29 August 2011. I’ve been hard at work gathering together the diopters for the Wetpixel diopter review and so have tended to concentrate on macro photography over the past month or so. When I am not busy with Wetpixel, I am fortunate to work at a dive center, so am able to spend a lot of time underwater. As I write, Alex Mustard is in the Maldives with many of the review diopters, although, where we have duplicates, I still have these for the pool testing and am diving them in open water as much as possible. During the pool testing, I plan to use a Nikkor 105MM f2.8 VR as the primary lens, and whilst setting the tests up, I found myself thinking about macro ports.
I have been using a Nauticam Macro Port 60 with a 30mm extension ring. The extension locks onto the housing, and the macro port then locks onto the extension. The port comes equipped with a 67mm threaded on its end, which accommodates many of the diopters currently available. It has a narrowed end too, which allows it to fit into smaller holes and spaces than other broader ports but still has plenty of internal space for the “fat” Nikkor lenses. Lastly, it is equipped with a “cold” shoe on the port which I find really useful for attaching a focus light.
David Cheung of Scubacam (Cheungydiver) has supplied me with a fiber snoot, which I have used on a few dives so far. The Loc-Line tubing he has used is narrower that that used in some other models, but seems to provide a very effective light transmission. For those used to the frustrations of shooting with a conventional snoot, the fiber snoot raises these to a whole new level! Orienting two pinpoint light sources with the subject and getting it all in focus (especially using a diopter) is not for the temperamental. I have found that this really needs setting up with care. I find a rock or similar as a subject, get it lit correctly with the snoot and in focus, and then lock the focus off (by switching it onto manual). Once I find a suitable subject for a picture, I rock in and out until it is in focus and then by definition it should also be lit correctly.
I have found myself increasingly using fiber optic triggering of my strobes. I cannot vouch for its performance with very fast moving subjects, but so far it seems very adequate for most purposes. With the fiber snoot the strobes’ output is set to full in any event, and the fiber optic is as good a trigger as any electrical connection.
One of the questions that resurfaces regularly in the forums is about using lanyards on cameras. I’ve never used one as I feel that I will hold onto my camera unless I REALLY need to get rid of it. However I do favor the use of a carry handle and was very pleased with the plaited rope handle that was supplied (as an option) with the Nauticam ball adapters. However I have just modified it slightly so I can use it with the XIT404 Quad Ball adapters. By adding a stainless steel tack hook (although any clip will do) at each end, the handle can now perform double duty as a lanyard if needs dictate.
I have been supplied with a ZEN DP-230 dome port with a fitting for my Nauticam housing for trial. Originally designed for use with full frame cameras, I am going to evaluate the ports effectiveness with my cropped sensor camera. The 230mm dome is a beautiful piece of glass, with both internal and external coatings.
My plans for the next few months are all temperate diving, mostly ai my local dive site, with a few trips to visit some local seal rookeries thrown in. I will be back in Egypt for a mostly macro trip in November.
|Interest||Mostly Still Photography but do enjoy video too|
|Main System||Nikon D7000 + Nauticam housing, Nauticam 45° viewfinder, Inon Z240 strobes. Light and Motion Sola 600.|
|Additional Systems||Nikon D2Xs + Subal housing, Subal 45° viewfinder. Same strobes as above.|
|Video System||Panasonic HVX200 + Gates housing.|
The Nauticam port was supplied by Edward Lai of Nauticam, whilst the fiber snoot was purchased at a discount from Scubacam. Lastly, the ZEN 230 dome has been supplied for review by ZEN.