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shanesmith.photos

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  1. @LastAdventures re: autofocus issues with the A1 and adapted fisheyes, I use the Canon 8-15mm on my A1 with the Sigma MC11 adapter and I’ve been very happy with this and haven’t had any issues with autofocus failing to lock on. If you use continuous autofocus it’s definitely slower than a native combo (such as the 28-60 with WWL-1) but for example it was able to accurately lock on to a pod of dolphins swimming towards me at top speed which I was pretty happy with, and the auto-focus has worked fine for CFWA situations right up close to the dome too. (The sigma MC-11 and the metabones equivalent both have different gotchas when it comes to video autofocus, but that’s another topic). I can’t speak for the A7R5 with it’s new autofocus system, and I haven’t tried Sigma’s fisheye on the A1, but the MC-11 with Canon’s fisheye definitely does work on the A1.
  2. I’ve used the 28-60 + wwl-1b on my A1 extensively over the last 9 months and they’re a fantastic combo. Autofocus is quick and reliable and the images are tack sharp. What I love the most about this setup is it’s flexibility. ~80% of my shots are taken at 28mm with the WWL-1 on, but when I need a bit of zoom to reframe smaller subjects I can zoom through to 60mm behind the WWL-1 (15% of shots) or even take the WWL-1 off for fish portraits (5% of shots). If I have strict baggage allowances on a trip this is the one lens combo I’ll take. If I’ve got more wiggle room in my luggage I’ll also throw in a Sony 90mm macro lens and a Canon 8-15mm fisheye. If I’ve got both, I pick and choose between the 28-60 and the fisheye based on the subject matter, whether I want to do split shots, etc., but they both take beautiful images. I’ve pulled together some sample images from the last 9 months here if you’re interested: https://www.shanesmith.photos/Recent-Adventures/Underwater-2022/Sony-28-60mm-Sample-Gallery
  3. I feel your pain @parrazad, this winter in Sydney has been horrible for diving! I’ve only been around for a couple of weeks this year, but each time I tried going out it was disappointing. Good job with the shooting of the octopus and the cuttlefish with snoots though! A few other ideas: - For more “standard” wide-angle strobe positioning, pulling the strobes well back (as well as out to the sides) helps - you may still get some scatter, but at least it’ll be more uniform. You may also find that for your snooted shots pulling the strobe further out of the frame reduces that initial hotspot. - If you shoot with the sun behind you using only natural light you’ll get very little backscatter - but you’ll also lose the selective lighting and colour pop your strobes are providing (and you’ll need to stay shallow to achieve any sort of colour). One of the winners of this years Australian Geographic photo comp used purely natural light around Sydney. - Although it’s much nicer not to have any backscatter, if it’s in regions that are a uniform colour (black of a uniform green) this can be dealt with fairly easily in post. And one other thought from left field: you might find it helpful to head out with another experienced photographer in Sydney, both to see how they manage their strobes and for them to watch you and give you some feedback. I haven’t done this in Sydney, but I’ve been on a few of Alex Mustard’s trips and learnt an incredible amount watching others. A few Sydney based photographers (who might also throw in some ideas in this thread!) are: - Nicolas Remy @Nicool(https://wetpixel.com/full_frame/nicolas-lena-remy-sydney) - Vanessa Torres Macho in Bondi (https://aquaticimagingaustralia.com.au/) - Matty Smith down in Wollongong (https://www.mattysmithphoto.com/) - Kevin Deacon in Neutral Bay (https://www.dive2000.com.au/) - I think Chris Ross might also be Sydney based @ChrisRoss Best of luck! Shane
  4. Hi WK, It depends on exactly what the behaviour is that you're after, but I suspect that the setting you're looking for is called "AF w/ Shutter", which is under the AF/MF section of the menu. Regardless of whether this is on or off, you can use the AF-ON button to pre-focus. Then if "AF w/ Shutter" is set to OFF you can pull the trigger whenever you want without the camera re-focussing. In real-world usage, I tend to leave "AF w/ Shutter" ON, function in AF-C mode and hold down the AF-ON button to initiate focus a few seconds before hitting the shutter button. In this setup the camera doesn't re-focus when the shutter is pressed (as it's already in focus). However, there may be some tricky macro situations where you might choose to shoot in AF-S, set "AF w/ Shutter" OFF and then rock back and forth to achieve perfect focus. Hope this is helpful! (Edit: just remembered that this was in the Video section. This was written from a photography perspective. What is the behaviour you're after in video mode? I'd be happy to try this out for you and see if I can achieve that) (Edit 2: Just tested video out. The "AF w/ Shutter" setting isn't available in video mode, but if you want more control of the focus behaviour for video you can set the camera to AF-S mode, then use the AF-ON button to refocus, either before or during a recording) Shane
  5. Yeah, the burping can be a bit of a pain. I spent quite a bit of time swimming with mantas in a fast-flowing channel this year where you get dropped off at the top of the channel, drift down past the mantas and then get picked up by the boat at the other end; then rinse and repeat. On a Nauticam A1 body, the quick-release lever to burp the lens is fiddly to get at, though you do get better at it with practise. Burping probably adds a 10-15 second delay before you're able to start shooting. (I was doing this with strobes too, which needed their arms to be extended and locked in place each time I got in the water as well, so it meant about a 30 second delay in total). My approach to this was to hang back from the group, as we were all going to drift past the mantas anyway (it also meant fewer other snorkelers or errant fins in my frame), but in an environment where the group might frighten off your subject this would be a constant frustration. If this is your primary use-case for the WWL-1, then a WACP-C sounds like a more practical option. Shane
  6. I recently did a 2.5 hour UW video session with my A1, shooting 4k60. This wasn’t continuous shooting - probably shooting about half the time. I ended up getting out primarily because the sun went down, though my camera was on 5% battery by this stage too. This matches up pretty closely to the test in that thread indicating 1:45 of continuous shooting. Converting this to hour-long dives, I regularly get 3 photography dives on a single charge (I could stretch this out to 4 dives quite often, but why risk it), and 2 video dives per charge.
  7. Ah, that’s a more plausible explanation! Thanks for the idea. I’ll give that a try.
  8. Hi all, I've recently been noticing that my strobes intermitently fail to fire if I fully extend my strobe arms (for big scene wide angle shots), stretching the coiled fibre optic trigger cables. Once I pull the strobes a little closer to the housing body (reducing the stretch) they seem to return to their normal reliable selves. Is this normal behaviour that other people experience as well, or might I need to get some new or longer/different cables? Could the stretch on the cables somehow be reducing the amount of light they transmit, or is this a red herring? My strobe triggering used to be utterly reliable, but more recently seems to be a little hit and miss. Details about the gear: I'm using a pair of Nauticam's universal fibre optic cables, Retra Pro X's and a Turtle Smart TTL strobe trigger (on a full frame Sony camera). For each strobe I'm using a 250mm float arm + a 200mm (normal) arm, so 45-50cm combined when fully extended. Nauticam's website says that the underlying cables are 1m long before coiling, so this doesn't seem like an unreasonable degree of stretch. The fibre optic cables always return to their normal compact coiled shape after use, so I'm not stretching them so much that they permanently deform. Thanks, Shane
  9. This won't be very helpful for MS600, but I thought that I'd leave a note for users of Sony's more recent cameras (A1's and A7mk4's at the moment) to say that you have an additional Live View option called "Exposure Effect" which is really useful. You can find this setting under the Under Live View Dispay Settings submenu. Because I shoot my strobes (and camera) in full manual I set it to "Exposure Setting Only", which gives me a Live View based purely on natural light and allows me to expose my (wide angle) background blues perfectly. I must admit though that for Macro shooting with strobes I turn Live View off as I tend to have a small aperture and the viewfinder image ends up being far too dark to see. On the A1 (and I assume A7mk4), having the S-Turtle smart trigger connected doesn't change Live View settings at all as far as I've noticed. Sorry this doesn't directly apply to you MS600, but I thought I'd mention it in case owners of the newer Sony cameras stumbled upon this post. Shane
  10. Nothing extreme. I’m a pretty average freediver and I’m very deliberately diving well within my limits - no photo is worth risking a shallow water blackout. It’s generally 45-60 seconds per dive (with strobes). That equates to 20-30 second bottom times for shallow dives (~10m), or 5-10 seconds at ~16m. Diving without strobes increases all of these times somewhat. For creatures like mantas, the secret is to anticipate where they’ll be heading and to descend far enough ahead of them that they have the opportunity to approach you on their terms, rather than you swimming at them. I found doing a freediving course really valuable both to improve my technique and (more importantly) to understand the risks and safety mechanisms, so I’d highly recommend doing one if you haven’t yet. Very happy to chat more about this if you’ve got any more questions. We should probably branch it off onto its own thread so we don’t take this one too far off topic.
  11. Thanks @fruehaufsteher2! re: lighting for Freediving, it depends on how mobile I need to be and how deep/long I need to dive to capture the shots. Adding strobes creates quite a bit of additional drag which slows you down for surface swims and makes you burn through oxygen underwater, reducing your breathhold time and the max depth and duration of your dives. It’s considerably more enjoyable to dive without them. It also adds additional variables that can go wrong for any given shot (e.g. one or both strobes not firing). However, for certain species and situations I find that I simply get better results with them attached: - For mantas with white bellies, strobes help to pick them out from the surrounding blue and to freeze motion. The same applies to sharks and other counter-shaded pelagics. - Any time you want to shoot against the sun (sun balls or light rays) and also want to see the detail of your subject (e.g. many of the turtle shots from Lady Elliot - note that most of these were fairly shallow and the turtles were relaxed and moving slowly, so strobes weren’t a hinderance). - For the manta shots in Fiji, I was also specifically hunting for a shot of the mantas swimming over the beautiful coral, and lighting this coral foreground made a big difference to those shots. If you’re going to use strobes on breath hold, it’s worth taking test shots to check your exposures (and levels of backscatter) before you approach your subject. You’ll also need to ensure that your strobe arm clamps are done up quite firmly because they tend to move around when you start your descent (rapid acceleration), and you don’t want to be messing with them when you’re down there on a limited breathhold. In terms of strobes, I was using a pair of Retra Pro X’s. They’re fantastic! Unfortunately, because they’re heavy I need a pair of float arms to offset this => even more drag. I’d sum it up by saying that it’s a contextual decision. When I have the strobes attached I quietly resent their presence in the moment but appreciate their impact on my images after the fact. Hope that helps!
  12. I can vouch for the WWL-1B + 28-60mm setup. It takes fantastic photos, and for pelagics (particularly when Freediving), the zoom through is really useful. Here are two galleries from recent trips using this setup: - https://www.shanesmith.photos/Recent-Adventures/Underwater-2022/Fiji-Highlights-2022/ (almost all of the wide angle shots here are with the WWL-1B, with the exception of the split shot and a few of the coral wide-angle landscapes, which were taken with the Canon 8-15mm). I used the zoom through extensively with the bull sharks on this trip. - https://www.shanesmith.photos/Recent-Adventures/Underwater-2022/Lady-Elliot-Island-August-2022/ (All shot with the 28-60 + WWL-1B, as it was the only lens I took on this trip)
  13. Thanks @Phil Rudin! That looks like a nicely balanced overall setup on the A1. Like a few others in these forums I’ve used the Sony A1, 28-60mm lens and WWL-1 with great success. I’d be fascinated to see some comparison shots between the WWL-1 and the WACP-C, to see how much of a step up this provides in image quality. I know that the WACP’s corners will be sharper at wider apertures, but what would be particularly interesting is how much sharper/better the centre of the frame is. As Alex Mustard pointed out, any of the WACP’s should theoretically be slightly better than the WWL-1 because the light doesn’t have to pass through the Glass - Water - Glass boundaries of the wet lens. The real question is how noticeable this difference is. If it’s meaningful then I’d look to upgrade. Having said that, I absolutely love how compact the WWL-1 is for travel, so I’m loathe to add more weight and bulk to my kit! In previous forum threads, reviewers have shied away from comparisons between the WWL-1 and WACP-1 because it was such an apples vs. oranges comparison in terms of price and size. Now that there are three tiers of Nauticam water contact optics in close(r) proximity of each other, maybe this comparison would make more sense.
  14. I can second the use of tech shorts! I find them incredibly useful for carrying a range of underwater photography bits and pieces (e.g. wet macro diopters, strobe diffusers, fluoro excitation filters, etc.). I use the WWL-1B and put the hard cover in one of the pockets of my tech shorts in the water. That way there's no risk to the front element. (However, if I know the boat well and know they'll be sensible with my camera, I'll sometimes leave the hard cover on board and free up the pocket for other bits and pieces).
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