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Everything posted by woody

  1. Sorry about that - pic was too large and I had to go away and reduce. Here it is now.
  2. Greetings all and Happy New Year from Malta. This is a group shot from my club's recent Red Sea trip, where, as you can see, we had some pretty exciting encounters!
  3. First of all, Happy Christmas all! I'm back from my Red Sea trip and had an opportunity to test the X-Drive. I use a CP995 with a 256Mb card, so I get to store some 250-300 shots taken at the highest possible JPEG quality. The way I worked was like this. Once the card was getting full, I trasferred the images to the drive. Not being that confident that all was working OK (I had only received the drive the day before I left on the trip, and there is no way to view the images on the drive), I left the "keepers" stored on the camera's memory, and deleted the rest to make room. I did this two or three times, each time obviously having to be a bit more selective. In all I shot some 500 images, not all u/w. Once back home, I transferred the images, but aaargh, I discovered that a few jpegs (10-15) which were stored on the drive were corrupt. Luckily I did not lose anything serious, as all the images I thought were the better ones were still on the camera. I dug around a bit and discovered that the problem is a known one. Basically there is a bug in the drive's firmware that kicks in when images are fragmented on the camera memory. For more info see http://www.dp-now.com/Features/Peripheral_....html#important. I have emailed Vosonic for the firmware fix, and I'll keep you updated with the way this progresses. The irony is that had I formatted the memory card each time I transferred, I would not have experienced the problem! On the other hand, no harm done luckily, and now I know about the problem I can try to get it fixed. Apart from this, the little machine worked "as advertised"! The diving was super by the way - Southern Egyptian Red Sea on a great liveaboard the Coral Queen - but I had some equipment probs which screwed up many of my photos. I have emailed Aquatica and will post an update once I hopefully have a satisfactory resolution. John
  4. At the surface, probably a bit softer. Of course, at a deeper depth, stiffer (otherwise it would get stuck ) John
  5. Hi again, I don't know if this post should be here or in the main "Housings" one, but here goes anyway. Some good news, Aquatica seem to have solved the "stiff/sticking" A995 shutter release design problem. To remind you, the problem was that when pressing the shutter release, the "standard" spring does not have enough strength to counteract the pressure "suck" at deeper depths (not so deep actually - below some 20m/65ft), resulting in a "stuck" shutter. But with a stronger spring the release button becomes really hard and uncomfortable to press at shallow depths. Since the housing is rated down to 100m/330ft, we A995 owners rightly expect that the release works well all the way from surface to this depth. Well, yesterday I pressure tested my A995 housing with a newly designed shutter release assembly kindly sent to me by Aquatica, which I replaced myself. The new assembly features a smaller diameter shaft and spring. From the surface down to at least 35m/115ft the release worked as it should - no stiffness, and no getting stuck. I hope that there will be no problems at deeper depths. There was no camera in the housing (I was pressure testing) but I don't believe that this should make any difference at all. So I suggest to all A995 owners with this problem to organise a replacement shutter assembly with Aquatica. But I'm first on the list (the one they sent me is not anodized as I was in a big rush for it) So thanks Aquatica, for fixing this. John
  6. For B&W printing from inkjet printers, check out http://www.lyson.com. They do a range of B&W inks for various Epson and Canon models. I have not tried them personally.
  7. I've just ordered a 12Gb model from eBay to use on my upcoming trip to the Red Sea. I'll let you know how it goes. John
  8. Kasey, You are right of course, but with the Coolpix 995, f7.5 is in fact the smallest aperture that you can use when the lens is at its widest setting, so if you want to have a constant, smallest aperture throughout the complete zoom range this is the smallest you can go. When in macro mode, with the lens set at the widest setting at the limit of the macro "sweet spot" (i.e. when the flower is yellow, for those who own a Coolpix), the minimum aperture is f9.4. John
  9. James, that is correct. I forgot to mention it. Of course, even with this setting, if the lens is say zoomed too far for a specific aperture, then the camera will still change the aperture. Caroline, my Red Sea trip will be a liveaboard on the Coral Queen. 7 days unlimited diving! http://www.coralqueen.com Sorry, couldn't help it!
  10. Caroline, I have the A995 and YS-90DX. I am really a newbie to underwater photography, but most of my shooting has been at night. At night is just about the only chance I get to go diving nowadays, although I am off to the Southern Egyptian Red Sea next month…YIPPEEEE! But I digress. What works for me for night photography is with the camera on manual I set the shutter speed to 1/125s (this is immaterial really) and I set the aperture at f7.5. With this setting, the f-stop does not change when you zoom the lens in and out, so you can be assured of a consistent setting all the time. I then control exposure from the strobe’s power setting, and for a shot, say at 10-12 inches distance to the subject, the medium setting on the strobe, with the diffuser on, is about right. I have obtained some perfect, predictable exposures this way. Of course, the YS-90DX allows you to do this because of the 12 (I think) power settings it provides. HTH John
  11. I use the Ikelite PC-a strapped onto the strobe. This little torch has a really bright, narrow beam, but so far I have not experienced hot spots in my shots.
  12. Hi, I use the Nikon CP995 in an Aquatica housing, together with a single Sea&Sea YS-90DX strobe. I am curious to find out which camera white balance setting could give the most faithful result with this strobe. The colour temp of the strobe is 5500K which is daylight, however I would imagine that the water between the strobe and the subject would serve as colour filtering, thus making the light bluer, . I am aware that the printer/paper combination one would use would have a marked effect on the final result, however my reasoning is that if one starts from the most faithful colour capture possible, then things should be more predictable from then on. Or am I over simplifying things? Thanks for any advice/experience shared John
  13. Two tips: 1. If you go for a wide angle lens, get Aquatica's own. I don't know about the Inon, but there is a mismatch with the thread of the Sea & Sea WAL, even though the specification is identical. 2. My experience was that the shutter release spring that ships with the housing is too soft for depths below roughly 25m. The button remains depressed once pressed, and only pops up once you ascend to shallower depths. Speak to Aquatica to send you a replacement, stronger spring. I'm sure you will find them extremely accomodating.
  14. Quick update on this, if anybody is interested. Did a night dive yesterday and once below 15 m the release, although still stiff, is workeable, thanks to the increased pressure outside the housing "helping" me to press the shutter release! I'm still interested if anybody knows if this is something that is "expected" and indeed an issue with other housings, and maybe if there is some kind of gadget (lever?) which can help this problem. Thanks, John
  15. I was wondering if anybody has had some experience with the A995 shutter release that can be shared. My experience is that the spring that ships with the housing is comfortable to use. But below a certain depth, some 25m, the shutter release gets stuck down on the first shot, and only releases once I ascend to a shallower depth. It seems that the spring is not strong enough to counteract the "suction" that is caused by the difference in the pressure between outside and inside of the housing. Aquatica have sent me a new, stronger spring, which I successfully replaced. However, this spring is too hard at low depths, and really requires a major effort to depress, which results (in my case at least) to much less comfortable and accurate operation, and to camera shake. I have not yet tried it below some 15m, so I cannot yet tell whether the depth problem is solved, but I suspect that it should be. Not really an ideal solution, especially given that the housing is rated to 100m and IMO should work equally well at all depths down to 100m. Do other housings, even by different manufacturers, suffer from the same problem? Is this a compromise one has to live with? I suspect it may be possible to design something, maybe some sort of lever, that will make the operation much better. Or maybe something is available out there already? Any ideas anyone?
  16. I don't know whether it is acceptable practice, but I would like to use this forum as a means for saying what a pleasure it has been doing business with Aquatica. Some time back I ordered a A995 housing plus a Sea&Sea W/A lens from B&H. I ordered the Sea&Sea, and not the Aquatica lens, because the Sea&Sea was a bit cheaper, and the thread spec was identical so I did not anticipate any problems. BUT when it all arrived the lens did not fit properly, and was getting stuck after just half a turn. I contacted Blake at Aquatica, who agreed that the fit should be OK. He suspected that maybe the paint on the housing was the problem and sent me a new front. But the problem remained. By that time too much time had passed to get a replacement lens from B&H, and anyway Blake had already agreed that if the housing was OK, he would replace the Sea&Sea lens with an Aquatica one. This I received recently, and the fit to the original housing is perfect At the same time, I had a problem with the shutter release below a certain depth, which was resolved to a certain extent, but I will put this in another posting. So anyway, all in all, I would recommend Aquatica's level of service any time! Thanks, Blake.:)
  17. It is a Aquatica housing with the standard tray and Aquatica's own TLC arm
  18. Thanks Dee. From your description, I guess I need an aiming light and not a spotting light! Basically what I am after is a light to affix to the strobe in order to aim the strobe at the subject, and to give enough light for the camera to autofocus properly. But a Princeton Tec headlight or somethimg similar would be useful anyway. Thanks for the tip.
  19. Hi, Can anybody advise on a good spotting light setup for night photography with the YS-90DX? Is a "rubber band" approach the way to go, or are there any better solutions around? And which make/model of torch might be suitable? The camera is a Coolpix 995 - not the best low-light autofocus systems around, so I guess the choice of torch has to take this into consideration! Many thanks, John
  20. I have recently purchased the Aquatica housing. I have only used it twice, but I must say I am very happy with it so far, and also with Aquatica's response to an issue I had with the add-on lens (I will post more about this once it is finally resolved). I have not used a strobe yet, and have just ordered the Sea & Sea YS-90DX from B&H. So I cannot really comment yet about the TTL/no TTL flash issue, about which you should find a lot of information in other threads! This may influence your choice. Try reading this http://www.wetpixel.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=386 and this: http://www.wetpixel.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=219
  21. Finally decided, took the plunge, and I have just received my Aquatica A995! Looks great, and its now sitting in a bucket of water without the camera! Just testing! The strobe will be following soon. But maybe not all OK! I also ordered the Sea & Sea #58070 .56 W/A - the specs I dug up from the internet indicated that the thread sizes matched, and the lens was at a good price. But I tried to screw it into the housing and it seems to be a really tight fit. It screws down maybe half a turn and gets very tight. I don't want to force it as I'm scared of damaging the threads. Has anyone ever tried this combination? Thanks
  22. Thanks Mike and Andi. Sorry for my ignorance, but whats a flip tray? John
  23. Rooster, Thanks for the great advice. To be honest, TTL was what was principally swaying me towards the Ikelite, but I really like the idea of having a more compact housing (that can also go deeper - who knows, maybe tech diving in the future!!). Apart from that, the Aquatica is a bit cheaper, so I might be persuaded to go for the Aquatica. Decisions, decisions!!!! Any suggestions on where to purchase from. From what I have seen so far, B&H have the best prices around, and shipping to my part of the world is no problem. But B&H do not carry Ultralight arms. Can anyone tell me where I can get these from online? Rooster, which sync cord/arm setup do you use on the Aquatica? Thanks all, great forum!!! John
  24. Thanks for the advice James. I'm quite sure that the Aquatica housing does not leave the sensor exposed. If I am mistaken, then I would like to be corrected! But, is it possible to have TTL flash operation with the YS-90DX and the setup I described above? I am quite confused on this whole TTL issue, probably due mainly to my "newbie" status!
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