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Member Since 20 Feb 2007
Offline Last Active Oct 21 2017 06:27 AM

Topics I've Started

WWL-1 questions

10 October 2017 - 12:50 PM

Even though I have questioned the value of the Nauticam WWL-1 with a M43 system, I am increasingly tempted to try it out on an upcoming trip.  In part, the promise of a single-lens that goes from ultra-wide (weitwinkel) to “portrait” is appealing, and in part, because I think it would make packing less challenging.


I also keep hearing that the results of the WWL-1 with a kit zoom, can significantly surpass the 7-14 in a 180 dome.


In large part…I am just curious.


Anyway, for those who have used this wet lens, I have a few questions. 


Am I correct in assuming that one needs to remove and remount the lens after submerging in order to insure no air pockets/bubbles between the wet lens and port?


Has anyone had any success using something like a lenscoat cap on the WWL-1 with buoyancy collar?  The hard cap is VERY expensive and looks like it would be hard to stow underwater.  I am in the habit of removing a lens cover in the water and reinstalling it before handing the camera up to boat crew, and would want to continue doing that.


Is the installation/removal of the buoyancy collar a one-time thing or could it be done at a dive location.  I would rather not accommodate what looks like a 180mm foam collar in the case that holds housing, ports, etc.


Thanks.  Any other thoughts or input welcome.

Any benefit to 140mm dome?

25 August 2017 - 07:27 AM

I am curious.  I use the Olympus 8mm FE in a Zen 100mm dome on a Nauticam housing and find the edges to be fine and have no vignetting.  I like the small size of the dome for CFWA. 


Nauticam offers a 140mm dome for this lens and I suppose the slightly larger dome might be better for over/under shots, but otherwise, is there any benefit to this larger dome?  Are edges better, different distortion characteristics or???

WTB Zen DP-200 for Nauticam

20 May 2017 - 04:31 AM

If you have one or know of one, preferably in the US, let me know.  Thanks.

Good results from first dive trip with the E-M1 mkii

13 May 2017 - 11:53 AM

I recently came back from my first dive trip using the E-M1 mkii in its Nauticam housing.  It was also the first time I used the Olympus 7-14 lens instead of the Panasonic.  Without going into a lot of detail, here is what I found:


I am very happy with the camera.  I experimented with the autofocus tracking and came away very impressed.  Sometimes it was just slightly slow to lock focus in that mode, but it did a good job of tracking even juvenile fish with their tendency to dart around.  Very few images that were not in focus due to the camera miscalculating the intended target or losing lock.


I have not heard anything about Olympus changing metering behavior, but I used the TTL metering with the Inon Z-240 strobes and whether wide angle or macro, it was consistently excellent.  I had good experiences with Inon STTL with the E-M1 and other Olympus cameras but it somehow seemed even more reliable now.  Frankly, I was having such success with it, I pretty much shot ttl the entire time.

I think the cloudy or shade white balance may work a bit better than auto wb, but it was easy enough to adjust all images in Lightroom.


I used auto iso quite a bit while shooting manual or aperture priority and was happy with how that worked out.


The camera battery could usually get me through about 6 dives before I changed it because it was reading less than 50% capacity.  I don’t know about the new batteries but prior experience was that Olympus batteries would run down pretty fast once they were showing 45% or less capacity.  I suspect I could have gotten another dive out of each battery charge.


I know the modest increase in the sensor’s MP count should not make much difference, but I found that I have just a bit more latitude in cropping images when I want to and the images in general are just slightly cleaner. 


I was hoping the Olympus 7-14 would provide better corner sharpness than the Panasonic, but that does not appear to be the case, or if it is better, it is only slightly better.  I shot mostly around F8 in a 170 dome and I guess I will try shooting around F11 next time.  It seems this focal length is hard to work with and may need an even larger dome, if you need sharper corners.  On the other hand, the Panasonic tended to produce some unpleasant color fringing that was hard to edit out in post.  That does not seem to be present with the Olympus lens so I still consider it a better choice and will stick with the Olympus for that reason alone.  The lens is fine if you don’t need sharp corners or can crop them out.


I had wanted to play with the pro capture feature using a video light, but I did not get the chance, so that experiment is going to have to wait until later this summer.  As expected, the 12-40 in the 170 dome, the 60mm in a macro port and the 8mm in a 100 dome all produced great results with no complaints.


Overall, I would say I am very pleased.  I did not shoot any video with the camera.  I would be tempted to try a 200mm dome for the 7-14 if that option existed.  I would not want to deal with anything larger than that.

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

11 May 2017 - 08:30 AM

Over the past couple of days, Homeland Security has been talking about extending its cabin electronics ban to all transatlantic flights.  If that happens I assume it won’t be long before it gets applied to more flights such as from Indonesia, Philippines, maybe even the Caribbean.  I expect that if that happens, our British and EU friends would utilize the same restrictions.


I am hoping they will find a way to carve out some exception for cameras but I sort of doubt it.  So, I am thinking I need to begin working on a contingency plan to check my camera and lenses when I fly.  I am not happy about that, but I certainly don’t want to find myself at an airport and have them insist my shoulder bag with camera body and lenses has to get checked.


Besides looking into better insurance for theft and damage, I am thinking of getting a Pelican 1610 case and using trek dividers, or perhaps the Kaizen foam that looks to be an upgrade from the pluck foam stuff.  I was also thinking of trying the new Pelican “Elite” luggage in a similar size for the TSA locks and more streamlined design, but worry it may not be as protective.


I will undoubtedly have to pay extra checked bag fees and have more of a hassle getting through airports, but if indeed, cameras and lenses are banned in the cabin, I won’t have an option. 

I would love to hear what others do about luggage choices and strategies for checking cameras and lenses, since I have so far avoided that (except for one unpleasant incident at Gatwick years ago that resulted in a damaged camera body and two destroyed lenses).


I will just add that since the problem seems to be ability of bad guys to disguise explosives as batteries, anything with a removable battery should be able to fly in the cabin.

I wonder if there are any camera industry or photographic industry lobbyists or politicos who could try to influence this issue.  Anyway, I would love to hear suggestions, techniques, etc, fr dealing with this if it comes true.