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Nikon D500 or Z8, and Ikelite or Nauticam (or similar)?


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I currently shoot with a Sony RX100 (VII), housed in Ikelite. I also have a D500, and am considering using that underwater instead. What are people's thoughts on doing this, vs considering the Z range? I was initially thinking of getting a Nauticam housing for the D500 but have been made aware that they have been discontinued. We can still buy them in Australia, but I'm concerned about needing to get spare parts (if the time should come) and not being able to get my hands on any for repairs. This has led me to question whether I should pair the D500 with an Ikelite housing instead, or consider a different brand, or consider one of the Z range instead. I have the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye that I was thinking of using with the D500. If I were to move to the Z8, for example, I'm guessing an adapter plus dome port would not be viable? Plus there is the cost of a brand new camera to consider! Is the Z8 really worth the hype, if you already own the D500? Thank you! 

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Hi DiverTess

 

I've been using a D500 since 2017 when it replaced my D800. So, perhaps counter-intuitively, I've moved (back) from FX to DX. And, yep, I use the Tokina 10-17mm.

 

I cannot see any difference in the images between the FX and the DX D500. The AF on D500 is highly-rated and is the equivalent of the then Nikon flagship DSLR D5. I cannot honestly say that the D500's AF system has ever led to me missing a shot. User error has though, of course!

 

I moved back from the FX D800 to the DX D500  largely because of the issues surrounding housing wide-angle lenses on FX: large domes, crappy edges, nothing really equivalent to the Tokina. The FX body with its 230 domeport was a pain to transport. This will apply to the Z wide-angle lenses if you go for a Z8.

 

Part of the decision making process is of course, the use you want intend for your images. If you want to blow them up beyond A3 then, yeah, maybe FX is worthwhile. But for on-screen use, I would argue FX is not worthwhile. In addition, I sell lots of my underwater images  (10,000+ through Shutterstock plus other agencies) and no-one has ever suggested that, tsk, these were shot with a DX camera.

 

On housing, discontinuations etc....  I've been using Subal housings since 2003 and only once have had to have one serviced and that was, dah-dah, user error with me letting a half teaspoon of sea water get in. And during the time I did several periods where I was doing 200+ dives a year. I'm sure Nauticam housings are equally robust. I would not worry too much about a housing being discontinued. Someone will be able to service it if that is necessary.

 

Ditto on the actual cameras. Yep, the D500 is ?no longer on sale but I'm sure it would not be difficult to get a good secondhand one if necessary or get one repaired for the foreseeable future.

 

I've argued for ages that we get seduced by the hype surrounding FX cameras. And I'm as guilty of it as anyone. Yes, I have FX for topside (a Z9 - which I really like). But underwater? I'd argue that the negatives outweigh the positives given the costs involved and the difference in output quality.

 

Go with the D500 and a good housing: Nauticam, Subal.... I doubt very much you'd regret it. And you get to keep and use the Tokina! Put the cost of the Z8 to a dive trip (two?) and get some more pics. 

 

 

 

 

 

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I will add that the Tokina is currently a no go on Z series cameras as it's screw drive lens, so even on an APS-C  Z series and the ZF adapter  it can't AF.  I wouldn't worry about spares, housings tend to use the same hardware for all of their buttons so I would expect them to be around for a while.  My EM-1 MkII Nauticam housing has not been serviced and was purchased in 2017.  If you want something more future proof you could also  look at Isotta housings as well, a good housing but the internals are a bit simpler to the point they can be serviced yourself.

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Thank you, everyone! This has been super useful. I hadn’t come across the issue of the dome port and travel when it comes to the Z8, so am very grateful to hear about unit first-hand. A lot of my diving (and therefore photography!) takes place interstate, so this is very helpful to know. 


I’ll be heading to two dive shops next week — one only carries Nauticam, and the other has Ikelite and Isotta, so I’ll go and have a go at which feels better in hand! 

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10 hours ago, DiverTess said:

I’ll be heading to two dive shops next week — one only carries Nauticam, and the other has Ikelite and Isotta, so I’ll go and have a go at which feels better in hand! 

 

Good luck with it, Tess. I think that'd be quite some interest in what you discover and choose. If you have the time, do post a read out. I really think "feel" is important in the choice.

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