Backscatter Home Backscatter HomeSearchHousing FinderContact
Backscatter Underwater Photo & Video
GalleriesArticlesTrips & ClassesBooks

First Dives: Nikon D3 in a Subal ND3 Underwater Housing

Articles » Photo Equipment » First Dives: Nikon D3 in a Subal ND3 Underwater Housing

Font Sizes:
First Dives: Nikon D3 in a Subal ND3 Underwater Housing

Nikon D3 Underwater - First Underwater Photography
First Dive with the Nikon D3
The shipping schedule of NikonD3 housings from Subal Austria lined up perfectly with a jellyfish invasion in Monterey Bay. As soon as we turned off the phones, Russ Sanoian took the opportunity to jump in the bay to shoot sample images with the new Subal ND3 housing.

Introducing Russ Sanoian
Russ is a new addition to our sales team, but many of you already know him from his previous six years as the lead technical sales person at Light & Motion. We are thrilled to have him on the Backscatter team as his imaging knowledge is also backed up with serious technical diving skills and a diehard positive attitude. Within a few weeks of his start at Backscatter, Russ had already devoured our demo locker and has applied his expert video knowledge to the art of photography. If you are considering a new item, chances are very high that Russ has already dived it. We are certain you will appreciate his knowledge and problem solving skills. He shot these images within 30 minutes. We're impressed!

Nikon D3 Underwater - First Underwater Photography Sunballs with the Nikon D3
We have had little time to explore the NikonD3 underwater, but are already impressed at the shallow water sunballs it pulls off at f13. Similar to our experience with the Nikon D300, the NikonD3 is producing sunballs that would be difficult to reproduce with scanned film. Sample images were all shot at ISO 200 in very poor visibility so we will reserve ISO comments for a future date, but we are thrilled with the results thus far. You can be certain that we will be plunging to the depths of high ISO ratings in short order.
Nikon D3 Underwater - First Underwater Photography Comments on the Subal ND3 Underwater Housing
As with all Subal housings the Subal ND3 is incredibly user friendly for camera install and all controls are butter smooth. All essential controls such as shutter release, aperture, shutterspeed, focus lock, and AF on are the most ergonomic of all housings we have tried. All rotary dials (including zoom) are smooth enough to be operated with a single finger. Just as we expected from Subal.
<a href='' class='standard'>Subal ND3</a> Underwater Housing for Nikon D3 Underwater- Best control layout Unique Double Thumb Controls
I personally lobbied hard for these controls and I am thrilled to see that Subal not only added the double thumb, but pulled it off with such good ergonomics. The new Subal ND3 housing features two independent thumb controls for the Focus ON and AE-L/AF-L buttons on the back of the NikonD3. These buttons can be set to perform many different functions in the camera custom menu. My personal Nikon D3 settings will include the following...
Menu Settings:
a5: AF Activation = AF-ON only
a9: AF-ON Button = AF-ON (default)
f6: Assign AE-L/AF-L Button = Flash off

MSC Aufocus Switch:
MSC = C (continuous)
Control result:
1) The shutter release will no longer activate autofocus. Only a press with the thumb on the AF-ON button will activate autofocus. Thus you will use your thumb to set focus and the camera will always fire with any press of the shutter. Canon users are more familiar with this feature and it eliminates the need to hold the autofocus lock (AF-L) button while shooting.
2) Press the extra thumb lever on the Subal ND3 (labeled AF-L) and you can quickly disable your strobes for a distant shot. Topside shooters can keep blasting strobes even when the subject is out of range. However, underwater photographers will milk out the water if they blast strobes at distant subjects. Personally I will be using this control as a quick way to turn off my strobes when shooting silhouettes of a subject passing overhead or in the distance. You could also program this second thumb lever to perform depth of field preview, bracketing burst, or meter pattern changes for dynamic auto exposure situations.
Nikon D3 Underwater - First Underwater Photography
Sign up for our newsletter
If you'd like more info on our latest dive tests sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page. Please contact us for more information on the best photo system to meet your needs and budget.

Shoot with Us


EMAIL (please enter it twice)

ANTI-SPAM: (Please Type Verification Word)
verification image, type it in the box






Canon 1Dx Mark II Underwater Camera Review
Here at Backscatter we are fortunate to have a large customer base of professional underwater filmmakers. This year our conversations have revolved around three cameras: Red Weapon/EPIC Dragon, Sony a7R Mark II, and the new Canon 1DX II. We’ve had the chance to spend time in the water with all of the above, and each has their benefits and drawbacks. Here’s how the 1Dx Mark II stacks up...

Underwater TTL Reference Guide
TTL is an automatic strobe exposure system and a great tool for beginning underwater photographers. TTL systems will allow you to focus on strobe placement while it figures out the best strobe exposure. It’s not fail proof, but modern systems have become surprisingly accurate and help make underwater photography even more fun.

Nikon D500 Underwater Camera Review
The D500 is Nikon’s long awaited update to the D300. With blazing shooting speed and Nikon’s first dive into 4K video, see how this camera performs in the water in our full review with images and video.

10Bar Strobe Snoots - Underwater Snoot Review
Snoots are a great way to add more drama to your macro pictures and rekindle your love for all things small in the ocean. The 10Bar Snoot will narrow the beam of your strobe, concentrating the light on just the subject and not the surrounding reef. Aiming a snoot can be challenging so 10Bar added a laser pointer to see where the strobe light will land while you're framing your shot.

Sony a7R Mark II Underwater Review
The Sony A7R Mark II is a full frame mirrorless camera that shoots 42 MP stills, 4K video, and has low light capability that is second only to the best low light camera ever, the Sony A7S. Can the new A7R perform on all fronts as promised? Read on to see photos and 4K video from this revolutionary camera.

Olympus Tough TG-4 Underwater Test and Review
TG-4 now shoots RAW photos! We recently shot some amazing photos and video with the new Olympus TG-4. Read on for the full review.

More Articles »

Backscatter Home Search Housing Finder Contact
    CHECK US OUT ON:  Backscatter on Facebook FACEBOOK   |   Backscatter on Twitter TWITTER BACKSCATTER UNDERWATER VIDEO & PHOTO
225 Cannery Row, Monterey, California 93940 USA
PHONE: +1-831-645-1082
FAX: +1-831-375-1526
SKYPE: backscatter_west
Showroom Hours
16 Manning Street, Suite 103, Derry, NH 03038 USA
PHONE: +1-603-432-1997
SKYPE: backscatter_east
Showroom Hours


Products by category
Products by part number

Download Backscatter Logos


Visit Our Help Center