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Andrej Oblak

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About Andrej Oblak

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    Ljubljana, Slovenia

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  1. Thanks for the tips, Dave, I'll sure try them out next time. As for 3) I've been practicing this for a while now and it really makes a difference. My default setting for deeper dives (40m and deeper) is ISO 800, 20-40m is ISO 400 and shallower than 20m it's ISO 200. I start out with this, then adjust as needed. But please note that I dive mostly in Adriatic sea where the water is quite murky and dark in depths, so your experience and settings may vary if you're used to shooting in tropical waters only. But guys, please, let's not change this topic to discussions on backscatter only. It is an issue for sure, but my main question was if the improvement in quality of light with bigger strobes is noticeable and worth the substantial investment.
  2. Don Silcock in his review of OneUW 160x for Indopacificimages found out just the opposite - that this strobe produced less backscatter than others. It's not clear, though, which strobe he based this comparison on. My reasoning for this (I may be wrong, however) is the following: to reduce the backscatter you need to pull strobes backwards and point them outwards. Because intensity of light decreases on the edges of the beam for strobes with a straight flash tube, you need to crank up the power, to get enough light in the center of the frame. This causes the beam on the edge of the picture frame (center of the beam) be stronger than necessary, which lights up all the particles in the water. Following this logic if a strobe has more even beam, you don't need to crank it up that much, to get enough light in the center of the frame, consequently backscatter won't be as pronounced at the edges of the picture frame.
  3. Hey all I've been shooting Inon Z-330 for some years now (from 2018), but now I started to contemplate about upgrading to bigger, more powerful strobes with warmer and more even light. Don't get me wrong, I'm super happy with Inons, they've been reliable all these years and are generally powerful enough for my use. I've also done some very beautiful (in my opinion, of course) photos with them, you can check some of them on my FB profile. But what bothers me are these two things: Lots of backscatter on the edges of the frame. I always pull the strobes well behind the housing and point them outwards, but this means that I have to crank them up to get enough light in the middle of the picture frame. I'm kind of under impression that strobes with circular flash tube don't have this problem, or at least is not so pronounced, since the light is more even across the beam range, so you don't have to crank them up that much to get enough light to the edges of the light cone. Somewhat cool temperature of light, even if I use 4600K diffusers. This is noticable mostly if I have to push the strobes hard when shooting with a sunball in the picture frame. My understanding is that if I push flash tubes hard, they will emit cooler light than with regular settings. For example take a look at the attached photo below. Strobes were set to approx. -1 or maybe -1/2, I used 4600K diffusers, but the diver's skin looks kind of blueish I've already done my homework and checked multiple reviews (Reef Photo comparison of strobes, Retra's flashgun light comparison, Adam's video about light quality, etc.) and it all seems nice and pretty straightforward that I should upgrade. But before I spend 4000€ on a new lighting system, just to find out that I didn't gain anything major, I wanted to open a discussion here on what are your thoughts about this. My main questions / talking points for you are: Are my assumptions above correct and will these issues be resolved if I move to bigger strobes with a circular flash tubes? Did you do a similar migration and did you see any noticeable difference in the quality of your photos? Would a better diffuser for Inon Z-330 resolve this problem with much less money spent? Basically I'm deciding between Retra Flash Pro X and OneUW 160x. Retra is cheaper, offers more accessories, and by buying it I support my fellow countrymen, but has a really slow recharge time, especially without superchargers, which are a non-negligible additional cost. OneUW on the other hand seems an embodiment of power and warmth (4600K), beautiful design, but is a bit more expensive (but not that much if you consider Retra Pro X + supercharger) and I'm kind of afraid that the support may be worse. Just a hunch, since I don't often hear anything about them, such as new accessories released, strobe upgrade, etc. Which one would you choose?
  4. Did anybody get a chance to test the new Ikelite DS230? The official website says that they will start shipping in limited quantities in May 2022 (since May is nearly at the end, so I guess they already shipped) and you can already find some reviews on the internet already. How do you think they will compare to ONEUW 160X and Seacam? 213Ws seems huge in comparison to 160Ws but it could as well be just a marketing trick I guess. I'm thinking of buying a couple of big strobes. I need them for cave photography to use them as slaves, but I would use them in the sea as well (instead of Inon Z-330s which I currently use). So I don't know if it makes sense to wait for Ikelites to start shipping or to just buy ONEUWs which seems to be in stock everywhere already.
  5. I had this wet lens for my compact camera Sony RX100 III. It was pretty nice lens, I especially liked soft and creamy bokeh that it produced. But oh boy was it hard to get anything in focus with it, especially with RX100 III, which in my opinion, has pretty weak autofocus system. It has a very short working distance, usually you need to get so close that critter can feel a bit uncomfortable and swims away. If you don't get into that working range, camera will not focus at all. But generally I think this is the problem with all wet closeup lenses, not just CMC-2. It was great for nudibranches and more stationary fish (like scorpionfish). I produced some very nice images with it, and was overall very satisfied with it.
  6. But do keep that setting checked (Enable Profile Correction) for other (non-fisheye) lenses. Generally you want to fix the lens distortion for all lenses except for the fisheye.
  7. Ah ok, good to know I'm used to using optical cables, which I disconnect only every now and then and they're totally fine after several years of use.
  8. Hey Which cable do you use to connect the Anglerfish remote strobe trigger with the strobe? I'm using a Sea & Sea 5 pins sync cord N, which has one o-ring on each side of the cable. But the problem that I see with it is that the water can get into the thread and stops only at the very bottom of the cable where the o-ring is. It doesn't damage the contacts, but if you don't clean and dry it after the dive, the water droplets will evaporate and leave a greasy and salty deposit in the thread. See the attached picture for an easier visualization. Is there an electrical cable which is more appropriate to use with the Anglerfish? Something that uses 2 o-rings and prevents water from entering the thread, for example. Or is there simply no better solution and I'll just have to live with the fact that I need to disconnect all the cables after the dive and clean them? Using an optical cable is not an option for me, because it gets disconnected too easy during the dive, because it's not screwed into the hole, it's just plugged in.
  9. I didn't compare the two, but I did own UWL-09 (AOI's non-F version, F is basically just Fantasea's branding on the AOI lens) so I can give you some insights on it. There was some ghosting visible in certain positions, but nothing major really. Corner sharpness was good, when shooting at f8 or higher (compact RX100 III camera). Colors and image quality were very good in general. In general I liked it because I was able to shoot at 24mm with just a slight hint of vignetting (one specific corner was always black, but it was so small, that it was possible to remove it with content aware fill in Photoshop; no cropping was needed) and it was a zoom-through lens, camera focused at any focal length. Basically I considered it as a poor man's WWL-1. You can get 2 UWL-09's for the price of one WWL-1. I'm sure WWL-1 is at least as good, but most likely even better, and it's easier to resell.
  10. Fish Eye AF could be one such feature. Though, to be honest, I have zero problems keeping the single AF point on the fish's eye and all photos come out razor sharp exactly where they need to be. So it's really only a nice to have feature, but far away from mandatory to have. Sensor performance is also good enough. I rarely bump the ISO higher than 400, most of the time it's set to 100. More megapixels wouldn't hurt, but this brings bigger RAW files and more issues with the diffraction. The only real upgrade that I see are new, sharper lenses. Some of the popular lenses that Nikon shooters use are over a decade old now. 105mm f2.8 VR has been introduced in 2006 for example and it's slowly starting to show its age, especially when compared to the new 105mm Z-lens. But as you said, they need to introduce a native fisheye lens first.
  11. I came across this article today: https://nikonrumors.com/2022/02/01/the-nikon-d500-is-now-officially-discontinued.aspx/ Nikon D500 is a very popular camera for underwater photography and I know that a lot of forum users, including me, are still actively using it. I've invested a small fortune in this system (camera, lenses, housing, ports, ...) over the last 1.5 years and now I'm wondering what to do now. Would it make sense to buy a spare body just in case the main one breaks for some reason, gets stolen, etc.? Or would it be better to just hope for the best and wait for Nikon to release an equivalent mirrorless camera, maybe Z9s smaller brother Z90 and then slowly migrate to a new system? This is definitely a more expensive option, especially with the recent increase in price for Nauticam housings. Discontinuation definitely doesn't mean that all existing D500s will stop working. But in case something happens to it, you're left with an empty housing, bunch of lenses and ports and with very little options what to do, since it will be next to impossible to buy a new replacement body. Are you a D500 owner? What are you planning to do now?
  12. Nauticam also sells acrylic 8.5'' dome which you may also find very useful for reef scenes. It may not be as good for CFWA, but corners with this dome are pretty good. And what's best - it's about 30% cheaper than the 140mm dome. I use both: 140mm glass dome for fisheye, and 8.5'' acrylic for 10-24mm rectilinear lens. I know it's not really directly comparable, but corners seem much better with the big dome and rectilinear lens with the aperture set to f8, than with the 140mm dome and fisheye lens with the aperture set to f11-16.
  13. If it really bothers you, you can convert the Z-330 Type 1 to Type 2. Basically they replace the dome with the fly-eye one and tape the reflective tape on the light shade and I think that's about it. UWCameraStore from Netherlands can do it for 119€ (https://www.uwcamerastore.com/inon-type-2-upgrade-service-for-inon-z-330-inon-d-200), and I'm sure they can do it in other Inon service centers as well. I have 2x Type 1 and one Type 2 and currently use T1s for my main strobes and T2 for a remote slave. When I eventually buy a second T2 I'll just switch them around: T2 main, T1 slaves. I just won't bother with conversion
  14. ... and from what it looks like also became _very_ expensive just to buy it in the span of 1 year. I bought a new NA-D500 housing last year for just a bit over 3200€, and now I see it listed for 4861€ on Nauticam's website Damn, that's a 50% increase in price. I believe this is already in Subal's and Seacams price range
  15. Similar as @JohnLiddiard said 2 posts above: I believe that by doing this I reduce the stress on the housing. I break the surface with my tanks and my body, then camera just follows me and doesn't directly impact the water. And usually I'll have spare reg dangling around my neck, main and backup lights, stage tanks, spools, etc. clipped on chest D-rings and if I hold the housing away from my body, there's less chance of any of those items hitting it or the dome port.
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