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Everything posted by bradlys

  1. Hmm - that'll be quite difficult as that's requiring some kind of either extremely long cable or a wireless triggering solution - neither of which I have. There is a "learn mode" on the flash that allows it to learn from pulses of light when to fire the strobe. I'll look into that and using a flash light or something.
  2. There isn't much about this in English online. There might be a lot in Chinese but I don't speak nor can I penetrate the great firewall of China. Thus, I thought I'd start a thread because I bought a Seafrogs SF-01 (Also known a Meikon SF-01 or SF01 or SF 01) recently and I have just gotten the proper batteries for it too. (18650 10A 3500mah protected with button top, about 70mm long - Vapcell P1835A) It is quite particular about battery size - it needs at least 68mm long 18650 batteries with protection board and a particular type of button top that is rather pointy. The Vapcell that I mentioned is exactly what works. I can verify that much. At least 68mm, 69mm preferred (from the manual), and the 70mm that the Vapcell I have seems to be fine too. I saw threads and a video before where folks were unable to get the old Seafrogs ST-100-PRO to do anything except fire at one particular power and had some issues with it... I can say quite confidently - the SF-01 has fixed that particular issue while manually testing! It can indeed shoot at 7 different power levels at the least. I have not received my sync cord in the mail yet - so I cannot do any kind of fancy testing at the moment but when I do receive it - I will do such. It is also just a manual strobe - there is no TTL functionality as far as I can tell (there is no mention of TTL and there is no TTL knob on the strobe itself). Here's a gallery where I took a picture of a greycard that's included with my colorchecker passport. This is a distance of 1 meter from the flash to the subject (±0.5"), F/22 aperture, ISO 100 (Sony A9), exposure length of 2.5" to let me manually trigger the flash in test mode. I did not use the diffuser - bare strobe only as to get maximum output. Maybe I should've just taken a picture of the colorchecker itself to give you an idea of CRI or color correctness from the flash itself. https://imgur.com/a/rf4i4op If someone asks - I'll do that and they can analyze and share the results. (As I don't really have a good way to do it myself - I don't have any special software to determine that I think) Flash recycle time at full power with the "ultra fast" recycle mode is still about 2-3s. It isn't under 2s most of the time for full power shots. Personally, I'm not too bothered at the moment. The actual important part like - will it blow up when I submerge it and will it work with a 5-pin sync cord - I will also be testing. Just wanted to test the flashing part first. Thus, the first post here. Interested in what people want to test/see out of a strobe besides it lasting a single dive.
  3. I bought the last one on Amazon. I only have 1. I'd list if I purchased two. They still sell them on Aliexpress and elsewhere. I bought the dual sync cord to future proof myself. No point to buy 1x.
  4. Ok - folks. I think I'm about set. I definitely went overboard on this whole thing but it's ok - it's within my "buy 1 lens per trip" quota. I usually buy a new lens/something for every big trip we do. (So, once or twice a year) This is what I have now - which is definitely a bit more than I had planned for but within my "1 lens" budget. $729 - Seafrogs A9 housing w/ flat port and 6" dome - https://seafrogs.com.hk/collections/sony/products/sony-a9-v-2-series-fe12-24mm-f4g-uw-camera-housing-kit-with-6-dome-port-including-standard-port-zoom-rings-for-fe12-24-f4-and-fe16-35-f4-included-white $218 - Seafrogs SF-01 strobe - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZVFZWCZ/ $123 - Seafrogs 5-pin dual sync cord (express shipping increased cost) - https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001429200373.html $87 - Seafrogs VPS-100 vacuum system - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08CDPLH4F $56 - Seafrogs aluminum tray - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07ZQJY9DL (I don't think I need anything fancier - if I do, I can return it after the trip) $20 - Kitdive 8" arm - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019DL7VAS/ $18 - Kitdive 5" arm - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Z59W97I/ $40 - 4x ball clamps - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083XP2183/ (doubt they'll be an issue - I don't need $50 ball clamps) $70 - 18650 batteries and charger from https://liionwholesale.com/ (These are multipurpose though - so I don't consider them just part of this purchase) Total: $1,361. If I had planned better - maybe I could've gotten a better setup for cheaper but I had very little notice on this trip. It's still cheaper than the most affordable Ikelite body-only housing for an A9 (not even including a port). I bought a 50mm macro lens for $400 just for fun. It'll likely not be super useful for underwater macro but I'll give it a shot since I have the flat port that works with it. My SO and I have an interest in trying some macro photography out more (in general - not just UW) and $400 is very cheap to me. (It's also much smaller and more versatile than the 90mm and that was my main reason for choosing it) Even if we just get a few good fun shots out of this setup and use it a few times - it'll be worth it to me. I can always sell it if I decide after this trip that it's not worth it to me and I'm sure someone will pick it up eventually. I've definitely gotten most of this stuff for relatively cheap. Also - with this setup - my SO is looking at potentially taking it on one of her scuba dives. We'll have to test the buoyancy soon and see how lopsided it is. Hopefully it's not catastrophic and is slightly manageable. It'll definitely not be neutral like the pro-rigs out there.
  5. At that price - I almost may as well go with a different kit for the replacement bulkhead. Is there any reason to not use the 5-pin besides maybe some flashes out there not supporting it? I'll look into the vacuum pump system then. That is frustrating that it seems mandatory then. It would be unpleasant to have a surprise - although I feel you're going to have these kinds of issues anytime you're opening the case at all... there will always be a risk a microscopic cat hair gets on there when you're putting your camera in. So... idk how I feel about it.
  6. I don't have the vacuum system (it's about $120 to buy the testing kit) - it comes with the port for it but I've submerged it for 2+ hours to test it. Only in a bucket of water but it was bone dry inside. (Obviously isn't a good test for sizeable depth testing) You can see the housing in the listing. It doesn't have fiber optic ports either. It just has a 5-pin sync port.
  7. The only issue for me is that I don't want to carry two cameras/systems or maintain that. I'd like to get a FF experience as well. It's interesting to see that 170mm dome shot. I tried shooting with my 6" dome with the 17-28 earlier today at some stuff - it demonstrated the effects you mentioned about soft corners. They are noticeably soft. I mean, definitely on my screen at 27" but I don't know if I'd notice on my phone - it'd depend on the subject. Coral is very detail oriented so I might notice. It's also not super predictable in terms of sharpness from my small tests. I need better subjects than my lawn and patio. (Probably should shoot a picture of some test papers on a wall or something) At what distance and aperture would one notice the corner sharpness being drastic? Probably the wider the aperture - the more noticeable? Yeah, this will likely be a lot of my experience as well. Although we're excited to both shoot photographs of coral, rays, sharks, various fish, etc.. It's a lot more likely I'll be working with my "model" quite a lot to get the perfect shot for the gram... She gathered some 50+ inspiration shots for us to recreate - so I have my work cut out for me on this trip. If I'm not using the underwater housing - it'll be the drone. If it's not the drone - it'll be the gopro for videos. If it's not the underwater housing - I'll be on land with my tripod. If not that - then with the phone - etc. etc. This is my setup - it doesn't have the fiber optic ports. https://seafrogs.com.hk/collections/sony/products/sony-a9-v-2-series-fe12-24mm-f4g-uw-camera-housing-kit-with-6-dome-port-including-standard-port-zoom-rings-for-fe12-24-f4-and-fe16-35-f4-included-white Such a simple cable - it should only be $25-30 even though it's such a low volume seller.
  8. Do you guys have example photos of using a 6" vs 9" dome with the same lens? I just want to get an idea of the type of sharpness loss one would expect. (Like obvious on Instagram viewing from a phone or just to pixel peepers) The 2x strobe and what not definitely seems overkill for a first trip and especially with snorkeling. I've seen folks do it online but it does seem rather excessive.. That's why I haven't just bought it - obviously! I worry about the weight stuff too - so that's why I'm also looking for cheap float ideas or improvisation for when I'm somewhere to just get a better feeling. I'm really interested in trying out flash. If it doesn't work - I'm sure someone will buy some of it. I might be able to return *some* of the items if it's really bad since I bought through Amazon. Obviously getting the $3000 housings with the largest dome possible in the clearest and finest glass in the world would be most optimal but I'm trying to compromise here and still take just 1 camera instead of having to have multiple bodies and what not. We really like using my A9 and I don't like having to adjust to different bodies/menus/performance/etc.
  9. Hmm - didn't know about the dome port sizing influencing corner sharpness. I think the only other option for the seafrogs housing was an 8" dome but it's specifically not compatible with some of the lenses I'd be using. I'm not sure why - probably the tube is too long or something. Here's the compatibility list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_UDOLZ1HnFoeIpTBHGcIwu4iN1s5n2LWzj1UXXrUnM8/edit?usp=sharing (I am using a Tamron 17-28 and 28-75 and a 50mm macro for UW photography) As far as why I have the A9 - I've had it for a few years. I don't plan on buying a second camera to do underwater photography when I already have a very capable one. If I was going to buy another camera - I'd either buy an R5 or A1 at this point and then sell my A9. I don't need two bodies. Unlikely to be able to return it at this point - they don't have a very lenient return policy. Even then, I'd lose out quite a bit on it I'm sure because of shipping costs and what not. I was mostly trying to keep my entire budget for UW to be under $1000-1500 once I discovered the seafrogs housing. Before that - I was never planning on doing any UW photography because the housings I'm familiar with are usually $3000. (Which is about what I paid for my A9 - hard to justify) I don't think the DIY strobe sync cable thing is for 5-pin connectors, is it? That's what the seafrogs SF-01 uses - it's not the fiber optical type.
  10. I am doing a trip here soon to French Polynesia (Tahiti and Moorea) where I will be snorkeling quite a bit. My partner is going to be scuba diving some but I don't think they'll bring the camera with them. We're mostly going for relaxation but photography is a fun hobby for us both. I'm looking at scuba diving in the future but not right now. We decided this would be a great time to get into underwater photography because we've used a gopro before when we were at some nice islands in Thailand. We just found the photography aspect of that experience to be lacking. I ended up buying a Seafrogs A9 housing. Part of me regrets this because I thought *maybe* I could get away without buying strobes for our first underwater photography journey - especially since we'll be focused on snorkeling depths/areas but now I'm seeing lots of shots and regretting not having strobes. It also wildly inflates the price from the $700 for the housing, standard port, and 6" dome port. I ended up seeing a Seafrogs SF-01 strobe on Amazon for $200 - so I bought it. It seems to be some kind of Sea & Sea clone - and I am hoping it's not as bad as the ST-100-PRO that I saw horrible reviews floating around for... It doesn't come with a sync cable - so I'm thinking of buying the cable or just returning my impulse buy of a flash. It also means that we need to get a tray ($60) and some arms ($???? Can't find these for reasonable prices anywhere - it's just some aluminum brackets) and maybe some floaties of some kind. (I'd like to figure out a homebrewed solution that is cheaper than buying special $XXX foam) What are your thoughts? Would a single flash be sufficient for an enjoyable experience? Should I just buy the sync cord now and own it? At this point - it's like... I can either get a flash setup and it'll cost $200 for flash + $150 for cable + $60 for tray + $100 in arms/floats/brackets (insane how much this stupid stuff costs) + $70 in batteries(18650)/charger for a total of $580. If I find another SF-01 for $200 - that'd be a nice deal but unlikely. What are your thoughts? I feel like I'm in such a bind with so little time. Worst case scenario - I can return the flash and just go on my trip-flashless and have some batteries I can use in a flashlight or something later. (Charger works for other things too)
  11. Living in San Francisco - just trying to get into UW photography a bit. Have some trips coming up and live relatively close to some good diving spots - so I figured I should probably get into this hobby a bit more seriously.
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