Fantasea FP7000 Housing for Nikon Coolpix P7000 Review by Oleg Maddox
This article is a translation of the Russian review published by Oleg Maddox on theMaddox-Photowebsite. The original review can be found by visitingwww.maddoxart.netor by clicking onthis link.
The Nikon Coolpix P7000 is an excellent camera. I consider it to be the best Prosumer compact in the market. The following review is of what I consider to be the best underwater housing available for this fine camera, the FP7000 Housing made by Fantasea Line.
I am an experienced underwater photographer primarily using SLR cameras, but have gradually come to the conclusion that SLR cameras are too expensive, especially if you aren't a professional photographer earning enough money from your images to justify the high expenses involved in constantly updating an SLR photo system.
Another inherent problem with underwater SLR systems is the additional weight and volume involved in this system. As many other divers, I always have to pay for extra weight when traveling to distant countries because of transportation costs of heavy SLR equipment, including cameras with optics, ports and external underwater flashes (which is about 10 kg/22lbs. and even more).
Fantasea FP70000 Housing and Nikon Coolpix P70000 Camera
Pricewise, you can pay at least $2,500 for a SLR camera, i.e. Nikon D300, compared to $400 to $500 for the Fantasea FP7000 housing for the Nikon P7000.
Apart from the size and weight of a housing for a digital SLR, there is also the size and weight of one or two large and heavy flash and arm sets and other adaptors and support gear, etc.
By comparison, these items used for the compact camera are much smaller and lighter than those for the SLR.
Also, swimming and diving with the more compact housing is easier, as it creates much less resistance to movement in the water. Another advantage of the compact camera & housing is that you can shoot without the use of an external flash using the built-in camera flash with an attached diffuser, which is sufficient in many cases, especially for macro photography.
Add to this that the Nikon P7000 produces such high quality images that at times it may compete with the SLR camera� As a result, you can quite often produce shots that not even an expert can distinguish from those taken under the same conditions with an SLR camera. Note that the video taken with the P7000 is of excellent quality while working full-time in auto-focus mode. This means that you get two functions, both high quality stills and HD video, in one package.
Taking into account all of the above, it is not worth buying or traveling with a very expensive SLR camera and housing. So, unless you are earning a lot of money with it, you don�t have much to gain with an SLR, especially if you only vacation once or twice a year with it.
We proceed to review the Fantasea FP7000 housing and Nikon P7000 camera.
The images above show all camera controls. In fact, all the buttons and controls fully correspond with those on the camera. For example, if you forget to activate the built-in flash when installing the camera, you can still activate the flash without removing the camera from the housing (I actually experienced the pleasure of such a function).
The camera aperture and shutter speed controls are accessible as well. In general, the FP7000 allows full control of the camera underwater, just as expensive DSLR housings do.
The FP7000 package includes:
2. Light diffuser for the built-in flash
3. Tools (O-ring remover and screwdriver)
4. Silicone grease
5. Hand lanyard
6. Adaptor mount for one or two fiber optic cables
7. Replacement O-ring
8. Instruction Manual
The eye-catching design and workmanship of FP7000 components are not inferior to the quality of Sea & Sea housings, which I have used for six years, but are much more expensive.
A nice feature is the secure line that secures the flash
diffuser to the housing to prevent accidental loss
The flash diffuser unit is installed without tools
and can be easily removed underwater
Very convenient housing lock dial, which makes it easy to open the housing even when pressure differences exist
A double fiber optic cable connection for using up to two
units is provided and can be installed without
tools (picture on the right).
The fiber optic cables are inserted
into the adapter using a
screwdriver included in the package.
Please note: Images introduced below may not be used for any purpose other than your personal assessment of the camera and the housing.
These sample photos were taken by Sharon Rainis for Fantasea Line. Click on any of the images for the full size image:
Other photographs taken by the P7000 camera accommodated inside the FP7000 housing are available at www.nikondive.com
Igor Baskakov, a famous Russian underwater photographer, headed out for the primary underwater testing of the FP7000 Housing, which was held at Beuchat-Fest, Pskov region in White Lake.
Alex and Vladimir Kirelenko Gujo
Snapshot of Alexei Kirelenko with the FP7000 housing
during the test, made by Igor Baskavym
On the day of the festival, Igor and Alex took some good shots. Normally shooting at a very close range is rather difficult. Often when shooting macro, one of the corners of the frame may be underexposed or even completely dark. Using the FP7000, thanks to the large area of the lens port, this problem barely exists, if at all.
It is worth noting that in real shooting conditions underwater, better and more even illumination is provided by the built-in flash when shooting at a super close range.
Macro with the built-in flash can be shot in any distance down to 12.5 cm/5 inches from the lens port.
Below is a video clip shot with two Nikon P7000 cameras accommodated inside two Fantasea FP7000 housings:
Note:Although the camera shoots at 720p, final video editing has been made with an extrapolation to 1080p. This is done to compensate for the loss of image quality when converting a video in this format on Youtube.
Below is another video clip shot with an FP7000 Housing, this time by Nikon Professional Services:
FP7000 Optional Accessories
Fantasea Line has released all the accessories required for a full FP7000 system.
Patented wide angle lens (BigEye) which can be
attached and removed underwater
The EyeGrabber lens holder is used to hold the wide angle lens once it is removed from the housing�s lens port. The EyeGrabber can be mounted on any Flex or Ball & Joint Arm and the lens can be safely secured once removed from the housing without interfering with housing operation and without getting scratched.
Below you will find an illustrative example of the ease of use of the EyeGrabber. The image on the right shows the lens when mounted on the housing lens port, and the image on the left shows the lens attached to the EyeGrabber (very thoughtful!).
The Fantasea SharpEye macro lens is very useful for macro photos, which can be shot with the camera�s built-in flash
Eyedaptor for attaching the macro lens to the housing
Pink and red filters, mainly for shooting video or shooting stills in shallow water.
They compensate for the loss of red light at different depths as well as the filter effect caused by blue or green water
Below is a video which demonstrates the effect of these color correction filters:
Fantasea also offers complete lighting sets, which include an external flash, tray and arms system, fiber optic cable, padded housing bag and an optional focus light:
Nano Single Ray Set
Nano Double Ray Set
I am happy that I now have a camera and FP7000 underwater housing for it. Most likely, for the next couple of years, this kit will completely replace my SLR camera in my amateur underwater photography.
I RECOMMEND this system for both beginner and advanced underwater photographers, who are tired of SLR cameras and the high cost of their underwater photography equipment.