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From the forums: Fuji S5 sunburst tests

The Fujifilm S5 DSLR has been eagerly anticipated by underwater photographers. The S5 is physically identical to the very popular Nikon D200 and therefore fits in the same housings. It was also hoped that the increased dynamic range of Fuji’s Super CCD sensor would improve the quality of sunbursts in underwater pictures.

Wetpixel member Claude Ruff recently put this theory to the test and performed some very useful back to back tests shooting the S5 and the D200 simultaneously underwater. His tests show that the S5 is an excellent underwater camera, but perhaps surprisingly, does not offer any noticeable improvement over the D200 for sunbursts.

Have a look at Claude’s photos and see if you agree. Join the debate in the Wetpixel forums…

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The Underwater Photographer wins Diver Award

Congratulations to underwater photography guru and Wetpixel member Martin Edge for winning the DIVER Award 2006 for the Publication of the Year for his book The Underwater Photographer, published by Focal Press. The Diver Awards are decided annually entirely by votes by the readers of the UK’s Diver Magazine.

This book is a firm favourite with many Wetpixel members and is a deserved winner of this prestigious award. Martin is regular visitor top Wetpixel and the book actually contains several direct links Wetpixel content for further information. If you are an underwater photographer you must check out this book.

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Petition: stop distribution of shark fins Photo

Petition: stop distribution of shark fins

The practice of shark finning (where sharks have their fins cut off while still alive and are thrown back in the water to die) is brutal, wasteful, and often, illegal.  A web search for shark finning will show you in mere minutes how terrible the practice is.

Please show your support for the world’s dwindling shark populations by signing this petition against Alibaba.com, one of largest online traders of shark fins.  Signing the petition takes less than a minute and requires only your name, e-mail address, and geographic location.  You can also protect your privacy by showing yourself as “anonymous,” if you wish.

UPDATE: If you would like to post a link to this petition in your blog or in a forum you frequent, continue reading for code you can cut & paste!

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Light & Motion Bluefin HC7 underwater housing Photo

Light & Motion Bluefin HC7 underwater housing

Next week, Light & Motion will announce the Bluefin HC7, an underwater housing for the compact Sony HDR-HC7 HDV camcorder.  The Bluefin HC7 will allow manipulation of the camcorder’s touch screen menu to provide access to one-touch manual white balance, independent aperture and shutter speed control (a great feature of the HC7 camcorder), Tele Macro mode, and Smooth Slow Motion.

Also standard on the Bluefin HC7 is Light & Motion’s signature Smart Grip Handles, an underwater microphone, flip-down color correction filter, and an all glass zoom through lens.  Pricing has not yet been announced, but will likely be $3,099 USD.

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Review of StiX buoyancy arms by Cor Bosman and Julie Edwards Photo

Review of StiX buoyancy arms by Cor Bosman and Julie Edwards

Nearly every underwater photographer has experienced it - the unwieldy, heavy housing straining their patience while shooting macro or seemingly acting as a few (unnecessary) extra pounds of lead. Wetpixel members Cor Bosman and Julie Edwards have taken the StiX buoyancy arms on over 200 dives, and believe they’ve found the solution. Cor writes:

It has made my diving 100% pleasurable again. No more sore arms after a dive, no more giving up on a very difficult macro subject due to fatigue. My rig is now ever so slightly negative (I prefer it that way), but I can just as easily make it fully neutral or even positive.

The full report contains more impressions from Cor and Julie, photos of the arms and their components, and information on purchasing…

*Addendum*: Wetpixel member Colin Gans has added his experiences with modifying the end floats for a rounded “torpedo-look” that allows the arms to fold closer together. His words and photos can be found at the end of the review. 

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Mexico passes shark finning ban Photo

Mexico passes shark finning ban

After 10 years of debate, Mexico has passed legislation that bans shark finning, increases protection of great white, whale and basking sharks, and manta rays, and extends the moratorium on new commercial shark fishing permits.

Mexico has become increasingly known for its great white shark concentrations at Isla Guadalupe, and whale sharks can be found on both coasts. Mike Lever (of the M/V Nautilus Explorer) said in response: “The enactment of Mexican rules for responsible shark and ray fisheries is incredibly good news and really bodes well for the survival of these magnificent animals.

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Beneath the Sea 2007 contest winners announced Photo

Beneath the Sea 2007 contest winners announced

The winning images of the Beneath the Sea 2007 Worldwide Underwater Photography/Video Competition have been announced, with many familiar names in the list of winners.  The winning images will be shown at the Saturday night film festival during the weekend of Beneath the Sea‘s Ocean Adventure and Travel Exposition, March 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2007, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Quite a few Wetpixel members placed, as well.  Congratulations, all!

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Are public aquariums good or bad? Photo

Are public aquariums good or bad?

Where do you stand on public aquariums? Do the educational benefits out-weigh the negative environmental impact? On the one hand, they are criticized for the destructive methods used to capture fish and for poor treatment of these creatures while in captivity. On the other hand, they are praised for increasing public awareness and appreciation for marine species. Are there environmentally responsible aquariums that manage to achieve educational goals without adverse environmental impact? How much do fish farms play a role in achieving this goal?

Join the debate in the conservation forum and offer your perspective.

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National Geographic: An Eden for Sharks Photo

National Geographic: An Eden for Sharks

In the March issue of National Geographic, journalist Jennifer Holland shares her story of close encounters with sharks while on assignment in the Bahamas. Accompanying her was photojournalist Brian Skerry, whose gripping shots of sharks in action bring the story to life.

The article features all the headline sharks including the tiger, great hammerhead and oceanic white-tip. The images are stunning, the article informative and the conservation message compelling. “Scientists warn that many shark populations could be dangerously depleted within a decade, barring bold action” relates the author. Perhaps what is most refreshing about the article is that it offers a message of hope for sharks in the Bahamas, a contrast to their desperate plight throughout the rest of the world.  You can read the full story and enjoy the the beautiful images online at National Geographic’s website.

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Twenty groupers threatened with extinction Photo

Twenty groupers threatened with extinction

Twenty species of grouper, a globally important group of 162 coral reef food fishes, are threatened with extinction unless management or conservation measures are introduced. This was the conclusion of a panel of twenty experts from 10 countries at a recent conservation summit convened to assess the status of groupers worldwide.

Groupers are the basis of the multi-million US$ live reef fish market of the sea food trade centered in Hong Kong, where consumers can pay up to US$50 per kg for this delicacy. Groupers are also the most valuable commercial fishes in the fresh fish markets of the tropics and sub-tropics. Read more on the full press release...

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