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rtrski last won the day on February 1 2017

rtrski had the most liked content!

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About rtrski

  • Rank
    Great White
  • Birthday 07/16/1966

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Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Texas, USA
  • Interests
    Slowly learning digital photography and underwater digital photography. Like drinking from a salt-water firehose... ;-)

Additional Info

  • Show Country Flag:
    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Sony SLT Alpha-55, 8-16mm (Sigma), 17-70mm (Sigma), 105mm (Sigma)
  • Camera Housing
    Ikelite 6842.55
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    2 x Inon z240 Type IV
  • Accessories
    5503.80 6" Ike dome, UWCameraStuff 5" Dome for the 8-16mm
  • Industry Affiliation

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  1. In the Carribean the lionfish is invasive, has no natural predators, and is breeding basically out of control. Many marine preserves, no matter how strict their no touch or no take policies are for other fishes, are permitting lionfish kills. Personally, I'm all for it. And, it's tasty. Looking forward to eating a bunch in Dominica soon.
  2. Thanks for the reply. Did Titou in 2008 (with a housed camera, no less). Remember it also being cool enough I'll want to take a wetsuit - both warmth and a little floatation - if we try that again. My rig in 2008 was a lot less negative than the current one. In 2012 we went up to the freshwater lake on a land photo day but it was totally socked in by fog, couldn't even see the near shoreline from the little ranger/visitor hut.
  3. Hi, I've got the Ikelite housing for the A55. Last serviced 2014 and in good condition, very minor corrosion visible only where it doesn't matter (things like the 'inner' faces of the metal plates which form the latch hooks, visible thru the plastic). It does have the 'newer' format 4-clips for the ports and the newer red-and-black handle/tray setup, and the top ball mount fitting. Heading off for a dive vacation with it in a couple weeks. I suspect this trip will be my last with the A55 as mine's getting kind of balky, doesn't always power on right immediately and occasionally gives errors, needs to be power cycled to clear. While I could probably get another body...I've got the itch for upgrades anyway. After this trip I'll ping you again if you're still looking. Likely mid-to-late July timeframe. If so I'd sell the housing with a non-modular dome that should be suitable for the kit 17-70mm lens (I have that lens as well if you don't), and the tray/handle set too. I've got a couple other ports but as I might end up upgrading to another Ike housing (considering A7mk2 series for next camera) I will likely keep those until I decide. One caution - the A55 was the first generation SLT (A33 and A55) and has a firmware peculiarity with manual flash sync, so be sure you plan to rig up with TTL connectivity in terms of strobes. Do a search on my name - I whine about it all the time. There's also recent images of the housing with some of my mods (nothing destructive, they all attach to the handle or to arms) in the DIY forum here.
  4. Thanks for responding. Yeah, wet gear syndrome. That or a poorly calibrated scale. So you have one checked bag at 50? A carry-on camera case and backpack with computer. No clothes? To clarify, the rule used to be 70 total for 2 checked, (50# max any one bag). Carry-on was also supposed to be weight limited but they generally let the size be the indicator there so I'd stand casually with the lead-filled camera gear pack and pretend it was nothing. Seaborne website doesn't appear to show that now; seems like it's up to the typical US 50# per bag, 2 checked max per person, but was hoping to find someone to confirm. Dominica gets like 3500 divers a year - surely at least one other one occasionally visits WP, I hope. Wonder if that 3500 number I see around includes 'cruise ship' divers for whom this just isn't an issue. I recognize I'm being irrational here. I've found the official policy page of Seaborne that seems to say what I want it to say overall (2 bags max, 50# each) but I'd be more comfortable with a confirmation from a near-random person on the internet. http://www.seaborneairlines.com/news/seaborne-luggage-allowance/
  5. Necro-ing an old thread. Heading back in 2 weeks. Any updates? I've crawled all over Seaborne's website (the ones now doing the AA codeshare from SJU Puerto Rico) and cannot find the 70 lbs restriction anymore. I knew they had a runway extension project going even when we were there in 2012 - then again they had the hurricane last summer. So I honestly have no idea whether to hope the limit got increased.
  6. It's just fat fiber optic cable. Marketed as side or end glow...but the only difference is black jacketing. Both carry light axially. http://www.wiedamark.com/fiberopticsolidcore.aspx (and yes, you can use it in a snoot)
  7. ....and, to necro another post and temporarily rule the DIY forum (yaaaay!), I looked back at this and saw I promised pics of the 2nd generation flash arrangement. So, here they are. Basically the ring around the flat port, the purchased lightpipes, and the faceplate over the strobe. Just need to angle the strobe with a couple arm segments so you're not putting too much sideways 'pull' on the port with the lightpipes to risk a leak near the surface.
  8. OK, some better photos of the full set up as I intend to dive with it (need to add a couple more cable straps here and there along the arms, or just go with handy-dandy 'lectrical tape. Oh, and a dome might be a good plan. Assisted by my o-ring destructive seal tester (aka Shedomatic Generator Mark IV).... Sorry for the multimeter behind it in the views - kind of looks like it's part of things and makes it seem more complicated than it really is. Like the internets, this whole thing is just a series of (light) tubes....
  9. When I did mine, it was to Inon z240s and I had to mount a fiberoptic cable at the top ball fitting to get the light from my little LED flash to the strobe sensor (on one - the second strobe triggered from the first just fine). My very first dive with it, this failed because I (in hindsight, stupidly) used a fairly fat (like 3mm dia) "lightpipe" fiberoptic which was just plain brittle. First time it got wrapped around the strobe arm it snapped. A friend has had a set I made for his Nikon and hasn't told me it did the same for him, but it's been years since we've talked about that specifically. Fortunately I took an Ike to Inon manual sync cord as a backup and off we went for the rest of the trip. With all the talk of failing electrical sync, I've never had one fail. Of course I've also only been on say 5 actual photo dive trips in 6 years but I'd almost expect the 'infrequent idiot' dive photographer to be worse off than the near-pros, proportionally. Guess I'm not factoring in opportunity multiplier enough. BTW I never marketed my LED flash because a) it's a battery, a single switching MOSFET, a couple resistors, and an LED - I mean, you should be ashamed to buy one, frankly. . (Hedwig made a much more fancy circuit but for manual flash triggering it's really unnecessary.) But b) at least for my hand-drawn circuit board and mounting it really was going to be a unique shape for every camera to fit the housing bump. I did one for my Sony A55, one for a Nikon (D90? I really don't recall at this point) and realized I just didn't have the wherewithal to plan and manage configurations to offer it for people. That, and in my case - A55, electronic viewfinder first generation with no 'setting effect' menu option to prevent viewfinder darkening if the camera doesn't know a strobe is attached and settings seem underexposed - manual sync just wasn't a viable solution after all. My more recent cheap TOSlink cable adaptor to get light from an electrical sync-ed, TTL-triggered DS51 to my Inons would also likely let me mount the fiberoptic signal from my in-housing LED to the Inon without the breakage problem I had years ago - but I'd be back to manual sync and shooting blindly. I'll hold out that idea for an upgrade perhaps though since all newer Sonys have the menu option to prevent the EVF blackout (except Ike just went opaque with their housings....hmmm.....) As much as I like the Inons for reduced bulk compared to the DS125-161 strobes, I have to admit I remain an Ikelite 'fanboy'. Their price for a housing with TTL circuitry is 3/5ths anyone else's equivalent housing without it. As poor as some of my camera choices may have been over the years (Oly 4:3rds E330 to Sony A55)..I'd never have shot underwater at all if it weren't for Ike. I'm not poor by any means and even sprung for a full frame A99 as my last (not underwater) body upgrade during something of a non-diving spell but $1200-1500 vs. $2500 or more for a housing remains a huge motivator for me. I admit I wish they'd come up with the electrical sync (with TTL connectivity) to light-output technique themselves (basically everything in the DS51 minus a big flash tube), but I don't really know the business metrics. Would that option, at say $150-200, let them sell more housings to people who wanted Inon or other strobes? Or would that cannibalize more potential DS strobe sales than it gained them in housing sales? The fact the Manta never came out tells me housing sales is the more important factor, but I could be wrong.... I've also never understood wanting to disconnect/reconnect a strobe underwater. The ONE time it would have been useful to me was with a Y cable when the 'primary' strobe (powering the TTL circuitry) lost battery before the secondary....if I could have swapped them I might've gotten another shot or two. Not exactly a game changer. I guess if you want to abandon your strobes or hand to a buddy to trigger optically from another angle (like with the Triggerfish) you can disconnect/ reconnect FO, but as long as I'm only electrically triggering one and the 2nd is optically slaved, I can still do that to a certain degree as well. (Not that I've ever tried.)
  10. I've got some 3-way ball clamps. Was going to mount the DS51 to one handle right above the housing with that, then route the FO cables up the arms to each Inon. There's also the top ball mount on the housing itself but I don't feel comfortable using that for a DS51. Will put up some pics of the full rig once I get a configuration I think I like. Yes, it'll be some extra bulk (and likely make the whole assy more negative, since I also use a mini-dome with the 8-16 mm lens) but the last time shot wide angle (3 years ago...sheesh) the black EVF just made for way too much frustration. Missed focus because I was just pointing and hoping on things like this: https://flic.kr/p/bs4ywH And the time's worth it if it helps me eke out another trip without regretting not upgrading, or restricting myself to macro only....
  11. So, home-made solution to an antique problem, although variations might be useful in some cases still.... I am shooting with a rather old Sony A55 SLT, from the very first generation 'translucent' mirrored series that is currently capped by the A99 full frame (which I use above water). The SLT series has electronic viewfinders. I have an Ike housing but elected to use Inon Z240 strobes vs. Ike 125/160/161 for their smaller size. Unfortunately, in these very first SLTs, the A33 and A55, Sony 'helpfully' had the viewfinder mimic predicted exposure results to give the photographer a "what you see is what you get" type intuition. Unfortunately, in an underwater housing with manual strobe sync, that means it 'helpfully' turns black with settings like ISO200, f11, 1/160th underwater because the camera doesn't know you're getting significant light boost from a strobe. AF module works fine - but you're shooting blind. Using the EVF tunnel or the rear screen makes no difference. UW photogs are a tiny market but this same effect hampered studio photogs with radio triggered flash, so for the next generation SLTs (starting with the A65) Sony offered a 'setting effect off' option in the menu so the EVF brightness is always tied more to ambient light not exposure prediction. (Same option is available in all the A6xxx and A7 mirrorless offerings now). Will help me when I upgrade but for now.... The only other fix is TTL - as long as the camera knows a strobe is indeed present, f11, 1/160th or so isn't going to black out the viewfinder. I do have a DS51 which I use when shooting macro (and have a fiberoptic half-ring flash arrangement I printed up posted about elsewhere). Finally getting a dive trip again this year to a location I want to shoot wide angle with the Inons again, so decided to do something about my dilemma. Hence - a cover plate to use the DS51 as the light source for optical sync to the Inon z240 sensors, but without having the light from the DS51 influencing the shot by just letting it blap out all over. Printed a cover and 'adaptors' for the sensor caps on the Inon to accept any TOSlink audio S/PDIF cable. At like $6-8 from Monoprice vs. the much more expensive underwater manufacturer fiber optic cables, I can afford to keep a few spares around expecting the inevitable corrosion around the FO tips (since these were clearly never intended for saltwater immersion). Cable in the picture is a Monster TOSlink cable I had laying around and look forward to drowning (purchased many moons ago before I knew what a**hats they were as a company....) First pic of connection (two FO links available at the strobe face, only one currently in use) below.
  12. Just saw light and motion has a small light (there's one that's only wide, one that has wide or spot options) designed to go with the GP Heros. I was considering this after getting a GP for the wife to mess around with while I'm off shooting with the DSLR.
  13. I would imagine a ring of permanent marker on inner/outer surface around the sensor hole would 'mod' the old diffuser just fine.
  14. Sadness....given up on this for this year. HOWEVER very happy Ike is housing the A7 series, as nothing else interests me for the future. Might be the A7r3 by the time I actually jump, but it would take something pretty surprising out of left field to make me not go from my A-mount to Sony FE mount based on everything I know today. (Not claiming it's the right answer for everyone, just the direction I want to go.)
  15. Wife wants to wrist-mount an action cam of some sort and just point around at stuff underwater while we're diving; I'm usually shooting (stills) with a DSLR rig and strobes (sig). Can't afford to upgrade my rig for this trip so it's getting a little long in the tooth... but can justify $500ish to keep her happy with my habit for the future upgrade. Don't necessarily care about 4K, do want 1080p (shouldn't be an issue these days), won't likely be providing dedicated lighting or mounting on a tray or whatnot (maybe a reasonable LED flashlight in the other hand), and she's not exactly up to task loading thinking about changing settings and all. It'll pretty much be preconfigure on the surface and just hit 'start' and 'stop'. She just wants to show me snippets later on of all the subjects I'm missing while I attempt to get that one dang shot right, and/or post to FB for her friends/family. Read a bit about Sony having WB issues, but perhaps otherwise better stabilization and the like than the GPs; of course Sony you have to buy an extra housing for dive depth while the GP's is already good down to 100ft or more...but I think the net pricing comes out about the same. (100ft is more than plenty for our purposes; just recreational divers. Might be nice to have a close-up option if the cameras in the housings don't already allow relatively close focus. I know this is a way amateur question for most in this forum, but if you had to choose for just a poodling around type filmer...which would be your recommendation, and why? Location of this trip is Dominica, which tends to pretty clear water, somewhat darker on morning dives (sites on western side of island and high slope), but nice subject matter to preserve wider angle if possible. My preferred DSLR setup is either 8-16mm rectilinear (on APSc) behind a minidome, don't tend to shoot anything between that and 100mm macro. So that's what's set her expectations of what she might capture with an actioncam. (Open to other brands beyond Sony and GoPro I s'pose, but don't see any need to really go total KIRF...)
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