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About cvitter

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  1. Eric, the RSS feeds you added is a nice start. I would love to see Forum specific feeds as well. I tend to watch the Digital SLR/Housings forum the most myself.
  2. I personally would like to see RSS feeds added to the forums. It would make it a lot easier for me to follow topics during the course of the day.
  3. I have not been able to keep up with Wetpixel lately due to work and life constraints but the new design is quite cool. The feature I really like are the RSS feeds which help me keep up with the latest headlines on the site. Anyway, if any of you other users are looking for a simple, free RSS Reader application I thought I might plug one that I just released called cRSSReader 2.0. It is free and has no adware/spyware in it as it is something I do just for fun. It will run on Win 2000/XP (98 and ME as well) if you have the .Net Framework v1.1 installed. You can download the application from my site at: http://www.vitter.com/crssreader
  4. My family and I just got back from our holiday trip to Florida. Although the weather was hardly cooperative I did get a few chances to finally shoot underwater with my new Ikelite 6870.1 housing for the Digital Rebel. While there have been several good reviews of the Ikelite housing I thought I would throw my two cents in and give some first impressions of the housing. First off, assembling the housing and installing the camera into the housing could not be much easier. The instructions provided with the housing and port are not the best but are more than sufficient to get started. Upon receiving the housing and port I sat down, read through the instructions (much to my wife’s surprise) and put everything together except for the camera. I must say that I love the design of rear o-ring and latches. Once everything is closed up tight inspecting the o-ring through the housing is a breeze and quite a confidence builder. I am less of a fan of the lens port. Although the two latches snap into place and you can check the o-ring through the housing, it doesn’t quite leave me with the same feeling of confidence as the housing’s rear latching system. That said, the port mounting system obviously works as I haven’t flooded the housing yet! After installing the camera into the housing for the first time I impressed by the access to the camera’s controls afforded by the Ikelite housing. During my dry testing and in the water I found that I was able to use all of the Digital Rebel’s controls that I normally use on land with ease, even while wearing 2mm gloves. There are two items related to the Ikelite controls that did take some time for me to get used to when installing the camera and while shooting. First, when installing the camera into the housing you must move the AE Lock control down into the ready position before latching the housing. Once you latch the housing the control will not move down as the rear of the housing will block its movement. Since I do not use AE Lock on any regular basis this was not a problem for me. As an alternative you could use the rear mounted AE/FE Lock control if you forget to properly position the AE Lock control before closing the housing. Second, the Shutter Release control takes some practice to get comfortable with its use. I found the Shutter Release control very well placed in relation to the stock Ikelite handles. The problem I encountered was that it was quite easy to trigger the shutter due to the additional leverage provided by the Shutter Release control. It took some practice to learn to feel the halfway point on the release to activate the auto focus. The housing with handles, port, and camera are quite large and not a ton of fun to haul around on land (please excuse the pun). I threw in the supplied lead weight uncertain of the camera’s buoyancy without strobes and the housing was just slightly negative in the ocean (which is the way I like it). The housing does have a tendency to try and turn port up (using a 5503 dome port) but not enough to cause any strain on your forearms. Overall, the housing handles really well underwater and I found it pleasantly easy to use both while snorkeling and while diving in the strong currents of West Palm Beach. As a former Sea & Sea MMII-EX user I do miss having a large viewfinder to compose pictures. The Ikelite housing does a good job at making the full Rebel viewfinder available to you while diving but it isn’t perfect. I found it tough at times to view exposure information at the bottom of the viewfinder and found myself having to reposition the housing from time to time. Overall though using the viewfinder through the housing is not too difficult. Unfortunately the weather gods were not really in my favor during our trip. I was scheduled to go out five days with Pura Vida in West Palm Beach but constant 15 – 20 knot winds and seas over 6 foot kept their boat tied up to the dock the entire trip. Fortunately this gave me the opportunity to go out on three manatee snorkeling trips with Jim Abernethy’s dive operation and one dive trip with them (in 6-7 foot seas). I even had the pleasure of diving with Jim Abernethy in the flesh and after we completed our two dives Jim took the time to show me some of his very cool shark and dolphin videos. Jim is a great person to dive and his operation and personnel are top notch. Here are a couple of images shot with the Ikelite housing in the pool, snorkeling, and diving off of West Palm Beach…
  5. I have a Canon 300D so it isn't exactly the same but close. I have 2 2GB cards and 1 1GB card. I used the 2GB cards almost exclusively. I get almost 300 shots per 2GB card and around 150 on the 1GB card in RAW. Although I have yet to do a full dive with the camera (waiting for the seas to calm down here in Florida right now) I think that the 2GB card is the way to go as you get twice as many shots per card before having to pop the case open. The batteries on the 300D can shoot up to 400 - 500 shots between recharges so they outlast the card as well. I would definitely have a backup card though just in case. Craig
  6. Mike, If I had the funds to buy a backup system I probably would. Especially on long trips were the chance of flooding gets higher. My last two week trip to Bonaire I had my MMII-EX flood on me. Fortunately it was the second to last day of diving. I really wish I had a backup though as I find it hard to dive without a camera in hand. Craig
  7. My wife, daughter and I traveled down to Florida for Christmas and New Years to visit with family and go diving after a 1 year hiatus (due to baby). I was particularly excited because I just got a housing for my digital Rebel and cannot wait to get in the water... So here we are in Florida, all ready to go diving, and winds are 15+ kts with waves up to 10 feet perdicted at least through the end of the week. Well, at least the hotel has a swimming pool and Florida is warmer than Virginia... :> Anyway, here is one of my first pictures with the Ikelite housing and 300D. Hope everyone is having a great holiday. Craig
  8. Ben, I have been buying from B&H for years and have alway gotten really good service from them. They are the best of the bunch. I have returned one item to them. My fault, I ordered the wrong synch cord. I called them up and got an RMA number and was able to send it back to them the same day and had the right synch cord two days later. Overall their service is quite good. They are New Yorkers and some people find them rude on the phone, I prefer to call it efficient. They are quite busy and so they need to be as efficient as possible with their callers. I wouldn't hesitate to do business with them and recommend them whole heartedly. As someone who builds web applications and have built a lot of e-commerce sites I also have to say that their online store is about the best in the business. Regards, Craig
  9. Ike, Just FYI, when I got my 6870.1 a few days back it too was covered in white dust which I assumed was from milling. Not a big deal, I spent some time and wiped it off before putting everything together and doing a tub dive. Otherwise I am thrilled with the housing so far even though it has only been in the tub and taken some really boring pictures. Next week though it will be visiting West Palm Beach and spending time with the manatees. Regards, Craig
  10. Ben, I had a flood last year with my MMII-EX after about 200 total dives. It was my fault, I assume, I probably got lax on maitenance after 2 straight weeks of diving. Fortunately the flood was minor (the system was repairable and the repairs were about $50 total) but it did cut short my photography for the trip. I have not considered getting a moisture alarm for the Ikelite housing but from my initial impressions and tub testing I find that checking the o-rings on the housing is quite easy due to the clear nature of the housing. If the o-rings look right then they probably are right. Still, I would recommend practicing assembling the system and putting it a tub a few times without the camera (this is what I have done to get comfortable with it). I also plan on taking it on a few pool dives before I get it out into the ocean to develop a level of comfort with the system. That said, the Aquatica Universal Moisture Alarm does sound intriguing and I would love to hear from people who use them in the Ikelite housings. Craig
  11. I think that you will be happy with the setup. I have the same exact setup without the strobe (it is on my list to buy along with a port for my Sigma 105 and a focus assist light). I have actually seen some really nice macro examples taken with the 18-55MM lens underwater. I shot some land based macro shots with the lens and got pretty good results. The DS-50 is a little bit on the small side for WA but it should work nicely for close ups and macro shots. Craig
  12. M, I have seen a drooled over the Inon ring flash a few times. One of these days I will have an excuse to buy one... By the way, I used to live over on Eden Rd. in Lancaster about 9 years ago. Craig
  13. M, That is quite a rig. I would love to get a ring light for macro work one of these days.... I use one on land and like the results quite a bit. Craig
  14. Shaun, You might want to consider the Sigma 15MM. It is less expensive than the Canon and it will fit in the same port as the 18-55MM zoom. I have seen a lot of excellent results with this lens. Craig
  15. I have the older version of the 105MM. I believe that they are essentially the same lens body but that the DX has slightly different optics. When in AF mode the focus collar is disengaged so as not to move and interfere with holding the lens, so it is not really designed to do manual focusing in AF mode. I am not sure that the stock zoom collar for the housing would work either, the lens is pretty thick. I will try and remember to try it out sometime soon and see. I have had the zoom collar on the 18-55MM and it works fine, not sure I would really want to try and focus a lens this way though... it seems like it would be really slow. So far my best hope with the Sigma is to engage the focus limiter and shoot with a good light to help the AF. AF on land for the lens is pretty good. Craig
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