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Member Since 24 Jul 2005
Offline Last Active Oct 04 2015 07:50 AM

#364409 Sony a7s and MWB

Posted by Scuba_SI on 19 August 2015 - 05:40 AM

I used to put some of that pink styrofoam netting that they put over your duty free bottles in the airport over my white slate when I used sony. I found that took out the magenta cast.

I suspect EJ has some Pink fishnet stockings that will work just as well.  :mocking:

#357871 Reef Photo Visit and great service

Posted by Scuba_SI on 15 February 2015 - 07:38 PM

I recently headed to the Bahamas to dive with the Great Hammerheads, which was quite a big trip when coming from Lembeh!  I was also blessed with a 27hour delay on the flight to the US from the UK, which royally sucked as I picked up a nasty flu.  Anyway, arriving in the Ft Lauderdale looking and feeling like crap and a day late meant I had to do my shopping in super quick time before heading over to the Bahamas.

I had met Ryan once before about a decade ago and whilst we keep in touch from time to time it would be a push to call us friends, so please don't consider this a biased review.  I have now owned Nauticam D90, 7D, 5Dmk3, EM5, EM1, GH4, Rossa, 1Dx and 7Dmk2 housings, and of course some of them have had problems so Ryan and I have sparred/discussed issues before, even though I hadn't bought them from the USA. I definitely don't consider myself a Nauticam fanboy but I do feel that their newest products are of a very high standard.


What surprised me the most was that on the Saturday that I arrived, Ryan himself was servicing a Rossa housing that needed a quick turn around.  I had never known of this side before, and as a hands-on owner of a business myself I really appreciated that he took time out of his weekend to fix a problem for one of his clients - plus I got to help take someone else's housing apart which is always a fun learning experience!

Reef Photo were super accommodating and as an industry person I could really see how well Elly and Phil do when explaining to photo newbies (even the ones that know everything) how to use the equipment and they also were not pushy on sales. Both demonstrated a very good understanding of equipment and you can tell they use it a lot, so for compact users looking to take the next step I strongly recommend talking to either of these two.

For my end of the Market, before this trip I had no idea that Reef offered quite a large inventory of cinema equipment for rent, including RED dragons and Rossa Housings.  I rented a Rossa housing to save on baggage allowance and hassle with customs on coming back into Indonesia - the housing was the newest version and in great condition.

I really look forward to visiting them again when not ill and exhausted from delays.


Here's a picture from Bimini as i didn't take a single picture with my phone in the store! Shot with Nauticam GH4 and dual Inon z240's


#356284 Happy New Year from Lembeh!

Posted by Scuba_SI on 04 January 2015 - 05:53 PM

On a seperate note I have had a PM or two about rebreathers and their application to photography for the non-techie types.  I do not consider myself a technical diver in my general attitude, I am MOD3 certified and dive my rebreathers regularly.  However I am not an expert on rebreathers, I am a user and also a service provider for others, but I still call my tec instructor for advice before doing certain dives.

EJ (Escape) is just starting his journey on the rEvo which has become pretty much the standard for a lot of film crews.  I use the rEvo unit for most things, from Trimix 100m+ to playing around in the shallows doing very long dives (circa 18m). You need to bring a bailout and you need to be confident that you can spot a problem.  There's a great guy doing courses in Bali for this unit.  The rEvo can predict how long your sorb will last, thus making it very economical and having that reassurance factor,  it is however the weakest link in th rEvo system and has had some problems (fixed for free with a few spare parts).

I also train people on the Poseidon mk6/7 and that unit is much more accommodating to the not so techie type.  It does it's boot up sequence (have the error code list handy) and lets you know if something isn't correct.  When it has an error, it spits out a number and you fault find and reboot.  Can be annoying and a lot of users do this before having breakfast incase they got thrown a curveball.  The mk6/7 is also good in the respect that for shallow dives you don't require a bailout as it calculates how much air you need in your dil tank for a bailout ascent and predicts your remaining divetime based on that (No Deco and program breathing rate and tank size via PC).  Below 18m your certifying agency (and likely Dive Operator) requires that you take a bailout.  The computer doesn't know this and if you stay within the remaining dive time clock you should be fine to ascend without the bailout, but redundancy is recommended.  I have put slightly larger tanks on my rental mk6 so that the guests can do 2 dives and still have a nice buffer of on board bailout at the end of the second dive. However it also injects diluent and oxygen at intervals which can throw off your buoyancy if you're not listening for it. Super awesome is the flashy light and vibrating mouthpiece if something isn't correct.  It isn't too over the top and gives me comfort that I can pay a little less attention once i'm sure the unit is running well, not to say you should not respect it.


I still do open circuit dives.  I made myself dive rebreather only for about a year, and it wore me down.  I also reached a point where my skills were not improving.  Switching back to OC from time to time and having kick-ass buoyancy again made me realise I still need to improve on the rebreather.

So, down to the question that I get asked a lot:  Do they make a difference for photography?

In most cases yes. In some cases not at all.  

Neutrals / background:

  • If you're diving with the group and plodding along there's no point in using a rebreather other than to get experience and log hours.  The being able to get slightly closer to fish thing isn't worth the cost of the sorb fill and O2 in that situation.  I can do the same by holding my breath and being calm on Open Circuit.
  • If you're diving with a more liberal operator then it might be worth it even for normal dives.  But then your options for operators declines quite rapidly.  Being left alone for 5-10mins at 20m when everyone else has run out of NDL is great - but it can make guides nervous if they don't know your style.  If you have bailout you have redundancy, but no one wants to waste time looking for the dick that was on his fancy rebreather and got lost... So don't expect to get carte-blanche even if you have a million c-cards. Absolutely no-one wants to start searching for a body, going deeper than normal depths increases your chance of dying unless your skills are top notch.
  • Ideally you need a rebreather buddy, but most who have looked at rebreather forums probably took the opinion that they would rather dive alone than hang out with the people who post there!  They aren't all like that but there's certainly a higher proportion on know-it-all types in the tec sector than normal diving.  Much like there's a lot of special folks in the UW photography world.  My wife got certified on the AP Evolution+, and hated it.  I have her scheduled for a Mk6 course, but she's put off by all the messing around pre and post dive. Camera, business, small child and rebreather don't mix well in a 24hr day. I remove the business operations part when i'm diving rebreather and make the child do the rebreather washing. :)


  • Big fish interactions!  Mantas do not run away, stay still and they will disregard you as a part of the scenery.
  • Small fish interactions.  Sitting still and just watching becomes fun again.  Schools of fish ignore you.
  • Very long NDL for dives around 20m and shallower.
  • Quick washout of your deco - you can do your 6m safety stop at 100% O2. I regularly do 30m+ dives and stay there for most of the dive, then clear my safety stop in the last few minutes and come up with everyone else.
  • If you are an air-pig, you will really struggle to empty a rebreather on one dive with correct technique.
  • Warm air in the breathing loop stops the chills and shivers that I get on OC.
  • Rental mk6/ units available in many places although a lot of operators are getting rid of them as they do have the tendancy to not work correctly first time when left in the box for 6 months.
  • No Bubbles to trash your wide shots.... unless you dribble out of your nose or have a full loop and ascend a little.


  • Anti-Social.  Cleaning these things is dull.  Each unit is different in the effort it takes to rinse/clean it.  I can do my rEvo way faster than the mk6 due to it's design.  It makes a big difference and was not something I considered before I was a user. however, you are not going to get ebola if you don't disinfect the loop every day.  If you have warm climate and ventilation then it should dry out before any nasties get a hold.  Prior to being certified I listened to so many people say what a hugely important thing it was to keep them clean.  Obviously rental units get disinfected all the time, but my personal one not so often. I can strip, wash and hang to dry my rebreather and then pull the batteries and cards from my camera by the time the first guests finish their shower.
  • Heavy - I travelled with my rEvo once last year, to Raja Ampat.  With carbon cylinders and bailout.  It was expensive!  If you have a small camera rig that is carry-on sized and can rent cylinders on location then you can do it, just buy a few spare tshirts at the destination.
  • Time Wasting. When the negative pressure test leaks or the poseidon gives you error codes it can really mess with your day. Do you bring spare O/C gear as well? Or just rent if it breaks!?
  • Crap buoyancy when still gaining experience.  As soon as you think you've got it under control and have had 20 mins of thinking "ooh I can do this" your unit will send you face-planting into the sand or on a jaunt towards the surface.  It's user error and experience of course but you will curse like crazy through the loop (and your voice travels very far when screaming through the loop).  Anyone who heard a very angry MF being shouted during a dive in Lembeh over the last few years, i'm sorry!
  • Anyone who has dived a rebreather and it hasn't tried to kill them yet is not experienced. You want it to try and do that to you somewhere nice an easy. :)  I have made a lot of mistakes already and can outline them in another post for those that are interested!

Closing notes:


As an operator, we get quite a few rebreather enquiries over the year and the #1 most annoying thing is how cheap rebreather users are (I have fallen into this trap myself when planning a trip, once!).  People who sell tech as their sole business put up with it and do it because they love it, but the general consensus amongst other operators is that its a huge pain in the ass and expense for very little return. I'm still on the fence and welcome rebreather divers from a business perspective, but i'm hooked as a user.

Speaking as a rebreather diver who often travels alone (and not an operator):

  • I need my tanks filling.
  • I need extra space to wash /prep my equipment.
  • Sometimes I need strange gas mixes which are expensive and may sit unused after I have left.
  • In the water I need bailout tanks and I don't want a normal aluminium 80 as that's unnecessary for normal dives and uncomfy with a camera - give me a 40 or a 30cuft please..  
  • I want leniency with my dive profile once the operator knows i'm trustworthy.
  • I want potential longer divetimes away from the bubble blowers.  
  • I want full O2 fills, from booster pumps that work well and I prefer to know they have a backup if it breaks (imagine it breaks on your 2nd day after you brought all your equipment across the world).
  • I want a stock of sorb on site that has not expired.  
  • I want a helium /oxygen analyser that I trust.
  • I prefer to rent my small rebreather tanks onsite than lug them with me.
  • I want / am required to have a tec buddy when going deep.
  • I am high maintenance and part of a niche group whether I view myself as that or not. 

With all this in mind, remember that finally getting the rebreather is not the end of the expenditure, it is just the beginning!

#356083 Happy New Year from Lembeh!

Posted by Scuba_SI on 31 December 2014 - 05:47 PM

Here's a compilation of Lembeh!

I did 16.5hours in the water for the Blue Ring Eggs hatching... Love my rEvo!  

Happy New Year to everyone.


#355804 Big Animals Showreel 2014

Posted by Scuba_SI on 25 December 2014 - 06:57 PM

Here's my attempt at a year end video, this is the big animals section, so consider it part 1 of 2, as a Lembeh video will be coming soon!

I was very lucky to have some great trips in 2014, everything was paid for so i'm not doing any dodgy promotions for freebie stuff!  I think we chose quite well with the operators that we used.  I'll be doing some things differently next year with the sardine run to get more in water time, but other than that lots of great experiences.

#354648 Melibe colemani

Posted by Scuba_SI on 25 November 2014 - 02:56 AM

I am very fortunate to have seen the Melibe colemani in Lembeh recently:

There are some still photos and more info here:


#352343 Tonga above and below

Posted by Scuba_SI on 05 September 2014 - 08:55 PM

Hi everyone, here's a post about the video that was on the front page recently.  Shot in Ha'apai, Tonga with and Epic, GH4 and a GoPro 3+ Black.

It was so much fun and the edit was done whilst still on the trip, so before I put it out in 4k I will likely re-compose it.

Thanks for viewing:

#351484 Fish Fireworks in 4K

Posted by Scuba_SI on 12 August 2014 - 06:49 PM

Thanks for the feedback, I was in Africa and was avoiding the internetz...

Following up on the feedback i spat another version out with a colour correction:

#349771 Fish Fireworks in 4K

Posted by Scuba_SI on 02 July 2014 - 06:38 PM

Here's one I made a while back, but I finally have had chance to upload in 4K to Youtube.  please let me know if the 4K option is working for you.


It was a great experience and we must have taken our guests several times a day for the few days it was going off.  Such a lot of fun being in a school like that.


#347502 Sony A7 with 24-70 & Nik 15mm

Posted by Scuba_SI on 09 May 2014 - 11:39 AM

I have the setup with Canon / Nikonos lenses and a home made LED trigger, nauticam have a LED trigger as well.  AF is poor when compared to a SLR / OMD EM-1


For those dreaming of a compact package... I don't think of it being much smaller (by weight or volume) compared to an SLR.

#347171 Amusing tale of copyright infringement and passing the buck

Posted by Scuba_SI on 02 May 2014 - 05:45 AM

Here's a good one for you.
I found one of EJ's (Escape on here) videos on Huffington Post a while back, so I told him about it and he went off on his adventure of asking for takedown.
Turns out it came from SportDiver, and they followed up with EJ:


We received the email below from AOL/Huffington Post regarding your video Phycocaris Simulans The Hairy Shrimp.

The video was originally provided by NAD to be used on Sport Diver's website.  The video was tagged incorrectly in our content management system and ended up in our feed to AOL.  The video has been removed from AOL, Huffington Post and from Sport Diver.  


It just so happens that EJ and I were sat next to each other waiting to go diving, when the email came in, so here was the reply:

I'm diving with Simon (the owner of NAD) now.
Can you send me email about permission of usage my footage from NAD?
That's me on the left  :mocking:
A few days later and they still haven't provided the proof that I gave them the file.  So i'm pretty pissed that they took a stab in the dark and suggested that I had been giving away his property.  Besides, surely it has nothing to do with me anyway, as the movie was originally hosted by EJ and says 'by Eunjae Im' on it...  George Clooney wouldn't put up with this sh*t, I don't see why EJ should have to  :lol2:  


This 'take the easy way out and blame someone else' is pretty shocking.  If EJ wasn't a close friend, it could have ruined my relationship with a client.  
The purpose of this thread is not to discuss the original infringement, but as a warning for this method of diversion.  As a message to all, when someone starts squirming about what they've done wrong, don't believe them even if they are a reputable company.

#343097 CheungyDiver Broke His Leg

Posted by Scuba_SI on 09 February 2014 - 03:56 PM

That's terrible... But what the hell was he doing on a motorized skateboard?!

#342721 Lembeh from a different perspective

Posted by Scuba_SI on 02 February 2014 - 05:57 AM

Here's one I have thrown together in the last week.  It's been a long time since I edited so relearning the software.  Friendly pointers and criticism welcomed.


#340517 Nauticam Super Macro Converter

Posted by Scuba_SI on 11 December 2013 - 04:00 AM

I also did a few tests:


In this first one the video camera is a similar crop to a 7D.


The images in this comparison were on a 5Dmk3 with a 1.4 so you can get a similar crop on your 7D:  http://nad-lembeh.co...-vs-mpe-65.html


Tomorrow i'm hoping to get the TC on the crop for crazy macro :)

  • Cp likes this

#328421 Vacuum Pumps Again!

Posted by Scuba_SI on 23 March 2013 - 05:26 PM

If i need to save on baggage weight will there be an adaptor for my Swedish man pump?