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Nauticam announce new housing for the Sony A7 II

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Nauticam have announced the NA-A7II, the newest entry in it’s mid-range series of underwater camera housings. The NA-A7II is an incremental improvement over the NA-A7 housing.


The Sony A7 II Camera

The new Sony A7II (officially called Sony Alpha 7 II) follows hot on the heals of the  A7, adding some significant improvements, including a 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization. The A7II, features a 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor, and focus is improved with a Hybrid AF system utilizing on-sensor phase-detect points. From a design perspective, other improvements in this model include more rugged build quality, a beefier grip, more and better laid out custom buttons, and a more ergonomically placed shutter release button. Other features include a 3-inch tilting LCD, XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, Multi-interface (hot) shoe, Wi-Fi with NFC, and 1080/60p video recording – now with XAVC S and a flat ‘S-Log2’ picture profile.

The A7II features the same full-frame 24MP CMOS sensor that was found on the original A7. It uses a hybrid autofocus system, which has 25 contrast detect and 117 phase detect points spread across its sensor. Sony engineers claim that autofocus performance has improved by 30% and tracking by 50% compared to the A7. Autofocus and now auto exposure can be used while tracking a moving subject during burst shooting (at 5 fps).

Shot with Sony A7II using FE 16-35mm lens. 1/125 at f/7.1 ISO 200. Zen DP-200 port.

Ergonomically, the A7II is improved over the A7, and the difference is obvious when picking up the camera. It feels more substantial in the hand, and the shutter button in particular is more comfortable. The grip is larger and significantly more substantial which keeps the hand in a more relaxed position when gripping the camera. The A7II uses more magnesium alloy and less plastic than the A7, allowing the overall build quality to seem more solid with only a minor increase in weight.

Like previous models, the A7II supports WiFi, NFC, and a number of apps making sharing very easy, while opening up the camera’s capabilities.

The NA-A7II Housing

The NA-A7II looks quite similar to the NA-A7, and the housings are approximately the same dimensions. The NA-A7II ships with built-in, yet adjustable handles, featuring Nauticam’s contoured rubberized grip. The “AF/MF/AEL” button is given special treatment on the right side of the housing with a direct access lever immediately reachable by the right thumb. This allows the button to be programmed for AF-ON meaning easy functionality for “thumb focus” fans. The shutter release can be accessed at the same time, offering quick focus-to-shoot finger action. Like many Nauticam housings, the play button is brought up to the left thumb, and the three command dials (think shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation) can be adjusted quickly with minimal reach. The ISO button is within short reach of the right thumb, important for video shooters. Speaking of video, the record button is on the top right, thus eliminating camera shake during video start/stop.

 


The Function Menu button opens up common camera settings to a quick menu, and this button is a short reach with the right thumb. The programmable C3 button is a very easy reach and can be programmed for any of several functions. The housing features a switch to change between the EVF and the LCD providing rapid and secure transition between viewing modes, and supports Nauticam’s viewfinders.

Installing a lens with a gear attached is made easy by the new pull-out zoom/focus dial.

A Nauticam Mini Flash Trigger made specifically for Sony is an available option, allowing the camera to shoot rapid fire with flood free optical cables. The housing includes an M16 bulkhead port for optional HDMI out, Nikonos style sync cable or other external accessory.

The NA-A7II accommodates for the larger than expected grip of the camera. Nauticam say that rather than compromise on image quality, their designers chose to create ports than take into account this difference, hence a separate entry in the port chart for this housing.

Lens Matters

The original A7 and A7R cameras from Sony sparked a huge interest in going full frame for mirrorless. For the underwater photographer, this enthusiasm was quickly diminished by the fairly limited lens selection. Underwater image makers rely on very wide angle lenses and macro lenses, and they were nowhere to be found.

However, the recently released 16-35mm is a game changer. This is a lens from the Sony Zeiss partnership, quaintly dubbed the Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS. It’s a rectilinear wide angle zoom that focuses close and demonstrates very good sharpness all around with medium to large sized dome ports. The Nauticam 180mm dome is an ideal choice for this lens.

For macro lovers, Sony recently announced a 90mm macro beauty (Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS), and this lens will be supported as soon as possible after it is shipped (slated for July). Also just announced is a new 28mm f/2 lens with a fisheye adapter, similar to what Sony did with the fisheye and wide angle adapter on the 16mm lens for the NEX series. This is an appealing way to get fisheye, as it allows multiple configurations with a single lens. Look for more info about Nauticam support for this lens when it ships (slated for May).

Owners of Canon full frame lenses like the EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, or the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lenses will apreciate the ability to use these fine optics with the A7 series. This is made possible with a Metabones adapter (Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX Smart Adapter (Mark III or Mark IV)). These lenses work well on the A7 series, providing both aperture and autofocus control from the camera.

NA-A7II set up with the Nauticam 180mm dome for the Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS, with manual focus and zoom controls. 

Speaking of Lenses

Nikonos “water contact” lenses are the stuff of legend, but too many of them are sitting in a box in a closet. Time to dust them off! The full frame A7II is a great way to bring those lenses back to action. With the full frame sensor, this Sea&Sea 12mm or the famous Nikonos 15mm behave like they were intended to.

Standard 0.66x viewfinder, standard on NA-A7II. 

Viewfinder Options

The NA-A7II ships with a standard 0.66x viewfinder. This standard optical glass viewfinder is travel friendly and suitable for image makers that care to use the LCD for most framing. Many photographers prefer the ease of a magnified viewfinder with adjustable diopter to take advantage of the EVF in this camera.

Nauticam 180º Enhanced Viewfinder Installed on NA-A7II. 

Nauticam produces a “straight” 180º enlarging viewfinder and a 45º angled enlarging viewfinder to enhance the ease of close quarters work often associated with macro shooting. Both viewfinders have high quality optics, and allow bright viewing of the entire image. A patented external dioptric adjustment allows personal adjustment to a sharp-as-a-tack standard underwater and viewfinder changes can be executed in less than 30 seconds without using tools. Exceptional composition and focus accuracy have never been more accessible.

Nauticam 45º Enhanced Viewfinder Installed on NA-A7II. 

NA-A7II Feature Checklist

  • Ergonomically placed controls with size, shape, and color differentiation
  • Access to all key camera controls
  • All controls clearly labeled
  • Patented two stage shutter release system, allowing precise feel over half press and full press
  • Patented Port Locking System
  • Patent pending Multi Controller pad
  • Lens release button
  • Easy to operate locking housing latches
  • Rubberized ergonomic grips on adjustable handles
  • Laser-cut steel handle brackets
  • Quick release camera mounting plate
  • Optical strobe connectors for fiber optic flash triggering
  • Mini Flash Trigger
  • M16 accessory hole for electrical bulkhead, HDMI or hydrophone installation
  • M14 accessory hole for vacuum valve installation
  • Integrated vacuum monitoring and leak detection circuit (valve optional)
  • Dual 1″ (25mm) strobe mounting balls included as standard equipment
  • 1/4-20 tripod mounting holes
  • Dual M5/M10 threaded accessory mounting points
  • 100m Depth Rating


Integrated Vacuum Check and Leak Detection System

The Nauticam vacuum check and leak detection system is available with NA-A7II as standard equipment.  Combined with an optional vacuum valve, this monitoring system provides constant updates on the water tight and safe to dive status of the housing.  A simple 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 housing ships with a rear bulkhead port specifically for installing optional vacuum valves, leaving the other bulkhead port available for HDMI, sync cables and other accessories.

Recommended Accessories

  • 180º Enhancing Viewfinder (32201)
  • 45º Enhancing Viewfinder (32203)
  • Mini Optical Flash Trigger (26302)
  • Patent Pending Super Macro Converter (81201)
  • M14 Vacuum Valve (25611)
  • Complete line of flat/dome ports for all major lenses, available in acrylic and glass
  • Monitor/Recorder Housing for Atomos Ninja2 (17902)
  • Monitor Housing for SmallHD DP4 Monitor (17901)
  • Fiber optic cables for Inon (26211) and Sea&Sea (26212)
  • Full line of mounting accessories for lighting, including mount balls, strobe adapters, arms, clamps, and specialty items
  • Multiple styles of lanyards
  • Lens holders, including flip-up

Details and Specifications

  • Depth Rating: 100m
  • Weight: 2.35 kg (with handles & 1″ ball adaptors mounted)
  • Dimensions (with handles mounted): 335 (W) x 165 (H) x 110 (D)

Model Number (w/ Nikonos Bulkhead): 17414
USA Retail Price: $2850
Model Number (no Bulkhead): 17414NB
USA Retail Price: $2750

Shipping: Now

More information is available from Nauticam USA at: www.nauticamusa.com

Equipment

Liquid Sports announce NEW colours of Hollis F1 LT Fin now in stock

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Liquid Sports has announced that the NEW Colours of the Hollis F1 LT fin are now in stock at LS warehouse and ready to ship.

Already available in Grey, the NEW White & Yellow Hollis F1 LT fins have the following features:

• Short blade for easier finning in confined spaces
• Angled strap mounts for comfort & a better transition of power
• Spring heel straps with easy-grip heel tab
• Multiple strap mounting positions for a fine tuned fit
• Vented blade reduces stress while accelerating water over blade
• Generous foot pocket

F1 LT Yellow RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2207.xx 

F1 LT White RRP £139.95 – Product code: 214.2211.xx 

For more information visit the Liquid Sports website by clicking here.

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Diving with…. Luke Inman, Cortez Expeditions

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…

What is your name?

Luke Inman 

What is the name of your business?

Cortez Expeditions

What is your role within the business?

Owner/Operator & PADI Course Director, Trimix IT

How long has the business operated for?

8 Years

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

Diving since 1993, Professional Diver since 1996, Instructor Trainer since 2001.

PADI Course Director
PADI Tec Trimix Instructor Trainer
Divers Alert Network (DAN) IT
TDI · IANTD · RAID Technical Instructor
HSE Commercial Diver Part III

What is your favorite type of diving?

All Diving! Love teaching Open Water all the way through to Divemaster and Instructor course, but my absolute favourite is diving with Sea Lions in La Paz. Like jumping into a bath tub with Labrador puppies.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

We have an exclusive adventure boutique, we offer Scuba training from basic open water through to technical divingWe are the only 5 Star PADI IDC Dive Center in La Paz and teach PADI courses to instructor level.
We offer DAN & TDI courses, support for film crews, scientists and CCR divers.

​We are renowned for our expeditions, photo & video workshops. We keep our boat to a maximum of 4 or 6 divers ensuring your experience and interactions are intimate and breath taking.

We have Fourth Element & Apeks equipment in our rental fleet and we include computers.

We pride ourselves is being a sustainability leader. Ensuring no single use plastic is used on our boat and our dive practices have no negative effect on the environment. Read about us on Trip Advisor. Cortez Expeditions are the experts on The Sea of Cortez. With over 20 years of experience living and working in La Paz, Cortez Expeditions are not just the exclusive boutique dive centre, they are the chosen expedition leaders and logistic experts for institutions like The BBC Natural History Unit, Netflix, Disney, National Geographic Society & Television.

In 2018 we provided production support for Netflix “Our Planet”. In 2019 and 2020 Cortez Expeditions completed the safety and logistics for The BBC’s upcoming Planet Earth 3 Series and National Geographic America Series.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

Los Islotes the sea lion colony. This is the main reason many scuba divers visit La Paz. We are proud at Cortez Expeditions to be able to say we “wrote the book on Los Islotes”. Our owner and course director Luke Inman published the award winning book “Los Islotes – The Jewel of Espritu Santo”.

 

Los Islotes is the jewel of the protected area and marine reserve. There are very few locations in the world so close to a big city that allow for wild animal interactions like Los Islotes.

What types of diving are available in your location?

We teach everything from open water to instructor and tec diving with hypoxic trimix. There is something for everyone, but we are most famous for the big stuff…large pelagics that hang out at sea mounts and in open ocean like the mobulas.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Being a mentor and teacher, I enjoy training all people, giving back to the ocean and to the community. My goal as a teacher is to have students eclipse my achievements. I want students to be better than me.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Can I give you a top five? Sea Lion, Orca, Octopus, Giant Manta, Sea Otter.

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

We are in the process of becoming a Career Development Center for PADI and will be offering nitrox  in all our dives and courses.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

Like any tourism business the effect of COVID has reduced us down to 10-20% capacity.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

We don’t like the expression “Eco-Tourism”, too many business use the term and in reality they are simply not eco orientated. We strive to be constantly sustainable in our practices. It is always evolving.

Since our inception 8 years ago, donating our time and resources has become an important part of our strategy to be active in our community. We constantly endeavour to ensure we are improving and ensuring our practices are sustainable.

We decided the best way to enrich our community was to give back doing what we do best. We do diver training very well. We are currently the number one listed PADI dive centre on Trip Advisor, we complete more recreational, technical and professional certification than any other dive centre in La Paz.

Every October we open our Scholarship Program. The program is open to local undergraduate and post graduates in La Paz that need scuba training to complete their Tourism or Scientific Studies.

The application process will be from 1st October to 31 January 2021. With awards being given in First Quarter of 2021.

There are Six Scholarships available for 2021.

The scholarships are as follows:

  1. PADI Open Water through to PADI Rescue
  2. Technical Diver Training
  3. Divemaster Training

We will choose two candidates for each Scholarship (Male and Female)
Applicants must meet the prerequisites to enrol on the respective courses. The other prerequisites are:

  • Be a legal resident of Mexico (Mexican or with legal immigration status)
  • ​Be 18 years old
  • Currently studying at UABCS, CICIMAR, CIBNOR
  • Prove Scuba Diving is essential to their studies – Tourism, Marine Research
  • Be in the final part of studies.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

Where do I start….? LOL that is a big question!

I see the industry is making some good choices in becoming more sustainable, but it is slow.

The industry needs to start being more business-like and pay its staff a living wage.

We strive and ensure all our staff are paid a good wage to make diving a sensible and good option to other careers.

We need to see more women in diving. Women make better divers than men for a number of reasons.

I would like to see every dive agency ensure every student receives a course quality questionnaire. Once the student has completed the quality questionnaire the certification is issued, not before.

Diving is not a volume business, it is service and training based. For some reason many business owners price structure is based on volume. We need to base pricing on our time and effort.

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

We have small groups and Sea lions…….

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

www.cortezexpeditions.com

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Sharks Bay Umbi Diving Village is a Bedouin-owned resort with stunning views and a lovely private beach. It is ideal for divers as everything is onsite including the resort's jetty, dive centre and house reef. The warm hospitality makes for a diving holiday like no other. There is an excellent seafood restaurent and beach bar onsite, and with the enormous diversity of the Sharm El Sheikh dive sites and the surrounding areas of the South Sinai, there really is something for every level of diver to enjoy.

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