Nauticam D90 Underwater Housing Review
Reviewed by Underwater Photographer David Henshaw
Like many users of underwater housings we come to a point when we want to upgrade our system. The usual route is to move to the latest camera housing by our current manufacturer to utilise the investment we have previously made in port and lighting systems.
We wanted to upgrade our two Nikon D200 system to D300. The search was on for the best deals available on both cameras and housings through our network of underwater photographers around the globe.
Our conversations led us to Hong Kong where our friends Stephen Wong & Takako Uno considered that we may be interested in talking to Edward Lai, owner of the newly formed Nauticam company, who was completing the final pre-production housings for the Nikon D90 and D300/300s models. Edward and his team have been in the precision mould manufacturing industry for more than 20 years, and now focusing on development and production of underwater photographic equipment.
The introductions were made and after many e-mails over a couple of weeks Edward kindly sent us a Nikon D90 and Nauticam Housing for us to use on our trip to The Philippines. Joy and excitement to have such a generous offer made and nervous anticipation to be experimenting with a new camera model and a new housing – a daunting prospect…
Upon arrival the quality of finish and precision of the engineering was most eye catching. Underwater the system was very simple to operate and having much easier access to the operating features than we were used to. Additional levers replaced some of the traditional push in rods making regular operations much easier and at your fingertips. We were able to connect our Inon strobes via optical cables that enabled use without electrical sync cords (a potential point of weakness) and for those that like to use TTL the need for additional converters was not necessary.
The bonus was that we could use our existing Sea & Sea Ports by simply removing the existing locating plates and replacing with a simple Nauticam bayonet ring – a one off operation for continued use on the Nauticam Housings. The fitting of the ports is simplicity itself through the unique lever/locking feature on the front of the housing – open lever, push in port – close lever! Existing Zoom Gears – no problem – a well engineered adapter allows all existing Zoom Lens Gears to be used!
During our trip we used the system on 50+ dives and only had two minor faults, one of which was due to camera failure and the other, a fixing point which has since been rectified for the production units.
The Enhanced Optical 180º Viewfinder is supplied as an Optional extra but has such excellent qualities that once tried would be difficult to return to the standard.
We have been introduced to a well engineered housing system that provides easier usage, advanced operating features, lighter in weight and is able to use our existing ports and strobes - all for the total expense of purchasing two optical cables.
We will soon take delivery of a Nikon D300 and D300s Nauticam Housing and suggest that anyone looking for a change for the better to look at the Nauticam range as extensions are planned in the near future (including Canon models) before making a final decision. Prices are realistic and extremely competitively priced which is surprising for such a quality item.
Nauticam Housing Features and Benefits
1. The port mount mechanism provides quick and easy exchange of ports via release/locking lever on the housing
2. Allows use of Sea & Sea ports by replacing rear locking plates with Nauticam bayonet ring by a simple one off application to existing ports. Nauticam also produce adapters for Nexus, Aquatica, Subal, Ikelite etc.
3. Provides dual strobe connection via dual optical sensor bulkheads using the cameras built-in flash enabling strobes to be used in TTL or Manual Mode or through an optional single Nikonos 5-pin bulkhead.
4. Operating levers are used for the OK, AF, Live View (if featured) and Review operations.
5. Moulded grip handles in polycarbonate and rubber for textured, smooth grip. Spacers are available to increase width from housing if required.
6. 3 point locking latch housing closure.
7. Lighter weight housing construction versus competitors.
8. Moisture audible and visual alarm sensor.
9. Simple installation of optional Enhanced 180º Viewfinder.
Nauticam underwater viewfinder
More Information on the Nauticam D90 Housing
For information, visit the official Nauticam D90 page at www.nauticamusa.com
The views and opinions in this article are solely those formed by DigitalDiving – www.digitaldiving.co.uk