Review on Sea & Sea MDX-D300 underwater housing for the Nikon D300

 

 

 

Weight

17 lbs with my camera & 10-17mm lens inside, compact acrylic dome port & 20mm extension,  TTL converter, 2 Inon Z-240 strobes

 

Buoyancy

Negatively buoyant underwater, additional buoyancy like Divinycell is highly recommended, especially when shooting macro. Fairly neutral with the large dome port.

 

Ergonomics

Very ergonomic housing, the aperture, shutter speed dials and shutter release are all easily controlled with the right hand. Putting the camera in and out of the housing is simple. The housing has 2 built in handles that are easy to hold underwater. I've tried the Ikelite D300 housing, and compared to this housing the Ike housing dials and controls were very hard to use.

 

Ports & Bulkheads

2 bulkheads for Sea & Sea 5-pin sync cords. No optical connections, and the internal flash can not be raised inside the housing.

 

The port system is great, the ports twist on and off in a second bayonet style, and are securely locked on from inside the housing.

 

Controls

Access to all the important controls for photography, including C/S/M switch, which I use a lot, and focus lock.

 

Housing Issues

  • The TTL-converter sync cord port is prone to corrosion. Myself and a couple other divers have already had to have this bulkhead replaced. Maintain it carefully after every few dives, or you may be unable to remove the sync cord from the bulkhead. The sync cord that attaches to this bulkhead also corrodes easily, keep the threads clean with a toothbrush. If you have the TTL converter, maintain those bulkheads in a similar fashion.
  • The setup can be quite heavy underwater, especially with a 105mm lens, so additional buoyancy may be needed.

 

Materials and Depth Rating

Aluminum housing, rated to 200ft

 

Comparison to Sea & Sea D80/D200 housings

 

Well, I still think the D80 housing is one of the best Sea &Sea ever made, with it's ultra-secure 3 latch design. The D300 housing went down to 2 metal latches, but the buttons and aperture/shutter speed dials are slightly improved over the D80/D200 housings, and this housing feels a little lighter/smaller than the D200 housing. It's still a graet housing.

 

Price

$2900 new in the US at the major camera shops, as of April 2009.

 

Recommended accessories

2 8-inch arms, 4 ultralight ball & joint clamps, sea & sea or ultralight hot shoe mount to mount a focus light. I use 2 8-inch arms on each side for macro and wide-angle, and it works out well.

 

D300 underwater settings & lens recommendations

 

Housing Maintenance and Floods

 

Please read the chapter on underwater housing maintenance and camera floods

 

Conclusion

 

This underwater housing is great - it has the reputation as one of the best housing-camera combinations out there right now for dSLR underwater photography. All the ports, extensions, gears, ttl converter etc. can really add up in price though, price it out carefully.

 

I have about 215 dives with this housing as of June 2009 and it's still going strong.

 

 

From the Sea & Sea Website:

 

TTL converter connector employed as standard.
The included type-N 5-pin wired connector accepts the optional TTL converter III for Nikon.  The converter works with the YS-Series strobes to provide automatic TTL flash adjustment.
The converter requires the Sync Cord/N for connecting to a strobe.
The MDX-D300 housing comes from the factory with these type-N connectors: one 2-pin wired connector and one 5-pin wired connector.
To use two SEA&SEA YS-Series strobes with the factory-equipped type-N connectors, you must use the Dual Sync Cord/N.
  
Main features of the MDX-D300 housing

  • Every detail of the housing is precision CNC machined. Ergonomically designed for ease of use.
  • Manufactured from solid block aluminum alloy with all edges carefully polished for safety.
  • The housing is protected by a highly corrosion resistant anodized (black) coating. The coating provides the housing from environmental corrosion and abrasions.
  • An optional TTL converter III for Nikon enables automatic TTL strobe photography.
  • Equipped with a 0.66x pick-up viewfinder standard. An interchangeable 0.8x viewfinder (optional) is also available.
  • Both the main command dial and sub command dial are operable while holding the hand grips due to advanced ergonomic design.
  • Most Nikon D300 camera functions are accessible and can be operated underwater with ease.
  • The quick shoe makes the camera easy to install and remove from the housing.
  • A port lock mechanism secures the port from accidental loosening.
  • Comes standard with two kinds of type-N connectors: one 2-pin wired connector (for manual) and one 5-pin wired connector (for dedicated TTL).
  • The locking latches prevent accidental housing opening.
  • A built-in leak sensor immediately alerts you to any water leakage.

  


[MDX-D300 Specifications]

  • Construction: Body: corrosion-resistant aluminum alloy (machined) / anodized body, Grip: corrosion-resistant die-cast aluminum alloy
  • Depth rating: 60m / 200ft
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 330x163x136mm / 13.2x6.5x5.4inch
  • Weight: Approx. 2,500g / 87.5oz (Housing only

Further Reading

Sea & Sea dome port tests

Underwater housings

Underwater lens guide

 

 

 

Comments

Thank you for the excellent

Thank you for the excellent review. Sea & Sea MDX-D300 underwater housing looks nice. Can you use this for other cameras?

Jacqueline R. Bowers
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