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shanesmith.photos

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  1. Thanks @Interceptor121. With the Sony teleconverter, you could theoretically use an N100 spacer BEFORE the N100-120 adapter (i.e. Housing - N100 spacer - N100-120 - dome) to adjust for the length of the teleconverter, in which case you’d be able to use the standard zoom gear setup without any corrections (as the zoom gear mounts to a knob on the N100-120 adapter rather than the housing itself). This seems like quite a clean way to add/remove the teleconverter without having to change zoom gears, but the cost and potential image quality/focusing issues with this ordering may be more important arguments against it.
  2. @insomniac, I don’t have the deep experience of Alex, but I’ve dived with a very similar setup as you - A1, 28-60mm, WWL-1B and a macro diopter for the occasional small thing (I use the SMC-1 rather than the CMC-1). I also love the flexibility of this setup, and for example recently got some very serviceable Pygmy Seahorse shots with this in Raja when doing primarily wide-angle dives (with the macro diopter just in case we found a Pygmy). Having said that, if I know that I’m going to be shooting macro, the 90mm macro lens is a much more enjoyable option and in my opinion has a nicer image quality, so I’d choose this every time. The focusing range (1:1 => infinity) is much more flexible which makes shooting larger macro subjects more enjoyable, and for smaller subjects you can pop on a diopter to go beyond 1:1. Additionally, you get more working distance with the 90mm macro lens, which is really helpful for shyer subjects. For super macro I use the SMC-1, or a Kraken diopter (for things just a little too large for the SMC-1 or if I’m having trouble focusing with the SMC-1). With a focus light I’m able to use tracking focus on all but the tiniest of subjects. This allows me to pull back slightly from my subject to find it, then activate the tracking and slowly inch forward, all the while being in focus. This is not traditional best practise for super-macro, but it seems to work pretty well with the Kraken diopter (and sometimes with the SMC-1) and is a heck of a lot easier than having to find your subject when you’re out of focus in the wrong focal plane! It’s also a life-saver if you have moving subjects. Note when shifting to the 90mm macro lens that this needs to move much larger pieces of glass to focus than the 28-60mm and you can hear/feel this whirring sometimes. But as Alex said, it focuses well and takes fantastic images.
  3. Alex, I’m intrigued that you were able to turn the flash off in the camera menu, as I haven’t been able to get my A1 to do this for me. Is there a special setting that you needed to change to enable this, is it new to the A7R5, or is it specific to the strobe trigger you’re using? (I’ve tried with Nauticam’s basic trigger and TRT Electronics one and haven’t been able to get this to work)
  4. This is a really interesting thread, thanks everyone. For those of you using the Kenko teleconverter, how do you align your zoom gear with the housing’s gearing (or do you use a different zoom gear for this)? The Nauticam N100-N120 adapter has a zoom dial which is aligned to match the position of Canon lenses. Adding a teleconverter in front of the lens would put this alignment out. At least the Sony teleconverter option doesn’t mess with that.
  5. Good choice @Interceptor121, the A1 is a fantastic camera. I made the same choice 9 months ago and have enjoyed it thoroughly ever since. If you’ve got any questions about settings, strange behaviour by the camera, etc. for the A1 underwater, feel free to tag me in them and I’ll happily share what’s worked for me. I’ll be interested to hear how you set your rig up for video as I’ve focused primarily on photography so far and have just guessed my way through the video settings for the bits of video I’ve taken (which to be fair have all come out very nicely).
  6. @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.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  12. Ah, that’s a more plausible explanation! Thanks for the idea. I’ll give that a try.
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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.
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