Diving with the Nikon D200

Back in August I had picked up a Subal housing with a pair of Sea & Sea YS-90 strobes so I could take my Nikon D200 underwater. As fate would have it, travel and a general lack of time kept me out of the water here on Bonaire, until yesterday.

I finally got a chance to both take the hour or more that it took to unwrap the housing and accessories and rig up my D200 DSLR, without leaks, and then take a nice leisurely hour-plus dive with friends Martin de Weger and Sebastian Schulherr. Martin is Dutch, Seb is from New York City, and both are long time repeat Bonaire visitors as well as moderators of BonaireTalk.

This was to be Martin’s 600th logged dive, and it was a nice one. We also did a thorough cleaning of the Bonaire ReefCam, one of the many WebCams on Bonaire that I am responsible for maintain and operating.

In any event, it had been perhaps five years since I last dove with a camera housed in a metal case, and I had forgotten about the 4-5 pounds of additional weight, so I had to work a bit harder to stay buoyant than I otherwise would.

The housed D200 is a pleasure to work with, though, especially as I get to use my strobes in TTL thanks to a little gadget from Sea & Sea which allows the YS-90s to sync properly to the iTTL of the Nikon D200. I never liked manual strobe twiddling and this gadget gives me yet another excuse to not need to bother with that.

I can tell however, that I will definitely need a fair number of additional dives with this rig in order to have it feel as comfortable as my old Nikon 8008s, which I had in a Subal housing as well, back five or more years ago.

I am pleased, though, that the D200 handles much more as did the old film SLRs underwater than do the present generation (and earlier) digital point and shoots. Fast focusing, great light balance, and the ability to immediately determine if my subject was in focus.

For those wanting to see my initial results (these all shot with the standard Nikon 18-70mm DX zoom lens), take a look at my visual dive log.