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About ktwse

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    Moray Eel

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  • Location
    Stockholm, Sweden

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  • Camera Model & Brand
    Olympus E-PL2
  • Camera Housing
    Olympus PT-E03
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Sea & Sea YS-110a x2
  • Accessories
    ULCS strobe arms and tray
  1. That definition is actually by most agencies, including both IANTD and GUE, both of which I have training with. In essence, since we all dive for fun, everything we do is "recreational" in a sense, but when you look at the Rec vs Tech distinction, then deco - and to a lesser extent - overhead environments is what makes the difference. Even with more people doing that training, there's still at least 20 purely recreational divers to every tech diver. I should add that I'm from Sweden - where we have a lot of deep wrecks and where - should you happen to be part of the tech community - all you see are tech divers. Still, even here, most divers are recreational and don't have training to go beyond 40m. Tom
  2. You yourself wrote that "if you are CMAS 3* you can dive down to 60m with deco stops". The very definition of recreational diving is that it is no decompression. If you add deco stops you are doing tech diving. Besides, while CMAS is the major organization in some European countries, I'd say that a combination of PADI and strictly technical organizations is more common. 50m+ wreck divers is a minority, a niche. For Olympus to cater specifically to this group wouldn't make sense. As Phil mentioned, a lot of divers take these housings far deeper than their ratings so they should be able to handle it. My guess is that Oly simply doesn't want to guarantee it in case something should go wrong. Tom
  3. Haven't read any comments about the new 12-50 lens. It's got a macro feature that provides 0.72x magnification (compared to 0.38x for the 14-42). Sounds like that could be a cheap solution to get close to 1:1 (with a diopter). Turn off the macro feature and you still have a very versatile lens for e.g. fish portraits. Now, overall size is only about 5mm more in diameter, 5mm more in length than the 9-18 at it's widest (and thus longest) setting. Would be interesting to see if this lens will fit in the housing as well.. Tom
  4. A strobe does tons for IQ and while it may seem like it adds both complexity and bulk (well, that's what I thought), it's actually very easy to get to grips with, and under water you won't notice it. I'd suggest doing both but given your budget constraints I would suggest going for the strobe now, and upgrading the housing later. Then you'll get a chance to get to grips with the stroe with a camea you already know and once you can house the GF1 (substantially more expensive than getting a cheap strobe btw), it'll feel natural to use the strobe with the camera - one new thing less to worry about. Tom
  5. Mostly used f16 and around 1/100 at ISO 200. Used strobes to control foreground light.
  6. Thanks for the feedback, everybody! Having spent an arm and a leg on the gear I need all the reassurance I can get it was the right decision... Jose, 1. There's a few scenic places, and you might come across a small school of jacks, the occasional turtle or barracuda, but mostly I'd say this is a macro location. 2. A little, but overall I'd say the reefs looked quite nice. 3. Cambaquiz Slope (harlequin ghost pipe, dragonet, frogfish, devil spine, etc), Viewpoint (pygmy seahorse, best place for "big stuff", sea hare, squat lobsters etc) and House Reef (denise pygmy seahorse, orangutan crab, leaf scorpionfish, lots of cowries). 4. Not much... There's a small lake, but don't bother spending time walking there. You can do stuff like this from the resort, basically: 5. We used Polaris and were very happy with them. They're the only resort with WIFI (if that matters to you), they've got good dive boats and most importantly excellent dive guides who really understand and cater to do photographers. We mostly got a guide of our own and were allowed to stay down as long as we wanted, which is really helpful when you have divers on the boat who run out of air after 45 minutes while you can stay down for 90 minutes... 6. Yes, we did three mandarin dives and one night dive. All quite nice, especially finding a baby clown frogfish during the mandarin dives (we harrassed the poor fellow on every single one of those...). The mandarin fish were almost more shy than normally, however. 7. We didn't do any shore dives, there's really no point, but I suppose if you absolutely must cram as much diving into a day as possible, you could wade to the House Reef, without a guide. Dives are normally 9 AM and 2 PM but they can also do one at 11:30 AM. Hope that helps, Tom
  7. Just got back from a two week trip to this tiny, lovely island. The diving was excellent, surpassing our expectations. After a trip to Lembeh last summer I decided to take the plunge and house my topside 5D mkII. Got a Sea & Sea housing and ports but kept the same strobes. Couldn't afford a WA setup so stuck with my 100/2.8L for all dives. Anyway, this was the first time I used the setup and I have to say I quite enjoyed it, even if I still have a lot to learn. Feedback much appreciated. Thanks, Tom
  8. I'm surprised no one has replied to this... It looks like a very interesting lens. However, should be noted it is not a FF equivalent to the Tokina 10-17. Such a lens would be ~15-26. Instead, this lens will offer ALL Canon users full 180° fisheye. In additon, it gives FF users the ability to switch between circular and horisontal only fisheye effect. Simply put, at 8 mm, the image circle will be a full 180° both horisontally and vertically on a FF camera. At 10 mm, it will work as a 180° horisontal fisheye on an APS-C camera, at 12mm on an APS-H (1D series) camera and at 15mm, it's a 180° horisontal fisheye lens on a FF camera. Apart from the fact that it's an arm and a leg, that does sound quite intriguing. Obviously, it will be most useful to photographers with multiple systems, but the circular fisheye effect is quite nice as well. However, having no experience myself of them, I wonder if anyone could explain the benefits - if any - for underwater use? Tom
  9. Problem is my current rig is lighter than that (Halcyon Eclipse 30 with alu backplate, Agir single tank adapter and Halcyon titanium knife for a total of 3.1 kgs). I will eventually need a regular BC, however, but I'm leaning towards the Aqualung Pro LT, 6 lbs 10 oz and still full featured. Thomas
  10. John, Saw the Zuma in store yesterday, and must say it looks quite nice. However, I'm a bit concerned with the durability. For example, the straps are quite flimsy (IMHO a stupid decision as that's certainly not where they saved weight). Was just wondering how much you have had a chance to dive with it and if there was any evidence of wear/tear after that period? Thanks, Thomas
  11. Bags are typically one of the major culprits when going overweight. A 6kg bag is simply way too heavy. I personally don't want to go all the way to a mesh bag or similar and I prefer to travel with just one bag. I'm currently looking at getting the Aqualung Traveller 850 from the US. Unlike the European version, this has an additional compartment on the inside of the lid, perfect for keeping clothes separate from the diving gear. It also weighs in at 3.7kg. On the last three trips we've done, my bag has weighed between 24 and 26kg and while there are ways of either talking them out of charging for excess baggage or simply getting them to charge just for diving gear (typically around €50 instead of €500 for excess weight...), I've basically made it my mission in life to get in under 20kg on the next trip. Agree that a 3mm is a good start. Miflex hoses are really helpful and I'm actually going to replace my Apeks with an Aqualung Titan LX - just as good and much lighter. I'm not completely ready to give up on my wing/BP and my jetfins but switching to a lighter single tank adapter and using an alu bp the whole setup complete with knife weighs in at 3.1 kg (Halcyon Eclipse 30, Halcyon alu bp, Halcyon knife and Agir sta). OMS Slipstreams are identical to jetfins but made in plastic and saves another kg. This setup, complete with boots, masks, an SMB and various other trinkets, weighs in at around 14kg which does leave 6kg for clothes - more than enough.
  12. Care to specify how the controls of the FIX/S90 combo are superior to those of the 2G? As for durability, seems many people on this forum swear by polycarbonate housings so there should be no reason for concern with the quality of the S&S housing, even if the perceived quality of that housing might be lower than the all alu FIX housing. Being smaller is a good thing, of course, but less so underwater (at least that's what I was told when considering switching to bigger cameras and worrying about the bulk). It's not as if you'll be stuffing the FIX in your BCD pocket anyways - especially not with the extras you're suggesting. As for price, I may be wrong, but I'm assuming that someone who asks whether the 2G is worth $300 more than the 1G for a grand total of $900 will not necessarily be willing to spend an additional $300 on housing, and then a couple of grand more on wide lenses etc etc... At least not to begin with. True. But the 2G is still wider out of the box provided the user is not willing to invest an additional $500 on a wet lens. No. It's a Ricoh. Very well known for their excellent compacts ever since the first GR appeared and celebrated by photographers around the world for their excellent handling and great IQ. Ricohs are quite often used as pocket cameras by professional photographers, whether they shoot Canon or Nikon. Says a lot, at least to me. To bash the 2G because it's not a Canon is nothing short of complete ignorance. By the time we add in all additional expenses up, you might as well go with a DSLR system, twin 80's, Halcyon regs, a scooter and all other sorts of redundant stuff. For someone asking advice on $600 vs $900, the FIX/S90 combo with an additional wide lens is probably not the right choice as it's $800 more. Again you mention "improved capabilities and ergonomics". Exactly what do you mean? Wet lenses work on the 2G as well, as you know... I wish my 5D mkII handled as well as my 2G.
  13. Have you used the 2G vs the S90? I'm just curious since I wonder what you base such a comment on. First of all, the 2G does not have the same problems with the darkening LCD, and you can clearly see it even at a 1 f stop underexposure (granted I haven't tried more than that). Second, the 2G controls/ergonomics blow the S90 out of the water. I have never ever used a camera with a more photographer friendly layout/customisation - SLRs from Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Pentax included. Third, the 2G's macro at the tele end is vastly superior to that of the S90. Finally, the one area where the S90 really excels over the 2G - high ISO performance - is less of a concern as long as you use strobes. Optically, they both have great lenses, and while the S90 is a tad faster at the wide end, the f/2 vs f/2.5 max aperture is 2/3 of a stop, so in reality more a specification thing than a real difference in real shooting situations. If you want a housing that is equal to the S&S DX-2G housing in terms of quality and control options, you'll have to opt for the FIX, and that will make the package quite a bit more expensive than the 2G, with worse wide end and worse macro capabilities out of the box.
  14. The flash power dial isn't entirely ignored, but it only allows for micro-adjustments. I'm using the YS-110a myself, so can't entirely vouch for how this works with the YS-01, but using TTL, I will typically adjust flash exp comp. You can set that to one of the shortcuts for the rear dial so that you can bring it up fast. The regular exp comp will not affect the flash output as far as I know, or at least not as dramatically. Tom
  15. I have to say that this discussion takes a completely different turn with the introduction of m4/3. m4/3 cameras are very clearly not "P&S", nor are they compacts in the traditional sense. Rather, they bridge the gap between the traditional SLRs and compacts. The Panasonic G series can rival the focus speed and shutter lag of "entry level" DSLR systems (probably considered "pro" in this thread). And the sensor size of m4/3 is large enough to provide IQ at nearly the same level as that of APS-C sensors even at high ISO. A Canon S90 can't rival a DSLR in terms of absolute IQ but it's probably more than enough for most users. m4/3 take that one step further. For a lot of people like myself, who enjoy using DSLRs on land, the huge investment in both money and travel space is more than a bit off-putting. However, with m4/3 both cost and weight is dramatically reduced. Tom
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