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Everything posted by LarryHallas

  1. I have pretty much the same setup as you (Pelican Air 1650, see above pic) except I have a travel dive bag instead of a suitcase. I pack a Cinebag CB80 Square Grouper XL (folded up) into my dive bag which I use to carry my assembled rig and as a rinse tank. The Cinebag takes up a lot of space but is worth it. Needless to say, I have little room left for clothes in the dive bag but for most trips, I only wear shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops anyway. I carry a luggage scale in my backpack because the airline's scales are always a pound or two off. I also had a smaller backpack that just didn't have enough space, so I bought the Think Tank Airport Commuter Backpack and it is the perfect size (highly recommended). I put my camera body, lenses, batteries, and essentials in it and it can fit under the seat on most flights (depending on the aircraft). I am always allowed to bring the backpack on the flight, even on the little single-engine island hoppers. I can walk wearing the backpack and pulling the Pelican Air case and dive bag behind me but prefer to rent a cart when they are available. One annoying issue with the Pelican cases (both my old 1650 and the new Air 1615) is they are sent to the "oversized luggage" carousel at MIA for international connections. I have stickers all over the Pelican Air case and can't miss it even in a busy airport like MIA. My Pelican Air case is pretty beaten up and can't imagine having my precious gear in anything else! I also have an Apple AirTag in all my items and use the TSA lock on the Pelican case. On one of last year's trips, I had 2 locks and TSA did not replace one of the locks so now I only use one lock. I think we have a great setup for travel! No issues so far...
  2. I just apply directly at https://www.atacarnet.com/ and it's pretty straightforward.
  3. For me the features of the Z8, especially the improvement in AF is a game changer. I have far too much invested in Nikon Z glass and Nauticam N120 ports to switch to Sony. With the Z8, I can now have good underwater AF whilst maintaining my significant investment. Also, I agree Sony may have better AF above water, I don’t think there have been enough comparisons to the AF of the Z9 to the A7R V underwater. There are just not that many Z9 UW reviews. I am looking forward to more reviews on the Z8 UW AF by more shooters for a head-to-head comparison to Sony A7R V UW AF.
  4. @Alex_Mustard I am looking forward to your review of this camera with a Nauticam UW housing! Especially the area of AF speed and accuracy underwater.
  5. 3690k-dot (Quad VGA) OLED https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/product/mirrorless-cameras/z-8.html#tab-ProductDetail-ProductTabs-TechSpecs
  6. Nikon releases the Z8 mirrorless camera: https://www.nikon.com/company/news/2023/0510_mirrorless_01.html
  7. It seems the Z8 “The Baby Z9” will be announced tomorrow and I am very interested in this camera, although it will be several months before we see a $6K Nauticam housing for it. From the specs that have seen posted so far it will have the same sensor and AF as the Z9. I currently shoot with the Z6 ii and am very satisfied with the camera EXCEPT the AF performance using the Z 105mm Macro underwater. The Z 105 will sometimes rack in and out until it finally grabs focus, especially with the SMC-1. Does the Z 105 grab focus faster on your Z9? Haves you used AF of Z 105 with the SMC-1? If you are getting fast AF performance with the Z 105 on the Z9 underwater then I may place a pre-order for the Z8 when it is announced tomorrow. Thank you for the advice! Larry
  8. I agree with the above posts. There is no amount of “learning buoyancy” in 300+ photo dives that would have allowed me to take this super-macro shot without a brace of some kind. I have tried both the “2 finger brace” and the “macro stick”, and the pointer stick has much less contact with the rock. This shot of a very tiny 1/4 inch (6mm) Blenny was taken with a Nikon Z 105mm Macro + Nauticam SMC-1 at the full 2.3x magnification (as close to the subject as I could get a sharp focus). At this magnification, even the slightest movement and the subject would be completely lost out of the frame!
  9. I was just looking at these. 3000 lumen is not bright enough for wide video, even with two of them. I also don’t see a GN listed for them, but at 60Ws they are also not very powerful as a strobe. For example, the only other mfg that uses Ws to measure strobe power (that I know of) is Ikelite, and for comparison DS162 is 160Ws which is more than twice the power. The DS162 is more expensive too. I do know that my Inon Z-330s (GN 33, $699) are a little brighter than the DS161s I used to have.
  10. I have a pair of Kraken Hydra 8000s and love them, but I was unable to get burst mode working with a Nauticam flash trigger. I am sure there is a solution to this but I was unable to figure it out, and there is very little information on how to configure it online. From test firing burst mode it seems they are plenty powerful for macro to mid-distance shots. I may stop into Reef Photo next month when I am back in Florida and see if the experts there can show me how to configure the burst mode on these lights (they sell both the flash trigger and the lights). The new Hydra 15,000 lumen lights are even brighter and I bet they could easily replace strobes. One final note, the Kraken Hydras are much heavier than my Inon Z-330s although I can easily travel with both (with the batteries in my backpack).
  11. Belize tried to charge me duty several times as I was re-entering the country. It could also be that I travel in-out frequently with my gear and have a lot of stamps in my passport. Cozumel pulled me aside one time and had me open my case. She asked me how many cameras I had and when I said one, she said “all this for one camera?” I said yes, it was all underwater photography equipment used with one camera and she let me go. What scares me is they have threatened to confiscate my equipment and there is not much I can do to stop them unless I am traveling with a Carnet. Also, since I have been traveling with a Carnet they let me go right through without checking any of my bags. Here is a photo of a note they wrote in my passport one time saying they would charge me duty for 10,000 US if I did not have the equipment when I left the country. I got it cleared up with the “EXPORTED” stamp when I re-entered the country from the U.S. with a Carnet.
  12. Thank you for confirming this. Mexico is not the only country that charges duty on camera gear. Traveling full time internationally there are 2 things I buy for the entire year: Annual travel insurance through DAN, and a Boomerang Carnet for all the countries I plan to visit (including Belize where I am currently).
  13. I am not sure which specific polishing pad it is, but it is one that came in the kit contained in the link I shared. The pad you posted looks like it would work great.
  14. The problem I have had with super-macro lenses is the autofocus performance. Some of them I could not get to focus at all, and had to use manual focus. I have had the best autofocus with the Nauticam SMC-1. It took quite some time to get used to, but it is a great piece of glass!
  15. We have the same decline in the barrier reef along the island I live about 100 miles north of you on Ambergris Caye, Belize. In just the 2 years that I have lived here the fish populations are almost half, there are no hard corals (staghorn and elkhorn), and the brain corals are dying. Just breaks my heart! Don’t get me wrong, the Belize Barrier Reef is still a beautiful sight and well worth the visit, but it won’t last unless it is preserved. I agree, the main culprit is pollution, runoff, mismanaged sewage / septic, overfishing, and coastal development. Belize has 2 small marine parks at each end of the island, and some larger marine parks out at the 3 coral atolls. I am trying to organize local dive operators and businesses to promote the creation of a marine park along the entire length of both islands, but it is an uphill battle with the local government and it would decimate the fishermen. I believe underwater photographers and videographers are ambassadors for the ocean. We are the visual storytellers of the oceans, and our images can be used to campaign for it’s protection.
  16. I have a personal dive master / photo guide that has been helping me find some really great super-macro subjects. How much should I tip him? Does it depend on the country or does that matter? (I live in a very low wage country) I want to make sure I take good care of him! Thanks in advance, Larry
  17. A quick update on this. I was able to save another glass dome port I thought was hopeless. I used a Dremel rotary tool and a buffer wheel with the Griot’s File Glass Polish (mentioned above) and removed every water spot and minor scratch from the port! I used a slow speed on the rotary tool like #2 or #3 (it makes a mess). After I was finished, I looked through the port into the sunlight and it is perfectly clear and spotless! Next time I find a throwaway glass port to polish I will post before and after pics. Amazing! If you have a glass port you think is hopeless, give this a try. Here is the rotary tool I used: https://www.dremel.com/au/en/p/dremel-3000-f0133000pm
  18. I agree that “brand ambassadors” should identify their relationships in the review, however most of the reviews are written by an author with some sort of relationship to the manufacturer. This is not just Marelux, but all manufacturers including the entire scuba industry. Personally, I liked Kate’s review and found much of the information she presented valuable for snoot photography in general, regardless of brand sponsorship. She is a talented underwater photographer and I feel I can learn a lot from her in any review she writes.
  19. Photographing Whale Sharks at Gladden Split, Belize requires a permit. Belize also requires a permit for any commercial photo shoots for underwater photography / videography. All drone photography also requires a permit.
  20. I also have the Z 14-30 + SS ICL + 230mm dome and get good results. I have to adjust the distortion slider a bit but I think that’s due to the lens profile in LR. I paid $600 at Reef Photo. Here is a shot at 14mm: https://larryhallas.com/portfolio/reef-and-sunball/
  21. Awesome shots! I will be diving BHB again for a few days in May when I am traveling through the U.S. I am looking forward to it!
  22. I travel with all my gear including a 230mm glass dome and video lights in a Pelican Air 1615 case in checked luggage. I have a Thinktank airport backpack for camera body, lenses and batteries. I had no problem keeping the Pelican case under 50lbs.
  23. Thanks for the article. The 15mm was an incredible underwater optic! Do you think it is better thank the Nikon 8-15mm Fisheye with the 140mm Glass Fisheye Dome Port? How does it compare to the WACP?
  24. I don’t regret switching to the Inon Z-330s at all. Although, I have never used the Retras. I was using the Ikelite DS161 with the beautiful soft round flash tube, and didn’t think I would like the higher kelvin on the Z330s, but they are much more bright and powerful. They do a decent job of lighting a wide reef scene at 14mm. When I want a warmer color I use the Inon Warm Dome Diffuser (4600k). You can see a great comparison of all the strobes discussed by Reef Photo here: https://reefphoto.com/blogs/trending/how-good-are-the-current-strobes-for-light-intensity-and-coverage
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