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HELP- first strobe purchase for Olympus epl-3 PT-EP05l housing


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#1 Kevindale222

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:23 AM

Hi, I'm heading to Galapagos soon and am fairly new to underwater photography, I will be shooting mainly WA, I want to purchase my first arm system and one strobe for time being, cost being the main issue due to wanting both the Olympus 9-18mm and zen dome. :).

Main questions=
-recommended strobe, fired by fibre optic ( I'm guessing the most powerful I can afford seein as ill only be using one strobe)
- what arm manufactures?
- want arm system size for both WA and macro for future?
- recommended video light? possible sola 2000 or RGblue( can these be used in conjunction with a strobe as well as shooting video?

Thanks a lot in advance.

#2 onewolf

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:44 AM

Strobe: Sea&Sea YS-D1 or Inon Z-240

Arms: Ultralight 5" and 8"

Clamps: Ultralight

Video light: I just bought a pair of RGBlues. Compared to Sola 2000 the RGBlues have wider, smoother, more natural sun light look.


(Primary) Nauticam 550D, Canon T2i, Canon 60mm macro, Canon 100mm IS, Tokina 10-17FE, Zen 100mm domeport, Nauticam 180deg viewfinder, Dual S&S YS-110a, SOLA 600 focus light, Dual AOI RGBlue video lights, GoPro Hero 2

 

(Backup) Olympus E-PM1, PT EP-06, Olympus 14-42 II, Olympus 60mm macro

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#3 bear35

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:08 AM

Same as above... The oly housing takes a sea and sea type fiber optic lead not sure about Inon. The ultralight tray and arms are vert good. Not sure about the lights, I have just got a focus light.



#4 Kevindale222

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Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:10 AM

thanks one wolf and bear 35 im now gonna have look at these bits of equipment. i was gonna buy sola 2000 then discovered the RGBlue and it looks good. now undecided. :)  



#5 Kevindale222

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 01:08 AM

With regards to arms? Is it worth considering bouyancy arms. Because even without strobe and arms etc housing is negatively bouyant.

#6 onewolf

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 02:20 AM

My PM1/EPT-06 with dual ULCS 8" arms, YS-110a strobes and 4 jumbo stix floats (I swap arms/strobes between Nauticam and Olympus housings) is slightly positive UW. Without the stix floats it is probably less than 1 lb negative. I would not worry about  float arms until you figure out all the doodads and thingamajigs you may add to your system.


(Primary) Nauticam 550D, Canon T2i, Canon 60mm macro, Canon 100mm IS, Tokina 10-17FE, Zen 100mm domeport, Nauticam 180deg viewfinder, Dual S&S YS-110a, SOLA 600 focus light, Dual AOI RGBlue video lights, GoPro Hero 2

 

(Backup) Olympus E-PM1, PT EP-06, Olympus 14-42 II, Olympus 60mm macro

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#7 Kevindale222

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 04:00 AM

Thanks mate.

#8 KenEverett

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 10:54 AM

I am probably too late to weigh in on this. First, I have been the whole route, starting with a Light & Motion Tetra 5050, going to an Olympus SP350, graduating? to a Nikon D300 in a Subal and now using an Olympus E-M5 in a Nauticam housing. Have used various Inon and Sea and Sea strobes with a plethora of TTL devices. Just got back from the Solomon's and a photography trip where the majority of the people were shooting Olympus PEN's. 

 

Based on my experience and the experience of others, the most overlooked flash in the world (and dissed regularly) is the Olympus UFL-2. The regular comments are; big, clunky, only uses 2 AA batteries - can't be any good. These comments absolutely must come from people who have never used them with a PEN or the E-M5. This strobe is designed for those cameras and communicates via "radio". This is a complete system that even Olympus does a lousy job of promoting.I have heard of many instances where a retailer talks customers out of the UFL-2.

It requires the use of the Olympus fiber optic cable. I use them on  5" arms on a Nauticam tray set about lens level, shooting manual, 1/125 and usually F20 or F22. The lighting is always perfect for macro subjects. I now only worry about the subject and never the technicalities of the equipment and my results show it. The only thing you need to know about this flash is the RC mode must be turned on on the flash and on the camera. Arms should be short as possible and simple. You see many octopus-looking arrangements that guarantee you will spend more time messing with your lights than you will taking good pictures.

 

For WA. forget lighting. Shoot shutter priority, boost the ISO and correct the white balance later (Photoshop, Lightroom or iPhoto). If you don't want to bother with post work, the underwater mode in the Olympus cameras may just do it for you. The end result will be zero backscatter. Unless you have lighting the size of a truck, strobes typically are worthless beyond 2' anyway. Effective distance of strobes on land and in the water seems to be the best kept secret in the photography world - reference the thousands of flashes witnessed at rock concerts when the lights are turned out. Also remember that what underwater strobes (read not Sola's) illuminate best is backscatter.

 

My wife uses 2) Sola 2000's for stills. The results are excellent. No backscatter, soft and warm photos. If a subject is outside the range of the lights, no worries, the camera is set up for a more "natural" photograph. Again, boost the ISO (1000+?). Use program mode or shutter priority. You will get great pictures with no hassle. I mount a Sola on top of my EM-5 primarily for videos and the results are great. I am still using strobes ( 2 UFL-2's), primarily because after years of fighting (and it is fighting) with lighting, I am thrilled to look in the monitor and see a well lit shot every time.

 

Anyway, for the Galapagos you are going to be concerned with having fun, taking great pictures. Don't dwell on lighting. Keep it simple and effective or for the WA not at all.

 

I may or may not set off a firestorm with these comments. If you want to get the "expert" lowdown on Olympus and Sola go to www.jackandsue.com. They are spending a lot of time and effort testing Olympus and Sola and have many examples of fantastic work on their site. They are devoted to making underwater photography easy, fun and cost effective. Not words usually associated with the sport.



#9 Kevindale222

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 01:26 AM

Thanks a lot keneverett. Really informative. What you are saying about WA is really what I have been thinkin. Just wanna enjoy the diving in Galapagos . Am going to get the 9-18mm and zen dome which will allow me to get closer an improve IQ without strobes. And post prices in Lightroom if I have too. Do you have any experience or know anyone who has used the RGblue video lights. Look like a real contender to sola's. at a mi I want about lens set up and a good video light for Galapagos.

#10 KenEverett

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 07:35 AM

Again, I would say forget about the lights. Galapagos are bigger subjects, typically farther away. The lights will have zero impact. I don't know anything about the RGblue video lights but the Sola's are incredible for both close-subject still and video.



#11 Kevindale222

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:58 AM

Ok point taken. Do you think it is possible o he decent shots with the 9-18mm olympus In olympus housing witht the zen dome?