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Magic Filters are ready


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#1 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 11:09 PM

I am very pleased to be able to say that Magic Filters are (finally ready). :) :D :D Its been quite a wait. But the circular filters arrived yesterday! Check out http://www.magic-filters.com/. Thank you to all my friends here for encouraging me to develop this filter.

For those that haven't been following this developing saga, here on Wetpixel - Magic Filters are a new filter for available light underwater photography that have been developed by Wetpixel Co-Admin Alex Mustard. The filters allow you to take colourful UW images, with your DSLR, with just ambient light, between the surface and 15m (50ft).

Posted Image
Such as this image taken by Peter Rowlands

Magic differ from other UW filters as they are made as optical quality gels and are therefore compatible with popular wide angle lenses such as fisheyes and ultra-wide (weitwinkel) zooms. The filter is targetted at SLR lenses, and sold as pre-cut gels to fit them. At the moment we don't offer the filter for digital compacts (as UR Pro already make great filters for these cameras). We are selling the Magic filter to answer the problem that DSLR photographers had - that there weren't filters for our fave lenses. That said, if a compact user wants to buy a Magic filter and cut it with scissors to fit inside their port, we won't stop you :D !

Anyway I don't want this to read like a commercial post. I know those who know our filters (and have seen how cheap they are including postage anywhere in the world) know that is not what we are about. We have had one batch of filter made (and while we expect there is enough for everyone, once it is used up we will cease to trade.

Alex

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#2 3@5

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 12:06 AM

great news :) :D :D looking forward to using them...
in the mean time have fun in the water!
Paul Papadopoulos
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#3 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 07:31 AM

I am back from the murky Dorset coast now. And have updated the original information. Here is a bit more information on how my filters work:

The Magic differs from other filters because it is not designed to perfectly counteract the filtering effect of seawater because this is highly variable (e.g. with depth). Instead it adjusts colours reaching the sensor to produce a colour balance that is easily corrected by the camera’s white balance. This is a new approach for underwater filtration, one that takes full advantage of the new technology of digital still cameras. This enables the Magic filter to work from the surface down to 15m (and produce reasonable results down to at least 17m). As a consequence the Magic filter will not work at any depth with daylight balanced slide film.

I might post a bit more when I have had a chance to download my pix. Gotta get my priorities right!

Alex

p.s. if you have a questions please post them below and I will answer them.

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#4 3@5

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 11:19 AM

alex,
have you had the opportunity of using the magic filters deeper than 15m, by deeper i mean more in the ~30m? considering the results you were getting in dorset, it might be viable?
Paul Papadopoulos
canon 1dmkII + seacam silver + inon z220
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#5 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 11:56 AM

For me filters are a shallow water technique. Seek out subjects in the top 10m for the best results. The Magic works fine to 15m too. This Magic ray was taken at exactly 15m (I was swimming along the 15m contour looking for something!) and for me the colours are great. I would not plan to use the filter below this depth - there just isn't enough red light down there to get anything in the shots. Bt of course is a humpback whale swims past at 20m take the shot!
Posted Image

Personally I don't think you need a filter for available light shots in the top 1m. By two meters you need strong WB adjustments to correct and therefore start to need a filter. By 3m images taken without filters suffer poor image quality if adjusted with WB too much - and in many cases the water will start to go red/purple. You definitely need a filter below this depth if you care about image quality!

If I was shooting in split levels or in water shallower than 1m, I would not use a Magic filter. The Magic works best between 2 and 15m. Although it works fine right up to the surface (if you already have it attached) - if you are shooting a subject right at the surface then it is not necessary to put the Magic on.

Alex

p.s. Today I didn't use the Magic filter. Partly because I was shooting split levels and partly because I was in murky green water and partly because all the shots were within the top 1m. Also in dark UK waters there isn't so much light so filters can be tricky!

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#6 motionsync

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Posted 23 August 2005 - 11:27 PM

Last day I have recieve my Magic filters. I hope this weekend I will try them.
Thanks Alex for the fast delivery

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#7 Starbuck

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 07:03 AM

Thanks Alex and Peter for the quick delivery of my magic filters. I want to also add that Alex and Peter did a superb job with the packaging and inserted brochure....very professional!!!

M.
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#8 TimG

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 10:53 AM

Yeah got mine too :) Thanks guys - great initiative.
I just need a 5m deep puddle now to give them a go..... (if it carries on raining like it has so far today, this will not take long)

Tim

(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)


#9 carib-blu

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 11:19 AM

I cant wait! Mine were shipped last week by Peter.....I hope the Post Office here in Cayman understands the urgency on delivery!!! As they say here..."soon come" Well, not soon enough for me!! Come on already! For those that have theirs, get out there and shoot, shoot, shoot! Then, Post! Post! Post! We want to see!

Aurabest,
john
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Nikon D100, Titan Housing, YS120's, 10.5, 17-35, 60, 105, MAGIC FILTERS!

#10 DuikKees

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 12:37 PM

I wonder who's the first to post. I have to wait another 1 1/2 week before I can use them into the clear blue water of Bonaire.

#11 Starbuck

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Posted 24 August 2005 - 12:41 PM

I will be in Bali till Sept 16th so it will be awhile...unless the Kararu has some type of internet connection...which I doubt. Im not sure if we will be doing much WA anyway...unless a stray whale shark swims by in 50 ft of water...:))

M.
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#12 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 02:03 AM

Thanks for the support guys. Its one thing me telling people how well the filter works, but I know people are skeptical because I am selling the filter. But I know how well it works and I can't wait for people to see your results with it.

One of the hardest things with filters is trying to persuade people to give them a try. It is very difficult to persuade folks to take a break from their strobes (which of course work very well) and give a new type of photography a go.

I hope that when you all start sharing your images then more people will be prepared to try something new. We need to change the additude to filters from concerns of the unknown to concerns that people are missing out on something cool. Which they are!

The other issue is that many photopros have never shot filters on digital stills and so people don't get taught about them in courses. And rarely is this new digital technique covered in books - filters were just impractical on slide film - and detailed digital books aren't out yet. I am hoping that the low price of Magic will encourage more people to try this technique so it becomes much more mainstream. And then we can all learn from each others experiences with them.

Alex

p.s. Mike - i am in Bali for almost exactly the same dates as you. Maybe we will see you if you get shore leave - or maybe underwater - first thing in the morning at USAT Liberty?

Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#13 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 11:44 AM

I took this picture this afternoon to help people understand the Magic range of gel filters.

This is a set of Magic Filters photographed on a lightbox. Well I have to use it for something these days! The real colour of the filters is redder than they look here - and of course you can't see the transparency on the lightbox! This really is a photo not just a load of shapes drawn in photoshop.

Posted Image

Depending on your monitor this is not to far away from life size.

Alex

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Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#14 herbko

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 11:51 AM

Depending on your monitor this is not to far away from life size.

Alex

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Is that 1:1 on an APS sensor or a FF sensor? :) ;)
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#15 yahsemtough

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 02:45 PM

Is that 1:1 on an APS sensor or a FF sensor?  :)  ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


ROTFLMAO

Thanks Alex. I have not seen it but assume Rand has it as we speak. Might give it a go in British Columbia next month.
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#16 MikeVeitch

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Posted 25 August 2005 - 03:57 PM

British Columbia Todd? I remember that place.....

Anyhoo, just ordered my Magic yesterday...anyone want bets on how long it will take to reach Yap?!

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#17 DesertEagle

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 06:34 AM

Alex,

How fast do you usually set the shutter speed? I've had to go as low as 1/30 or 1/15, but have benefited from using a strobe to freeze any motion.
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#18 yahsemtough

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 07:28 AM

British Columbia Todd?  I remember that place.....

Anyhoo, just ordered my Magic yesterday...anyone want bets on how long it will take to reach Yap?!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Port Hardy again, for about the 6th time. Just love the diving up there! :) I think it is just a little cooler in water temperature to Yap. :)

Oops sorry for being off topic...and I look forward to trying my magic filter out for the first time there. ;)
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#19 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 26 August 2005 - 07:46 AM

How fast do you usually set the shutter speed? I've had to go as low as 1/30 or 1/15, but have benefited from using a strobe to freeze any motion.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


When you are shooting with available light you need to use reasonable shutterspeeds as you do not have strobes to freeze the action.

When I use strobe I regularly use slow shutterspeeds between 1/4th-1/15th sec no problem. Even with the 105mm macro lens!

But with available light (and filters) you need to use the shutter speeds to freeze movement blur of the subject. Even if you are shooting a wreck - there will be small fish in the frame moving about. I tend to use shutter speeds above 1/50th at least with the 10.5mm for available light - the problem is not so much camera shake, but subject movement blur. The wise chap who wrote the Magic Instructions (me!) suggests "shutter speed priority mode can be useful for stopping movement blur".

Hope that this helps,

Alex

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Nikon D4 (Subal housing). Nikon D7100 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).


#20 ahplee

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 12:23 PM

Alex, I would like to order a set of magic filters for the 15mm Sigma lens I just purchased. I am leaving on a dive trip on Sept 8. How long will it take to get to the filters to me. I live in New York.

Thanks,