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Member Since 25 Oct 2013
Offline Last Active Aug 19 2016 07:26 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Sony a7s II underwater use -- All parameters

13 August 2016 - 09:11 PM

The best results I've gotten filming with the A7RII underwater were using the standard picture profile with underwater awb mode. There's a huge caveat though -- the white balance is not consistent in this mode. When it hits, the colors are beautiful. But sometimes it messes up or even changes mid-shot.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to reproduce the same pleasing blues or color balance using mwb, with or without filters. I've actually largely been disappointed with the magic filters (tried both the green water and blue water ones for indonesian waters and now I don't without filters.

I just got a set of Gates gt14 lights, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the results will be with proper light. I'm starting to think I may be better off switching to a Canon camera for underwater beater work

In Topic: Nauticam 180mm/Zen 170mm domes with fisheye lenses

05 June 2016 - 02:54 AM

I've used the Zen 170mm on the Nikon D800 and D810 with the Sigma 15mm f2.8 and Nikon 16mm f2.8.


Both the dome curvature and size are actually an improvement over that of the more circular, smaller ports and you should be able to stop down more than you can currently. You will not be able to shoot at the 8mm end of the 8-15mm as the shade is not removable.


Despite the fisheye producing a "curved" image, the sensor in the camera is still flat!


The bigger the dome and the less curve it has, the "flatter" the virtual image is. Hence is is easier to achieve sharp corners.This effects all lenses but it is often harder to see the difference in fisheye images. I am surprised about your comments on using the 8-15mm with an 8.5" dome. I wonder if the issues are to do with the TC/adaptor? I have used the 8-15mm with small ports on full frame (Canon) cameras and found the results to be good even at larger apertures than those you list.


With cropped sensor cameras, their inherent increased depth of field makes them much better at dealing with curved virtual images. 


All the best





Thanks for sharing your experience, Adam! So if I understand you correctly, you're able to shoot the Sigma 15mm and Nikon 16mm with the Zen 170mm port and get good results at apertures wider than F8? How wide do you normally shoot? If the results are good at F8, I'd be more than happy -- F5.6 would be icing on the cake..


Regarding my current setup, I'm quite happy with the image quality of the Canon 8-15 + 1.4x TC in the 8.5" dome at F11. See below for an examples, without the Kenko 1.4x TC. It's possible that the corner sharpness would be acceptable at F8 or even F5.6 too -- I haven't really tried it. For my current conditions (tropical water), I can shoot at F11 and 1/250th most of the time without having to push the ISO past 640/800. I don't really notice any noise issues at those ISOs on the A7RII, and the dynamic range difference between ISO 640 and ISO 320 is less than half a stop.

In Topic: Critique a beginners photos

04 June 2016 - 03:11 AM

Not bad for someone starting out! I think going for the wide angle lens vs. a second strobe was a good decision based on your preference for wider scenes. I think you'll find that with a compact like the TG-4, a single strobe is sufficiently powerful to light your foreground subjects IF you are sufficiently close to them. So.. obey the number one rule of underwater photography -- get close, and then get closer! No strobe is going to be effective if your subject is more than a meter or so away. Getting close to your subject will also help reduce backscatter. If you're consistently getting 30cm or so away from your subject and still seeing unacceptable levels of backscatter, it may be that the conditions are simply not condusive to wide-angle photography. I've found that good visibility is a key ingredient to shooting wide-angle underwater. If there's too many particles in the water, you're better off switching to macro photography or researching more advanced lighting techniques like snooting. The books I recommend below address this in much greater detail. 


I think some tuition time, and especially time in the water with a good underwater photographer who can mentor you would be a valuable step in improving your photography further. There are many great educators out there--many of them active in these forums--who offer seminars and photographic workshops, often in locations full of great photographic opportunities and with other divers of the same mindset. 


Another resource that has helped me tremendously in improving my underwater photography technique and may help you as well are in-depth books on the subject. Three I can recommend in particular:


The Underwater Photographer, by Martin Edge

Underwater Photography Masterclass, by Alex Mustard, and

Underwater Photography, by Tobias Friedrick


For the cost of a few dives, I think those three books are a no-brainer to any aspiring underwater photographer's development.


For wide-angle photography in particular, you'll find that balancing the ambient light (or background) exposure with the strobe light (foreground exposure) is very important in creating pleasing, color-rich images. You can start my trying to shoot with your strobe in manual mode rather than TTL to control the amount of flash exposure for the foreground. Controlling the ambient light exposure will be a little tricky with the TG-4 since you do not have full manual controls over the exposure, but you can try using the exposure compensation feature. Try underexposing by 1 stop or so to let in less ambient light, while setting the manual power on the strobe high enough to bring color to your foreground subjects without overexposing it. The beauty of digital photography is that you can take a shot, review it, and adjust your settings as necessary then take another shot -- this shoot, review, adjust, shoot again workflow is a great way to improve.


Good luck, and keep shooting!

In Topic: Indonesia Diving Location Recommendations

04 June 2016 - 02:35 AM

Everything Tim said plus I had a great time last November at Ambon. It has a great vibe and the macro critters are excellent all over the bay.


I would second the recommendation of Ambon (I did my divemaster training there, awesome for critters, especially Twilight zone). Unfortunately, I don't think it works with the OP's timeline -- I think most (all?) dive shops/resorts in the area are closed for the summer months and open again only in September/October timeframe.

In Topic: Canon 1dx Mark II - Philippines

01 June 2016 - 09:31 PM



First of all, great work indeed. Well done.


For the macro shots, were these at night, or just selective lighting during the day? If so, what where you using for lighting? And for stabilization?


Also, perhaps I'm misremembering, but did you not use to shoot a Canon 1DC before? If so, do you have any thoughts about the differences/similarities between shooting with the two different cameras? Especially when it comes to 4k quality, white balancing, etc.