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About mochikat

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  1. Thanks for the tips everyone, glad to see I'm not the only one who struggled with this in the beginning. I guess there are no shortcuts (private snoot holder aside) and nothing beats practice. I do wish I have more than 2 hands - my left is usually holding the muck stick in addition to the camera handle hence why I find it really challenging to use it to adjust the snoot without losing the position. I'm definitely not perfectly still without the muck stick and am taking GUE fundies when I get back to try to improve that. Today I decided to try inward lighting after reading Alex's book again last night and couldn't get it to work easily either, so I guess I just need to practice more and force myself not to give up too soon by not taking my other strobes... Below is my one and only successful snoot attempt - after 2 dives!
  2. I recently bought a backscatter mini snoot and find it a very frustrating exercise trying to position it properly, looking back at my viewfinder and rocking back and forth to find the right focus, trying to adjust the strobe position again, etc. On a good day it takes me a very long time and on a bad day I give up. Having a private guide hold the snoot detached from the arms I can get the shot pretty easily, but by myself I don’t know how to fix the position of the camera (I need to hold with both hands) then move the snoot without looking up to see where the light it’s shining (and then losing my old position), or vice versa. Any tips? I was thinking maybe I should get a tripod for the snoot, so I can set it up detached from the camera and then shoot as usual?
  3. Back button focus makes it easier. Knowing the min and max focus distance helps. Turn on tracking in your focus mode if you haven’t (I use AF-C and flexible spot S/M + tracking). You will have an easier time with the 90mm macro lens than with the 60+CMC-1 I suspect as for me adding a diopter to my 90 makes focusing much harder. It helps to rock slowly back and forth with the diopter until what you want comes into focus vs just relying on autofocus
  4. Update! So I don't muddle the waters for anyone reading this, turns out this is my own fault for not packing the 90mm lens well enough that something got loose inside and messed up the focus. Sony replaced my 90mm and now I have zero issues with focus, there is still a bit of hunting if you set focus limiter to full and use a diopter but it is useable and it DOES lock when it finds the focus! Before with the defective lens it would just keep hunting and hunting but the focus square never turns green. I went to buy the used A9 and when I put my old 90mm lens on it there was absolutely zero difference - still the same hunting issues when using a diopter. Tried all the diopters they had. Nauticam SMC-1 performed noticeably better with less hunting but the focus still doesn't lock green over half the time. The guys at the store tried all kinds of different settings for over an hour and finally concluded the lens must be defective, so back to Sony it went. This did convince me to pick up the SMC-1 since it was so much better even w the defective lens. It also showed there's negligible difference between A7C and A9 autofocus, at least from what I can perceive with the diopter. I'm in Lembeh now with the replaced 90mm and new SMC-1, plus my original A7C, and this thing is a joy to use. Super sharp, bokeh is so nice, and focus speed feels pretty similar to my old Nikon with the focus limiter on. I've tried a few dives with it off and found I was shooting through too much water anyway when I needed more than the 0.5m of distance, so even if I could fit the subject in the frame it wasn't super nice. But A7C autofocus is actually top notch - I also didn't use the tracking mode before! It's buried under the last option and I was always using flexible spot S or M wondering why it doesn't lock and track with current. Now that I'm using flexible S/M + tracking a bit of current is no issue. Still a bit of a challenge with the diopter, but base 90mm feels super fast and AF very accurate. I'm keeping this - no need to upgrade.
  5. Thanks John, that's helpful to know. I went into the Sony store today and tried the new A7IV, as well as the A9 and A9II, and A1 for fun but did not seriously consider it due to price. I could definitely see a huge improvement in AF speed especially in low light on the A9, could see some improvement from A7IV vs A7C but not too much, and between A9 and A9II also not too much. I could see an improvement in A1 vs A9, and the EVF is incredible, but A9 seems fast enough. I did also find the tracking on the A9/A9II/A1 to be much better as well, rarely loses the focus point when I hold down back button focus and recompose, whereas the A7C will if I move too fast or in low light. This is all above water so who knows how it stacks up underwater. And I didn't think I would care about the blackout free shooting but it was nice! All the EVFs were a huge upgrade over A7C, I wonder if part of my issue is I just couldn't see clearly when it's in focus cuz the EVF is so tiny. I think I could probably get used to manual focus on A7C eventually but the EVF swayed me - thought it wouldn't be an issue with the magnified viewfinder but it is. Someone locally recently upgraded to A1 and is selling his A9+housing, I think his old A9 is the answer for me. A9II is 2x the price, A1 is 3x. A9 is smaller than A9II/A1 also and fits better in my hands (does feel heavy tho after getting used to A7C). My housing distributor also told me he doesn't recommend the Inon UCL-67 for the Sony 90mm macro, so I'm going to test a few other diopters too - let me know if any recommendations that works well w the 90mm specifically.
  6. Thanks Chris, that’s helpful to know on the strobes. The Sony lens is limited to f22 also (which I did not know nor researched properly, had assumed it would be f32 like the Nikon and Canon lenses) and there were definitely many instances where I’m already at F22 100iso and 1/250 shooting against open water and can’t get a black background. I know the other workaround is snoots but I’m so bad at it haha I had another dive today trying to shoot a tiny black frogfish w the +15 diopter and I literally couldn’t see the eyes through the viewfinder, so of course couldn’t achieve manual focus… wondering if that’s a situation where the A7Riv or A1 can find it
  7. Hi all I recently swapped from a Nikon D7500 cropped-sensor DSLR w 85mm DX macro lens to a FF Sony A7C w 90mm macro lens. I've been shooting the Sony for about a week now in Anilao and Puerto Galera, with the 90mm lens almost always on 0.28-0.5mm focus limiter, and sometimes with a Inon UCL 67 (+15) diopter added on top. Initially I found the lens very frustrating to use compared to my old Nikon, as the focus would keep hunting and is very slow, or sometimes can't find the subject at all, but after a week getting used to the working distance and switching the focus limiter on I've gotten some great shots, and even find super macro with the UCL-67 on not as frustrating. If the subject has color I can pretty much get it right, but where I still struggle with the lens finding the correct focus is when there is no contrast or a lot of sand - 2 examples were when we were in a sandy bottom, there was a bit of surge and current blowing lots of particles around, and I was trying to take photos of 1) a black seahorse, 2) a black leaf fish - in both cases the camera just can't find the eye w AF even with a focus light. I spent 5min trying to get it to focus before giving up in both instances. The A7C has the same sensor and AF performance as the A7III I believe - and I have heard the A7RIV is a huge step up in AF performance - with the A1 being even better (I have read Backscatters' review which calls the A1 + 90mm macro lens the best combo even better than Nikon D850). My dilemma is I JUST bought the A7C (selected for its compact size) and can still get 80% of the shots I want even if it takes me a bit longer - so question whether it's worth upgrading to the A7RIV or A1 or if I just need more practice and get better. I have noticed a huge difference at how quickly I can find the right focus between my first few dives and right now- but I'm not sure if there is a limit to what the A7C can do and if either the A7RIV or the A1 can AF in the scenarios like the 2 above where there is no contrast on the subject. The other thing that intrigued me about the A1 is the 1/400 sync speed - my A7C can only do 1/160 although I've been shooting up to 1/250 and the black bar on top is not too noticeable and can easily be cropped - it does cover 1/3 of the frame at 1/320 tho. I'm shooting Inon Z330s with a fiber optics cable and Nauticam mini flash trigger, but my housing distributor said he wasn't sure if my current set up can do 1/400 even with the camera body change. Does anyone know? I don't want to invest in new strobes or HSS connection for sure. Thanks!
  8. I bought this exact entire set new 1 month ago! Wow why didn't you post this 1 month earlier... Can I ask why you're selling it and what you're switching to instead? I think I read your thread here before deciding to get mine also
  9. This is sold thank you! (not sure how to edit the title)
  10. Neither it's the UWL-400A This one: https://www.aoi-uw.com/aoi-uwl-400a.html $350 including the bayonet adapter (QRS-01-AD3)
  11. Also selling my very first camera, the Olympus TG5 with Olympus PT-059 housing, purchased in May 2019 and used for only 1 trip before I decided to get my Nikon. It's perfect condition and I also have the AOI UWL-400 ultra wide (weitwinkel) lens with bayonet mount (never used), and AOI UAL-05 wide angle lens (used 1x). Asking $750 for all or I can sell separately. Based in Singapore and can meet up locally or get on a zoom to show the condition for international buyers. Buyer pays shipping. Thx!
  12. I have a perfect condition Nikon D7500 set for sale. It was purchased in Aug 2019 and I only got to take it on 4 trips (wide angle lens/ports used 3x, macro only 1x) due to covid. I recently decided to move to a Sony A7C as it's easier to travel with as a solo female diver. I really loved the Nikon but it was just a bit too bulky for me. Asking US$5500 for: Nikon D7500 camera body - sensor cleaned in Dec 2021 Tokina AT-X 107 AF DX Fisheye AF 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 - chemically cleaned in Dec 2021 Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR Nikon AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED - never used! Nauticam zoom gear for Tokina 10-17 (NA-19127) Nauticam 4.33" Mini dome for Tokina 10-17 (NA-18804) Nauticam compact port base (NA-18211) Nauticam macro port 30 w 67mm thread (NA-18305) I'm open to selling each part individually but would prefer to sell as a set. I paid >$7500 for everything 2 years ago. I'm based in Singapore and happy to sell locally, or get on a zoom to show the condition for buyers outside of SG. Buyer will have to pay shipping + insurance. I also have the below Nikon lenses for above water use which can also be packaged in: 18-55mm kit lens AF-S DX NIKKOR 35MM F/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR 28-300MM F/3.5-5.6G ED VR Thx!
  13. I bought my Nauticam 45 viewfinder 2 years ago based on the recommendations from folks here. It's great and I really love it! I use it for both macro and wide angle. On my last trip I decided to move from Nikon to Sony mirrorless and had to go without my viewfinder as the adapter didn't come in time, and I really missed it (was a wide angle destination too). I couldn't go back to the standard tiny viewfinder and shot mostly on LCD screen, and it was definitely a lot harder to get low.
  14. I was recently on a liveaboard and one of the other guests was a pro, I borrowed his Titanium Innovations 16 bay charger which was great. Super fast charge (4h) and shows individual cell progress. Pretty compact too.
  15. Hi! I couldn't log in to my old account (forget password link doesn't show up in my emails for some reason) so made a new account. I joined about 2 years ago pre-covid and made a couple of trips w my Nikon D7500, and have now recently upgraded to a Sony A7C. This forum has been very helpful in my gear selection and look forward to learning more. Luckily I'm based in Singapore now with easy access to Indo Pacific diving.
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