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frogfish

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Posts posted by frogfish


  1. Some years ago, I paid to have Subal retrofit my Miniflex housing for F801s with improved viewfinder optics. It was a bit of a Rube Goldberg fix - a small optic (w/ adjustable diopter) that screws onto the viewfinder of the F801s, about the size of a stack of 50 cent pieces, and then an extension built into the housing back to accomodate it.

     

    But it made a huge difference and was well worth it. Viewing with the additional optics on the F801S was at least as good (and maybe better) than on the Subal S2 housing - as I've been reminded these past few weeks using the F801s housing again while the S2 housing is away in the housing hospital in Austria. The small viewfinder image is probably my main gripe about the S2, which also applies to a couple of Nikon digitals I've played around with a couple of times.

     

    One question I have is whether one might lose the camera data after retrofitting new viewfinder optics. The problem with the S2 and other reduced frame digitals (as I understand it) is that they kept the original viewfinder prism used in the F90 (or was it F80?) body, masking off that part of the viewfinder image that was lost. So the camera data is still down there where it originally was, separated from the now smaller viewfinder image. Magnifying the viewfinder image enough to make it actually possible to use manual focus, for instance, might mean losing the in camera data display, which wouldn't work for me.

     

    I guess what I really want is an u/w system with a viewfinder image as big and bright as the display in an F100 used topside. It's always a pleasant, wonderful shock to pick up the F100 and look through it after a few weeks using the S2, on land or underwater.


  2. I vaguely remember the ball on top of one of my ULCS handles coming loose one time. There may have been some adhesive - these handles may not have been designed to come apart. I'd contact ULCS directly for advice. In the meantime...

     

    Rather than using vice grips or the like directly on the ball, you might try clamping an arm section onto it, really tightening it down, and using that for the extra leverage to try to rotate it out.

     

    If all else fails, your back-up plan - if you have a couple of triple clamps - would be to use those between the handles and the first arm sections, with the controllers mounted in the third slots. That's more or less what I did when I used to use an Ike slave controller for one of my strobes - not something I do now.

     

    Frogfish


  3. Last time I looked, Ikelite didn't make a T-connector. If they did, it would probably cost almost as much as a double cord anyway. I don't think the extra wire is the biggest part of the cost, it's the connectors and putting them together right.

     

    If the eBay strobe doesn't come with a cord, you'd still have to buy another cord anyway.

     

    If it does, then now you've got a spare. Trust me, one day you'll need it. I generally travel with 2 dual Ike cords and 2 singles. I recall a month-long to PNG a couple of years ago - by the end of it, only one of the single cords was still working.


  4. My name is Robert, and I last TTL'ed three days ago. I can't give it up.

     

    Seriously, TTL was probably the main (but not the only) reason I went with the Fuji S2 instead of a Nikon digital. I've become used to shooting TTL u/w for both macro and (most) wide-angle, and didn't see why I should give it up if I don't have to.

     

    Like a previous poster, I routinely dial in negative flash exposure compensation (usually -0.7 with Ike SS200s, less with my back-up Sea&Sea strobes). No settings works perfectly, but once zeroed in its good over quite a range. I don't think I'd be getting every frame perfectly-exposed-no-bracketing if I were shooting manual strobe either.

     

    The big plus, for me, is being able to respond quickly to a new subject, different angle, move in closer to a subject (or when the subject moves close to me).

     

    If I had a strobe controller on the housing that would allow me to change power settings on both strobes without having to swim out to each end of my long arms every time I changed the aperture or distance to subject, I might be more interested in experimenting with manual strobe for TTL than I am.

     

    Frogfish


  5. Ikelite's official answer is on their ports for Nikon DSLR housing page...

     

    http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/2port_nikon.html

     

    For the 12-24 mm DX-ED wide-angle lens, they call for using the #5503.50 dome port together with the #5509.12 special internal port sleeve with rubber pads to operate the zoom. The "?*" notation means that Ikelite believes a diopter is NOT required with this lens and dome configuration. YMMV.

     

    Frogfish


  6. That is a fabulous - if a bit sad - sequence. One of my worries shooting u/w is that the effects of my strobes (or even just the distraction of my presence) is going to make one of my subjects more vulnerable to becoming dinner for someone else. Blue trevallies are a particular concern, as they are known to shadow divers on night dives looking for the chance to swoop in on an octopus or the like blinded by the diver's lights. So I know how you feel, but as long as it wasn't intentional....

     

    Matt - this strange posture in #3 is not at all uncommon. I'm sure a cephalopod specialist could say exactly what it means, but I believe this is a standard cuttlefish threat/attack posture.

     

    Here's a close-up of a larger sepia - one not likely to become lunch for even a big lizardfish - in a similar pose.

     

     

    DSCF2750_TG.jpg


  7. For those for whom price is never an issue, buying the newest and the best may be the way to go, but not all of of us are in that situation. Buying a car just before - or even just after - newer models have been released can be a practical approach to solving automotive needs, and the principle is also applicable to camera equipment.

     

    The fact that the D100 is - or soon will be - out of production shouldn't itself put the camera and housing out of consideration for everyone. Used bodies at more reasonable prices should be available for some time to come, and prices for new and used housings may come down as well. If an older camera-and-housing combination meets the photographer's needs as well as more costly newly released cameras and housings, then the older model gear can sometimes be an optimal solution in a very expensive field.

     

    My first underwater housing was the Subal Miniflex for the F801s, a Nikon body that had long been out of production when I bought the housing for it. The housing was much less expensive than a comparable housing for a newer camera, and I was able to purchase two bodies in excellent condition for less than the cost of a new, in production body at that time.

     

    A top-of-the-line new model camera such as the F90 or F100 would unquestionably outperform my F801s on many counts, but only at much higher cost. I've taken photos with the F801s that I'm very happy with, and I'm sure I will take more.

     

    I still use the F801s when my digital housing is in for servicing, as is the case right now. In fact I used it just yesterday, on some dives ( molas and mantas ) here in Bali with visiting wetpixel-ler Alex Mustard.

     

    Frogfish


  8. In addition to blowing up the image, try using lower opacity levels with the stamp or healing tool.

     

    Background blue water is often a gradient where even a slight mismatch in the source and target color really stands out. Once things have started to go wrong, efforts to fix the problem often just make it worse.

     

    Try using a source for the stamp tool that is exactly the same color as the target for the first stamp - often that will be more or less parallel somewhere in the image - in this case, in the upper right corner. You can also use the eye dropper (sized up) or info palette to check the color number of the source and then locate a matching target area to start the repair process.

     

    Frogfish


  9. I had a similar problem with my Subal housing for Fuji S2, which is based on same Nikon body as the D100. I stole the teflon bushing from an UltraLight clamp and used it as a shim under the spring that tensions the wheel that engages the sub-command dial.

     

    I told Subal what I had done, and I was cautioned that if the wheel is pushed out too much, it could interfere with closing the housing and cause a leak. A warning worth keeping in mind if you're making this kind of adjustment.

     

    Part of my problem was that the sub-command dial had become a bit stiff, and the serrations/grooves had worn down, presumably through use in the housing, making the dial smoother and more difficult to positively engage.

     

    I took the camera to Fuji and asked them to clean and lubricate the mechanism and replace the dial. Initially, they were saying they would have to replace the entire top half of the camera, which would have been big bucks for what is really a 20 cent piece of plastic. In the end, they were able to get a new sub-command dial from Nikon and replace it at a reasonable charge. Worked much better after this.


  10. Echoing the previous responders, adding an underwater camera hugely multiplies the task loading at every stage in a dive. You want to be sure that you have more than just basic proficiency with the fundamental skills - they should already all be second-nature.

     

    The fact that you will be spending much of your time staring through a viewfinder, and preoccupied with thinking about photographic subjects and technical decisions, also makes you intrinsically less reliable as a dive buddy. I never bring a camera if I'm diving with a relative beginner.

     

    PADI doctrine aside, the reality of u/w photography on most liveaboards and many shore-based operations is that you will sometimes find yourself alone, whether by choice or involuntarily, as your buddy or the group moves on while you are engaged in making a photograph.

     

    This means you need to be more self-reliant u/w and capable of self-rescue, if necessary, and you may want to consider ways to improve or increase the redundancy or reliability of vital gear. Since you're more likely to find yourself on your own, it's also vitally important that you carry your own emergency surface signalling equipment - a big SMB, or sausage, a whistle, a good light or flashing strobe, and perhaps more - on every dive. Everybody should, but many don't.

     

    (For more on surface survival equipment and techniques, take a look at this article, which originally appeared in the 2002 Annual Edition of Asian Diver:

     

    http://www.tabula-international.com/DIV/SMB4i.pdf

     

    I don't want to knock PADI so-called "Advanced" Course, but it's badly misnamed. Taking this course will not make you an "advanced" diver. The reality is that this course just provides a few more supervised dives in a somewhat wider range of conditions - one so-called "deep" dive, a night dive, etc. - than you will have encountered in BOW training. . That's not a bad thing in itself, but I think you will probably want to get considerably more experience u/w under your belt before you think about taking a camera down with you.

     

    One PADI course that I strongly DO recommend is the Rescue Diver course, which provides training in some very important basic skills and should dramatically enhance your capability to assist yourself or another diver in an emergency.

     

    Frogfish


  11. Just rinsing the o-ring in clean water while running it through your (clean) fingers should usually be enough to remove any dirt or old grease. Some o-ring greases (i.e., Ikelite's) are "stickier" than others, but you will be able to feel whether there is any grit or residue that is not coming off easily. When you are cleaning the O-ring, you are also inspecting it (visually and tactile-ly) for any racks, splits, or other problems.

     

    After washing, run the o-ring through a clean lintless cloth - 3M's ScotchBrite "High Permance Cloths" are widely available in supermarkets, and cost a fraction of what essentially the same piece of cloth sold in some high-end photographic and electronic equipment stores would.

     

    If something more than just water is needed, I would go with a mild detergent (such as J&J Baby Shampoo), properly diluted, rather than soap solution, which has a high ph.

     

    Cleaning o-rings is a very basic and important issue w/ any u/w photo gear. This question probably should have been posed in the "Beginners' Forum" rather than "Digital SLRs/Housings".

     

    Frogfish


  12. P. dipiliktabub (Newman & Cannon 1994) is #350 in Gosliner, Behrens and Williams "Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific (Monterey: 1996), a good general id book for marine inverterates. There are 55 polyclad flatworms, with id and distribution data. Newman and Cannon are credited for original descriptions for a lot of them - basically every polyclad listed that was described in 3 years before publication. Most distribution ranges for polyclads id's by Newman & Cannon are Papua New Guinea, and most were listed as described in 1994, so I assume they did a a major trip to PNG that year or the year before.

     

    The photo used in this volume is credited to Newman and Andrew Flowers. The id section specifies that the color of the marginal band is yellow cream with a bright orange rim..

     

    There are clearly a lot of undescribed polyclads out there. In a field this little known, questions of what constitutes color variation within a species (or not) are not always going to have hard and fast answers.

     

    The distribution ranges initially given for recently described species will also require revision as new examples are found. (Remember when people thought Pygmy Seahorses (H. barbiganti) could only be found a few places in Eastern Indonesia?)

     

    We're just beginning to understand the way that the Indonesian Throughput and other currents affect distribution of species, endemism and genetic exchange within the larger Indo-Pacific area.

     

    TNC's Southeast Asia Center for Marine Protected Areas has recently come up with a list of 11 distinct ecoregions within the larger Indo-Pacific "Coral Triangle" (encompassing all of Indonesia and the Philippines, plus most of PNG and part of Malaysian Borneo). It's based in part on earlier work by Gerry Allen. Within these eco-regions, they are identifying highly inter-connected "functional seascapes" which in turn will help in macro-level planning for establishing MPAs. These schema can also be very useful to divers and u/w photographers in terms of thinking about the patterns of marine biodiversity in this region.

     

    For me, all this is a big part of the excitement of the Indo-Pacific - you can't always just look it up. There's a real possibility of seeing (and photographing) a previously undescribed species on almost every dive.

     

    Frogfish


  13. Wide angle lenses do not need achromat diopters.  Single element ones work fine.  The purpose of two elements is to reduce chromatic aberrations---more an issue at longer focal lengths.

     

    I agree that chromatic abberration isn't a problem for wide-angle (which it definitely can be for macro), but I still think there is a problem with the quality of the optics of some single-element diopters. That said, for me this has been at least partly a function of domes and how they work with different lenses. With the 20 mm. fixed focal length w/a lens and the older, smaller Subal dome, there was a huge difference between using a Hoya (and one other) single-element lens vs. the Niklon 5T or 6T.

     

    With the 12-24 and 17-35 zooms used with the larger Subal dome, I've had got very satisfactory results using high quality single-element diopters. (Nikon, of course, doesn't make a multiple-element diopter in the 77 mm size, and I'm don't know if anyone else does either.)


  14. Where is DEMA going to be this year? Probably won't be able to go this year.

     

    I went to Vegas, what was it, 2 or 3 years ago. It was good for meeting up with friends and folks I'd dived with years back and hadn't seen in awhile. There were some nice scubatoys around, but the photo stuff on display that year didn't knock me out, but this may have changed since then.

     

    Frogfish


  15. I'm pretty sure that's G. favagineus, fairly common throughout the Indo-Pacific. I've never heard of the synonum.

     

    Helmut Debelius (and several other sourcebooks) give the common name "Honeycomb moray", but I think I've also heard them called something else. Very pretty eels, which can grow fairly large.

     

    Here's a couple more, both from Amed, Bali, in Indonesia:

     

    DSCF3244_TG.jpg

     

    DSCF3257_TG.jpg


  16. It could be just that I think they're better because they cost more, but I feel strongly that the Nikon multi-element filter-mount diopters are much better than any single-element diopter I've used, though the thicker assembly can cause vignetting.

     

    Among single-element options, the (very expensive) B&W filters and diopters also seem superior to the Hoya filters I have.

     

    Frogfish


  17. Very glad to see this is being resolved. I know some of the people at Dive UK, which I consider the best popular dive magazine in print. (Unlike others, Dive actually runs negative reviews of dive equipment and operators - believe it or not.) They also have a well-earned reputation for being scrupulous both in crediting and paying contributors.

     

    Frogfish

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