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About mattsh

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  1. Nice photos Alexis. One thing I would point out is in the photo of Mom and Dad, the camera decided to auto focus on the anemone instead of the fish, so the background was in sharp focus but the subjects were not. You need to work a little with the camera to learn what its tendencies are so that you can either fool it or force it to do what you want, instead of what it wants. Still, all in all very nice shots. Matt
  2. A lot depends on what you want to do. I have not been to Sharm, but I know that the wreck diving is more concentrated out of Sharm into the Northern Red Sea than out of Hurgada. On the other hand, I took safari trips out of Hurgada the last two years for some great diving. Both times we went south, visiting the Brothers, Elphinstone, Daedelis, St. John's and the Aida over the two trips. I don't think I would have been happy doing a week of land based diving out of Hurgada, but I did a few days with Dive Tribe while I was there the first time and had a very good time. If you are looking into doing a live-aboard, I was very happy with the service from Tony Backhurst Scuba, and I would recommend them without reservation. I did the trips from the U.S., and I flew to the U.K. and simply joined in with the package that departed from Gatwick.
  3. I don't know why you would want a tripod for most uses. With good bouyancy control and a reasonably steady hand, you should be able to hand-hold all but the most negative camera/housig systems down to 1/30 or 1/15. That being said, I would recommend a composite or aluminum tripod. However, I doubt it the internal nuts and bolts are made of stainless steel and it would pretty quickly get trashed. If you were handy, you could construct a monopod from non-corrosive materials (stainless steel, wood, composites, etc.) fairly easily. I don't condone this activity, but an underwater photographer on another board posted a shot he took with natural light in a cavern that required a very long exposure. He rigged a support made from ropes and pitons for that sigle shot. The shot is wonderful and I believe that he rigged the system up with enough care not to damage the environment, but doing things like this sets a bad example for others who are not as careful in picking to what they choose to anchor.
  4. I'm sure glad I didn't read this underwater - I could never have stopped my mask flooding... By all means, clear your mask before you get an eye infection :freak: It is also obvious you know as little about your beloved MMII as you are ignorant about the Nikonos V. If you researched the book which you mentioned very little if anything was taken using an MMII. You are quite right in that I have not used the Nikonos, and perhaps Joe Liburdi and his sons lied to me when I spoke to them about the MMII and the pictures that they have taken with it (I have been in the shop to talk to them many times, in fact buying my camera from Joe), but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. However, I don't think that anything I said belittled the Nikonos. I may have been incorrect in my statement about the electronics, and since I have not used both cameras, I will take you vastly superior experience with the two systems as a given and allow that the Nikonos has the better internals. However, what really has me scratching my head is your statement: ...what may seem like a drawback on Nikonos to you of not being able to change lenses underwater is not that much of a drawback at all. This seems important to some people I admit, but not to Nikonos users over the last 20 years. This seems a little like me saying not having a backseat in my 2-seater isn't much of a drawback. I don't really have a choice there do I? There are times that a backseat would have been nice, but I don't have one, so I get by with what I have and don't really miss it. That 20 mm lens is nice, but it really is not all that wide and it does not provide enough magnification for real tight macro shots. With the Nikonos, you need to pick a set up and live with it during your entire dive. If you are a photographer who is very set on the types of photos you want to take and know your dive site, this is definitely the way to capture the best images. There is one photographer from whom I have purchased 5 images for my home and office, and he knows that on any one dive, he will shoot this one subject, for at least a full roll, often times with two or more rolls using multiple bodies. I have never been on a dive with a person like that. If I could pick any camera, I would likely buy an RS with a zoom or a housed SLR with a zoom so that I can capture the same range of photos on a single dive that I can capture with my MMII. When I have been on dives with Nikonos users, I know that there have been plenty of photo opportunities that have gone by the wayside for them because the set-up they jumped in the water with was not correct for that shot. Does this make the MMII superior to the Nikonos, not in and of itself. However, this is a distinct advantage over the Nikonos, especially for a photographer like myself. I really love my MMII, but I am moving on. I have a housed Rebel G, which was the only housed SLR I can really afford at this time, and I am weighing the decision of whether or not to go digital, perhaps with a housed DSLR once they come out with full size imaging chips. Right now for my Rebel, I have a port for the 50mm macro, which will limit me to a single set-up. Will I get by with that one lens choice? Sure. Will there be photos that I am able to capture with this set-up that would have been much more difficult with my MMII? Yes again. Will I miss the flexibility of my MMII on some dives as I pass up on shots where my setup will not give me the results I am looking for? For the third time, yes. The Sea & Sea 16mm is not a proper lens - It is a converter lens that alters the primary lens via a puddle of water. In all honestly you cannot even compare a $200.00 flat fronted glass slab to a $1500 superior primary optic that professionals the world over swear-by? I guess here, you answer your own question. I don't have the cash for a $1500 lens. Obviously the $1500 lens is superior. There is no doubt that the Nikonos optics are better. However, for about $2,000 I can get a brand new complete MMII kit, with the camera, wide angle, and macro lens, strobe and high-point view finder. Less if used. When the Nikonos was still being marketed, what would have been the price of this set-up? I guess that even you will concede that this flat fronted glass slab is at least decent seeing how: For a number of years I had my MMII shots published on a regular basis, so I know they are ok. I don't want to get into a flame war, seeing how I am so very new to this message board, but I just think you were a tad bit harsh on me considering that you eventually seemed to say that the Nikonos is a better camera with much better optics, but the MMII can be more flexible and can still give you very nice photos. Not all that far from what I was saying. That's about all I have... - Matt
  5. When I started out in photography, my two biggest influences were my dive instructer, who went on the be manager of sales at Sea & Sea and Joe Libuirdi who wrote "The Complete Guide to Sea & Sea," so I may be a bit biased. I have had my MMII EX for several years and it is a work horse. It is very easy to maintain the user servicable O-rings in the field. There is one of the camera back, one for the battery case and one for the synch cord. I will check the back O-ring every time I open the back and LIGHTLY grease it if I remove it, usually once a day. I remove and grease the battery o-ring when I change the batteries (2-AA) and will grease the synch o-ring at the start of the trip and leave it connected for the rest of the time. You do need to get the camera serviced regularly, and I flooded mine once when I was not careful in how I closed the back (thank heavens for the homeowner's insurance rider). In use, the two cameras are very similar in that they are both rangefinders, but with the MMII, you have the distinct advantage of being able to alter the type of shots you take underwater. The big drawback of the Nikonos, and I do agree that the Nikonos has both better and more varied optics, is that you are stuck with your set-up for the entire dive. If you go under to shoot macros and a whale shark comes swimming by, you have to be happy with close-ups of the eye. If you are set-up for wide angle and you end spotting a family of pygmy seahorses, put the camera away and enjoy the moment. With the MMII, I have a 16mm, a 35mm and a 2:1 macro set up with me for every dive, and I usually use all three lenses at some point. On my last trip, it was not unusual to start out with the wide angle, switch back and forth with the built-in 35mm and then snap on the macro set up for some colorful nudis. With this being said, a big part of the question is how focused is your diving. I take pictures when I dive, rather than dive to take photos. Thus may not seem to be a big difference, but it is. If you know your dive sites and decide ahead of time what types of photos you want to take, you will likely get better results with the Nikonos due to the better optics. On the other hand, if you want to take photos of the various things you encounter on a dive without pre-set goals, the flexibility of the MMII will serve you better. A few other points. I will say that the Nikonos optics are better, but they are not so superior that the MMII pictures are terrible. There are just more choices for the Nikonos (like a fish eye). I have taken wonderful, clear, crisp shots with my MMII under many conditions with all of my lenses. From my two main influences, I will relay that the MMII has better electronics, with more shutter sppeds and wider TTL synch speeds, as well as a motor drive. The 4-pin connecter on the MMII is non-standard, but most camera systems come with a YS60 and most if not all the other Sea & Sea strobes can take the 4-pin TTL synch cord. I use the YS60 with a cordless YS20 Duo slave, both in TTL mode.
  6. I am looking to upgrade from my MMII EX (Seamaster Pro) to a digital camera. I will also use the camera topside, but I figure anything I use underwater will be good enough for the rest of the time also. In addition to the MMIIEX, I have a Canon Elan II and a housed Rebel G that I bough used on Ebay and have not taken underwater. I also have 2 non-digital strobes that I would like to use with the camera, but they are not set up to preflash and require bulkhead connections for TTL control. The most obvious choce in a camera to me is the Canon D10, but I am afraid that the effective lens multiplier will eventually make me want to upgrade to a full frame sensor if they ever come out, rendering the D10 a very expensive middle step. So... Is there a prosumer digital camera in the 4 to 5 mp range with minimal shutter lag that will control my existing TTL strobes. I don't want to spend the money on new strobes and a new camera and housing, and If I can't get the strobes to work right, I might as well stay with the toys that I have. With my currect set-up I do like to shoot both macro and wide angle on the same dive, and if I can reuse my Sea & Sea lenses, that would be a real plus.
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