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Product Review Nauticam NA-D90 Underwater Housing

by Greg Thomms Underwater Photography Enthusiast!

In The Beginning…

Nauticam NA-D90 Port Jackson Shark Greg Thomms Perth ScubaSince my first dive with a camera, I’ve been hooked. Actually, in the last 6 months, I don’t think I’ve dived once without my trusty “Point and Shoot” (P&S) camera. The initital reasoning behind taking a camera was to capture those strange critters so I could ID them post dive. It was all going fine, but as happens, I found that the shots could be better and I became captivated with each improved shot, aiming to improve my technique, composition, buoyancy control and eventually adjusting the camera settings for best results.

I soon found that I was frustrated by the limited functionality of the P&S. I questioned the way ahead and started looking at all solutions, including buying a better P&S or a Digital camera that was not quite a DSLR. I even considered housing my Nikon D90… Ha the solution! That was it, house my Nikon D90!

The search was on, I considered all different housings of all varying prices; plastic, aluminium, mail order, internet purchase; you name it, I looked at it. The housing that I liked, which I believe met my requirements was the NAUTICAM Housing. After examining prices and what was included I settled on Nauticam. After all that shopping around, I realised that price varies between the diferent housings; buy you get what you pay for! NAUTICAM housings come standard with items such as leak detector, two sturdy handles which double as strobe mounting positions. There Dome Ports come with covers made out of Neoprene, as well as plastic covers for the ports and the front of the housing; which stops unwanted items entering the housing when not in use.

ConvictionNauticam NA-D90 Camera Housing at Perth Scuba

Once my wife had been convinced and the decision was made to go with NAUTICAM, I contemplated who to order through and what the backup service was going to be like. It was also at this time Perth Scuba opened their store extension, which included a cool UW Camera section. That pretty much sealed it; I was saving up and buying the D90 NAUTICAM Housing.

Perth Scuba has invested into supporting and retailing UW Photography, including the NAUTICAM housings. I personally like the concept of walking in and having someone available to talk to about both the housings, and all things relating to UW Photography. Knowing that servicing will be controlled by a local point of contact is also great; you do spend considerable money for your Camera and Housing System so you want that added confidence.

Well, as a serious amateur UW Photographer… or not! I took the step and housed my D90 with support and advice from the team at Perth Scuba. It has been the best investment, I feel confident and secure that the housing is robust, well sealed and it is easy to use. Now this may sound like a plug for Perth Scuba as well, and it is. I’m not stuck on one dive shop, I actually patron all the dive shops. After all, we all shop for specials! The fact is I haven’t found a store that offers the same quality and service Perth Scuba will give you when looking into UW Photography and their range of equipment and accessories is ahead of all others. Credit where credit is due!

How Does It Perform?

Nauticam NA-D90 Camera Housing Weedy Sea Dragon Greg ThommsWhat can I say, I love it. Accessing the camera is never a problem and it’s an easy process, the port system fits neatly and securely with a secure “ring lock” and interlocking system. This also makes for easy change out of ports to suit different lenses.

I have found that the button placement to integrate with camera functions is close to perfect, enhancing performance and my interaction with all settings. It is so cool being able to take my camera deep below the surface and take sweet UW Pictures, while have DSLR functionality available at my finger tips. It’s Gold Dust!!

“I find a subject and hover, play around with F-stops, shutter speed and lighting until I feel I have the desired effect… Or not in my case”.

Strobe lights and focus lights can be set up all over the NAUTICAM housing, twin strobes, and focus light; anything you can think of the NAUTICAM  housing can hande it. There are enough mounting positions to set your camera up to look like a Battleship, or a Praying Mantis (hey Joey). Recently I fitted a Sola Focus light and borrowed twin strobes. The NAUTICAM housing remained well balanced, trimmed and it was easy to use underwater.

The First Dive/s

Nauticam NA-D90 Greg Thomms Camera Housing Perth Scuba ReviewI was itching to enter the water as soon as possible, but I took my time and planned the first dive. I considered the advice from the Perth Scuba team and decided on a ‘dry test’ first. This meant making the initial dive with no camera in the housing. I was quietly confident that the system would be fine, noting my calibrated eyes, the engineering looked fine to me; better safe than sorry. I had opted for an 8.5 inch dome port to suit the standard 18-55mm lens, naturally I will have buoyancy issues (It’s quite a big void space for residual air) without the camera fitted. This proved true on the initial dive, where I had to drive the camera underwater as I had not added weight to compensate; the learning curve had begun.

I spent the dive pretending to take shots of all the critters beneath the Kwinana Grain Terminal, wishing the camera was fitted. The test was completed successfully after 40min of looking at Nudi’s and Occy’s I could have shot. The leak detector had not activated and the internals of the housing were dry. The next dive was after a lunch break; with the camera installed we decided to dive at Point Peron. Once we entered the water I realised that buoyancy would not be an issue at all. The camera felt light but not too buoyant and it sat evenly trimmed in my hands.

Nauticam NA-D90 Camera Housing Perth ScubaWe finned out West of the steps, conducted a shallow water decent and continued West, where we stumbled on some cool swim throughs, and a large school (herd) of Buffalo Brim. The camera was performing well and the housing was easy to manoeuvre. We stopped in a swim through and I grabbed this great Picture of my dive Buddy. I have now tested it out under various wharfs and just recently used my system participating in PUPS annual shootout. It has provided me with exceptional performance and is actually a dream to use… everything at my finger tips.

As I’ve already stated, “I love my new outfit and can’t wait to get back into the water on completion of every dive”.

Maintenance

 After each dive cleaning and storing my NAUTICAM housing is much the same as other systems; good fresh water soaks operating all the buttons and dials in the fresh water. I also wipe my Housing over when near dry, with a damp wet cloth (fresh water), and then let it air dry. I always clena and check all o-rings and dunk test in the laundry tub before diving again. I have been leaving the system closed between dives to stop contamination; we have the obligatory pets – fur from the cat and dog. I’m not sure if this will flatten the o-rings out over time… no issues so far.

Conclusion

All I say to those looking towards housing a DSLR is that I am very happy with my NAUTICAM housing. The system is robust and reliable. There are plenty of different port arrangements for differing size lenses and effects. I also know there are adaptors for using different company ports, such as Sea&Sea, Nexus, Aquatica, Subal and Ikelite. I also know that there are plenty of other accessories including the “enhanced 180° Viewfinder” which is now on my wish list.

I Love It!!

The full range of NAUTICAM housings and accessories can be viewed and purchased at Perth Scuba or online by visiting our shop.  

 


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