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Member Since 20 Feb 2007
Offline Last Active Dec 02 2017 07:42 AM

#388873 Using the Olympus 8 mm fisheye

Posted by Draq on 30 October 2017 - 03:36 PM

I find the Zen 100mm dome works really well for CFWA.  I haven't tried a larger dome, but from what I have read, the 170 can make it difficult to get close to your subject and make strobe positioning more difficult.  Hope that helps.

#384532 What do do when cameras can't fly in the aircraft cabin

Posted by Draq on 30 May 2017 - 11:00 AM

Well, I hope they weren't reacting to my post here!  I have no idea who is pushing for what, but I am trying to be ready.  The last thing I want is a ban to kick in just before I fly and being unprepared to deal with it.


I don't know if they are over-reacting or not.  I do know that certain groups are quite committed to blowing up / crashing airplanes, and the most desirable planes to hit are U.S. flagged airlines with U.S. passengers.  I would prefer to focus my irritation on the terrorists and not the government but really, the cause doesn't really matter; I am just trying to deal with the situation as best I can, since I have no input into what they do. 


Certainly one solution would be, as you say,  to not fly into or out of the U.S. (or the UK, since they seem to be on the same track) but that is not an option I want to choose.


Hopefully at least lenses may be able to still fly in the cabin. 

#384458 What do do when cameras can't fly in the aircraft cabin

Posted by Draq on 28 May 2017 - 06:06 AM

Last week I heard that, at least for now, the US has shelved the plans to ban electronics form inbound European flights, so it appears this isn't going to be extended, or at least is on hold.  I do not generally fly to any of the current laptop ban countries.  I am still concerned that for both security and monetary reasons we may see increasing restrictions on what or how much can be taken as carry-on.  I still am working on a plan to deal with this should it arise.  I have purchased a larger Pelican case and currently I am thinking I will set that up for housing, ports, camera and lenses, and may then pack that within a second case for security purposes, although I don't know if that is really necessary.  In the meantime, I will continue carrying camera and lenses on the plane if I can.

#384363 LED Strobe Trigger For Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Posted by Draq on 23 May 2017 - 10:21 AM

Great idea,  If you or someone else were to make some of these and sell them, I would definitely be interested, in the absence of a commercial ttl trigger for Olympus.  For me DIY involving electronics and other small delicate things is likely to turn into BIY (break it yourself) so I don't do much of that. 

#384037 Help with zen 170 dome port II

Posted by Draq on 13 May 2017 - 05:27 AM



I am interested to see how that adapter works out, but I have no idea what it costs or how it will perform.  As I understand it, you will not get yours until June or July.  I think it It is hard for people to make a purchasing decision on an expensive dome based on the possibility that a custom part might be available to make it work.  What is the cost of the adapter?  Please let us know how it works out for you after you get it.

#384016 Zen dome port

Posted by Draq on 12 May 2017 - 12:16 PM

Both the Zen and Nauticam domes are optically coated.  The 170 would be fine I am sure, but unless you are concerned with doing over-under shots, or have some other need, the size is not necessary for that lens in that format.  I use a 100 dome because I wanted small size for close focus purposes, and I am happy with it.  The 140 might/should provide sharper corners, particularly at larger apertures and would probably be better if you wanted to do some over/under shots.  Pretty much a toss up depending on your interests.  Either would be an excellent choice with no strong pros or cons to either. 

#383896 Panasonic GH-5 lens selection WWL1 or wide-angle

Posted by Draq on 08 May 2017 - 05:30 AM

The soft corners issue with the 7-14 isn't really a lens problem,it is a common problem when using rectilinear wide angle lenses in a dome.  Stopping down the lens and paying some attention to what is in the corners helps a lot and beyond that it is just something that comes with the lens/port combo.  I doubt the 8-18 can make any change in that.  A wider dome helps.  I would not use a 6".  One benefit with micro four thirds is that a 180mm dome mitigates the problem pretty well while if you were shooting full frame, you would be looking at a 230mm dome to minimize corner softness at that field of view.  Those things are hard to pack.


Luckily, since we typically use strobes, closing the lens down does not really present much of an issue.  I think I have heard the WWL 1 can produce better corner sharpness than perhaps any other ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) rectilinear option, but that comes at the $ price of a traditional glass dome port, significant weight, and for micro four thirds, it really only works with the various kit lenses, that are not usually known for their quality as far as distortion and corner sharpness.  I doubt the WWL1 can make an average lens better.  For a compact camera or the Sony system with its weak lens choice in ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) angle, I think it is more compelling.


I am one of the few people who seem to be really fond of the 12-40 underwater.  At 12mm, sharp corners are not an issue and I usually find it wide enough for nice reef shots and that sort of thing, although it isn't enough for real CFWA shots.  The lens will focus down to less than 8" and at 40mm, that provides the opportunity to fill the frame with some pretty small objects, although certainly not a full macro.  I can use the same dome for the 12-40 as the 7-14.


I wish there was something like the Canon 8-15 or the Tokina 10-17 available, but other than that, I am pretty happy with the lens availability in this format.

#383868 Panasonic GH-5 lens selection WWL1 or wide-angle

Posted by Draq on 07 May 2017 - 03:30 PM

Okay.  I can't help regarding video as I only shoot video with a gopro.  For stills, I have never used the WWL 1, so I can't comment from personal experience, but I am not sure the one lens (or port) to do it all is worth the weight and complexity of using a WWL1 and actually taking it on and off in the water.  Seems like an excellent opportunity to lose or damage a very expensive item.  Others can speak to this from experience. If you want to be able to do macro then then the best choices are the 45 or 60 macro lenses and you go out expecting to shoot macro and nothing else.  That is what I do.  For CFWA, my first choice is the 8mm FE in a small dome.  The 7-14 can do CFWA but you have to work with a larger dome.  I assume the situation would be the same with the 8-18.  If I don't know what I will be seeing or want a "general purpose" lens, I take the 12-40, which shares the same dome as the 7-14.  It isn't all that wide, but it focuses quite close at 40mm and is acceptably wide (to me) at 12mm for casual wide angle work. 


Those 4 lenses cover anything I want to and require three ports, a 100mm dome, a 170 dome and a macro port.  If I really felt I needed a single solution for everything from macro to wide angle, I would probably look at one of the better compacts and take a wet lens or two.  Frankly, I think I "see" photo opportunities better when I am limited to one type of photo.  By that I mean that when I am set up for macro, I am consciously "focusing" (sorry for the pun) on macro subjects and I see more than when I have no specific photo goal in mind.


That works for me but I am sure many do the opposite.


I have from time to time used the 12-50 in the special dedicated Nauticam port that allows the macro button to be used, but somehow I never seem to enjoy that as much as other options.


I don't know if that helps.  Most of us go through various options before settling on what works, or never settling...

#383286 Upgrading from compact.

Posted by Draq on 18 April 2017 - 07:51 AM



I looked at your photos.  You are doing well!  I am not sure which aspects you want to improve with a new camera.  It seems to me that some of your shots are a bit underexposed, although that could be the look you intended; what are you using for strobe(s)?  Also I think some of the shots could be improved by being a bit closer.  Might help with exposure as well. 


I have usually transported all the gear (except camera body and lenses)  in a Thinktank Airport International.  That required the 170 to be packed vertically in the bag which is fine if the bag stays with me.  If I anticipated that the bag might get checked, I moved everything into a Pelican 1510, and would put the housing or a port or two in a smaller carry-on bag.  When I upgraded to the new housing for the E-M1 Mk ii, I found it just enough taller that the Airport International bag is not working for me.  For now, everything but the housing goes in the Pelican and I put the housing in my "personal item" that the airlines allow and that also carries the camera and lenses.  Alternatively, I could get everything in the Pelican except the 170 dome and carry that with me.


When I choose to leave a lens or two and a port behind, everything fits better, but I often take three lenses and three ports along with the strobes and all the bits and pieces.


I try very hard to avoid ever having my dive photo stuff get checked as luggage except when I have to take one of those small inter-island type planes.

#383155 Nauticam dealers now list part 17713 for NA-GH5

Posted by Draq on 14 April 2017 - 10:11 AM

Not for me to say, and I suppose I don't really care, but I wonder if a lot of the discussion about video techniques and video performance of the GH5 would better fit in the video forums than the mirrorless forum?  Obviously the camera fits under both headings, but video people might have more interest and valuable input on video-specific features and performance.  Or maybe not.

#381178 Which Olympus model to upgrade to...

Posted by Draq on 02 February 2017 - 01:38 PM

For me the choice would be pretty straightforward.  If money is not a big issue, I would suggest you get the newest EM1 ii and whichever housing you prefer.  But you are looking at around $4000 for the body and hosuing alone.  If you want a "deal" and want to get the 12-40 lens anyway, I would get the EM1 and the 12-40 lens from B&H Photo for $1299 and then buy whatever housing you want, but probably a lightly used Nauticam.  If you don't want/need that lens and would be okay with the Olympus housing, then I would get the EM1 and the Oly housing bundle that is being offered by a number of dive photo places for about $1700.


For underwater use, I am not sure how much of an upgrade the new EM1 will be and either camera is a big step up in features from what you have now. 

#380495 For Sale: two (2) Nauticam carbon fiber float arms

Posted by Draq on 11 January 2017 - 03:39 AM

I have two Nauticam 90x200 float arms that I don't need. One is unused, still in the package and the other is slightly used, almost new.


Only for sale in USA and will ship free to the lower 48 states.  $190 for the pair.


#378552 Are people leaving micro four thirds?

Posted by Draq on 07 November 2016 - 06:34 PM

As one moves towards the top end of any system I think there can be issues of diminishing returns.  That is even more true with the "newest & bestest" camera in a line.  From the standpoint of picture quality, I am not able to fully utilize the capabilities of the current cameras...my camera is not the weakest link in my photographic efforts.  I doubt that a small increase in sensor pixels will have a dramatic effect on my pictures and have no interest in dealing with the weight and size and cost issues in going to full frame.  But, at times there are certain concrete improvements or changes, like fixing "shutter shock" or improving C-AF speed or tracking abilities or more autofocus points or better flash sync speeds, improved battery life or ergonomics or other features that can make a product upgrade compelling beyond the simple question of whether it has a better or bigger sensor.  That is my interest in the new Oly camera; it has some features that I think I would enjoy using and may make it easier for me to get the shots I want.  That it has an improved sensor is also nice.


I have no illusions that a new camera will make me a better photographer, but it might increase the fun for me.  Given what I have to spend to go on each dive trip, it is hard to get too worked up about the price of a particular camera or lens that should last me at least a few years. 

#373305 Are people leaving micro four thirds?

Posted by Draq on 04 May 2016 - 03:46 PM

Generally I have found focus speed acceptable, as long as we aren't talking about continuous focus or tracking.  On the other hand one thing I learned was that if you fail to turn face detection off, it does slow down focus.  On several occasions on general photo forums and such, I have seen people complain about focus speed on an EM1 and when asked about face detection said it was on or they had no idea.  If you have an EM1 or 5 or 10 (I guess?) you might want to check that.


Supposedly, and that is all it is, Oly has made claims that they intend to make the next gen EM1 more competitive to the "pro" market by improving dynamic range, focus tracking and some other issues.  I doubt the sensor size will change much, but these other things could make a big difference.  I am hoping to be suitably impressed when that camera comes out or I may consider moving to an APS camera if I can convince myself the size issues won't be too bad.  I also like TTL flash through fiber optics in at least some situations, and that is not available for the A7, so that bothers me a little with that camera when I think about full frame.


Luckily, the thing that most needs improvement in my underwater photography is and always has been me, and not the equipment, so that makes it easier to control the lust for new gear.

#370468 Decided on a new micro 4/3 setup now need help deciding on which camera?

Posted by Draq on 14 February 2016 - 10:58 PM

Might want a focus light and may or may not need the focus gear for the 60 and if you are going to get the 9-18 and the 4" port, you should search through some older posts for the discussions about adding a diopter to improve image quality.  I assume you have something in which to transport all of this stuff, if travel is anticipated?