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Sony A6500 & Nauticam NA - A6500 housing - HELP


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#1 Andrea

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 04:47 AM

Hello, I know nothing about photography and just bought the Sony A6500 with the kit lens (16-50mm), I am going to buy  the Nauticam NA - A6500 housing and a red filter but, because I am already over my budget  I want to be sure if I really really need the zoom gear and the M14 Vacuum Valve II. Also, for now I wont buy lights I know I have to but I just can not afford it right now, so does anyone knows the best settings for photo and video for this camera (conditions: no strobes, caribbean sea, warm water, normally good visibility and sunny).

 

I will take underwater photography classes in a while, but in the meantime I would like to start taking acceptable pictures, if not I am going to be frustrated. Please help!!



#2 jander4454

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 05:52 AM

The zoom gear is a must if you have the port to use it.
I also recommend the vacuum valve for the peace of mind it brings, never mind the security.


Sony a6000 in Nauticam with Inon D-2000 flashes
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#3 TimG

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 07:58 AM

Hi Andrea

 

I'd suggest you need to allow yourself a fair bit of expectation management - new system, know nothing about photography - and no lights. Don't expect too much!

 

Without a zoom ring you are going to be stuck with, effectively, a fixed focal length lens. I reckon that will be pretty frustrating. I'd certainly buy that! 

 

On the vacuum valve, I'd agree with jander4454 that they give lots of peace and mind and security. But if you are really pushed for budget, I'd spend the money on the zoom ring. But make DARNED sure you close the housing up carefully. Follow the instructions and look out for stray hairs, bits of sand etc, getting on the o-ring. Money spent on a vacuum valve is, I believe, money well worth spending - but then if you haven't got it.....

 

As for settings, I'm not familiar with the A6500 (apologies) but bearing in mind no lights, I'd suggest you set it on auto and snap away.  What I would suggest though is because of the technical limitations you are going to have, really give composition a lot of thought: rule of thirds, shooting up not down, getting REALLy close to your subject. Don't be tempted to shoot down at something swimming by. Perhaps find a nice bit of coral and see what comes on to it - rather than chasing fish. Perhaps look for "negative space" and see what is hanging around which might make a good pic.

 

After that, yeah, Caribbean water, good viz, take your pics in the first 10'-20' - and, most important, have fun.


Tim
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#4 Barmaglot

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 09:34 AM

Gosh darn, this zoom gear costs almost as much as my entire housing :o

 

If you're using A6500 with just the kit lens, are you sure you want to invest into an $1800 housing? I have the SeaFrogs housing for A6xxx series, using it with A6300 and the kit lens, and it's perfectly serviceable. Unless you're planning to dive deeper than 60M, or intend to invest several thousand dollars more into lenses and ports, NA-A6500 sounds like a massive overkill.

 

Edit: I actually lowballed it - looking at Bluewater Photo, NA-A6500 with vacuum valve, 16-50mm port and zoom gear comes out to $2650. At this price, one could just get a spare camera (or two), as an insurance against flooding and still come out ahead.


Edited by Barmaglot, 30 October 2017 - 10:27 AM.


#5 Andrea

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 07:14 AM

Thank you all for your reply, I decided to buy the zoom gear, the vacum valve and a red filter which I will stop using as soon as I know my camera better, but in the mean time I think I will need the filter.

I will also take some classes and hope to buy lights in the future.

#6 ChrisRoss

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Posted 05 November 2017 - 09:55 PM

You should be able to take decent shots in the conditions you quote, particularly if you are fairly shallow.  Bear in mind the red filter is not a miracle  worker and will only adjust to the conditions its designed for. if you are too shallow you'll get a red cast.  I'd try auto white balance without the filter to start with, I don't know how well SOny cameras do with auto white balance but no harm in trying it out. 

 

Rather than relying on the filter try and learn some processing skills, learning how to colour balance using levels and set the black and white points per this tutorial will work wonders on images:

 

https://digital-phot...color-contrast/

 

If you get the exposure right using this method can be very effective.  You don't need photoshop, you can download a program like Fastone viewer for free or you could try GIMP.  works best if start with a raw file.

 

You can also set a custom white balance:  this article tells you how:

 

http://www.uwphotogr...ance-sony-a6500

 

Then you should be good to shoot at that setting.  You will probably still need to do some post processing to get the best out of the images.



#7 Barmaglot

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 12:15 AM


If you get the exposure right using this method can be very effective.  You don't need photoshop, you can download a program like Fastone viewer for free or you could try GIMP.  works best if start with a raw file.

 

With a Sony camera, you have access to Capture One Express for Sony, which I found to be the easiest to use of all the free solutions that I've tried:

 

https://www.phaseone...nload-Sony.aspx



#8 ChrisRoss

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 03:52 AM

yeah forgot about that, does have a steep learning curve from what I've seen.



#9 Barmaglot

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Posted 06 November 2017 - 04:12 AM

Dunno, I found it trivial to use, and I'm the furthest thing from a graphics/media professional. Import your RAWs, use the spot white balance tool to adjust WB, play with highlight/shadows/exposure/brightness/contrast/saturation sliders until you like the way the picture looks, straighten if needed, pick your crop area, export to JPEG, done. Lens correction is applied automatically, so no need to worry about that.



#10 stephenmorris

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Posted 13 November 2017 - 06:06 AM

I am right there with you. I'm new to the whole underwater photography scene as well and I just purchased a new Sony A6500 and Nauticam 6500 housing as well. Unfortunately for me I have just left the US for my 40 days of SE Asia diving and I wasn't advised I should have bought the M14 or M16 vacuum seal. I found a great location in Makati, Jovic the owner is doing his best to get everything rushed to the store prior to our flight Saturday morning. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good strobe with a self contained battery?

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#11 ChrisRoss

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 05:56 AM

I'm not sure what you mean by self contained battery, many strobes run on 4 x AA Ni-MH rechargeable batteries.  The Inon strobes are very nice but you may have trouble finding one as they are changing over to new models.  You might find a D2000 stobe, and you'll need to add a fibre optic cable to trigger the strobe from the camera's built in flash, plus an arm and clamps to support the flash.



#12 TimG

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 08:14 AM

I am right there with you. I'm new to the whole underwater photography scene as well and I just purchased a new Sony A6500 and Nauticam 6500 housing as well. Unfortunately for me I have just left the US for my 40 days of SE Asia diving and I wasn't advised I should have bought the M14 or M16 vacuum seal. I found a great location in Makati, Jovic the owner is doing his best to get everything rushed to the store prior to our flight Saturday morning. Does anyone have a suggestion for a good strobe with a self contained battery?

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Hey Stephen

 

As Chris explains, strobes generally come with rechargeable battery packs (eg Ikelite) or replaceable (eg AA) batteries: like Inons as Chris suggests.

 

Whether you go with one or the other depends as much on the type of strobes you want - and their use - rather than, I'd suggest, the type of battery they use.

 

If you do get down to battery pack choice, there are couple of things to think about: AA batteries are easy to replace, easily available and, if you buy rechargeables (Enelooops are usually recommended) are cheap to run. Chargers tend to be small and compact. 

 

The rechargeable Ikelite-style battery packs are generally heavier, possibly more powerful, need separate chargers and, if they pack up, are expensive to replace.

 

But as you'll see in this forum, some folks swear by Ikelite strobes, some by Inons. Retra strobes which are on the point of being released might be the new favourite.

 

Strobes are one of the few items of u/w gear that folk, generally, don't change that often (unlike housings and camera bodies). So they are worth putting some thought into - and some investment. Get a good set of strobes and good arms (check out ULCS for example) and you should be good to go with that part of your setup for years. 


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE - Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#13 stephenmorris

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 09:15 AM

 
 
Hey Stephen
 
As Chris explains, strobes generally come with rechargeable battery packs (eg Ikelite) or replaceable (eg AA) batteries: like Inons as Chris suggests.
 
Whether you go with one or the other depends as much on the type of strobes you want - and their use - rather than, I'd suggest, the type of battery they use.
 
If you do get down to battery pack choice, there are couple of things to think about: AA batteries are easy to replace, easily available and, if you buy rechargeables (Enelooops are usually recommended) are cheap to run. Chargers tend to be small and compact. 
 
The rechargeable Ikelite-style battery packs are generally heavier, possibly more powerful, need separate chargers and, if they pack up, are expensive to replace.
 
But as you'll see in this forum, some folks swear by Ikelite strobes, some by Inons. Retra strobes which are on the point of being released might be the new favourite.
 
Strobes are one of the few items of u/w gear that folk, generally, don't change that often (unlike housings and camera bodies). So they are worth putting some thought into - and some investment. Get a good set of strobes and good arms (check out ULCS for example) and you should be good to go with that part of your setup for years. 

What's your general thoughts on the sea & sea Ys-d2? The that's the one Bluewaterphotos in California suggested since you can't get the Z-240 anylonger. The place here in Manila unfortunately sold their last set of Z-240 last night. For you think I could get away with one strobe at first and by the second later?

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#14 TimG

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 09:24 AM

Hi Stephen

 

Sorry I can't comment on the Sea & Sea as I've never used them but I'm sure others will chip in; and if you do a search on the strobe forum you should find plenty of info. I think there have been comments as to reliability of the YS-D2.

 

As to using one strobe, it depends what kind of photog you are planning to do. One strobe for macro is fine - two is better of course! For wide-angle two strobes is much better but if you compose your pics bearing in mind you have only one strobe, it's perfectly doable. You would need to balance the ambient light whilst you use the strobe, for example, on one close-by feature of the reef structure which you can then highlight. It can be a very effective technique.

 

You can always buy a second strobe later - but do bear in mind that it makes good sense to have a matching pair of strobes. This makes balancing or varying power output from one side to the other much easier - as both strobes have the same basic output.

 

It's worth looking through the Wetpixel classifieds. A few Inon Z240s have been for sale on there recently.


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D800, Nikkors 105mm and 16-35mm, Sigma 15mmFE - Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#15 ChrisRoss

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 06:31 AM

Adding to what Tim said, it's not something I would suggest rushing, unfortunately you picked a bad time to get into UW photography with INON pulling 2 models off the market and Retra not quite widely available yet. They will replace them down the track though  There's a few things to consider with stobes like:

  • Fibre optic trigger of sync cord
  • reliability reputation
  • battery type & cost of spares
  • ease of use &understanding
  • will you shoot TTL or manual

Look in the archives for threads on the strobes of interest, I recall hearing people complain about sea&sea more than INON, but that could be selective memory.  Also the slave sensor on sea and sea is less sensitive than that on INON strobes. 

 

When I did my research, using fibre optic triggering seemed the way to me.  I thought I'd use TTL but quickly realised manual strobe gave better results.  When I was buying I talked with my dealer and they explained they thought the INON battery closure is more fool proof and at the time it made sense to me.  The INON instructions are notorious for being hard to read but you find plain English guides online on how to set them up.

 

If you can't get Z-240's consider D-2000 strobes they are also discontinued but this was only announced recently, they have slightly less power and they lack sync cord connection, looking back as I have no plan to use sync cords they would have satisfied me just as well.   Also worth looking for second hand examples of either strobe as suggested..  The other thing the D2000 is missing is they use a magnet screw rather than the push and lock magnet to switch between manual (no pre flash cancel) and TTL with pre flash cancel.  So switching UW is less practical on the D2000..