Introducing Nauticam NA-D850
The Nikon D850
The new Nikon D850 combines a stunning amount of resolution - 45.7 mega pixels - with the blazing fast autofocus also found in Nikon's professional D5 camera. In the past the highest resolution Nikon bodies traded continuous shooting speed for megapixel count, but thankfully that is no longer the case. Upgraded processing allows the D850 to fire at an impressive 7 frames per second, and a large 51 shot Raw buffer provides ample runway for fast action capture.
The D850 also inherits the ISO64 base sensitivity from D810. High ISO performance in low light usually gets all the attention, but this extremely low ISO level was key to the excellent sunball capture capability of the D810 camera. The D850 promises more of the same in higher resolution.
The Multi-CAM 20K focus system has 153 focus points (99 cross-type sensors), and works in conjunction with a 180k pixel RGB metering sensor. This metering sensor drives the advanced Nikon exposure system, and is also used to provide scene data for 3D focus tracking, improving accuracy.
A new .75x Magnification optical viewfinder is the largest found on any Nikon SLR camera, providing a clear, bright view for framing and focus. Electronic viewfinders and large LCD screens simply can't match the precision of an optical viewfinder.
The D850 offers 4K video capture from the entire sensor width at up to 30 frames per second. This is a key development from Nikon for the motion capture world. Previous offerings have cropped the sensor significantly when capturing 4K, changing the field of view of the attached lens significantly.
Nikon D850 Key Specifications
45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor
7 fps continuous shooting with AE/AF
153-point AF system linked to 180,000-pixel metering system
UHD 4K video capture at up to 30p from full sensor width
1080 video at up to 120p
4:2:2 8-bit UHD uncompressed HDMI output while recording to card
1 XQD slot and 1 UHS II-compliant SD slot
19.4MP DX crop mode
The Nauticam NA-D850 Underwater Housing
Innovation, ergonomics, and reliability are the hallmarks of the Nauticam brand. Every new housing design is carefully crafted based on feedback from Nauticam users around the globe. Feedback gained from the knowledge and experience of Nauticam owners results in every new housing design being better than the last.
Key camera controls are placed within an easy reach from the ergonomic, rubberized handles. An incredible amount of design resources go into crafting this layout, but that effort pays off with unmatched ease of use. Controls on the housing are placed exactly where they should be for easiest access in water, regardless of the camera layout.
The right grip is mission control for the D850 camera, accessing many of the frequently used camera functions. Oversized levers are identifiable by feel, allowing tactile operation while framing with the optical viewfinder. The most frequently accessed fingertip controls (Shutter Release, Main Command Dial, and Sub Command Dial, Video Record, and AF-ON) are located here. ISO, the primary exposure control used by DSLR video shooters, is accessed by a convenient thumb lever under the right grip. INFO, useful for calling up the camera settings on the 3.2" rear color LCD, is placed at the right thumb.
The Nikon D850 camera in a Nauticam NA-D850 housing offers four assignable pushbuttons (AF-ON, Fn1, Fn2, and Pv) that can all be accessed from the housing handles. These custom functions can be overwhelming at first, but the creative options they unlock can be incredibly valuable in the field. In short, these assignable buttons mean less time digging through camera menus to change camera functions, and more time capturing the scene as it unfolds. There isn't a right way configure these systems. Every photographer and shooting scenario has unique demands. Some ideas are listed below:
1 Step Spd / Aperture, allows changing exposure settings in full f-stop increments. Think about changing from a wide angle scenic mode with relatively open aperture and slow shutter speed to a close focus wide angle shot that requires a closed aperture to shrink a sun-ball.
My Menu, a customized panel with frequently accessed menus settings
Access Top Item in MY MENU, actually jumps into a frequently accessed sub menu structure for the top level My Menu selection, saving at least two button presses. (ie min shutter speed in auto iso mode, or quickly define a preset white balance)
Quickly access another metering mode, toggling between the selected metering pattern and an alternate that more appropriately evaluates the current scene.
Flash disable / enable, this is a big one! Toggles external flashes on and off, allowing a switch between artificial light shooting (continuous shooting speed limited by flash recycle, and shutter speed limited by the strobe max sync speed at 1/250) to silhouette mode using only ambient light (full 7 fps continuous shooting speed, unrestricted flash sync speed).
AF-area mode + AF-ON – very cool functionality, for a quick way of accessing a focus mode other than the mode currently assigned and activating it while held down. Placed at the right ring finger via the re-positioned PV lever, the current focus mode be overridden with something like auto area focus for quick grab shots where there isn't time to move the selected autofocus point, or change focus area patterns.
External Flash Triggering
The NA-D850 uses the same integrated LED flash triggering system found in NA-D5 and NA-D500. This low profile housing mounted circuit board is convenient, easy to use, and reliable.
This optical flash trigger can fire at the full 7 fps of the camera, making it the ideal solution for the rapid fire fast action shooting that the D850 is so well suited for. Optical systems, with fiber optic cables linking the external flashes to the housing, are far more reliable than any electrical sync cable system. There are no connections to flood, or fragile wires to break, and nearly every popular underwater strobe supports optical triggering.
The LED trigger circuitboard is mounted directly to the front of the housing, and connected to the camera with a hotshoe cable. This new system is more powerful than the hotshoe mounted LED triggers used in the past, and is compatible with all currently available optically triggered flashes! Powered by two CR2032 batteries, battery life is measured in the tens of thousands of flashes, driven by incredibly efficient electronics. With good batteries, we expect 3-5 years of service, up to 50,000 exposures.
Users of legacy flashes without optical triggering are able to add accessory Nikonos (26074) or Ikelite (26075) style bulkheads for electrical flash sync. These bulkheads plug into the LED trigger board for clean cable routing, and reliable connection.
NA-D850 is also compatible with the Nauticam TTL Converter (26308). A user installable upgrade, the converter provides accurate automatic TTL flash exposure with a number of popular flashes, and offers both optical and electrical strobe triggering in a single unit!
Optical triggering, using LEDs integrated into the board and fiber optic cables, works well with modern flashes like Inon Z-240, Sea & Sea YS-D2, and more. Electrical triggering supports Ikelite DS- and Sea & Sea YS-250 strobes connected via an electrical sync cord.
Ease of Use
No system is easier to assemble or break down. The camera drops into the housing with a quick release camera tray. The camera tray has an extending bracket that allows the AF-M selector to be easily positioned to match the camera. No controls need to be preset, as housing functions for dials and switches align automatically (on/off, af-m, still photo/video). The large 120mm housing port opening allows even the largest popular pro Nikon wide angle lens (14-24 /2.8G) to be used, and the camera can even be mounted in the housing with this large lens attached. Premium Professional Optics Experienced shooters know a camera is only as good as the lens in front of it, and the same is true when choosing optics for an underwater camera system. Four optically coated glass dome ports (250mm, 230mm, 180mm, and 140mm diameters) and a series of acrylic ports support popular lenses from Nikon, Sigma, and Tokina. Port configurations are extensively tested at Nauticam to determine the ideal extension ring length for best performance.
Integrated Vacuum Check and Leak Detection System
The Nauticam vacuum check and leak detection system is shipped with NA-D850 as standard equipment. Combined with an accessory vacuum valve (PN 25625), this monitoring system provides constant updates on the water tight and safe-to-dive status of the housing. A simple color coded LED lighting system lets the user know that the vacuum is solid, or that the housing is losing vacuum. Leak detection is built into the same circuit, so if there is water intrusion, an audible and visual indication will occur.
The Nauticam system is temperature compensated, eliminating false alarms caused by a change in outside temperature, or from a camera heating up on an action packed dive.