Shortly after the anticipated release of the DX monster – the Nikon D500, Nauticam have released their innovative high-end housing to support the Nikon D500 underwater.
Nauticam has based this impressive new housing on their successful line-up of high-end aluminum DSLR housings, which have become a market leader and widely popular among divers and photographers worldwide.
Key highlights integrated in the NA-D500 are:
- New optical triggering mechanism, built-in the housing, allowing rapid firing just like sync cords, but without the risk of floods and additional o-rings to maintain.
- Vacuum Reset Button in Port Mount – allows easier port replacements without opening the back part of the housing.
- A “pinky lever”, placed just under the front sub-command dial, accesses the Fn1 button. This can be linked to a number of assignable functions.
- A new AF-Mode Lever, allowing easier switching between Nikon’s powerful AF Area modes.
The NA-D500 retails for $3500 and starts shipping now (May 23rd, 2016).
Read the full press release below:
A New Era of DX Format Performance
Nauticam NA-D500, Model Number 17220
Shipping May 23, 2015
The Nikon D500
The new Nikon D500 may be a reboot of the popular segment last featuring D300s six years ago. It could be the D400 that never came, or it might be an entirely new product segment. Regardless of classification, there has never been a Nikon DX camera with this level of autofocus and continuous shooting performance before, and D500 provides a compelling alternative to pro bodies for fast action capture in remote environments.
The D500 features autofocus speed, continuous shooting speed, and a deep buffer unlike any DX body to come before it. It uses the same Multi-CAM 20K focus system as the professional D5, with 153 focus points (99 cross-type sensors). D500 has more cross-type focus points than the previous pro body D4s had total focus points, and they are spread wider across the frame. In fact, they are spread right to the edges. The difference between D500 and previous APS-C systems is even more striking; both the Nikon D300s and D7200 feature a total of 51 focus points (15 cross-type). The D500 a shooting experience can really only be compared to pro cameras, but in a compact body size and attractive price point. Pro performance for the masses!
The D500 also introduces a new, 180k pixel RGB metering sensor. This metering sensor drives the advanced Nikon exposure system, and is also used to provide scene data for 3D focus tracking, improving accuracy. The autofocus system in the D4s was already one of the best available, and the improvements offered by D500 will elevate performance even further in a body at 1/3 the price!
The 10 fps continuous shooting speed (with AF) and a 200 shot RAW buffer (using XQD cards) keeps up with the fastest action. This is an incredible increase in continuous shooting capability. The D7200 camera can only buffer 17 14-bit Raw frames, and the Canon 7D Mark II can only buffer 31.
The D500 viewfinder is the largest Nikon has ever featured on an APS-C camera, with 1.0x magnification and 100% coverage. The EN-EL15 battery is capable of 1,240 shots per charge (according to the CIPA rating). The camera can record 4k video at 30 frames per second, and is weather sealed for use in extreme environments.
The Nikon D500 is an extremely important camera for underwater photographers, and one of the most exciting Nikon product releases in years. The APS-C format has distinct advantages in available underwater optics and travel size, and the D500 will no doubt produce amazing image sequences in fast action, fast moving situations.
Nikon D500 Key Features:
- 20.7 MP APS-C (DX Format) sensor
- 153 point AF module with 99 cross-type points
- 180,000 pixel RGB sensor for metering and subject recognition
- AF point joystick
- 10 fps shooting for up to 200 shots (lossless compressed 14-bit Raw to XQD card)
- 4K (UHD) video from 1.5x crop of sensor
- 100% coverage viewfinder with 1.0x magnification
- 2.36m dot tilt up/down touchscreen
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with NFC for setup
- Mic and headphone sockets
- USB 3.0 connector
The Nauticam NA-D500 Underwater Housing
Nauticam housings are evolutionary marvels, with advancements from previous sixteen Nauticam for Nikon systems providing the foundation that this new model was built from. Customer feedback is integrated at every possible opportunity. The cumulative experience of the Nauticam user base provides constant inspiration for innovation, and is a key strength of the brand.
The new Nauticam NA-D500 housing further enhances the market leading Nauticam ergonomic experience with improved control placement, a new more sophisticated flash triggering system (with optional TTL upgrade), and reduced size / weight thanks to cutting edge manufacturing processes.
External Flash Triggering
The entire external flash triggering system has has been reworked from the ground up in NA-D500, increasing ease of use, setup convenience, and reliability. A new LED flash triggering system is standard in every housing!
This optical flash trigger can fire at the full 10 fps of the camera, making it the ideal solution for the rapid fire fast action shooting that the D500 is so well suited for. Optical systems, with fiber optic cables linking the external flashes to the housing, are far more reliable than any electrical sync cable system. There are no connections to flood, or fragile wires to break, and nearly every popular underwater strobe supports optical triggering.
The LED trigger circuitboard is mounted directly to the front of the housing, and connected to the camera with a hotshoe cable. This new system is more powerful than the hotshoe mounted LED triggers used in the past, and is compatible with all currently available optically triggered flashes! Powered by two CR2032 batteries, battery life is measured in the tens of thousands of flashes, driven by incredibly efficient electronics. With good batteries, we expect 3-5 years of service, up to 50,000 exposures.
Users of legacy flashes without optical triggering are able to add accessory Nikonos (26074) or Ikelite (26075) style bulkheads for electrical flash sync. These bulkheads plug into the LED trigger board for clean cable routing, and reliable connection.
The redesigned LED Flash Triggering System has allowed for a much lower housing height. This the smallest, easiest to pack Nauticam DSLR housing for Nikon yet!
Accessory TTL Converter
NA-D500 will also be compatible with the new Nauticam TTL Converter! This user installable upgrade provides accurate automatic TTL flash exposure with a number of popular flashes, and offers both optical and electrical strobe triggering in a single unit!Optical triggering, using an led integrated into the board and fiber optic cable, works well with modern flashes like Inon Z-240, Sea & Sea YS-D2, and more. Electrical triggering supports Ikelite DS- and Sea & Sea YS-250 strobes connected via an electrical sync cord.
Accurate automatic TTL flash exposure has been a favorite feature of Nauticam photographers using cameras with pop up flashes, and we are excited to bring this advanced flash control functionality to the NA-D500 housing!
- TTL Converter for NA-D5 and D500, Sea & Sea YS-D and Inon Series Strobes (26307)
- TTL Converter for Ikelite DS- Strobes, Sea & Sea YS-250 Available Soon
The right grip is mission control for the D500 camera, accessing many of the frequently used camera functions. Oversized levers are identifiable by feel, allowing tactile operation while framing with the optical viewfinder. The most frequently accessed fingertip controls (Shutter Release, Main Command Dial, and Sub Command Dial, Video Record, and AF-ON) are located here. ISO, the primary exposure control used by DSLR video shooters, is accessed by a convenient thumb lever under the right grip. INFO, useful for calling up the camera settings on the 3.2″ rear color LCD, is placed at the right thumb.
A “pinky lever”, placed just under the front sub-command dial, accesses the Fn1 button. This can be linked to a number of assignable functions.
The new AF-Mode Lever is a significant improvement, and one based on feedback from Nauticam customers in the field. Nikon AF Area modes have become so powerful that shooters are regularly switching between 3D Tracking, Auto Area AF, and Single Area modes. The AF-Mode lever is now easily located by feel from the left handle! A separate AF-M lever is positioned above this lever, and identifiable by feel.
A double thumb lever accesses playback and the assignable Fn2 Button.
Extensive Customization for a Tailored Ergonomic Experience
The Nikon D500 camera in a Nauticam NA-D500 housing offers three assignable pushbuttons (AF-ON, Fn1, and Fn2) that can all be accessed from the housing handles.
These custom functions can be overwhelming at first, but the creative options they unlock can be incredibly valuable in the field. In short, these assignable buttons mean less time digging through camera menus to change camera functions, and more time capturing the scene as it unfolds. There isn’t a right way configure these systems. Every photographer and shooting scenario has unique demands. Some ideas are listed below:
- 1 Step Spd / Aperture, allows changing exposure settings in full f-stop increments. Think about changing from a wide angle scenic mode with relatively open aperture and slow shutter speed to a close focus wide angle shot that requires a closed aperture to shrink a sun-ball.
- My Menu, a customized panel with frequently accessed menus settings
- Access Top Item in MY MENU, actually jumps into a frequently accessed sub menu structure for the top level My Menu selection, saving at least two button presses. (ie min shutter speed in auto iso mode, or quickly define a preset white balance)
- Quickly access another metering mode, toggling between the selected metering pattern and an alternate that more appropriately evaluates the current scene.
- Flash disable / enable, this is a big one! Toggles external flashes on and off, allowing a switch between artificial light shooting (continuous shooting speed limited by flash recycle, and shutter speed limited by the strobe max sync speed at 1/250) to silhouette mode using only ambient light (full 12 fps continuous shooting speed, unrestricted flash sync speed).
- AF-area mode + AF-ON – very cool functionality, for a quick way of accessing a focus mode other than the mode currently assigned and activating it while held down. Placed at the right thumb via the re-positioned PV lever, the current focus mode be overridden with something like auto area focus for quick grab shots where there isn’t time to move the selected autofocus point, or change focus area patterns.
Nikon DX Underwater Advantages
- A fisheye that zooms! The Tokina 10-17 is the ultimate super wide field of view range, and full frame systems don’t have it. The 10mm end, with 180 degree diagonal field of view, is the perfect angle for close focus wide angle subjects or big animals that are approachable. The 17mm end covers more skittish subjects that won’t come close, or more portraits styles shots of medium and large subjects.
- Super Wide Zooms. The full frame rigs require really big dome ports and expensive lenses, to cover this 110° range without fisheye distortion. DX cameras, paired with the Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Zoom provide amazingly good overall sharpness and corner performance even in smaller 180mm dome ports. This is a tremendous benefit for travel, as the smaller dome is much easier to pack, and significantly lower in weight.
- Extra Macro Reach. Take the most macro magnification possible with a full frame system and a Nikon 60 or 105mm lens, then crop the center 2/3 of the frame. That is the image framing that a DX camera grabs in camera! Adding a Nauticam Super Macro Converter to the 105, or Compact Macro Converter to the AF-S 60 allows for incredible magnification.
- Handy Mid-range Zooms. Several mid-range zoom lenses, most notably the Sigma 17-70 series, provide coverage for a wide variety of almost wide angle to closeup shooting scenarios. These lenses handle a range very similar to that covered by the built in zooms in the compact cameras that many underwater photographers cut their teeth on.
Patented Port Locking System
Unveiled on the very first Nauticam DSLR housing in 2009, this locking lever has become a signature of the Nauticam brand. No twisting or threading action is required to mount a port,and it locks securely in place with this lever. Nauticam also offers locking extension rings, meaning a dome will never twist, even when used with a long extension ring.
Housing Locking Latches
The industry’s easiest to use housing closure system, requiring very little hand strength to close, secures the housing back in place. The latches are safely locked, but easy to open for a quick battery or memory card change.
Multi Controller Pad
Located within easy reach of the right thumb, virtually recreates the Nikon D500 multi selector allowing full multidirectional use of this powerful too. No other manufacturer has it, and with 55 user selectable focus points to choose from, photographers need it.
Integrated Vacuum Monitoring and Leak Detection
Circuitry included as standard equipment provides constant monitoring of water tight integrity when combined with an optional Nauticam M16 Vacuum Valve II (PN 25625).
Vacuum Reset Button in Port Mount
A simple vacuum reset pushbutton placed in the port mount allows the vacuum system to be calibrated and initialized from the housing front. Ideal for quick lens swaps!
Stainless Steel Handle Brackets
Stiffening handle brackets are included with the housing. These brackets eliminate any flex or wobble when using big strobes, and provide multiple attachment points for lanyards, a hand strap, and other accessories.
Ergonomic Rubberized Grips
Another legendary Nauticam feature, these rubberized grips have been used every Nauticam DSLR housing release, and are some of the most comfortable in the business.
Clear Control Labeling
All camera controls are clearly labeled, allowing easy identification.
Integrated Vacuum Check and Leak Detection System
The Nauticam vacuum check and leak detection system is shipped with NA-D500 as standard equipment. Combined with an accessory vacuum valve (PN 25625), this monitoring system provides constant updates on the water tight and safe-to-dive status of the housing. A simple color coded LED lighting system lets the user know that the vacuum is solid, or that the housing is losing vacuum. Leak detection is built into the same circuit, so if there is water intrusion, an audible and visual indication will occur.
The Nauticam system is temperature compensated, eliminating false alarms caused by a change in outside temperature, or from a camera heating up on an action packed dive.
Ease of Use
No system is easier to assemble or break down. The camera drops into the housing with a quick release camera tray. The camera tray has an extending bracket that allows the AF-M selector to be easily positioned to match the camera. No controls need to be preset, as housing functions for dials and switches align automatically (on/off, af-m, still photo/video). The large 120mm housing port opening allows even the largest popular pro Nikon wide angle lens (14-24 /2.8G) to be used, and the camera can even be mounted in the housing with this large lens attached.
The standard optical glass viewfinder is very good and travel friendly, but many photographers prefer the ease of a magnified viewfinder with adjustable diopter. Nauticam produces a “straight” 180º enlarging viewfinder and a 45º angled enlarging viewfinder to enhance the ease of close quarters work often associated with macro shooting. Both viewfinders have high quality optics, and allow bright viewing of the entire image. A patented external dioptric adjustment allows personal adjustment to a sharp-as-a-tack standard underwater and viewfinder changes can be executed in less than 30 seconds without using tools. Exceptional composition and focus accuracy have never been more accessible.
Premium Professional Optics
Experienced shooters know a camera is only as good as the lens in front of it, and the same is true when choosing optics for an underwater camera system. Four optically coated glass dome ports (250mm, 230mm, 180mm, and 140mm diameters) and a series of acrylic ports support popular lenses from Nikon, Sigma, and Tokina. Port configurations are extensively tested at Nauticam to determine the ideal extension ring length for best performance.
For macro and super macro shooting, the Nauticam Super Macro Converter is a revolutionary accessory. This is an entirely in house design, optimized for use in water. The water contact correction offers the highest overall sharpness, free from chromatic aberration and purple fringing, with reproduction ratios exceeding 2:1 when used with a Nikon AF-S 105mm /2.8 VR Lens.
Nauticam build quality is simply unmatched, using cutting edge product design and modern, innovative manufacturing techniques that result in service-free reliability. A bit like a fine Swiss time piece, the complexity under the hood results in a trouble free user experience that just works, and keeps working for years to come.
- 180º Enhancing Viewfinder (32201)
- 45º Enhancing Viewfinder (32203)
Optical and Electrical TTL Converter
- TTL Converter for NA-D5 and D500, Sea & Sea YS-D and Inon Series Strobes (26307)
- M14 Nikonos 5-pin Bulkhead II with Red Micro-Match Connector (26074)
- M14 Ikelite Style Bulkhead II with Red Micro-Match Connector (26075)
- Patent Pending Super Macro Converter (81201), providing 2.3:1 reproduction ration with the popular AF-S 105mm /2.8G VR Macro Lens
- M16 Vacuum Valve (25625)
- Complete line of flat and dome ports for all major lenses, available in acrylic and glass
- Locking port extension rings from 10mm to 90mm
- Monitor/Recorder Housing for Atomos Ninja2 (17902) or Shogun (17904)
- Monitor Housing for SmallHD 502 Monitor (17906)
- Fiber optic cables for Inon (26211) and Sea&Sea (26212)
- Full line of mounting accessories for lighting, including mount balls, strobe adapters, arms, clamps, and specialty items
- Multiple styles of lanyards
- Lens holders, including flip-up
- Focus and Zoom gears for many Nikon, Tokina, and Sigma lenses
- Port Adapters for Aquatica, Hugyfot, Ikelite, Inon, Nexus M5 & M6, Sea & Sea NX, Seacam, Subal Version 3 & 4, and Zillion
- Handle accessories including smaller handles, handle extensions for cold water diving
- Spare Housing O-Ring (90134)
Details and Specifications
- Depth Rating: 100m
- Weight: 3.02 kg
- Dimensions: 354mm x 188mm x 134mm (W x H x D)
Model Number: 17220
USA Retail Price: $3500
Visit his personal portfolio at www.ranmorphoto.com.
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