand it I still need some additional electronics (which I can add later???).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote from Jeremy

Would like to eventually shoot TTL but I am fine going manual for now. Option is nice though. So I guess I order it with Ike bulkheads and get the ittl hardware later. Anything wrong with this plan?

 

 

Since you can get a TTL adapter for either the Nikonos or Ikelite bulkhead, would it not seem that going ahead and getting a Nikons bulkhead the better choice. That would set you up for other strobes system in the future if needed. Others on here may have other information that I do not know of.

 

 

DiverPam (heading out tomorrow on dive trip)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...