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kc_moses

Panasonic LX-100 Nauticam housing

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Alright, I just received mine, and seems like there is quite a bit of interest on this camera so I decided to put up some info even though Nauticam is still working on the info.

 

First, I'm not sure if this should go to the Consumer housing section since it's Point and Shoot, but then it's a $900 prosumer m43 sensor camera, so I'm putting it here in the Mirrorless section so moderator feel free to move the discussion.

 

Second, I'm using a 39" 4K TV as my computer monitor, so everything look quite small for me, if the photos are too big for you that you scroll around, sorry about that.

 

A couple initial info:

- The housing ship with rectangle flat port, and handle bracket, cost US$1200

- Additional ports are available (short flat port - US$180, dome port - US$280)

 

Here are the pictures:

1.) Back of the housing, really glad that there is a working real dial feature! The On/Off level above the LCD screen is for Flash.

NA100_01.jpg

 

2.) I paid US$220 to get the vacuum valve.

NA100_02.jpg

 

3.) Rectangle port is not too big.

NA100_03.jpg

 

4.) The Control Ring Knob feels great (mostly for Manual focus), just the right size to use one finger to turn when you put your hand on the left handle. Too bad there is no M8 or M10 hole on top of the housing to mount another ball for focus light (http://reefphoto.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_97_36&products_id=4746). So the only option is to use the cold shoes which you can't put too much weight/rough with the cold shoes mount.

 

Housing is 7" wide and 6" deep.

NA100_04.jpg

 

5.) Housing is 5" tall, very compact consider the camera has external flash.

NA100_05.jpg

 

6.) The Blue zoom lock. If you dial the blue wheel clockwise all the way, it will lock the zoom level, dial the wheel anti-clockwise to release the zoom lock. You will only use the Zoom lock for the "Short flat port".

 

NA100_06.jpg

 

7.) The housing is very compact for the amount of control dials the camera has. Nauticam put the Aspect Ratio dial at the bottom of the housing next to the lens barrel. It could be hard to reach but it's not a dial that you would use often, kudos to Nauticam for well thought out placement!

 

NA100_07.jpg

Edited by kc_moses

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8.) The port release. There is nothing to prevent it from being press accidentally, so it's something to watch out for. But the port is very tight.

NA100_08.jpg

 

9.) The housing has holes on both side to use the bracket with Nauticam Flexitray (https://www.opticaloceansales.com/nauticam-complete-flexitray-set.html)

 

NA100_09.jpg

 

 

10.)

Note 1: You have to turn the housing to F16 in order for the camera to get in, don't force it!

Note 2: The ON/OFF level need to be risen before putting the camera in, just like GH4.

NA100_10.jpg

 

11.) Door of the housing

NA100_11.jpg

 

12.) Bottom of housing - standard Nauticam double 1/4-20 holes.

NA100_12.jpg

 

13.) Housing shipped with bracket to use with Nautical Flexitray and handle.

NA100_13.jpg

 

14.) The whole housing fit into a gallon size ziplock bag, nice! This is how I store my housing when not in use, to prevent dust. Just put a silica pack in the ziplock back, close the housing (not lock) and store away.

NA100_14.jpg

 

I'm still waiting for the 67mm flip diopter holder to arrive before I get it wet to test it out. I'm pretty sure I will get the short flat port, the short flat port allows you to attach WA wet lens. When not using a wet lens, the short flat port should let you take picture of portrait size subject, and since the camera can focus up to 3cm (!!), you can get really close for smaller subject, so not being able to use the zoom level is fine for me.

 

The Dome port is said to restore the air field of view of the camera, which at the widest (24mm) would be about 84 degree. 84 degree is not wide enough for most big subjects, even though it lets you zoom, not being able to use a diopter makes it less attractive to me.

 

Hope this info help!

 

Moses

Edited by kc_moses
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Nice overview! Does the camera have a tray or just mount in the housing directly?

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The housing doesn't have a tray for the camera to sit on, you just drop the camera in. It's a very tight fit, but there is a bit over 1/4" of clearance between the bottom of the camera and the housing. If I have the time, I might look into some sort of plastic tab that can screw to the tripod hole on the camera, so you can pull the camera out of the housing easily. It really feels great on the hand, I feel feel it's more manageable then then NA-GH4 mainly because my hand is not that big.

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Thanks Moses for this nice review.
I am ready to order the housing for my LX100 and i feel that it will be this one!

 

Do you have any plans to try it under water soon?

 

Chris

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Hi Chris,

 

I haven't receive info about when the flip diopter will arrive, so I don't know when I will get it wet. My next trip would be to Anilao, so I still have some stuffs I need to consider to get great Macro video. I think I might get the $220 Flexitray with handle since reusing my ULCS handle and tray for a tripod set up is hard.

 

Moses

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If you want to build a tripod the ulcs solution is actually ideal. Look at the tag tripod and monopod on my blog

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Congratulations Moses I hope you enjoy your new system. Look me up when you are coming to the bridge.

Edited by Phil Rudin
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Thanks Phil! It will be months before I become a FL resident, looking forward to get out of this cold area and dive with you guys! Should be joining SFUPS once I get down there.

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Hi Moses,

 

I was thinking of mounting the gopro hero4 in the cold shoe mount of the NA-LX100. I was wondering if you might be doing the same thing, mainly because I'm wondering if the hero4 would see the end of the LX100 lens port in the bottom of the frame. If so, how high would one have to mount the gopro above the top of the cold shoe - and what type of mount should I get?

 

There are a few options for that:

  1. cold shoe to 1" ball - then clamp - then ball to GoPro mount. This would put the Hero4 at least 7" above NA-LX100
  2. Cold shoe with GoPro mount a few inches above.

Thanks,
Randy

Edited by MrScuba

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Randy,

 

I'm not sure what's the field of view of Hero4 as I only have the first generation goPro Hero, and I don't plan on using the goPro because I will have video light and strobe, which will be in the way.

 

I suggest going with the cold shoes 1" ball, then clamp then goPro mount. Yes it would be 7" above the housing but you can collapse, extend forward, etc to make it more compact. The goPro shouldn't see the front of the housing especially with the clamp. You can always point it more upward if there is issue. Having a cold shoes ball and clamp will give you flexibility of using video light during night dive.

 

Moses

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I used successfully the GoPro Hero2 clamped with 2 ball adapters about 10 centimeters on the top of my Hugyfot D800 Housing and she don't see the dome.
When you get 2 ball adapters; 1 cold shoe -> Ball and and ball -> GoPro and one clam (or additionally the shortest arm you can get and another clamp)

you will be able to move the camera in the right position, including in front in case that she see the Nauticam port.

Chris

 

P.S. this setup works very well, but as the LX100 is certainly the better camera i don't see a real need for such a setup.
I used this mainly when i had the 105mm micro lens to be able to shoot big stuff (who always appear when you have the macro lens attached ...)

Edited by ChrigelKarrer

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If you don't want to add short ball arm like CharingelKarrer suggested, you can consider using the ULCS AC-CSL long clamp.Scroll down and you can see the picture of the goPro extend more in front of the housing:

 

http://www.ulcs.com/gopro.html

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Finally have the chance to test the housing after receive the Flip Diopter Holder. Here are the review

 

1.) The $220 Flip Diopter Holder

lx100_macro01.jpg

 

2.) You have to unlatch the holder for the frame to open up before putting on the port.

lx100_macro02.jpg

 

3.) The port has groove/channel to secure the holder

lx100_macro03.jpg

 

4.) The whole assembly

lx100_macro04.jpg

 

5.) The spacing between the port and the diopter holder is pretty huge.

lx100_macro05.jpg

 

6.) If the water is dirty, there will be lots of floating stuff between the port and the back of the diopter.

lx100_macro06.jpg

 

Note:

- I only tested using 16:9 aspect ratio since I'm a video shooter and don't care about other aspect ratio.

- The +5 diopter I used is UCL-04 (F.I.T) Pro Achromatic Macro Lens

- The +7 diopter I used is Bluewater +7.

- When stacking diopters, I only stack the +5 on top of the +7 other wise I will get vignette

- all photos are taken at focal length of 75mm, F16.

 

7.) Testing at the pool. Without the diopter the closest distance I can focus is about 1 ft and the subject size is about 15cm. Macro mode on the camera is turned on.

 

lx100_macro07.jpg

 

8.) With +5 diopter on, the subject size is 11 cm, and focus distance is about 8".

 

lx100_macro08.jpg

 

9.) With +7 diopter on, the subject size is about 5 cm, and focus distance is about 5".

 

lx100_macro09.jpg

 

10.) Stacking +5 on top of +7, the subject size is about 4.5cm, and focus distance is about 3".

 

lx100_macro10.jpg

 

Thought:

 

I used the same diopter when I had my Panasonic LX7, but the size of subject being able to focus was clearly not that small for the LX100 while I can shoot 2cm subject on the LX7. This is mainly because the LX7 can zoom to 90mm while the LX100 can only zoom to 75mm. If you never use a diopter before, just remember that once you have the diopter on, you have to zoom all the way in (longest focal length) in order to get the most magnification.

 

That being said, the +5 and +7 are adequate for subject like frogfish and nudibranch. Pygmy seahorse or anything like the size of a grain of rice, you will need a very powerful diopter. Nauticam suggested the CMC (Compact Macro Converter) but it's not available yet. Reef Photos hasn't test if the SMC or prototype CMC would yield great result. But both of these are about +12 strength.

 

I couldn't wait for the CMC nor want to pay $500 for a diopter. I ordered a Korean made diopter that's suppose to be slightly stronger then the SMC and half the price, yet have good result like the SMC. It's being ship from Hong Kong so I don't have it with me to test for now.

 

I haven't receive the short flat port. Once I get that, I will try the Wide Angle portion of the housing.

 

BTW, the focus peaking is a joy to work with! I think it's a must when come to macro, I can see all the peaking pattern on the coin easily. Once in real environment, it should be easy to focus peak on the creature's eyes!!!!!

 

Hope this help!

 

Moses

Edited by kc_moses

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I shot a short video with the +5 and +7 diopter stacked together. Once the video start to record, the crop factor changed a bit so the subject that can be focus how has become 4 cm.

 

Here is a frame capture of the 4K video. The +7 diopter has chromatic aberration issue but it's generally okay for macro. The depth of field is very narrow, but the focus peaking works wonderful, it's an exciting camera and not having the price tag of the GH4!

 

lx100_macro11.jpg

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The frame width you get with 7+5 stacked together is too large for Pygmy seahorses. I get 42mm width with a single UCL-165 (same of your bluewater) and I use this for nudibranches. In raja Ampat and lembeh I had either two UCL-165 or one UCL-100 for Pygmy and to be honest it was better with two stacked. I have done some calculations and with one UCL-100 you won't even get a 1:1 frame width I would go for the CMC of you are going to a lembeh or you will have to use izoom which is not as bad as you would think. I would start practicing izoom. You seen now why I skipped both the RX100 Mark III and the LX100: 70-75 mm lens are just not long enough. I also see a potential problem with that flip holder in places like lembeh where it takes one second to lift some of the sand off the bottom and end up with silt between wet lens and port

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What focal length did you use to get 42mm on the UCL-165? The +7 can focus on subject smaller than 5cm so it's acceptable for Nudibranch. Like I pointed out, you need something stronger for Pygmy seahorse. The 75mm on the LX100 may not be perfect, but with the right combination (tripod + strong diopter), it can get the job done. With the 4K and focus peaking feature, it's a great camera and none of the other compact cameras out there offer this feature.

 

I will be going to Anilao, but when I was in Lembeth, if there is silt stiring up, it doesn't matter if there is space between port and wet lens or not, it's just not good to shoot but just to wait or swim away. The pottential issue is night dive when small stuff and worm swiming around in front of you as they get attracted to the light.

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thanks for those informations!
I a in Fort Lauderdale right now and will pick-up the housing in one hour and fly back to Costa Rica tomorrow.

Unfortunately my busy schedule don't let me do some dives here, i really would love to!,
but as i have a Digital Underwater Photographer course to conduct i will post some pictures in a few days.
Don't expect too much as Costa Rica is a difficult field for Underwater Photography, but i hope to get some decent

pictures and especially 4K videos.

Chris

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I got 42mm frame with the gx7 using a lumix g x 14-42 PZ at the 42mm end. For what concerns focus peaking its a feature of the rx100 since 2012, the gx7 has it too however the focus lever is only accessible with certain lenses so what you do is ore-focus then switch to manual focus so that peaking works and then move the camera back and forth. Consider that focus peaking is display not lens based so errors can happen with white subjects. I think the reason you don't get 42mm with the lx100 is the way the flip diopter works. Alternative is to use the cold shoe and an m67 lens arm to move the diopter right on the glass. When shooting Pygmy you need to ensure the lens is narrow enough so you have some working distance for the lights so a single strong diopter is better than two stacked

Edited by Interceptor121

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Using light on pygmy seahorse will sure make them turn their back on you. That's why the bright lens on the LX100 has advantage that as long as it's not too deep, ambient light should be able to get the job done, or a very low lumen light that won't disturb the seahorse.

 

When I try out the GH4 with 14-42pz on the port 35, not being able to manual focus was one of the annoying thing that I have to move the camera back and forth. In environment like Lembeth, that will cause a lot of stir if it's not careful.

 

Not sure if it's doable on the GX7, but it's doable on the GH4, and I did this on the LX100. Program the AF/AE Lock button to AF-ON. So I have the camera on Manual focus mode, when I need to shoot the subject, just press and hold the AF/AE Lock button to lock focus, then use the focus knob to fine tune if I need to. On the GH4, the dial is in on MF but the AF/AE button is use to lock focus, then just move the camera in and out to fine tune, no need to switch between AF and MF on the dial. I think they call this "Back button focus" setting.

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Chris, enjoy the new housing! If you ended shooting video, head over the the video forums. Are you getting the dome port?

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Once again, this is great information, thank you all for sharing.

 

The +7 is giving you some pretty heavy CA! Check out the edges of the coin. Personally, I wouldn't find that acceptable.

 

I have my doubt about being able to shoot pygmies (or other small, well camouflaged critters) without a strobe or light source. Granted, the small sensors with help with DOF, but if you have to stop down, it will become a battle between DOF and exposure. The downside of the smaller sensors is they are not as good at high ISO.

 

You just have to wait for the pygmies to turn back....

 

Adam

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Adam,

 

The comment about light with Pygmies are in reference to video. For still, it's not that relevant since the strobe fire so quickly that the pygmies might get dizzy and don't know what hit him/her, but they wouldn't turn their back as long as there is no focus light blinding them. One trick the dive master at Lembeth told me is to have the muck stick in front of the pygmy seahorse, and the seahorse would like "kiss" the muck stick, then when you're ready to shot photo, lift the muck stick and expose the front of the pygmy, it's easier to do with two person and the dive master/guide are the one that hold the muck stick.

 

As for the +7, it's really depend on the subject and background, at least from my experience if the background is busy/one tone (like Lembeth sand), the CA is almost like part of the bokeh, but then it could be my untrained eye that feels that it's acceptable. I'm in the process of getting rid of the +7, do you have any suggestion? I like the +5 and it's "Achromatic", but it's not strong enough.

 

Keep in mind that all these +5 and +7 may not get you enough close up shot, but if your end result is 1080p video output, the 4K will give you the advantage of being able to zoom 200% without lost of quality. But for future publishing where there will be more 4K content demand with 4K display become common, a strong diopter is required and that's when the CMC comes in.

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Adam is correct that the ca needs correcting however in the centre the image quality is quite good if your background is blurred or dark Ca at the edge won't matter at all i video

For still images instead you need something better ie inon UCL-100 subsee 10 or nauticam CMC / SMC as you will be staring at the whole scene

Moses is also correct if you crop away the ca is eliminated anyway

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Thanks Moses, i am sure i will have fun with my new baby.

I got also the SubSee +10 macro lens and the flip adapter as you,

i will give it a try in the pool to redo your test to see how the SubSee behaves.

 

Chris

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