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what system should i get ?


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#21 Mega1Gator

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 03:15 AM

M, you are using an Ikelite housing, what do you think compared to other housings available? Aquatica says theirs is about 8lbs with camera in, bouyancy, I am not sure about, I will assume neutral, maybe James W. can tell us as he tested that housing I think. Mega

#22 jimbo1946

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 03:46 AM

I've kissed worse things than a housing... my first wife, for example.

I second the motion on the 60mm micro lens. It's a great lens, and if I could only use one lens, that's the one I would use.

As for housings, I used a Nikon N90s in an Aquatica housing, and I use an Aquatica housing for my D100. I'm very pleased with the Aquatica. I may even kiss it when no one is looking.
Jim Chambers
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Nikon D300 in Aquatica housing with housed SB800 flash.

#23 jimbo1946

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 03:50 AM

Adding a lens port increases weight to 10.5 pounds, but greatly enhances waterproof integrity.............

I'm getting too old and slow, because I had to think about that for a few seconds.

Years ago, someone asked my U/W photo instructor if you could change film underwater. He said "Yes, but you have to be very quick."

:rolleyes:
Jim Chambers
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#24 scorpio_fish

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 04:47 AM

Like I wrote in my AD100 review. Size does matter.

Size:

Smaller packs better and gets in a rinse bucket easier. It reduces drag in the water, which can become secondary to strobes, but does have some impact.

The Aquatica AD100 is definitely larger than the Aquactica A90 or Nexus N90 housing. It is more in line with an F100 housing. Aquatica designed the AD100 housing to be slightly larger than it had to be in order to accomodate more than one camera (i.e. the S2). It is probably closer to the Ikelite standard case.

Ikelite's D-SLR cases use a modification of their MD case (which is also used for the F100). I found the standard case pretty bulky. The MD case is definitely beyond the standard case in bulkiness.

Balance:

Perhaps more important than size and definitely more important than weight is balance. I believe there is a bit of a compromise. The two sizes fits all Ikelite cases and standard plastic ports allow them to be extremely well behaved in the water with only minor variations or weight shifts amongst different camera models. The "fits like a glove" machined aluminum housings reduce the size of the case, but can lead to unwieldy combinations. My Aquatica housing with a port extension and 8" dome port can get pretty "tippy". The same was true with a really long flat port, heavy 200mm lens and strobes stuck up at the end of the port. Strong forearms help.

Port system:

This is what led me away from the Ikelite housing more than anything else. With a myriad of extensions, the Aquatica can handle pretty much any lens or lens/TC combo with one dome port and one flat port. The ports are wider and can accomodate more fat lenses. There was no option for the 200mm for the Ikelite. I also found the performance of the 8" dome superior to that of Ikelite's 6" dome. I found myself with a bunch of separate Ikelite ports and wanting more, whereas I've got the same basic ports and several extensions for the Aquatica. Again, this packs much easier.
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#25 Mega1Gator

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 05:59 AM

Guys, outstanding posts and thank you. I am close to kissing my NikV's goodbye, unlike my first wife, I will remember them fondly!

By the way, I have never actually seen the Aquatica housing, how do the Ikelite strobes attach to the housing. I am almost decided on dual D125's. May seem like a silly question but I am wondering how easily they can be secured and adjusted, any thoughts? Mega

#26 james

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 12:22 PM

www.wetpixel.com/reviews

click on the Aquatica S2 review to see one way to connect strobes.

HTH
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
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#27 Mega1Gator

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 05:09 PM

JW, yep, I have been studying that article and saw the photos. Very well written. It looks like there is an adapter that is used to attach the base of the strobe arm to the ball mount, is that correct? Which strobe arm is being used, hard to tell in the photo. Thanks, Mega

#28 james

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 07:50 PM

Ultralight makes base adapters for the Ikelite strobes. Ultralight arms are shown in the photo - 2x 8" segments per side.

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

#29 Mega1Gator

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 10:16 AM

James, again, thanks. Another question. You referenced a moisture alarm, who makes them? How are they powered? What are they? Also, I assume that in the above posts, you are referring to images in your 6/30/03 review. This string is good for anyone making the jump to a housed digital as you are addressing what appears to be a number of common start-up questions. Gracias! Brian.

#30 james

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 10:53 AM

Hi Gator,

I'm referring to this review:

http://www.wetpixel....aticas2wiseman/

You can see how I've opted to set up my housing and this has changed a bit since I got it. Maybe I'll do an update this fall.

A moisture alarm is a small wire/cable that turns on a light and/or sounds an alarm when the two contacts are bridged (by salt water). They are powered by a small watch battery.

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

#31 Mega1Gator

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 02:03 PM

James, yep, that is the article I have been studying. It looks like you have a pair of DS 125's attached using 5 pin Nikonos cables with a dual stobe sync cord as noted in your article.

It also looks like there is an Ikelite quick release handle, 7 inches or so, that is attached with a ball mount coming off of the strobe as opposed to the standard flat mount that only allows verticle adjustment (ball mount is Part #9571.4 with handle stem that attches to the strobe) That ball mount probably makes it easier to set the flash angles? The clamps look like part #9577.2 and are at both ends of the handle.

The base looks like the 2 X 8 Ultralight with ball mounts and same clamp to the housing, am I pretty close?

For anybody reading this, the Ikelite parts are listed on the Ikelite website under "Quick Grip Handles and Arms" and the part # for the arm alone looks like #9581.07...18cm (7") handle with ball mount. They have them in 7, 9 and 15 inch arm sizes.

This is becoming a checklist of what to purchase for set up and I sure appreciate it. Brian.

P.S. If anybody wants to see the luckiest shot in the last month, check out the leaping Devil Ray on Rodale's Trip report "Our Costa Rica Travel Adventure" posted a few weeks ago. The ray jumped right into the frame as I was shooting the Catalina Islands.

#32 marriard

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 03:36 PM

M, you are using an Ikelite housing, what do you think compared to other housings available? Aquatica says theirs is about 8lbs with camera in, bouyancy, I am not sure about, I will assume neutral, maybe James W. can tell us as he tested that housing I think. Mega

I am waiting for my Aquatica housing to arrive.

The Ikelite Housing is wonderful and was available when I needed it. If you shot a housed SLR camera with another housing manufacturer such as Nexus, Subal, etc, etc you get used to a few things that are not available in the Ikelite. If you didn't - you'll not notice them until many months into using the housing/camera.

The only true weakness of the Ikelite housing is that the camera mounts on the back half of the housing. This means you must take the camera out of the housing to change media cards and batteries. On a moving boat this means the housing is open longer than I like.

Apart from that it has performed like a champion and it is only very small things that are taking me over to the Aquatica. With the new back now becoming available, I wouldn't hesitate a second to recommend the Ikelite housing.

M

#33 james

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Posted 24 August 2003 - 04:58 PM

Mega:

I am not using any quick release equipment on my strobes. If you call Ultralight and ask them for a ball mount for your DS125 they will know what you are talking about. From memory (it's so fleeting) I'd say they are BA-125

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

#34 Mega1Gator

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 04:17 PM

James, gracias. I hope S2 with the Nikon 60mm micro set for continuous auto focus (release priority) in conjunction with dynamic auto focus area will help get an image of a damsel fish. I don't even care if it is a good image to start out with. I am beginning to believe that the damsels have meetings on how to frustrate Mega1Gator and his Nik V's then, wait for me to dive on down, and just as I set up a shot, they run while I strobe nothing! I may have to borrow a spear gun and shoot a damsel then take a photo of it on the spear tip to get a good shot! Hopefully, the S2 will stop the urge for violence.

#35 scottyb

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 06:04 PM

I too was a discouraged Nik V shooter when it came to getting close to these guys, and many others. This was on my first outing on the first dive with my S2 and 60mm, on the Belize Aggressor.

#36 james

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Posted 25 August 2003 - 06:20 PM

I knew someone was going to post a damsel pic. I got a good one of a Coco damsel a few weeks ago, but it's not on my website.

You beat me to it Scotty!

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

#37 Mega1Gator

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Posted 26 August 2003 - 04:44 PM

Scotty, great image and good to know that violence is not necessary to get a damsel image! I was concerned that underwater, the S2 would do what happened on land one time when I was trying to shoot a breaching whale. The camera kept cycling and would not fire until after the subject was back in the water. If it missed the whale, what would happen with a damsel. Thanks, Mega.

#38 scottyb

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Posted 27 August 2003 - 01:17 PM

My point was that I found it much easier than trying to place a framer around a fast moving subject. The same goes for feather dusters and other formerly hard to shoot subjects. They become almost routine with a housed S2. I also found the TTL to be so accurate, that bracketting is a luxury rather than a necessity.

The 60 is not too bad about hunting once it acquires the subject. I find that if you locate the subject through the viewfinder and keep tapping the shutter release as you approach, it holds focus pretty well.

Next step, the 12 - 24, which I just found in stock in Dallas, thanks to an earlier post.

#39 Mega1Gator

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Posted 29 August 2003 - 11:41 AM

Scotty, thanks for the tip. Interestingly, I just heard from Fuji that my camera, 6 months old, needs a primary board replacement. If not in warranty, the cost would have been $650.00. Anybody hear of this being a systemic problem? Hope this does not happen after warranty. Mega