Nauticam announces the NA-A6000 for Sony’s exceptional mirrorless camera, the Alpha 6000 (A6000). As the clear leader in mirrorless interchangeable lens camera housings, Nauticam continues to bring innovative design and engineering to this rapidly expanding segment of the photographic community. The NA-A6000, based on the highly successful NEX series of large sensor mirrorless cameras, should prove to be one of the best underwater imaging tools to date.
The Sony A6000
The A6000 stands atop the new Ax000 series of APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras from Sony. The Ax000 series takes over the very popular NEX line with a new naming convention and fresh cameras that seem to get better with every release.
A good place to start when talking about the A6000 is the sensor. Many have found that APS-C seems to be the sweet spot in sensor design, large enough to produce excellent image quality yielding very large prints, but small enough to utilize lenses that are reasonable in size. The A6000 packs 24 megapixels of resolution prowess into this ideal sized sensor. One distinct advantage for APS-C over full frame for underwater shooters is the size of the dome port needed to produce sharp images; the domes can be considerably smaller for APS-C, which is important in these days of steep baggage charges.
The A6000 features an amazing 179 phase detect focus sensors on the sensor itself, and in combination with contrast detection, can track objects while shooting up to 11 frames per second. This is as fast the $6500 Nikon D4S! While that is impressive, one thing that stands out about the autofocus system is the wide coverage of the focus points. Frustratingly, many cameras do not cover the rule of thirds corners; the A6000 does, and actually reaches beyond that, covering about 92% of the frame. This is a photographer's camera!
Nauticam has more experience with mirrorless housings than any other manufacturer, yet continues to innovate with each new release. The pioneering features of the earlier Nauticam housings are apparent with the simple but secure rotating housing latch and superb progressive shutter release providing optimal “feel”. The NA-A6000 also sports some of Nauticam’s latest technology with the re-designed port locking latch that replicates the famous Nauticam DSLR port latch – making housing port changes easier than ever.
The new housing takes full advantage of the Sony’s many features and allows easy one handed operation of both command dials, video recording and EV control. The ability to activate or lower the A6000’s built in flash is easily accessed to rapidly switch from optically triggered strobes to ambient light photography. The tilting LCD display is canted in housing for ideal in-water observation.
A6000 is no slouch in the video department either, with 1080 60p MPEG4 and clean HDMI out. Sony has added a Zebra pattern display to aid with video exposure, a feature more often found in higher end video cameras.
The A6000 features a programmable function menu and two programmable custom buttons, a definite step up in utility from the NEX series. This programmability is embraced with all of these buttons readily available in the housing. For fans of “thumb focus” (moving the autofocus from half-press of the shutter to a button operated by the right thumb), this is fully supported as well, by setting the camera to use the easily accessible AEL button to AF ON.
Video is easily accessed; the video button is given special treatment, being larger, concave and red in color. For tripod use, the housing features two standard 1/4" 20 tripod holes, or is also tripod ready when using the Flexitray W camera tray.
The NA-A6000 comes standard with the Nauticam vacuum system electronic built in. By default, it serves as a audible and visual leak detector, but add a Nauticam M16 Vacuum Valve, (p/n# 25612) and it becomes a vacuum check system - early warning for any problem with watertight integrity - which means peace of mind when shooting underwater.
Each control on the housing is clearly labeled, making it easy to learn the system. Milled from solid aluminum, the housing is rated to 100m/330ft depth, and is rugged and ready for use!
Lenses and Ports
The 16-50mm kit lens is quite versatile, and may be the only lens some people ever need. However, unlike with a compact system that does not allow lens changes, the A6000 supports a wide range of Sony and Zeiss lenses that are ideal for any shooting situation, including underwater use. Nauticam supports all of the Sony and Zeiss lenses that are suitable for underwater use.
Lenses like the Sony E 16mm F2.8 Pancake lens, either with or without the VCLECF1 fisheye conversion lens, or the Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS allow for full wide angle coverage, and a choice between fisheye and rectilinear. Sony produces the E 30mm F3.5 Macro lens for fish portrait and lightweight macro use. For hardcore macro enthusiasts, Nauticam and Zen Underwater support the Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lenses via the Metabones adapters.
The Carl Zeiss Touit 2.8/12mm lens is one of the finest wide angle lenses available, and is supported via a Zen Underwater adapter and dome port. And, Zeiss is now shipping the Zeiss Touit 2.8/50M macro lens, which is fully supported by a Nauticam port, for true 1:1 macro in a native E mount lens.
The Nauticam Super Macro converter is an ideal add on for macro enthusiasts, providing reproduction much greater than life size with minimal distortion and aberration.
Magnifying Optical Viewfinders
Nauticam produces a “straight” 180º magnifying viewfinder (#32201) and a 45º angled viewfinder (#32202) that provide a bright, corner to corner view of the A6000’s excellent EVF. A patented external dioptric adjustment allows personal adjustment to a sharp-as-a-tack standard underwater and viewfinder changes can be executed in less than 30 seconds without using tools. Exceptional composition and focus accuracy have never been more accessible. An optional LCD window (p/n #17454), containing the viewfinder mounting ring, is required to attach these finders.
Key NA-A6000 Features:
Signature Nauticam Port Locking System
The iconic red locking lever is right at home on the NA-A6000; lens/port changes made quick, easy and secure.
The integrated vacuum check and leak detection system adds extra assurance of watertight integrity. Use it without an optional vacuum valve and it serves as a audible/visual water ingress detector. Add the vacuum valve, and get watertight integrity indication via a color coded LED light.
Switch between EVF and LCD with the flick of a switch. And for an even better view, add the optional LCD window to utilize one of Nauticam's legendary enhanced viewfinders!
The locking latch, proven in use with thousands of housings, is secure and easy to use.
Controls on the housing are designed with shooting in mind, and each control is clearly labeled.
Optional Rubberized Ergonomic Handles
The optional Nauticam Flexitray or Easitray provide a lightweight, compact mounting solution for strobe arms and the NA-A6000 housing. Nauticam uses a sophisticated over-mold process to produce extremely comfortable rubberized ergonomic hand grips. The soft feel and comfortable design make the housing easy to grip and minimize hand fatigue on long dives. Both single and double handle configurations are available for complete customization, and each handle can be adjusted laterally allowing the user to dial in perfect fit.
Flash Connectors for Inon S-TTL, and Sea&Sea DS-TTL
Reliable automatic flash exposure is available with the NA-A6000 and a variety of optically fired flashes. The Inon Z-240, D-2000, S-2000, Sea & Sea YS-01 and YS-D1 strobes provide automated lighting, precisely reproducing the camera’s onboard flash at a proportionally greater intensity. This system yields accurate automatic TTL flash performance – even in manual mode - with no electrical sync cables to flood! The NA-A6000 comes fiber optic ready and accepts standard Sea & Sea style bushing connections. Nauticam Fiber Optic cables, available for both Inon and Sea&Sea strobes, provide the best light transmission and therefore more accurate TTL of any fiber optic cable on the market.
Strobes can be attached to the housing via optional strobe mounting balls secured to the handles of the Nauticam accessory tray systems or a single strobe mounting ball location on the housing. The housing also features a cold-shoe mount for a focus light or other accessory mounting options.