Luxury Housing

From an article in issue January 1999 Dive International
by Lawson Wood


The F5 is the new top-of-the-range camera from Nikon, and Sea & Sea is one of the first on the market with an underwater housing for it, the NX5.

The camera’s many functions are accessed by waterproofed control rods and these allow you to change the film transport system from single shot to continuous or even self-timing. But what really sold the housing and camera to me was being able to change the point of focus to five different positions by means of push-button control pins on the back panel. Previously most cameras in housings could only use centre-weighted focusing, but the F5-NX5 combination allows you to take the point of focus to the edge of the frame, thus giving you greater flexibility in composition.

Underwater, I found the housing both robust yet lightweight and easily handled. Perhaps the total expense of this outfit is beyond the means of many divers, but this will be the standard workhorse for the professional.

• The NX-5 is priced at £2,350 excluding ports, flash, camera or lenses and is available from Sea & Sea.


The NX-5 utilises the F5’s sports finder to give increased image viewing. It gives you full control over spot-metering, centre-weighted-metering and three-dimensional matrix metering.


The handles supplied with the housing are ideal for keeping it steady in the water and are easily removable for storage.


There are two separate flash bulkhead connections and the housing is designed to handle twin flash synchronisation for wide-angle or macro applications. The YS20 TTL Duo strobes are ideal for macro, the YS120 TTL Duo strobes for medium-sized fish photography, and there is a new YS350 TTL strobe with different power settings, internal modelling light and high-power wide-angle beam for all aspects of underwater photography.

Lens ports

Interchangeable lens ports are available for both autofocus and manual control of lenses.There are a total of 12 different ports and two extension rings, easily bayonet-locked into place, and when unlocked they can be removed for storage.

Lens compatability

AF Micro Nikkor 60mm f2.8; AF Micro Nikkor 105mm; AF Nikkor 20mm f2.8; AF Nikkor Fisheye 16mm f2.8; AF Nikkor 28-70mm f3.5-4.5 zoom; AF Nikkor 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 zoom; AF Nikkor 28-80 f3.5-5.6 zoom; AF Nikkor 35-80mm f4-5.6 zoom; AF Sigma 180mm macro f5.5; AF Sigma 24mm f2.8.

Back plate

The rear panel control buttons are able to operate auto exposure, flash exposure bracketing, film speed, shutter speed aperture focus/area lock and the custom setting menu.


Large clear window to allow for full use of sports finder and display of all the camera’s functions.

Point of focus

Push-button controls for five different point-of-focus positions.

Shutter release

Sensitive spring-controlled shutter release for ease of focus and integral electronic aperture control.

Top plate

Four self-locking buttons to activate the exposure mode, exposure compensation and autofocus. Also, one of the many innovations which the housing offers is the facility for multiple exposures on the same frame. You can even have a (factory-installed) shutter-activated focus light. An accessory shoe on top also allows you to mount an additional slave strobe for example or an additional modelling light.


•The camera slides in very easily with the aid of Sea & Sea’s internal mounting tray and locks into place with all the gear positions exactly where you need them.

•Changing ports is also easy and they also lock into place.

•You can change the point of focus area between five different positions.

•Multiple exposure facility accessed from the housing.

•Twin flash bulkheads for use in tandem or independently.

•Full use of all the camera’s electronic functions.

•Compatible with virtually every lens on the market.


•The housing is rather tight for the camera.

•The two back locating pins were rather small and fitted diagonally – perhaps four would be better for a more secure fitting.

The O-ring stretched too far when re-greased (only use Sea & Sea special grease and not ordinary silicone) and it took time to replace.

•You can’t switch the camera off or on when it is seated in the housing.

•Difficult to reach the release lever for the camera’s back plate after the film has rewound.


Depth rated to 75m. The lightweight corrosion-resistant aluminium alloy housing is a ‘clam-shell’ construction and O-ring sealed, with three, safety-lock spring-backed clamps to keep the two halves securely locked. It is 122x237x240mm excluding handles. With two flash, arms and camera and lens included, it weighs in at 9kg.

© COPYRIGHT Dive International Publishing Ltd, for personal use only

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