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Alex_Mustard

Gossip on DSLRs from Antibes

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Sadly I am back from Antibes. It is the most wonderful festival - there is no other event I know in diving that provides such a array of interesting people to talk to, in an environment where (for once) everyone has time for a chat.

 

Anyway, during all this photo-banter I got several decent bits of gossip about future DSLR housings etc and I thought I'd pass these on.

 

D2X - an issue close to my heart. Subal had their mockup D2H/D2X housing that was at DEMA. This is actually a finished housing - although all the controls are dummies. This housing will actually be finished after the shows and will be sold. Subal are making 10 in their initial batch - all of which have been sold (some to delaers so are available). Rolph said that they intend to make more - but won't do so until the D2X actually comes out and they can make sure all the controls are the same as the D2H.

 

Seacam also have been working hard on this housing. Harald says that his first batch of 15 have already been sold to the states (Mr Frink - you know who you are!). I suggested that this camera will be v popular UW because photographers tend to use higher spec'ed models in this digital age. He agreed and imagines that Seacam will make between 80-100 D2X housings over time.

 

I didn't speak to Sealux about the D2X. Although they did confirm that their viewfinder is the one that Subal use. The Subal, Seacam and Sealux booths were very close and I was able to look through the Sealux GD viewfinder, Seacam 45 degree finder and the Subal GS finder in quick succession. The Sealux (and Subal) housings definitely give a bigger and brighter view than the Seacam finder - although the Seacam is the only one with the 45 degree view - and looks much cooler in silver. The Sealux/Subal work well, but do look worth the money until you look through them.

 

On Sealux - I have never been that familiar with their housings - but I have to say I was impressed. Their D70/D100/10D/300D housing looks pretty modular from the outside, but the ergonomics are good - and even tricky controls are well placed and work well. I suspect that they will be the first to have a 20D housing out, closely followed by Subal. They don't have much of the N American market share, which I think is a pity.

 

I have to say that I would choose any of these three European housings over any of the other brands available (although I would put Nexus ahead of Seacam for small bodied DSLRs - mainly because Seacam's D70/D100 housing is massive).

 

Alex

 

Other trends: The D70 was the most popular housing at the show - easily. Seacam didn't even have a Canon housing in Antibes - they are probably all sold! Sealux make much better housings that I thought. There were several High Def Beta Cam housings around - for those who would prefer one to an Enzo. Sea Cruise had a neat and cheap little slave strobe that can ignore pre-flashes - for 150Euros. And apparently below is the first UW camera that can write onto DVD!!!

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Thanks for the update Alex. Truly appreciated.

 

I too have been very curious about the Sealux housings. I have never gotten to actually lay my hands on one (never seen at US shows) but I think we need to ask them for a housing to review here at Wetpixel.

 

Cheers

James

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I suggested that this camera will be v popular UW because photographers tend to use higher spec'ed models in this digital age. He agreed and imagines that Seacam will make between 80-100 D2X housings over time.

 

I'm not sure I entirely aggree with that statement. I didn't see many D1X or D1H cameras being housed. The $4000 - $5000 pricetag would certainly be a limiting factor for many.

 

I will probably wait and see what the D100 replacement - D90? - looks like.

 

Larry

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Alex,

 

Since I've heard the D70 camera viewfinder is smaller than the D100's, how would you say the D70 with the new Subal viewfinder comares to the D100 with the original Subal viewfinder?

 

Thanks...

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Alex,

 

Since I've heard the D70 camera viewfinder is smaller than the D100's, how would you say the D70 with the new Subal viewfinder comares to the D100 with the original Subal viewfinder?

 

Alex, as long as you're making comparisons, how about the SeaLux GD viewfinder on the D70 -vs.- a housed Nikon SportsFinder?

 

Just curious. Could make the decision about the next housing, prices high or not.

 

All the best, James

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I took the time to email a few of the major manufacturers asking about their decision on whether or not to house the 20D...we know Ikelite is a definite go, but here are some other responses:

 

Ikelite - Yes

 

Sea & Sea - ?

Hello,  

 

Thank you for your kind inquiry and interests in Sea&Sea products.

 

However we unfortunately do not provide any development information directly to customers by e-mail.

 

We would like to ask you to see our website's new release information or contact to the sole Sea&Sea distributors for the most updated information.

 

Best regards,

 

Sea&Sea Products Ltd.

International Sales Division

 

Subal - Yes

Dear Sir,

 

Many thanks for your interest in our products.

 

Yes, Subal will make a housing for Canon 20D camera.We hope to have it on the market by end of the year or beginning of next year.

 

With best regards,

Sigrid Stepanek

 

SUBAL austria

A.Stepanek GmbH.

 

Aquatica - Yes

Hi Matt,

We do have this camera and are currently working on the design of a housing for it,delivery will be early next Year and retail price will be around $1850 usd.

 

Thank you,

Blake

 

Seacam - No

Matt - Sorry, no.  Concentrating on the MKII housings (already done) and then the D2X.

 

Steve

 

Nexus - No

Hi Matt,

Not likely. So far Nexus makes housings for Nikon cameras only. I do have a housing coming available soon from Jonah. Body will be $1799.00 and ports will run from approximately 250 to 400. I have their Nikon D-100, Canon 10D, and 300D housings available now.

Thanks, Woody

 

Jonah (through Nexus USA I suppose) - Yes

Yes, Jonah is another manufacturer which I carry, Web site is at -http://www.jonah.co.kr/eproducts.htm

 

No reply from Uk-Germany yet.

 

Hope this helps somewhat.

 

~Matt Segal

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Great. Looks like we will have some choices. I would expect Sea & Sea to also be a yes. I was thinking more like the spring, but it looks to be sooner than that.

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Does anyone know anything about the manufacturer of these magnifier viewfinders?

It could be great for people with housing others than Subal, Seacam, Sealux or Nexus (in the future), to order a viewfinder that could be adaptable.

If it's really the same manufacturer for Subal and Sealux, it should probably be possible to find it somehow.

 

Michel

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exactly my thoughts. Sealux or someone else builds them. I don't think Subal because Sealux already has got the viewfinder for some time.

 

Googleing did not help and Sealux would not tell us :D

 

Julian

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Aquatica might like to know who sources those. The Seacams are very expensive and their mounts, while elegant, are huge. I'm sure the Sealux/Subal piece is pricey as well but worth it.

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Hi Craig,

 

Aquatica's housing for D70 is a piece of the art. Aquatica's ports are wonderful as well, even if not glass. But as Nikonos shooter, used of large and bright viewfinders or no viewfinder at all, my old eyes have some pain with the D70 viewfinder with no serious magnifier. I think it's a lack for Aquatica. Seacam is very expensive and Subal as well. Sealux is only about $800 more expensive than Aquatica for a complete set (camera housing, wide and macro ports and gears). And for that price you get glass ports and their Grand Viewfinder as well. Does it worth the price? Probably well for people that can afford it. It'll cost around $3400, sending fees (and tax) not included. That's much cheaper than Subal and Seacam. Waiting for Aquatica's viewfinder magnifier or any third party company that could provide it.

 

Michel

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The Sealux/Subal viewfinder is very impressive on the D70. The view is much bigger than a D100 without one. Comparable to a Sports Finder, and bright too. But I would need both side by side to be sure. It is very impressive.

 

If you can buy one alone then I think that it would actually be quite simple to fit one to any housing. All you need to do is remove the existing veiwfinder and machine the correct size hole for the Sealux/Subal finder. I couldn't do this, but I know plenty of people who would not find this particularly tricky.

 

As Julian says above - the difficulty might be in buying one without a housing from the manufacturers!

 

Alex

 

Re the 20D - I asked Subal and Sealux about their plans and they were both talking about the end of the year/beggining of next - to have something out there.

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I would expect Sea & Sea to also be a yes.

 

Apparently not. I was talking to Alan James at Dive 2004 (UK NEC) and he said Sea&Sea had told him they were skipping the Canon 20D. Very surprising but I guess their offerings are much more productised than some other manufacturers and hence they can't economically cover all models. There are going to be more 300D's sold to divers than 20Ds I imagine, so that's where the money's going to be for a while.

 

Martyn

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D2X - an issue close to my heart. Subal had their mockup D2H/D2X housing that was at DEMA. This is actually a finished housing - although all the controls are dummies. This housing will actually be finished after the shows and will be sold. Subal are making 10 in their initial batch - all of which have been sold (some to delaers so are available). Rolph said that they intend to make more - but won't do so until the D2X actually comes out and they can make sure all the controls are the same as the D2H.

 

Seacam also have been working hard on this housing. Harald says that his first batch of 15 have already been sold to the states (Mr Frink - you know who you are!). I suggested that this camera will be v popular UW because photographers tend to use higher spec'ed models in this digital age. He agreed and imagines that Seacam will make between 80-100 D2X housings over time.  

 

I didn't speak to Sealux about the D2X. Although they did confirm that their viewfinder is the one that Subal use. The Subal, Seacam and Sealux booths were very close and I was able to look through the Sealux GD viewfinder, Seacam 45 degree finder and the Subal GS finder in quick succession. The Sealux (and Subal) housings definitely give a bigger and brighter view than the Seacam finder - although the Seacam is the only one with the 45 degree view - and looks much cooler in silver. The Sealux/Subal work well, but do look worth the money until you look through them.]

 

Alex - I heard from Harald Hordosch by e-mail last night and he asked that I address a few inconsistencies he observed in your Antibes report. I was not there, so these comments derive from his feedback, and my observations from DEMA:

 

1. The Canon housings were there, at least the MKII version. It is true we have sold many of them in the US, and have many more awaiting delivery for the new EOS1DsMKII. Yet, Harald assures me he had at least one Canon digital housing at the show. Wish you had seen it because it is very cool.

 

2. As for the D2X, we are indeed doing extremely well with preorders. It will be an awesome camera to house, and will no doubt appeal to our Seacam D1X base, those moving up from D100/D70, and the film shooters looking to migrate to digital for the first time. For those with a legacy of Nikon glass, this promises to be a significant imaging system.

 

3. Viewfinders - I did have an oportunity to look through the Subal viewfinder at DEMA and came to the exact opposite conclusion you did. I found the Seacam to be brighter and seemingly higher in resolving power.

 

There are possible reasons for the discrepancy, none of which disparages Alex' opinion.

(A) ambient light on viewing target

(B) lens used in housing

© position of eye relative to S45 viewfinder

 

For an appropriate side-by-side comparison you would have to use both housings in same light, use same camera and lens and port combination, and probably compare S180 viewfinder rather than S45. All are variables, as the scientist in Alex will no doubt allow.

 

The other consideration regarding the Seacam viewfinder that should be noted is the fact that they are interchangeable. I, for one, use both the S45 and S180 depending on subject and lens preference. Equally significant is the fact that the Seacam viewfinder offers a +/- 3 diopter correction. This allows for perfect correction for individual eyesight.

 

Hopefully some disinterested third party will have the opportunity to do empirical testing of the viewfinder options out there, as this data would be of great value to potential consumers. I'm sure the Seacam viwewfinder would do very well in a controlled empirical evaluation.

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Alex says:

 

[

D2X - an issue close to my heart. Subal had their mockup D2H/D2X housing that was at DEMA. This is actually a finished housing - although all the controls are dummies. This housing will actually be finished after the shows and will be sold. Subal are making 10 in their initial batch - all of which have been sold (some to delaers so are available). Rolph said that they intend to make more - but won't do so until the D2X actually comes out and they can make sure all the controls are the same as the D2H.

 

Seacam also have been working hard on this housing. Harald says that his first batch of 15 have already been sold to the states (Mr Frink - you know who you are!). I suggested that this camera will be v popular UW because photographers tend to use higher spec'ed models in this digital age. He agreed and imagines that Seacam will make between 80-100 D2X housings over time.  

 

I didn't speak to Sealux about the D2X. Although they did confirm that their viewfinder is the one that Subal use. The Subal, Seacam and Sealux booths were very close and I was able to look through the Sealux GD viewfinder, Seacam 45 degree finder and the Subal GS finder in quick succession. The Sealux (and Subal) housings definitely give a bigger and brighter view than the Seacam finder - although the Seacam is the only one with the 45 degree view - and looks much cooler in silver. The Sealux/Subal work well, but do look worth the money until you look through them.

]

 

 

Steve says:

 

Alex - I heard from Harald Hordosch by e-mail last night and he asked that I address a few inconsistencies he observed in your Antibes report. I was not there, so these comments derive from his feedback, and my observations from DEMA:

 

1. The Canon housings were there, at least the MKII version. It is true we have sold many of them in the US, and have many more awaiting delivery for the new EOS1DsMKII. Yet, Harald assures me he had at least one Canon digital housing at the show. Wish you had seen it because it is very cool.

 

2. As for the D2X, we are indeed doing extremely well with preorders. It will be an awesome camera to house, and will no doubt appeal to our Seacam D1X base, those moving up from D100/D70, and the film shooters looking to migrate to digital for the first time. For those with a legacy of Nikon glass, this promises to be a significant imaging system.

 

3. Viewfinders - I did have an opportunity to look through the Subal viewfinder at DEMA and came to the exact opposite conclusion you did. I found the Seacam to be brighter and seemingly high in resolving power. There are possible reasons for the discrepancy, none of which disparages Alex' opinion.

 

(A) ambient light on viewing target

(B) lens used in housing

© position of eye on S45 viewfinder

 

For an appropriate side-by-side comparison you would have to use both housings in same light, use same camera and lens and port combination, and probably compare S180 viewfinder rather than S45. All are variables, as the scientist in Alex will no doubt allow.

 

The other consideration regarding the Seacam viewfinder that should be noted is the fact that they are interchangeable. I, for one, use both the S45 and S180 depending on subject and lens preference. Equally significant is the fact that the Seacam viewfinder offers a +/- 3 diopter correction. This allows for perfect correction for individual eyesight.

 

Hopefully, at some point some disinterested third party will have the opportunity to do empirical testing of all the viewfinder options out there, as this would be of great value to potential consumers. I'm sure under empirically controlled conditions the Seacam viewfinder will be very favorably perceived.

 

links of interest:

http://www.seacamusa.com/eos1dsjournal.shtml#swivel45

 

http://www.seacamusa.com/faq.shtml#viewfinders

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OK, I agree to do the testing. Please send me 1each of your $3,500 housings and I will get back to you...:-) (Probably from some far off tropical location where you will never be able to hunt me down).

 

No, but seriously, If I can get together with a Subal shooter, I can probably borrow a Seacam housing and S180 from a local Houston shooter.

 

Cheers

James

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