Nauticam D850 Review

Taking the Nauticam NA-D850 Underwater
By Matthew Sullivan

Nauticam is known for producing functional, ergonomic, customizable, and durable housings. The new Nauticam D850 is no exception. All the levers, buttons, and wheels on the aluminum housing are clearly labeled so there is no guessing as to what button you are pushing or wheel you are spinning.

The NA-D850 features the patented Nauticam bayonet port lock mechanism and the electro-optical converter like the one found on the D500 and D5 housings, along with a new lever to easily toggle between AF modes. Of course, the housing also provides access to all important camera functions. Users of other Nauticam DSLR housings will feel right at home. The housing handles faultlessly in the water (as it should).

 



Purchase the Nauticam Nikon D850 Underwater Housing


 

Jump to Section:

What's New?       |      Whats's the Same     |     Recommended Lenses and Ports     |     Useful Accessories

 

WHAT'S NEW?

  1. ELECTRO-OPTICAL CONVERTER - The biggest addition, for any non D500/D5 Nauticam users, is the Nauticam electro-optical converter that comes built in. This allows photographers the use of fiber optic cables with cameras that lack a popup flash and also doesn't require an extra flash trigger. The trigger connects to the camera via the hotshoe mount. I LOVE this feature. It allows rapid fire shooting with fiber optics, no extra flash trigger, seems more reliable, and means the housing doesn't need to be quite as tall. The batteries for the converter come with the housing.

  2. ISO LEVER - Another significant change (and D500/D5 users will already be familiar with this) is the new location of the ISO button over by the trigger. Immensely helpful for topside photographers as it allows more intuitive changing of ISO without taking your eye off the shutter. For underwater photographers however, this means the ISO lever is now positioned directly behind the shutter release on the right hand side of the housing. Unless you have the world's largest hands, changing the ISO requries taking your finger off the trigger, which isn't ideal. That said, after a few dives, it is easy to figure out a solution to changing the ISO quickly that will work for you and anyone coming from the D500/D5 will undoubtedly already have figured this out.

  3. AF TOGGLE LEVER - The D850 features a nice lever that allows much easier, faster, and more intuitive changing of the autofocus modes.

 

WHAT'S THE SAME?

  1. LEAK DETECTION - Like all Nauticam housings, the leak alarm comes built in. However, for more peace of mind and to ensure your housing is watertight, the addition of a vacuum system can be invaluable.

  2. AND PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING ELSE - Nauticam has taken an approach that works well. All their housings are easy to learn and do not vary too much between cameras of the same family (DSLR vs DSLR or Mirrorless vs Mirrorless). This makes for a quick learning curve and allows users to feel right at home no matter what housing they pick up.

 

Recommended Lenses and Ports:

Macro:


Nikon 105mm f2.8G VR Macro

Ideal for the smallest of the small critters, shy creatures, etc

Port Options:

  1. Nauticam Macro Port 87
  2. Nauticam Macro Port 60 + Nauticam 30mm Extension Ring

Nikon 60mm f2.8G Macro

 Perfect for palm sized subjects and bigger. Can be used for smaller subjects but not as ideal for that as the 105.

Port Option:

  1. Nauticam Macro Port 60

 


Wide Angle:

FISHEYE: 


Nikon 8-15mm 3.5-4.5G Fisheye

 Best fisheye overall for Nikon full frame sensors

Port Options:

  • Option 1 - This is really the smallest dome you would want to use with this lens on a full frame body like the D850. High quality optical glass dome, the small size allows for better close focus wide angle opportunities. You can use a 4" dome but will be compromising image quality. The removeable shade is important here as it allows the lens to be used at the 8mm end for full circular fisheye images.

Nauticam 140mm Glass Dome Port w/Removeable Shade + Nauticam 20mm Extension Ring + Nauticam Nikon 8-15mm Focus Gear

  • Option 2 - The best option across the board optically. Keep in mind the dome is large and heavy. Rewarded with top notch image quality though.

Nauticam 230mm Glass Dome Port + Nauticam 20mm Extension Ring + Nauticam Nikon 8-15mm Focus Gear


Sigma 15mm 2.8 Fisheye

The budget option but focuses very close, is quite sharp and much cheaper than the other lenses listed. Be careful though, not every copy of this lens is sharp and the D850 high resolution sensor will show any flaw in the lens.

Port Options:

  • Option 1 - This is really the smallest dome you would want to use with this lens on a full frame body like the D850. High quality optical glass dome, the small size allows for better close focus wide angle opportunities.

Nauticam 140mm Glass Dome Port w/Removeable Shade

  • Option 2 - The best option across the board optically. Keep in mind the dome is large and heavy. Rewarded with top notch image quality though.

Nauticam 230mm Glass Dome Port

Option 3- The acrylic dome is far cheaper and far lighter than the glass options. It is not quite as good optically as glass and scratches easier. However, scratches on acrylic domes are removeable unless it is drastic.

Nauticam 8" Acrylic Dome Port


Nikon 16mm 2.8 Fisheye

Sharper, more expensive than sigma, but does not focus as close. The 16mm uses the exact same port options as the Sigma above.

Port Options:

  • Option 1 - This is really the smallest dome you'd want to use with this lens on a full frame body like the D850. High quality optical glass dome, the small size allows for better close focus wide angle opportunities.

Nauticam 140mm Glass Dome Port w/Removeable Shade

  • Option 2 - The best option across the board optically. Keep in mind the dome is large and heavy. Rewarded with top notch image quality though.

Nauticam 230mm Glass Dome Port

  • Option 3 - The acrylic dome is far cheaper and far lighter than the glass options. It is not quite as good optically as glass and scratches easier. However, scratches on acrylic domes are removeable unless they are dramatic.

Nauticam 8" Acrylic Dome Port

 

RECTILINEAR: 


Nikon 16-35mm f4.0 VR

The most popular and versatile choice but requires a big dome port for acceptable image quality.

Port Options:

  • Option 1 - The bigger the dome, the better, for shooting with rectilinear wides. Image quality will be improved the larger the dome. As of now, the Nauticam 230 is the most popular big dome for Nauticam Systems. They do make a 250mm dome that for whatever reason does not seem to be used much. Although I would guess that is because of the size.

Nauticam 230mm Glass Dome Port + Nauticam Extension Ring 80

  • Option 2 - The acrylic dome is far cheaper and far lighter than the glass options. It is not quite as good optically as glass and scratches easier. However, scratches on acrylic domes are removeable unless they are dramatic.

Nauticam 8" Acrylic Dome Port +  Nauticam Extension Ring 70

 

 

USEFUL ACCESSORIES

 

 ** For the full press release from Nauticam on the NA-D850, Please visit this link! http://www.nauticam.com/product/17222/

  


Purchase the Nauticam Nikon D850 Underwater Housing


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Sullivan is an underwater and conservation photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. For more of his pictures follow him on Instagram.

SUPPORT THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GUIDE:

The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear

 

Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!

 


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips

 

Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.