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Aquatica Unveils the AD500 Housing for the Nikon D500
By Ian Bongso-Seldrup, June 14, 2016 @ 10:30 PM (EST)

Aquatica has announced its new housing for the D500, Nikon’s recently released flagship DSLR with APS-C sensor, which boasts a maximum image resolution of 20.9 megapixels, 4K video shooting, 10fps continuous shooting, and an ISO range of 100–51,200.

The AD500 housing features a magnesium alloy and carbon-fiber composite body, dual integrated grips with mounting points for strobes, and an ergonomic control layout with access to all the camera’s functions. Particular effort has been made to locate important controls, such as ISO and exposure compensation, within easy reach of the handles. Aquatica’s choice of two add-on viewfinders, the Aqua View 180° and Aqua View 45° viewfinders, aim to get the most out of the D500’s 100% viewfinder.

Aquatica is offering four different versions of the housing to suit your preferred choice of strobes: a version with an integrated TTL converter for optical/electrical connections, one with an LED flash trigger for optical connections, one with Nikonos bulkhead connectors, and a version especially designed to work with Ikelite strobes.

Prices of the AD500 housing will start from $3,195, with shipping in mid-July.
 



PRESS RELEASE

Announcing the AQUATICA AD500 Housing for the Nikon D500

The new Aquatica AD500 housing is designed specifically for the long awaited Nikon D500 camera. With 21mp still image, 4K video possibilities, impressive level of low light performance, this Nikon D500 is a worthy addition to the DX format, a much appreciated sensor size for underwater photography. 
 


What’s in the Nikon D500 camera?

The Nikon D500 camera finally joins the rank of the popular DX format Nikon DSLRs, to the underwater photographer. It brings interesting features:

  • UHD 4k from a 1.5x crop sensor
    • With flat picture profile for added post processing
    • On screen highlight warning
    • Power aperture control
  • Impressive AF performance
    • 153 point AF module
    • 55 selectable AF points
  • 100% viewfinder, with 1.0x magnification
    • The largest in cropped sensor DSLR
  • 10 frames per second rates
    • With 200 Raw files buffer using XQD
  • Rugged construction of Magnesium Alloy and Carbon fiber composite

THE CONTROL LAYOUT:

Aquatica designed the AD500 housing by carefully selecting the features that will improve performance for underwater imaging. We then ergonomically placed the vital controls where they were most needed, right at your fingers tips. At the core of this housing design one can trace over 30 years of expertise in this field. Years of knowledge that have pushed us forward in incorporating new ideas, concept and technological advances to these constantly evolving imaging tools.


HOW TO QUICKLY GET TO THE CONTROLS:

ISO is one of the key controls in managing the exposure in video, hence particular attention was made in bringing this control at your thumb fingertip. Exposure compensation been crucial as well, a dedicated lever has been implemented for engaging it quickly when needed. The control pad can also be accessed quickly via a set of extended controls that brings it close to your right hand for easy access, same goes for the AF-ON lever with its wide range of options available through the CSM menu of the camera. The Fn1 lever located in front and Fn2 button on the rear also gives you access to a range of CSM features. Two oversized and conveniently placed buttons give a speedy access to the info and Live View activating features on the camera, recording is as easy as pressing on the dedicated lever placed strategically close to your thumb.


HANDLING THE HOUSING, THE BEST GRIPS IN THE INDUSTRY:

Handling is made with a pair of grips that have become the bench mark in comfort since their introduction over a quarter of a century ago. These grips are a perfect example of Aquatica’s philosophy, change should be implemented to improve a product, and not for the sake of novelty, when grips are as perfect as these are, leave them alone! Our grips are light, sturdy and form fitting. They contribute to making your underwater photography experience more pleasing and comfortable. Mounting points on top of them allows strobes arms, such as those from our Delta 3 line, to be mounted securely, freeing the top of the housing from unnecessary clutter.


VIEWING OPTIONS:

The Nikon D500 already is boasting the largest and best view finder on its category, viewing can further be improved underwater with a choice of two enhanced view finders. Two Aqua View finders are available to improve underwater viewing through the camera finder. The Aqua View 180° finder offers straight through line of sight viewing with a generous viewing area while the Aqua View 45° offer definitive comfort in viewing while shooting upward or for those down in the sand macro situations. Both accessory viewfinders are designed in such way as to minimize the blockage of the rear LCD when shooting using the rear LCD screen.

As a standard feature, the housing comes equipped with a quality multiple elements Galileo type eyepiece and the rear LCD has been angled to give the viewer a more comfortable viewing angle when using this one.


STROBE CONNECTIONS:

The Aquatica AD500 offers the best available options on the market for connecting strobes with no less than four options to choose from.

  • 20080-UWT
    This AD500 housing version features our optional integrated TTL converter circuit board which is compatible with a wide range of underwater strobes. This converter is offering both automatic strobe exposure, either through optical relay using optical fiber or via standard and readily available electrical sync cords from your strobe manufacturers. Alternating between types of triggering is an easy affair, even in the field, with our easily replaceable bulkhead strobe connector design.
  • 20080-OPT
    Included with this optically set up housing version is the LED flash trigger. This LED trigger is powered by two popular “off the shelf” CR 2450 batteries and averaging 4,000 to 5,000 burst of light. This LED trigger slides into the hot shoe of the camera like any other hot shoe accessory would. The 20080-OPT version of this housing is ready to accept standard optical fiber sync cable commonly found on the market, there is no need for special proprietary or custom type cord, the optical fiber cord supplied by the strobes manufacturers are ready to use as is.
  • 20080-NK
    This version is set up with a pair of time proven Nikonos bulkheads connectors, the same available on all our current Aquatica DSLR housings. It is a well-established standard, which has been the back bone of strobe technology for decades and still by far the most distributed type of strobe connectors in the whole underwater photography industry, every strobe manufacturer offering then as a means of connection. This 20080-NK housing comes with not one, but two of these connectors installed. These, as well as the optical ones are easy to replace in the field, should one decide to alternate between way of triggering their strobes, no special tools are required and the operation is done in minutes.
  • 20080-KT
    This version is equipped with a trusted Ikelite strobe connector. Since many hard working underwater professional photographers prefer using Ikelite strobes and connectors for their ruggedness and reliability, Aquatica has made a point to have this housing version available to its users.


PORT SELECTION:

The Aquatica AD500 uses our excellent line up of existing ports for the DSLR line of housings. And simply put, a lot of effort has gone into giving you access to the most appealing lenses for this camera with the best port combination for them.

Since ports are such a vital part of the optical formula in any underwater photographic system, we at Aquatica, have built one of the most comprehensive selection available for underwater imaging. Our flexible modular system of extension rings, dome and flat ports is ready to face the challenge of constantly evolving lenses coming out on the market. The irreproachable optical quality of these ports have long made them the choice of demanding professionals from around the world.

Wide angle imaging requirement can be addressed with dome of 4”/100mm, 6”/150mm, 8”/200mm and 9.25”/230mm, from ultra wide angle close up situations to top quality over/under images. Our dome ports have you covered.

Macro imaging needs can be fulfilled using our recently introduced Mini Macro port, a vital part of the Aquatica ACU System, this port has a narrow frontal signature making lighting in tight corner easier. A bayonet mount is located on its front end for attaching our convenient ACU system flip holder with the potential of attaching up to two ACU wet diopter close-up lenses.

Tying the port system together are a set of fourteen locking extension rings, ranging in length from .65”/16.5mm to 3.82”/97.5mm. Port extensions are strategic partners in the optical chain, they serves two purposes, in the case of wide angle lenses, it helps optimize the performance of wide angle lens by properly placing their optical center with that of the dome port and for macro lenses, it give added length for accommodating longer focal length lenses such as the 105mm, or when using internal accessories such tele converter which may contribute to the added magnification of a given lens.


SAFETY FEATURES:

The Aquatica AD500 comes standard with our own Surveyor moisture and vacuum monitoring sensor circuit installed at the factory. The housing can also be ordered with the optional pressure extracting valve and pump installed at the factory. The visual and audio signal will attract your attention should any of the O-ring become damaged or hindered by sand, hair or any foreign objects that would compromise the sealing integrity of the housing. All that is required are a few simple steps for your peace of mind and knowing that your equipment is safely protected from the environment.

Securing of the housing is done with time proven stainless steel latches equipped with safety tabs. These are non-gimmicky, their solid track record has demonstrated that what they lack in fashion style, they more than make up in resistance to failure, jamming up or corroding over time. Chosen as a standard mean of securing highly valuables assets and equipment by scores of sensitive scientific and military equipment manufacturers, this method of securing is beyond reproach when it comes to reliability. Their simple and efficient design makes them reliable and they are a reflection of Aquatica’s commitment to rely on time and field proven technology.


HOW IT’S MADE:

At the core of the design is the shell, designed on cutting edge software by dedicated individuals, machined on state of the art 5 axis CNC machine from a solid block of 6061 T6 aluminum alloy, the same routinely used in aerospace technology. This alloy is acclaimed for its high resistance to corrosion. The shell is then anodized to a MIL-A-8625 Type 2, Class 2 speciation, and finally covered with a tough as nails, black polyester powder coating baked at a high temperature in order to be certified certified to A.A.M.A 2603-98 specification. This kind of protection is not superfluous, as evidently shown on Aquatica housings having logged over 3,000 immersion and which are still on active duty day after days.

Control shafts and push buttons are Type 304 stainless steel, another metal commonly used by the aerospace industry. It is controlled to be free of the iron contaminants that degrade quality and integrity of the metal, such as often found on the less stringent type 316, which unfortunately, is too often used in this industry.

The housing shell has two entry points for connecting strobes plus two others for adapting various accessories. There is a large 16mm diameter access point on the left hand side, ideal for connecting a monitor.  Also located on the left hand side is a standard 1/2” diameter access point for the optional Surveyor pressure valve.


MAIN FEATURES OF THE AQUATICA AD500 HOUSING:

  • Well established and proven system of ports, extensions and accessories to attend to your personal lens preferences.
  • Quick and simple installation of enhanced viewfinders; no special tool required.
  • The best selection of strobes connectors on the market.
    • Dual Nikonos bulkheads
    • Optical fiber with flash trigger included
    • Ikelite single bulkhead
    • Built in TTL converter for optical or electrical triggering.
  • Exceptionally good and ergonomic control placement.
  • All controls remain accessible in all dive conditions, either cold or warm, gloves or not.
  • Secure port locking system and easy access lens release button.
  • The most comfortable and sturdy hand grips of the industry, also extendable for larger or gloved hands.
  • Precise camera mounting via a quick release camera tray with angled rear LCD positioning.
  • Two (2) entry point for accessories such as HDMI monitors, remote control or vacuum monitoring systems.
  • Eight (8) threaded standard ¼”-20 holes, one located on top, three on the bottom and four on the grips, to mount strobe arm,  brackets, tripods and a wide range of accessories.
  • Depth rating options of 90m or 130m depth at no extra charge.
  • Made with a time proven manufacturing process, using the best material available and state of the art tooling, to offer you many years of dependable and enjoyable service.


RETAIL PRICE STARTING AT $3,195 USD

Available mid-July

For more info contact: info@aquatica.ca or call 514-737-9481
 



When purchasing underwater photography equipment like the products mentioned in this article, please support DPG by supporting our retail partner—Backscatter.com.

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