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#61 Kelpfish

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Posted 04 December 2004 - 09:34 AM

I myself have learned to appreciate both TTL and manual exposure. With film, I was a TTL junkie and when digital came I had to go to TTL Anonymous to break my addiction. I have the Titan housing so manual, I will admit, is so much easier to shoot than the old Hydro 35 days. TTL on digi has a different behavior than film. Topside, I more often than not don't like the ttl results, so I either adjust strobe output or go full manual. The more I learn about digi's manual adjustments (with all the fancy strobes and camera buttons), the more comfy I become. And my results are more pleasing than just putting the camera on "P" for punt, when all else fails.

Since I don't have a ttl underwater system, I am forced to shoot manual. It's no biggie. If you are shooting in macro, say with the 105mm, you will most likely be within exposure forgiveness range on those gost subjects (those that are there and then they are gone), which can be corrected in PS. If you are shooting raw, better yet.

So, for me, ttl is an option of many on my camera, and no longer a necessity. Sometimes I will shoot on ttl just to see what the camera wants to do as far as exposure, then flip the switch to manual.

Here are two examples of manual exposures that need almost zero correction in PS. The colors are just about as shot. Granted, no strobe, but the point is that "p" (auto expose anything) with or without strobes corrects for proper exposure. I could not get the camera to give me these results on P, only manual. This is why I am slowly learning to like manual more than ttl, although I think ttl has its place in many instances.

Enjoy! I am off to the beach to blow some more computer memory on birds.

Joe

#62 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 04:19 PM

Anthp jokingly suggested that I make a new post here after testing a INON D2000 on a recent trip!
http://www.wetpixel....ic-t-7481.phtml

But my opinion is not changed! Yes the INON D2000 works very well. But TTL can get it wrong. Manual does not. Manual does exactly what you tell it to do. If i shoot manual I may get it wrong. I can live with that and solve it. What I can't stand is when the equipment thinks it knows what I want.

What is worse is that the INON has a TTL compensation switch on it. So if the TTL metered flash is too dark or bright - you can adjust it. This is fine0 Sounds great, in fact. But, wait a minute. If you are going to adjust this - and I bet most D2000 owners WILL - then they might as well be shooting on manual. This is because a manual strobe always gives out the amount of light you tell it to. Compensating a TTL metered strobe may not be so reliable.

This is because in TTL your starting point for compensation can always change - depending on what the TTL reckons. Say the TTL gets it wrong, slightly dark, on one shot. You will increase the output to compensate - then when you retake the image the TTL might get it right and your shot is overexposed! Of course this wouldn't happen in the studio where everything is clamped in place, but underwater...

Manual means that your strobe gives out a constant amount of light. And if you get it wrong - you compensate and it does exactly what you tell it to do. And you get it right and it stays right.

My feeling is that many people will buy the D2000 for its TTL. And they will always use it in TTL. Compensating when they need to. The thing is - what they won't realise is they are doing pretty much the same thing that they would be doing with a manual strobe. Taking a shot looking at the LCD - and reaching over to the strobe and adjusting it slightly.

Alex

p.s. The INON STTL did work very well! Damn it!

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#63 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 04:42 PM

This is just to give you a clear example of my dependence to TTL. The shot below was taken a few weeks ago in Belize, this was the first (and only) time I saw this blenny, it is about 3cm long (one inch for the imperial people). I had this one chance, took the picture, and it was gone never to be seen again. I think this would be very hard to accomplish without TTL, that's why I am waiting (and counting) on IKE to develop iTTL (and hopefully on Nikon for a replacement for the D100).


Luiz - I don't mean to be argumentative. But I disagree. OK I have an advantage here because I know my Caribbean blennies well and I can find arrow blennies very easily. They are hard to find. But they are very habitat specific and once you learn to recognise the habitat then you can find then within a minute (if that habitat exists on your dive site).

This shot is from 2001-ish. Shot on Film (F100 + TTL). It is the best of many, and yes, I admit that is very pleasing (sorry for the high jpg compression and the fact that the bottom 20% of the frame is cropped off). My point is as always - that while I agree that I would not have got this shot on film without TTL. I think it is an easy shot to get on digital without TTL.

Posted Image

The attached shot is taken on my last dive (same one as those Starksia blennies and the triplefin and moray on the D2000 chat). It was taken with the Oly 5060 + D2000. This shot is uncropped. I am rather pleased that I did this with Oly AF and shutter lag. If only he was looking at the camera it would have been good. And if the bloody TTL had not slightly over exposed him it would be better. I feel that the over bright background (the result of TTL getting it wrong) has ruined this shot!

I completely take your point on film. And I completely disagree on digital.

Alex

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#64 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 04:51 PM

This shot was taken on digital with manual strobes. This is also uncropped. But taken with D100 and 105mm (last September). So even autofocusing this close, filling the frame with a free swimming macro subject - it is still easy to get the correct exposure with manual strobes.

Alex

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#65 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 05:02 PM

Luiz, please do not take my rant personally. It is not intended in any way as such. And I do accept that some people like the option of TTL. The main reason I defend manual flash control so strongly is because I wasted money housing a Nikon SB80DX with my D100 - so I could have TTL - which I later learned I did not need or want. I just want to save others wasting their money buying certain cameras, housings or flash guns because they think that they need TTL.

I'm not fussed that my new camera (D2X) has just won a group test in the British Journal of Photography as the best flash control system (beating the 1Ds MK2 and S3 - readers of too many doom and gloom internet forums may be shocked this camera exists and is already doing group tests). I will shoot it underwater on manual!

Alex

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#66 anthp

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 06:57 PM

Ha Ha ROTFLMAO!! ;) :D

Pretty funny that you actually took my advice Alex. I really did mean it as a joke btw.

I follow your arguement re the differences between film and digi in terms of TTL needs. I'm currently shooting on film and using TTL for macro and manual strobe for WA ('cause as you know - TTL is woeful in this regard).

I must admit to being one of those shocked that the D2X exists outside the bowels of Nikon headquarters - and I'm a little confused as to why you are still waiting... waiting... waiting... :) But I assume it is because your baby is still on order.

Really looking forward to seeing your results when you do get it. Nice blennies btw.
Anthony Plummer
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#67 Rocha

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 07:18 PM

Hi Alex,

Your shots are awesome, you finally convinced me. I was still "thinking film" (I've never used a dSLR underwater), but when you have the results available immediately you really have a chance to learn. I never learned manual on film because after waiting a few weeks (I do the mailer thingy) for the slides, I could never figure out what I did wrong on the badly exposed ones. I think that with digital it will be a lot easier and faster to learn and master manual flash exposures, and I will go for that.

I was still waiting for Ikelite's iTTL solution, but I think I will keep my Sea&Sea (excellent and expensive) ports, buy a housing from them and keep using my beloved Ikelite SS200 in manual. My only problem still is the D70's slow AF, I had an N90 (which has the same AF as the D70) before and I was very frustrated with it's slow AF, that's why I upgraded to the F100. I will wait until the PMA and see what Nikon has to offer, if they don't come up with anything D200ish I will probably get a D70 and Sea&Sea housing. I thought about getting a D2x, but who would want to carry that brick around? Not to mention the body parts I'd have to sell on the black market to get the camera and housing, hahahahaÖ

Regarding the blenny, you are right again. Despite having spent a lot of time underwater, most of my diving in the Caribbean was to collect fish for my genetics research, and I usually don't pay too much attention to the small stuff. I had a lot of spare time in my Belize trip, that's why I was pleasantly surprised to take photos and see that blenny.

Thanks for the enlightening!

Regards,

Luiz

P.S.: Attached is a photo from my last trip to Belize. Flash on the bottom half, on TTL.

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#68 anthp

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Posted 10 February 2005 - 07:42 PM

Kewl under/over Luiz.

I'm in a very similar position to Luiz and I'm waiting for a D200ish toy b4 I jump. I've currently got an Ike film housing and I'm looking forward to iTTL implementation - although it looks like Mattias Heinrichs might already by first cab off the rank in that regard.
Anthony Plummer
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#69 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 11 February 2005 - 01:25 AM

Hey guys,

Sorry again for the rant last night. TTL is a useful tool. And certainly if you can get it - then by all means do so. It is a tool that you can carry with you underwater and it is there should you need it.

My point when starting this thread was to try to make the point that I believe that TTL is no where near as an inportant a tool as it is on film. And while it works well on digital - it should not be so high on your list of priorities when buying kit.

Alex

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#70 Jolly

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Posted 21 February 2005 - 01:29 PM

My name is Julian, I am off TTL for 14 days / 3 dives.

Coming from a Nikonos V and a housed EOS film camera Iíve always used TTL for macro and wideangle. When I switched to manual power for wideangle work I always did several shots with different power and aperture settings.

Iíve used a bunch of tricks to compensate all of the Nikonos TTL system limitations: high reflective objects, shooting against the sun, subject covering just a little part of the frame with dark background, Ö all the things which would lead to an inaccurate exposure with the traditional TTL systems.

Now Iíve realized how easy manual strobing is when you get an instant feedback. Itís much easier and more reliable than TTL with all those tricks in order to get it work properly.
I just had to realize that the strobeís power settings donít have to be adjusted all the time during a dive. If the conditions (especially the distance) does not change too much you might find yourself not touching the strobeís power knob at all during one dive. This is valid for macro as well.

Another thing I would like to add:
A lot of pro shooters and very experienced shooters diving regularly on many dive trips per year have committed to manual strobe control. That made me think: ďThey can handle it Ė but can I handle this as well?Ē. The answer is yes, you donít have to be a pro. Even I was satisfied on my first dive already. Of course I have to build up experience, but the most important thing is that you wonít miss shots because you are on manual.

Iíve posted some pix from my first three digital & manual strobe dives:
http://www.wetpixel....c&p=47835#47835

My message: Donít waste your money on a heavy, bulky and expensive strobe housing which wonít give you enough. Donít let some promised TTL options drive your housing decision. You might regret it. There are 1000 criteria being more important than TTL with digital.
Manual is not just an alternative solution when digital TTL systems are not available, itís better in my opinion.

I still think the industry has to implement digital TTL systems in the future. It is their job and we pay them for that. But I would not choose my gear depending on TTL.
(I was considering the Seacam strobe housing. Glad I didn't go for it . I would struggle with unreliable wideangle TTL results and couldn't even switch to manual).

Regards,

Julian
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#71 cor

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Posted 24 February 2005 - 03:59 PM

Hi, my name is cor and Ive been off TTL for about 2 years. As many others im using a D100 without TTL strobes. It's not been hard at all, but lately im losing my willpower. I sortof wish I did have TTL sometimes. One thing I havent seen mentioned much, is doing macro with wide open lens. I find that next to impossible on manual, as even fully turned down on both my YS90DX strobes, with diffusers, and as far away from my housing as my (admittedly small) strobe arms allow, it's still a washout.

Ofcourse, most of the time Id be at f22 or so, but sometimes you just want to take an image with a very small depth of field. At those times I wish i had TTL. (or a camera that could sync at much higher speeds, oh well..:)

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#72 onokai

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Posted 29 April 2005 - 06:06 PM

My name is Mark and I have never been on ttl.Took up underwater photo in 1983 and never needed it. I did try in with some nikonos junk once but if I use( very rare) a 15mm with my nik 3 or 5 its always manual. Much easier to never start. My 2 f3 in aquatica housings never had it so learned without.I guess I'm ready for digital manual now. Mark
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Still a film divasourus with a baby toe in digital world

#73 John Bantin

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 08:54 PM

My name is John etc. I became a photographer in 1966. I worked on many prestigeous advertising campaigns throughout the 70s and 80s including a whole raft of posters for Guinness. Evidently some of my stuff is in the V&A museum in London. I also ocasionally worked as a lighting-cameraman on a number of award-winning TV commercials. I retired in 1992 with what I thought was enough cash to last me the rest of my life. I suppose I probably know how to get the exposure right as much as anyone.
I took up diving full-time. I used to use Nik V. Many of my pictures were quite good but many were wrongly exposed. I then went on to housed Nikon SLRs which I used with Nikon TTL flash. I got used to getting 36 perfectly exposed shots per roll. It became easy. Operating on the KISS principle, combined with TTL flash, I stuck to a simple formula. I have done that for 13 years.

I have just started shooting digital underwater although I have been using it top-side for about two years. I use TTL flash. I shoot in RAW but rarely have to adjust exposure afterwards. I get 76 perfectly exposed shots on 1Gb. I first bought an S2 Pro. I have since bought more S2 Pro second-hand. I bid for six different cameras on ebay but got nowhere. Is this TTL why I have to pay so much for them?

Incidently - do you know how to make a small fortune out of diving? Start with a large one!

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#74 onokai

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Posted 01 May 2005 - 09:50 PM

John said (Incidently - do you know how to make a small fortune out of diving? Start with a large one)
This is a huge understatement. If my first dive instructor told me that this would consume enormous piles of cash and lead to what I have put into it I would have left the 1st night. Now after 23 years I own 2 bostom whalers two compressors 20+ tanks tons of photo gear- to many classes to recall-dive -med- tank inspector-1st aid. Have traveled the underwater world-mexico-san benadicto- carib- micronesia- melanesia-new zealand-hawaii-british columbia-queen charlotes-washington -cali-Oregon- cosa rica-now indonesia-most spots many times.4 Dry suits 6+ wet suits.trained more girlfriend's to dive than wish to recall. All this from 1 little class
my pile of $$ was not big to start so the fortune I could have had was never to be.-
The only real income to speek of other than some magazine articles and u/w calender's is some lucrative commercial dive jobs. They always pay well but are dangerous and very phyisical in the worst conditons. Most times the only good reason to get into the water -is with a camera. That said I do have several tons of tasty shipwreck artifacts laying around. ok one needs a crowbar for that work. Mark
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#75 divegypsy

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 03:10 PM

Hello,

My name is Fred. I started my underwater shooting using manual strobe and by the mid-nineties had changed over to TTL with a housed Nikon F4. I'm now shooting virtually everything TTL (yes including wide-angle with 17-35mm, 14mm & fisheye) with housed F5's. I believe TTL allows me to get much more consistent results, especially on the one-shot opportunities, than non-ttl ever did. And I have reasonable photo credits to back up the statement including a number of dive magazines, a few hit with German GEO, and five underwater stories in National Geographic.

TTL is not magic. It requires some careful testing and thinking as does any good photography. There are few general factors you need to consider.

Is the primary subject the same general brightness as the background? If its lighter (as on dark sand) you need to add a little minus compensation.

Is the primary subject quite small in the picture? If it is use some minus compensation.

Is the picture really three dimensional and where is the prime subject? If the subject is in the forward part of the picture it will tend to be rendered a little overexposed when TTL averages the whole scene, so again use a little minus compensation to darken the average and render the prime subject properly.

Is ambient light a factor? Determine if it is by metering the subject itself and if it is more than three f-stops darker than the water color setting you are using, it can be treated as a flash only subject with consideration for the three factors above. If the subject, like most fish on the reef, is only a stop or two darker that your water color camera setting, this means it is getting a significant amount of its light from ambient light, so add considerable minus compensation to reduce the flash exposure to offset the amount of light contributed to the subject by ambient light.

Example: I am shooting a school of jacks and my water color setting for a nice blue color is 1/125 @ f8 which shows up as -.3 on the analogue metering scale of the camera. The jacks read about 1/125 @ f5.6 (about -1 on the analogue scale). This means the jacks are already getting at least 50% of the light they need from ambient light. A full TTL flash will give them another 100%, resulting in at least 150% or a half stop overexposure. And this doesn't consider that some of the jacks are closer than others.

In this type of situation I find that two quick shots, one with the compensation at -1.7 or -2.0 and another with one more full stop of minus compensation (-2.7 or -3.0) will almost always give me at least one professionally usable picture. the camera is operated in the manual exposure mode. It is important to meter the water color and jacks with the compensation set at 0.0. And then once the ambient light setting is determined, change the compensation to control; the flash output. I make dealing with the two different compensations even easier by setting the cameras to a normal and -1.0 shot bracket pair, and use the custom functions to apply auto-bracketing to only the flash exposure. Finally, after ambient metering change the compensation to either -1.7 or -2.0. Pairs of exposures can then be made quickly and easily by simply pushing the trigger twice.

Doesn't a whole f-stop flash differnece seem like a lot. Do the math. If you're getting 50% or even 60% of the light from ambient, a -2.0 flash adds 25% more and a -3.0 adds 12.5 % more. Both of these give the jacks something like 75% and renders then just right to go with a nnice blue water color. This allows you to really control the balance of the ambient light part of the picture with the flash part, regardless of whether the jack come a bit closer or not, because the TTL will simply cut the flash output a bit. And you will have incredible difficulty matching this with any manual flash guide numbers or tables for different distances.

And this same technique can work on reef scenes or anywhere ambient light makes a major contribution to the exposure. All you need are good TTL strobes.

In an earlier post Dr. Mustard posed a situation of a wide-angle shot with a yellow sponge on the left side of the shot and a darker red one on the right. And said How can I do it with TTL? The answer is fairly straight forward. Since the yellow sponge is already brighter than the red one, position the strobe more to the right side of the picture and at enough of an elevation so that the distance to the front part of the sponge and its farther parts are more equal. Even easier if you use twin strobes for wide-angle and simply move the strobe on the left side much farther back that the one on the right.

Eric Hanauer in his post said, "Its that 2 1/2 stop latitude on the dark side that got me hooked." James wisely stated later that even with digital you can't really miss the shot by two f-stops and still not pay a price, which is something I've confirmed playing with a Fuji S2. If you simply use digital so that you can better correct your bad exposures, then I feel you'd do a lot better learning how to use your camera better.

This does not mean that I don't like digital. In fact I've just ordered a D2X. But I feel I'll be using it mainly topside until someone comes up with a really good underwater I-TTL strobe. In the meantime, I expect I'll continue to do most of my underwater shooting with a film camera and good TTL strobes.

divegypsy

#76 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 04:18 AM

Thanks for you input, Fred.

I agree with you. If I shot an F5 I would use TTL too.

Alex

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#77 MikeVeitch

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 05:56 AM

Divegypsy: Reading through your post it all makes sense.

However, sounds like a lot of work to do the whole plus minus thing. Are you talking about dialing in under/over exposure using the +/- button beside the shutter release? Using terms like .3, 1.7 i am assuming you are.
On most housings this is a bit of a PITA. You don't think its easier and much quicker (quickness being important in this game) to just change your f-stops up and down whilst using a constant strobe output to achieve the same affect?

On film i was a Nikonos guy so didn't have the whole plus minus thing and did everything with fstops for exposure on subjects. True, on occasion i would use TTL for macro but i hardly ever shot macro so a moot point basically.
When i moved to the N90 i continued to shoot all my WA on manual and would bracket using my fstops which is a lot quicker than the two button process of changing the +/-.

Not sure the point of my post...
I guess just wondering why you utilize the slow process as opposed to the fstop route and what benefits you find from doing so. With things like Jacks, as in your example, the faster you can change things for bracketing the better off you are in the way of composition.

Sorry Fred and Alex, with an F5 i would use TTL on macro but never on WA.

As a side note: Fred, get that camera (D2X) in the water, i am well known for pushing the benefits of film and will always use my Nik V but! and this is the biggy. The amount of shots you can take on digital is just the biggest factor of all. I routinely shoot 20-40 shots of one subject in a ten minute period and still have plenty of room left for the next 50 mins of my dive. Couldn't do that with a roll of 36. That is the biggest positive with digital of everything, really lets you work on composition like never before. My friend Tim Rock is here right now and shot around 340 photos on a 55 minute shark feed yesterday... Hello! Nice.....Nikon/Canon debate to follow....

Mike

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#78 satura

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 04:04 AM

The amount of shots you can take on digital is just the biggest factor of all.  I routinely shoot 20-40 shots of one subject in a ten minute period and still have plenty of room left for the next 50 mins of my dive. 


Interesting, my amount of quality pictures increased after limiting myself to 20 pictures/dive.

Look, think, look again, shoot.

340 pictures/dive is just crazy. He should have a look at a video setup...

#79 MikeVeitch

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 04:14 AM

Have you ever been on a shark feed?

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#80 satura

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Posted 17 July 2005 - 04:22 AM

Yes, and I hated it. Watching a clown feeding beautiful animals to entertain 20+ divers in 10m water is not the way i like to dive. One reason that I will never dive on the bahamas again...