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D100 lighting issues

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#1 Alex_Mustard


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Posted 04 June 2003 - 07:59 AM

Just a brief post to let you know that the latest issue of FREE Underwater Photography Magazine contains an article (by me) on strobe lighting issues with the Nikon D100. Most of the info has been well documented in the past on wetpixel, but since this is a recurring discussion topic I thought it valuable to mention that the article exists. It is a basics article rather than advanced techniques (I was writing it, afterall).

UWP Mag Issue 13

And, since I have just achieved my 100th post on Wetpixel, I feel entitled to show off that the magazine also marks my first cover shot with an image taken with a digital camera. Which is rather appropriate for a digital mag!

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D5 (Subal housing). Nikon D7200 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).

#2 NitroLiq


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Posted 04 June 2003 - 10:18 AM

Hi Alex,

Congrats on the cover shot....cool magazine! Really got absorbed with Jonathan Bird's Galapagos article. (It's too bad that images show up relatively poorly in PDF documents...filesize tradeoff, I guess). Good reading, though.

#3 Andi Voeltz

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 10:41 AM

Hi Alex,

I just read your article and found that it's really great. You perfectly illustrated the current problem and were able to seperate myth from true experience. Congrats! :-)
find a housing for your digicam! oOo. http://www.digideep.com .oOo.
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#4 jimbo1946


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Posted 04 June 2003 - 03:29 PM

Thanks. Alex, that was a nice article and some nifty photos.

When I started with a Nikonos V in 1987, the fellow who taught me about U/W photography beat me over the head with the mantra "Shoot manual and bracket." And so I did, until I retired the Nikonos and went with a housed Nikon N90s. With the N90s, I shot mostly TTL and got generally good results. So when I got the D100, I was disappointed that I had to go back to manual exposure, so much so that I bought a Subal Strobecase to house my SN80-DX strobe.

I could shoot manual, but I do mostly macro/close-up, and - as Alex pointed out - TTL works very well in those situations.

When I first got the D100, I had a lot of questions about the use of U/W strobes with it, so I emailed Stephen Frink with some questions. Steve is a really nice guy who has never been too busy to answer my questions. Here's his response:

Hi Jim - The anxiety digital converts have over losing their TTL with digital cameras continues to amuse me, if only because of the reliance people have invested in traditional film TTL over the years. As you know, I've never really shot much TTL because I use wet connectors which allow only manual exposures. But, I have seen plenty of excellent results from TTL, especially for fish and macro work. TTL is pretty marginal for wide angle, but for certain subjects, it is wonderful for enhancing the percentage of properly exposed slides. But, a skilled shooter will have a higher overall percentage keepers with manual exposures.

As for digital, first, let me say you are 100% right. The submersible TTL strobes you've used with your N90S won't work with your D100 in TTL. In fact, some submersible strobes won't fire the camera at all, and to this end Ikelite has created a special manual synch cord to work with the Nikon D1X and presumably with the D100. So, here are your options:

1. Buy a digital SLR that does work with conventional film TTL. That would be the Fuji S2. It is similar in performance to the D100, uses Nikon lenses, but offers the ability to use our submersible strobes just as we did for film. So far only Ikelite has a housing, but others will house the camera by April or May 2003.

2. Use a digital strobe in a housing. This is the direction Seacam went in introducing a Systemflash housing for the Nikon SB28DX and SB80DX. This allows the digital TTL strobes Nikon makes for topside use to go underwater. The advantage is TTL. The disadvantage is that these strobes have a narrow angle of view compared to a dedicated submersible strobe. The color temperature is cooler as well, but with the color correction capabilities of digital this tends not to be a problem.

3. Learn to shoot manual (again). Jim ... this is so easy with a digital camera and the immediacy of review by means of the LCD. If it is too dark, move closer, open the aperture, increase the strobe power. If too light, apply the converse. Plus, you get to see how the backgrounds look and you can adjust your shutter speeds accordingly. Your learning curve will accelerate far beyond what next day film processing could ever permit. You can even shoot a test exposure and then delete it underwater so you are properly adjusted before entering the field of flight for a skittish subject.

It is interesting to me to watch people who have purchased D-SLR housings over the past year. Many were so into traditional means of exposure control that they would not buy into the digital system until they knew they could house their digital strobes. Now, as they have greater experience with UW digital imaging, most have turned back to manual strobes, and are learning more about the science of underwater photography as a result.

Now with new mega-performance digital cameras coming out like the Canon EOS1Ds (11.1 megapixel with a full frame 35mm chip), and housing manufacturers making these tools available to underwater photography, TTL is about the only thing a film system might have to offer over digital. Is it that important at the end of the day when considering the immediate exposure/composition feedback from the LCD? I don't think so.

Jim Chambers
Tucker, Georgia

Nikon D300 in Aquatica housing with housed SB800 flash.

#5 Alex_Mustard


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Posted 04 June 2003 - 11:19 PM

Excellent info. I agree entirely! I hope that this short thread will prove a useful point of reference for new D100 users in the future.

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D5 (Subal housing). Nikon D7200 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).