I actually put my housing together and vacuum seal it the night before or hours before I am diving. Then I test to see if there is a vacuum just before I go out on the boat. If the seal is going to fail it will most likely be during this time. I dont see the point in an electronic part to keep monitoring the vacuum during the dive especially if it cost an extra $200.
I personally would be trying to darken the back ground more especially if your at 30m and you have a sunburst or at that depth a sun blob coming through. I feel that the Lionfish fills up too much of the frame and a bit of the low fins are right on the boarder of the frame.
As other have said a wider aperture like f8-f10 for better depth of field. I would be shooting at your lowest ISO and shooting a higer shutter speed or the highest you have which syncs with your strobes. Higher shutter speed darkens the background and I feel gives a better colour graduation when you have the Sun in the back ground. Regarding strobes try the same shot in TTL and then try manual strobes with 3/4 power and then full power. I prefer to shoot manual for wide as you know what they are going to do everytime you shoot.
Have you tried just shooting the 8mm Fisheye without the TC? Just have to get use to getting really close and having good strobe placement.
Write down some different setting on a slate and when your in a position to do so and take a few shots with those different settings and when your back infront of a computer decide what setting you like best and go from there.
Here is a collection of Leopard Sharks (aka Zebra Sharks to those in the USA) taken at Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, Australia. These graceful and often friendly Sharks visit every summer and often in large numbers.
Unedited shots taken with the Nikon D7000 and Tokina 10-17mm or Samyang 8mm.
Here is a collection of Wobbegong images taken recently at Julian Rocks, Byron Bay, Australia. The site in famous for Wobbegongs and the locals dont bother to point them out to people as they are huge numbers of them everywhere all year round.
Here are some unedited shots taken with a Nikon D7000 and either the Tokina 10-17mm or the Samyang 8mm:
Don are you after something along the lines of these shots?
Don the whole idea of using filters on strobes is due to the higher colour temp of Inon strobes (5500K) when compared with the lower temp and warmer looking Ikelites (4900k). This is the major reason why people who shoot alot of wideangle prefer to use the bigger and heavier Ikelites in blue water diving.
I agree with Giles if your not getting close enough to the Subject your not getting enough light onto the subject and a colour filter will not do much to bring out natural skin colour. As you know the distance a strobe can light up a subject is greatly reduced when shooting through water and its a bit like trying to lighten up someones face when they are standing in a shadow. You need direct light on the face not a colour correction filter.
This is why alot of people use a Fisheye lens. Not because of the distortion it gives but the ability to get very close to the subject while not filling the whole frame with the subject. This allows then enough strobe light to light the whole subject.
My examples above are shot with the Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm. I am close to the subject, the subject is getting lite up by the strobes and also there is little distortion as the isnt too close to the lens.
I agree with Giles again if your after shots of people in the water ask people before hand if they wouldnt mind. I dont think I have had someone yet to refuse me taking their photo underwater.
So borrow a fisheye like the Tokina 10-17mm, ask your potential models if they are willing, and get close as you can while still fitting them whole in the frame and I bet you wont be having the blue faced zombie faces again.
Another thing to consider that if you went with a Zeni min dome it is only designed for the Tokina 10-17mm with the Ikelite setups. If you go with the Ikelite 8 inch dome you can use a huge range of lenses with the addition of suitable extension rings. By looking at that I believe the most versatile dome for your Ikelite would be the 8inch dome and then choose which lens you want to house it.
Honestly if you cant shoot a shark with a 10-17mm as its too far away when its going to be too far away to get any light from your strobes on it. So you might as well shoot strobeless with the Tokina 10-17mm and crop to get the same ordinary dull image ( unless your trying to get a silhouette image).
If your after some sort of general purpose lens which has a large zoom there is the Sigma 17-70mm Macro. It might be suited if you needed that extra reach for far away subjects. I personally found the Sigma 17-70 a pain as it wasnt wide enough when shooting wide angle and macro was useless as you have to shoot the lens behind a larger dome. Every time I used the Sigma for wide angle I wished I had just taken the Tokina 10-17mm out instead. Now the Sigme sits on my desk and never gets used (its for sale if anyone is interested in a Nikon mount).
Why I love the Tokina 10-17mm. It fast to focus. Focuses right up to the dome. and is wide enough to fit most large subjects in so you can get close fill the frame and light the whole subject up.
Here are some shots to show you what the Tokina 10-17mm can do:
I dont think the Tokina is too wide for Sharks. But it mainly comes down to where and what kind of sharks your shooting. I find that any shark that is outside of the range of the 10-17mm is too far away for strobes to light up anyway. The whole idea of shooting wide is to reduce the distance between the subject and the lens for strobe coverage and fitting that subject and in the case of sharks often a large subject into the frame. Having a narrower wide zoom is more suited for strobeless shots in clear water near the surface.
I personally prefer the 8inch dome over a mini dome as it feels more balanced in the water and strobe placement is a little easier with the larger domes.
Here are some unedited, non cropped Shark shots taken with the Tokina 10-17mm on my Nikon D7000 with the Tokina mainly at 10mm
Autopsea where are you planning to doing this solo diving with two camera rigs from your own boat? Will there be someone else in a tender following you on your dive or on your boat that knows how to navigate it? Starting to sound really dodgey.
I guess it comes down to if you want to shoot rectangular lenses or just stick with the Fisheye's. Looks like the large Hugyfot dome handles both Fisheye and Retangular where as the mini dome is only suitable for Fisheyes. Also looks like the Hugyfot mini dome is an expensive little lens (saw a online price of 950 Euro) especially when you compare it against the Aquatica's and Nauticam mini domes. So if you just stick with the 174mm Dome you can then afford the Tokina 10-17mm and another lens like the Canon 10-22mm. Another lens to look at if you want a ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) rectangular lens is also the Tokina 11-16mm which is a solid performer at lesser price than the Canon's.
I am not a Hugyfot or Canon user but I hope this helps in some way
Honestly John, I prefer a objective review from an author who has actually put his hand in his pocket to purchase items which will be compared to in a review as I beleive that they have more creditability and nothing to loose or gain in the comparison as they already own the equipment. On the other hand when you see a review of equipment espeically in dedicated subject media like you see in dive magazines you often have to take it with a grain of salt as the manufactures who "loan" their equipement to the magazine/author also advertise in that magazine. If that magazine did a review and basically bad noted the producted or listed the products faults you would see that manufacture remove their advertisement and support for that publication. This shows an more biased review and the reviewer has something to loose due to making the review, especially if the review contains negative remarks and or comments which the manufacture doesnt like.
In this review it is not stated that the author "put his hand in his pocket" or borrowed a loan lens from the manufacture. In this case it looks like the author owns a photography store and more than likely used the lenses in the review from the items he sells in the store. Another example which they have nothing to loose in doing the review. Which to me gives it more creditabilty.
The above review does display the images taken with both lenses at different settings to support their objective which also has provided creditabilty for the review.
Back to my orginal post John, can you provide any information or answer my questions regarding the comparison of the Tokina 10-17mm and 15mm Sigma FE on the D800 which was the purpose of the post?
I believe that you are judged by the final image and also how that image was taken in accordance with the rules of that competition. If it only judged by the final image the competition would be open to all sorts of unethical forms of trying to capture an images, like staged shots and harrassing wildlife to get that winning shot.
I personnaly think it takes more skill to fill 100% of a frame with a great shot, compared to using 50% of the frame of a ordinary shot to make a great shot.
John I can see your point regarding when your not shooitng competition. If you got the 36mp at your disposal why not use it. Cropping doesnt interest me so much as I am shooting at the other end of the scale with big subjects and ultra wide (weitwinkel) angle. Cropping a shot taken at 10mm on a Dx camera takes away the whole affect i am trying to achieve.
My opinion if old mate was waiting patiently infront of the Jawfishes hole with their 105mm and 12mp camera and captured a great jawfish shot filling the frame and with no need to crop shows me more skill than someone with a 60mm and D800 shooting further away and cropping the hell out of the image.
I think having competitions which allow no cropping or only very minor cropping makes in more competitive and shows increased skills need to achieve images. It might be "gone with the wind" to someone to have skills in being able to compose and frame a shot but its those with those skills which truely make successful photographers in any format which they choose to use. Isnt it the basics in photography to be able to compose your shot before you take that shot?
If heavy cropping were to be allowed its definately an unfair advantage to people that have 36mp Nikon D800 especailly in the field of macro photography when compared to 12-16mp cameras everyone else is using?