Jump to content


Member Since 15 Jun 2011
Offline Last Active Dec 04 2018 01:56 PM

#399951 SUPE / Scubalamp Video Lights

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 09 October 2018 - 05:51 AM

i agree things are moving in the wrong direction with the ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) beam angles.  The ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) beam angle has its uses, but mainly if you are using only one light.  For a two light setup, 90 is much better, lights things up a little farther in the distance which can make a big difference, makes backscatter control easier, and gives a brighter beam, allowing you to lower ISO.  I run two lights and so have held off on the SUPE lights.  Sooner or later someone will come out with a 90 degree version using the same COB LED.

#399810 Introducing Nauticamís WACP - The Wide Angle Corrector Port: Discuss Here

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 02 October 2018 - 01:42 PM



My understanding is that the physically bigger the lens you want to use behind a lens like the WACP, the bigger the WACP has to be. And to make it work with a 24-70mm (f/2.8), for example, the WACP would have to much, much bigger to give any measurable image quality advantage over the current WACP and 28-70mm. And as such would weight 7-8KG and cost $10,000. So this approach was not considered because the current WACP and 28-70mm gives really noticeable image quality advantages over anything else available covering the same FOV underwater. I also feel that the simpler design of older lenses is better suited to being incorporated as part of the optical setup of the new lens (the WACP + zoom lens). 


I did test more expensive 28-70mm lenses with the early WACP prototype (not the production version) and these did not perform as well behind the WACP as they Nikon 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5. Despite being better lenses out of the water. 


The hard thing to get our head around is that a relatively cheap, old lens can out perform an expensive new one. Because we've all bought expensive pro-glass and seen the difference it makes to our pictures out of the water. What you have to factor in is how much image quality a dome port in water gives away. Which is much more than the difference between the old and new lenses. This is why the WACP works. The reason the WACP is not made for the latest pro lenses on land is that it would end up way too large to travel with and cost way too much (and actually gives relatively little improvement because there are diminishing returns on the water corrected optics). It is already at a size that causes production issues because of the availability of such large pieces of optical glass (bigger than even the mega expensive super telephotos). 



 Ok thanks for that insight alex.  I plan to go mirrorless, what about the new Nikon S (or the older Sony/Zeiss) 24-70 F4 zoons--still to big in the front element?  Unfortunately the old nikon 28-70 won't work with the new Z cameras.

  • hyp likes this

#391011 Cuba Diving and Tipping Recommendations

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 08 January 2018 - 02:25 PM

I just returned from a week on the Jardines Aggressor.  It was an absolutely amazing boat with an incredible crew.  Nothing but the most positive reviews possible for them based on my trip.  We had a couple who had done three other aggressors last year and they agreed this boar was by far the best they had been on. 


The Aggressor folks recommended tipping at $400.00 per diver, which is a little less than 10% of the $4500 retail price.  I got a special deal on a last minute spot at $3,000.


But I tipped $450.00.  I can tell you that, as hard as the crew worked to make the trip great, it was worth every penny.  Because of the economy, the people on the island have very little and the tips are divided equally among the crew of 8.  


The Aggressor did not offer any "special services" to any individual photographer, or, at  least, no one on our trip asked for anything like that.  Maybe some of the other liveaboards do.  That might require an extra payment or tip.


Enjoy your trip!  The diving was fantastic.


Also, the Aggressor allowed you to tip in $U.S.  So no need to exchange for CUC and pay the 10% extra penalty.

#389414 RETRA Strobe Thread

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 15 November 2017 - 01:03 PM

My kit just arrived.  Two days from Slovenia to Florida, amazing!


The quality of the strobes, battery packs, accessories and LSD are superb and seem rock solid.  The solid aluminum housing is a thing of beauty.  No comparison to the plastic housings of my YS-D1.   I have not seen quality like this since I looked at Seacam stuff.  Even nicer, neoprene covers included to make the strobes and battery packs neutrally buoyant.  When I attached the extended battery pack, it was also rock solid, no flex, seemed like a single unit.  Controls still accessible.


this is just a very well designed set of gear


i might post some photos tomorrow.


Trying to book a hammerhead shark dive to test these babies out!

#388365 RETRA Strobe Thread

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 13 October 2017 - 07:20 AM

It looks like Oskar's tone might have been blunt, but his actions showed integrity.  A full refund, and Retra paying for the risk of currency fluctuations seems, to me, the best resolution anyone could hope for.  


I think it is unfortunate that you as customers were alienated.  I know that, several times since February, I either posted here or on Retra's facebook page about updates to delivery dates, and the responses were always fast and honest and not at all hostile despite my occasional prodding..


While I wanted them earlier, I knew I was financing a start-up venture in a niche industry with a niche product.  I fully expected that time frames might slip (and it seems some of the slippage was due to making some significant improvements to the flashes).


I would never have dreamed of planning an important trip or photo shoot on the arrival of these flashes.  When one of my existing flashes died, I just soldiered on with one  and if needed I would have bought a used replacement.


Certainly, if I were a dive professional, I would not have made services to my customers contingent on a product whose production I had no control over.


I don't see any reason from how Retra acted to doubt their customer service.  Of course, I know that if a flash breaks service will be a long process (shipping to Europe and back, etc).  I, like all of us early adopters, are taking the chance that the strobes will be reliable and bulletproof and not need service.

#387788 Bimini

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 21 September 2017 - 12:04 PM

Why would you want to freedive for the hammerheads?  No bottom time, limited ability to get good angles, just no advantage to it.  The dives are feeding dives in very shallow water with a white sand bottom so lots of natural light and no flash is needed if you do not want it.  Lots of bottom time due to the shallow depth.  This is  one place where freediving just does not make sense, photographically speaking.  There is also a safety factor to consider when sharks are being fed in shallow water and you are splashing at the surface.


As for the mangroves, no reason not to go it alone and snorkel.  But, I don't know if rental boats are available and you might have to charter a boat at some expense, maybe more than a dive-specific trip would cost.  Also, the dive guides might be more aware of where good subjects are and can get you on a good shoot without a lot of unproductive exploring.  Sometimes, it is better to pay a little more.  Bimini is not cheap to get to, so why spend the money getting there and then be cheap about dive guides?


The sunset shark photos are most often at trips to tiger beach, not Bimini.  They are chumming/feeding the sharks, but with the photographers taking turns laying on a dive platform with big domes doing over/under shots.  Maybe you can get an op at Bimini to do this type of trip but I would ask before you go.


Bimini is a great spot with great diving, but you really cannot do it "on the cheap" very well because it is very remote and costly to get to.

#384607 RETRA Strobe Thread

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 01 June 2017 - 05:41 AM

Think I'll order the battery compartments and another LSD.


The improvements in the strobes look substantial.  Very glad I ordered on the "ground floor" but they look well worth the cost even at the current $699.00.  Also worth the extra month wait time.


Tom, I visited your website.  Amazing stuff.   Really, something unique and special.  Good work!.

#381622 A6500 experiences

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 20 February 2017 - 06:29 AM

Is anyone shooting yet with this underwater?  Probably will get response from dealers as it is so new.  But, I would like input on


1.  Any overheating issues when shooting 4K?


2.  Continuous/tracking autofocus performance when shooting video


3.  How good is the IBIS for video--available in all modes incl 4k?


4.  White balance


I am looking to move up from my EM-5 (mark I) and this looks like a top contender.



#355617 ALERT: New photo restrictions at Crystal River Three Sisters

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 19 December 2014 - 12:28 PM

Thanks Adam,


The comment period ends Jan 2 (the sneaky part--at least 4 days out of the 14 day comment period are wasted due to holidays)  but the FWS site indicates they will implement no later than Jan 15, so yes this will affect all of us.

#337675 Olympus OM-D E-M5

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 01 October 2013 - 01:20 PM

After using the heavy and bulky 12-50 with zoom gear on land, I looked on ebay and found a like-new 12-50 for $200.00.  I use that for travel and the lens with gear stays dedicated to underwater.  I find it too much of a pain to take the zoom gear on and off on a daily basis when I travel.  The 12-50 is so tiny it fits in my pocket easily so it is no extra burden to travel with it.

#324875 Olympus OM-D E-M5

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 21 January 2013 - 07:17 AM

Yes, I dedicated mine to UW. You can shoot it on land (ie on the boat or at the dock) even with the gear on, but it is big, heavy and cumbersome. Some people say they can take the gear on and off in 10 minutes, but I dive all the time and the constant switching woiuld be a super pain. If you only dive a few times a year it is do-able, but still the parts and small screws are just a recipe for something to get lost, and of course that would happen right before that once-a-year trip.

For land I use the 14-150 anyway much more versatile for travel. I will probably add another used 12-50 later this year for specialty use (digiscoping) if I want one, as I am sure I will be able to find them for around 200 or so.

I have been curious about the wide wet lens also, but no one here seems to have tested it.

Also, you still have to factor the cost of the diopter when comparing equivalency of the lens set-ups. I guess the diff comes to about $150. Its great that you own them because you can use your diopters to get into ultra-macro range with the 12-50, or ultra-ultra macro range with the 60.

Just a story about the 12-50. I was on a dive late last nite. Shooting beautiful flamingo tongues in macro mode. A hawksbill turtle swam into my lights. I made an instant switch to zoom mode without having to take my eyes off the turtle. Would have lost sight of it for sure if I had had to unscrew a diopter and put it away. In about three seconds I was zoomed to 12mm wide and getting great shots of a turtle at night, something I never had in my portfolio. This is a good example of the combo giving me shots that are not otherwise possible. My buddies shooting macro with diopters never had a chance. I have several other stories like this, and have only owned this lens set up for 2 months.

I am very glad I did not save the $150.00.

#323985 Time to Upgrade: Oly OM-D EM-5 vs. Nikon D7000

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 07 January 2013 - 09:19 AM

You should get the 12-50 in the dedicated Nauticam macro port/gear for that lens. NOT the macro port 65. The dedicated port/gear allows full functionality of the 12-50 lens' very, very excellent macro function (you can fill the frame with an object the size of an SD card), as well as full zoom functionality. The switching between macro and regular zoom is absolutely instant, no need for dipopters and the awkward carrying them and putting them on and off, You get full access to the zoom range, and use of power zoom for video if that is important to you (it is for me)

You will not need a dedicated macro lens right away with this rig. It is the best all-around combo going, But, when the time comes, the 60 mm macro works perfectly in the 12/50 port and gives even higher magnification. I have images posted in the recent pages of the OM-D thread to show just how well this set-up works.

The macro port 65 will not even give you the ability to zoom the lens unless you by a $100+ zoom gear, but then you still have no macro with the 12-50 unless you buy diopters, adapters, etc and what is the point of that? It is a more awkward compromise that will actually end up costing more.

I offer this because there is a well-intentioned frenzy of cheapness on the boards where people are trying to "beat the system" by getting the cheaper macro port and making do with compromises, instead of paying the $250 more for the dedicated 12-50 port/gear. This makes no sense to me given the overall cost of the system.

You are buying into the top compact system and housing set-up. Why deprive yourself of the absolutely unique capabilities of the 12-50 in its dedicated port?

#323113 OMD - Olympus or Nauticam housing advice

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 22 December 2012 - 06:11 AM

In the regular om-D forum I just posted six pix taken with the 12-50 and dedicated port/gear, from scenic to full macro. What an incredibly useful and versatile rig!!

#321662 Olympus OM-D E-M5

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 29 November 2012 - 07:05 AM

Hello, I have just been doing some tests with the 12-50 port and gear and though this info would be of interest.

"Regular zoom" mode. The operation of the power zoom is excellent. The zoom knob on the housing controls the zoom as you twist it against the spring-loaded power zoom ring on the lens. For most of the twist, you are in "slow zoom" mode (better for video), but at the very end of the twist, the lens jumps to "fast zoom" mode (better for photos). If you don't twist it all the way, it is easy to assume that you only have access to "slow zoom" but that is not the case. The twist to fast zoom takes only a second. Close focus at the wide end is under one foot. This is a great solution for general scenics. Maybe it is possible to get CFWA with a diopter, but I do not have one to try this with.

"Macro" mode. This is where it gets really amazing. The switch is instantaneous and, no matter where you were in the zoom range, the lens jumps to 43mm and the farthest focus possible in macro mode (one or two feet from the subject). You move closer to get higher magnification. I can fill the frame with a SD memory card. Measuring the card, it is 25x36mm. In 35mm terms this is "true macro" because it is 1:1 magnification. Thus, this lens magnification equals what is still, today, the maximum magnification of 35mm full frame macro lenses.

The working distance from the front of the port at this magnification is 2 inches. So, with a diopter, it might be possible to get even higher magnification although you will be getting very close. Not sure if it would work as I do not have a diopter.

I had ordered the flip adapter for this port, but the high magnification of the lens and the close working distance caused me to cancel that order. It is just not needed.

These tests were on land as I have not gotten out to dive with it yet, but I can't wait!!

For Roger C above, I have shot in optical TTL with 2 YS-D1s using the 12-50 in macro mode at 2" from the subject, and the TTL worked fine. Manual exposure mode at 1/250 shutter speed, but TTL exposure mode for the flash (set camera flash to "fill" and strobes to TTL). Also, the D1s give nice ratio lighting control even in TTL for creative shadows and textures even at that close distance.

#320084 Nauticam EM5 with viewfinder

Posted by guyharrisonphoto on 07 November 2012 - 07:42 AM

I purchased this same set-up from Reef, using the 45 degree finder. First off, I HIGHLY recommend it. The standard Nauty finder is OK and useable, but the external finder is like going to the moview by comparison.

It does cover the LCD screen a little, but, once you use it, you will not be using the screen. I have done two dives and shot 200 images and videos, and not once have I felt the need to look at the LCD screen. Remember that the EVF can show you all the settings so even if you have to go change a setting in a menu there is no need to use the screen. I believe that, because of the more compact dimensions of the EM5 housing (ie the viewfinder is close to the ldc screen) that even the straight finder will also block the screen somewhat.

You might want to consider the 45 degree unless you already have the straight finder. The EM5 housing is very compact, such that using the 45 degree finder is no effort at all as you are not moving a huge bulky housing underneath you. It's hard to describe but very evident in use. I have no issue using the 45 for wide angle shots. For macro, it is far superior to the streaight finder as you can have the camera below you and stay off the bottom.