Just when camera manufacturers started catching up with the resolution of digital cinema cameras released by RED, they were once again left behind with the release of RED’s new 8K Helium sensor. Granted, pixel count is not everything when it comes to underwater imaging but the ability down sample to 4K or even 2K for delivery leads to cleaner and sharper images. Nauticam has stepped up to the needs of the discerning underwater cinematographer by offering their compact DSMC2 LT housing. With the ever increasing hassle of international and domestic travel having a system that you can fit into a backpack for carry-on relives a lot of head aches and allows you to be ready to shoot even if your luggage is lost.
Just when camera manufacturers started catching up with the resolution of digital cinema cameras released by RED, they were once again left behind with the release of RED’s new 8K Helium sensor. Granted, pixel count is not everything when it comes to underwater imaging but the ability down sample to 4K or even 2K for delivery leads to cleaner and sharper images. Nauticam has stepped up to the needs of the discerning underwater cinematographer by offering their compact Nauticam Weapon LT Housing. With the ever increasing hassle of international and domestic travel, having a system that you can fit into a backpack for carry-on relieves a lot of headaches and allows you to be ready to shoot even if your luggage is lost.
RED Weapon 8K Underwater Test Footage shot with Canon 8-15mm Fisheye Lens.
Use the RED Sidekick and Canon Lenses
The Nauticam Weapon LT Housing utilizes the RED Sidekick for camera control and gives the operator full control over all the camera functions. The housing has full access to the assignable and menu buttons on the Sidekick, giving both quick access to the most needed tools and the ability to navigate the menus for those necessary but less accessed items. The left side of the housing also has a control to actuate the User 1 and User 2 assignable buttons on the front left of the camera. This a quick way to iris up and down when using Canon lenses.
The compact size is great but the coolest feature of this housing is its modularity. Out of the box, it is ready to accept Canon lenses and all of the RED DSMC2 camera bodies; Raven, Scarlet-W, Epic-W, Weapon 6K and Weapon 8K. Switching lenses and ports is a quick and easy turnaround. There is one lever to lift the gears off of focus and iris, a secure latch for the port lock, and a lens release button that allows you to switch the lens without removing the camera from the housing. It literally takes seconds to make a change. For those jobs that require PL glass, there is an N120 to N200 port adapter that steps up to the larger port opening and has a control to engage focus on the lens. For those that have access to the highly sought after and best underwater optic ever made, the Nikonos RS 13mm fisheye, Nauticam developed a mount and port adapter for Nikonos RS lenses. You don’t need to have an RS lens to get great images from the Nauticam Weapon LT Housing but if you have one, it gives you the ability to capture the sharpest corner-to-corner images around.
This underwater test footage was shot exclusively with the Nikonos 13mm RS Fisheye Lens. Using this waterproof lens make the Nauticam Red Weapon System compact without sacrificing image sharpness.
Many Monitor Options
To continue with the modularity theme and an important topic for many underwater shooters, let’s talk about the monitor options. Nauticam has come up with multiple options for monitoring on the Nauticam Weapon LT Housing. First off is the Nauticam NA-502S Housing for the SmallHD 502 Monitor. These work great across many systems from digital cinema to DSLR. We have reviewed this monitor before and you can get more details here. Newly released for the Nauticam Weapon LT Housing are the DSMC2 RED Touch 4.7 inch monitor housing and the DSMC2 RED Touch 7 inch monitor housing. These housings interface with the camera though Nauticam machined aluminum Pogo to Lemo adapters on both the monitor side and camera side. The cable connecting the monitor housing to the camera housing is water blocked. This means if a shark bites your cable you will not flood your camera! Both housings have the access to the assignable buttons on the side of the monitor and give you access to those great RED monitor tools, like edge focus! Having the large DSMC2 RED Touch 7 inch monitor is a real benefit for those critical focus situations like macro. Pushing an external monitor through the water is not always the most ideal when you are chasing fast moving subjects. For the most streamlined set up, go with Nauticam’s DSMC2 RED Touch 4.7 inch monitor back. This back replaces the standard back that comes with the housing and requires the Wooden Camera RED Male Pogo to Female Pogo LCD/EVF Cable - 24 inch. Like the external monitor housings, the back has access to the assignable buttons on the left side of the monitor.
If you are like us then you have amassed a collection of different batteries over the years and would like a housing that can accommodate them. Thankfully the Nauticam Weapon LT Housing also gives you a wide range of battery options. There are a number of configurations for mounting batteries to a DSMC2 camera. The setup we like and that provides the most flexibility is the RED DSMC2 Base Expander and the Wooden Camera Cable-less V-Mount Plate. With this combination, the battery can sit lower on the camera accommodating the use of larger batteries (like RED Bricks) in the DSMC2 housing.
Trimming for Neutrality
One of the keys to stable underwater video is good trim. The DSMC2 housing can be outfitted with optional skids that not only provide a stable base for resting the housing on the deck but also gives you multiple locations for mounting trim weights and accessories like tripod legs. Depending on your battery configuration the housing may need some trim as far back as you can put it so Nauticam has provided two mounting points for trim weights inside the housing back.
Overall we are impressed with the Nauticam Weapon LT Housing. It checks all the boxes for modern day productions with compact size, reconfigurability, and quick turn around for battery, card, and lens swaps.
8K Video Underwater Video
Multiple Monitor Options
Nikonos RS Lens Support
Very Negative with the Red 7 inch Monitor and Housing
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