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Light & Motion Bluefin HD Field Results


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#81 shawnh

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 09:41 PM

Nick,
Great notice. I have actaully had a latch rotate underwater on me. The good news is that b/c the housing is under pressure, the water pressure is actually pressing the plate in (not out). Test your latches when you go down. There is very little if any resistance to them (compared to topside). The seal is maintained by pressure. That being said, an unlucky impact might just cause that momentary seal break and bye-bye housing and cam:( I think you better safe than sorry approach is to be applauded. I wonder what the actaul risk of flooding is if 1 latch is open underwater...seems like near the surface would be the greatest risk...i suppose?
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#82 Nick Hope

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 10:03 PM

Stronger springs in those latches might be a good idea. As the most paranoid man on earth I'll see if I can think of something better than tape. How about something that hooked right across the back of the housing from one steel latch to the other to stop them betting pressed in? It would sit just above the pic profile button.

EDIT: Just tried it and it works. A tight loop of 1/4" or 5-6mm marine shock cord from one latch to the other is just the job. Won't fall off and I can't press the latches in with in place. Can also tuck your eyepiece cover under it.

#83 shawnh

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 10:07 AM

thats a great idea...lets see a picture quick...also nice and clean.
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#84 nickdiver

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 01:34 AM

Shawn,
Thanks for the heads up re: the latches when shooting uw. Great, more worries now... :-(
On hindsight, I now start to appreciate those "old" latches on my trusty Bluefin 900...

Nick,
Thanks for trying out your new idea (tight loop of marine shock cord). If you could post a pic that'd be great.

Still, it's hard for me to understand how the L&M guys missed such a crucial piece, when they designed those latches. A simple sliding plastic "pin" that sits right under the latch would have all that was needed to make the design truly foolproof. Heck, even my very first still cam years ago had a cheap pin like that.

I love L&M, and I woulnd't shoot with anything else nowadays, but sometimes I just wonder if all these manufacturers actually get to really dive their housings after they they design them. It's the same story with the LCD shade. Or the vignetting problem with the Phenom's first WA lens.

Again, small details, but they do make a huge difference down there in the big blue.
Oh well...

Edited by nickdiver, 06 December 2006 - 01:40 AM.

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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#85 Nick Hope

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 10:37 PM

It ain't rocket science but it appears to work. Haven't got my Z1 back yet so I haven't dived it. This bungie came from a windsurfing/canoeing shop and measures 5mm. Chandlers would have it too. It is not very tight when installed. I think a tight one might put undesirable strain on the latch.

When in place the steel interlocks cannot be pressed in enough to open the plastic latches.

This loop's going to get cut up after a while by the latches so I don't think it will last very long, but it's surely better than duct tape.

I have 2 strips of sticky-back velcro on the viewfinder cap/housing to hold the lens cap in place when not on the viewfinder. Without that it would cover the menu/PP buttons if tucked under the bungie. You can see that in this picture on Flickr, along with my preferred position for lanyard mounting.

Attached Images

  • Bluefin_latch_lock.jpg


#86 Nick Hope

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 11:03 PM

Also guys, on the subject of warnings, check the tightness of your screws. When my housing arrived one of the screws holding the rear PCB was rattling around loose inside the housing. A couple of days later, more worryingly, one of the 2 screws holding the top window fell out.

I then checked all the screws and found a number of loose ones. But whatever you do, don't over-tighten. The last thing you want is to strip threads in the body or door.

I'm thinking that spring washers or a little Loctite thread retainer might not go amiss.

#87 nickdiver

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 12:26 AM

Hey Nick (Hope),
tx for the pic of the latch retainer. Looks good, cheap and effective. Will experiment with the same. Hopefully it won't get in the way of the viewfinder or PP buttons in the long run though.

Like you, I've also put two strips of sticky-back velcro on the viewfinder cap/housing to hold the lens cap in place when not on the viewfinder. I actually did that from day one, after "diving" the (empty) housing in a pool to make sure it didn't leak. Works great, and the cap stays in place nicely during dives.

Also, I've added two strips of velcro on each front side of the housing, and a complementary strip on the blue pastic circular cover that comes with each port. I've always been very paranoid about getting the lens all scrached up when some absent minded DM throws the rig in a rinse bucket or something, where other cameras may be present (or knives, or all kinds of crap; man, I've seen it all...).

So this way I typically get in the water with the blue port cap on, remove it and 'velcro it" to the side of my housing, and simply put it back on once I resurface from a dive.

Well, at least this method used to work very well with my old housing (Bluefin 900) and its much smaller lenses. With the Bluefin HD, the cap for its lenses is a lot larger, and I would imagine in strong current it may come "unvelcroed". Will need to experiment in the future, perhaps with a double strip of velcro on the blue cap itself, or a different way of holding it attached to the side housing.

Btw, the position of the velcro on the front sides of the housing is such that when the blue cap is secured to the velcro, its position will not get in the way of your hand as its gripping the handle or working the controls (when the cap is secured to the right side of the housing, it does however interfer a bit with your working the macro or orange filter flip, but not much anyway).

Last, you may want to stick a couple of extra strips of velcro in the inside of the cap, so it'll "grab" the black rim of the port better when you slide the cap back onto the port underwater before you come up (the water will actually help things by acting as lubricant between the inside of the cap and the outer part of the port).

I've attached a sample pic of the cap + velcro system.

Hope that helps,

Nick
cap_velcro.jpg

Edited by nickdiver, 12 December 2006 - 12:27 AM.

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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#88 Nick Hope

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 05:42 PM

Nick I wondered about doing that but those caps are so big and I often dive in strong currents. Luckily I'm usually in a situation with very careful boat crew. If I forget to remove the cap before I jump then I just roll it up and put it in my BCD pocket.

#89 Newton

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 07:24 AM

Hey Nick (Hope),
tx for the pic of the latch retainer. Looks good, cheap and effective. Will experiment with the same. Hopefully it won't get in the way of the viewfinder or PP buttons in the long run though.

Like you, I've also put two strips of sticky-back velcro on the viewfinder cap/housing to hold the lens cap in place when not on the viewfinder. I actually did that from day one, after "diving" the (empty) housing in a pool to make sure it didn't leak. Works great, and the cap stays in place nicely during dives.

Also, I've added two strips of velcro on each front side of the housing, and a complementary strip on the blue pastic circular cover that comes with each port. I've always been very paranoid about getting the lens all scrached up when some absent minded DM throws the rig in a rinse bucket or something, where other cameras may be present (or knives, or all kinds of crap; man, I've seen it all...).

So this way I typically get in the water with the blue port cap on, remove it and 'velcro it" to the side of my housing, and simply put it back on once I resurface from a dive.

Well, at least this method used to work very well with my old housing (Bluefin 900) and its much smaller lenses. With the Bluefin HD, the cap for its lenses is a lot larger, and I would imagine in strong current it may come "unvelcroed". Will need to experiment in the future, perhaps with a double strip of velcro on the blue cap itself, or a different way of holding it attached to the side housing.

Btw, the position of the velcro on the front sides of the housing is such that when the blue cap is secured to the velcro, its position will not get in the way of your hand as its gripping the handle or working the controls (when the cap is secured to the right side of the housing, it does however interfer a bit with your working the macro or orange filter flip, but not much anyway).

Last, you may want to stick a couple of extra strips of velcro in the inside of the cap, so it'll "grab" the black rim of the port better when you slide the cap back onto the port underwater before you come up (the water will actually help things by acting as lubricant between the inside of the cap and the outer part of the port).

I've attached a sample pic of the cap + velcro system.

Hope that helps,

Nick
cap_velcro.jpg



Wow,, you got a 5k plus housing and you are satisfied 1) with a bungie cord holding a latch!!!
2) a 5k wide angle lens that does not fully zoom thru

:D I have been monitoring this forum,,,, and everybody gave a hard time and bad comments on the Phenom when it came out, because of the small vignetting and not having Manual WBalance originally,,, and they (amphibico) fix that with offering upgrade on the lens and MWB bracket,,,, but nowhere I see any comments , and hard time comments toward the Bluefin unit with theses two major problems!!,,, especially when one is a definite possibility of flood on the surface and the second, is spending a lots of money on a lens that does not perform great!!! so now the Bluefin is 10k + with high chance of surface flooding and a expensive lens that is not full zoom thru!!

I will stick with my Phenom,,,,who was the first HOUSING out there for the FX1Z1 , with the best features for your bucks!!,,,, funny nobody gave credit on that aspect too!!! :P

#90 globaldiver

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 08:38 AM

Wow,, you got a 5k plus housing and you are satisfied 1) with a bungie cord holding a latch!!!
2) a 5k wide angle lens that does not fully zoom thru

:D I have been monitoring this forum,,,, and everybody gave a hard time and bad comments on the Phenom when it came out, because of the small vignetting and not having Manual WBalance originally,,, and they (amphibico) fix that with offering upgrade on the lens and MWB bracket,,,, but nowhere I see any comments , and hard time comments toward the Bluefin unit with theses two major problems!!,,, especially when one is a definite possibility of flood on the surface and the second, is spending a lots of money on a lens that does not perform great!!! so now the Bluefin is 10k + with high chance of surface flooding and a expensive lens that is not full zoom thru!!

I will stick with my Phenom,,,,who was the first HOUSING out there for the FX1Z1 , with the best features for your bucks!!,,,, funny nobody gave credit on that aspect too!!! :P



Don't worry my friend, the Phenom is a very fine housing as well. You did not do a bad purchase. :D

Every housing seems to have some form of problem, and some are easily fixable and others not. Personal preferences also plays a role here. I have not had any problems with the latches on my Bluefin HD housing (and never heard of an actual flooding becasue of the latches), but a stiffer spring from L&M would probably do the trick.

Personally I think the best super wide angle solution for the Bluefin HD Housing would be a fitted SWP44 from Fathom Imaging, but again that is a personal reflection. I am fully satisfied with the L&M 80 degree wideangle lens since it currently covers my needs.

The Phenom housing is in my opinion a very fine product and, as you may have seen on this board, beautiful footage has been captured with the help of it.

Sincererly

Anders

Edited by globaldiver, 14 December 2006 - 09:51 AM.

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#91 wagsy

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 04:12 PM

Yep and looking at the footage shot with that L&M UWA.... some shots looked abit :P ...and how much?

No problems with Phenom latches here and yes I have to zoom in a tiny bit still but I have full 100% zoom through port and with the flip up macro can shoot a Nudi gills to a Floppy Whale Shark on the same dive and it increases my zoom in ablity on close shots with the macro flipped in.

Maybe someone could post some more footage shot with the UWA for us to have a look at. :D
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#92 videodan

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 04:57 PM

Newton, the ones who complained about the Phenom were the Phenom owners. My Bluefin HD has no more chance of flooding than does your housing. The latches have never come loose, nor do I expect they ever would. This is definitely not a issue for me, any I actually like the latches very much. Bluefin HD is an excellent housing.

who was the first HOUSING out there for the FX1Z1 , with the best features for your bucks!!,,,,

Aquavideo. Rah-Rah!! :P I was shooting FX1 in an Aquavideo housing long before any metal housing was available, and I guarantee it has many good features at a fraction of the price of metal housings.
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#93 globaldiver

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 05:57 PM

No problems with Phenom latches here and yes I have to zoom in a tiny bit still but I have full 100% zoom through port and with the flip up macro can shoot a Nudi gills to a Floppy Whale Shark on the same dive and it increases my zoom in ablity on close shots with the macro flipped in.



Wags,

You mean you still get some vignetting even after Amphibico "fixed" the problem with the original lens? :P

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#94 Nick Hope

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 06:42 PM

Newton, yes, so far I'm satisfied with the Bluefin housing.

I've not had a Bluefin latch open on me either in around 30 dives with the unit. I'm just going to do ithe bungie as an extra safety measure because of a couple of comments here. I'm just one of those people who'll customise a housing to try and improve it, even if it's pretty near perfect to begin with.

As for the 80 degree Bluefin lens that I'm using, I love it and in my opinion it takes great images. I don't know if that Phenom wide angle port is superior in terms of zoom-throughability but it's not for me because of the vulnerability of the convex coated acrylic port and the fact that I have a really bad phobia of any vignetting.

But back to the Bluefin. I'm impressed with it but there are a couple of things that I would improve...

Firstly I would like access to a slower zoom speed. I miss being able to do a very slow zoom out ("reveal"), say when you're zoomed right in on a parrotfish beak and then you want to very slowly pull out, revealing the whole fish. The zoom speed on the Bluefin is too fast to do this. So you're basically stuck with a fixed tight shot transitioning to a fixed wide shot.

The second thing is manual focus. Light and Motion seem to be so good at manual controls now (the iris and sel/push exec knobs are really excellent) that I actually think a manual focus wheel would be much better than 2 electronic buttons which are tricky to use because they change the focus so quickly. I miss having a chunky focus knob and would love LMI to think about that for future housings such as the FX7/V1.

#95 wagsy

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 09:37 PM

Sure do but only have to zoom in a tiny bit so maybe it's a 92 degree. It varies from each setup as each CCD in the camera can be abit different.

It sounds like the new Endeavour will come out with the same port on so vignetting should not be a problem as the FX7/V1 has less FOV on full wide.

I also aggree with Marks post somewhere where he reconds for day to day use the 120 degree is too wide. You have to get real close to thngs or else they look along way away.

It certainly is 100% zoom through and even with the macro flipped up I can pull from in tight to full wide and it's still okay if you have enough light. :P Not to good if your fstop is too low.

Nick you need a vary zoom wheel....but I do agree...a true mechanical focus wheel would be good on either housing.
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#96 Drew

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 02:05 PM

Newton, as everyone else has said, problems arise with every housing.
Vignetting is a major problem in this day and age where flat screens no longer have to have overscan areas and web productions are a necessity rather than an exception. Not to mention image in image editing etc. Vignettes should be a bad memory.
As for the SWA lens from L&M, I believe the price of the lens is I believe $3000 msrp, not $5000. I've only seen clips from the prototype and not the production lens so I personally won't comment on its quality. I do agree that full zoom thru is important for any lens.
I think a forum where consumers can post their problems regarding their housings is important for consumers and manufacturers alike. It won't always be nice and many times, gripes are unwarranted, but problems like vignetting, reviews and other idiosyncracies of each particular housing helps consumer choose and manufacturers react to problems, as Amphibico did.
That said, I always tape my latches just in case. I now use industrial strength velcro so I don't throw out duct tape after every dive. Nick Hope is merely playing it safe as should we all. Accidents can and will happen at anytime when you least expect it. As you can see, so far no one has actually reported a leak due to "faulty" latches. If there were, I'm very sure we'd hear about it. The only way for a latch to open is if someone accidently brushes against it or didn't close it properly in the first place.
Wags, I think the true number is 86-88° FOV to correct for the vignette. And while a diopter flipper is convenient, the best way to get the sharpest image is of course to have the adapter lens be able to do WA to say +2 diopter characteristics. That way, you can catch the giant squid eating a shark then focus in on the remains. :P

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#97 wagsy

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 03:14 PM

Wags, I think the true number is 86-88° FOV to correct for the vignette. And while a diopter flipper is convenient, the best way to get the sharpest image is of course to have the adapter lens be able to do WA to say +2 diopter characteristics. That way, you can catch the giant squid eating a shark then focus in on the remains. :P


Nope it works out ot 90.24 degree. If on full wide I only need to zoom in the NLE 4%. :D
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#98 shawnh

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 10:39 PM

My toys are cooler than yours:)

Can't we all just get a long...we are the world..lalala
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#99 DeanB

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Posted 23 December 2006 - 03:38 AM

No we can't.... :(

My A1's good..Oh no it isn't...Oh yes it is... :D Panto season...

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Dive safe

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#100 Nick Hope

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 10:37 PM

After a couple of hundred dives the operation of the record/pause button on my right hand grip has become inconsistent. Sometimes it doesn't work. It has to be pressed really hard and deliberately to be sure it works, as if the contacts inside are wearing out or contaminated. This cost me a couple of special clips on my last trip. Sure there's the same button on the left side but I'm totally used to using the one on the right grip. Anyone else had any trouble like this?

Also the "double-push" of the zoom/wide-angle buttons (for fast zoom/wide) has never been consistent. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It seems to be very sensitive to the speed with which you make the 2 pushes. Anyone else experience this? I heard there may be an updated board for the hand grip which fixes some problems. Anyone know anything about that?