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Member Since 13 Aug 2008
Offline Last Active Feb 23 2017 05:45 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Sony PXW-FS7 underwater

13 February 2017 - 10:54 PM

Hi Thani,
Thank you again for excellent explanation and recommendation.
You said before "Zenunderwater 200mm (8") dome all the times - no other ports were used even for close-up shots".
In spite of that, I thought that you have some experience with Macroport or Plan Port (produced by SeaLux) which is recommended for macro objective like Canon 100,

 I have not used Sealux macro nor plan ports for macro on the FS7 setup. If you are shooting Macro ONLY, there is an advantage.


what I read out of Thani's setup description is that he only used the Zen dome, not any macro specific port. And to be honest I only bother to take a macroport if I know I spend a larger number of dives during any given trip with muck.

Agreed. I came across this interesting article that says dome ports can be used for both Wide & Macro. And since flat ports can only be specific to macro - not for wide angle shots, I prefer the dome for more versatility. This works well for the Sigma 17-70mm mentioned above.

In Topic: Sony PXW-FS7 underwater

12 February 2017 - 10:01 AM

Thank you a lot for your extensive review!
It seems that you prefer  Sigma APS-C 17-70mm more than Canon EF 16-35mm which is double expensive objective. As you said, Sigma is All in One as it has wide and macro in the same - that sound beter to me. Also you do not need Close Up lens, so it is one optical element less!
I am planing (but still thinking about) to buy FS7 and Sealux, As there are strict financial limit :) I have to take final decision withught experimenting. Anyhow, it will be excellent if you have time and make a film how to set up all parts together!
I was told how it is quite tricky to put Sony monitor inside a housing - one user suggested me to have two monitors, so to always have one ready inside and one for recording out of the water - what is your experience?
Do you have experience with Macroport and Planport?

Regarding the lens usage, I use the versatile Sigma mentioned above when I am diving a site that I expect to have both close-up - wide shots (not super wide).or I am diving unknown site. The canon 16-35mm F4 is a wonderful super wide angle that's very sharp and much easier to focus than the Sigma. I use it for school of fish, wricks, big underwater structure. I always ask few questions before deciding what lens to use for my next dive.

The Sony monitor once installed in a housing, you'll want to leave there until you return from your trip. If you plan to shoot land based (above water) with the same camera on the same day, then you need another monitor. So the recommendation given to you is correct in this case. Installing it is not a difficult job and takes around 5-10 minutes. So if you have a full day of land based shooting, you can remove it and install back before your next diving day.

I am out of country on a business trip - doing my real job - not as fun as diving though :)
When I am back I'll try my best to get a simple video done on the setup. I am quite a busy man :(

"Do you have experience with Macroport and Planport?"
Can you explain what do you mean please?

In Topic: Sony PXW-FS7 underwater

10 February 2017 - 05:53 PM

Thanks guys for your comments. Hear is my feed back:

The camera setup:
Shooting mode: Cine EI which gives more dynamic range (around 14 stops)
Color Space: S-Gamut3.Cine/Slog3. I found it better than Slog2 as it renders better underwater colors especially the blue water background.
White Balance preset 5500 (can not be changed in Cine EI mode which is a convenience compared to continuously and manually setting WB. (Lights are used most of the times)
No color filters are used on lenses.

Lenses used:
Zenunderwater 200mm (8") dome all the times - no other ports were used even for close-up shots
Sigma APS-C 17-70mm f2.8-4.0 (OS) with MC-11 adapter for E-mount. This is my dominant lens hence it shoots wide enough (around 26mm FF equivalent) and can do very good close ups (1:2.9);
Canon EF 16-35mm f4.0: I like using this instead of the f2.8 hence it has optical stabilization (f2.8 with speed boaster)
Canon EF 100 mm 2.8 (one dive for some close-ups)
The Canon lenses are paired with Metabones speed booster

BigBlue 5000 lumens were used at second level from highest setting. I have installed the yellowish filters that come with the lights all the times. The lights were used in closeups to medium shots (most of the times). This is my first time shooting with lights. I found them very useful for retaining good colors and helping the camera achieve a better dynamic range while using Slog3. The lights also made my editing quite easier and faster.

Sealux Housing:
SeaLux in general makes good quality housings at good price point. I had my first EX1 housing from them before. Hence the Sony EX1 has a built in lens and was mostly used used in autofocus mode, my previous sealux housing experience was good.
The FS7 housing was made for changeable lenses and I never had a housing for such exchangeable lenses before to bench mark. However, I found the whole process of setting up lenses and changing them is counter intuitive. Once this difficult setup is done the housing is ergonomic and usability is fine. Both the focus and the zoom nobs feel and operate well underwater.
I do not want to sound harsh on the company, but honestly the housing that I received seemed to me like a prototype more than a finished product. I had to modify the lens gear to make it fit my initial lens setup - Canon 16-35mm f2.8 LII.
I also had to make a new smaller gear inside the housing replacing the existing one to ensure enough distance between the focus and the zoom ring gear on the lens (2-3mm).
The lens focus rings is made of good stiff plastic which is glued on a plastic barrel sleeve. It is not easy to fit the lens in the barrel due to protrusion on the lens. I have seen other companies do it more intuitively. If you are not going to have to remove it frequently, it is a workable solution.
One big disappointment for me was the removal of the electronic controls from the housing despite the fact that it was advertised when I made my purchase. Sealux responded back to me saying it was not useful to conclude. Actually sony LANC is quite a handy control as a back up in case one of the essential manual controls such get jammed (such as the record button). In addition, it ensures that the housing can be future proof. My friend Sultan, had a sealux housing that he used for 3 different sony cameras with similar size over many years.
One more little source of annoyance, is the lack of feedback on the record button. There is no tactile feedback when pressed. I missed important shots because of that. The small 3" screen on the FS7 doesn't help seasoned divers :( much as well in this regard. If you guys are still contemplating to buy the housing, I can do a little video showing how the setup is put together.

On the positive side, once the housing is setup and balanced with a bit of lead. It is quite stable and functional in the water.

Finally, If you are a professional who is paid for such a setup and looking to house the FS7, it might be worth the investment. (Note about FS7 mark II - the new lens locking mechanism might not work with the housing. Please check with Sealux)

I hope that sealux take such constructive criticism positively. We need them to improve and flourish in one of the smallest economies which is meant to serve the biggest part of planet earth: the oceans :)

In Topic: Sony PXW-FS7 underwater

10 February 2017 - 04:50 AM

Hi guys,

Finally I had time to finish the video.

In Topic: Sony PXW-FS7 underwater

06 January 2017 - 09:15 AM

Hi Ante,

I am currently experimenting with the FS7 in a Sealux housing and have done a recent trip with it. I will posting a video in a week or so.
I have used the Sealux Sony EX1 housing before and the build quality was good. Altough the FS7 housing is a good value for money, I have some reservations. I will be shedding light on the usability of the housing later.
The camera itself is good especially if used with lights and Slog3 hence you can edit the footage easily. But the whole setup is quite heavy to move around on land. I was using a wheelbarrow to carry it around on the island. In the water it is quite balanced (it needs extra weight ~ 2kg to balance with an 8 inch dome). I'll post my feedback on the setup after posting the video. My advise is not to rush and invest in such an expensive setup hence this year new cameras are coming to market with hopefully a 422 10 bit internal recording such as the GH5.