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thoughts on mini domes


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#1 johnspierce

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 08:04 AM

I stole the title from Alex Mustard's 2010 article :D

I'm going to Tonga to swim with humpbacks in a little over a month and pondering on whether to bring my 8" or 4.3 mm dome or both.

I'm shooting a nikon d7000 with the 10-17mm Tokina.

Obviously, the 4 mm dome will be less sharp at the edges, but will it even be noticeable with the type of composure done with open water big animal shots?

I want the best shots I can get, but if it truly will not make a difference, the mini dome sure makes handling and travel easier.

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#2 JimSwims

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 01:31 PM

Shooting crop sensor with the 10-17 a mini is definitely the way to go me thinks. Will sure be easier to swim about with to.

Only caveat I can see is losing the ability to practically do under over compositions.

 

Cheers,

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#3 Steve Williams

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 02:23 PM

I like Jim's choice John.  Especially if you're shooting a Zen glass dome with coatings that seem to do a better job controlling flare in shallow water situations like you'll be in with the whales.  The other side of the coin is that the large dome provides for a nice negative bouyancy so you don't have to worry about dropping your rig into the depths.  When I was in the water with the Sperm whales I ended up using both.

 

Be sure and let us know how it goes in Tonga,  That trip is high on my list.

 

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#4 divegypsy

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 10:20 PM

The easy way to prevent losing a camera and housing to Davey Jones is to add a little floatation to the housing so that if you drop it or get it knocked out of your hands, it slowly floats upward to the surface.  With a little testing you can add just enough buoyancy so that the housing doesn't impede your swimming.  

 

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#5 tdpriest

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:33 AM

The easy way to prevent losing a camera and housing to Davey Jones is to add a little floatation to the housing...

 

Actually, a lot of flotation for many rigs...



#6 diver dave1

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 10:37 AM

No experience with whales but used the same setup for sailfish.

Here is the best of that trip.

http://www.shiningse...24489&k=wBMMvGP

 

2 others on the trip had massive domes on FX housings.  While their resolution was probably better, they were definitely envious of my far smaller setup and talked about it.  They used a cord to tie the setup to their wrist so they could not drop it.  I added that after the first day as well.

 

If I had it to do over, I would stick to the mini-dome and 10-17.  I used no flotation and did not feel the need for it, other than the risk of losing it.

 

One suggestion, I wish I had done more cardio training in advance.  I did plenty of fin laps in a pool in advance and never had muscle problems but thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest from trying to keep pace then stop the bait ball.  No idea how needed that is for whale work.  Just a thought.


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#7 meister

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 07:09 PM

"I stole the title from Alex Mustard's 2010 article"

 

There was a Mustard presentation, "Dome not Drone" posted here on Wetpixel around that time frame, 2010 or 2011?  It was an extremely informative and most excellent presentation on dome ports.  It was archived here at one time anyway.  I don't know if it still is...


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#8 johnspierce

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 07:59 PM

"I stole the title from Alex Mustard's 2010 article"
 
There was a Mustard presentation, "Dome not Drone" posted here on Wetpixel around that time frame, 2010 or 2011?  It was an extremely informative and most excellent presentation on dome ports.  It was archived here at one time anyway.  I don't know if it still is...


Got it...

http://wetpixel.com/...thout-the-drone

Thanks!
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#9 diverdoug1

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 08:19 PM

This is the real question of U/W photography when it comes down to brass tacks.  How much of a pain it the ass are you willing to put up with for improved image quality?  This question ranges from the micro 4/3rds cameras up to the Scarlet systems.  Smaller is easier and you can argue that it is "just almost about as good".  Bigger is ( so much harder to carry and pack) but slightly better.  Logistics is the task-master of underwater photography.  Do your put all of your photo gear in carry-on, or do you tell your wife that you are checking 200 pounds of photo gear, and she can not bring her entire shoe collection?

You knew the answer to this question before you asked it.  A huge mega dome WILL make a difference in image quality.  A big friggin' dome always has better optics than a smaller dome.  The question is "is it worth the trouble?"  It is impossible to answer that question for you!  Can you take an increadibly good image with a smaller dome?  YES!,  Would the same image taken with a larger dome probably be a little bit better? YES! Is a bigger dome a lot bigger pain in the ass to travel and free-dive with?  YES!

The other posts above have great merit, but you really need to decide what lengths you want to go to, in order to get the best possible image.


Edited by diverdoug1, 31 July 2014 - 08:38 PM.


#10 Nautilus Cairns

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:46 PM

John, I really appreciate you finding that link. I found it so informative. I'll keep my eye out for future workshops involving Alex Mustard.


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#11 Stoo

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 08:02 AM

This is the real question of U/W photography when it comes down to brass tacks.

 

And don't forget that the larger dome covers can be used as foul weather gear in a pinch. :)

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#12 Stoo

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Posted 14 February 2016 - 04:06 PM

So I don't think this topic has been beaten to death just yet... I use a D7000/Aquatica rig, with the 8" dome. My primary WA lens is the Tokina 10-17, although I do have a 12-24 as well... which I rarely use. Actually, I never use it anymore, and I'm considering selling it.

 

And now, Mrs. Stoo offered to treat me to a mini-dome for Valentines Day! I am trying to decide if the number of bathroom cleanings I'll need to do will be worth it.

 

I used an Aquatica mini for a week in BC in October and loved it, and was able to take CFWA shots I'd never have been able to with the 8" dome. The question I have of those who have a mini... Have you dumped your larger dome in favour of the small one? I really don't want to be schlepping two domes around!

 

I read an article a few weeks ago that our esteemed Dr. Mustard wrote several years ago. I think it's fair to say that he loved them, but noted significant fuzziness around the edges. Can anyone comment on whether this is a real-world concern, or more hypothetical?

 

These things aren't cheap, and I can probably borrow one again, but it is a sweet bit of kit...

 

This image is a perfect example of where this lens came in handy. This little wolfeel was way back in a crack. I was able to get the down well inside... the white anemone was pretty much touching the dome. I could never have positioned the 8" dome in there.

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Edited by Stoo, 14 February 2016 - 04:07 PM.


#13 TimG

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Posted 14 February 2016 - 10:38 PM

Hey Stoo

 

I used both a Subal 8" dome and a Zen100 for my Nikon D300 setup.

 

After a few uses of the Zen I pretty much gave up using the 8" dome. I found the Zen pretty hopeless for over/unders but for anything else, the Zen was terrific and for travelling, a joy! With a Tokina 10-17 or the Nikkor 10.5 I had sharp edges and great CFWA. I sometimes added a longer EXR and 1.7 convertor and, again, all good. 

 

And now I have a Nikon D800 and a 230 dome......  :crazy:


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#14 Stoo

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 07:59 AM

Thanks Tim... The two people I know with the minis, have both abandoned their larger domes...



#15 TimG

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 08:22 AM

Thanks Tim... The two people I know with the minis, have both abandoned their larger domes...

 

Yeah, I can see why, Stoo. If you're not bothered about over/unders or plan to stay with DX, makes sense to me.


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#16 JamesR

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Posted 15 February 2016 - 01:17 PM

While not a mini, the 170mm zen dome with a Sigma 15mm fisheye seems to work well on FX..I am happy with the combo. 


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#17 Stoo

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 04:46 AM

 

Yeah, I can see why, Stoo. If you're not bothered about over/unders or plan to stay with DX, makes sense to me.

 I don't really think I will ever cost justify moving to FX, so that isn't a concern. If I did, I would probably go to a big dome anyway, so either way, the 8" I have becomes superfluous.

 

Regarding the over-unders, one of the friends that has made the move is a pro shooter in BC. He's widely published and does tons of split shots with the mini dome, so it may not be as "impossible" as some would suggest.



#18 TimG

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Posted 18 February 2016 - 05:01 AM

 

 

Regarding the over-unders, one of the friends that has made the move is a pro shooter in BC. He's widely published and does tons of split shots with the mini dome, so it may not be as "impossible" as some would suggest.

 

No, not impossible, Stoo, but damn difficult. But then practice makes perfect. As Arnold Palmer so rightly said, the more I practice, the luckier I get...   :notworthy:

 

"Justify" moving to something else? Do many of us here really "justify" what we do? Don't we just persuade ourselves it makes sense? And then persuade our partner of our, errr, wisdom....   :lol2:


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#19 Magrone

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Posted 02 March 2016 - 02:54 PM

Taking over/unders in calm water ie lakes /streams / bays with a mini dome is quite doable except you sacrifice depth of field. In the open ocean however, different story. Shooting at the surface with nothing to steady yourself + chop + waves... I can't imagine ever getting a satisfactory image except by complete luck with at least 10fps burst rate. It's hard enough with the biggest domes. I always get a case of "shooters remorse" when the opportunity presents itself and I don't have the right tool.

#20 eikojnz

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 12:31 PM

 I don't really think I will ever cost justify moving to FX, so that isn't a concern. If I did, I would probably go to a big dome anyway, so either way, the 8" I have becomes superfluous.

 

Regarding the over-unders, one of the friends that has made the move is a pro shooter in BC. He's widely published and does tons of split shots with the mini dome, so it may not be as "impossible" as some would suggest.

You talking about me Stu? ;-)  Heres on eof hundreds of splits I do with the 4" mini. These subjects are about as fast as they get. I also do a lot in deep water. Harder but still better results than big dome. I never have issues with water droplets ruining an otherwise good composition. Every now and then I go and try my 8" and 9.25" again and immdiatly put them back in the closet after one use.  I use the Tokina 10-17. I don't know if any others would work. Certainly not a rectilinear or 24 prime. pink-salmon-close-up-quinsam-river.JPG