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Any Particular Regulator of Choice?


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#1 01sugar2

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 09:33 PM

Toying with a hard decision a few weeks ago, I decided to take the cheapest path and purchased a used (2 dives only I'm told) Aquatica 30D housing for my camera. I was REALLY looking to upgrade dSLR bodies, but instead found it cheaper to get a nice (and the housing is indeed in mint shape) housing for my current body instead; thank you ebay. It seems that the PADI/SSI instructor that owned the housing is having a hard time making it in Florida with the way the economy is, and I can say that I feel his pain; A month and a half ago, my local dive shop closed up leaving me as a Divemaster with no job. To say the least, diving is a late night and weekend gig and my main job is what holds everything together. In saying that, I feel for everyone involved in this industry right now!

Anyhow, the lack of assisting with classes as a DM has freed up a lot of time for me to do things on my own. I knew I wanted to upgrade from a P&S for u/w usage to a dSLR, but that time frame got bumped up considerably when I ran across an Aquatica setup for a price that I couldn't refuse. In saying that, the 30D doesn't have a live view option (for those of you who don't know), and I'm now faced with the "bubbles in your face" concern for u/w shooting. Both my previous and now even my current dive shop are Aqualung suppliers, and I'm a big fan of the diaphragm first stage setups over the piston designs. The Kronos seems to be nice and it looks to have the distance-pushing side exhaust that I'm probably looking for. As a DM I'm pretty good with my air and know that bubbles tend to make things disappear at times, but with the viewfinder already limited by the mask and regular setup as it is, I'm thinking that it's not to my best advantage to use a 2nd stage that exhausts bubbles (possibly) right by my already limited view of the subject.

Maybe I'm trying to over analyze the thought, and maybe it's just me wanting to try something new out (or it could be both at this point). I was wondering if anyone out here in the photography world used a 2nd stage regulator like the Aqualung Kronos, and if so, how do you like it? I've spoken with a few that have it locally and they really like the regulator, but none of them are doing any kind of photography, let alone with an SLR. I realize this subject is more so gear related than photography, but all of the relevance behind it is photography minded. I'd simply like to have some input on your thoughts as to a good regulator and or a design to dive with while shooting. My housing came in the mail on Friday, and I probably won't have the chance to play in the water with the camera setup till about mid week at our City's indoor pool. With that being said, I don't really know what to expect and would like some input on the subject. Thanks!

Dustin

Edited by 01sugar2, 21 December 2008 - 09:42 PM.


#2 tdpriest

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 03:18 AM

I'm a dinosaur: I use Poseidon Cyklon regulators that vent to the side, away from my viewfinder. I also use an Inon 45-degree finder, that helps by putting the eyepiece behind the rear plate of the housing.

I've used an Aqualung Mistral twin-hose, too, but my air consumption is higher, and the breathing resistance limits my maximum voluntary ventilation.

The Kronos looks like an inelegant solution and I would expect that the laterally displaced exhaust could alter the breathing properties of the second stage in some of the weird positions that photographers get into!

The second stage diaphragm and exhaust are concentrically arranged in the Cyklon regulator, and therefore there is no pressure difference between the pressure-sensing diaphragm and the exhaust. Its breathing characteristics are unchanged in any orientation. Oceanic, unfortunately, no longer make their similarly constructed second stage.

I guess that I would start by trying my favourite regulator with a finder, which should be about the same price as a new regulator. I find the finder very helpful in getting into a good position next to the reef, though it is a bit more difficult with my 105mm macro than a standard eyepiece aligned with the camera's eyepiece.

Tim

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#3 Steve Williams

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Posted 22 December 2008 - 07:46 AM

Hi Dustin,
Since you spend a lot of time at a shop you probably have a good idea what the feedback is on the regulators out there. My son worked the retail side and could get a good deal on any reg in the shop. He just purchased a Kronos last May and loves it, for what that's worth. He has limited experience with his DSLR rig and the reg having only been diving the combination for the last six months but he hasn't seen any of the issues Tim described. He's an instructor and has had a lot of different regs in his face, the Kronos is by far his favorite.

I agree with Tim that a viewfinder may be a big help too. For me it's more of an issue of body position and control. Have you had problems with bubbles in your face trying to take pictures? I tend to think you are right in that you're over analyzing it. Have fun with the new rig! :lol:

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#4 tdpriest

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 02:29 AM

... he hasn't seen any of the issues Tim described...


That's good to hear; I guess that I'm being over-analytical (too much scientific training, not enough diving...).

For what it's worth, I've seen pros with standard regulators, and they don't seem unduly bothered with bubbles...

... but they don't breathe much, either!

Tim

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#5 scorpio_fish

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 08:19 AM

Buy any regulator you want. It is not imperative that you look for one that has a special exhaust. The Kronos and its brethren are great when you are sitting in a pool, like with a class. Real diving conditions don't usually present an issue for exhaust bubbles. My mask is usually against the viewfinder. I can't recall having bubbles get between my mask and the viewfinder.

I'd be willing to guess you would find a wide variety of regs amongst us long time regular shooters. I've been an Apeks guy for quite a while. It has a big fat second stage compared to other brands/models, yet I've never had an issue with it.

I more interested in performance. I'd always pick Apeks, Atomic or higher end ScubaPro.
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#6 01sugar2

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 04:34 PM

I currently have a Scubapro X650/Mk17 reg setup that I really enjoy as it breathes extremely well for me. I like the looks of the Kronos, and in my area the little bit of environmental sealing that a diaphragm first stage offers over the piston designs can be kind of nice. I suppose the bubble concern however is a lot more valid with a P&S that only has a live view display option over a viewfinder (such as with my S&S 860G camera). Anyhow, I plan to practice in a pool quite a bit with the new rig so that I get used to using the controls u/w as I won't be hitting a reef anytime soon (it'll be March).

Looking at the demo that Alex did in the Magic Filter video, I can see where not having an extended viewfinder and or an elongated side exhausted 2nd stage regulator had almost no bearing on his shooting. I know it's not the same comparing him to myself, but it seems that what both Steve and I stated above was true in that my anxiety to get in the water might have caused me to over analyze what will be needed to start shooting. I do like the idea of an extended viewfinder though, and that very well could be my next purchase following a strobe setup.

Scorpio Fish, I'm sure we'll meet up one of these days as I am in the DFW area myself. David and Lilly Prichard are two of my good friends, and I've recently moved from diving at Blue Dolphin Scuba in Frisco over to Island Divers in Denton with Lee Gano. David, Lilly and Lee have all said some very nice things about the DUPS members, and being involved with the industry yourself, I'm sure you know these 3 people very well. If you attend the meetings regularly, I'm sure I'll see you in Jan.

Thanks for the kind replies everyone! Obviously I've got a lot to learn, but I'm here for the long haul so I'm sure you'll be seeing a bit more of me on this message board.

Edited by 01sugar2, 23 December 2008 - 04:38 PM.