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Member Since 08 Aug 2008
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Topics I've Started

Shooting schools of barracudas

12 August 2015 - 11:04 PM

Hi folks!
I have the pleasure of 1/ being in vacations 2/ in avery nice resort (Villa Alba, Bali), whose house reef hosts a school of young barracudas (about 200 i'd say) who i meet on each dive.
Obviously i try to take wide angle pics of the school (currently shootimg micro 4/3, with a 9-18mm lens) but just like any shot of barracudas school, i am not satisfied with what i am getting.
I usually manage to get the barras pretty well aligned, but them they are not all lit the same, some are too bright some not. They easily get burned (contrast too high vs the dart blue water background).
I wish i could post some pics but internet connection is too slow here.
Would you habe any advice on how to get great barracudas shots?
Maybe reduce flash output (but this won't help with heterogeneous lighting)? Maybe shoot ambiant light?
My opportunities to shoot them again are limited as wifey keeps telling me about the great small stuff that she finds while i play in the blue, ans sooner or later we'll switch to macro... (I am the wide angle person).

Thanks in advance for your comments!

which setup to shoot burst underwater?

10 August 2015 - 08:15 PM

Hi folks,


I am seeing more and more situations where i would like to shoot bursts underwater, such as approaching schooling fishes, rapid swimming hunters, or macro.

So, i am looking for advice on which setup attributes to look for in order to make it possible, i have in mind a few areas of attention:


Strobe exposure control: TTL or manual

I know most of you probably go manual, but having tried both, i must admit i still prefer TTL, which gets the exposure quite right in most of my experience.

And when shooting actions, i doubt even further my ability to get manual exposure right.

I am just wondering if the extra flashes needed for the TTL may limit the ability to shoot multiple real flashes, or limit the burst frequency. 

The answer might depend on the next point though.


Strobe connectivity: electric or optical fibers

Like many, i moved to optical fibers (got corroded electric cables twice...). It's great in terms of reliability, though it introduces a dependency on the camera's internal flash capabilities.

In manual mode, you workaround it by setting the internal flash to 1/64th of it's power or something like that.

When doing so, are we confident the internal flash won't be the limiting factor? 

So bottom line questions: are optical fibers a no-go for burst shooting?

Or OK... in manual only?


Which strobes?

Some strobes might be more capable than others in terms of burst shooting. Right now i use two Inon Z240 type IV, would there be suitable? Would others be better?

I must say i am puzzled by the userguide's recommendation to limit the number of shots, wait for the strobe to cool down, etc...


Camera continuous-autofocus capabilities (underwater)

Though burst mode could be used for still subjects to capture a given attitude, i foresee it mostly for fast moving subjects. Hence, there's a need for good continuous focus capability on the camera side. 

I am currently using an Olympus Micro 4/3 and i don't think these cameras are (yet?) fit for continuous autofocus. 

Before i used Nikon, and would not be against going back to this brand. So question is which of their D-SLRs would do the trick - not sure the D7000 is sufficient? Or maybe it is?

Something to add: i would really prefer to avoid full frames cameras, i could cope with the budget of an APS-C D-SLR, especially if i can buy it used, but full frame would be too expensive and bulky for travel (already have to carry 2 rebreathers, for wifey and myself...).


Any other criteria to consider for that setup?



thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts :-)







new range of Fix Neo lights - opinions?

27 June 2015 - 01:20 AM

hi folks,


My old Sola 600 photo light is getting meaner and meaner with me.

The charging contacts are extremely difficult to connect with, and after i charged for hours and left all indicators green, when i turned on the light it started blinking red!!! Too bad, so i am looking for another light, and it won't be a Sola.


The recent announcements on wetpixel front page about several Fisheye FIX Neo light models caught my attention, in particular those two:

-Fix Neo 1500 DX SWR: 599 USD

-Fix Neo 1000 Mini WR: 299 USD


Two very different price tags i know, but i am not sure yet how much i am ready to spend.


Fix Neo 1000 Mini WR

The cheaper one seems to match quite well the specs of my Sola 600, except:

-the red light that is only 100 lumen (Sola had 250 lumen), i am thinking it's too low. If i were still shooting on Nikon D7000 OK, but this nice little Olympus OMD-EM5 doesn't have such a strong autofocus...

-the ASO (auto shut-off) feature seems interesting, but i am not sure i like it: yes it would be nice to avoid the light's lighting to ruin strobe positioning efforts, but at the same time, this turns off the light for 1 second, i am wondering whether this would be annoying, i don't realize how long it seems in real life.

Also, i am wondering how the battery holds between 2 charges (i usually dive once a week, and don't want to be re-charging the light each time).


Fix Neo 1500 DX SWR

Just looking at the specs, this light is a killer! It has all i need, plus the choice of keeping your light sealed while you charge (like the Sola) or to swap batteries for more flexibility... I am surprised it doesn't include the ASO feature, but since i am not sure i like it, that's not a deal breaker.

So specs are great, but i have no clue on the usability of such a dive light: how easy is maintenance (when you swap battery), o-rings greasing each time? Feels safe or is it a single/scary exposed o-ring? What about manipulations underwater?


And a question that applies to both lights: how reliable are the battery statuses? As you understood, this is the pain point on my current light, i cannot trust it at all.


So i would really enjoy reading any experience you may have on those lights, or on other lights of that same range if they share similar designs.




Electronic control of focus range in Olympus cameras

20 March 2015 - 05:21 AM

Hope i am not creasting false hopes, but what i put in the title is something i would loooove that Olympus puts in place.


What this is about?

It's about the great ability of the Oly 60 mm 2.8 macro lens to restrict the focusing range within a limited distance, in order to optimise the autofocus speed.

Capability to access this setting underwater would be maravellous for obvious reasons, and would reduce the gap in Autofocus speed versus DSLR cameras (i often miss my trusty Nikon D300 in that area).

Actually, this would be useful in about any lens i think, even on a fisheye, if you know you're shooting CFWA why wouldn't you like to limit the focusing range from lens glass till, say 10cm.

From a product positioning standpoint, Olympus are very concious about underwater photography (they manufacture housing), so this would be in line.

I would personally be ready to upgrade to a newer camera for that single reason (well, increasing battery life wouldn't hurt either...).



I am not an Olympus engineer, but with the number of things that can be electronically controlled in Micro 4/3 system, i am pretty confident this would be doable. Take the example of the 12-50mm zoom lens, i think there's some ability to get to the "macro position" electronically.


So how do we get it done?

Two years ago i dropped a hopeful email to Olympus but didn't get any answer.

Any other idea on how to get their attention?


I guess the first step would be to see whether you guys would also like that capability.

And if there's a few of us, discuss what's the best mean to convey that suggestion to them (photo show, some ideabox...).


Thanks in advance for your comments!




Snorkelling advice in Trinidad?

23 February 2015 - 12:22 AM

Hi folks,


What's worse than missing that great business trip in a diving destination like Trinidad (the main island of the Trinidad & Tobago country, few miles aways from Venezuela)?

Well there's getting on the trip, but having no time for even a single dive there.... :angry2:


However i might have 2-4 hours private time to go snorkelling on Wednesday early morning (i've brought my Oly OM-D EM-5, its Nauti housing, and a Sola 600 light, just in case...).


Question to you: could you please advise where i should go for that snorkelling?

Knowing my hotel will be just next to Piarco airport.


Hope somebody has tips, as i understood the beaches in Tobago have very diverse quality.