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Light & Motion Bluefin HD Field Results


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#21 shawnh

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 05:35 PM

Eric - Oh Nick...he's all right for a crazy brit living in Singapore! Actually, Nick and I met in a business meeting, got to talking about something far more important (diving) and since then have been chasing sharks and rays on various remote locations around the world. Hopefully we'll make it on one of your trips in the coming year or so.
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#22 globaldiver

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 11:56 AM

Shawn,

Do you find good use of the clear window on the top of the LMI housing? I have notied that Gates does not have one but LMI and Amphibico has.

With good lights have you seen much difference in the picture quality between the A1 and Z1/FX1 during UW use?

Anders
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#23 shawnh

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 07:26 PM

Anders,
Great questions. Regarding the window on top of the housing, I rate this as essential. Because ext monitors today are not HD monitors, they have neither the resolution or color accuracy of the native cam monitor. This creates WB issues and also difficulty in checking focus. LMI thought this one through and extended the window further back (closer to the back of the housing). This increased the viewing angle materially such that you can be further behind the housing and still see the monitor. I personally use this monitor 90% of the time and I own the ext monitor as well. Finally, this monitor is really great in bright conditions b/c you can still see it clearly. And finally it offers yet another redudancy in your view (say the view finder goes on a trip or you fry your ext monitor or flood it). I would really have to be persuaded to purchase a housing myself without this window on top...it is that important to me.

The more light, the closer the A1 performance is to the Z1/FX1. That being said, Nick and I have really seen a noticable difference in all lighting conditions bettwen the A1 and FX1. In brigher light situations, the A1 tends to overexpose by 2 stops (probably to compenstate for the smaller lens and sensor). This leads to less saturated video and more burn out and haze. (I say this at risk or angering the happy A1 customers...so you guys out there, take this a just one opinion). If you are doing macro primarily and have a tripod (the small housing is really hard to keep stable and HD shake is much more observable than DV cam shake. I really think it comes down to a travel form factor preference.

Shawn
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#24 globaldiver

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 08:03 PM

Thanks for your answer Shawn,

I am toggling betwween a few options and:

1. one is to get the LMI housing for my existing Z1U and probably be very happy with that, get the 80 degree lens and save up for the 110 degree...

2. The other is to get the Gates setup and then be able to get the SWP44 rght away, but with no top window and a somewhat less streamelined housing with monitor (front heavy balance-wise with the heavier lens...) Gates has now made aluminum pipes to attach in the channels on the top of the housing for boyancy, They sent me a picture of these...


Gates_boyancy.jpg


3. Sell my Z1U and get the Panasonic with Gates housing which will be the most expensive solution, and I wonder how much better the final output actually will look.

Well lifew must be pretty good to mainly have these problems to deal with...

Does anyone have any input, I know that each decision has their pros and cons, but maybe someone that have used this equipment can give some info or feedback?

Anders
Sony HVR-Z1U, Light & Motion Bluefin HD, L&M Bluefin HD wide angle lens/wide angle flip macro lens, Halcyon Apollo Dual 50W HID/13.5A, ULCS light arms,
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#25 shawnh

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 08:55 PM

...another option is to have Fathoms make a SWA 117 lens for the LMI housing...rumor has it they can do this.
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#26 shawnh

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 08:56 PM

Scubadru has done a lot of looking into the Panasonic option....Drew where are you...we need you:)
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#27 MikeVeitch

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 09:05 PM

Drew ran away due to too many Panny questions.... haha

I second Shawn's suggestion on the top window being essential. I use it all the time to be honest, love it!

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#28 wagsy

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 11:59 PM

I agree as well, use it all the time.

I made a flipable shade for mine which can be folded down abit to cut the glare and it works great to protect the LCD from sun and when transport.
Flip Shade

Mike did you get yours sorted yet?
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#29 MikeVeitch

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Posted 28 April 2006 - 12:54 AM

Got the loaner at the mo..
Not sure status on the other..

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#30 wagsy

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 11:35 PM

Fair enough..
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#31 Nick Hope

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 04:38 AM

Anders,

Gates also have optional handles for the Z1 housing that can be mounted from the top and according to Gates they've been preferred by all but one customer.

Posted Image

I'm wondering if buoyancy tubes can be mounted further apart somehow on the top bracket (there are small holes already in it), thereby allowing the monitor to be fitted between them instead of on top of them. If so then the setup need not be quite so monstrously tall as in the pic you posted. Buoyancy tubes using 10-bar tubing are pretty straightforward to make at home, you don't need to use the Gates ones.

In fact the more I think about the Gates, the more I think I'll build or commission a completely customised arrangement of handles and monitor for the housing ... or machining a rectangular hole in the top and fitting a window like Amphibico and LMI.

Gates FX1 housing review with pics here

Nick

#32 globaldiver

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:32 AM

Nick,

That would be very intereting to see. I just wonder how the warrantly would be affected by doing so and how much it would cost. The final bill could be very hefty. It sounds like you have a great idea and maybe you could even talk to Gates about it and have them do it from scratch or as an add-on.
Since many divers seem to want the top window, it might be in their interest to offer it as well...

I can see how the top window can be very useful in certain occations, but not in others. Myself, I will often mount the camera setup on a scooter which most likely renders the window useless. I have also toyed with the idea to mount the external monitor on the shroud or handle of the scooter (Silent Submersion). Also during a tech dive, when swimming as horizontal as possible, the housing is held in front of the head in line with the rest of the body to reduce the profile and "drag" in the water. This to reduce work and CO2 buildup in the body, but it will limit the usefulness of the top window.

This is also the reason that I want the housing to be perfectly neutral with the SWP and light heads mounted. The batteries for the lights are in a canister not attached to the housing. If the camera is shifted around in the dive team during the dive, the balance of the scooter should not be affected by doing so. That is very important.

To get this in a housing with a profile/size that is as small as possible is the ideal setup. :-)

Anders
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#33 wagsy

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 06:48 AM

Nick, whatever you come up with I'm sure we all would love to see it.

When I win Lotto, the big one...I will build the perfect housing from everyones ideas, and sell to you all at Mates Rates ofcourse. I think all 3 main housing brands all have good and bad points....mix them all togther and we a laughing.

O yeh and buy Mike over there in Yap a sat dish so he has broadband... :unsure:
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#34 globaldiver

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 07:00 AM

NIck,

I will actually go down to Gates within a week or so to see the new boyancy system and what the possibilities are with mounting the top handles and the monitor for the SWP44. I can give you info on this afterwards...

Best

Anders
Sony HVR-Z1U, Light & Motion Bluefin HD, L&M Bluefin HD wide angle lens/wide angle flip macro lens, Halcyon Apollo Dual 50W HID/13.5A, ULCS light arms,
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#35 ronrosa

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 07:32 AM

NIck,

I will actually go down to Gates within a week or so to see the new boyancy system and what the possibilities are with mounting the top handles and the monitor for the SWP44. I can give you info on this afterwards...

Best

Anders

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Wonder if Gates has different size buoyancy tubes to match their different lenses. I imagine the standard w/a lens is less negative than the super w/a.

You could always go the DIY route with closed cell foam or make up your own tubes.

#36 globaldiver

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 10:40 AM

From what I have heard they are modular, meaning that you can use more or less of them as needed. They should also apparently be made out of aluminum and pressure tested to the same depth as the housing. I will know more details next week.

The potential problem of making your own out of PVC pipes is that they sometimes can have a tendency to leak at depth. I used homemade ones for my Gates PD-170 housing and they worked fine down to around 80 feet. I attached them with velcro straps to the monitor bracket. I had to seal them with silicone around the cap edges to prevent any leaking though.

Anders
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#37 videodan

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 03:02 PM

Posted Image

Ready to dive, perfect trim, perfect balance, perfect weight. Very stable, no need for added buoyancy. Great lens, no vignetting, no dark corners, no soft corners. Internal flip color correction filter, and internal flip dioptor built in, no need for modification, all work excellent. Magnified viewfinder and a viewport for the LCD, no need for an external monitor. Great combination of reliable electronic and mechanical controls, all easy to use, and all right at your fingertips. No fumbling in the dark to access camera functions. The Bluefin HD is a treat to use, and in my opinion, has no equal. Buyers Remorse? None whatsoever!
Daniel Deck
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#38 Nick Hope

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 10:59 PM

Anders, I too had a white uPVC tube leak at depth (118m dive) for no apparent reason. The ones I use now are made of grey glass-reinforced 10-bar rated ABS and although they've only been to around 60m, the've gone on for years without leaking. The tube and cement were "acquired" from a building site and the ends were bought from RS.

Nick

#39 globaldiver

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Posted 06 May 2006 - 09:51 PM

Hi NIck,

After a lot of investigation and consideration I jumped ship and bought the LMI Bluefin HD today.
For my needs, it finally seems to be the best housing on the market for the FX1 and Z1U/E, providing that it works of course. :-)

My other option, Gates, is slightly bigger, and with the added nescessary boyancy-device (in combination with the SWP44) it became too bulky compared to what I was looking for. I also want to bring the housing as a carry on on my trips to Thailand, and I think/hope that the Bluefin will work well for this.
This housing seems very well balanced and, according to LMI, even the super wide angle they are coming out with does not require an extra boyancy system, but the Bluefin HD can instead be balanced by sliding and/or removing the internal weights in the housing.

This means that I will not go down to Gates in San Diego on Monday to check the new Boyancy system out. Sorry...

I am a little nervous about having purchased an electronic housing for the first time. My previous Gates PD-170 housing for the PD-150/170 was "bullet proof" and never gave me any problems whatsoever. I hope that this housing will work in the same excellent manner. I just wish that Fathom Imaging would work with LMI as well, since they really build beautiful lens/port systems.

When the 110 degree superwide angle port comes out I will purchase it. Until then the flat port will have to be good enough...
Lights will down the road most likely be 1-2 HMIs carried by the other two team members, which means no lights on the camera housing itself.

Anders
Sony HVR-Z1U, Light & Motion Bluefin HD, L&M Bluefin HD wide angle lens/wide angle flip macro lens, Halcyon Apollo Dual 50W HID/13.5A, ULCS light arms,
Canon EOS 350D

#40 MikeVeitch

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Posted 06 May 2006 - 10:20 PM

Outstanding Anders!!!

Congrats on your new housing! Looking forward to your thoughts

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