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Tips to keep water from gathering on the lens port


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#21 Bombsight

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 11:34 AM

Oil based products and acrylic ports don't mesh well together over the long run.
Spit is the trick on flat face ports .... rounded ports my be a different animal .... I've never used one.

#22 Iggy460

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:44 PM

One huge difference I've noticed between underwater and surf housings -- with underwater housings, we use ports that have flanges that come up past the actual dome or flat port. You can put a housing down with its dome port or flat port facing down, and the flange will protect the port from being scratched.

Not so with surf housings, and this is because the flanges are the cause of water droplets. With surf housings, the port has nothing around it. It comes up and is on its own. This is good, because water just sheets off the port (as long as there is "quality" spit on it).

I've used various compounds for over/under shots to have water droplets sheet off ports. Dried spit works well, but the spit must be "quality". By that, I mean this: you cannot have eaten anything recently. The spit has to be pretty clear. You have to let it dry on the port first. After that, it forms a very thin shield against water droplets.

Folks have tried using stuff like RainX and Turtle Wax. None of this stuff works and may actually damage acrylic or Lexar ports. The only thing I have found that works is mask defogger called Spectramar Beris that was marketed by ScubaPro years and years ago. This stuff works well, but is almost impossible to find. Its primary ingredient is ethylene glycol, and I've been tempted to just get some ethylene glycol and try it out sometime. But I still have a couple of bottles of Spectramar Beris after 25 years of underwater shooting.

Norbert Wu



Norbert Wu?! Wow. You can't see me right now, but I'm doing my best Wayne's World imitation: I'M NOT WORTHY!!!!

Okay. Sorry. Don't mean to embarass you. I've been a huge fan of your photos since I saw the NG Antarctica article.

Just joined the forum. Aloha, Everyone! Anyhooz...Thanks also to the originator of this thread. I should be getting a new Essex housing for my 7D any day now and these "little things" that can make or break a shot are just plain priceless.

Anti-freeze, though? I'll let someone else try it first. Heh!

Aloha!

Ken Ige (Iggy460)
Kailua, HI
Photojournalist/SurfPhotogNewbie

#23 TimG

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 01:29 AM

I've just read a post in this thread from some months ago and saw the writer had been told that spit which had recently enjoyed french fries worked particularly well. This was because he thought sugar might be involved. Is sugar produced from eating potatoes? (excuse my lack of biology knowledge) Or is this some fiendish McDonalds-Fries-With-Sugar-On-Them thing?

Edited by TimG, 17 February 2010 - 01:41 AM.

Tim

(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)


#24 uberben

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 09:51 AM

Thanks for all the info guys! I am taking my Essex 7d housing out tonight for the first time to shoot some kiteboarding. I would have been bummed if I came back with drops on all my shots.

~Ben

#25 Iggy460

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Posted 30 April 2010 - 12:01 AM

Aloha Ben,

Hope you had fun with the Essex housing. I just got mine too and have been enjoying it.

For me so far, the best tip I got for this subject was from Mike Waggoner of Essex: Use the waxy oils from the side of your nose or ears. Get some on your fingertip. Put the port front halfway in the water. Now rub vigorously up and down, spreading the stuff on the port front. Sounds gross and counterintuitive (I thought it would produce flare or haze), but it really works!

I've found two basic, but different situations for this issue:

1) Not sure if I have this right, but it seems when I use the wideangle (10-22mm), I have a very short amount of time where the rider is close enough to get a good shot, so I can do the dunk method: Keep the camera underwater as the rider approaches, then pull it out and shoot. A thin film of water stays on the port front but doesn't seem to affect the photo quality. I'm guessing because it's a very thin film and is thus optically pretty "correct", as Phil said earlier.

2) But when I use the 24-105mm, I can shoot each wave for a longer period of time, so that film of water eventually breaks down and that's when the spots and other irregularities occur. So this is when I want that thin film of water off the port BEFORE I start shooting. And that's where the nose/ear grease seems to work the best. Holding the camera out of the water, that film of water comes off a bit faster with the grease. And I always check the port before each wave and blow off any remaining drops.

Hope this helps!

Aloha!

Ken
SixFeetandGlassy.com
Photojournalist/SurfPhotogNewbie

#26 Bombsight

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 06:21 AM

Sometimes, like after just getting out of the water, you dont have the oils around the nose & ears ..... unless you have cotton mouth from smoking weed ...... you always have spit. That trusty old spit! :B):

#27 colinjames

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 11:50 AM

When I first encountered the problem of water droplets, I tried Rain-x, which was not the way to go. Spit is the best I have found as well.

#28 CamDiver

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 03:36 PM

Spit, Spit and more Spit. I've been dunking a Liquid Eye housing with a trusted old 400d. Thus far working just with a flat port, have just collected the 15mm Fisheye and will pick up the dome on Monday. I was too instructed on the nose or ear oil method by a 14 year surf photo veteran, the owner of Liquid Eye. This is to be done at the beginning of the session and whenever you feel it needs repeating. I have just been using spit most of the time. I normally give it a good coating prior to the session and then let it dry in the sun. When I first get in I clean the port and keep it under water. Every time I shoot once I then give a little spit and rub it over and then kepe the housing in the water and lift it out only when I have a shot coming. I find I have about ten or so seconds before the water film starts to disintegrate across the port. Long enough to get the shot at least.

Cheers,
Mark.

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#29 colinjames

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 02:47 PM

I agree, the spit and rinse technique is the way to go for sure.

#30 CamDiver

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:16 AM

The secret revealed:

Potato's, pure and simple. Someone mentioned a while back about spitting seems to provide best results after eating french fries. Connected? I'm hitting the surf most days now and have started rubbing a freshly cut potato onto the port about 20 minutes before hitting the water. Let it dry and off I go. It maintains a thin film of water on the port after emerging from the water for about a solid minute. This deteriorates in duration with the extended time in the water.

Spuds guys, that's the answer.

Cheers,
Mark.

The Sharks of the Forgotten Islands

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#31 brisa125

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:28 AM

If the port is new and free of scratches then you should be fine.
Clean it with washing up liquid. (Pat the port, don't rub, just incase there's grit on your cloth) rinse with clean water and leave it to dry.

Make sure nothing touches it in the mean time. I have a plastic column that is taller than the port and then put a cloth over the top and secure with elastic band.

Then before going in the water spit and lick the port and let it dry for a minute or so. That should work a treat. If an spots aren't clearing then lick that one bit.

Make sure you don't have anything on your lips like suncream etc and be weary of what you've eaten. Cleaning your teeth before you go surfing helps.

#32 Tierza

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 12:57 PM

Wow,

The spit technique is such a smart and simple fix. Thanks for everyone's input.

I own a Women's Surf Camp in Costa Rica and we shoot a lot of pictures of clients. We have only recently thought about shooting from the water (instead of from the shore). This tip will prove to be very handy.

Thanks again,

Tierza
Owner of Pura Vida Adventures

#33 Kendog

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 07:03 PM

I've been a surf photographer on shore and in the water since the 80's and my first underwater camera was a Nikonos I.  Back then I used Cascade diswasher soap, but had to mortar and pestle the grains of the gritty soap for fear I would scratch the lens.  Now, there is "Liquid Cascade", and as you know from the TV commercials, this will not only let water sheet off of wineglasses in the dishwasher, but also off of the surface of your air/water interface camera lens.

 

Just take that bottle of Liquid Cascade and transfer a little of it into a small squeeze bottle like a spent Visine bottle.  Keep this little bottle in your photo bag.  It only takes one drop, you know.  So first put a drop between your thumb and forefinger and rub them together to clean that forefinger surface from any foreign debris.  Rinse it off and put another solitary drop onto your forefinger and rub it gently onto the lens surface just before you go into the water.  In other words, don't treat the lens, walk away, and let it dry on there.  That might be bad for the seals of your housing or underwater camera.  Apply it just before going into the water.  This simple method has served me well for many years.