Nauticam Housing for Sony A7, A7R, A7S Reviews

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Average Rating:
4
(1 customer review)


Nauticam housing - Sony A7

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

As a framework for this review, I’d like to address three aspects of my purchase; the camera, the housing and Blue Water Photo shop.
I’ll begin with the camera; the Sony A-7 (not the Sony A7R to be precise) is simply an exceptional camera! My previous camera was a Nikon D300 and I was happy with it results. I can very safely tell you that I am stunned by how much more I like the A7. The speed of focus, quality of picture, and the weight of the camera all come to mind, simply the best underwater camera that I have owned to date. The focus was wonderful, quick and accurate, everything that you would expect from a DSLR. The RAW files coming off of this camera are fantastic with the added benefit that Adobe already has a very easy download for them in system.
That being said, there are a few issues that I would put on the table; first - lens selection. The stock lens is a very, very average lens. Not all that great at macro or wide angle. The quintessential jack all trades - master of none. In a word, the most problematic issue of moving to the Sony A7. I believe that there are some work arounds with various adapters to other lenses and ports but I have also been told that the compromises outweigh the benefits. (note – Kelli was pretty upfront with this in her review)
Additionally, the on camera switch from photo mode to video mode can be problematic as it remains in a form of manual providing for a very difficult video experience, I would prefer to simply allow for auto video. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that there is a simple fix to this that I just haven’t discovered yet. Currently, I switch the camera to "auto" and them move to video. This solution necessitates that when I move back to photo, I must then move back to manual mode. I found a similar problem in the basic settings that impacted photo mode as in a manual setting the viewfinder displayed what the photo would look like without any additional light and made it impossible to take pictures (viewfinder was way too dark to accurately see the subjects). Turns out that this is not an uncommon setting and it was easily switched in the menu settings.

Regarding the Nauticam housing, I can only compare to what I’ve experienced (Subal, Recsea, and Seatool) and I found almost nothing wanting.
Ball mounts – There is a noticeable lack of ball mounts for which Kelli provided a solution but when configuring for both video and photography, where would the focus light go. I configured mine with a video light on the left arm and a strobe on the right arm. Kelli was exceptionally helpful throughout the process and provided a great walk thru on the installation.
LCD to Viewfinder - During her review of the housing, Kelli noted an issue switching between the viewfinder and the LCD. Frankly, I had no issues whatsoever and it worked perfectly through both dive trips this summer.
Regarding the viewfinder – I very typically purchase an viewfinder extension to allow for easy sight through the viewfinder. Save the money. The viewfinder is so clear and easily accessed that there really is no need to attach an extension to the housing. Credit goes to the camera and the housing itself.
Housing buoyancy – I did find the housing, camera, strobe, video light to be pretty darn negative and will have to add some more positive buoyancy to make it easier to handle in the water.
Battery – The battery life to good for three dives but this is based on how much video (by default, I use the LCD for video) that you are taking. On one dive that I had to go strict video, the battery wore down pretty quickly. When I was operating primarily with photo (with the occasional video) three dives was an easy expectation.
Optical vs. Sync cord – Having made the transition from sync cord to fiber optic, I was disappointed to see Sync cord as the only initial option. That issue is solved now, as both choices are available and easy to install.
Vacuum system – In word, this is awesome! Yes, it takes a few minutes to set up each day (just a few minutes, not really annoying at all) but it works like a charm. I’ll never purchase a housing without it ever again. Note: the battery for the system burns out pretty quickly, so make sure that you have a backup battery on hand. Mine lasted about 50 dives.
Unforeseen Issue - I did run into one issue that was resolved when one of the arms on the back plate shifted slightly (not enough to be easily seen visually but enough to impair the inner workings). The most striking memory of this problem was just how quickly everyone got back to me. Wow! Obviously, Kelly was all over it and has spent more than her fair share helping me out but I also sent Nauticam a note and they actually got back to me inside of 24 hours. Where do you possibly get this kind of service in today’s market!

Blue Water Photo – Amazing service!!! With all the options to purchase from essentially anywhere on the planet, service is the big discriminator. Based on that, I will be making the majority of my purchases through this shop. Everyone I spoke to was incredibly knowledgeable and more importantly, when they weren’t, they didn’t pretend to be. If I asked a question, they were confident enough to hand me off to someone who had more experience and could provide a more thorough answer. Kelli in particular was a font of information. They will certainly be my shop of choice in the future.