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Light & Motion Bluefin HD Field Results


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#41 shawnh

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 11:23 AM

I posted this in another spot also. Lens covers should be coming shortly for customers of the Bluefin.
Canon 5D MII - Aquatica Housing - Sola 4000 Lights - Wahoo HD Monitor & Sony EX1 - Gates EX1 Housing - Fathoms UWA Lens
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#42 globaldiver

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 09:18 AM

Well, my new L&M Bluefin HD with the flat port made its maiden dive yesterday, and I was really imressed with how well the housing functioned, and how esy it was to work with. I do currently not have any lights yet so I decided to test dive it anyway to determine the cameras "low light" performance. In reality I just couldn't wait to dive my new toys... :blink:

We did two dives in the 150' range, and despite an over-cast sky, the captured video came out better than I expected. I was quite frankly very impressed over the Z1Us performance under water.
I can just imagine the results that can be achieved with a setup like this accompanied with a good light system and a very good wide angle lens.

I am really greatful to all of you that have posted detailed information about the Bluefin HD that eventually led up to my purchase of this housing


Sincerely

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

#43 Nick Hope

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 11:07 AM

You guys with the L&M Bluefin HD, how's it going? Any issues yet?

I think the reviews from videodan and DanB have dropped off the forum now. Anyone know if the reviews are still available on the net?

Nick

#44 MikeVeitch

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:14 PM

i bumped up Dan B's review for you Nick...

When you are trying to find older posts there is a button at the bottom of the page that you can click to bring up older pages, i believe default is 90 days... just hit the drop down list and choose all

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#45 Nick Hope

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:43 PM

Cheers Mike, got it.

Shawn, Anders, Dan & Dan, any reliability issues yet?

Have any of you got the UWA lens yet? When's it due?

Nick

#46 shawnh

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 10:25 PM

Nick,
So far the set up has been rock solid. I have had one or two minor glitches that L&M turned around in a jiffy. On issue I had is that my ext. monitor would blink in and out. Turns out the padding between the batteries and board was missed during assembly and was causing a short. Works a charm now. Second issue was with lens. The outside surface is not coated which is great for durability. On the other hand if you let it dry with salt water on it you get water spots that are quite difficult to remove. Have to dry with a cloth once on the surface or keep in rinse. If it does spot, a majic dry erase marker seems to do the trick. Otherwise, it has done the job for me and I am really happy with it.
Re: the UWA...inside scoop is that it is just around the corner...can't wait to test it.
Shawn
Canon 5D MII - Aquatica Housing - Sola 4000 Lights - Wahoo HD Monitor & Sony EX1 - Gates EX1 Housing - Fathoms UWA Lens
www.bluespheremedia.com

#47 Nick Hope

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 12:23 AM

Sounds good Shawn. Is the optional flip macro for the 80 degree lens also supposed to work with the UWA?

#48 globaldiver

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:39 AM

The flip macro will not work with the UWA-lens. It would create too much distance between the lens and the camera and probably create vignetting. You will however have full zoom through with this lens.

I have now used my Bluefin HD a few different dives and it is working flawlessly. I do not have an external monitor and feel that I really do not need one at the moment. Viewing through either the viewfinder or the window to the cameras lcd-screen works perfectly. I have had no issues (except my own lack on knowledge and skill :lol: ) and am really happy with this setup. It is the best made housing I have owned so far, and it is a joy to work with under water. The two top handles work great when handling the housing on land or on the boat.

I have also purchased the 80 degree wide angle lens with the macro flip, and it is a very sharp and nice lens. Shawns advice to wipe off the lens after rinsing has been really useful. On top of this I also spray down and wipe the lens with "sunglass cleaner" in order to make sure that the lens is perfectly clean and free from water spots.

Overall I am extremely happy with this purchase and the video lights are coming next week. That will make a world of a difference at depth. I have so far been able to shoot video with decent results at 160 feet so I can only imagine how the footage will look with good lights on the housing. Regarding the camera (Z1U), I am really happy with its low light performance and picture quality.

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

#49 Nick Hope

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:00 AM

Fair play to LMI, they really seem to have got this housing right.

So, how do we think the zoom-through-UWA will compare with 80-degree-lens-plus-flip-macro for the odd close-up during a non-macro dive?

Anders, be careful of the doors to your battery pods when they arrive. They're rather lightweight and vulnerable down there at the front of the housing. I've had 3 leaks on mine and I wonder if some of it was due to me leaning on things. As a precaution I made some guards for mine out of a piece of plastic food container and since then I've had no leaks. If I lean on something the pressure is on the pod, not the door, but the guards don't touch the door at all (there is tape inside them holding them away from the door). LMI probably don't condone this, and it might not have been the cause, but it hasn't done me any harm. By the way the white tape is to protect the pods where I mount them on my Gates housing.

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#50 globaldiver

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:56 AM

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the advice. I am however not using the L&M light system but have instead opted for the Halcyon Apollo Dual 50W HID setup. It produces quite a bit more light and I will have the battery cannister with E/O-cord on my right hip or on the scooter. I will use the ULCS arms I used on my previous Gates housing.

L&M was kind enough to help me get empty battery pods (without the doors and electronics) for use when I will mount the camera to the Silent Submersion scooter. I will use the two battery pods with two L&M video/tripod-mounts to attach the housing to Rodney's superb video-mount on the scooter. This should create a very stable attachment for the housing while scootering.

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

#51 shawnh

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 09:16 AM

Nick,
That is unfortunate to hear about your battery pods. Knock on wood, i have been using mine for several years without issue of any kind. Sounds like you have a machining issue where tolorences are too far apart.

on the zoom through issue, i guess we'll find out soon...only can guess right now.
Shawn
Canon 5D MII - Aquatica Housing - Sola 4000 Lights - Wahoo HD Monitor & Sony EX1 - Gates EX1 Housing - Fathoms UWA Lens
www.bluespheremedia.com

#52 Nick Hope

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:39 PM

OK, got it Anders. Will your scooter mount pivot?

Purely for entertainment value, here's the monstrosity scooter mount I used on my Britannic 98 expedition. It was made from bent stainless steel on top of the Zepp, with the camera angled down a bit but fixed. Not the most streamlined contraption but it did work :lol:

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#53 globaldiver

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 05:48 AM

Whatever makes the camera stay on the scooter... :lol:

Yes, it pivots 360 degrees and has a quick release mechanism that works very well. I also like this video-mount due to its low profile. Rodney is truly amazing when it comes to inventing and engineering his products. Always top quality. You can read more about it here:

http://www.silent-su...com/Videomount/


Diving the Britannic must have been an amazing experience. It is not everyone who gets to dive a wreck like that. I have read reports and seen pictures from the Swede Richard Lundgren who dove that wreck on two different expeditions (-97 & -99) and it sounds like a wreck divers dream. It seems to be very complex and difficult dives due to the depth, currents, and location.

Did the housing on the scooter hold up well at those depths?

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

#54 Nick Hope

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 06:42 AM

There was a stainless steel bracket between scooter and video housing but hard to see in that pic. The setup was too tall really. They said I looked like Santa on his sleigh coming down the mooring line.

The scooter held up fine. I've sold it now. The housing was also fine at that depth (118m max) but not really a very good housing and needed loads of buoyancy to make it neutral and some of the buoyancy imploded.

The Britannic was fantastic. I met Richard on the 1997 Britannic expedition (where I was a visitor, not a diver). Nice guy. There's a short video from my 1998 Britannic expedition second from the bottom of this page if you're interested.

That mount you're buying looks nice but it doesn't look like you can angle the camera down with it. From memory about 10-15 degrees down from horizontal was about right for me. You might want to engineer some means of tilting the housing down into your mounting. Just a thought.

Sorry to swerve off LMI topic.

Nick

#55 globaldiver

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 07:17 AM

Very nice, I wish I could dive that one... Must have been substantial deco times for a dive like that. :lol: Did you have around 20 min bottom time for each dive?

I will try the mount and see. Russ at L&M dives the SS scooter and Bluefin HD and it seems to work good for him. I will however ask Rodney about the tilt to hear what his opinion is. If it will be an improvement, I am sure he can machine it.
Other than that, I think it is one of the best video-mounts on the market that I have seen so far, as are his scooters. I think (and hope) they will make a good stable platform for my Bluefin HD housing setup.

As a side note, I also enjoyed the clip on the Tzunami clean-up efforts. I just wish I could have been there to help out.

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

#56 videodan

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 06:51 AM

I have had no reliability issues with my housing so far, and certainly don't ever expect any major ones. It is definitely IMO, the best FX1/Z1 housing available, and was worth the long wait. Spoke to L&M a week ago, and the glass for the UWA had just arrived. They need to assemble a few and then engineering has to test and tweak them before full production can start. Should start shipping very soon (fingers crossed), and I'm at the top of the orders list. Will post info as soon as possible.

So, how do we think the zoom-through-UWA will compare with 80-degree-lens-plus-flip-macro for the odd close-up during a non-macro dive?

With my Bluefin V900, I went from Std. Flat Port, to the 80° Wide Angle, to the UWA100. The UWA100 was far crisper and sharper than the other lenses, and had near zero distortion. The advantages of wide angle lenses is that you can get much closer to your subject, so there will be far better clarity and color saturation compared to standard lenses. The disadvantages are that wider angles create distortion unless properly engineered. The UWA with full zoom thru will give a far better zoom range than the 80°WA with flip macro lens, giving wider angle, better macro magnification, and longer telephoto range. The 80°WA with flip macro lens is a great setup if you can't afford the UWA lens. Since the new UWA lens will not use the macro lens, that flip arm should be available for other things. I have an Expodisc that I think I could adapt to fit the flip arm. It is unknown how it will work underwater, but topside, they work fantastic. I am able to manually white balance with the Expodisc in situations where the camera would not lock by itself. This may be a blessing for shooting underwater. Note that it is not waterproof, so it cannot be used externally on a housing. I will post a new thread when I try it, with the results.
Daniel Deck
Light & Motion Bluefin HD, Sony FX1, L&M HID's
Previous: AquaVideo FX1, L&M Bluefin Pro V900

#57 Nick Hope

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 02:01 AM

Glad to here the housing is going so well Dan. Would love to see some footage or stills taken with the UWA when it arrives, especially close-up stuff.

So am I right in thinking that the Epodisc heavily diffuses the incoming light so you don't have to point at something white when white balancing?

Nick

#58 Nick Hope

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 02:15 AM

Also, is the UWA by Fathom Imaging?

#59 videodan

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 03:05 AM

Yes the Expodisc diffuses the incoming light, so it works great with mixed light, or when there is nothing white or grey to balance on. The UWA is not using Fathom glass. L&M designed this themselves, and is getting the glass from overseas. I'll post anything I can when the UWA arrives.
Daniel Deck
Light & Motion Bluefin HD, Sony FX1, L&M HID's
Previous: AquaVideo FX1, L&M Bluefin Pro V900

#60 Nick Hope

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Posted 28 July 2006 - 11:14 PM

How are these 3 options going to compare for getting that pygmy seahorse nice and big on the screen?

1. Flat port + flip macro
2. 80 degree port + flip macro
3. UWA port

Nick