2013 Event Coverage




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GEAR TESTS: Nikon D600

Sean Havas
Aquatica Staff
This year we brought down a preproduction model AD600 housing for the Nikon D600 to do some valuable real world testing. This housing performed incredibly. While it was taken out at all times by guests, I did make a point of making sure to take it out for one day of boat diving.

My personal housing is the AD800 for the Nikon D800 and making the transition over to this housing was absolutely seamless. They share most of the same features and the layout of the buttons is very similar. All of the critical controls are right at your fingertips, offering the classic ergonomics you come to expect from an Aquatica housing.

The D600 may be the D800's kid brother, but she still packs a major punch. Outdoing the D800's 4fps with a 6fps burst mode and still delivering some great dynamic range and over 20 megapixels, this camera is perfect for the diver that doesn't want to fork over the extra money for a D800 or just doesn't want to deal with the hassle of shooting 36 megapixel images.

Shooting this housing at Salt Pier, one of Bonaire's premier dive spots, was a real treat. She performed great as expected and the combination of such a great camera in a such an ergonomic housing made shooting fantastic images come about quite easily. One thing I look for in a housing when shooting is for everything to be where I need it without having to think about it so I can concentrate on the task at hand, which after all is creating great images. With so much over engineering going on these days there is something to be said for just getting it right and simply putting everything you need exactly where you need it.

A dream to shoot, a pleasure to dive, it was no surprise this housing was never seen sitting on a desk waiting to be taken out. Reserved days in advance this was definitely one of our most demanded housings on this trip and for good reason.

Sean Boone
Web Sales and Logistics Manager
The D600 is a top quality system. It has the power and resolution to allow for great photos. Using the shallow depth of field, I was able to get extra impact on my macro images. This depth of field is something that you can't get, except on a full frame censor. This also increased the difficulty of getting the shot, so I had to increase the amount of shots that I took. Using Inon strobes with the fiber optic sync cables, I was able to test the TTL capabilities. It is easy to over expose macro images, but the D600 performed well with excellent colors and exposures. A few of my subjects just did not work in TTL, so I switched quickly to manual on the strobes. I was able to get the right exposure quickly, but since I was using the internal flash, I had to wait for the camera's inner flash to recycle. This was not too long, but it did cause me to miss a few frames and potentially the best of the shots.

While the Aquatica AD600 is one of the larger housings for the D600, it still handled well underwater making for easy maneuverability and buoyancy. Settings are easy to change, and having the thumb lever for the focus lock made it simple to preset my focus and get off more shots than I otherwise may have missed. Using the optical TTL performed excellently and made it a simpler system and lighter one overall. I took this system to Salt Pier and was able to pull off some stunning shots, both with strobes and ambient. Although a step down from the D800, this camera was not something to snub your nose at. It still has plenty of resolution to do some crops for when I just could not get close enough for a fisheye lens.