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#304427 Light Field Cameras

Posted by cheetohcat on 15 March 2012 - 09:54 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

Got my 8 GB Lytro last week, and have been running around shooting random people/objects with it. Pretty cool technology, and it's been a lot of fun looking for opportunities to create more interesting photos with depth. The camera itself feels very solid and well made.

I'm definitely curious what it could do underwater, thought it does require a lot of light.

Lytro Sample photos



#304421 Thoughts on Sony Nex 5n & Recsea Housing

Posted by cheetohcat on 15 March 2012 - 07:38 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

shutter speed you can change via the wheel, and I switch to aperture by just pushing the down direction once on the wheel toggle, and then turn the wheel to adjust.

For ISO, I programmed in the Right side of wheel soft key so that I could change it quickly if needed.

Not sure about the rectilinear lens and the dome however. Hopefully someone else will pipe in on that!



Thanks!

That control wheel on the back and other controls looks reassuring for ergonomics . How do you go about in manual mode changing aperture and shutter (and ISO)

Fisheye looks great, would the rectilinear add on lens work as well in the same dome do you recon? (or anyone)

Cheers
Oskar




#304343 Thoughts on Sony Nex 5n & Recsea Housing

Posted by cheetohcat on 15 March 2012 - 12:36 AM in Photography Gear and Technique

Thought I'd post a review of the Sony Nex-5n Recsea housing now that I've had it for a month or so, and gotten to dive with it several times. I've been getting a few PMs here and on another board about the set up, so I tried to cover off on any of the questions:

First Impressions:
I upgraded from my beloved Canon s90 to the Sony Nex 5n in the Recsea housing, dome port, 18-55mm port, 16mm port, and 67mm snap on wet lens adapter for the 18-55mm port. I was able to first see the housing in person and bought it up from Bluewater Photo near where I live in LA. For the camera system itself, I have the Nex 5n body with 18-55mm kit lens, 16mm WA pancake lens, and the fisheye WA adapter for the 16mm.

The biggest overall benefit I've found thus far is that I am seeing significantly better picture quality, while my actual set up is virtually identical in size. It was important to me to keep the size compact since I do try do several dive trips a year and always bring my full camera set up. For reference, my original set up is the Canon s90 in FIX housing, BTS tray, ULCS arms/clamps, 2x Inon z240 strobes, sola 600 light.

LEFT: Canon s90 FIX Housing with UWL-04 lens
RIGHT: Sony Nex 5n Recsea Housing with dome port
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Build Quality:
The housing just feels rock solid in terms of construction. I have never been a fan of the polycarbonate type housings (I had a few in the past for other cameras and I always ended up replacing them); I do believe you get what you pay for and I prefer the feel and security of the aluminum housing. Nice big fat o-rings securely seal the back cover and the interchangeable ports.

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Controls/Usability:
All controls were clearly marked and the housing has full access to the Nex 5n control wheel and buttons, flash on/off & zoom. Using the camera IN the housing is virtually exactly the same user interface as when the camera is OUT of the housing. Controls were still easy to manipulate as I wanted to change shutter speed, aperture, iso, and focus points on the fly, even with 3 to 5mm gloves on. There was a lot more spacing between buttons etc which was nice to see vs. my s90 which has a rather cramped layout.

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Expansion Flexibility:
I fully admit that the need to switch ports struck some fear and anxiety into my heart as someone use to sealing up my compact camera at home during prep, and then not touching it again until I either 1) needed to changed the battery or 2) I was safely back home again post diving. And lens changes? I used to gleefully swap back and forth with using the Dyron quick adapters on my s90 so I could go from UWA to stacked macro wet lenses in seconds.

I am greatly relieved to say the Recsea alleviated my fears by being very user friendly, but very secure. Port changes were simple with a release button on the front of the housing and then you twist the port off. The ports feel very secure when attached, and I have not experienced any leaks nor seen any vignetting with any of the 3 ports.

For lens changes I did of course have to give up the full flexibility of both WA and macro wet lenses, but that has more to do with changing from compact to a mirrorless compact system. The housing does allow to also easily change lenses at the same time you are changing the port (without removing the entire camera from the housing via the back door). There's a button on the bottom left of of the port opening that allows you to push the camera lens release button so you can simply remove and swap lenses when you are changing ports.

Compatibility with existing parts:
Because the housing is so compact, I easily mounted it to my existing same tray and arm set. There is a strobe mask that mounts on the exterior of the housing and blocks the internal flash. It has two pre-drilled holes that securely hold your strobe fiber optic cables. The top of the housing also has a 1/4" hole where you could add another mounting adapter of your choice or accessory.

I also picked up the snap on adapter that fits onto the 18-55mm port and allows you to mount m67 type lenses & accessories. I am using it to hold my athena ring flash, or single or double stacked macro wet lenses that I carried over from my s90 set up. It's very convenient to be able to bring the wet lenses along and just pop them on/off depending on your subject.

Sample Photos
Note: I almost always shoot with manual camera settings and strobes, so any issues with exposure are mine. :drink:

Wide Angle - just absolutely wonderful. The Nex-5n + 16mm pancake and Fisheye adapter inside the dome port offers such an incredibly wide angle of view. I believe it's pretty much a 180, and I can definitely see the difference vs. the UWA on the Canon s90 with reached approximately 150 degrees. I'm having to adjust my 'go to' positions for my strobes with the extra view. ;)

16mm + fisheye in dome port - ambient light
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16mm + fisheye in dome port - strobes
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16mm + fisheye in dome port - strobes
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Macro - I haven't done as much macro shooting vs WA thus far with it, but my initial thoughts are the combo of the 18mm-55mm + 2x macro wet lenses are fine for the majority the shooting I do (I don't do super macro ...don't know how the heck those guys and gals spot those tiny things!) I am however hoping Sony or a 3rd party comes out with longer focal length macro lens later this year.

18-55mm lens with 2 stacked Inon UCL-165 macro lenses
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18-55mm lens with 2 stacked Inon UCL-165 macro lenses
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Mid - the 18-55 mm lens is pretty useful as well. You do need to use a zoom gear on this lens, but I simply leave it on the lens at all times so I don't lose it, even if I am shooting topside with it.

18-55MM - strobes
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Video - I tend to prefer stills, but I know many of you have questions on this so I shot some video on a recent wreck dive. Will update this review later once I actually get around to editing it...

Overall, I am really enjoying shooting with the Sony Nex 5n and Recsea housing system. For me it just feels like a great combination of capability, flexibility to grow, quality and price point.



#303007 Sony NEX-5N housings

Posted by cheetohcat on 28 February 2012 - 12:29 AM in Photography Gear and Technique

Hey rwe,

I just recently upgraded to the Nex 5n in the Recsea housing + ports, and have a few sets of dives under my belt now with the set up. I really like the Recsea housing (I had their Canon s90 housing as well), and they are just rock solid in terms of construction. The housing plus camera is very compact, moreso than I expected which I like since it means I can keep the same tray/handle set up I was using before. :lol:

I have the dome port for the 16mm WA+fisheye, and the 18-55MM port. Both have secure o-rings and lock firmly into place on the housing, yet can be swapped out when you change lenses fairly easily. The housing also has a screw on strobe mask with pre-drilled holes for fiber optic strobe cables.

It also has full access to the Nex 5n control wheel and buttons, flash on/off & zoom (a must on my list), so using the camera in the housing is virtually exactly the same user interface as when the camera is out of the housing.

Since the 30MM macro lens seems to have limited utility based on the reviews I read here, I've decided to wait to see if Sony or another manufacturer produces a macro lens with a longer focal length before I invest. In the meantime, I also the 67mm adapter that snaps onto the 18-55mm port so I can use my stacked macro wet lenses with it. I keep the lenses screwed into the adapter in a neoprene pouch on my BCD, so I can just quickly snap it on when diving with the 18-55 lens if I come across a good macro subject.

All in all, I'm very happy with the camera and housing. Just looking forward to getting in more dives with it, and continuing to improve!



#303003 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 27 February 2012 - 10:10 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

Hey Nitro, I use two strobes. Didn't have them dialed in correctly for the first time out power-wise, but it was definitely necessary to have two to get coverage with the fisheye lens on the camera.

Hey cheetoh, you use one or two strobes?




#301880 Light Field Cameras

Posted by cheetohcat on 14 February 2012 - 02:35 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

I have one on pre-order and am scheduled for the Feb/March shipping window....we are supposedly going to be notified 1-2 weeks before it actually ships. Has there been any more news on UW housings for the Lytro? Haven't been able to find any new news...



#301631 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 11 February 2012 - 07:25 AM in Photography Gear and Technique

Hey bob, there's no viewfinder, but the LCD was easy enough to see in the housing. Since I'm coming from a compact, I'm used to screen only so I didn't have any problems with it.



Carolyn,
Thanks for sharing. How was the view throught the viewfinder?
Bob




#301628 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 11 February 2012 - 07:22 AM in Photography Gear and Technique

thanks Bill! that would be awesome! I think Dana said you guys were on the GS on the 26th but I can't join ...I'll plan on the LAUPS meeting next week.



carolyn:
I have a calibrator you can borrow next time we see you on the giant stride. On my monitor, the metridiums for example are at least a full stop underexposed and the cabezon (if that is what he is) is about a full stop under as well. I think you need to think about dialing in some strobe compensation. I like the composition a lot and the sea lion shot is very nice.
Let me know when you are going to dive with Jim again (I think we are on the boat next on the 25th) and I will bring my screen calibrator or if you are coming to the LAUPS meeting on Wednesday I will bring it then.
Bill




#301593 For Sale: New 10bar Olympus E-PL1 Housing

Posted by cheetohcat on 10 February 2012 - 09:20 PM in Classifieds

sold, thanks!



#301557 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 10 February 2012 - 01:42 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

Hey Drew, I was shooting in manual mode for the camera and strobes, so any exposure issues are due to operator input. :lol:

On a related note, do you have suggestions on how best to calibrate computer screens for accurate post processing? I just recently switched from PC to mac, and I find the images look radically different between the two, or vs. my work computer etc.

Thanks!



#301479 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 09 February 2012 - 08:14 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

I had a chance to take the nex-5n out this Sunday for 2 dives on the Oil Rigs near Long Beach, CA. We lucked out and had AWESOME viz, so I could really put the set up through the paces for wide angle. I'm still getting used to it, but I am very happy with it so far!

These were all taken with the Sony 16MM WA pancake lens + fisheye, and in the Recsea + dome port. I'm hoping to try out the 16mm alone, and the 18-55mm kit lens in the next few weeks as well.

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#300731 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 31 January 2012 - 12:27 AM in Photography Gear and Technique

Stewart, I like "your wife's" set up. I'm sure she doesn't mind if you borrow it. :)

Bill, sounds like I might need to get the 30 MM after all... Are you able to use a ring flash at all with the focus distance so short? I know I ran into that problem with my s90 and 2x Inon macro lenses where the focus was too close for the flash, so I'd just get a dark spot where the subject was (but the area around it was beautifully lit!)

derway, the camera body + 18-55 lens is $699, 16MM $220, fisheye $120, so approx $1040. The 30MM lens is another~$250. Not sure how things are in your area, but I had a hard time finding any place with the camera in stock - seems to be backordered at all electronic and camera stores. I ended up snagging it all from Amazon finally, and extra batteries and a spare charger as well. The Recsea housing was similar to Nauticam at $1625 base - plus the ports based on your lenses.

I am hoping to dive Saturday (assuming i can find an open boat) so I'll report back on how that goes.



]

This is my ... wife's ;-) setup...

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Stu




#300635 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 29 January 2012 - 01:54 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

Thanks for all the great info everyone has been sharing here! So I took the plunge! Stopped by Bluewater here in LA to check out the options, and decided to get the Sony nex 5n with the kit lens, 16MM pancake and the fisheye. Still debating on if it's worth it to get the 30MM macro or wait a bit. I went for the Recsea housing and ports as well. The EPL 3 and Pan also seemed liked great cameras, but I preferred the Sony camera and housing combo best overall.

I think my biggest surprise was that the camera + housing aren't that much larger than my S90 set up. I was worried about that in moving up from compacts, but here are some photos for reference with my tray etc so you can gauge relative size.


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I'm dying to get this into the water..I drove down to San Diego yesterday to dive the Yukon and Ruby E, but we were met with ~5ft viz, and had to call the 2nd dive! Majorly disappointing. :) Working on some dive time for this coming Saturday so I'll report back on how it goes.



#300090 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 22 January 2012 - 03:31 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

Thanks for the input Bill. I saw some of your sample photos on another post as well - great photos, and thank you for the thorough review of the 30MM Sony Nex 5n lens you posted.

I think if I go with the nex 5n, I'd start with the 16MM and fisheye along with kit lens, and wait a bit to add a macro lens to see how things shake out. How are you liking the Nauticam housing? I was looking into that option or the new Recsea.



#300067 For Sale: New 10bar Olympus E-PL1 Housing

Posted by cheetohcat on 22 January 2012 - 10:10 AM in Classifieds

Had a local buyer fall through on this ( :) ), so it's still available! Solid housing to get your E-PL1 underwater! I will include shipping to con-US in the price. For international, PM me and we can work out the best option.


New 10bar Housing for Olympus E-PL1 - $625


Includes:
-E-PL1 Aluminum Housing
-Semi-dome port
-All accessories shown:
-2 spare O-rings (along with the installed o-rings)
-manual focus and zoom gear rings for 14-42MM lens
-unopened tube of silicone lube
-o ring removal tool
-universal tool
-swabs & polishing cloth
-accessory bag

Go to 10 Bar Underwater Housings for full specs. http://www.10bar.com...t/EPL1/EPL1.htm


I was given it as a gift, so I have never even used this housing since I don't own the camera. MSRP for this housing new is ~$940

DSCF1166_2.jpg

I will accept cash (local buyers) or Paypal (Paypal +3% fee). You can pick it up from me in the Los Angeles area if you prefer, or if you aren't local, buyer pays insured shipping.

Thanks, and happy shooting!




#300066 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 22 January 2012 - 10:03 AM in Photography Gear and Technique

Ghnouer, I thought about the G1X, and I am pretty sure a friend is going to go with that to upgrade from an S90. He adamantly doesn't want to deal with multiple lenses for when the camera is used on land though he has macro and UWA wet lenses.(He also has a d90 for land shooting, so he want a 'pocket sized' option --though you need pretty big pockets for the G's!)

I thought about it as well when it was announced, but I've decided I want to go with a system vs. adv compact. With the Gseries housings from Recsea or FIX, I believe you have to swap out the port on the housing entirely for WA. I figured if I was going to lose the wet lens swapability anyway, I may as well look at a mirrorless system with interchangeable lenses so I could get the flexiblity UW and on land.

Leaning towards the NEX 5n at this point, but I have several friends with Olympus Pens who really like them as well so I was hoping to get some input here! Going to check out the housings this week in person. I just got dry gloves installed for my drysuit, so I'm big on the ergonomics and usability of the controls. :)



#300036 Decided S100. ikelite or canon case?

Posted by cheetohcat on 21 January 2012 - 10:54 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

I shoot the s90 and started with the Canon OEM housing for about 2 months...and quickly bought the FIX s90 housing. (The equivalent for the s100 is the Recsea s100 I think?) Several friends have also had leaks from the Canon G series OEM housings, so let's just say my faith was rocked.

No regrets - LOVE the better housing. I get full access to all controls in a beautifully machined precision aluminum housing. It's durable and works seamlessly with my UWA and macro lenses as well so you get a ton of flexibility in the system. The canon housing didn't feel very solid, and I hated that I didn't have control over the front and back wheels on the camera. As for the Ikelite, I played with before making a final decision. It was okay (felt a little better than the Canon) but there was no comparison with the Fix/Recsea aluminum housings IMHO.

In the end, it's all about what meets your needs and fits your budget. Good luck with your decision!



#300035 Which mirrorless system for UW..e-pl3 vs gf2 vs sony nex-5n?

Posted by cheetohcat on 21 January 2012 - 10:42 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

Hello! I am a long time reader, so I wanted to briefly introduce myself..I'm an avid diver and photographer with most of my dives in the socal area since I live in LA, but have been traveled to Bali, Cozumel, Roatan, Bahamas, Baja, and this year I have the Maldives, Cenotes, and Raja Ampat planned. I've been shooting with my Canon S90 set up for about 2 years now, adding more to it as time goes on (Canon S90, FIX housing, 2x strobes, Ring Flash, FIX UWL-04, 2x Inon UCL-165M67, Sola 600, Go Pro).

But, the time has come...I AM READY TO UPGRADE!!

First let me say, while I adore the compactness of my s90 gear, I do find the picture quality, lack of moveable focus points, and slower focus speed (compared to a dSLR) a drawback. I enjoy shooting both WA and macro so ideally I'd like to move to a system that can also shoot both UWA and macro, assuming I have the right lenses and ports of course and address the other needs.

I am really interested in the mirrorless compact systems and am considering the Olympus e-pl3, Panasonic gf2 or Sony nex-5n. If anyone experience with one or more of these for UW, I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts on them as I don't know many people here locally using them yet.

It's a tough decision and I don't want to make an expensive mistake!



#299654 For Sale: New 10bar Olympus E-PL1 Housing

Posted by cheetohcat on 15 January 2012 - 10:43 PM in Classifieds

New 10bar Housing for Olympus E-PL1 - $625


Includes:
-E-PL1 Aluminum Housing
-Semi-dome port
-All accessories shown:
-2 spare O-rings (along with the installed o-rings)
-manual focus and zoom gear rings for 14-42MM lens
-unopened tube of silicone lube
-o ring removal tool
-universal tool
-swabs & polishing cloth
-accessory bag

Go to 10 Bar Underwater Housings for full specs. http://www.10bar.com...t/EPL1/EPL1.htm


I was given it as a gift, so I have never even used this housing since I don't own the camera. MSRP for this housing new is ~$940

DSCF1166_2.jpg

I will accept cash (local buyers) or Paypal (Paypal +3% fee). You can pick it up from me in the Los Angeles area if you prefer, or if you aren't local, buyer pays insured shipping.

Thanks, and happy shooting!



#299651 Sony Nex 5N Underwater

Posted by cheetohcat on 15 January 2012 - 09:57 PM in Photography Gear and Technique

Justin and Stu,

Thanks for the add'l perspective! And justin, your rig looks lovely! I used to shoot the s2000s so I have a soft spot for them...some days, I really wish I hadn't gone larger with the z240s (yes, I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. Usually when I am trying to get my camera and strobes into a teeny crack/crevice to get a shot...)

I've resigned myself that if I want to take the next step with photography, I have to move to the world of mirrorless compacts or DSLR, and thus giving up the ultracompact size of the s90 and my wet lens flexibility. I frankly didn't feel moving up to the s95 or s100 made too much sense for me as it felt like it would only be marginally better IQ ...hence looking into the Sony Nex 5n.

Based on what I've read here and through reviews, I'm going to probably start with:

Sony Nex-5n body + Kit lens
16mm pancake wide angle
fisheye wide angle lens
....and wait and see on macro if some other options emerge.

I have the camera on order and am hoping to get it this week to try out on land; frankly, it's been a real beast to track it down as every retailer seems to be out of stock/backordered! :D



#299278 Sony Nex 5N Underwater

Posted by cheetohcat on 10 January 2012 - 01:23 AM in Photography Gear and Technique

First of all, thanks to everyone for the great info on this thread on the camera. I'm also thinking about getting this camera, and will try to find one locally to check out the controls etc first as advised.

What do you think about the Nex 5n as an upgrade for an advanced compact shooter? I am currently using a Canon s90, FIX housing, UW-04 WA lens, 2x Inon macro lenses, Sola 600 focus light with a dual strobe set up, and looking at upgrading to the Sony Nex 5n.

Primarily, I am hoping for much better picture quality and the ability to shoot HD video (currently using a separate go pro), hopefully without massively increasing the size/weight of my camera set up underwater. Would like to also be able to shoot UWA and macro. Sounds like there is a solid WA option currently with the 16MM lens and Fisheye conversion, though the macro options still sound a little thin?

From what I'm seeing, this camera should work for me, but would appreciate any pointers on other things I should consider since I'm in from a compact.