Jump to content


Member Since 25 May 2005
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 06:20 AM

#354110 GH4 with 14-42mm lens or LX100?

Posted by peterbkk on 07 November 2014 - 01:06 AM

Yes, the OIS in my 14-45 is Mega OIS and Power OIS should be better. I read some testing results in personal-view and most of them said LX100 has better stabilizer than 12-35, so I am not sure who's right and who's wrong.

Sorry I was talking about video image.


IMHO, you shouldn't be using OIS for underwater video - and therefore OIS should not be a major consideration in selecting underwater cameras or lenses.


OIS is designed to compensate for hand-shake - it's programmed for a particular type and range of motion.  Underwater, the housing is dampened by the water around it, removing the kind of hand-shake affect that OIS is designed to resolve.  Movement that is likely to spoil video underwater is caused by water currents, small and/or larger, and a hand-shake OIS algorithm is not going to deal with that effectively.


Even shooting "above water" video on a boat, the OIS is going to get confused by the wave action impacting the boat.


In fact, if you are going to be doing any panning or trucking movements, it's probably better to switch OIS off so that it doesn't cause jitter.  Better to work on developing good UW shooting technique for WA and get a tripod for CU shots.


Maybe one day a housing manufacturing will develop an internal gimbal with gyro-stabilisers to dampen underwater movements.  But, until that day, technique will serve you better than OIS...




#353641 Nudibranchs of PNG

Posted by peterbkk on 23 October 2014 - 02:22 PM

I switched to a pair of the iTorch 7 lights recently. So far I'm very pleased with them.

Are you using a snoot on the light?

I made a snoot from sheet rubber curled into a cone that slipped onto the end of the iTorch. But then I lost it at Lembeh. Must make another one before the next trip there in December.


#353609 Nudibranchs of PNG

Posted by peterbkk on 23 October 2014 - 01:04 AM

I know nudibranchs are not everyone's cup of tea.  

Nudibranch tea? How do you make that? Seep dried nudibranchs in boiling water?

#353009 GH4 with 14-42mm lens or LX100?

Posted by peterbkk on 27 September 2014 - 10:14 AM

With the 4k crop the GH4 will be useless with the 14-42mm bare port unless you only shoot close ups

"Useless" is a rather wild statement and quite incorrect.

At the wide-end behind a flat port, the 14-45mm makes a good MS lens. For example, recently in Komodo, I was able to get some footage of the whole body of a very large octopus by pulling back to about 1.5 meters away and, from 2 to 3 meters distance, I was able to shoot the octopus sitting on a coral head. So with the flip diopter, one lens was able to give me CU of the octopus eye, a wider CU of its head, its entire body and its environment.

Not what I'd call "useless".


#352266 GH4 - Nauticam Macro Lens/Port Thoughts

Posted by peterbkk on 03 September 2014 - 05:57 PM

I just got back from 4 days of excellent diving in Lembeh with the GH4.

I haven't had time to do a proper edit but I know that some of you are interested in how the macro lens combinations worked in the real world. So, I quickly pulled together a few examples. They have not been graded, stabilized or adjusted in anyway.

Here is the equipment that I used.

Panasonic GH4 set to C4K 24fps, 1/50 Shutter Priority, PinPoint Focus-AFL/AEL
Nauticam NA-GH4 Housing
Lens: Panasonic Lumix 14-45mm PZ
Nauticam System 35 Port with Flip Holder
Subsee +5 Macro Diopter
Inon UWL100 +10 Macro Diopter
iTorch 7 - 5000 lumen lights x 2 mainly on 1/4 or 1/2 power

The footage was imported into FCPX, some samples quickly selected, then exported as a 4K Mov file. The 4K file was compressed into 1080P before uploading to Vimeo

On a large monitor, the 4K footage looks great. So, I'm happy with the macro set-up. The Subsee +5 is excellent for larger subjects and the Inon +10 works for little stuff.

The Lembeh Sea Dragon at the start of the sample footage is so tiny that it kept "disappearing" and I had to find it again - like a tiny piece of string with a small knot on the end. I shot that with the +10 Inon.

The red Starry Night Octopus was a big fellow - about the size of a football. The wider whole-body shots were done with just the 14-45mm lens (at the 14mm end of the zoom), but the close-up on the eye was shot with the Subsee +5.

The blue-ring was also the +5 with the 14-45mm zoomed to about 35mm.

What would I change? Not much. It works well. It'd be great if I had a double-flip adapter so I did not need to take off the +5 and put on the +10 for the really little stuff but that's mainly a Lembeh issue and i may find that the +5 works for most stuff elsewhere.


PS. Next week I'm off to Komodo to put the 7-14mm / Zen 170mm through its paces.

#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.







#351319 Panasonic GH4 Settings for Underwater

Posted by peterbkk on 08 August 2014 - 02:13 AM

Setting up a GH4 for Diving
To a lot of you who’ve been shooting video with DSLRs for some time, the settings on the GH4 might be a bit “ho hum”.  But, for me, shooting camcorders for the last 10 years, it’s been a sea-change.  I spent a lot of time studying the settings and came up with something that works for me.  I thought that I’d share it.
Firstly, I have to say that I prefer a “natural” look; I like my finished video to look as close as possible to what my eyes saw underwater.  So that "natural look" bias is in my settings.  I don't WB to white or add a lot of red.  You can adjust to your own tastes.
Secondly, when I am underwater, I want to focus as much of my attention on the “story” and the “subjects”. But I rarely use an “auto-everything” approach as that does not work well in many situations.  But, I do like to quickly get to as close to the "optimal look" without too much fiddling and adjustments (while the whale shark swims away).
So, I have found it very useful to leverage the custom setting feature in the GH4.  It works really well with this camera.  After a lot of research and testing, once I had an idea of what I needed, here is the process that I used:
  1. Set all the “in menu” settings (my preferred settings are below)
  2. Set the camera controls to your most “usual” setting
  3. Set the WB presets (more on how to do this below)
  4. Save this to C1 (in my case, C1 is full manual)
  5. Without changing the menu settings from C1, change the camera settings to your second most “usual” settings 
  6. Save this to C2  (in my case, C1 is shutter of 1/50 with AFL/AEL for focus and exposure)
  7. Change to your third most “usual” settings.
  8. Save this to C3-1 (in my case I use “shutter 1/50; auto-everything-else”)
  9. (you could do two more settings, C3-2 and C3-3, but I don’t use these because they are not so quick to access)
GH4 "In Menu” Settings
Tool Menu:
Personal choice but set date, time and system frequency first, I use 24.00Hz
Motion Picture (set dial to motion picture):
Cine D (flat - good for grading)
Contrast 0 (neutral)
Sharpness -5 (none)
Noise Reduction -5 (none)
Saturation 0 (neutral)
Hue 0 (neutral)
Rec Format Mov (less compression)
Rec Quality C4K 100M 24P (as many pixels as possible)
AFS/AFF: AFS (half-press focus)
Continuous Auto Focus Off
Highlight/Shadow: Flat diagonal line
i.Dynamic Off  (don’t want it to mess with the CineD profile)
i.Resolution Standard (does some selective sharpening)
Master pedestal 0 (neutral)
Luminance level 0-255 (full range - can limit later in editing)
Synchro Scan Off (used for shooting TVs and monitors)
Ex Tele Conv Off
Digital Zoom Off (just crops the image)
Time Code Off
HDMI Rec Output 10bit 422 (eady for the Shogun)
Info Display Off (Shogun has its own)
4K Down Convert Off  (No thank you)
Sound output Realtime (only relevant for monitoring sound with headphones)
Silent operation On (tries to keep zooming quiet)
Mic Level 0db
Mic Limiter Off (no auto sound gain)
SS / Gain Operation SEC/ISO
Color Bars SMPTE
Custom Settings Menu:
Cust Set Mem - here is where the Custom setting (1, 2, and 3) are saved.
Silent Mode On (no lights or noises inside the housing)
AFL / AEL Lock - Off for Manual custom setting, Both on for other two settings
AFL / AEL Lock Hold - On (locks it until you unlock it with another press)
Shutter AF On
Half Press Release Off (not good inside a housing)
Quick AF Off (wastes battery)
Eye sensor Off (does not function inside a housing)
Pinpoint AF Time - Mid (does not seem to matter)
Direct Focus Area Off
Focus / Release Priority - Release (not relevant to video)
AF+MF On (allows fine manual adjustments of focus)
MF Assist On (the lens barrel) -(expands the manual focus part of the monitor)
MF Guide Off (personal choice)
Peaking Off (personal choice)
Histogram on (and moved to bottom-left corner)
Guideline - Grid On (personal choice)
Center Marker Off (don’t need a grid and a marker)
Highlight Off (Histogram is better)
Zebra 1 Off Zebra 2 Off  (Histogram is better)
Monochrome Live View Off (want to see the colour)
Constant Preview On (not relevant to video)
Expo meter On (for manual exposure guide)
LVF Disp Style - text over image (larger image in VF)
Monitor Disp Style - text over image (larger image in monitor)
Monitor Info Diaplay On - see the settings
Video Priority Display On (gives more data for video shooters)
Fn Button Set - I changed Fn1 to Auto Focus On but don’t use it - still finding a use for Fn1
Q.Menu - no changes
Dial Set - no changes
Video Button On (but I always use the shutter button anyway)
Eye Sensor - High / Mon (don’t use it - always use Monitor)
Touch Settings - all Off - can’t access them in a housing
Touch Scroll L - irrelevant as settings are Off
Menu Guide Off 
Shoot w/o lens On - doesn’t matter either way
My GH4 Underwater WB Presets:
WB1: Light Blue
WB2: Mid Blue
WB3: Light Green
WB4: Mid Green
Kelvin: 6500K
How to do the WB preset?  Print 4 A4 sheets of paper filled with the four colours above.  (I have attached my pdf files). Set the camera to C1 to load up your custom settings.  Place the first A4 sheet (light blue) in a natural light (sunlight - not artificial light as this would introduce a different colour cast).  Open up the WB set function for WB1, point the camera so the colour fills the image and set it.  Do the same for the other 3 papers into WB2, WB3, and WB4. Go to the Custom Settings menu and “save” (overwrite) the C1 settings.  Now the WB presets are locked into the camera.  You can change the WB settings underwater but you can always get back to the presets by simply moving the mode dial.  Do the same for C2 and C3.
Then, when you are diving, use:
AWB: for near the surface and when video lights dominate (cave / night)
Kelvin 6500K for 5 meters down to 12 meters
WB1 for 10 meters to 20 meters  (in tropical blue water)
WB2 for below 15 to 20 meters (in tropical blue water)
WB3 for 10 meters to 20 meters  (in green water)
WB3 for below 15 to 20 meters (in green water)
The depths mentioned above overlap because you need to make a judgement call, depending on the conditions.
My GH4 “Usual” Camera Settings, saved in Custom 1, Custom 2 and Custom 3, respectively.
  1. M; ISO 200; f2.8; 1/50s; AFS, centre-area focus - this setting is for when I really want full control over everything, even using manual focus if necessary; great when you have time to get a shot really right
  2. S; ISO 200; 1/50s; AFS, centre-area focus - this setting is for when the aperture is not so important and I want to quickly do an AFL / AEL lock before shooting than have the camera hold those settings, quicker than Manual but fast enough for most situations
  3. S; ISO Auto; AFC, multi-zone focus; multi-zone exposure; +/- set to minus one notch - this setting is for when something happens fast. e.g. a big creature swims past, and you don’t have time to think - flip the mode dial to C3 and let the camera do its best to figure it out. Shutter is set to 1/50.  Camera will adjust Aperture and ISO to get a good exposure.  +/- reduced to avoid the camera trying to make the image too bright.
Might all look a bit complicated, but, if you set this all up once, you don’t need to do it again unless you want to make some adjustments.
Underwater, it is very simple:
Use C1 if you want manual control
Use C2 if you want to use a focus lock and exposure lock (NA-GH4 has a handy lever for this)
Use C3 if you want the camera to do everything for you
Then depending on your depth and the conditions, flip the WB setting quickly between AWB, Manual, WB1, and WB2.  (or WB3 and WB4, if the water is green)
The other upside of this C1, C2, C3 approach is that, if you have been fiddling with any settings, a quick flip of the mode dial gets you back to a known state.
I hope that this is helpful.

Attached Files

#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.




#349188 Monitor Use

Posted by peterbkk on 17 June 2014 - 05:46 PM

A lot of my top-side shots are taken on boats. Over the years I've developed a technique of pushing the camera tightly against my face and bending my knees to move with the motion of the boat. So I always use cameras with a good viewfinder and rarely use the back-panel display. I was taught that a three-point handhold is always going to be more stable than a two-point handhold.

I reckon that handholding a camera away from the face, "iPhone style" will never be as stable as the three-way support provided by two hands and your face. Especially on a wobbly boat. Adding a monitor, increasing the weight, IMHO, is only going to make handholding less stable.

For my new "above water" GH4, I have just ordered one of these: http://www.zacuto.co...dslr-viewfinder

They make one of these finders just for the GH3/GH4 format. I am hoping that it'll give me a better viewfinder while still enabling the three-point hold technique. Should arrive this week so I'll let you know whether it works for me.