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Positioning Strobes w/ DSLR Housings


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#1 james

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 08:43 AM

Hi Gang,

I have a question for those of us that have "big" housings. This applies to pretty much any SLR housing - be it film, digital, polycarbonate, or aluminum.

Is there an equivalent of a "flip tray" for our housings? (I'm guessing probably not, unless your housing is tiny, like a UK-Germany).

If not, what is the best way to tilt the housing and reposition strobes for best lighting - I'm thinking Dual Strobes.

Here's a shot where I just rotated my setup to the left and didn't reposition the strobes:

Posted Image

Obviously, it looks weird because the corals are lit from below left...:-(

Here's one where I rotated the housing to the right, I didn't move the left strobe, but I did take the right strobe and move it so that it was positioned out to the right of the coral:

Posted Image

I use Ultralight arms, so it's possible to reposition the strobes fairly easily, but when things get moving fast, I sometimes end up with my strobes pointed all over the place like this! (Eric's photo)

Posted Image

That's what it looks like when I rotate the housing to my right, reposition the right strobe, then don't put it back where it was...

Any advice?

Cheers
James
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#2 markh

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 09:26 AM

James, that lat pic is one seriously awesome shot. Boy what arms you have! I think we should start a separate thread on what the seal is thinking...you look to have scared the pants off the poor creature. How about " WOW an NTI" for starters.

Now what was the question. Oh yeh, this is a difficult one. The use of ball socket design in the arms would help. Alternatively, preset your strobe positions before you dive to allow for both configurations (not too practical though). I think really James in all honesty with such a humongous setup you'll just have to live with it.

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#3 tshepherd

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 09:39 AM

How about " WOW an NTI" for starters.



Or "awwww, crap, they're coming to probe me again". Why should all the fun be limited to humans and cows?!?!

On a more serious note James, I've got the same problem, although only 1/2 of it, since I've currently only got one strobe. I don't think that for the owners of larger housings that there's a good answer other than take the time to reposition (yes, I know, that's easier said than done). You might be able to rig something for the Ikelite, where the housing seems to sit on the tray, but the Sea and Sea has two separate handles that attach to the housing directly, so I'd bet the number of options is even smaller.

#4 james

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 09:46 AM

I've been toying with this idea for a while. Would it be possible to mount some of these housings on a flip tray?

The ULCS flip tray for the Subal housings might work. Heck, Dave, do you think this would work with your D10 housing?

Here's a pic from the ULCS site:

Posted Image

The optimum design for a pivot tray puts the axis of the pivot in line w/ the axis of the lens so that when you flip it, the lens just rotates around that axis. This could be a problem if your LCD is in the center of the camera. Having lots of buttons and an LCD on the back of the digicams makes working out a flip tray pretty difficult.

Cheers
James
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Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#5 scorpio_fish

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 10:43 AM

That last one cracks me up. I did a whole dive (back in my Ikelite arm days) with one stobe head drooping. The whole roll came out with one quadrant really dark. I was somewhat disappointed, to say the least.

I got into the habit of approaching any shot by 1) evaluating the subject/scene 2) review camera settings (generally not necessary in macro) 3) adjust strobe position. I always try to adjust my strobe position before I approach the subject/scene so I can concentrate on a stealthy approach and framing, but I sometimes have to readjust. Strobe positioning becomes part of the routine. You get very use to doing it.

So what happens when you need a grab shot? If you are disciplined, you return your strobes to a neutral position after every shot. If you are like me, you don't and hope you get lucky.

As for wide angle, I keep my strobes at camera level. When tilted, the strobe that becomes the top strobe pretty much stays put. The bottom unit gets one of the following 1) a power reduction if closer to the coral than the top 2) shoved in closer to the camera so as not to bottom light 3) Moved out to right of the camera to side light (as your second example) or 4) nothing cause I went brain dead.
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#6 DiveMaster John

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 12:09 PM

It takes discipline to remember after each shot or batch of shots on a given subject to reposition your strobes and return the camera settings to "neutral." Everybody forgets from time to time, especially when suddenly faced with a snapshot situation. You do the best you can.

I'm not so sure that a flip tray is going to be practical for digital SLRs due to the probability of blocking the LCD screen, one of our biggest advantages.

Just my two cents worth.

John

#7 Kasey

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 05:58 PM

On the 2nd and 3rd shots - which lenses were used. They must yield very good angle of coverage as the divers are well lit

How deep? How far is the diver from the camera?

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#8 james

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 06:39 PM

Sigma 14mm EX f2.8. The second shot is mine, from shallow water in Kona (30') and the third was taken by Eric in shallow water (20') at the Coronado Islands.

Cheers
James
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#9 davephdv

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 07:56 PM

Ultralight does make a flip tray for Subal housings. Isn't that the one you are showing? Personally I have my strobes for wide angle out 1 to 2 ft from the camera on each side and usually 1 foot behind the plane of the camera. I move them forward for close subjects and may flare the strobes in or out depending upon the subject. For verticals I leave the strobe that becomes the upper strobe where it is and make the above mentioned adjustments. the lower strobe I just turn the arms up so it is horizontal to the subject making an L shape of the strobe/arm systems. I then make the adjustments mentioned above. I find this easy to do quickly. If a quick horizontal subject comes up you can shoot with the strobes in the L shape and get a good exposure. I keep the strobes behind the plane of the camera to avoid hot spots at the edge of the image. If the strobe is too close to the plane of the camera you can get a hotspot at the edge of your image even if you have aimed it not to create backscatter tween you and your subject.

I use to use a flip tray with my Nikonos. It is a great idea and I shot a lot more verticals when I used it. I haven't gotten one for my Subal as I have been trying to keep the bulk down.
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#10 james

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 08:09 PM

Yes, that is the Subal tray pictured Dave. I was wondering - based on the photo - does it look compatible with your housing?

Thanks for the good feedback on strobe positioning too. I agree that the "ell" is the way to go - it's just a pain! :-)

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#11 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 08:20 PM

I think the answer to all of your duality problems is to get Ike to make a 'Head Tray'. This way whatever attitude your camera is in the strobe position stays the same.

#12 james

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 08:23 PM

Can you elaborate Bob? Is that some kind of marijuana thing? :-) (Joking)

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
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Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#13 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 08:32 PM

Just a wild idea of a hard hat with a special tray fitted to mount the strobes on your head with two angle-poise lamp type strobe arms that stay where you put them.

This is probable not good in a wreck though!!!

#14 james

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 08:37 PM

That's not a bad idea Bob - I imagine it would look something like a mix between a Viking Horned Helmet, and one of those hats that fit two beer cans and connect to your mouth with a tube.

At least the flashes would point where you look - and it would be really good for blinding your buddy on a night dive too!

Cheers
James
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Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#15 davephdv

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 08:37 PM

Should be compatible. I think my housing is not much diff than the N80 housing. The housing is more compact than my F100 housing was. All the Subal housings use the same handles. ports, ect.
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

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#16 wetpixel

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 10:51 PM

At least the flashes would point where you look - and it would be really good for blinding your buddy on a night dive too!

it would be great for an assistant to wear -- with slaved strobes! they wouldn't even have to be qualified in any way.

you'd just have to get their attention, point at something, and then shoot while they are looking for what you pointed at. :D
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#17 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 03:09 AM

If you had one yourself and 10 assistants you could light up a whole wreck too!

However, that macro shot might get a little crowded!