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About fishonfilm

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  • Location
    Auckland, New Zealand

Additional Info

  • Camera Model & Brand
    Canon S70
  • Camera Housing
    Canon WP-DC40
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Ikelite DS-125
  1. Is HD video in a p+s camera really all that the marketing would have you believe? You've got a small lens with a small depth of field at wide open aperture, with a small, very densely packed sensor that is not optimised for video capture, in a small box which (from p+s video I've seen) is difficult to hold still enough to give watchable footage, not to mention the relatively small storage capacity, and questions over how long the camera can shoot without taking a break because the data transport between sensor and memory card got clogged. I'm sorry, but I can't see the point of HD video footage in a p+s camera. It sounds like you want to avoid a cumbersome rig, so I can understand your reticence about external strobes. If you don't dive in beautifully clear water, however, external strobes are pretty much the only way I can think of if you need artificial illumination and don't want backscatter. Basically, you need to be able to put the light source as far as possible away from the camera's lens axis. Finally, wanting to avoid changing ports to go from macro to WA: again I can understand a desire for simplicity and no need to change things underwater, however the achievability of the goal will depend on how close and how wide you want to go. Taking all your requirements into account does pretty much eliminate every camera I can think of. I too am currently sticking with my S70, although I do have wide angle lenses for it, as well as strobes.... If you do find a camera that ticks all (or even most) of your list, please tell us about it! regards
  2. I take the o-rings out of the seal grooves / flanges and place them inside the housing, which I then close without the O-rings in place. I've been doing this for the last three years, and haven't had any problems yet. Being inside the housing means that very little (if any) dust gets on to the o-ring, and in any case I service the o-ring before putting it back into the seal grooves / flanges before the next time I use the housing. Another solution is to put the o-ring inside a (clean) zip lock bag. This might also help prevent / lessen dessication of the o-ring if that is a problem in your environment (i.e. hot and dry). Either way, I think it is valuable to store the o-ring without the pressure of being locked in the seal of the closed housing. HTH!
  3. Hmm, I may be confused by your question, but here goes anyway. Strobes don't directly help the camera focus, unless you are using the modelling light feature that the DS125 has. I don't think the AF35 has this feature though. Indirectly, strobes can assist with focus because they enable you to use a small aperture for a particular shot, which gives you greater depth of field, i.e. more of your shot in focus. Some cameras do use their own flash to provide some light to enable their autofocus to operate in low light situations, but an external underwater strobe will ignore this activity, and will only fire when you actually take the shot, by which time the focussing (for better or worse) is all over. If your camera is struggling to focus there are a couple of things you can do: - ensure you pre-focus your shots - half press the shutter until the camera gets a focus lock. If the lock is not on what you want to photograph, recompose the shot and try again. - use a focus light or the modelling light feature of your strobe. You can use a standard dive torch as a focus light, but the problem with these is that they don't turn off when the actual shot is being taken, and can result in hot spots in the resulting image. The modelling light on the DS125 turns off when the strobe triggers, so causes no problems. The AF35 is designed to be very easy to use (at least as easy as an underwater strobe can be), so it may suit you better than the DS125, but it doesn't have the same power, and probably doesn't have the same coverage. You may well be better of persevering with the DS125. Just my 4c worth!
  4. RAW pertains to how images are generated in the camera. As you no doubt know, light hits the camera's sensor, and is converted into digital information by the sensor. This digital information is then processed to generate the image that you finally get from the camera. Most point and shoot cameras produce images in only one format - jpg (or JPEG). To generate the jpg image file, software inside the camera carries out a number of processes, including: - demosiacing (the sensor in your camera is only able to determine the level of light hitting each sensor site. To achieve a colour image, a filter pattern is used so that only a particular colour (usually one of red, green or blue) hits an individual sensor site. Thus each sensor site has neighbouring sites that measure different colours. As a result, when combining the data from all the sensors of each colour, there is a need to fill in the image information for the 'holes' in the image data that result from neighbouring sensors not being the same colour. This interlopation is called demosiaicing.) - White balancing. The information captured by the sensor is not affected by the white balance setting in your camera, but the setting is used when the camera creates the jpg image. - Colrimetric interpretation, Gamma correction. These pertain to achieving an image with natural and 'correct' looking colours. - Noise reduction, anti-aliasing, and sharpening. These are processes to improve the appearance of detail in the image, especially with 'edges' or boundaries between one thing and another in an image. - compression. jpegs are compressed image files. What this means is that the image data is compressed by various means (i.e. propellerhead mathematics!) to allow the same image to be represented using less memory. Furthermore, the compression is 'lossy'. With jpg compression some of the image data is actually 'thrown away' and cannot be recovered by any post-process. The compression is such that (for most people) the quality of the image is not significantly degraded by the compression process i.e. for the most part the information discarded is not 'visible' in the image anyway. Compression is the reason why a jpg image from a 7Mpx camera is usually less than half the 7Mb in file size that might have been expected. What this means is that when shooting in jpg, your camera is making quite a few decisions for you about how your image will look. Cameras that offer a RAW mode essentially allow you disable all of this processing. Instead, the data from the sensor is stored as it comes off the sensor, with no manipulation. The first impact this has is that the file size will be bigger. A 7Mpx camera will produce RAW files of approx. 7Mb. The second impact this has is that you will need to use software on your computer to do the processing that the camera did in order to produce jpgs (or other image file formats) that can be shared, because the RAW data cannot be read as an image by most image displaying software. There are a variety of tools used to process RAW files. A popular one is the Adobe Camera RAW plug in for their Photoshop product. These RAW processors allow you to control the processing of your RAW data to your own specification, so instead of the camera making decisions about how your image will look, you do. The downside to this, is that you spend alot more time post-processing your images, but some people specifically enjoy this as much as the taking of the photo in the first place. This is all somewhat academic for you, however, because I am pretty sure that the A570 does not have a RAW mode, so the image data is never available in RAW format from your camera. There may be a hack you can download from the internet, and by placing it on your SD card, the camera software is modified to allow you to use a RAW mode. Obviously, this is outside of the warranty, so its very much use at your own risk! Hope that helps.
  5. More a consumer product than prosumer, but it is free: Picasa from Google. Despite being aimed at simplicity, it does read RAW files, can do basic editing (in a non-destructive manner), has handy features like export to email etc. When you first install it, you point it at the location of the images, or just have it index the whole hard drive. You may find that no matter what software you use, the creating a retrospective catalogue of your images with categorisation etc. will be the time consuming task, because it's difficult to get around the fact that to achieve this, you need to look at each image (or at best a group of images) then apply keywords / categories as appropriate.
  6. I was under the impression that the vignetting arises primarily from the relative positions of the converter and the camera's lens. I don't have a G9 or G7, but on my S70, when in wide angle mode, the lens is fully retracted, and when in telephoto mode, the lens is fully extended. I assume the same applies to the G9/7. With the long telephoto end of the G7 and G9, the lens extension is comparitively longer than on P and S cameras with less telephoto zoom, thus the port has to be longer to accommodate the lens. This results in the converter being positioned further from the camera lens (when it is wide angle mode) than intended when designed, and thus vignetting arises. Perhaps this is entirely wrong, or an over-simplification?
  7. Hi Grant I did this trip a couple of years ago. It was excellent. I didn't have a camera at the time, so I can't speak about the photography of the dolphins from personal experience, but we certainly got pretty close. Most of the dolphin action is in the first few metres of water, so very shallow. Viz wasn't too bad, probably around 12 metres or so on the day we did the trip. We were quite close in to shore, so if there's been alot of rain prior to the trip, run-off from the land could well reduce the viz. The way the trips work is that they drop snorkellers off in the path of pods of dolphins, who will either swim by or avoid depending on their mood. The dolphins are more likely to hang around if snorkellers are doing lots of interesting stuff (diving down, spinning around, as much underwater acrobatics as possible really). If everyone just paddles around on the surface, the dolphins will probably just buzz past beneath the group. As you are trying to get photos, I suggest you try to find the best snorkellers on the trip and stick by them in the water, with the aim of their antics attracting dolphins giving you better shooting opportunities. One caveat: the swim with dolphins operators in Kaikoura are set up for the tourist trade, and many participants are novices with no prior experience of snorkelling. The staff on the boat may help you with getting your rig in and out, but I probably wouldn't count on it, and your fellow snorkellers may possibly be rather less considerate (or less able to be careful due to inexperience with fins, masks and wetsuits etc) around you and your rig than divers on dive charter boats typically are, so you will probably need to be extra vigilant in guarding your gear at all times. It can be a bit of a dog's breakfast getting into the water! For this reason alone, I would avoid taking strobes just to keep the rig more manageable. Talk to the operator before you go out - I'm sure they will have had people with dSLR rigs in tow before, and can probably advise you on how best to proceed in terms of ensuring your gear doesn't get damaged, even if they can't offer any advice on whether strobes are a good idea photographically. Hope you have a great trip. Another cool thing to do in Kaikoura is go snorkelling around the seal colony there. Try to get out in the morning in late afternoon when the tourist groups aren't there. We went out in the morning (just two of us) and got buzzed by seals quite close in to shore.
  8. Hi Higgo I have an A85 and WPDC30 rig: it has given me numerous great results, so you will not be disappointed. Obviously you can clean the outside of the housing with water . I don't see any reason why you can't clean the inside as well, so long as you dry it thoroughly before use (beware of water droplets getting trapped in/on the control shafts). The control shafts will be stainless steel, and the shaft tips are rubber, so these will not be affected by a little fresh water. The lock washers may not be stainless steel though, so there may be a small risk of rust on these. Warm, mildy soapy water is good for removing salt deposits, if that is a concern. You can leave the housing soaking in water for a day or two if you like. I have always given pre-used housings a 'no camera' test dive to at least 30m (approx. 90ft) with blue tissue paper inside (if there is a leak, the tissue paper goes dark blue and its easy to spot the colour change) just to make sure. Have a close look at the O-ring when you service it, and also the O-ring channel on both parts of the housing. If the O-ring has any nicks, cuts or damage you should seriously consider replacing it. Most manufacturers advise replacing o-rings once a year. That may be a little paranoid and excessive, but for the price of an O-ring, its fairly cheap peace of mind. Good luck!
  9. According to the Inon America website: UCL-165M67 close up lens details the macro lens is designed to decrease the close focus distance, not increase it. If you can find a wet mount diopter, which as far as I know just magnifies rather than affecting focus distance, you may be able to achieve what you want.
  10. Aqualung (aka US Divers) have brought out a rework of an early double hose regulator that vents exhaust air behind the diver's head. It's called the Mistral. More info at the links below: Aquanaut NZ website: Mistral regulator Aqualung UK website: Mistral regulator
  11. I suspect most, if not all P'n'S cameras will exhibit this behaviour. The pre-flash is used by the camera to determine exposure settings. In manual mode, the camera doesn't need to determine exposure settings because it just shoots according to the values you set. Thus I doubt that any P'n'S cameras will fire a pre-flash in manual mode - it's redundant! If the setting on the EV controller was available as a waterproof switch, then you would be able to change the strobe mode from pre-flash to no pre-flash underwater. At present, unfortunately, that's wish list material. I'm not sure if other makes of strobe (that typically use a fibre-optic cable to sync with the camera) would provide the pre-flash / no pre-flash mode switch underwater, but if you want to switch between manual and Av (etc) modes alot, it might be worth a look.
  12. The other fly in the ointment is the 35-210mm (equivalent) zoom lens. That's alot of zoom that really isn't much use underwater, and from the looks of things on the dpreview.com preview, its the same lens as the G7, which has vignetting problems with wide angle adapters because of the length of the lens. To solve the vignetting, you have to zoom in a little bit, which reduces the point of having the wide angle adapter in the first place.... Oh well, at least its got RAW!
  13. Hi Oskar I don't have any substantive data, but as far as I can see, the Sea & Sea branded cameras are a cosmetic re-branding of their Ricoh or Practica originals. As to what cameras you can use with what housings, Digideep.com maintain a database of this information, which is very good. Based on digideep, the Sea & Sea DX1G housing supports the Ricoh GX100 camera as well as the Sea & Sea DX1G camera. cheers Graham
  14. Hi. I assume you are using the Canon WP-DC40 housing for the S70. To use the UCL165 close up lens, you need an adapter called the 28AD mount for UCL165AD. details here: http://www.inonamerica.com/products.php?product_id=255 Excessive negative bouyancy of your rig can be reduced by attaching closed cell foam (like plumbers use to lag pipes) around your strobe arms (or any other convenient feature of your rig). How do you find the UWL wide angle lens on the S70? I'm looking at getting one for my rig, so your comments would be of considerable interest. Graham
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