Nauticam has introduced the latest in its line of underwater camera housings, the NA-GX8, designed specifically for the Panasonic GX8.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8
Panasonic continues to push the m4/3 envelope, this time with a new sensor that breaks into the 20 megapixel realm, the highest of any m4/3 sensor to date. This camera is aimed squarely at the enthusiast, with it’s excellent image quality, higher resolution, rangefinder styling and 4K video capture. It is an ideal camera for the underwater photographer/videographer.
The GX8 also features “Dual IS”, i.e. image stabilization in both the lens and sensor; working in concert to handle camera shake better than any previous Panasonic camera. More importantly for underwater image makers – focus has been improved considerably, especially in low light. Panasonic claims quick and accurate autofocus at -4EV. This should make focusing easier underwater, given that u/w scenes are typically darker than terrestrial scenes. The camera body features 3 command dials, including a dedicated exposure compensation dial.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 Features
- Rangefinder-style mirrorless
- Sensor CMOS m4/3 5184 x 3888 (20 megapixels)
- Auto, 200-25600 (expands down to 100) ISO
- Articulated LCD
- 1.1M dot OLED
- 2.4M dot EVF
- 4K or HD video, mpeg4 or AVCHD
- 4K burst photo modes at 30fps
- 6 fps still photo with continuous AF
The pioneering features of the earlier Nauticam housings are apparent with the simple but secure rotating housing latch and superb progressive shutter release providing optimal “feel”. The NA-GX8 also sports some of Nauticam’s latest technology with the port locking latch that replicates the famous Nauticam DSLR port latch – making housing port changes easier than ever.
The new housing takes full advantage of the Panasonic’s many features and allows easy one handed operation of key controls like the three command dials and the video record button. The NA-GX8 supports 7 programmable buttons on this camera, easily accessible from the housing. The sculpted shutter release makes “half-press” focus incredibly easy. For fans of “thumb focus” (moving the autofocus from half-press of the shutter to a button operated by the right thumb), this is fully supported with the AF/AEL button.
Attention to detail is everywhere, from the comfortable thumb rest on the right to the large knurled command wheels and zoom/focus knob. Video is easily accessed; the video button is given special treatment, being larger, concave and red in color. For tripod use, the housing features two standard 1/4″ 20 tripod holes, or is also tripod ready when using the Flexitray W camera tray.
Strobe firing is supported via fiber optic through the use of the optional Panasonic DMW-FL70-S flash unit. Accurate automatic flash exposure (TTL flash) is easily accomplished via strobes like the Inon Z-240 or S-2000.
The NA-GX8 comes standard with the Nauticam vacuum system electronic built in. By default, it serves as a audible and visual leak detector, but add a Nauticam M14 Vacuum Valve, (25611) and it becomes a vacuum check system – early warning for problems with watertight integrity – which means peace of mind when shooting underwater.
Each control on the housing is clearly labeled, making it easy to learn the system. Milled from solid aluminum, the housing is rated to 100m/330ft depth, and is rugged and ready for use.
It’s all about the glass – lenses are the key to terrific photography. The m4/3 system supports a large range of high quality lenses produced by Panasonic (partnering with Leica), Olympus and third parties. Several lenses that perform extremely well underwater are available (and reasonably priced). Some examples:
- Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ: The ultimate jack of all trades tool, this lens covers a very usable mid range, and features a unique macro mode. Shoot dolphins and nudibranchs on the same dive!
- Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm/F3.5: This 180º fisheye lens focuses close and is razor sharp. Combines with a small port, there is no better CFWA (close focus wide angle) option on the planet.
- Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro: This is an ideal macro lens for m4/3, and by adding the Nauticam CMC, it becomes a super macro monster. Imagine filling the entire width of the frame with something only 8mm wide!
- Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm f/4.0 ASPH: The 7-14mm is a rectilinear lens, ideal for shooting people or sharks or wrecks… subjects where the fisheye distortion is not welcome. On the wide end, this lens 114º wide, ideal for getting close to subjects to reduce the amount of water shot through. But a zoom gets to 75º – ideal for reaching out to that subject that is a little more skittish. The very similar Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6 can serve the same basic role at a lower cost.
There are many more options for the underwater photographer, including any of the several 14-42mm options, the Panasonic Lumix G X VARIO 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH. POWER O.I.S., Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH, Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH, and the Leica DG Macro Elmarit 45mm F2.8 ASPH. Olympus also recently released two new wide angle lenses that are superb for underwater use, the Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 8mm f/1.8 Fisheye PRO and the Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO.
Nauticam Vacuum Check System
The Nauticam vacuum check and leak detection system electronics are included with the NA-GX8 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. The operator can, at a glance, instantly see 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 NA-GX8 features a 2nd bulkhead port (M14) specifically for installing optional vacuum valves, leaving the other bulkhead port for HDMI, sync cables and other accessories.
The NA-G8X, fitted with vacuum valve; the green light indicates a consistent vacuum and is an extra assurance that the system is watertight. Show with optional Flexitray, demonstrating the brackets and off board shutter release.
|Inon Z-240 Strobe||Panasonic DMW-FL70-S Flash|
Flash Connectors for Inon S-TTL
Reliable automatic flash exposure is available with the NA-GX8 and a variety of optically fired flashes. The Inon Z-240, D-2000, S-2000 strobes provide automated lighting, precisely reproducing the camera’s onboard flash at a proportionally greater intensity. This system yields accurate automatic TTL flash performance – even in manual mode – with no electrical sync cables to flood. The NA-GX8 comes fiber optic ready and accepts standard Sea & Sea style bushing connections.
Strobes can be attached to the housing via optional strobe mounting balls secured to the handles of the Nauticam accessory tray systems or a single strobe mounting ball location on the housing. The housing also features an M10 mounting hole and a cold-shoe mount for a focus light or other accessory mounting options.
- 180º Enhancing Viewfinder for Mirrorless Housings (32204)
- 45º Enhancing Viewfinder for Mirrorless Housings (32205)
- Patent Pending Compact Macro Converter (CMC) (81301)
- M14 Vacuum Valve (25611)
- Complete line of flat/dome ports for all major lenses, available in acrylic and glass
- Fiber optic cables for Inon (26214) and Sea&Sea (26215)
- FlexiTray (71207) or FlexiTray Wide (71209) and Right Handle (71208)
- Full line of mounting accessories for lighting, including mount balls, strobe adapters, arms, clamps, and specialty items
- Multiple styles of lanyards
- Comfortable handstrap available in two lengths (36316 and 36323)
- Lens holders, including flip-up
NA-GX8 fitted with the optional 45º enhancing viewfinder.
The standard optical glass viewfinder is very good and travel friendly, but many photographers prefer the ease of a magnified viewfinder with adjustable diopter. Nauticam produces a special version of its enhanced viewfinders made specifically for it’s new line of mirrorless camera housings. Whether it’s the “straight” 180º enlarging viewfinder (32204) or the 45º angled enlarging viewfinder (32205), the enlarged and brighter view enables easier focusing. 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.
Details and Specifications
- Weight: 1.17kg
- Dimensions: 206mm (W) x 154mm (H) x 99mm (D)
- Depth Rating: 100m
Model Number: 17711
USA Retail Price: $1600
Shipping: Sept 29, 2015