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Don Silcock

Member Since 08 Mar 2003
Offline Last Active Feb 23 2018 05:42 AM

Topics I've Started

Australian Giant Cuttlefish Article and Front Cover

31 December 2017 - 10:14 PM

The current issue of X-Ray dive magazine features a comprehensive article of mine on the annual Australian Giant Cuttlefish aggregation at Whyalla in South Australia - plus I got front cover, if that is the right terminology for a PDF format downloadable mag.... 


The annual aggregation is an amazing spectacle to behold and incredibly happens just off the beach to the north of Whyalla at the top of the Spencer Gulf. It starts around the middle of May as the temperature starts to drop as the Australian winter approaches and there are literally thousands of these photogenic creatures gathered there, all intent on one thing - sex and the reproductive cycle.


So focused are they on the task at hand that they virtually ignore you and you can get really close and capture some tremendous images.


If you are interested in reading more about these creatures you can use this link to download the Amazing Australian Giant Cuttlefish article.




Attached File  XR82_Giant Cuttlefish_Cover.jpg   232.52KB   5 downloads

Nikon 28-70 and the Nauticam WACP

08 December 2017 - 10:30 PM

After several years using Nikon FX underwater (D700 and then D800) last year I went back to DX when the D500 was released. I based that decision on my experience over the past few years since I got in to "big animal" trips - starting with the humpback whales of Tonga. Basically, up till then I did not see any real need for high frame rates and super-fast autofocus - but being in the water with those huge animals changed my perspective and I ended up quite frustrated with the D800 I had as my main camera and the OM-D E-M1 that was my back up.


So I sold them and went for the D500, Nauticam housing and initially the Tokina 10-17, which had sat on the shelf for a number of years.... I have just completed 3 weeks in Mozambique and South Africa using the new Nikon 8-15 and the Nauticam 140mm dome and am over the moon with that combo. Which, when combined with two Sea & Sea YS250's (hernia model...) is, in my opinion, an almost unbeatable set-up for large animals at the overall price point it all comes in at.


All that said, I am intrigued by the Nauticam WACP and Alex Mustard's excellent review of it. And while not 100% convinced I could justify the expenditure so soon after buying my current rig, I decided to buy a good sample of the Nikon 28-70 3.5-4.5 while they can still be had cheap.


I tried it initially on the D500 but scared myself when I heard the noise coming from the old-fashioned A/F system on it when driven at speed by the D500. I got back to my place in Bali last night and tried it on my D750 "land" camera and it was OK, but still a quite noisy.


So.... I wanted to post a few questions and see what other people's experience may have been.


1. Reviews of the 28-70 say it is a good lens that is quite sharp, plus it is small and seems to fit the bill for what Nauticam were looking for. And, as Alex pointed out - the dome is the restriction, not the lenses. But... can it cut the mustard (slight pun intended...) when it comes to using it with fast moving, big animals?


2. It seems like the excellent degree of coverage of the 28-70 behind the WACP would be best suited to "big picture" reef scenics?


3. If I do decide to "invest" back in FX and the WACP for underwater, I am wondering whether the D750 is a better choice than a D850?