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Seacam D800 Housing

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If Paul Kay had bothered to look at the very next line I wrote after I said, "..no housing gives you a guarantee that it will keep water out." he would have read, "This takes care and vigilance when preparing the housing for the dive." Which to my mind is saying that most floods are caused by the person who prepared the housing for the dive, by user error, by lack of sufficient vigilance and care.

 

I'm sure that Paul's customer "...who has just serviced himself..." has exercised proper vigilance and care when performing that servicing, as instructed by Paul.

 

I made no disparaging comments or suggestions concerning the durability and anti-corrosive effectiveness of the Seacam finish. And in fact said that it was a very durable finish in my own experience. I did say that I thought a bright finish sometimes had caused animals to turn away faster than a less attention-catching finish. An observation based on several thousand dives made during the dozen years I had used Seacam housings. And several thousand prior dives during which I had used white Aquatica housings. I also said was that the finish was not as important to me as it used to be because today's "best" digital camera does not remain "the best" for long.

 

 

And I said that I consider a housing's control's, or its lack of specific controls, to be the most important factor to me in deciding which housing to purchase and use. Without good controls you will miss picture after picture for the whole lifetime of the housing, no matter how long that lifetime is or what color the finish is. As the saying goes, "Beauty is as beauty does."

Edited by divegypsy

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Ah! Paul Kay rides to the Seacam rescue again.

 

If Paul had bothered to look at the very next line I wrote after I said, "..no housing gives you a guarantee that it will keep water out." he would have read, "This takes care and vigilance when preparing the housing for the dive." Which to my mind is saying that floods are caused by user error, by lack of sufficient vigilance or care.

 

I'm sure that Paul's customer "...who has just serviced himself..." has exercised proper vigilance when performing his servicing.

 

Fred

 

 

Hey Fred, I took your advice and ordered a D800 to use with the 15mm lens and crop accordingly. It's a great way to work for magazine layouts since there won't be any more extra backgrounds cloned in.

JB

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Hey Fred, I took your advice and ordered a D800 to use with the 15mm lens and crop accordingly. It's a great way to work for magazine layouts since there won't be any more extra backgrounds cloned in.

JB

I think you should publish the full photo for your mag cover, then let the reader decide how to crop it with that iPad app you have.

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I think you should publish the full photo for your mag cover, then let the reader decide how to crop it with that iPad app you have.

...or maybe we could give everyone access to the 300,000 pictures in our library for them to make their own selection to go with the words...

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...or maybe we could give everyone access to the 300,000 pictures in our library for them to make their own selection to go with the words...

 

The possibilities are endless, if they were with a Lytro one could choose a fish portrait or a reefscape

Edited by loftus

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

 

Alex

 

Hi All - I've been teaching a photo course in Key Largo this week, so haven't had time to weigh in on this thread, but as the North American distributor for Seacam I'll highlight a few relevant points, hopefully without getting bogged down with too many subjective arguments one way or the other:

 

1. Alex is right, the Euro is trending in a favorable direction. No one knows what will happen with the Greek elections and other issues influencing exchange, but we we began importing Seacam we purchased product at 72 Deutschmarks to our dollar. At the height of the euro escalation against the dollar we were paying almost $1.60 for a Euro. It is at $1.26 as I write this today. Clearly, there have been pricing fluctuations at our end as a result. To see it come down is a very nice thing and we constantly recast our prices to reflect exchange. The prices on the website when you order is the price you pay when the product arrives. The D800 pricing is based on current exchange, but if the Euro drops in value, pricing will change accordingly.

 

2. I can't speak for anyone else, but as a pro shooter who has to depend on my gear in the field I have found my Seacam housings to be very robust and ergonomic. To me that reliability and functionality justifies a premium. Again, just my opinion, and I won't be drawn into arguments about personal preferences on housings. This happens to be mine. With the super deep ports and depth-enabled Seaflashes, some Seacam shooters are going 700 foot deep, and guys like Paul Nicklen take theirs for months at a time to Antarctica and other inhospitable environments. No one has ever suggested that the Seacam wouldn't be more expensive than others, but I find justification in the build quality, ergonomics, and port and viewfinder optics.

 

3. The viewfinders are optically exceptional, and the choice of pro viewfinder, S180, S45, S10, and electronic (for polecam and remote monitor work) is meaningful to me. Different tools for different tasks. The fact that it is a comprehensive system is an advantage to me.

 

4. I shoot Canon, so many of the concerns you all voice relative to the optimal D800 housing I haven't researched fully, but all Seacam housings in production this year (D4, D800, 5DMKIII, 1D X) are Seacam Silver housings. The "Silver" designates a fully featured housing, including the MSC and multi-controllers and all buttons a shooter might need for either video or stills. The more minimalistic "Prelude" concept will not be replicated in these very high end imaging tools from Canon and Nikon.

 

The first D800 housings are just now beginning to roll off the assembly benches in Austria and should be in the hands of those who have placed their preorders soon. The D4 and D800 housings are essentially done, although it will be a while before all orders are filled. We have never had a housing with as much initial interest as the D800, so with a housing with as much hand finishing as a Seacam (black flocking on the inside is all hand-fitted, for example) it takes a while. The 5DMKIII is next in line. I have one of those on order already myself and look forward to traveling with a system a bit smaller than my existing 1DsMKIII/MKIV housing.

 

I started this off by saying that I just wrapped one of my photo courses in Key Largo, and we had a lot of different branded housings aboard ... Ikelite, Nauticam, Aquatica, and Olympus. There were wonderful images generated by every photographer in the group, regardless of manufacturer of their housing or builder of their strobe. Nothing flooded, and nobody was disappointed with the tools they were using. They probably all had different subjective reasons for purchasing what they did, based on price, availability for their particular camera, or some other variable. I can't say any of them were wrong in their choices, but I still felt right with mine.

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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.

I, on the other hand, do. My old Seacam 1Ds2 housing, made in 2004, still works and I still use it once a year where I've left it, because it still takes nice pics. It's a work horse and I haven't serviced it in 4 years. And the finish and quality aside, I also find Seacam housings, like Subal, to be designed with exquisitely manufactured precision pieces which are smaller and less complicated to field service. This vs the plethora of clunky big pieces of metal of other brands, relying on loctite and other ways of locking down. I've also had aluminum video housings rust badly after a couple of years of use.

And while I've heard other Seacam owners have their niggles (no brand is perfect), I've yet to hear about dome port glass popping off and other issues like rust after 3 weeks of use, or having clunky design fit issues (vs individual camera specific fit issues due to manufacturing tolerances). While I'm sure Seacam isn't problem free, I've had fewer problems with my seacam housings than other brands, whether they be test housings or I bought them.

 

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.

For fisheye, maybe you should consider switching to Canon, where the 15 and 8-15mm allow MF in AF mode. I also kept the 24-85 because it's a cool walkabout lens with macro mode. However, the image quality has lagged behind the 24-70 and 24-120.

 

Today's top digital SLRs have an array of buttons that you need to push or rotate to access camera features and capabilities.

I agree. The D800's INFO menu shows everything but you can't adjust most things. The Canon 5D3's Q/INFO menu allows the user to change most every crucial image taking function with a few clicks.

 

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.

There are also tangible features that should be considered. The Seacam screw camera mount system is easy and saves space. Best of all, one doesn't have to remove some lenses (depending on housing and lens!) when pulling the camera out to change batteries, unlike for some tray mount systems.

Then there's the screw port mount which I find to be very secure for using multiple extensions. Obviously there are lockable port extension systems, but the Seacam system is simple and secure.

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I don't think there's any question that Seacam make the highest quality housing. Probably most people given the choice of a full Seacam system or any other system as a gift, would probably choose Seacam. Like most things, it's all about the money.

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I agree. The D800's INFO menu shows everything but you can't adjust most things. The Canon 5D3's Q/INFO menu allows the user to change most every crucial image taking function with a few clicks.

????? You can adjust everything, and see it change in the info window. It's simply a different way of adjusting.

Whether my eye is in the viewfinder or looking at the LCD my hands are simply on the same button and /or command dial.

Personal choice.

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Probably most people given the choice of a full Seacam system or any other system as a gift, would probably choose Seacam. Like most things, it's all about the money.

 

That is a question I asked a little above, but I don´t expect many answers... or maybe we could open a new topic with it...

I would not choose Seacam for myself. They have probably the best viewfinders, a great glass superdome and also great, powerful (although not as much as before) and, AFAIK, reliable strobes (which is hard to come by these days with big strobes) but you can use all that in many other housings. I would choose hugyfot, although my opinion is biased because I have used three of them D200, D300, D7000 (and posted their reviews here) and still working perfectly having only been serviced by me every two years or so. Sometimes I feel like I am cheating using them and I never considered changing to Subal or Seacam, which are the perceived higher end brands in my area (when I bought my first housing I considered Seacam and even contacted Stephen Frink, who was very friendly and helpful, but the estimated delivery time was too long and I decided not to wait and went with hugy). As for "tangible" features, I can use just about any other brand port (including Seacam´s superdome), I can always take out the camera without taking off the lens, I can use it with only one handle and a strap, I like its controls, they have a great optical-electrical strobe configuration solution, the new D800 even comes with four connectors (two for strobes, one for hugycheck and one for video...). They are 100m-330 ft rated. And Hugycheck, which is system that many people don´t know about and tend to ignore, but IMO it is the most important advance in housing building in the past years. And it is black :lol:

Disclaimer: I don´t have anything to do with Hugy and it may not be my next housing as Isottas have also some surprisingly good things...

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Hi all,

 

Stephen Frink wrote concerning the up coming Seacam D800 housing." I shoot Canon, so many of the concerns you all voice relative to the optimal D800 housing I haven't researched fully, but all Seacam housings in production this year (D4, D800, 5DMKIII, 1D X) are Seacam Silver housings. The "Silver" designates a fully featured housing, including the MSC and multi-controllers and all buttons a shooter might need for either video or stills. The more minimalistic "Prelude" concept will not be replicated in these very high end imaging tools from Canon and Nikon.

 

I bought two Seacam housings for my D700's. Wasn't the Seacam D700 housing a Seacam "Silver" housing? I had to pay 180 euros extra for the M-S-C control. Will a purchaser of the Seacam D800 housing also have to pay 180 euros (approximately $225) extra for an AF-M control? Add that $225 to the announced price of $5718 for the D800 housing and you're within a whisker of $6000. Will the Seacam AF-M control allow you to depress the small button that is part of the AF-M lever which makes it possible for you to change between AF-S and A-FC and (when you are in AF-C) choose between single point focus, 9, 21 and 52 dynamic groupings of AF points, and 3D AF? Or will that capability cost even more? These, AF or M, AF-S or AF-C and AF areas are , in my opinion, very important capabilities for underwater shooting as well as topside shooting.

 

My Seacam D700 housing had no control whatsoever to change the ambient light metering pattern, between matrix, center-weight and spot metering. Is that a "fully featured" housing? Most other D700 housings I've seen have a control for that. I can switch metering patterns on my Seacam D700 housings only because I added an additional control to my housings that allows me to push the programable function and preview buttons, either of which I can program for a second (or third) light metering pattern. Most of the time I use only two metering patterns - spot and center-weight, using the function button to choose which. I use the preview button to shoot a quick shot without flash, and to access auto-bracketing.

 

As I have said previously, I consider controls, easily used controls, to be my single most important criteria in choosing a new housing. What is the sense in paying thousands of dollars for a new camera with new capabilities, and then buying an even more expensive housing which makes those capabilities inaccessible?

 

Drew wrote, concerning my comment that I now care less whether a housing's finish stays perfect for 8-10 years. "I, on the other hand, do. My old Seacam 1Ds2 housing, made in 2004, still works and I still use it once a year where I've left it, because it still takes nice pics. It's a work horse and I haven't serviced it in 4 years."

 

Drew, if you use your Canon 1Ds2 camera and housing only once a year, why keep it? You aren't using it on trips that really matter to you. And if you've used that housing only once a year, its no wonder that the finish is still perfect and everything else works without additional servicing in the last four years. With servicing every year or two, which I did myself, the Aquatica housings I used with my Nikon F4's for more than eight years, between about 1990 and 1999, still worked quite well when I sold them. The white paint showed considerable chipping, but there were no corrosion problems that affected the use of the housings in any way. I have seen other posts where you, Drew, have written about using one or several newer models of Canon DSLR (like the 5D2?). You would have needed new housings for those wouldn't you?. And now have both a Nikon D800 and a Canon 5D3. Or have them on order. Clearly you have much more money to spend on your UW photo gear than do most of us who must buy less frequently and choose more carefully for budgetary reasons. The fact that you keep changing which model is your "primary" camera and housing combinations only reinforces what I have written concerning the relatively short lifetime on top for any digital SLR. And why I say having the best controls to utilize the full capability of that camera is paramount, to me, vs the longevity of the housing's finish.

 

Loftus, I notice that you recently posted that your new Nauticam housing for the D800 had arrived. Perhaps you can add to this discussion by telling us why you chose to buy a Nauticam for your D800, abandoning the "better quality Austrian construction" of the Subal housings you indicated that you were using with several earlier models of Nikon. Certainly you could easily have afforded to buy another Subal housing body for your D800, which would have allowed you to use all the ports, extension rings and lens gears that you had for those.

 

Fred

Edited by divegypsy

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????? You can adjust everything, and see it change in the info window. It's simply a different way of adjusting.

Whether my eye is in the viewfinder or looking at the LCD my hands are simply on the same button and /or command dial.

Personal choice.

I'll show you what I mean when you get here. You may switch to Canon! :lol:

 

But the fact that you keep adding or changing cameras and housings combinations as your "primary" system only reinforces what I have written about the relatively short lifetime on top for any digital SLR. And why I say having the best controls to utilize the full capability of that camera is paramount vs the housing's finish.

My point is that as a still camera, the 1Ds2/D2n still does very well. Under 640ISO it's pretty much even with the newer DSLR. And the Seacam housing that keeps chugging along with it with all the functions necessary to keep shooting. I'll keep it until the camera dies. Which brings up a point about housings: why can't I send the housing in to be recycled? Surely dead papers vs recycled metal facility, hmm I'll check my local recycler)

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Hi all,

 

Stephen Frink wrote concerning the up coming Seacam D800 housing." I shoot Canon, so many of the concerns you all voice relative to the optimal D800 housing I haven't researched fully, but all Seacam housings in production this year (D4, D800, 5DMKIII, 1D X) are Seacam Silver housings. The "Silver" designates a fully featured housing, including the MSC and multi-controllers and all buttons a shooter might need for either video or stills. The more minimalistic "Prelude" concept will not be replicated in these very high end imaging tools from Canon and Nikon.

 

I bought two Seacam housings for my D700's. Wasn't the Seacam D700 housing a Seacam "Silver" housing? I had to pay 180 euros extra for the M-S-C control. Will a purchaser of the Seacam D800 housing also have to pay 180 euros (approximately $225) extra for an AF-M control? Add that $225 to the announced price of $5718 for the D800 housing and you're within a whisker of $6000. Will the Seacam AF-M control allow you to depress the small button that is part of the AF-M lever which makes it possible for you to change between AF-S and A-FC and (when you are in AF-C) choose between single point focus, 9, 21 and 52 dynamic groupings of AF points, and 3D AF? Or will that capability cost even more? These, AF or M, AF-S or AF-C and AF areas are , in my opinion, very important capabilities for underwater shooting as well as topside shooting.

 

My Seacam D700 housing had no control whatsoever to change the ambient light metering pattern, between matrix, center-weight and spot metering. Is that a "fully featured" housing? Most other D700 housings I've seen have a control for that. I can switch metering patterns on my Seacam D700 housings only because I added an additional control to my housings that allows me to push the programable function and preview buttons, either of which I can program for a second (or third) light metering pattern. Most of the time I use only two metering patterns - spot and center-weight, using the function button to choose which. I use the preview button to shoot a quick shot without flash, and to access auto-bracketing.

 

As I have said previously, I consider controls, easily used controls, to be my single most important criteria in choosing a new housing. What is the sense in paying thousands of dollars for a new camera with new capabilities, and then buying an even more expensive housing which makes those capabilities inaccessible?

Fred

 

Fred -

 

You didn't buy your D700 SEACAM housings from us, so I can't speak to how yours was configured and priced, but seacamusa has never sold a Silver housing without the MSC (AF-M) control. We agree it is a crucial control.

 

The D800 offers twin bulkheads (either S6 or Nikonos V), MSC autofocus control, and moisture alarm at no additional charge. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

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Loftus, I notice that you recently posted that your new Nauticam housing for the D800 had arrived. Perhaps you can add to this discussion by telling us why you chose to buy a Nauticam for your D800, abandoning the "better quality Austrian construction" of the Subal housings you indicated that you were using with several earlier models of Nikon. Certainly you could easily have afforded to buy another Subal housing body for your D800, which would have allowed you to use all the ports, extension rings and lens gears that you had for those.

Fred,

I started writing a response and it turned into a long off topic list of reasons. Suffice to say that I think Nauticam is the housing company of the future with their clever engineering and response to customer needs and camera evolution. And, I'm tired of the European company service issues and arrogant attitude that I've had to deal with in the past,

Edited by loftus

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Fred,

I started writing a response and it turned into a long off topic list of reasons. Suffice to say that I think Nauticam is the housing company of the future with their clever engineering and response to customer needs and camera evolution. And, I'm tired of the European company service issues and arrogant attitude that I've had to deal with in the past,

 

I'm making the switch as well, from being a Anthis Nexus user for more than 10 years (5 housings) I'm now moving everything to Nauticam. Being able to keep my specially made lighting support systems attached to nexus ports with these housing as well as opening up for more port options has a lot to do with the choice to switch. I also like the speedy development, new thinking and control layout of the Nauticam housings. Nexus main problem was much like Nikons; very slow feedback, none or late availability of parts and housings. Competitively priced. Aquatica is my second choice. The little time I have spent shooting Subal and Secam has not convinced me they were the right thing for me, controls to fidgety with large dry gloves.

 

Just my opinion.

 

Espen.

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Fred -

 

You didn't buy your D700 SEACAM housings from us, so I can't speak to how yours was configured and priced, but seacamusa has never sold a Silver housing without the MSC (AF-M) control. We agree it is a crucial control.

 

The D800 offers twin bulkheads (either S6 or Nikonos V), MSC autofocus control, and moisture alarm at no additional charge. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

 

I wish there was a "LIKE" button for WP. :lol:

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I wish there was a "LIKE" button for WP. :lol:

Question; is the MSC control an added charge for Seacam? Are there any added charges for controls on Seacam or is everything standard and included in the price? (Except of course the viewfinder) Are there differences in how cameras are priced and configured from country to country? Steve, is it even possible to buy a Seacam without some controls as standard?

Edited by loftus

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I believe the MSC switch must be included I didn't see a separate listing on the pricing sheet on their website and they didn't ask me when I ordered. This will be my third Seacam housing. I thought about switching to one of the less expensive housings for a brief moment. What I like about the Seacam besides them being very fashionable is I don't have to spend much time fiddling with the housing between dives. Other than the short time spent changing the card, battery, lens or port I do nothing else. Don't have to worry about a loose port because they kind of snap into place. Anyway just my humble opinion. Mine should be arriving shortly. Took me four months to get the camera.

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Question; is the MSC control an added charge for Seacam? Are there any added charges for controls on Seacam or is everything standard and included in the price? (Except of course the viewfinder) Are there differences in how cameras are priced and configured from country to country? Steve, is it even possible to buy a Seacam without some controls as standard?

 

Mary Lou is right, Jeff. The MSC is standard on the Seacam these days. About the only controls you could add as an option is the for the remote socket. There is a third bulkhead opening which can be for a remote cable release or video monitor. That could be an extra. The same socket can also be used for a new S10 bulkhead that wires a LAN cable to a computer. This is new technology developed for the pool venues at the Olympics for the D4, but it will populate throughout the Seacam Silver line-up soon. So. now you could put your Seacam housing on an underwater tripod in your pool, and sit in your loungechair with your laptop, drinking pina coladas while all those pretty girls swim in front of your dome, Jeff. You could even do local controls in Lightroom while they are still underwater holding their breath :lol:

 

There are some inevitable differences from country-to-country because of variables like VAT, import duties, and exchange rates; but we find that with cameras and cars too so I don't think it is unique to Seacam.

Edited by StephenFrink

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I believe the MSC switch must be included I didn't see a separate listing on the pricing sheet on their website and they didn't ask me when I ordered. This will be my third Seacam housing. I thought about switching to one of the less expensive housings for a brief moment. What I like about the Seacam besides them being very fashionable is I don't have to spend much time fiddling with the housing between dives. Other than the short time spent changing the card, battery, lens or port I do nothing else. Don't have to worry about a loose port because they kind of snap into place. Anyway just my humble opinion. Mine should be arriving shortly. Took me four months to get the camera.

 

 

No fiddling with the camera between dives? You should have got a Hugyfot with Hugycheck! I can see if all is OK just by the reflection of the winking green light on my cabin/bedroom wall!

Edited by John Bantin

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What I like about the Seacam besides them being very fashionable is I don't have to spend much time fiddling with the housing between dives. Other than the short time spent changing the card, battery, lens or port I do nothing else. Don't have to worry about a loose port because they kind of snap into place.

I didn't know they became a fashion item. I'd try putting my Seacams on my gold chains around my neck but I can't find a matching Louboutin sneaks! :lol:

 

I really like the Seacam no fuss screw-in ports too.

 

 

No fiddling with the camera between dives? You should have got a Hugyfot with Hugycheck! I can see if all is OK just by the reflection of the winking green light on my cabin/bedroom wall!

 

John, I just pressure tested with a pump and port adapter a Nauticam, Aquatica and Seacam the other week.

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John, I just pressure tested with a pump and port adapter a Nauticam, Aquatica and Seacam the other week.

 

 

Good for you!

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Stephen,

 

You've written that the MSC control, now a M-AF control is standard on new Seacam Silver housings. You didn't answer my question about whether this control, on the Seacam D800 housing, also pushes in the button on the D800 camera thats allows switching single auto-focus to continuous auto-focus and allows changing the focus sensor groupings.

 

Nor did you answer whether the D800 housing has a control to allow switching between spot metering, matrix and center-weighted metering. Which the D700 housing did not. Do you know the answer to either of these questons?

 

I think those two controls are likely to be of far more use and to be wanted by many more D800 shooters, than the number of shooters who want an S10 bulkhead with a LAN cable to connect the camera to a computer while it's underwater.

 

Fred

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Thanks for that info Steve; yes the extra bulkhead is helpful - it was actually standard on the D700 Subal and I used it in the pool with USB out tethered to a laptop at poolside, though the cocktails had to wait till after the shoots. Working on it for my Nauticam. I am one of those who probably does not need the optical strobe outlets.

I will say that my initial impressions on my Nauticam are excellent, though I have not dived it yet. (Hopefully next week in South Africa) I think the fit and the way everything meshes is superior to my Subal. The way the zoom rings fit onto the lenses and mesh is also much more slick.

Edited by loftus

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I will say that my initial impressions on my Nauticam are excellent, though I have not dived it yet. (Hopefully next week in South Africa) I think the fit and the way everything meshes is superior to my Subal. The way the zoom rings fit onto the lenses and mesh is also much more slick.

 

I am shooting the Nauticam D800 at the moment in Egypt. The housing is very impressive. The multi-selector is working very well, falls right under your thumb when shooting. Nice feature.

 

Camera is very nice - although from time to time hangs - taking 10+ seconds to show the image you've just shot. The two other D800 owners on board - one says his camera also does this from time to time.

 

Sat with Peter Scoones and Mike Wong on the plane - and Peter is shooting D800s out here in his old Subal D700 housings - modified for the D800.

 

Alex

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