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Nikon D3 - Sea & Sea MDX Housing
By Jason Heller, April 30, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)

Today is a very special day. I feel like a kid with a new toy! I finally got my hands on my Sea & Sea D3 housing (albeit not underwater yet). This is one of the first ten housings in the US, and I'm looking forward to getting it in the water next week. After shooting with the D300 for the last month (all Wakatobi underwater shots were with the D300, topside with the D3 - you can see examples here), which was also in a Sea & Sea MDX housing, I am so psyched to get in the water with the D3. But that's still aweek away. I'll be testing the D3 underwater in North Sulawesi , Indonesia, and of course I'll have a full report when I return.

As you may have heard already, one of the new features of the MDX housings is the ergonomic angled buttons, like the review and delete button, which are easy to access with one finger while still holding the handle. From my experience shooting with the D300 housing, this feature can be invaluable, as it allows you to review and adjust at moments when otherwise you may not if it were more cumbersome.

Nikon D3 Sea & Sea Underwater Housing

Sometimes it is that extra split second that allows you to make that one fine tuning adjustment to nail the shot.

D300 Underwater Jason Heller

Even on the large D3 housing, a small hand can easily access the controls while still holding the handles. Although it's a little stretch, I found that it is the smallest stretch available other than maybe the Sea Tool housings - but they don't have plans for a D3 housing.

Nikon D3 Sea & Sea Underwater Housing
Shutterspeed control
Nikon D3 Sea & Sea Underwater Housing
Shutter control
Nikon D3 Sea & Sea Underwater Housing
Aperture control
My only small gripe with the housing so far is very minor. The base plate lock for the D3 housing is an interesting and/or odd dial/knob/screw (not sure what to call it really) that tightens against the base plate holder. This in and of itself is not an issue. However...
Nikon D3 Sea & Sea Underwater Housing
In order to take the base plate on or off, which you'll need to do in order to change the battery, you will need to remove the metal knob first in order to access the base plate screw. Hey ... if this becomes my only gripe - this housing is pretty kick ass.
Nikon D3
Just to demonstrate the contrast between the D3 and D300 base plate, you can see below the base plate lock for the D300 housing, which is more of a lever lock, and I assume this difference in design has to do with the base plate holding the additional weight of the D3 itself.
Nikon D300 Sea & Sea Underwater Housing

Nikon D300 & D3 Sea & Sea Underwater Housing 
As the D3 is a bigger camera than the D300, the D3 housing is proportionately larger than the D300 housing to about the same degree.
Stay tuned for the underwater review of both the D300 housing, which I have shot with for a month already and the D3 housing, which I will be shooting with in North Sulawesi through mid-May. Of course all housings have their strong and weak points, and I will report back on each. The new line of Sea & Sea housing hit the market early, but the housings are generally pretty impressive and I enjoy shooting with them. Thanks to Mike at H2O Photo Pros for getting the gear to me when I needed it!

Stay tuned for more coming in mid-May...

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