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Member Since 25 May 2005
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#351550 GH4 - Nauticam Macro Lens/Port Thoughts

Posted by peterbkk on 13 August 2014 - 10:44 PM

Peter - or anyone that has the zoom gear for the 14-42PZ - can the zoom gear be adjusted to operate the focus switch instead of the zoom switch? If that is the case then the zoom can be accomplished via the menu dial (after assigning the zoom control to a function button).



Out-of-the-box, you could not do it with the Nauticam gear as-is because everything is precisely aligned to move the zoom control without moving the focus control.  But you could modify it.  But the gear is metal (aluminium?) so it'd require some careful cutting.  You would have to cut the zoom slot wider and glue some something on to slim down the slot around the focus control.  You can see what I mean from the photo.  The focus switch is on the left and the zoom switch is on the right.




But, even after you had that done, I'm not sure that the focus control wheel on the housing, coupled by internal gears to the lens gear, would be precise enough to make the fine focus changes required for macro.


And, IMHO, I'm not sure what problem it would solve.  I had no problem doing auto-focus-lock on any tiny part of the subject then moving the camera as required. The Pinpoint AF is very precise and easy to see what is in focus.  With a larger monitor, like the Shogun, it'll be even easier.




#351496 GH4 - Nauticam Macro Lens/Port Thoughts

Posted by peterbkk on 13 August 2014 - 01:09 AM

So here we go:  Just spent 45 minutes blowing bubbles at the bottom of the pool.


In summary: I am happy!   :)  I can do macro.  Lembeh, here I come...


Lens: Panasonic 14-42mm PZ

Port: Nauticam Macro Port 35

Nauticam Flip Diopter Holder

Inon UCL-100 Diopter (+10)


Here is an iPhone snap of the setup:






To test the setup, I borrowed a couple of "littlest pet shop" toys from my daughter.  I weighted the toys with a fishing weight and stuck them down with blue tack.  Here is the "model" with a ruler to give you an idea of size:




The camera performed very well while taking the shots. I mainly used the "pinpoint AF" method, but I tried others and they all seemed to work. Pinpoint enabled more aiming precision as it magnifies the area around the pinpoint.  I used AFL if I wanted to move the camera to change the focal point away from the centre.  The GH4 found focus every time, as long as I was within the right distance - not too far when using the diopter (approximately <0.15 meters) and not too close when just using the lens without the diopter (approximately >0.3 meters).


I imported the footage into FCPX.  I made no edits or adjustments.


I have looked at the footage every which way and can not see any issues.  I have displayed it in full screen mode.  Looked at the corners.  No problems that I can see.


To show you, I have taken 4 screen-shots of the FCPX viewer screen.


1. The two subjects taken without the diopter with the 14-45 set about 30mm - the subject is about 1 meter from the camera. The image is a bit soft as it was raining and the pool water was quite murky (about 5 to 8 meter viz). 


PZ Lens only.jpg


2. The two subjects taken without the diopter with the 14-45 set quite wide - the subject is about 0.4 meters from the camera.


PZ Lens at closest focus copy.jpg


3. The upper fin of the gold fish showing the whole frame when using the Macro diopter and the 14-45mm set about mid-point.


Macro Close-Up Full 4K frame.jpg


4. The upper fin of the gold fish showing a 100% crop of the 4K frame when using the Macro diopter and the 14-45mm set about mid-point.

Macro Close-Up 100 percent crop.jpg


It seems to have handled every test that I tried.


I reckon that I am good to go.







#351300 Upcoming Panasonic GH-4K

Posted by peterbkk on 07 August 2014 - 02:57 PM

Has anybody tried the GH4 in a dark environment like cave or wreck? WA natural light shoots of wrecks in low ambient light? Using it at night? I am curious as to how much noise and/or banding is being produced in the dark/black areas as I've seen some comparison videos and a lot of people don't have great things to say about the low light performance of this camera.
Also, is it really difficult to shoot with this camera? Can I hand the camera over to a no-camera-skills-buddy and expect he or she to achieve a fair result? I'm thinking maybe making a preset or using auto, allowing them to just press the shutter or record button, point the camera the correct way to film and still get decent result? Or will exposure and focus be all over the place? I know I've had great results giving a GoPro to other buddies and getting useful footage back, but even a compact camera can be tricky for a buddy who knows practically nothing about shooting.

I've looked through some clips I shot in a cave and on a night dive last weekend. No noise or banding in the dark areas.

You could set one of the 3 mode-dial custom presets to auto-everything. The shutter release starts the recording. Auto-focus works fine. Or, you could use the AFL / AEL lever to lock in a suitable focus and exposure, then hand the camera to the other person.


#351298 VIDEO - Padang Bai & Tulamben. Bali - Indonesia

Posted by peterbkk on 07 August 2014 - 02:31 PM

Hi Hafidz,

A couple of things to think about:

1. Maybe a bit tighter editing. There's a couple of shots that probably should have been cut - subject partly out of the frame, too much jiggling. It's tough editing your own footage. Try being a bit more brutal on yourself.

2. Youtube compression spoils some sections. Always bad at areas with a lot of blue water. Look at a better video service like Vimeo.

3. It's a personal choice but I found some of your colour correction a bit too much. The reds and browns look at bit overdone. But some people like that look. I don't like it because that's not what the human eye sees underwater.

4. Little bit frustrating when someone is saying something to the camera in the first section but you can't hear them. Sort of looks like an old silent movie. If the sound didn't capture well, throw on a subtitle. What did he say?

5. Next time, rather than just stringing together a bunch of good clips, have a think about the story that you want to tell. Then edit to that story.


#350518 Tubbataha Reef, Philippines

Posted by peterbkk on 19 July 2014 - 05:12 PM

Conditions looks awesome ! , which time of the year you went ?



It was the last week of May, right in the peak of the season.


Tubbataha Reefs are only open for 3 months from Mid-March to mid-June.  Mainly for weather reasons.  The reefs are 150km from the nearest shelter.  There is no shelter at the reefs.  And typhoons do pass through to the north, with the occasional one running right across the reefs.  Believe me, you wouldn't want to be out there in a storm.


But, also for conservation, they want to limit human impact.  Access is tightly managed and controlled, with only a few boats being licensed each season.   The rangers, who live there year-round in a storm-shelter, do a great job, patrolling the reefs, armed with M16 rifles, chasing away cunning fishermen.  Before the dive boat leaves the harbour, volunteers from the National Parks come on board to explain the rules and encourage good diver behaviour.  Having seen Marine parks all over Southeast Asia, and having a passion for improving them*, I was suitably impressed by what the Philippines is doing at Tubbataha.


For more information: http://tubbatahareef.org






#350341 Tubbataha Reef, Philippines

Posted by peterbkk on 16 July 2014 - 01:24 AM

Hi Guys,


Here is my latest work, a mini documentary on the Tubbataha Reefs in the Philippines.


Warning: If you haven't been there, this video may cause you to instantly whip out your credit card and book a trip for next season.


Tubbataha reminded my of Sipadan back in the good ol' days.  Maybe even better.  Fantastic diversity, huge schools, sharks and turtles everywhere, pristine corals and, on some days, visibility up to 100 meters!


It's remoteness and short season helps but the Philippine government is doing a good job policing the park's "zero take" policies.








#349659 Upcoming Panasonic GH-4K

Posted by peterbkk on 30 June 2014 - 09:06 PM

While waiting for the GH4 housing, I've been playing with my new GH4, just doing some stuff to become familiar with the controls and settings.


As this is my first foray into using a traditional "camera" for video, I've been experimenting with some setups that might make it more of a video camera experience.  I was particularly concerned about movements in the "pitch" dimension, amplified by the camera's short front to back length.


Also, for most of my work, I like to intermingle some "above water" shots with the underwater footage, adding some local colour or scenery or even an interview or two.  So, I need a video camera that can be handheld, often on a moving boat.


So, how to make the GH4 into the optimal "above water" video camera for use on and around boats that records decent sound?


Here is what I have come up with:


GH4 Video 1.jpg


GH4 Video 2.jpg


GH4 Video 3.jpg


Adding the microphone improves sound quality, especially for interviews.  It has both stereo and shotgun options.  Because it is Panasonic, the camera automatically detects its presence and adjust the settings according.  I know that there are better microphones but this one does a good job and is very convenient.
Adding the Zacuto Z-Finder makes the whole back display into one huge EVF - great for manual focus. And really great for focusing your attention on what's happening in the scene.  
The combination of the Z-Finder and the Op/Tech hand-strap increases stability because, even with eyeglasses, I can mash the soft rubber finder up against my face.  The Z-Finder pops on and off very easily, leaving behind a short frame which helps keep light off the display.
Of course, I will need to buy a second GH4 and lens so I don’t have to keep taking it in and out of the housing...

#349198 Upcoming Panasonic GH-4K

Posted by peterbkk on 18 June 2014 - 12:56 AM

Cheungy Diver and I visited the Broadcast Asia Conference in Singapore yesterday.  Big event with all the usual suspects present.


We met with the guys from Atomos and looked at the prototype Shogun.  Looks like it'll be a great underwater recorder monitor.  They had it sitting in a glass case, between a GH4 and an A7s.  But not yet operational.  The shogun may be a bit large to mount in a separate housing on top of the camera housing.  Hard to get the physical balance right.  Need to find a way to place it line astern with the camera.  September is still the delivery date.


We also wandered into the big Panasonic booth.  Bear in mind that this is a conference for professionals - no general public allowed.  The Panasonic stand, while they had a couple of their broadcast camcorders on display, was dominated by the GH4.  They had a "set" with lighting, a motorbike and an attractive model with three or four GH4s aimed at the model.  The GH4s, with their YAGH, were hooked up via SDI cables to 4K displays and recorder / monitors.  The results were impressive. Very nice colours. Great details.  You can see that Panasonic are serious about marketing this camera as a professional video camera.  You could sense that they've realised that this will be a winner for them.




#343708 Creating a black background on your videoshots

Posted by peterbkk on 23 February 2014 - 06:45 AM

1. Shoot at night or either end of the day when it's relatively dark.
2. Make sure that the lights cover only the subject.
3. Manual control of the iris / aperture so that the auto exposure doesn't try to make the whole frame brighter.
4. Increase the contrast / lower the blacks when editing.

#342816 Palau: Mating Humphead Parrotfish Aggregation Video

Posted by peterbkk on 04 February 2014 - 03:10 AM

I just posted the a video from a recent Palau trip:
It is a HD online video (hosted from Vimeo) so you will need a fast internet connection or wait patiently for it to buffer.
I do have a couple of other online videos in the pipeline (Caves, Jellyfish Lake) but this is the "mating aggregation" video so I focused on uploading this one first.
Thanks to David Cheung of ScubaCam for putting this trip together.
Camera: Canon XF100
Housing: BS Kinetics Makla Takan
Editing: Final Cut Pro X 10.1

#342609 Final Cut Pro 10.1

Posted by peterbkk on 30 January 2014 - 02:51 AM

I guess we better balance the view with a video on using FCP X.





#342414 Final Cut Pro 10.1

Posted by peterbkk on 26 January 2014 - 07:11 PM

I think that the main strength of FCPX is the paradigm shift from traditional NLEs around the "magnetic storyline" concept. Yesterday I went from hours of footage to a 30 minute first-cut storyline in a couple of hours. The ability to skim, select, insert real fast makes what used to be drudgery, now a pleasure. Add-on features like the intuitive "auditioning" concept to quickly compare the impact of alternative clips without having to play with timeline patch panels is also great. Everything just seems easier and faster in FCPX...

#339208 Sony FS100 white balance at depth

Posted by peterbkk on 09 November 2013 - 06:03 PM

Underwater housing manufacturers must know this is a popular camera.

But we should question the ethics (or intelligence) of a housing manufacturer that is NOW releasing an underwater housing for a camera that will never perform well underwater.

You can sort of forgive the early-adopter housing manufacturers as they could not have known about the problem. And, you really can't expect them to fix something that's unfixable. Nor are the housing manufacturers financially robust enough to give a refund.

And, we should not be surprised that Sony is not interested in a problem that only effects a small part of their user base and is probably not fixable in firmware. They can't even express sympathy because that might attract class-action. At best, you can hope that they are listening and have told the engineers to make sure that it is not a problem in the next model. Any large electronics engineering company would behave the same.

Symptomatic of our times...

  • r4e likes this

#339060 GoPro 2 fogging remedy?

Posted by peterbkk on 05 November 2013 - 04:41 PM

If you must open it on the boat deck, you could try to put it in a clear bag to close it and blow some air from your second stage into the bag just before you close the housing.   Scuba air is less than 10% humidity, so the dew point will be very low.   Just be very careful not to blow any water that may be on the reg into the housing or bag. 

No offense, but I can't see any situation where it would be a good idea to blow air from a regulator into a bag containing an open camera housing. The possibility of blowing sea water into that open housing is going to outweigh any benefit of getting dry air into the housing. Even a "dry" regulator can have pockets of water in its nooks and crannies. Maybe if the dive boat / shop has one of those blower attachments but, even then, compressed air can do other damage, like pushing an o-ring out of its groove or pushing a sand grain down behind an o-ring. David's toilet paper or my silica gel sachets is going to be a much safer more reliable solution.

#338798 GoPro 2 fogging remedy?

Posted by peterbkk on 29 October 2013 - 08:39 PM


Sure that is why it must be folded to fit. Practice Origami .....


Will you be running toilet paper origami classes in your shop anytime soon?