Russ Sanoian popped open our first shipment of Nikon D3 underwater housing from Subal. Here's a brief review of out thoughts on the best underwater camera housing for the Nikon D3.nikon,d3,underwater,photography,housing,subal,nd3,waterproof,review

First Dives: Nikon D3 in a Subal ND3 Underwater Housing





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!







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.







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.



Subal ND3 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.







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