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Member Since 22 Dec 2008
Offline Last Active Aug 30 2015 01:39 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Focus light recommendations

27 July 2015 - 11:59 AM

I'm in the market for a focus light as well. Presently I use an I-Torch Video Pro 3, but the threads are wearing out on the body section at the back end despite my slightly OCD-ish attempts at cleaning and lubing. I've looked (over the internet) at lots of lights - mainly at specs, and find that most lights sold as focus lights also do double-duty - given enough intensity, as video lights. In my mind, providing a little light so a lens can focus - usually a macro lens, and illuminating a scene for video are two entirely different propositions! Regardless, I recently tried my wife's I-Torch Fish Lite 24 and found the wide beam angle (110 degrees) very distracting and annoying. Even in the relatively low vis of our local waters, it lit up a large area in front of me and washed the foreground in light that I found very distracting. The Video Pro 3 has an 80 degree beam and is very useable for macro, although unfortunately too hard-edged for wide angle work.


So, after a few days spent wandering the internet for a more modest beam angle, white and red settings, a user-replaceable rechargeable Li-ion battery and a depth rating of at least 300' all in a robust and sturdy package, the only option that fits most of the criteria is the L&M Sola 800P. I've yet to try one, so I don't have any useful comments on its performance at this point.


Sorry for the ramble, but hopefully it helps with criteria for selecting a light.



In Topic: SLR vs. Mirrorless. What is the best camera for macro?

22 July 2015 - 12:15 PM

Hey Rob,


I've held off commenting until now, mostly because I have zero experience with mirror-less and 4/3rds systems! As you know, I shoot with a Canon 7D (started with a 30D) in an Aquatica housing - so nothing light or cheap about it, although I realize those are not your primary concerns. With the 100 macro and two DS-160 strobes (single arm section on each side) the rig is about 22lbs topside.


Anyway, I've never owned anything other than an SLR/DSLR so it was a natural extension for me to take one u/w. I was used to the behavior of the AF and most of the limitations of the few lenses I own. Having said that, shooting macro with the 100mm (the non-L version) and the 7D is often as rewarding as it is frustrating. In our local waters, not only are we plagued with challenging vis conditions much of the year, but we also have to contend with significant schlieren given the amount of FW entering the sites at times and the seasonal mixing of very warm water with cold - again, of which I'm sure you're well aware! When conditions permit, and if you're comfortable moving the AF point around (I always start with the center point selected and then change it as required for the comp), the 7D and 100 make a great team. I'm sure the 7DII would be even better!


As you have likely read, the non-L version of the 100mm macro is a pretty slow-focusing lens, but still works well u/w if you can comp with enough contrast - and have a good focus light (in order to assist with the amount of contrast). I've been lucky on occasion to shoot a really small nudibranch in a field of hydroids and had every shot tack-sharp. Had the opposite happen as well... The nice thing is when you nail a shot, you have 18MP (or 20MP if shooting with a 7DII) from which to crop, if necessary. The working distance with the 100 makes it possible to get a frame-filling image without having to get so close that you impact the critter or shot in some way.


The only other thing I can suggest, is that we plan a dive or two together and you try mine. Bring a CF card with you to the site and blaze away getting a feel for the rig before you do anything rash! Oh, it will feel like you're taking a one man submersible with you at first, but you do get used to it. I regularly dive with my rig on tech dives, with doubles, a stage, a deco bottle or two and sometimes a scooter. It gets to be very manageable with a bit of practice!


Hope that helps.



In Topic: Why do you shoot underwater?

20 May 2015 - 10:21 PM

Hi Adam, Steve,


I'm in the same boat as Steve on this - although the photo contest I won wasn't for u/w images. In terms of u/w images, I've had a few published in newspapers and magazines, and others used in ads, banners, and educational graphics. As requested, I've also given a few to good friends to decorate their office space or homes.


I shoot to try to have other folks see the ocean and any other u/w environment the way I do - with a sense of wonder, amazement and with a great deal of respect. I also shoot because I really enjoy being u/w and being able to produce tangible memories makes it even better! 


That said, I have no issue at all with those that are able to make a living, or some part of it, from u/w photography. In my very humble opinion, shooting to win contests is the least noble of the reasons to go to such a place. 





In Topic: Ikelite battery capacity NiMH for DS 125/160/161

15 April 2015 - 12:12 PM

I'd second Aussiebyron's comment/suggestion. I very recently replaced the aged battery packs on my two DS-160s with Li-Ion and really like the benefits - much lighter in the water (topside as well, of course!), very quick recycling and only have to recharge them every couple/few dives (I tend to average 50-100 shots a dive)! In short, they were a very worthwhile replacement for my well-used NiMH battery packs.



In Topic: FS: Ikelite DS-51 strobes (2X)

26 February 2015 - 08:04 PM



Are these still for sale? If so, would you be willing to ship to Canada?