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Alex_Mustard

Member Since 16 Jan 2003
Offline Last Active Today, 06:32 AM
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: Introducing Nauticamís WACP - The Wide Angle Corrector Port: Discuss Here

27 April 2018 - 12:17 AM

As a feeling - the 8-15mm is the best non-water contact fisheye you can use on a Nikon - it is noticeably sharper than other fisheyes.

 

But it is not as good as the RS 13mm fisheye or WACP. But of course, the images are totally useable for any application.

 

I was processing some recent shots of the Kittiwake wreck the other day and I noticed that the image quality wasn’t as nice as usual (most obvious as Chromatic Aberrations) and then I remembered that I had used the 8-15mm that day, rather that the RS13 or WACP I normally use for my wide angle. But of course the images are still very nice. It is a small difference - but when you know how it can be, you do notice it every time! 

 

But the main reason for using the WACP is that it has a totally different angle of coverage than the 8-15mm. The 8-15mm is 180˚ corner to corner @ 15mm. The WACP covers 130˚-57˚ corner to corner with the 28-70mm - making it a super versatile option. But I still always travel with a fisheye too - for shooting the biggest subjects (wrecks, scenery, very big animals, etc). I take the RS13mm when splits are not important and the 8-15mm when I expect to shoot some splits or want to use the 16-35mm too (they use the same dome).

 

Alex 


In Topic: Introducing Nauticamís WACP - The Wide Angle Corrector Port: Discuss Here

26 April 2018 - 12:02 AM

I don’t know. I guess it might be interesting to have the numbers of all lenses - fisheye to macro to know what we are used to having underwater. But generating these numbers takes a lot of work and I am not sure that it will happen. Alex


In Topic: Alex Mustard Workshops

09 April 2018 - 03:21 AM

I see my name!

 

I run plenty of underwater photography workshops during the year. More than my wife likes. 

 

I announce all my workshops via a newsletter, which you can sign up for here:

http://www.amustard.com

The newsletter basically lets you know that a new trip is open for bookings and the full details are live on my website. 

 

I do not advertise my workshops in adverts or on Facebook. They are only promoted through my website. This really helps in bringing a group of like-minded photographers together, which is essential for an enjoyable and productive shoot. My trips are mostly populated with photographers who have been before or by shooters who have been encouraged to join by a friend, who has been before.  

 

Because my workshops are popular, they regularly fill soon after I have sent out this announcement email. Once a trip is fully booked, it is marked so on my website (which is why they all look full). I don’t open trips for bookings as soon as I have planned them and reserved boats - because it means that my guests end up having deposits out for ages in advance. I usually open them 18-9 months before they happen. 

 

If you really like the sound of a particular trip, even if it is full, then it is always worth contacting the agent to be on the wait list, because cancellations almost always happen.

 

Photo workshops, and indeed my workshops, aren’t for everyone and I have tried to share as much honest information about what they are like on my website. Read this before booking. My best advice is to ask opinions of people who have been on my workshops and find out if they are right for you.

 

I would also add that many photographers run workshops and many are excellent, and some are not! So it is always worth asking around for opinions from photographers who have been on workshops and work out who are the good teachers and who are not.

 

Finally, plenty of people have written articles about my workshops, this is the most recent one I have seen:

https://www.henleysp...ustard-workshop

 

Alex


In Topic: (60mm) macro behind mini dome port

28 March 2018 - 12:22 AM

Downside of a dome: you can't use an accessory diopter with a flat port, you can easily scratch your expensive dome, you get less magnification, the lens does not focus quite so close.

 

On the plus side you get a 33% greater angle of coverage (I often use this combo when shooting larger macro subjects - e.g. octopuses on muck dives).

 

You also get corners free from Chromatic Aberrations - which are very noticeable in fine detail when using the Nikon 60mm AF-S G behind a flat port. Most people don't worry about this - because the important subject matter isn't in the corners - but if you look at your images you will see it.

 

This is an example of a very standard image shot with 60mm and curved port (unprocessed direct from camera):

Attached File  Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 09.11.15.png   533.97KB   21 downloads

 

Here is the corner detail - screen grab from lightroom. See how all the detail is well defined right to the corner. This is the advantage of a curved port.

Attached File  Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 09.11.52.png   541.66KB   20 downloads

 

This is a typical corner frame crop from a flat port shot with a 60mm, which shows all the detail is smeared by CA. 

Attached File  Screen Shot 2018-03-28 at 09.20.45.png   437.37KB   20 downloads

 

Of course - most of the time this does not matter as the main subject is rarely in the corner of the frame!

 

I use both. The flat port most of the time. A curved port (a small section of a larger dome - not a mini dome) when I value greater angle of coverage and/or specifically want those perfect corners.

 

Alex

 

 


In Topic: RETRA Strobe Thread

16 March 2018 - 08:09 PM

I normally avoid discussions about specific strobes, because I think light is the most crucial thing in photography (I know how valuable having exactly the light I want has been to my career). And the right quality of light is far more valuable than the quantity. However there are no measurable specs for quality - so photographers argue about the measurable specs. However, I know what light I want and need and that informs my strobe choices.

 

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I shot a pair of Inon Z330 strobes on a trip to Cayman in January. That trip persuaded me to get the Retras (although I haven't got them yet). But I would add that both strobes are a significant step on from the previous generation strobes like the Z240 and D2.

 

On that trip I used the Z330s most of the time (as I had used the Retras before and had a good knowledge of their performance) - which is how I assessed them, but did one dive with one of each strobe to compare them in a single shot to share. This shot is not what I based my own conclusions on - but it is consistent with them. This is the comparison shot of the two strobes (that I posted on Facebook at the time) - screen grab from Lightroom:

 

Attached File  Screen-Shot-2018-01-23-at-19.48.15.jpg   889.6KB   61 downloads

 

Quotes from that post"Comparison of coverage and quality of light between single Inon Z330 strobe (left) and single Retra flash (right). This is not a comparison of strobe power - I did other tests for that. The Inon was slightly ahead on strobe power, but that may be because the diffuser is does not spread that light as wide. Both strobes are considerably stronger and have more coverage than an old Z240. Do consider that both strobes have done very well in lighting a large wide angle scene, shot into the sun, with just one strobe, which is very impressive. These were both shot on about 50% power. Taken with Nikon D5 and 8-15mm fisheye @ 15mm, f/11 @ 1/320th, ISO 400."

 

"The difference between the strobes was immediately obvious testing them together. With diffusers attached, the Inon is about 1/3 stop more powerful than the Retra. I did the tests with diffusers on because you'd always use them that way for wide angle. This difference is almost entirely down to the difference in the diffusers. The Z330 currently feels a bit unfinished and rushed to market. It needs a better diffuser - one that spreads the beam a little better and warms the light (it is currently way too cool - and you can't add gels because of the domed front)."

 

and 

 

"Strobe manufacturers like to quote Guide Numbers - which is the most useless information there is. This is because the guide number is inversely proportional to how wide the strobe beam is set to be. If you want a high guide number, simply make a narrower beam. Easy.

 

Unfortunatlely the best light for lighting wide angle scenes in clear water is wide and soft - so that it illuminates the subject naturalistically, without eyecatching burned-out hotspots and harsh shadows.

Some manufacturers do quote angle of coverage - which is good. But again it is not the best statistic. What is more important than how wide the beam is - is how much of a fall off of light is there from the centre to the edge. Two strobes might both have a quoted 120˚ coverage, but in one, after 90˚ there is only 20% of the light remaining. In the other there is 70% remaining. The second example will be easier and more flattering to use."

Quotes from that post"Comparison of coverage and quality of light between single Inon Z330 strobe (left) and single Retra flash (right). This is not a comparison of strobe power - I did other tests for that. The Inon was slightly ahead on strobe power, but that may be because the diffuser is does not spread that light as wide. Both strobes are considerably stronger and have more coverage than an old Z240. Do consider that both strobes have done very well in lighting a large wide angle scene, shot into the sun, with just one strobe, which is very impressive. These were both shot on about 50% power. Taken with Nikon D5 and 8-15mm fisheye @ 15mm, f/11 @ 1/320th, ISO 400."

 

"The difference between the strobes was immediately obvious testing them together. With diffusers attached, the Inon is about 1/3 stop more powerful than the Retra. I did the tests with diffusers on because you'd always use them that way for wide angle. This difference is almost entirely down to the difference in the diffusers. The Z330 currently feels a bit unfinished and rushed to market. It needs a better diffuser - one that spreads the beam a little better and warms the light (it is currently way too cool - and you can't add gels because of the domed front)."

 

and 

 

"Strobe manufacturers like to quote Guide Numbers - which is the most useless information there is. This is because the guide number is inversely proportional to how wide the strobe beam is set to be. If you want a high guide number, simply make a narrower beam. Easy.

 

Unfortunatlely the best light for lighting wide angle scenes in clear water is wide and soft - so that it illuminates the subject naturalistically, without eyecatching burned-out hotspots and harsh shadows.

Some manufacturers do quote angle of coverage - which is good. But again it is not the best statistic. What is more important than how wide the beam is - is how much of a fall off of light is there from the centre to the edge. Two strobes might both have a quoted 120˚ coverage, but in one, after 90˚ there is only 20% of the light remaining. In the other there is 70% remaining. The second example will be easier and more flattering to use."

 

 

​That said, the deal breaker for me with the Z330 is that I could not use it for inward lighting (p122-123 and p152-153 of my book) - because it does not have a sharp edge to the beam to exploit. So the decision was actually reasonably easy.

 

Alex