Ditch the porter hard case, for many reasons. It's heavy, expensive, and it just scream "steal me!!!!". You can get similar protection without all the thick padding. From my experience (mostly Singapore Airline), they weight the obviously big carry on bag, so try not to make your carry on bag look very stuffed like it's going to burst and explode. In this case, something like a duffle bag would do, the duffle bag with rolling wheel could be hard to find though.
Long story short, this is what work for me:
Most of the time, they don't weight your laptop bag, so keep all the heavy stuffs like regulator (I have a $1500 regulator that I wouldn't feel comfortable check in), batteries, camera, tablet/laptop in your laptop bag. If there is more room in your laptop bag, stuff it with all the arms, clamp etc that can go into small nook and corner in your laptop bag and they can take all the abuse. The laptop bag will be carried on your shoulder weight is not an issue, you just can't run with it.
As for the overhead bag, get one of these to go into the duffle bag (remove the caddy tray of the toolbox):
The toolbox is use to keep your housing (make sure to not latch the housing), strobe, light and other delicate stuffs. I put my housing into a zip lock bag so there won't be any dirt to get on the o-ring. wrap everything with a microfiber napkin size tower to act as buffer so they don't scratch each other. The microfiber tower come in handy when you need to dry your gear when you're at the resort. The toolbox can act as double duty to bring onto the boat to keep your wallet, keys, sunglasses, defogger etc.
Anyway, stick the toolbox into the duffle bag along with some loose items like laptop charger, snack, magazine etc. In the case where the plane is too small and you have to gate check, the toolbox will protect your equipment, as long as they don't drop from a 5 ft height or have anything more than 50lb of stuff lay on top of it, the toolbox is adequate.
Some people use the photography's vest, which I haven't had the need to go that route. Gate check is not the end of the world. One time I got weight by Singapore Airline, they gate check my carry on so I just bring the laptop bag with me to my seats. After 13 hours of flight, we transit in Moscow, and I didn't have to carry my 40lb+ carry on to go through all the security scanning in Moscow, just me and my laptop bag.
I manage to find a local company that can print the gear for me for $15. They actually charge by the hour so 3 files would take about 3 hours to print. However, the resolution will be 0.5mm. I'm wondering if anyone have gone this route. I requested to get a new quote for 0.1mm. If you have gone this route, which print resolution you used and if you have ran into any issue?
Ok, can someone explain how to use "photographer vest" to sneak in more weight? Like what do you put in it? I asked because when come to international flight, you're talking about 10 hour+ of journey, and me being 230lb certain feel okay in a T-shirt in tight plane seat. I can imagine the vest would cause some discomfort, but how bad, and what to expect?
I like that picture too! I would say the composition is great and you captured the right moment, much needed break from the rule of third composition.
I just added my first strobe to my system but I shot with a loan strobe before and that's what sold me the idea of having a strobe. The strobe, besides adding color, it also add mood to the picture. Do consider attending some UW photo work shop where you might get more explore to different equipment etc. I will be attending the Digital Fiesta (http://www.underwate...italfiesta.com/) and they have strobe and other equipment for divers to try out for free.
Back to your question, post processing should be kept to minimal such as cropping, adjusting expose. That should be it. The goal is to get the picture right the first time so you don't end up with too much post processing, and that's why competition set rules of very minimal post processing. Treat RAW format as a nice to have work flow and don't heavily rely on taking a RAW picture and restore it back because some information just can't be restore back from even RAW format.
backflip entry with a camera in hand.. no...never...
u have to tell the crew what is you set up when u have expensive diving equipment.. and how you want it to be handled. but i tot you backroll with you camera anyway! why do you care how its handled kee kee.
well.. logic plays a part.. if u going to stack.. then u really have to be careful right... in the beginning. i am going to stack by screwing on the new lens on top of the other....
the magnet give you an option of an quick switch from maybe a +10 to an +5+
Maybe for the wide angle lens ... It can be a bit heavy...
I mean the moisture sensor, not the fancy vacuum sensor.
I don't know where you normally dive, but different area you get different service. In Indonesia, yes most dive crew hand your camera to you. In Thailand liveaboard, I back flip into water because we mostly use dinghy and if the current is not strong, yes the one person screw hand me my camera. In one of the dive in Thaisland, the current was so strong, we jump off the live aboard with our camera and decent very quickly. 5 seconds into the water I was already 20 feet away from the boat.
If you dive in US, you're on your own, they don't have nice camera shelf like many boats in Indonesia, they only have one bucket for all camera gear. So good luck dipping your rig in the bucket share with many people and things get scratch or knock off. I learn a couple months ago that some people have their own flexible cooler bag to put their camera in, so no rinsing until they get back to land to avoid mishandle by crew or other divers.
Bottom line, expect the worse situation that it's being handle, whether it's by the crew, your dive buddy etc.
For the price of the aqupazza, you're better off get the Nauticam as it has leak detector.
I'm not sold on the idea of the magnet, at least it's not mainstream and proven. There is no mention of how many lb pull is the magnet, so if one do a back flip entrance into the water, would the magnet hold up?
Lens holder on arm would be an issue and become expensive. The 67mm lens holder is already expensive, if you add the male portion of the magnet on the arm lens holder, the cost add up and how can you assure that it won't come off and lose your lens if it get knock off or the crew that handle your camera are not being careful?
Lastly, it will be a pain to stack macro lens. I personally have a +5 and +7 diopter, and I'm sure many divers have more than 1 diopter for macro photography. If you attach a magnet holder on each diopter, it drive cost up and when you try to stack them, you will in crease the space in between them and make them more challenge to use. Just something to consider.
As a beginner diver, I would suggest spend your money on dive trip instead of camera equipment. I know a guy that only have about 20 dives in a real sea environment, and he wants to do all the certification up to the dive master level and the dive shop would let him do it since all the certification is done at the lake.The way I see it is, those money could be well spend on some nice dive trip and help affirm if it's a true hobby that you want to get into before spending more unnecessary money, whether it's equipment or certification.
Since your budget is $7k - $15k, let's look at it this way:
If your budget is at the lower range, you won't be able to get the 5DIII (the camera and housing is already close to $7K!)
If your budget is in the middle of the range, 6D (if you agree with Drew)
If your budget is in the upper range, then 5DMIII (if you're willing to spend time to grow into it), you can sell the 5DMIII in the future easily.
If you don't want to go with dSLR (because budget/learning curve/size), M3/4 + more light will still keep you in the lower range of your budget.
With all these said, if you're remotely curious about the LX-7, do check out this:
From his info box in Youtube, he has link to download the original AVCHD 1080p file, so you can analyst the quality of the footage.
As for your A1P last try of improvement, I would say color balance to your light when you're in the cave, for outside the cave, custom white balance (compare to auto) and see what works for your liking.