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Member Since 14 Sep 2009
Offline Last Active Apr 20 2017 03:50 PM

#383269 Housing maintenance

Posted by errbrr on 17 April 2017 - 10:21 PM

While I tend to subscribe to the "if it's not broken, don't mess with it" philosophy, I serviced my own by putting the deep springs on my Aquatica housing after about 3 years of ownership. There was some grime on the o-rings behind each button and I felt better for having cleaned and changed them to less-squashed ones. I took the housing for a camera-free dive after the o-ring change to make sure all was well before submerging the camera again. 


You'd want to have some spare c-clips on hand too as some of them go "ping" and disappear during removal.


If you have to mail the housing to get it serviced, I'd say the risk of it getting lost or damaged in transit is greater than the benefit of annual servicing.

#382888 A nasty Honduran surprise

Posted by errbrr on 05 April 2017 - 10:34 PM

The US is not the gold standard in border crossings, it's a nightmare. Three and a half hours in line is less than I spent in the line at LAX and the only reason I was there was to immediately leave the country on a connecting flight. At least you hadn't come off a 14 hour flight and were in approximately the same time zone you'd (presumably) just left. The USA is the only country that forces passengers in transit to pass through immigration. I avoid it whenever possible and have done very little diving in the Caribbean as a result.


I'm sure un-aware travelers feel the same way about Australia's quarantine inspections when they get hauled out over the apple they picked up on the plane, or the wooden souvenirs that get confiscated, or the way gear used overseas in freshwater gets gently boiled for an hour before being returned.


Each country can do what they want to you and your stuff including refusing entry and deporting you. It's a hazard of international travel and the only available defenses are a positive attitude and comfortable shoes for standing in lines.

#382849 Non-firing Inon strobe - what's up with that?

Posted by errbrr on 04 April 2017 - 04:24 PM

There's one other option - leave it in the shed for a month, no batteries, no cables. Forget which strobe is the broken one, take them all diving and see if it works again.


My six Z240s have always been buggy. Being able to fix tubes has been a huge improvement, but they still play up on occasion for no diagnosable reason. At least one of mine only works on S-TTL and the other settings refuse to fire. Another does this temporarily and then swaps and has to be back on Full instead of S-TTL to work. One had a melted capacitor after dry cave shooting. One looks like something got loose inside and shorted across the circuit board - that one is currently cactus. Another won't do a full dump under any circumstances, just a weird little half-fire. I put the most reliable two on the camera and distribute the other four on the dive. If half of them work at full power and one more at some kind of output, the photos normally work. All six working at full power is a good day.


I'm looking forward to a pair of retras arriving in June to see if it's me or the strobes that is the problem. I suspect overheating from full power shooting is the underlying cause of the periodic electronic weirdness with the inons.

#382615 Sea & Sea sync cords - different metals available?

Posted by errbrr on 26 March 2017 - 09:33 PM

Yes, I've had exactly the same problem. They've changed the locking ring over to a much lighter metal and it corrodes a lot faster. Not an issue in freshwater, and then I went diving in the sea for a week and had to use multi-grips to get my triggerfish off the sync cords. I was unimpressed.


I have no solution beyond undoing them after every salt water dive. It's annoying and not good for the pins. Maybe I'll try some Tef-Gel or similar.

#382325 Best way to trigger studio strobes from Nauticam housing

Posted by errbrr on 16 March 2017 - 07:55 PM

I haven't done it in a pool, but yes you will need one strobe above water to trigger optically. Watch out for overheating with it out of the water. Otherwise I think you are into custom-cable territory - something from camera underwater to floating wireless trigger, or something really long from camera to first studio strobe. Alternatively consider using big video lights instead, or all underwater strobes.


Also make sure your studio strobes don't fall in and electrocute your models.

#381549 Wtb and sell Australia

Posted by errbrr on 16 February 2017 - 05:18 PM

Local is definitely cheaper but the market is smaller. There's a facebook group or two but they seem to be more focussed on dive gear or compact camera setups. Or just not very active.


Of course there's always Gumtree.

#381461 Who shares on Instagram?

Posted by errbrr on 13 February 2017 - 03:50 PM

I started with Instagram last year but I've mostly given up on it because I can't post from my laptop. My instagram workflow was post to Facebook, save to mobile, post to Instagram. If there was an export out of Lightroom desktop option I'd give it another go. 

#380386 Strange Shutter Delay on DSLR???

Posted by errbrr on 08 January 2017 - 08:21 PM

One entertaining test is to put a little bit of o-ring grease on the internal side of the buttons in the housing. Then carefully insert camera, take it for a dive without pressing buttons, surface and very carefully remove. If one of your housing buttons is making contact, there will be a grease spot on the camera button. I used this test to identify that one of my housing levers had become misaligned and needed replacement.

#379735 5yr old Prosumer video camera vs GoPro?

Posted by errbrr on 18 December 2016 - 08:49 PM

You're not interested in the same type of "quality" that most videographers are, so I would base this decision much more on whether you can successfully extract stills from the footage. The action cam may have problems with rolling shutter, lack of control over settings, and inconsistency in footage. If any of that is going to kill your comparison between images then the Canon may be a better bet. What happens when you bump the ISO on the Canon - are grainy images usable for your research?

#379224 Controlling Z240

Posted by errbrr on 29 November 2016 - 02:46 PM

I don't know about the S-TTL stuff as I don't use it, but I consider this to be correct for manual operation:


Manual Mode (Magnet switch pressed + camera flash set to manual 1/64) 
-Right Dial at 9 oc position, slightly underexposed(darkest)
-Becoming brighter as I turn the dial clockwise and becoming more and more overexposed.
-Brightest at position 8 oc.


The setting on your camera flash shouldn't matter, as long as it isn't pre-flashing (check your manual to ensure the camera isn't attempting to eTTL it). But it seems like you are achieving the expected result with the brightest position at 8 o'clock or the "set it to 11" marking on the strobe. It's also worth noting that 11 won't give you a full dump of the strobe - you need to turn it to Full to get this. You can test it by watching how long the red light takes to come back on after flashing. It's slightly longer for a full dump vs a manual-set-to-11.


If you leave the magnet switch out/unpressed then the strobe will be pre-flashing. If the camera is set to flash manually and therefore the shutter is capturing the pre-flash, you will get the same dim flash appearing in all pictures regardless of settings.

#377728 Leaving the camera at home

Posted by errbrr on 10 October 2016 - 02:34 PM

I find the obsession with breaking down housing and camera into component parts for travel really weird. I travel with my DSLR in the housing with the wide angle lens and dome port in situ and strobes attached, ready to dive. Fits in a backpack with a jumper for padding as I casually wander onto the plane pretending it doesn't weigh much. I put fresh eneloops in the strobes at home and setting up consists of:


Step 1. Remove Housing From Backpack

Step 2. Go Diving


I can see why spending the first day of the trip fiddling nervously with o-rings and puffing minuscule bits of dust off the lens/port/lens again would detract from the excitement.

#377172 Strobes - does this exist?

Posted by errbrr on 18 September 2016 - 08:36 PM

I'm lucky - I dive with the world's most disciplined buddies. :-)


For reasons of cave conservation though I wouldn't like to consider a cable option. I can't stand scarred cave floors.

You need a bigger tunnel :-) Long cables are better than tripods from a conservation perspective. You could consider laying one along the line during a setup dive and coming back to take the photo later.


The options I outlined require some DIY as they're not commercially available. The other option is to throw a lot of money at the problem - a few 10,000 lumen heads would give you enough power for reasonable pictures dependent on cave size and colour.

#376934 Strobes - does this exist?

Posted by errbrr on 11 September 2016 - 05:16 PM

Hedwig made me a triggerfish with a piezo switch in it - push to trigger the strobe plus it triggers off light flashes as per normal. Very handy! But I think they were a once off product rather than a commercial run. Other things I have tried include SB105s, the old ikelite substrobes which flashed when first turned on, and using a small LED torch pressed against a triggerfish attached to the off camera strobe. The torch is quite tricky to do with one hand but could be improved by using a push button torch and duct taping parts together. The rise time of the LED is enough to mimic a flash when you first turn it on.


Doing multiple flashes underwater during a long exposure requires minimal/no ambient light. I found a small back-up torch on the ground pointed backwards was helpful, and even then myself and my buddy swam into the walls a lot. Composition is tricky but I really liked the lighting impact of reduced on camera light. This photo is a particular favourite. No on camera flash and three strobes on the diver triggered manually during as I held the shutter open in bulb mode until I saw his strobes go off.




I guess the other option is to use a tripod and multiple short exposures, combined later.

#375205 Remote Strobe Trigger

Posted by errbrr on 11 July 2016 - 03:40 PM

I've used the 105s as off camera strobes. They were fine, just not as bright as my Z240s. I didn't use the on board sensor as they had Heinrich Weikamp RSUs attached to them at the time. I particularly liked the test function - I wish modern strobes had this available.

#373444 Why I don't cave dive (+link to BBC article)

Posted by errbrr on 09 May 2016 - 06:15 PM

Most cave diving is NOTHING like that. You are reading about a trip to Everest  and saying you could never take a walk in the park.

That's a good comparison, I like it.


130m deep and water temperatures close to freezing put this dive at the extreme end. I would much rather dive those conditions in a cave (predictable, no wildlife, no winds, waves or tides) than in the ocean. Cave diving allows for deco habitats, staging of spare gear and (in my experience) usually less pressure to get in the water at an exact time.


It's an interesting case because not getting the bodies out would have delayed large payments from a national insurance scheme to one of the widows for many years. It's hard to argue that they should have been left there. It also highlights that when expedition-level cave divers get themselves killed, the best placed people to do the recovery are often their friends. The authorities don't have the skill level to do it, and often don't have enough knowledge to determine how skilled the divers volunteering actually are.


Try to stay alive, everyone. Underwater body recoveries are no fun at all.