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oosantoo

Viewfinder comparisons

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Can those who tried more then one viewfinder give their thoughts?

 

How do viewfinders from Subal, Nauticam, Aquatica, Sea&Sea, Inon, Seacam (etc) compare?

 

Size

weight

magnification

sharpness

 

Thanks

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For me the viewfinder choice is a "no contest" issue. ONLY Nauticam has a diopter adjustment that you can use underwater, which is the place you use the viewfinder, and the right place to make a diopter adjustment. Because Nauticam has a fairly narrow "tube" throughout the housing to the camera it can be easily adapted to other housings. I did this first for my previous Seacam D700 housings. When I switched over to the Subal ND800 housing for my current camera, all I needed to do was work with a machine shop to make a new delrin adapter. Took only a day and a half. Much less expensive that buying new viewfinders.

 

Fred

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I've used Inon and Nauticam straight viewfinders. Nauticam gets my vote.

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I've been using the Subal 45-degree viewfinder for about 6 years. LOVE IT! It was quite a decision at the time given the cost. I have never regretted it.

 

I moved it recently from the D300 housing to D800. Easy.

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I'm on a dive trip at the moment and just wanted to add a couple of extra thoughts.

 

One issue I have found with a larger viewfinder is packing it for travelling. My Subal D300 with VF would fit in my cabin-sized Pelican roller box. With the extra height of the D800 housing it won't. The VF makes the task harder as the additional bulk of the VF makes the housing as high lying down as it does standing up. So shuffling the housing around the case doesn't work.

 

I have thought about removing the VF for traveling but am slightly wary of that - although I understand removing and reinstalling the Subal VF is straightforward. Maybe next trip!

 

Having written that, there is no way I'd go back to the pre-VF set up. It was a game changer.

 

Can't help you, oosantoo, on dimensions but I'm sure you can find those online. There is no diopter setting on the Subal VF but any adjustment is easy enough to make anyway on the camera. It is, as you'd expect, sharp!

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My only experience with external viewfinders has been with Subal straight and 45 degree ones, both have crystal clear optics with 150% magnification. The 45 rotates to allow landscape and portrait use. Both are easy to remove and replace. Having a vacuum system on my housing reassures me that my o-rings are seated correctly and are water tight if install a viewfinder. I would never be without a magnifying external viewfinder on any housing that I own.

 

Elmer

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I have used the Nauticam straight, and both the straight and 45 in Aquatica and Subal. I find the optics comparable. I disagree with divegypsy that an external diopter is a benefit. I like it to be set correctly (a bit harder with initial set up of internal but don't have to worry about it being changed accidentaly). I shoot a lot of supermacro, and I usually use manual focus, so I rely heavily on the quality of my viewfinder optics.

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My only experience with external viewfinders has been with Subal straight and 45 degree ones, both have crystal clear optics with 150% magnification. The 45 rotates to allow landscape and portrait use. Both are easy to remove and replace. Having a vacuum system on my housing reassures me that my o-rings are seated correctly and are water tight if install a viewfinder. I would never be without a magnifying external viewfinder on any housing that I own.

 

Elmer

Which vacuum system do you use on your Subal, Elmer?

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I have tried both Nauticam and Aquatica straight viewfinders and found that they are on par optically. The Nauticam as stated before offers external dioptre adjustment as to the Aquatica Aquaview which has internal adjustment (adjust the dioptre with a tool when you have the housing open). For me I didnt have need use for adjusting the dioptre on both the Nauticam and Aquatica but I can see the benefit for those who do not have perfect vision. I ultimately went with Aquatica aquaview because I found one for sale which was only used a couple of times at the faction of the price of a new one or Nauticam.

 

In transporting I always take the viewfinder off and pack well. I also take the standard viewfinder as I like to do video at times and the viewfinders do get in the way. Its a very easy job to remove viewfinders and I too use a vaccum system on my housing and strongly recommend the use of them as they have saved my housing on occasion.

 

Regards Mark

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Which vacuum system do you use on your Subal, Elmer?

Tim,

I started out with the Backscatter system but have changed to the Nauticam one because my wife has a Nauticam and I wanted to eliminate carrying two different vacuum pumps. Ryan (actually Alan) at Reef Photo did the conversion and it is really slick. My leak light indicator on my Subal now changes colors to show vacuum, no vacuum and leak.

My problem now is I have an extra vacuum system, I guess I should sell it.

 

Elmer

Edited by eyu

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Intriguing. Thanks for that, Elmer. I'll check it out

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I regularly remove the viewfinders from our Subals for travel.

We also have "Vivid" vacuum systems on both.

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Many thanks for that, Okuma. I'll give it a try on my next trip. At least with a Vivid in place I should be able to check I've reinstalled the viewfinder correctly without dunking it!

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I have both the Nauticam and Inon 45 finders. I like the Nauticam one a bit better but optically they are pretty similar underwater.

Bill

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Thank you all for your replies.

I have used 3 viewfinders so far.

I used an Inon 45 viewfinder on Ikelite housing. This had an adapter and went over the ikelite viewfinder so it could be fitted and removed underwater. It was quite nice to be able to take it off during a dive and it made an enormous difference. Since then I never dove without a viewfinder.

 

Now I use a Subal 45 viewfinder on Subal housing. I love it. Very high quality. And small, so its easier to see the LCD screen.

I also have a Subal straight viewfinder suits my stile much better.

 

One image in this review by Alex Mustard http://wetpixel.com/articles/thoughts-on-viewfinders-and-mini-review-nauticam-45-degree seems to suggest that the Nauticam view is larger but Im not sure if thats just a lens perspective issue.

 

I never used a Nauticam viewfinder but the diopter I think is just another thing to occlude the LCD view...

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