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Importance of TTL underwater


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#1 iainh

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 02:45 PM

I'm currently shooting an N90s in Subal housing, with dual Ike 200 strobes. I'm planning to make the move to digital and I'm trying to make the choice between the Fuji S2 and Nikon D100. I'd prefer to reuse the Ike 200s if possible, and my Subal ports too.

I'm considering the following two setups

1. Fuji S2, Ikelite housing and existing Ike 200 strobes

or

2. Nikon D100, LMI Titan D100 housing and existing Ike 200 strobes. I've considered the Subal housing, but I really like the Titan's ROC electronics that will give me full manual control over the the Ike 200 strobes. I can reuse my Subal ports with this housing too.

The biggest difference for me seems to come down to the ability for the S2 to do "real" TTL exposure, rather than using a D100 in the Titan and manually controlling the Ike 200s using the ROC electronics

Having been quite reliant upon using TTL with my existing setup (I particularly like macro shots), I'm leery of switching to a totally manual system, although I understand the benefits of that "instant" feedback that digital should afford me.

The S2 seems like the way to go, but the LMI housing wrapped round a D100 looks pretty sexy to me :freak:

I also want a system that will take a lot of use, as I'm in the process of buying a dive resort in Vanuatu and expect to be using the system quite a lot...

Thanks
Iain

#2 james

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 02:59 PM

I will be happy to consult on this project if I can do some "on site" R and D in Vanuatu...;)

Here's my advice when it comes to TTL:

Look at your film shots. Ask yourself "How hard would these have been to capture using a 10 or 12 step manual control?" If the answer is "no problem!" then get whichever setup looks sexiest to you...:-)

FWIW, if you "hang in there" a few more weeks (or months) I think the housing choices for the S2 will be a lot more diverse. If you want something right now, than go with the Ikelite housing and the S2pro - you will definitely not be disappointed - ask any of the S2 shooters here.

Cheers
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#3 scottyb

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 04:07 PM

I agree with James but we may be a little partial. I found that with a little bracketting to find the best exposure compensation, it became almost "point and shoot". First time out with it and almost no learning curve. As a former N90 shooter, I found a lot of the functions to be similar enough to the N90 that it was an easy transition. Another issue for me was the ISO sensitivity of 100.

#4 iainh

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 04:33 PM

You will certainly be welcome to do some "R & D" on the island, James, as long as there's plenty of time left for "R & R" too...

I see your point regarding whether manual control would work for me. The problem is that I have no practical experience with digital u/w to know whether the manual "shoot", "review", "adjust exposure", "shoot" cycle is practical. Sometimes it's hard enough just getting the shot lined up the first time around ;)

Any D100 shooters out there that can comment?

Thx
Iain

#5 Kasey

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 05:12 PM

As a new member, you may not be aware of the time bomb you have initiated!
The TTL vs manual here is the digital vs film of other forums!!!

I use a titan housing for my e-20, and the roc system is awesome!!! It is very easy to find the right exposure window. Although it is great to have the TTL option, I have come to prefer manual. Of course, you could have the best of both worlds with Ike's manual controller.

Make sure to handle the IKE system - preferably underwater. I understand that it does not give full access to the camera like most systems. James can clarify.

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#6 marriard

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 05:15 PM

I'm currently shooting an N90s in Subal housing, with dual Ike 200 strobes. I'm planning to make the move to digital and I'm trying to make the choice between the Fuji S2 and Nikon D100. I'd prefer to reuse the Ike 200s if possible, and my Subal ports too.

Your criteria are much different to mine and we came from basically the same setup (Housed N90S in a Nexus housing for me).

My criteria was very simple:

->> Which one was the better camera and would let me use the same glass.

I rented both cameras and decided over about a month that the S2Pro was the better camera for me. The colours were more pleasing, the images crisper and I found it much easier to use on a day to day basis. Your milage may vary, but if I was you I would concentrate on the camera first before looking at housing options. A number of my friends have gone for the D100 because some small thing was important to them - and about the same number have gone to the S2 for different small reasons that were important to them.

I was lucky that I choose the S2Pro and that there was a housing , because if I had choosen the D100 I am guessing I would have only just gone digital.

Housing considerations were less important for me initially because I use my camera extensively topside as well, so I had to be comfortable with the camera in both environments.

The TTL stuff is nice as well of course, but it was a bonus rather than a deciding factor.

M

#7 davephdv

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 06:36 PM

I have had a D100 in a Subal housing out about 3 times. Shooting manual all the time. I think I've learned as much about taking good pictures in those 3 trips as in about 3 years of shooting TTL. TTL would be a nice option to have. In my case though it was a crutch that prevented me from growing as a photographer. If I had the option to use it now I wouldn't. I learned this same thing as regards to wide angle years ago. I never learned to take a good wide angle shot until I stopped trying to use TTL.

Your mileage may very.

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#8 iainh

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 08:30 PM

Darn good point about TTL being a crutch. I've thought that myself before, but it's sooo easy to rely on TTL - particularly when I'm still shooting f**m...

marriard, what are you using to manually control the output of your Ike 200s? Just the existing strobe controls?

I intend to use the camera underwater primarily, so the housing/strobe combination is pretty important to me.

Thx
Iain

#9 marriard

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 10:05 PM

marriard, what are you using to manually control the output of your Ike 200s? Just the existing strobe controls?

Ok:

Strobe output with dual ke 200's is pretty granular anyway without additional controls:

Lets see 1/8. 1/4, 1/2 and Full gives me 4 F-stops worth

Flexible arms give me additional control - I can get anywhere from 1-3 F stops and parts of stops by moving my strobes backwards and forewards as well as getting some cool lighting effects

And lastly - experience with my strobes. I am now comfortable enough where I can see the image I want to take and dial in what I think the right settings are pretty quickly. Also I have a normal point set for a dive (i.e. What strobe settings and camera settings I would use for a 'normal' shot on the dive so I don't miss an oportunity) which I reset to between subjects. For example I am at normal when a barracuda swims by - I know my strobes will blow him out if I think normal, so I can quickly turn the strobes down or off depending on the shot I want to take - I can do this without looking most of the time.

Having never used the controllers mentioned in this thread, I don't know if they would benefit me or not. They probably would, but I don't view them as essential tools at the moment. Maybe in the future when I learn more about them.

Hope this helps.
M

#10 james

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 06:07 AM

OK, just for the record, here are my "stats" from my last trip out w/ the S2:

Dive 1 - 60mm micro - TTL
Dive 2 - 18-35 Zoom - Manual
Dive 3 - 18-35 Zoom - Manual
Dive 4 - Forgot to insert MD before dive
Dive 5 - 18-35 - TTL
Dive 6 - 60mm micro - Manual

Cheers
James
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#11 bobjarman

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 06:24 AM

Shoot film...shoot TTL....better results. ;)

I AM JUST KIDDING!!!!

But I do think that for the average rec diver, who doesn't get to spend a lot of time diving every year, that TTL is a huge advantage.

#12 wesley

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 09:05 AM

I just went through the same decision process. Fuji or Nikon? I decided on the Nikon with a sea and sea DX100 and YS90DX strobes. Taking the system to Belize for a full test run. I think people get a little too hung up on the issue of TTL. Its really not that hard to let go of TTL. And topside the Nikon is fantastic.

#13 james

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 09:16 AM

Wesley - you're lucky, your camera doesn't say "Finepix" on the prism - it's pretty embarrassing.

Cheers
James
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#14 wesley

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 09:55 AM

Are you being sarcastic James? :-)

It could be worse...your camera could say "coolpix"

#15 herbko

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 10:13 AM

Neither one is even close to "Camedia" which sounds just like a venereal diseases.

Those Japanese camera makers really should hire someone with a reasonable English vocabulary to come up with these names.
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#16 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 07:59 AM

Haha, nice one Herb!

Seriously there is a thread of truth about why people buy the Nikon over the Fuji - The name.
"Must have Nikon because.... erm ...erm?!"

Maybe it was initially down to Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" track that put this idea of Nikon being the Camera to have in American heads... Had he consulted someone in the know he would have changed it to Minolta!

I agree with Paul and you should do a similar test if possible; All the reviews I have seen have rated the S2 as the best in its class. If you check ebay you'll see lots of D100's for sale but few if any S2's.

#17 craig

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 08:14 AM

I loved the home movie sequence in Coneheads that used "Kodachrome". Is that off-topic enough?

Still, you buy the camera, housing, lenses, and ports for underwater, not just the camera. The S2 really needs more housing choices.

You see more D100's on eBay than Canon 1Ds's, too. It's proportional to retail sales and is irrelevent.
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#18 scottyb

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 09:20 AM

I have been, in the past, and still am a Nikon user both above and below water. Since both cameras were compatible with the 3 lenses that I had previously, I struggled with this decision for a while. There was a waiting list for both cameras, at the time, and the Fuji was more expensive. I read a heads up comparison that skewed, ever so slightly, toward the Fuji but the proverbial straw for me was the difference in ISO settings. I have been accustomed to shooting < 100 and I was surprised that the D100 would only go a slow as ISO 200. This is important to me but may not be a deciding factor to others.

Bob, my first automatic camera was a Minolta XD-11 that I purchased in Ancorage, AK in 1977. I still have it and a couple lenses but it needs some work. Kodachrome was the way to go back then.

#19 wesley

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 09:30 AM

The Fuji and Nikon are both great cameras and everyone keeps splitting hairs over the tiny negatives that both have. If you are a good photographer you will be able to capture quality images with both. If your not so good, neither camera is going to make you any better.

;)

#20 james

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Posted 06 February 2003 - 09:39 AM

To provide more information about ISO, have a look at this page from DPreview:

http://www.dpreview....d100/page16.asp

This graphic by Phil Askey of Dpreview.com shows a comparison of noise results between the D100, the S2, and the D60 - when shooting JPEG:

Posted Image
(Hopefully Phil Askey will allow linking to graphics on his site. If not, click the link)

Shooting underwater, we will stay in the ISO100 to ISO400 range. (I have shot ISO400 w/ my S2 on a wreck dive).

You'll note that at ISO200, the S2 has less noise than the D100. Shooting the S2 at 6 megapixel jpeg (equivalent to what the D100 does) the S2 has MUCH LESS noise.

The following graphic compares noise results when shooting in RAW mode:

Posted Image

For people that want really really clean blue water shots and shadow detail w/ less noise, ISO100 on the S2 is the way to go. Almost half the noise of the D100.

Cheers
James
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