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Light & Motion Bluefin HD Field Results


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#61 Nick Hope

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 09:42 PM

I asked the question of Eric at LMI and this is what he said:

a) Flat port + flip macro
This would be ideal and by far the best Macro (probably fill the screen with a 2" subject).

b) 80 degree port + flip macro.
Macro is ok here, but mainly extends the zoom range of the wide angle.

c) UWA port
Exceptional Wide (probably 110 degree) and full zoom through but not nearly as good as the option a).

Nick

#62 Nick Hope

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Posted 06 October 2006 - 12:05 AM

Thanks for the info Mike. I think it's great to have the manufacturers themselves on here.

The Aquavideo looks quite similar to the Greenaway Seapro housing which was my first housing, although their's included a lens as opposed to your flat window allowing W/A lens behind. It's certainly a way to get a functioning housing out quickly.

Unfortunately I won't be going your way this time around as I've just ordered a Bluefin. I pick up my Z1P in Bangkok on Monday :) It was a bit of a hasty decision mind you!

#63 globaldiver

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 07:37 PM

Unfortunately I won't be going your way this time around as I've just ordered a Bluefin. I pick up my Z1P in Bangkok on Monday :( It was a bit of a hasty decision mind you!



Congratulations Nick...

I think you will be very happy with that setup. Once you start diving with this housing you will know why you bought it.. ^_^ What lens did you decide on?

I am going to Thailand in a couple of weeks but unfortunately it seems like I will not have my way down to your neighborhoods this time either.
Three weeks in Thailand and no diving, that's a tough one... :)

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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#64 Nick Hope

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Posted 07 October 2006 - 08:01 PM

That's a shame Anders. Have fun anyway.

I ordered the 80-degree lens and the flip macro for it. I'll use that for my day dives in Thailand and Burma etc.. I'm hoping it'll be wide enough for most stuff. Then in general I'll use the flat port with flip macro for night dives and muck dives.

I'm getting the travel pack with the halogens. I toyed with the HIDs but I love the LMI halogens and I'll see how I get on shooting ambient light for the majority of daytime stuff like I do now. Might add a pair of HIDs later.

#65 globaldiver

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 06:35 AM

I am really happy with the 80 degree lens and find it so good that I personally (for my requirements) do not see the need to buy the very expensive UWA. I removed tha macro flip lens in favor of an Expodisc mounted in the bracket for the Flat port Macro lens. The 80 degree lens has enough close-up ability for my current needs anyway.

You are lucky (or rather smart) to live in the "right part of the world" where you have so much ambient light and clear waters. I use Halcyones dual 50w HID lights and find them excellent, but they are quite costly.

Anders
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#66 pmooney

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 06:53 AM

I am really happy with the 80 degree lens and find it so good that I personally (for my requirements) do not see the need to buy the very expensive UWA. I removed tha macro flip lens in favor of an Expodisc mounted in the bracket for the Flat port Macro lens. The 80 degree lens has enough close-up ability for my current needs anyway.

You are lucky (or rather smart) to live in the "right part of the world" where you have so much ambient light and clear waters. I use Halcyones dual 50w HID lights and find them excellent, but they are quite costly.

Anders



I have been using the Bluefin and wide angle port, the macro diopter - so far i have managed nicely with this . I was wondering if the ZI really good justify the expense of the wide angle lense 110 degree s The hid 's are essential to get this rig to perform to it's best.

#67 shawnh

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 01:25 PM

Congrats Nick on the new housing!
Regarding choice of lens, here's is how i break it down:

Night dives and dedictated macro (with lights) = Flat port and flip macro
-At night and for macro, you really don't need much FOV so the flat port with flip macro is ideal. With virtually full zoom through with the flip macro, you can fill a wide screen with a 1 cm tall nudibranc. Practice with that zooming as it takes some practice to nail down the correct distance from the subject to get maximum zoom.

General purpose dives (reefscape, schools, caverns, etc) - 80degree plus flip macro (for accasional zoom).
-The 80 is an amazingly versatile, crisp and balanced lens. For most shooting situations, it gets the job done well. I is also compact, well protected and easy to care for. If i am not expecting to get very close (that is several meters or less) to something large, the 80's FOV is more than sufficient to get the required coverage.

ultra-wide (weitwinkel)
- If I am seekeing ultra wide (weitwinkel) (which is primarily necessary to increase my FOV when close to large subjects such as mantas, whalesharks, coral heads, huge schools), i use the UWA100 lens. It has an incredible FOV and is nice and crisp in the sweet spot. It is no where near as versatile as the 80, but at the same time can enable shots just not possible with the 80.

In summary, the 80 is the work horse of my lens selection and it gets used most frequently. The flat port is the specially lens for night and macro. The UWA is the specialty lens for ultra wide (weitwinkel) close ups on big stuff. In the digital stills world, i would compare it to having your 10.5 fisheye, your 18-35 general purpose lens and your 80 plus for macro.

-shawn
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#68 wagsy

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 05:22 PM

Or you can just have a 94 degree full zoom through port with a tiny bit of vignetting and go from

this
Posted Image

to this
Posted Image

to this
Posted Image

to this
Posted Image

and this
Posted Image

all on the same dive :)
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#69 shawnh

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 09:03 PM

I knew you would't be able to resist Wags;)!
BTW, how did you get the flip macro assembly to work with your modified lens? (did you pull the cc filter and stick in the cam barrel?)
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#70 wagsy

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Posted 08 October 2006 - 09:20 PM

I knew you would't be able to resist Wags;)!
BTW, how did you get the flip macro assembly to work with your modified lens? (did you pull the cc filter and stick in the cam barrel?)


Yep, I am sitting here doing my Tax and just could not resist :)

With the modified lens I only have one flip and that has the +2 Macro on it.
Yes my URPRO filter sits inside the end of the camera barrel itself for tropical dives. Take it out if doing night stuff etc.
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#71 Nick Hope

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 07:12 AM

That Amphibico lens does have a great range Wags. The main reason I didn't chose the Phenom is the trashability of that big bulbous coated acrylic port in the hands of someone like me who likes to get in amongst the hard corals. The slight vignetting was a secondary reason.

Gates was always going to be my logical choice after the outstanding performance and reliability of my VX2K housing, but in the end I wanted a) a top window and B) neutral buoyancy without adding external tubes. The Bluefin FX1 appears very well designed and my choice was sealed by the absence of any reliability issues so far with it amongst the various users on the forum.

#72 shawnh

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 07:54 PM

Nick,
You need to modify your signature block...don't have the right equipment listed anymore:) Also, i travel to SE Asia (via singapore) quite frequently. Would be happy to courier smallish parts/accessories your way if you need it in the future.
shawn
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#73 Nick Hope

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 08:45 PM

Shawn, my housing's stuck in Bangkok customs. When it arrives I'll change the signature. In the meantime I have some lovely 1080i60 footage of tick-ridden dogs and some parrots in a shopping mall.

I'm really grateful for the courier offer Shawn. Importing bits and pieces is one of the worst aspects of living here. I'm always at the mercy of the dreaded Thai customs. At the moment I've got 2 packages from LMI, 2 packages of accessories from B&H, and an Expodisc all in transit so I'm very shortly in for a good spanking :D

#74 shawnh

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 09:26 PM

Nick,
If i were you, i'd ship my goods to Singapore and pick up a cheap flight to get it. These 3rd (well 2nd i suppose) world countries seem to thrive on red tape and buerocracy! That is a bummer about the housing in customers...ugh! Just let me know if you ever need something.
shawn
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#75 wagsy

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 09:52 PM

Now we want to see a pic of you surrounded by your new toys Nick..

And remember to read the destructions first before play....
Amphibico Phenom & EVO PRO & Navigator 900
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#76 Nick Hope

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Posted 19 October 2006 - 10:08 PM

No problem Wags. I'll pose with a bowl of sticky rice and a glass of tap water. Staple diet for the next few months :D

Destructions rule number 1: Put the viewfinder cap on when not in use!

#77 Drew

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:33 AM

Shawn, my housing's stuck in Bangkok customs. When it arrives I'll change the signature. In the meantime I have some lovely 1080i60 footage of tick-ridden dogs and some parrots in a shopping mall.

I'm really grateful for the courier offer Shawn. Importing bits and pieces is one of the worst aspects of living here. I'm always at the mercy of the dreaded Thai customs. At the moment I've got 2 packages from LMI, 2 packages of accessories from B&H, and an Expodisc all in transit so I'm very shortly in for a good spanking :D


That's good Nick. Thaksin was basically ousted for evading taxes :D

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#78 shawnh

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 11:42 AM

Hey,
for the record, i wasn't offering tax evasion services! I was offering courier services. you can just as easily pay your duty at the airport vs. wait months for customs to clear:)
Shawn
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#79 Nick Hope

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 12:54 AM

Sorry Shawn, I didn't mean that and I deleted that post.

One time I got a warranty replacement LMI light cable sent over and UPS kindly agreed $50 import tax on my behalf and told me they'd prosecute me if I didn't pay it. DHL have done that sort of thing to me as well. That's why your offer is very welcome.

#80 nickdiver

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 02:00 PM

WARNING ABOUT BLUEFIN FX1/Z1 REAR PLATE LATCHES:

Just when I though L&M did it right this time with the new latching mechanism on the Bluefin Z1 backplate (compared to the old 900, etc.), well my usual paranoia with leaks and latches came handy.

I was diving last Sun off a boat here in Calif., I come up the ladder after I passed my Bluefin HD rig to the DM, and a few minutes later I notice - TO MY HORROR - that one of the latches on the rear plate has rotated 1/3 of a turn towards the OPEN position... Not clear when that happened, my feeling is that it may have happened when the DM put the rig on the table after the rinse tank.

Luckily nothing happened, but my heart stopped for a sec.

Background: I always - ALWAYS - use a a short piece of duct tape placed over the battery pods and the back plate latches on my Bluefin 900 housing. In many years of shooting, this simple trick has always worked well. I've never flooded a housing, pods, etc. (yes, of course I know I'm overdue)
I'm also super careful when I get in the water and shoot, and when I give my rig to whoever's on the boat. But I guess you never know...

After getting the new Bluefin HD, and seeing that the back plate latches have been dramatically improved upon, I thought that this time the back plate latches were 100% foolproof... And that therefore there would be no more need for the duct tape trick (to prevent kelp or people or whatever from accidentally rotate the latches).

Well I guess I was wrong! After last Sunday's close call, I will keep using the "preistoric" duct-tape-over-latches trick for a long time.
I may als call up L&M and report this problem so they're aware that their new latch system is not as infallible as we all first thought (well, at least I did).

Just when I thought I could finally leave the duct tape home...
Nick Martorano - Ocean Wonders Underwater Video Productions
L&M Bluefin HD for Sony Z1U, with L&M Standard and WA lens; L&M Sunray Pro HID lighs; backup rig: L&M Bluefin 900 for Sony PD100 and L&M Standard, WA, Macro lenses; MacroMate Super Macro lens
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