Jump to content
mreid

Seacam D800 Housing

Recommended Posts

Pricing for the D800 has been posted on the seacamusa website but no photo at this time. Of course current Euro value will effect delivery price. I ordered early.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Euro is weak and getting weaker. European housings should be much better value than a few years ago.

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The following US$ prices for D800 housings are what I have seen posted on Stephen Frink's SeacamUSA, Reef Photo, and Backscatter websites.

 

$5714-SeaCam. $3899-Subal. $3600-Nauticam. $3199.95-Sea & Sea. $3199-Aquatica. $1599.95-Ikelite.

 

The euro may be getting weaker, but Seacam prices certainly aren't. The Seacam price is more than $2000 higher than that of any other housing except Subal. And the basic Seacam housing price often doesn't include the s/c/m (now AF/M) control for which Seacam charges an additional several hundred euros.

 

Underwater photographers will have to decide whether having a silver-colored housing is worth the price of an alternate housing PLUS a D800 camera body. It is all the more worth considering carefully since Nauticam, and perhaps other housing manufacturers as well, offer port adapters which allows the use of Seacam ports on their housings, sparing you the expense of buying new ports if you make the switch.

 

I will be looking very carefully at the controls on each alternative housing as I make my decision since I consider the controls, and how easily they can be used, especially when your hands are on the handgrips and the camera at your eye, to be the single most important aspect of any housing.

 

Fred

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One word of caution about adapters. Some lenses may have vignetting is the adapter is too thick. For instance, my Seacam to Aquatica adapter vignettes with the 15mm FE, but obviously not the 8-15 since the 8-15 is much longer. I do not know if the new adapter works better. Mine is at least 5 years old.

 

Yet another often not mentioned point is that of the regular servicing. The often intricate and complicated design and the use of loctite etc now makes servicing certain brands more expensive (sometimes up to double the hours charged). Obviously it's at most a bi-annual (if that) thing to do, but still something to consider.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sure about the quality of Seacam, but the price difference in most of the cases makes choosing a Seacam housing very difficult nowadays, especially for amateurs like me. Since I'm in Europe now, I spent the last months getting informed about local manufacturers in order to choose a housing for my new D7000. I considered choosing Seacam because the price difference of this specific housing wasn't much of a problem comparing to others, but the lack of important controls made me give up and get a Hugyfot, wich should arrive soon. In the D800 case, the difference is huge and I don't think it's worth it. I wonder why the production cost of Seacam is so much higher. Is it because the kind of metal alloy used? Ergonomics, maybe? Toughness?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wonder why the production cost of Seacam is so much higher. Is it because the kind of metal alloy used? Ergonomics, maybe? Toughness?

 

It is not necessarily that the production costs are higher, just the prices are higher. They just want to place their product in that price range even though the technology difference with the other brands does not justify it at all IMO. The only thing they can claim is that they have individual controls for focus and zoom... Their viewfinders are very good too, but they are not included in the price (and they are very expensive too 1500-2000$)... But if it works for them good for them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David, focus AND zoom are VERY important features for some people and are willing to pay for it. But otherwise, you are right, people have to choose what is right for themselves. And thank you for not using a car analogy! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And thank you for not using a car analogy! :)

 

:) :)

 

I think that Seacam's housings also have a quality of finish that differentiates them from other brands. Whether their qualities are worth the price difference I think comes down to an individual choice, but it is a fair observation that you rarely meet a Seacam user who is unhappy with their housing choice.

 

To continue Fred's list - does anyone have any dealer quoted USD prices for other housing brands?

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got my Honda, I mean Nauticam ND800. :)

Very nice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:):D

 

I think that Seacam's housings also have a quality of finish that differentiates them from other brands. Whether their qualities are worth the price difference I think comes down to an individual choice, but it is a fair observation that you rarely meet a Seacam user who is unhappy with their housing choice.

 

That is why I wrote IMO :) I don´t usually encounter anyone unhappy with their housings being usually the other way around (probably because most people don´t get to try many brands and because most of the housings are very good...).

 

And thank you for not using a car analogy!

 

Car analogy does not apply as there are undeniable technology differences there! (unlike in a drilled empty aluminum box... :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Car analogy does not apply as there are undeniable technology differences there! (unlike in a drilled empty aluminum box... :) )

:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that the silver anti-corrosion finish on Seacam housings is very durable and long-lasting. And this was important to me in the days when the lifetime of a top model camera, like my Nikon F5's, was 8-10 years. But few things get old much faster than last year's hot digital camera and within two or three years, many of us want to upgrade to a newer camera, which usually requires a new housing. So now I'm much less concerned about having a housing finish that will last ten years. In the case of the Seacam silver housing finish, my own experience with three Seacam F5 housings and two D700 housings, over more than a dozen years of use and several thousand dives, strongly suggests that the bright silver finish sometimes causes visually acute subjects to turn away sooner than a less attention-getting color does. And the bright silver also makes it a bit more difficult to see the camera's LCD in high ambient light situations.

 

I value functionality far more than appearance in a housing, so the controls are what is most important to me. Manual focus has always been something I have used a lot. And even though auto-focus has improved greatly since my F5's, I expect that there will always be situations where I feel manual focus works best. But I also feel that you should be able to change from auto-focus to manual focus easily, while you are underwater, for the feature to be truly useful. And you cannot do that with the current Seacam system with Nikon's non-AF-S lenses. This makes it very difficult or impossible to change focusing methods with any full-frame fisheye lens made for the FX sensor Nikon cameras because none of those fisheye lenses have AF-S focusing motors. Nor does Nikon's 24-85mm lens which I use more than any other single lens. Today's top digital SLRs have an array of buttons that you need to push or rotate to access camera features and capabilities. If a housing control isn't there or isn't easy to use, you are fighting the housing whenever you want to make those changes in the camera settings. I want to direct my attention and my thinking on the subject, on getting it in focus and framed properly, not on fighting the housing.

 

I feel it is important to look at a housing as one component in a system, in a complete photographic entity. An entity that is composed of the housing body, ports, extension rings and viewfinders; the camera body and lenses and the strobes that you want to use. And make your housing choice based on how well that whole system-entity meets your needs and the way you are comfortable working. A good craftsman needs good tools. The above-prism space in my Seacam D700 housing does not have enough room for the D700's pop-up flash to come up all the way. So the housing will not work with strobes that use fibre-optic sync cables to slave the underwater stobes off that pop-up flash. Perhaps the Seacam D800 will have enough room. This doesn't matter much to me because I am using several different kinds of strobes, Ikelite and Hartenberger, both of which I connect to the housing with wire sync cables. Fortunately, the Seacam housing does have enough space above the camera prism for a D700 camera battery. And I have run wires from the battery chamber of the D700 body to a "remote" battery that sits on top of the D700's prism. This allows me to change my camera battery without having to take the D700 completely out of the housing as do most Seacam D700 users. I only have to take off the housing back and slide the hotshoe adapter out of the D700's hotshoe to access this remote battery and change it. And this adds only a minute or two to the time I need to pull out the CF card to download the day's images. In some other housings there might not have been enough space for the battery there.

 

Fred

Edited by divegypsy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just got my Honda, I mean Nauticam ND800. :)

Very nice!

 

¿Honda? Naaaaaahhhhh!!! Hong Kong´s Nauticam would be more of a chinese Chery car! :)

 

Sorry Drew, but I didn´t start! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like cars that are guaranteed to go when you want them to and housings that are guaranteed to keep the water out. I'm a simple character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like cars that are guaranteed to go when you want them to and housings that are guaranteed to keep the water out. I'm a simple character.

In the UK you also want a car that's guaranteed to keep the water out....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Especially now...

 

Come back to Gran Canaria to re-enjoy some sunny mojitos! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the above prices are real, what surprises me is that there is only a $300 difference between a Nauticam and Subal housing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If the above prices are real, what surprises me is that there is only a $300 difference between a Nauticam and Subal housing.

 

Subal ND800 lists for $4289 vs Nauticam at $3600

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John Bantin has written,"I like cars that are guaranteed to go when you want them to and housings that are guaranteed to keep the water out. I'm a simple character."

 

With respect to keeping water out, no housing gives you a guarantee that it will keep water out. This takes care and vigilance when preparing the housing for the dive. In my dozen years of using Seacam housings, for the Nikon F5 and D700, I have found them to be no more leak free than the Aquatica housings I had for the Nikon F4 and Canon F1n and the Ikelite housings I had for the original Canon F1 and a more recent Fuji S2.

 

None of the "premium" metal housing manufacturers will replace your camera and lens even if the housing floods because of a manufacturing defect. Ikelite used to do this, but I don't know if they still do. I believe that the double o-ring seal on Seacam's ports and extension rings is a significant help in preventing leaks via that entry, but the housing body still has only a single o-ring like all other housings except possibly Light & Motion.

 

One could also look at the huge price difference between Seacam and the other housings as a form of flood insurance. If you buy one of those other housings, the price difference virtually pays for a second D800 camera body. And if you use that money to buy a second D800 body right away, you will have it on hand in case the D800 in your housing fails, whether because of a flood or simple mechanical failure. So it also becomes a type of trip insurance as well.

 

Fred

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John Bantin has written,"I like cars that are guaranteed to go when you want them to and housings that are guaranteed to keep the water out. I'm a simple character."

 

With respect to keeping water out, no housing gives you a guarantee that it will keep water out. This takes care and vigilance when preparing the housing for the dive. In my dozen years of using Seacam housings, for the Nikon F5 and D700, I have found them to be no more leak free than the Aquatica housings I had for the Nikon F4 and Canon F1n and the Ikelite housings I had for the original Canon F1 and a more recent Fuji S2.

 

None of the "premium" metal housing manufacturers will replace your camera and lens even if the housing floods because of a manufacturing defect. Ikelite used to do this, but I don't know if they still do. I believe that the double o-ring seal on Seacam's ports and extension rings is a significant help in preventing leaks via that entry, but the housing body still has only a single o-ring like all other housings except possibly Light & Motion.

 

One could also look at the huge price difference between Seacam and the other housings as a form of flood insurance. If you buy one of those other housings, the price difference virtually pays for a second D800 camera body. And if you use that money to buy a second D800 body right away, you will have it on hand in case the D800 in your housing fails, whether because of a flood or simple mechanical failure. So it also becomes a type of trip insurance as well.

 

Fred

 

I think John refers to using Hugycheck, which is a great help. The much cheaper Isotta has double o-ring seals everywhere http://www.isotecnic.it/cms/?lang=en

 

If any of you where given the chance to get a free housing, dome and macro ports which brand/model would you get? (and no, you could not sell it afterwards :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So now I'm much less concerned about having a housing finish that will last ten years.

Fred

Fortunately there are a lot of users who don't share this view, even in today's throw away world. I supply housings to a varied bunch of users including freelance marine biologists, universities, archaeologists, individual scientists, government departments, advertising photographers and so on. Their requirement is primarily for reliability, and often back-up and longevity is of great importance. Some users such as universities and government departments buy housings to cover quite long term projects and to them longevity and back up are inherent requirements and it is important not to have to change equipment part way through the project.

 

I have also just had to supply a new main 'O' ring for a Fuji S2Pro housing - still in use, and now with an owner who has just serviced himself it and is using it to illustrate his diving articles - it is now getting on for 10 years old. I also know of several other older housings still in use and sometimes supply upgrades in the form of viewfinders, better flash units and so on. I always sell housings with the suggestion that they are a 10 year investment and recommend at least 1 spare camera body because it is the bodies which tend to die first - from 'natural' causes. Remember, whilst a camera is operable it should take as good pictures as it ever did. If they are fit for purpose when new, then unless that purpose has changed, they will still be fit for purpose years later. For some users the latest high MPixel cameras are overkill and their massive files can actually be a disadvantage.

 

With respect to keeping water out, no housing gives you a guarantee that it will keep water out.

Fred

Very true, but again in my personal experience floods are caused by the user in 99.99% of cases and unfortunately, until a manufacturer offers a fully sealed housing which allows users to do nothing, this will continue to be the case. I know having made mistakes myself! I'd actually say that 'O' rings are a very effective, tried and tested sealing technology. Few fail without good reason and there is no such thing as an unexplained flood - something will always have caused it. 'O' rings generally fail due to poor usage (by the housing owner), damage, contamination or use beyond their service life (or excess use in chlorinated water which will reduce their service life). I am constantly surprised by the punishment meted out to some housings which they seem to survive - one I supplied lived with its second owner on a Fijian island for a year with just one bucket of vaguely fresh water to soak in (I think that it actually lived in the bucket when not in us) and I saw it happily being used in Scapa Flow a few weeks ago with its owner entering the water each dive with a jump from the boat deck about a meter above the surface; complete with the housing, twin flash set up and a 7l side slung deco cylinder. It also looked in surprisingly good condition.

Edited by Paul Kay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think most housings would last (stay useful) as long. Wether the "finish" lasts or not does not affect the shooting and is something not important from my point of view as long as the o-ring seats/grooves are unaffected... I just use a black marker whenever I want to fix a ding or a scratch on the bottom of my black housings but I just don´t care much about it (and it would not weigh at all on my purchasing decisions).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are also other less tangible factors like control feedback etc. Of all the shutter triggers, I still like the S&S and Seacam the most for sensitivity. I know where half shutter is with most glove thickness.

 

There is no way to judge longevity without a long term test. FYI, manufacturers, I'm available to do a durability test on all 5D3 and D800 housings for the next 5 years. There'll be polar ice, bumpy surf entries and exits, deep (past 80m) and even volcanic activity, as well as organic encounters like crocodiles, sharks, whales and other big things. The dirty test will consist of just rinsing the housing without soaking. Any takers? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I check my Hugyfot camera housing for leaks using non-destructive air rather than water, then I jump in head-first with it. Years ago, the then British importer of Aquatica housings marvelled at the appearance of my Aquatica housing. "You keep taking it in the sea," he said, "when most of my customers put theirs' under their beds!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...