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Posts posted by frogfish

  1. ... but the bottom line is quality - just how good is digital in relation to film???


    All the research I have done so far points to the benefits of shooting digital .. is offset by the idea that once you shoot digital, you are stuck with whatever mode you shot the original in - whereas, shooting film, you can always retain the most information at any given point in time based upon current and future scanning technology.  ....I was thinking of a hybrid solution for shooting underwater - shooting color neg and scanning at high rez...  Color neg retains more highlight and shadow information as compared to chromes and is more forgiving in exposure errors.  In addition, there is virtually no shutter lag as compared to digital cameras.


    Are there any serious pro's here who can give some advice on this issue?



    No illusions about being a serious pro (defined here as someone who at least makes more on pictures than he/she spends on cameras, lenses, memory cards etc.), but I have to jump in and say, au contraire.


    If you shoot raw (and most everyone I here I know does), you are not by any means 'stuck in whatever mode you shot the original in'. You can, in effect, push or pull the 'digital negative' by at least one EV stop either way (and then do it again, and if you want sandwich the two as layers to expand dynamic range beyond anything possible with transparency film... And you aren't stuck with the Fuji or Kodak color response curves, though if you like Provia blues, or Kodak reds, you can have them too.


    Color neg will give you more latitude, but more grain too (and cheesy colors to boot, at least to my taste) - and that's before you scan. I've gone back and scanned some old stuff I shot in color neg - the little I had left which had held something resembling the original colors that is - and I have to say I think your idea of shooting color neg and scanning it (unless you've got a drum scanner by your bed, and even then) is likely guaranteed to give you the worst of all three worlds.


    My 6 MP Fuji S2 gave me tons more usable resolution than I could ever get out of a scan of a slide using a scanner I could afford. With the higher resolution digitals like the D2X or the high-end Canons there really isn't any comparison.


    But these aren't even the biggest factors shooting u/w. The real differences u/w are simply these: (1) being able to check the image and the histogram after shooting, to check lighting and exposure, and most of all (2) having room for 70+, or 150+, or 300 full raw exposures instead of 36 frames before you have to come up, rinse the housing, dry it, open it, and change the film/card.



  2. I've was always happy enough with my heavy Ikelite SS200s,.... when they worked that is. Ike has always been good about fixing my storbes, but reliability - or failing that, redoubled redundancy - counts for a lot more when you live somewhere where you can't just fedex the stuff off overnight and get it back in a few days without paying huge duty (and/or bribes) to the local customs folks, assuming you get your gear back at all.


    Living in Indonesia, my biggest problem is arranging to always have at least one pair of strobes that actually work, plus paying for trips to Hong Kong or Singapore to send off or pick up strobes being sent off or returned from servicing, one factor that has kept me from looking too closely at the Subtronics (or Hartenbergers) - I can't afford two or three pairs. I know people who are happy with the D125s, but my frustrations with my SS200s over the past five years have just been too much. Hence the Inon D2000w's and YS-90DX, which should be light enough that I canbring both sets with me on a trip. Provided, of course, that I can ever figure out how the Inons actually work.


    I don't think I would have been happy with strobes like the Inons (or the Sea&Sea 90DX strobes) back when I was shooting with a film camera and housing, the old Velvia 50, or even Provia 100. It took a lot of light to flood a macro subject at an effective aperture of f/64, or to light up a decent piece of a wall or wreck on wide angle Provia at even medium apertures. With digital, I don't seem to need as much oomph as before, it doesn't seem tthat much much power to paint in a bit of the color I want. Of course, it helped that the Fuji S2 worked nearly as well at ISO200 as ISO100. I know I'm going to want to shoot at ISO100 more with the D2X, so that's one stop lost.


    Your own magic filters, Alex, have finally given me a way to take some pictures I'm happy with even when all of my strobes are on the fritz, or else in transit from their respective bi-annual vacations to the lands of their manufacturers.


    But I do envy the light I see in some of your pictures.



  3. I knew I was in good hands when I saw your post. Who knows, I might even get this puppy in the water within the next week or two.


    One does slightly regret, Alex, that you never considered the military, so that we might be able to talk about "Col. Mustard, in the billiard room, with the D2N housing and the ULCS strobe arm....."


    Meanwhile, I'm still considering writing a murder mystery that more or less follow those lines, involving a perplexing series of (creative, of course) homicides using odd bits of gear, perpetrated amongst the members of slighlty oddball community of underwater photography fanatics during their annual meeting. I'm going to call it "Death at DEMA."



  4. Regarding the focusing light (which I assume is what you mean by "BEAM (hotspot)", I wouldn't want to put too much trust in my Japanese on something like this, but I THINK the Inon D2000W focusing light has a special circuit hat turns it off when the camera shutter is depressed. That may not work if all the wires the strobe expects to see aren't hooked up through the hotshoe connection, however.


    Also, INON supplies red gels that can be stuck on over the focusing light. Presumably the intent is to minimize disruption and/or alarm that focusing lights can cause in light sensitive late night marine wildlife - apparently a lot of fishes etc. can't see red wavelengths very well. I imagine that this would also reduce the hotspot, but would presumably also introduce a red cast if the shut-off circuitry I've described didn't actually work.



  5. Alex,


    Thanks very much for this. This is the sort of important information one might think could be found in Subal's so-called manual for D2N housing, but never mind.


    "Cutting the green wire" takes me right back to all those wonderful movies where someone is trying to disarm a bomb as the seconds on a digital clock tick down. Sweat drips from his brow. He moves his wire clippers close to the green wire, then backs away. More sweat from the brow. He moves the clippers closer. ("No, no," someone says, "cut the RED wire, you fool"... BOOM!)


    I'll try this tomorrow - having already segued into the single malt stage of the evening.



  6. Today was the first day I've had time to put the D2X into the housing and test controls (OK, more or less) and see if a couple of strobes might work. I immediately ran into the same problems that several people here mentioned - the ready light indicator in the camera viewfinder blinks and the camera will not take a picture.


    Based on the discussion here (and the diagram posted by Ike - see URL below)


    D1X hotshoe diagram


    ... I'm assuming that I just need to tape over the readly-light pin on the camera hotshoe plate that would be at 2:00 (looking down and the central connection is in the middle and the other two are at 7:00 and 5:00), as Rocha suggests. That is, I'm assuming that it would be a mistake to try to try to tape over the spring-loaded pin in the hot shoe connector in the housing, and I'm a bit reluctant to try to remove any of the pins in the hot shoe connector. And hope it works.


    (I'm sure there's an excellent reason why this camera won't work with strobes and cords as they are out of the box, like it did with the Fuji S2 or previous housed film cameras I've used, and that someday someone will explain it to me.)



  7. Leslie,


    I was just going through the raw outtake shots from last year's Raja Empat trip and found a nice invert you might like. I've got an idea about the family, but that's it.


    I need to process it before I can post it to ask you what it is, but I'll try to do that in the next couple of days. Don't want you feeling under-utilized - I know you'll never feel under-appreciated!


    Meanwhile, I might be passing through LA in April next year, spending a few days visiting family. Will you be around? Can I buy you a cup of coffee?



  8. All I can tell you (so far) is that these strobes take the same 5-pin Nikonos (on the camera port end) cords (single or double) that the Sea&Sea DX90 does. I didn't realize that, ordered new sets cords with these strobes, and now find that I have a little more redundancy in the synch cord department than I hope I'll need (but experience suggests I will).



  9. Well, I can't legitimately participate in this poll because I still haven't even got my new D2X or housing in the water. That's partly because I've yet to get any of the strobes that I now have here to work on the table, though I've just started. (It looks like I'll have to disconnect some pins, but I want to make sure I know what I'm doing first).


    Anway, my intention is to be able to use the D2X (in Subal housing) with (not at the same time):

    - S&S 90DXs (these were supposed to be back-ups to the SS200s, but since the SS200s spent more time in the shop in Ohio or in transit than they did on my rig, the 90Dxs became primary strobes, sort of by default);

    - Inon 2000w (new, sans manual, I haven't got a clue how these work yet)

    - Ikelite SS200s (in manual mode, as a last layer of back-up?)


    I'll be happy to share what I like and don't like about using these strobes with the D2X... once I get something actually working!



  10. Just got my hands on a couple of the new Inon D2000W strobes.  .. I have just given them a try in the swimming pool before heading to Bali next week.  Here are my first impressions:


    - The strobe allows a whole lot of options and adjustments (S-TTL, etc.), but the thing is so new, they don't even have an English manual yet.  So I stuck with the Auto and Manual modes, and got pretty good results (as good as you can get in a pool, anyway)....[deleted]


    While you're here in Bali, I'd be happy to buy (or make) dinner (name your price!) if you could take the time to explain to me what you've figured out about these strobes and how they work. I just got mine, and I haven't got a clue. (I do know that I'm going to have to do something about the cable - I've hooked them up once and I get the ready-flashing signal inside the view-window of the D2X, same as with the S&S 90DXs.) Given that the back of one these new Inons looks like part of the instrument control panel on a Lear-Jet, I'm finding the lack of a manual a bit of a challenge.


    I'll be here (home in Sanur) until 23rd, then plan to spend four or five days at Puri Jati, Menjangan, and Tulamben in the north, hopefully testing (finally) the D2X with these new-fangled Inons and my older strobes before deciding what to take to Raja Empat in January. Any help or advice - from others here as well - would be gratefully appreciated!



  11. Interestingly, unlike Rocha, I think the composition of my shots has improved since I switched to using a w/a zoom for w/a. For years I shot all w/a with a 20 mm prime (on my old F801s film housing). When I moved to the fuji S2, I also bought a 11-24 mm zoom.


    The difference for me, I think, is being able to change framing quickly without having to move forward or backwards. Particularly when shooting w/a with fish in the scene, as there may not be time to frame properly with a prime lens before the subject swims away or changes position, esp. if it's necessary to approach too close to its comfort zone. I do use the 10.5 prime a lot, more and more actually, but I haven't used the 20 mm prime (which would be the equivalent of a 30 mm on my rig now anyway) for a long time.


    As per Rocha's comment, when diving with a 12-24 mm (as opposed to the 17-55 or a lens with a larger zoom range), one is still very focused on finding the right wide-angle subject, but it can be useful to be able to quickly zoom in and out to get the subject in the frame the right way.



  12. All these are good. I've also used the core of a plastic line spool, taping the synch cord where it comes out of the port on the housing to the outside curve on the spool, to avoid the synch cord(s) taking sharp bend.


    If you're passing through Bali on one the right days of the ceremonial calendar, it's possible to arrange for a special Hindu ceremony to provide spiritual protection for your camera and other underwater gear. It's a very nice ceremony, and you'll have some nice charms woven out of cut pieces of palm leaf that you have to leave on the housing until they fall off by themselves. I don't see how it could hurt. .



  13. It's interesting (and I think misleading) that your guide called it a "devilfish". Not only is Pegasus sea moth is the standard common name, but devilfish usually would mean a species of the Inimicus genus of scorpionfishes.


    Nice that you got too Pegasuses (pegasi?) in pretty contrasting colors like that.



  14. What pmooney says is very true, particuarly on tough airlines (like Cathay) out of some airports (like Hong Kong) where checked luggage weight and carry-on limitations are rigidly enforced for economy class passengers.


    I can think of at least four occasions in the past five years when I've tried to travel on a cheap ticket, but was then hit with overweight charges so bad that it would have been cheaper to fly business. (On one of those occasions, I was able to pay cash on my card for the upgrade to business, twice the economy ticket price, but still worth it.



  15. I fly in all kinds of airlines (although never Cathay) and they all have the 15 pounds limit, but they never check it. I wouldn't worry. If you are still worried, just keep the back pack on your back or on the floor close to your feet in the counter and outside their view. I bet they won't check the weight. They will only make you check stuff in if it doesn't fit in the cabin.






    I fly Cathay all the time, and have been doing so for more than 20 years. CP used to be a great airline, but they're not any more. You're right that Cathay is usually reasonable about carry-on bags (but the airport authorities in HK aren't - see below!). CP is very strict on the checked bag weight allowance. If you're more than a few pounds over, you will pay. (I had to pay over HK$1200 (about US$160) when I flew back from HK to Bali two weeks ago.)


    More important, if you're routing through Hong Kong (i.e., leaving the airport and rechecking in - not just transiting between flights), the airport people will not allow you to carry more than one carry-on unless you have a business or first class boarding pass or a special tag issued by Cathay, which Cathay usually will not give you. HK Int'l is the only airport in the region that does this, and it's infuriating. (You're probably ok if you're just transiting.) The only way I've been able to finess this is to split up cameras and lenses in both carry-ons (my Lowepro back pack and a second carry-on, a Pelican case that just fits the dimensions limit rack at the airport). If you show the people at the entrance to the immigration area that you have cameras/lenses in both carry-ons, and provided the bags aren't too big, they might give you a pass, but there's no guarantee. (That's why my second bag is a Pelican, which can be checked if necessary. But keep in mind that if the airport people insist that the second carry-on be checked, Cathay can and usually will charge you for the additional checked piece and its weight.)


    One more thing, if your Cathay ticket is part of an multiple international ticket which includes an origin in the US (and maybe Europe, I'm not sure), then they are supposed to give you a 20 kg weight allowance, not 15, and that usually means you can get by with 25 kg in practice. The 15 kg limit only applies to tickets covering journeys with one or more legs entirely within the Asian region.


    I hate flying, hate airlines. But if I have the choice, I much prefer to deal with problems like these on Singapore Air than CP.



  16. I'm reeling at the idea of a P. volitans the size of a lunch tray off the Carolinas.


    I'd be interested if anyone has figured out what the lionfish are eating in their new habitat ,and the level of risk that they may outcompete indigenous predators in this new environment. As many here already know, there have been introductions of a number of Red Sea species into the eastern Mediterranean since the opening of the Suez canal.


    The pattern of newly evolved species originating in the Southeast Asia-Indo-Pacific "Coral Triangle" biodiversity hotspot radiating out and displacing relic populations seems well established in the Pacific-Indian Ocean, and presumably may have also extended into what is now the Bahamas and parts of the Atlantic eons before the continents of North and South America were joined and the Caribbean became an independent secondary originating source of new species.


    (See John C. Briggs, "Coral Reefs: Conserving the evolutionary sources" in Biological Conservation 126 (2005) and "The marine East Indies: diveristy and speciation" in Journal of Biogeography 32 (2005).


    Now humans, with their aquaria and ballast tanks, are mixing it up and creating avenues for exotics to move to new environments that have been cut off for millions of years. It could eventually become the marine equivalent of the incredible transfer of terrestrial biota over the past 500 years since the beginning of the Columbian exchange.

  17. I think mattdiver's very clear formula expresses the ideal, but it also may be possible to produce high quality printed images very successfully with somewhat lower levels of resolution in the original. It depends partly on the image, also processing.


    Specialised programs such as Genuine Fractals © can do an incredible job of rescaling images to higher than original resolution without generating artifacts of pixellation, and the book publisher/designer may have access to other tools. Again, how well this works may depend on the image. I certainly would not assume that 6 MP cameras cannot produce images good enough for printing at 8' x 12' at 300 dpi.



  18. I have encountered the same or similar problem with some Subal housings.


    As Ike said, there can be subtle differences among identical model cameras - and I like the word "detent"! Even the same camera, over time, will undergo changes that can affect how it works in a housing. The command dials can become stiffer and harder to turn (solution: clean and lubricate, by professionals); the grooves on side of the dial can wear smooth over time, making it harder for the housing control to engage properly (Solution: replacement of the dial, same); and the spring that tensions the control against the dial can weaken (solution: replace the spring - I carry spares - or add a shim to increase tension).


    After shooting a humpback underwater in South Africa, I realized that I had been pressing on the shutter control on my FS2 housing so hard that I'd bent the metal arm, so it would no longer engage properly with the shutter button on the camera. (And I hadn't got anywhere near as many exposures of the whale as I thought I'd taken.) It took half an hour of fiddling to rebend it just right so it worked again.



  19. Scubaskeeter,


    Thanks. I don't think I'm going to get very far with any of the international majors, at least not while I'm living here in Indonesia. Insurance is difficult here anyway - something I'm finding out as we look into the issue of sourcing insurance here for the new entity that will be co-managing Komodo National Park.


    I was disappointed that Divemaster won't insure anyone outside of the UK, because their program sounded good (on paper) and I liked the idea of doing everything with one carrier.


    The fact that DEPP's website has been moved and another company may now be behind it makes me nervous, particularly since nobody here seems to know the real story behind the change - if there has been a change.


    I guess I'll contact DEPP and see what's what for the cameras and contact DAN-US about dive coverage, see if they'll take me on. [incorrect information deleted]



  20. PRC,


    Don't worry. Anyway, a bit of previsualizing of a flood may be one of the best things you can do - if it leads you to check the port and body o-rings that one extra time. But in the end, as somebody here has already said, it's isn't whether, it's when.


    People dumping their rig in on top of mine in an already over-crowded rinse tanks scare me too. It's particularly worrisome in that it's actually easier to have a flood in a rinse tank (or near the surface) than at depth, where the negative pressure within the housing will be working for you to hold everything together.



  21. Things don't look good. I contacted Dive Master Insurance in the UK to see if I could get dive insurance (and camera equipment coverage from them. But it's no go. Thanks, DAN.


    The reply to my query to DiveMaster is below. I assume that Dwan meant to write "expat residents of Indonesia" rather than "residents of expats in Indonesia". Divemaster does get credit for a very prompt response. At least I didn't have to spend $200 on phone charges to find out that this won't work.





    Dear Robert



    Thank you for your email received in the office today. Unfortunately we are not licensed to insure residents of expats in Indonesia, so I am afraid that we will be unable to help you on this occasion.


    Regards Dawn

    01702 509093

    Dive Master Insurance Consultants Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, reference number 306316


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