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About lewinp

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  1. Will be in Maldives in a few weeks during whale shark season, really looking forward as these have always been on my list to shoot. Do any experienced shooters have suggestions for ideal settings, will be shooting Nikon D200 with Tokina 11-16mm in an Ikelite housing I am especially interested in the focus mode, in Florida the group dynamic autofucs seemed to work good for manatees, but if I'm fortunate enough to get close to a whale share I wonder if the auto focus will have a hard time locking up o n such a broad area? Also as far as lighting I have a DS-125 strobe but am wondering if available light is easier both to cut down on glare (unless I go with a 1/4 pop all the time just for some fill light), and also just so I can be a little more mobile with the camera? Any other pointers are most welcome! Best, Philip
  2. Just a thought - if any of the dozens of photographers have any shots of endangered species, might it be possible to force the Florida DOT to conduct an environmental impact study first? Keep in mind their interest is to do the project for as little money as possible, so when they say "some environmental damage is inevitable" they really could mean "we don't want to pay for a more expensive but innovative project that will protect life around the old pilings." I think horseshoe crabs are officially listed as endangered and have seen a few comments about recent sightings. Might be worth looking into?
  3. Thanks for the update - we are doing a live-aboard too called the Manthiri, I do not think we have inter-island air transfers. Have a great time and good diving!
  4. Doing a trip to the Maldives this November and did a little research. Provided rates do not change, if you are traveling through UAE/Dubai (which seems to be the best flights): Singapore airlines is currently charging 55 AED (about US $15 at current rates) per kilo (2.2 lbs.), however they do have a bit of a discount if you have scuba gear (and can manage a little algebra!). If you declare scuba equipment (which is in your interest), anything up to 15 kg (33 lbs.) is charged at a flat rate for 6 kg. Anything about that is charged at 55 AED per kilo. As an example I am a taller diver with all XL gear. My stuff (with some camera equipment and a 3mm wetsuit) fit under the US 50 lbs. bag limit. To fly from Europe to the Maldives excess baggage would be 50 lbs. = 23 kilo, so 23k - 15k (flat scuba rate of 6 kilos for 6 - 15 kilos) = 8 additional kilos. So cost would be (6 kilo flat rate x 55 AED = 330) + (8 additional kilos x 55 AED = 440). Total of 330+440 = 770 AED or about $209 at current exchange rates. Emirates is a bit more expensive, they charge a flat 55 per kilo, so my same gear on their flight would cost 23 kilo x 55 AED = 1265, about $344 at current exchange rates. From several chat rooms it looks like both airlines are VERY strict on one bag only in economy class unless you are an elite traveler. That means you cannot take one carry on "plus" a purse or camera bag. If anyone has any good or bad experiences with either airlines or flying into Male, Maldives I'd loiove to hear them. Maybe in the future dive computers will have to include an algorithm for calculating excess baggage rates! Add it to the wish list with a doppler micro-bubble sensor!
  5. I was deeply saddened to see this news, which appeared in a local paper in Zurich, Switzerland where I live. And the coverage was much more objective and less sensationalized than the US media. I have been on the Shearwater three times, on many dives with bait in the water and tiger and lemon sharks around. The Shearwater crew always stressed safety and appreciation of these animals. The sad fact is no matter how safe you are and how you follow the rules, it is not reasonable to assume this activity is without risk. Its a risk every diver who stepped off the boat was aware of, but unfortunately not many see as a serious possibility once the sharks showed up and the shutters started clicking. Its only natural to want to blame someone for such senseless losses - the shark, Jim Abernathy, the dive industry. The fact of the matter is someone who exposed themselves to a risk paid the ultimate price, but they did it doing something they loved. My sincere condolences and prayers go to the family of this diver. Philip Lewin
  6. Hi Lanwu, I agree 100% - The game is called "portfolio management" or "segment sculpting" (MBA buzzwords but a real detriment to consumers) - and you are absolutely right, they are removing features people value to push consumers towards higher end cameras and create "migration paths" for people who outgrow point and shoot cameras to make the jump up to DSLRs. As I said in my rant above, Canon showed incredible insight by introducing the digital Rebel at under $1000 and redefining the digital SLR as a consumer good - and carving themselves a lion's share of the market. In my opinion, they are really abandoning that now with the over priced and under featured G7. Of course they will sell a ton of them to consumers who don't know the difference, but it does leave prosumer customers vulnerable if Nikon & Olympus offer better performing cameras in a comparable price range. Yes - it is absolutely a game Canon is playing, one that hurts consumers and creates risks for Canon. I played a little with a friend's G7, it is very nice for a land camera but given its prosumer price but consumer performance (shutter lag, no RAW), I've decided to wait a few months to see how Nikon & Olympus respond . I previously shot a 5060 and liked the flip lens, that is not a deal breaker but it certainly adds to a long list of negatives. I wanted the G7 for compactness during dives and travel, but am unwilling to sink so much money into a system that I know will frustrate me with long shutter lag. One other important area where I think Canon is really missing the boat (no dive pun intended) - people tend to be very brand loyal to SLR systems, especially since they usually have a large investment in lenses. But with point & shoot, that is weakend. I shot Nikon film SLRs for years, but then bought a Olympus 5060 because side by side its features and performance were better than the comparable Nikon Coolpix at the time.
  7. FYI, I got the same pat response from Amazon. In addition to Amazon's censorship of negative reviews, i find it appallingly arrogant that they try to play down their responsibility by saying its a third party's product, not their own. My rebuttal is at the bottom of their note. Thank you for writing to Amazon.com with your comments. We have great respect for your concerns. One of our goals as an online retailer, however, is to offer our customers the ability to purchase a wide variety of products on our site. It is unfortunate but inevitable that some of our customers may find a few of these items objectionable. Please note that the items in our Gourmet store are offered by third- party merchants--they are not sold directly by Amazon.com. We always value customer feedback, and I have passed along your desire that we exclude items of this sort from our site. I thank you again for taking the time to send us your comments about this issue. We hope you will allow us to continue to serve you. Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question: If yes, click here: http://www.amazon.com/rsvp-y?c=fghhrxqy3418360035 If not, click here: http://www.amazon.com/rsvp-n?c=fghhrxqy3418360035 Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site. Best regards, Gayathri R. Amazon.com Customer Service http://www.amazon.com Here was my response to their note: I realize the line can be fuzzy at times of what makes a product objectionable - for example, meat products that are objectionable to vegetarians are perfectly fine to many others. But I do not see any ambiguity in the fact that you are selling a product which is indisputably collected in a way which kills endangered marine life including sharks, dolphins and turtles. Although the items in your gourmet store are 3rd parties, Amazon is still acting as a sales channel for the product, and benefitting financially from the sale. That makes you part of the supply chain for this product, and it is shameful for you to deny partial accountability. I now regret purchasing several hundreds of dollars of merchandise from Amazon this past year, I will not do future business with you as long as this product remains on your website, and I will do everything in my power to see that other environmentally conscious people are made aware of Amazon's irresponsibility in this area.
  8. Very interesting, and thanks. As a graphic designer and long time Apple user, I am dissapointed to see Apple is better at talking the talk than walking the talk.
  9. Shameful that Amazon would sell this - as much as I'd like to be idealistic in hoping they would do the right thing and prohibit the sales of this product, in reality they will probably only act if it hits them in the pocket book. The scuba community is an active and affluent group, with enough combined economic clout to bring real pressure to them if we sincerely boycott Amazon. Another avenue, many of you know that Apple Computer is a big environmental advocate, and there are many comments on their website about how they expect their business partners to be ethical and responsible. Their Safari browser comes preloaded with an Amazon.com short cut, I have sent a note to their corporate contact for Environmental and Legal affairs, Kristin Huguet, informing her of this issue, you may wish to do the same: Kristin Huguet Environment, Legal & Speakers Bureau (408) 974-2414 khuguet@apple.com Might be another source of pressure on Amazon
  10. Thanks for all the info on the G7 Dave. I also agree on RAW (Requires A lot of Work) - if you capture the right exposure, you should not really need it except for challenging lighting situations. If someone requires the level of image control that RAW provides, they should be looking at a DSLR to begin with - the jump in quality from a point & shoot CCD to a DSLR sensor will be much greater than the jump in quality between JPG and RAW. IMHO as a serious amatuer, the jump in quality from JPG to RAW (that 95% of people won't even notice) is hardly worth the post-processing time investment. That being said, it does seem a bad choice to put out a camera at a "prosumer" price point and then take away a feature (RAW) desirable to prosumer shooters. That coupled with the many comments I've seen about the shutter lag are making me rethink the G7 for underwater. Canon seems to be trading in its market savvy for corporate hubris - the company that redefined the DSLR market as a consumer good by coming out with a good DSLR under $1,000 is now taking away features that customers value to segregate its market segments - and is fooling no one in doing it. Not to mention oddly arrogant things like pulling the ISO data out of its EXIF files, an industry standard. Time will tell if Canon is opening the door to higher profits or fiercer competition in the high end point & shoot space, I'm sure Nikon & Olympus will offer something comparable with RAW and less shutter lag - I am going to postpone my G7 purchase to see what the next few months bring.
  11. Experiencing an issue with an Olympus PT-020 housing - the synch cord port cap was never used, and is now stuck. I have heard this can happen with these housings due to electrolysis between the different kinds of metal - the cap (aluminum) binds to the port metal (probably coated brass). Has anyone had similar experiences or a solution?
  12. Thanks all for taking the time to share your thoughts. I don't think a heavier base in necessarily an evil, since my Olympus housing is very positively buoyant. I agree its important to have rigid arms, there is nothing worse than blowing a shot because your strobe slipped a little. Thanks also for the handy zip tie idea! Best, Philip
  13. I have an Olympus 5060 in a Olympus PT020 housing, and a Sea & Sea DX90 Auto strobe. I need to buy a base tray and strobe arm to connect the two, and am interested in any current owner's feedback on ease of use, quality, weight vs. durability, etc. I am a cold water diver, so its important to have large knobs that you can work with drysuit gloves. The arms I'm considering, which are all roughly the same price, are: 1. Ikelite's 4086.61 strobe arm 1" ball system for the DS125 (I'd need an adaptor for my strobe mount) 2. Sea & Sea Sea Arm VI 3. Ultralight Tray Arm System for digital cameras Any info or anecdotes would be greatly appreciated!
  14. Thanks Scorpion fish - I appreciate the link. It looks like Ultralight sells the adaptor I need for $22.50. They do some smart product marketing, rather than saying system to system compatibility issues prevent Ultralight from supporting other brands, they make adaptors for most popular systems and their own arms - it probably gets them a lot of business. Ikelite and Sea & Sea could learn a lesson from Ultralight! Here is a trick someone showed me for capturing URL links in frames - if you are on a PC, right click in the frame you want to capture, and click "select shortcut." Internet Explorer will put a shortcut to the linked page on your desktop. Double click on that, and it will open to the full URL for your page, you can copy and paste that into a message, e-mail, etc.
  15. Does anyone know if anyone (even third party) makes an adaptor that will allow a Sea & Sea strobe to mount on an Ikelite (1" diameter ball) arm? I have access to an Ikelite arm and tray at very good cost, but would like to use a Sea & Sea YS-90 DX Auto strobe I already own (which uses an "arm fixing bolt" that screws through aligned holes in the Sea & Sea strobe & arm). Ikelite is telling my to check with Sea & Sea, and of course Sea & Sea is telling me to check with Ikelite. I no longer have my original Sea & Sea arm since selling my Motormarine II. Any input would be appreciated!
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