2013 Event Coverage




Questions or Need Help?

Contact Us

Join Our Email List

©2018 The Digital Shootout
Event Coverage and Web Site by:
Newmediasoup, LLC


Sterling Zumbrunn Sterling Zumbrunn
Chief Technical Officer
After a week of diving with mirrorless cameras, I was eager to go back to shooting an SLR. For shooting stills, I missed the handling and performance that SLRs offer. The Canon 5D Mark III was one of our most popular rigs, so it was booked solid every day of the Shootout. However, I was able to sneak our Nauticam NA-5DMKIII out on a couple of night dives, and had a chance to use it for both Nightsea photography and wide angle photography.

The autofocus system on the 5D Mark III is the same as the one found on Canon's high end 1D X, a camera body costing twice as much. It's incredibly impressive. I was able to acquire focus instantly, even in situations with extremely low light. The high ISO performance is also impressive. While shooting fluorescent photography, I was able to crank my ISO all the way to 3200 using just the Nightsea Solas for illumination, and the images look very smooth considering the increased sensitivity.

Photographing the tarpon at night was a blast. Aquatica's Sean Havas and I noticed their attraction to the blue light from the Nightsea Solas, so we switched to wide angle lenses and set up a few lights pointed upward. Within half an hour, we had twelve tarpon circling around us. It was slightly unnerving to be surrounded by large shiny fish at night, but it made for some great photographic opportunities. I prefocused on my fin in order to get sharp focus, and the frame rate of the 5D Mark III allowed me to capture a couple frames each pass.

As much as I like shooting compact and mirrorless cameras, there really is no substitute for an SLR in challenging situations, and the 5D Mark III is truly best of breed. I was grateful to have even a few dives on it!

Joel Penner - Newmediasoup, LLC Chris Parsons
Sales Manager
This is the second year now that we've had the Canon 5D Mark III in Nauticam housings at the Digital Shootout. Last year, we brought two of the Nauticam NA-5DMKIII Housings and they were both busy the entire week between guests, the Backscatter staff and me, all vying to get a chance to shoot with it. This year, we brought one for demo, and I brought my own personal housing and camera. The demo rig was very busy this year, and for good reason - the 5DIII is in its prime and is a contender for best ever underwater camera rig. 

My intent was to shoot my own system as a backup when everything I wanted to test got checked out to other folks. And... I did bring something special I wanted to test with it... more on that in a moment. 

Shooting the 5DIII has become so natural to me now. Everything is right where I expect it, and it makes shooting both stills and video so much easier. The controls on the right side of the housing are placed so that I can control Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Video/Stills Mode, AF-ON, Start/Stop Video with my hand on the grip... all with very little movement or reach.

There is a lot to like about the 5DIII, both as a still camera and as a video camera. One of the things that doesn't get talked about enough is the outstanding selection of lenses for this camera. I counted about 61 EOS EF lenses on the Canon product page, which includes awesome underwater choices like the Canon 8-15mm L Fisheye Lens , the 16-35II, and the 100mm IS macro. Zeiss also produces some terrific EF lenses, and I got to shoot the Zeiss 18mm on this trip.

The special thing I wanted to try out, that I mentioned above? It is our new housing for the Atomos Ninja 2, which is a video recorder/monitor that can capture 10bit 4:2:2 in Apple ProRes over HDMI. The housing is currently in testing and we wanted to get some comparison footage. Look for more about the Ninja coming soon.

Jennifer Penner - Newmediasoup, LLC Jennifer Penner
VP of Social Engagement

Heading off to a big underwater imaging event with a new camera in a new housing can be a bit daunting to say the least. The fact that the housing was not only new but unfamiliar (I had previously used a competitor's housing for many years) could give even Superwoman some trepidation. Once I learned how to assemble my Nauticam NA-5DMKIII and was confident that I wouldn't have a catastrophic flood upon it's maiden dive due to human error, I felt more at ease and ready to go diving with it. Now, I really loved my old housing. It was well made, ergonomically comfortable for my small hands, and the buttons and knobs were seemingly in the right place… I didn't want to like my new Nauticam housing. But after only a few dives, it didn't take long to realize that Nauticam has designed their products very well and thoughtfully mapped the camera's controls to the housing. Not only is the system more neutrally buoyant than my previous system, but the locking mechanism for the housing and ports is reliable and easy to use. The buttons, dials and (piano) keys are within easy reach too.

I asked, they listened! Months ago, when we were considering switching to Nauticam, I went into Backscatter to get my hands on the exact housing I was considering. The only drawback I could see was that the standard handles were too far away from the body of the housing. After asking several people - Backscatter's staff, Backscatter's management, Backscatter's owner and Chris Parsons - if smaller handles could be made, I was thrilled to find out that they were indeed in production! And, I was lucky enough to get them delivered in person at the Shootout! I'm sure I was just one of many who had requested smaller handles - they are 10mm closer to the body of the housing - but after using them for a week, I can firmly attest that the smaller handles now allow me full access to all controls without stretching or taking my hands off! YAY!

I can also say that I am loving my NA-5DMKIII, and don't miss my old rig at all!