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Member Since 22 Dec 2008
Offline Last Active Apr 30 2017 04:12 PM

#363484 SLR vs. Mirrorless. What is the best camera for macro?

Posted by newmanl on 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.



#361369 Why do you shoot underwater?

Posted by newmanl on 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. 





#356763 DIY rebuild

Posted by newmanl on 19 January 2015 - 12:30 PM

Hey Stoo,


I was in the same boat not that long ago - my A7D was as long over-due as your housing! Anyway, I sent it in Aquatica and they did an amazing job! They even replaced the somewhat scratched back LCD window! My housing came back looking, and working, like brand new. Definitely worth it for me! 



#354947 My first magazine... and a brochure!

Posted by newmanl on 03 December 2014 - 12:40 PM

Congrats! Nice work!

#344112 Super Bowl or Diving? (Catalina/Farnsworth Banks Video)

Posted by newmanl on 04 March 2014 - 12:35 PM

Great video! Love the blue hydrocoral! More dives for the bucket list...


Thanks for sharing!



#339101 Video - Ordinskaya Caves near Ural mountains

Posted by newmanl on 06 November 2013 - 12:30 PM

Great second episode! Again, no issue with the camera angle from behind the divers - it actually makes the viewer (me, in this case) feel like part of the team. I also really like the subtle lighting (leaving some dark areas) - makes the cave and video look the same as when you're actually diving a cave and the music choice is perfect. Very nice work, Richard.



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#338583 Video - Ordinskaya Caves near Ural mountains

Posted by newmanl on 24 October 2013 - 11:56 AM

I'm by no means an expert on video, but I thought the entire production looked very professional and was well done. My only nit would be the music for the closing credits - IMO it doesn't really fit with the dramatic epic-ness of the video and music used in the rest of the production. Also, the "butt issue" really isn't an issue for me, although I've seen and done (with stills) some work from the front of the divers and that looks good too - maybe a mix of perspectives is the answer. Regardless, I really liked the video! Great work.



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#327184 Socorro Dive Trip February 2013

Posted by newmanl on 04 March 2013 - 01:02 PM

Very nice work!



#323315 free images in reverse

Posted by newmanl on 26 December 2012 - 12:49 PM

I haven't seen the magazine, but if you are selling advertising space, then I'd agree - it is a case of something for nothing. Unless you're producing the magazine "out of pocket", you're not on a level playing field with the folks that are supplying the content. I'd argue, if you are selling ad space, then you should be paying for content. Otherwise, you're taking income from the people you rely on to be able to produce something advertisers want to spend their money on.

I also get the fact that a lot aspiring photographers want/like to see their work in-print, and there will always be some willing to take "exposure" over cash. I guess in the end, Jack is right - individuals can decide for themselves what's fair trade for their work.


#318078 Tigers and Lemon shark images revised

Posted by newmanl on 09 October 2012 - 11:59 AM

Hi Paul,

Brilliant images - especially the one of the lemon under the boat. Very nice. IMHO, the collection seems balanced with typically (and very good) classic views as well as interesting non-classic images! Great work!

Thanks for sharing.


#313023 Offensive imagery

Posted by newmanl on 18 July 2012 - 09:31 AM

In addition to the comments already, it appears as though the DPV and some other piece of gear directly behind (above) it look parked on the coral. As a marine biologist, and u/w photographer (of sorts), I understand what takes place to carry out such work. However, I think this image would have been best left in the confines of a harddrive.


#300341 Side mount or Doubles (Twinsets) for photography

Posted by newmanl on 25 January 2012 - 01:14 PM

Hi Paul,

I regularly dive and shoot with a DSLR in doubles with an isolation manifold, but the only "sidemount" experience I have is carrying stage bottles (AL 80's) and deco bottles (AL 40's).

I think Timmoranuk explained things very well, although I have a minor comment on #5. If you have an actual manifold failure, and have to close a post and the isolator, you only have the gas remaining in the tank you're still breathing from - the point is a bit moot, because a failure of that magnitude would signal the end of the dive anyway.

One of the immediate benefits to having your redundancy built into the rig on your back, is that it is largely out of the way of you shooting. No bottles up-front means lots of space for the camera and you to work. I'm not sure what the sidemount folks would say, but even a deco or stage bottle upfront can be a little in the way at times. I've gotten used to it, but its something to consider.

Also, I rarely find the weight of a set of doubles to be an issue - in fact, I now prefer it to single tank diving if for no other reason than 12 lbs on the belt is a lot more comfortable than 26! In FW with steel doubles - assuming you are in a drysuit and wearing a wing/BC, you'd likely not need much weight on the belt at all.

The other option is to wear a pony bottle. Someof the solo divers out this way tend to use them, usually an AL 30 (sometimes a 19) and only use it to get themselves to the surface if something goes wrong with the primary gas supply. As you probably know, the trick to making that work is to know your SAC rate and then calculate from what max depth you could make a safe, controlled ascent - including a safety stop, then never go below that depth.

As for being able to reach the valves, that just takes practice. Anytime I'm sitting around, I alternate having my arms folded behind my head like I'm reaching for a valve in order to keep stretching the appropriate muscles. Apparently, reaching back for the top-side of the head rest in your car/truck is also a good way to develope the needed flexibility (best done only at stop lights... that are red).

I'll wrap up by saying I really enjoy the peace of mind I have while diving backmounted doubles, but they do incurr some responsibility on the part of the diver in order to get the most out of them, and like Timmoranuk, I can only handle one system too - especially while trying to shoot!

Hopefully, the folks with real sidemount experience can/will add to this for a more balanced perspective!

Hope this helps, and good luck with whatever you decide.