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#1 team2jnd

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:02 AM

 

I am an experienced photographer but am very new to underwater photography. I am very frustrated because I feel like my images are just not sharp enough and are far more noisy than they should be. I am shooting with a canon 5d mark ii in an ikelite housing with the 17-40 l. I have an 8 inch dome. I have attached a sample image so you can see what I mean. Thank you for any help/advice. This file has actually already had the noise reduced but you can see that it is soft and still some what grainy. 

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#2 team2jnd

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 02:04 AM

 

here is one from the surface which is less grainy but still soft. Also, no strobes were used here. I have not had a chance to dive with my strobes yet. 

 

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#3 elbuzo

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 04:14 AM

I think that if you get closer you will have better results . Even in clear water you have a lot of particles in the middle which degradate the image .

 

JA



#4 onewolf

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 05:45 AM

What ISO and shutter speed are you shooting with?


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#5 jmauricio

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 10:05 AM

maybe some others can comment, as I have no experience with Canon. Does that lens focus close enough to virtual image created by the dome port? that may be an addition problem.

 

additionally, a strobe or two would have helped with the first photo.

 

and, as ever, get closer.



#6 onewolf

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 11:42 AM

According to IkeLite the 17-40 focuses close enough to use in the 8" dome without a diopter, however corner sharpness "may" be improved at "some" focal lengths by using a +2 diopter.  Good weasel words.  :)


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#7 team2jnd

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:02 PM

According to IkeLite the 17-40 focuses close enough to use in the 8" dome without a diopter, however corner sharpness "may" be improved at "some" focal lengths by using a +2 diopter.  Good weasel words.  :)

Wow thanks everybody for the responses. The iso was never higher than 400 so it shouldn't have been an issue. I heard about the diopter but have no experience with it. I will give it a try. In almost all of my photos, the reflection of my lens actually showed up in the photo. I will try to attach an example so you can see what I mean. Could this be an issue of the dome port? I know distance is an issue but there have been shots where my port was within a foot or so of the turtles and the images still werent as sharp as Id like them to be. As for shutter speed, generally around 1/120. Thanks again for all of the support. Diving is my passion and I am getting very discouraged in my efforts thus far. 

Jim



#8 team2jnd

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:05 PM

This first image shows what I meant about the lens showing up in the photo. Also, my lens protrudes into the dome itself rather than stopping at the end of the extender. Is this normal? 

 
 

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#9 team2jnd

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 07:09 PM

 

Here is an image where I was only a foot or two away from the subject and it is still not sharp. This (and all of the others) were shot at f8 (aperture priority) and the shutter speed on this one was 1/80. I should have mentioned... I currently have the 5d housing not 5d ii so I have been using aperture priority because it is hard to change settings without access to all of the controls. I am saving up for a new housing (probably aquatica) so if this is an issue of the port it will hopefully be fixed when I upgrade. Thanks again for all of the help it is very much appreciated. 

Jim

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#10 tdpriest

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 02:51 AM

Despite the blandishments, research and efforts of the manufacturers mid-range zooms don't like dome ports, any water between the subject and the port is too much, and larger animals need a surprisingly high shutter speed or a strobe to "freeze" their motion.

 

Try a prime fisheye lens, which forces you to get close and matches the optics of the dome port. Try a strobe, but stay close to the subject,

 

And don't worry: the early images of most of the contributors here were much, much worse...



#11 team2jnd

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 12:24 PM

Thank you Tim. I have heard good thongs about the tokina 10-17. Would that be a good choice? What is causing the lens to reflect in the photos? Thanks again for the help.
jim

#12 tdpriest

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 03:43 PM

Thank you Tim. I have heard good thongs about the tokina 10-17. Would that be a good choice? What is causing the lens to reflect in the photos? Thanks again for the help.
jim

 

I prefer prime lenses, but the Tokina 10-17mm is really good with cropped sensors. I was a little unhappy about the build quality compared to Nikon and Canon lenses, but that's not why mine was dropped into the better part of half a mile of water...

 

Some dome ports need a short extension to match the optical centre of the lens to that of the port, but I think that the Ikelite 8" dome is OK without one.

 

The reflection is just that: a reflection from shiny parts of the lens. A little matt black tape or a marker pen (ie lens abuse) fixes the problem, as does shooting with the sun over your shoulder and not shining into the dome port.

 

Using a prime fisheye, a 9" dome and ambient light I took this image a couple of months ago:

 

2013 Bahamas 58 418 Tiger Beach Lemon shark.jpg

 

The main difference from the images that you have posted is that I'm forced to be much closer, because of the lens.

 

 


Edited by tdpriest, 21 June 2013 - 03:52 PM.


#13 team2jnd

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 08:21 PM

 

Wow, GREAT shot. I'm convinced. I will have to go with the prime lens. Which prime do you use? I can't imagine trying to get any closer than I have been though... I ran into a Hawaiian Monk seal a few days ago and it swam within 10 feet of me and the images came out terrible. How do you get so close without scaring the subjects away? I was thinking about going with either the 60 or 100mm macro to help get closer...


Edited by team2jnd, 21 June 2013 - 08:23 PM.


#14 Steve Williams

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 09:45 PM

Hi Jim,

You need to start thinking in inches of water between your camera and the subject not feet.  I highly recommend you pick up a copy of "The Underwater Photographer" (4th Edition) by Martin Edge.  Great book.

 

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#15 team2jnd

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 12:10 AM

Hi Jim,

You need to start thinking in inches of water between your camera and the subject not feet.  I highly recommend you pick up a copy of "The Underwater Photographer" (4th Edition) by Martin Edge.  Great book.

 

Cheers,

Steve

Thanks steve. I actually just purchased that book. Haven't had the chance to read it yet though. I just don't know how to get any closer without scaring the subjects away. I guess I will have to dive more and get practice 

 



#16 MortenHansen

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 01:07 AM

I'd have to agree with the other guys, you have to get closer, a lot closer, with a focal range of 40mm its tempting to just zoom in rather than get as close as possible (without damaging the environment of course). The 17-40L is a pretty awesome lens, and you should be able to get some real crackers with it, just have a bit of a google around, a lot of great pictures were taken underwater with this lens. 

 

I would recommend that you wait a little before you go out and buy new lens, extensions and possibly a new dome, if your buoyancy is so that you cant get close enough with the 17-40, then a new lens (fisheye) is only gonna make the subject smaller in your picture, a new lens is not going to help on your buoyancy control.

 

Make sure you have excellent buoyancy skills and then see what you think if your 17-40, if you are feeling that you can't get close enough because of the minimum close focus of the 17-40, then you can change your setup, but if its because of bouyancy then it doesn't make much sense.

 

It might be a good idea to go with your local dive club to the pool, bring your camera, and practice there once a week (you don't have to do a course to learn it but if you have a good instructor who knows about photography then it can sometimes help) after a few sessions you should be getting the hang of it! 

 

Anyways, thats my 2 pennies worth, and as Tim said, it could be a whole lot worse! :)  



#17 team2jnd

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Posted 22 June 2013 - 11:51 AM

I'd have to agree with the other guys, you have to get closer, a lot closer, with a focal range of 40mm its tempting to just zoom in rather than get as close as possible (without damaging the environment of course). The 17-40L is a pretty awesome lens, and you should be able to get some real crackers with it, just have a bit of a google around, a lot of great pictures were taken underwater with this lens. 

 

I would recommend that you wait a little before you go out and buy new lens, extensions and possibly a new dome, if your buoyancy is so that you cant get close enough with the 17-40, then a new lens (fisheye) is only gonna make the subject smaller in your picture, a new lens is not going to help on your buoyancy control.

 

Make sure you have excellent buoyancy skills and then see what you think if your 17-40, if you are feeling that you can't get close enough because of the minimum close focus of the 17-40, then you can change your setup, but if its because of bouyancy then it doesn't make much sense.

 

It might be a good idea to go with your local dive club to the pool, bring your camera, and practice there once a week (you don't have to do a course to learn it but if you have a good instructor who knows about photography then it can sometimes help) after a few sessions you should be getting the hang of it! 

 

Anyways, thats my 2 pennies worth, and as Tim said, it could be a whole lot worse! :)

I agree. Above water I've gotten some of my best images with the 17-40. The focusing distance has been an issue already for me. I know the tokina and sigma have a better focusing distance so I will check them out. I don't have an issue with my buoyancy I've been an active diver since I was 16 I just have an issue with getting close to my subjects without scaring them away. I also try to avoid using strobes because I feel it must place added stress to the creatures and my primary goal is always to enjoy and not harm. Thanks again for all of the help, I will try and get a few dives in this week and post some pictures to see if I have made any progress. 

Thanks,

Jim



#18 MortenHansen

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 04:12 AM

I agree. Above water I've gotten some of my best images with the 17-40. The focusing distance has been an issue already for me. I know the tokina and sigma have a better focusing distance so I will check them out. I don't have an issue with my buoyancy I've been an active diver since I was 16 I just have an issue with getting close to my subjects without scaring them away. I also try to avoid using strobes because I feel it must place added stress to the creatures and my primary goal is always to enjoy and not harm. Thanks again for all of the help, I will try and get a few dives in this week and post some pictures to see if I have made any progress. 

Thanks,

Jim

 

Hi Jim, sorry, I must have misunderstood your first post, I thought that you meant that you were new to underwater photography and I took it for granted that you were also a new diver, if you feel comfortable with your buoyancy, then by all means, go for a fisheye, they are a whole lot of fun! :)

 

I guess the whole scaring thing is a matter of learning how to read the "body language" of the animals you shoot, like turtles, when they are eating, you can get really close without them caring one bit :) Anyways, make sure you post some more pictures when you've done a few dives with you new gear, will be interesting to see what comes of it!   



#19 DamonA

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 05:02 AM

Your dome is showing condensation looking at those reflections, keep your rig cool and out of the sun - maybe get a cooler box to store it in out to the dive site.



#20 tdpriest

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Posted 23 June 2013 - 05:42 AM

 

 

I will have to go with the prime lens. Which prime do you use? I can't imagine trying to get any closer than I have been though... I ran into a Hawaiian Monk seal a few days ago and it swam within 10 feet of me and the images came out terrible. How do you get so close without scaring the subjects away? I was thinking about going with either the 60 or 100mm macro to help get closer...

 

 

Seals are tricky, and the 17-40mm is probably a good lens, unless you get the right seal on the right day (there are places, like the Farne Islands in northern England, where young seals will play with divers).

 

I now use the Sigma 15mm with a Nikon D800; with a D300 I used the Nikon 10.5mm. As a "stand-off" lens under good conditions (clear water, bright sunlight from over the shoulder) I've used a Nikon 16-35mm, but it's never as good. Without good quality sunlight it's hard to avoid strobes, but larger animals don't seem to be disturbed by two or three flashes; more, well, there's likely to be at least a chance of the animal quitting in disgust.

 

As far as getting close, it's very much a matter of the right animal in the right place, few bubbles and approaching over several minutes.

 

That might be why macrophotography is so popular: many "critters" are relatively approachable: that's where the 60mm micro lens comes in, although I prefer the Nikon 105mm f2.8 G micro lens. Repeated strobe flashes are obviously nastier for a small, immobile, creature than for a big, mobile, one. Unfortunately, underwater macrophotography without artificial light is impossible.


Edited by tdpriest, 23 June 2013 - 05:51 AM.