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Nicool

Member Since 08 Aug 2008
Online Last Active Today, 09:06 AM
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Topics I've Started

which brand(s) for reliable clamps

Yesterday, 10:59 AM

hello Wetpixel!

 

I think my trusty Ultralight clamps (AC CSF model, those with 15 degrees side movement flexibility) now deserve to retire, as they've become a little tough to use, after about 300-400 photo dives, over... 7 years!

 

By "tough to use" i mean i need to screw harder to get the arms steady, and i am often not fully happy with the steadiness.

 

Looking at photo dealers not too far from home, i am given a number of choices as far as manufacturers are concerned:

-ULCS (the same AC CSF ones which i have)

-Nauticam (same manufacturer as my housing)

-I-Das clamps, offering apparently 60 degrees side movement flexibility

-a number of carbondive.com clamps, some with very peculiar shapes

 

Those are the 4 brands within easy reach for me which i have down-selected.

 

Could you share feedbacks on the easiness to use, quality, and durability of these clamps?

 

thanks!

Nicolas


Tiny shrimp from the Mediterranean

13 May 2016 - 06:18 AM

Hi folks!

 

I'd be very interested in your help to identify this tiny shrimp which i met for the first time some weeks ago, in Antibes waters (South of France).

 

To give you an idea of scale, she sits on some sort of gastropod (the yellow guy in the shell) which itself was climing a posedonia seaweed, which was around 1.5 cm, max 2 cm in width i'd say.

 

Encounter was during a night dive, about 10 meters deep.

 

Photographed with a Nikon D300s, some cropping but not too much.

 

cheers

Nicolas

 

Remark: i've reduced the picture size to upload it, but you can find a bit larger file here:

https://picasaweb.go...feat=directlink


float arms and getting your gear neutral

27 March 2016 - 01:08 PM

Hi there,

 

I am writing in regards to getting underwater photography gear neutral underwater.

 

 

After a recent housing change i find my current set of arms and arms accessories unadequate, and before i order anything else, i'd like to give all this a decent thought, and hear some advice from others.

 

I started shooting in 2008 with regular ULCS strobe arms (2x 8" and 2x4"), which i completed with 4x large Stix floats and 4x jumbo Stix floats.

My feedback on this setup: obviously getting closer to housing neutrality made my whole shooting experience much better. Only painpoint was that those Stix floats take a lot of time to dry, but that's minor.

 

Moving to another housing in 2013 (NA-EM5 + 45 degrees Nauticam viewvinder + subsee +10 diopter), these weren't sufficient anymore, so i put the Stix floats aside, and replaced the 2x 8" ULCS arms by 2x Nauticam carbon fiber float arms (200mm x 60mm). 

My feedback on this setup: benefits were getting the right amount of buoyancy & arms drying easily, but i wasn't totally satisfied as i felt strobe arms manipulation to be trickier than with the Stix floats: i had to screw the clamps very tight to avoid the float arms from going up, and then strobe repositioning got unpractical. Also, i must say my gear wasn't symetric: i had a flexitray left handle, but no right handle (handstrap), meaning the right arm was closer to the optical axis than the left one. I believe this contributed to the un-practicality.

 

Now (2016) i am moving to a Nauticam DSLR housing (NA-D300s), complemented by my 45 degrees viewfinder. 

Photo here:

Attached File  IMG_0326.jpg   221.12KB   29 downloads

When shooting with 60mm macro + focus light, i don't have adequate equipment to make my rig neutral:

-my 2008 setup with Stix floats doesn't provide sufficient buoyancy, but i felt it provided great comfort in strobes repositioning. I tested it yesterday. Here's how it looks like one one arm:

Attached File  IMG_0327.jpg   299.94KB   29 downloads

-my 2013 nauticam float arms make the housing (too much) positive 

 

One idea i have is to buy 4 extra jumbo Stix floats, and add them to my ULCS strobe arms (2x 8" and 2x4"), replacing some of the large floats possibly. I tested (on land) that i could squeeze 4 jumbo Stix floats on a 8" ULCS arm + 1 jumbo & 1 large Stix floats on the adjacent 4" ULCS arms, and this would bring extra buoyancy, hopefully enough! Here's how it would look like on one arm:

Attached File  IMG_0328.jpg   295.8KB   32 downloads

 

Thinking/questions:

Have any of you got the same feeling that very large float arms (like my 200mm x 60mm Nauticam carbon float arms) make strobes re-positioning too cumbersome, because they are just too buoyant?

Would i workaround this problem and get a more user-friendly gear by spreading lots of Stix floats over the 4 arms sections?

Any other solution(s) to offset the weight of a large DSLR rig while keeping strobe arms easy to re-position?

 

thanks!!

Nicolas

 


Tokina 10-17mm on 24 MP APS-C sensors?

19 December 2015 - 06:39 AM

hi folks!

 

I am wondering whether somebody has analyzed how the venerable Tokina 10-17mm behaves on 24 MP APS-C sensors? 

Of course this won't be worse than the previous 16 MP generation (referring to Nikon's D7000), but i am wondering to which extent it takes advantage of the extra 8 MP of resolution?

 

DxO marks is a good source of information but unfortunately they didn't test this lens (at least on D7100/D7200).

Alexander Mustard's reviews are also a great information base, but during his D7100 review he didn't have a chance to shoot the 10-17mm.

 

Any experience to share?

 

thanks in advance

Nicolas


Advantages of hand-straps on DSLR housings

19 December 2015 - 12:06 AM

Hello Wetpixel!

 

I'd like to initiate a discussion on the benefits of hand straps for DSLR housings and discuss on which housing brands they can be found.

 

I started shooting with hand strap on my Hugyfot D7000 housing some years ago.

My feedback on this setup: their housing design is actually all made around this concept, it starts with the rounded shape of the housing, goes with the hand strap itself, and continues with the shutter positioning (a very nice level that you gently pull back: this design helped ensuring your hand would stay stuck to the housing, very neat design. It helps the housing being very stable when pulling the trigger.

 

Then i down-sized to an Olympus OM-D EM-5 in an Nauticam EM-5 housing, one of the reason being that Nauticam offers a hand strap option on most of their compact and "mid-sized" housings (mirorless). You can easily find these on popular photography shops. 

My feedback on this setup: very nice too, i really love hand straps, though the shutter design on the housing its a bit less comfortable (press-down). However it allowed me to get rid of the right handle, making it a very compact setup, very easy to pack!

 

Whatever the implementation, i think a hand strap is something great for us underwater photographers as we often need to use our left hand for something else, and then:

-a hand strap makes you confident your housing won't fall even if you're busy with something else (no need to hold tight, your hand is held tight)

-housing stability when pulling the trigger or pressing a button/lever: with a hand-strap i think you wouldn't have the issue reported by Alex Mustard during his Nauticam D-750 review (impossible to use thumb focus when holding housing one-handed): http://wetpixel.com/...icam-na-d750/P2

 

So i am a big fan of these hand straps, and wouldn't want to shoot without them.

That's where the issue comes: like many of you i am investigating how to spend the money i don't have in a new rig (Nikon DX housing), and the lack of hand strap options limit my choices. 

In my opinion, hand straps are offered on following D-SLR housing brands:

-Hugyfot (design described above)

-Subal: hand-strap attached to the housing right-handle directly

 

What about the other brands? Sadly i can't find such an option on Nauticam housings, and i don't think Aquatica or other brands offer it.

 

Thoughts? Who would be interested in having more of these available?

 

cheers

Nicolas