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Everything posted by Nicool

  1. As I much as I’d love my gear to cost less, inflation is a real thing, our beloved housing manufacturers aren't immune to it. Overtime, each and every one of them will raise their prices. Looking ahead: in 20 years time all major currencies will have lost half of their value at least - my guess (through inflation, printing of money by governments, etc) - so I expect camera housings to cost much more, the same way a loaf of bread will cost much more by then. We can’t expect an aluminium housing for cameras of the future (mirrorless will be a thing of the past, the to-be cameras will pick the subjects for us, and auto-cull our photos while we’re diving… ;)) to still cost around 3500 USD then, unless housing manufacturers have found ways to drastically cut their costs… or underwater imagery has become a mass market, I don’t see either happening. Take pro camera bodies (Nikon D6 type): roughly speaking they have seen a +50% price increase since the late 2000s: a Nikon D3 costed about 4000 EUR when it came out (can’t remember USD prices), now we’re talking 6000 EUR for that sort of cameras. Back to Nauticam, we wouldn’t have this thread if they had just increased their prices 5% each year. The other thing which I believe creates some discomfort is to find out about the change the next time you’re randomly (or more intentionally) browsing your favorite UW gear retailer store. It would have made the pill a little easier to swallow if there had been some sort of announcement. Camera manufacturers have been alerting consumers on a regular basis for upcoming prices increases, a recent example here: https://www.diyphotography.net/nikon-announces-price-increase-from-next-month-due-to-supply-issues/ It’s nice because you can decide to expedite your purchase to avoid the increase, and if you can’t/won’t, at least you know what you’re up to. Even nicer if the brand provides some justifications for the change, it saves your customers wondering, and shows a little extra care That being said, it’s great to see the other aluminium housing brands able to stay around 3000-3500 USD range for now, and the newcome Marelux to also shoot in that space.
  2. For the next trip, i’ll go as far as wearing a - otherwise good looking Patagonia shorts, just realized it has 2 jumbo rear pockets, I can squeeze a lens in each while walking through the boarding gate Next Tuesday, so have ordersd a Pelican 1637… I’ll check the design you linked, perhaps for a subsequent trip.
  3. Let’s pray for each others, i am boarding Singapore Airlines in a few days time and will be served with the same challenge With the idea to carry assembled housing as a ‘camera’, I wish that was an option, but SQ corners their customers pretty well: the camera bag has to be 40x30x… only 10cm thick With tbe vests… same thing, there is a limit to how much I am willing to compromise on style I have spent way too long looking for regular clothing that have big pockets. If i could put one or 2 lenses, perhaps the 2 viewfinders, that would already be a win. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  4. Forgot to say, i don’t think there is a risk with Wet lenses, because they don’t have moving elements. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. Hi Draq, WIth strobes I don't know, but the Ikelite DS160 I used to own were always in hold, no issue. With lenses howevers, the risk is very real: a "dry" lens has moving optical elements, and a shock could get them slightly misaligned, resulting in loss of sharpness. 10 years back I attended a very interesting talk from Jean-Marie Sépulchre (late french expert on all things photography) who shared observations on a lens he had dropped my mistake. He has a test bench which allowed him to measure the max sharpness/details that could be recorded out of a lens, draw this in a nice 3D graph. Anyways, before the shock, you could see as expected max sharnpess/details resolution in the center of that lens, then progressively reducing towards the sides. After the shock, his lens had "shifted" -> he would find out the peak sharpness was on a side- say left side of the graph, the center having less sharpness, and the right side having become very soft. Imagine this happens to your lens while flying to a trip, you land, you shoot your lens, perhaps you don't notice the reduced sharpness (visible or not depending on where the subject is in your frame!) but back home when you process your photos on a big screen, you realize your lens had become a lemon from the beginning of the trip... That's a worst case scenario, but in my view that is the risk. I'd be a tad less concerned with camera body, if packed within the housing, and if the housing itself is well padded to absorb shocks, but much prefer to keep it in hand baggage.
  6. hi Chris, I've got my fair share of travel in previous job (probably 300-400 boarded aircrafts in 10 years) but I have never seen one of the fancy hard-shelled Samsonites cracked (i mean these). Not advertising them in particular, I don't even own one (yet?) but they have a reputation for being one of the very lightest and yet very sturdy. Have you ever seen one of these cracked/burst open? Thanks, but wouldn't the housings be better protected with the handles on? Thinking of the levers on the sides. With your last comment, I very much agree, stuff needs to be packed in the suitcase, but that's the exact reason of my question: I wonder how practical/feasible it would be to tightly pack a hard-shelled suitcase, give it opens right in the middle. I mean, picture it, the case open on the floor, -either you stack-up your gear on the right shell, and hoping that you've maximized space/filled any holes, once you close the left shell, or -you fill both shells to their respective thickness, but then what happens when you lift-up the left shell to close? Maybe I am over-thinking it... or not If I end-up embarrassing myself by taking 20kg of UWP gear in a travel shop and actually try... I'll report my findings here
  7. So do you pack housing / ports / strobes in your samsonite? Which model? Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  8. Thanks Draq for sharing these, I that is a lot of hit that a case would take in any sort of air travel! To avoid running off-topic on my separate thread on the theft-appeal of Pelican cases, I thought I'd ask here for opinions/experience on another approach to checking-in underwater imagery gear. Knowing my gear must travel as checked baggage (save for laptop, cameras, lenses and batteries that I'll keep in carry-on), the Pelican alternative I have considered is the following: => Buy a regular suitcase (flying under the radar), you can find a variety of soft and hard shells that will take anywhere from 80 liters to 120 liters of stuff (for reference, the lage Pelican 1637 that I was considering "only" takes 89 L), and weigh only 2.5 kg. => include in there 2 DSLR housings, 2 flat ports, 1 or 2 dome ports, EMWL, 2 viewfinders, strobe arms & floats, 3 strobes, 1 focus light, 1 dive torch, 3 snoots... OK my list is a tad long, but I like to play around To avoid bubble-wrapping nightmares, I would pack them in "clusters", using the Cinebags pouches tested by Adam Hanlon here (just saw this yesterday), plus some nauticam portective boxes for the DSLR housings. Now with this approach I saw 2 flavours: Option 1: hard-shell fancy Samsonite, like the Samsonite Lite-Shock Sport 75cm, takes 98L, weighs 2.4kg. Option 2: soft-shell case, like the Samsonite 72 DLX SPINNER 71/26 EXP, takes 90L, weighs 2.5kg empty. Has anyone used either Option 1 or 2? How well does this work? I think the packing would be much eaiser with Option 1 (the lid opens at the top of the case), you can stuff it up, put clothes in between boxes etc, before the final closing... but I am not too confident about using a soft-shell case. Soft-shell is OK for my rebreather (the one that lives in a titanium case...), but worrying for photo gear. So Option 1 sounds attractive (except its cost) BUT I think it might be very tricky to pack every moving element tightly, because such a case opens right in the middle, closing it down without half the gear falling over would be tricky I suppose. Thoughts?
  9. Thanks all that is really helpful. In particular, reading Chris' article I realize I had misunderstood the risk: it's more about someone grabbing your Pelicase on the baggage delivery belt, as opposed to some dodgy airport staff simply not delivering the bag (I would assume there is sufficient security to mitigate that). With that in mind, I really like this piece of advise: 1) Brightly mark or label your bags, especially if your baggage consists of black ballistic nylon bags. Thieves generally only steal bags that blend in and are not easily identifiable. The other ones I was sort-of doing anyways. Thanks TimG I looked at bags like Mountainsmith, I don't think I can find a bag that would easily wrap aroung the dimensions of a Pelican 1637 case: 67x52x38cm. Also, it would be extra weight, so not thinking I'll do that.
  10. Thanks for the latest replies, I am just seeing them now. Loving the Porsche/Lada metaphor All valid points above, but I just realize that if my haul the DSLRs in the water, and we notice anything interesting, it's hard for us to do anything else than taking a photo Now I am really liking the GoPro Hero8 for the odd family swim/trip where the DSLRs stay home. For example, I took the below footage from a little cruise on a tropical Queensland river. Everyone was filming the local fish being fed breadcrumbs from above, but I could squeeze my GoPro between the fence, and film what was happening below the surface. Again, nothing breathtaking, but couldn't have been taken with any bigger camera on this impromptu cruise
  11. Hi everyone, I am preparing for my first international trip in quite a few year (whohoo!!), and realising I am not going to be able to take my housing/camera/lenses/strobes in a carry-on. I'll be flying with Singapore Airlines / Scoot, so 7kg + a personal bag (max 10cm thick) is all I'll take, plus things in pockets perhaps. A Pelican 1637 Air Case sounds like a good solution, to check-in all my underwater photography equipment, except for batteries (the rebreather, wetsuit & other small bits will go in another bag). However I have read quite a few Wetpixel thread, including this one, and noticed concerns about a Pelicase attracting too much attention / risk of getting stolen, and I wonder how real this risk is. Can I ask: => If any one knows personally someone who got his/her pelican case stolen while it was checked-in? If so, what was the itinerary? => Who might have used a Pelican case checked-in for several trips without any issue? Let's not get off-track with tricks to stuff more things in cabin baggage, I am well aware of them (+ many not applicable on the companies I use, which are likely to weigh/measure the carry-ons). thanks a million Nicolas
  12. Thanks for sharing this Adam! Hopefully the v2.0 firmware will address the hunting issue with the new Z 105 lens. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. Hi everyone, I am very surprised to read about these sharpness issues with the EMWL, as they are so far from the experience I’ve had with the 100 degree lens. I suppose I am lucky that my configuration was one that had received more testing during the design, but I thought I’ll share my experience there. I shoot the 100 degrees lens (haven’t got the other ones) with a Nikon D810 and Nikon 105mm AF-S VR lens. To be honest I was a bit unsure about this configuration, with the thought that the extra layers of optics were going to make my D810 struggle more with focus - because I was finding my D810’s autofocus not reactive enough, when shooting the 105mm lens ‘naked’ (would need a focus light to work fast), certainly slower than my D500’s AF. And indeed the scene looks darker with the EMWL, when looking through the viewfinder. Anyways, to my pleasant surprise, I made the following observations: 1/ my D810 has become… very fast at grabbing focus with the EMWL on! And most of my shooting took place in Sydney’s harbour, think 3-7 meters viz. I suppose this has to do with the optics of the EMWL making the image more contrasted. 2/ my ‘success rate’ (getting critical sharpness where i wanted) is very high, probably above 80%, and I can’t count the many times i am looking at the LCD screen, thinking the focus is average, but when lightroom finishes zooming into my raw file, BIM! A sharp image shows up. 3/ Like @Alex_Mustard mentions, a strong yellow cast is on all photos, but that is easily fixed with a WB adjustment. In terms of my settings: => I am always using continuous AF (Nikon AF-C, tracking enabled on all AF points). => with aperture, I’ve been happy with photos as open as F13-F14, but that doing some pixel peeping I can tell the depth of field remains relatively shallow, but outside of it the general feeling of sharpness remains excellent. If I am getting pretty close to the subject, F18 is my go-to setting, and I’ll go to F20-F25 if I need more depth of field. 2 examples I have attached: -the frogfish is at F13, 1.250e, ISO 100 -the seadragon is F14, 0.5 seconds, ISO 64 I suppose anyone shooting a full frame Nikon DSLR with the same lens as I do (Nikon 105mm AF-S VR) can expect the same performance @Edward Lai ? Nicolas REMY
  14. Cheers Chris, your reasoning makes sense to me. If it's correct however, that invalidates HSS as a solution for wide-angle work where the ambient light is too strong. Say I am shooting at 1/250s (my max speed) and I have satisfactory depth of field at f/11, I've minimized my ISO, but my strobe power isn't sufficient to overcome the ambient light on my subject. If I use HSS to halve ambient light (going to 1/500), with your model I'm also halving strobe illumination. If I use HSS to halve ambient light again (going to 1/1000), with your model I'm also halving strobe illumination... Then I am not giving strobe light any advantage over artificial light. Yet, I am having to open my aperture further (or increase ISOs) to compensate the reduced light. I can very much see how this is valuable when you want to keep an open aperture despite bright ambient light, but looks like there is no underwater wide-angle benefit.
  15. hi all, On the topic of HSS, do we have a feel of how different the light output is vs normal shooting? For example, I'd be keen to know if HSS max output is 1 stop less than regular full power output, or 2 stops less, 3 stops less, etc. Reason I ask: so far I've only seen examples of HSS used for macro in shallow waters. I am rather interested by fast wide-angle action close to the surface, where I would keep my aperture at around f/8 or f/11 (on a Nikon D500) but I am envisioning that shooting at 1/1000th or 1/2000th shutter speed would let me: 1/ freeze those fast swimming subjects (1/250th doesn't cut it for excited fur seals) 2/ cut massively ambient light, to let my strobes paint colours But that would work only if my Retra Pros (original version) can deliver enough light at 1 or 1.5 meters, in HSS mode cheers Nicolas
  16. Thanks all three, very insightful. Makes me curious to try one at some point, though I wouldn't want to take it on/off when switching from macro to WA, as I always prefer to minimize gear manipulation between dives
  17. Hi all, Curious to know if anyone is using an external monitor for photography, on a mirrorless camera? I know they are popular with videographers, and nowadays many cameras are capable of both, but I am asking from a photographic perspective. Aside from the obvious disadvantages (bulkier setup, extra cost) I wonder if the below could be advantages, but I haven't tried so really don't know: 1/ Do external monitors help with the camera's battery life? You wouldn't be using the viewfinder nor built-in LCD screen, so hopefully that helps? Yet the camera has to power a continuous video feed to the external monitor, so I wonder. 2/ Are they a proper replacement for a 45 degree optical viewfinder (when it comes to readability in bright ambient light)? I've seen some external monitors coming with shades, thinking that helps. 3/ Better rendering of contrasted scenes than the EVF? EVFs have progressed a lot but I have heard even recent models would struggle to display properly when shooting into the sun (the reef would look black). External monitors are bigger, so I suppose, less of a challenge to design that tiny EVFs, perhaps they handle contrast better? Just curious Nicolas
  18. Hi all, I found a buoyancy setup that works very well on my Nauticam EMWL, as well as some accessories making my life easier shooting it, this post is to share my setup, answer questions if you have. The problem to solve The EMWL is very negative (and tends to all on its - expensive - front lens, at least on the 100 degrees one). For buoyancy, several photographers have been using very large carbon float-arms, and pushing them closer to the subject to help balance the front of the EMWL assembly. I wasn’t too keen to go that route, for 2 reasons: Cost of buying additional large float arms (my finances took a hit with the EMWL itself!) In-flexibility to change my setup underwater: I wanted to be able to take on/off the EMWL (and clip it away), which would have suddenly made the whole rig very floaty. Also, I wanted to be able to move my arms around for different lighting techniques. With big floats up-front, that would have imbalanced the rig. To my great pleasure, I found a company called E-Ocean (https://eocean.eu), had designed a bunch of photographer-friendly accessories, including a few EMWL-specific bits. The purpose of this post is to share my (very positive) thoughts on these accessories. To be clear, I am not paid to write this, but I find the E-Ocean solutions solutions made my life easier and are reasonably priced, so keen to spread the word. They are based in France, but shipping worldwide. 1/ Buoyancy solutions E-Ocean offer two floats for the EMWL: A +750 grams buoyancy collar, which mounts around the relay unit. The version I bought is meant to be assembled on-land (it’s a set of 6 half-cylinders), but E-Ocean are going to release an upgraded version that will make it easier to fiddle with floats underwater. The rationale being: you might find yourself limited in subject approach, due to the diameter of the whole thing. So far, I haven’t been too constrained, although for muck-dives where you crawl on sand, it can happen. A +200 grams collar for the focusing unit. E-Ocean’s owner Lionel recommended to use the 200g piece only with the heavier 130 degrees lens (with just the 750g float, the whole assembly would be slightly negative when using the 100 degrees lens). I chose to use it the 100 degrees lens (the only one I have), which does make the EMWL positively buoyant (now the 100 degree piece points upwards), but once connected to my D810 housing and arms, it stands much neutral. Pros: much easier to handle the EMWL underwater, less chances to let the front lens “drop” onto the bottom, a rock, etc. Cons: it increases the volume of the EMWL significantly (see below photo to get a sense of how it compares with the housing size), would restrict getting into some tight spaces (hasn’t happened to me yet) and possibly makes the EMWL a bit more intrusive/intimidating for skittish critters. In practice, I haven’t noticed a difference (mind me: I dive a rebreather, so some critters just don't care about me getting close). 2/ Lanyard/transport solution In addition, I was after a solution to easily un-mount and clip away the EMWL. Here in Sydney, we often shore dive walking among rocks (crawling sometimes…) and one one particular site, we have quite a hairy giant stride: no way I would jump that high or crawl onto rocks with the EMWL attached to my flat port. Lionel (E-Ocean’s owner) was nice enough to listen to my needs and came up with a system of 2 collars, which would attach onto the relay lens, and through which I could run a cord. They are made of a flexible but sturdy sort of plastic, and so far worked like a charm. I have no concern walking long distances (shore diving…) with the EMWL clipped to one of my D-rings on the rebreather harness. Underwater, it takes me 2-3minutes (I guess) to mount the EMWL to my DSLR (taking the time to clear off bubbles, to store the caps safely, etc). It is easy enough that I would alternate between traditional macro and WAM by clipping it back as needed. This lanyard will be in E-Ocean catalogue soon. 3/ Caps and hood I was nervous to loose the small rubber cap which came with the 100 degrees lens, and I needed a hood. 2 accessories there: A lens cap, which comes with a bungee look (have it on your wrist, clipped on harness…), has holes to let water drain, and is actually big enough to protect the front lens without touching it: extra safety against bumps. A lens hood, which can also serve as cap (though I prefer the dedicated cap when transporting the rig clipped-on): I have found the 100 degrees lens on the EMWL is very prone to flare, so I find myself attaching that hood often. Also on night dives where I need a bit more confidence against bumps, I have it on most of the time. A video is worth a thousand words so here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgR7sS-Ts9Y Not great visibility that day, but you’ll see me going through my routine of picking up the clipped-on EMWL, and attaching it to my housing. If you want to see more photos of that equipment underwater, or just some photos I took with the EMWL, follow our Instagram account or Facebook account: https://www.instagram.com/nicolaslenaremy/ https://www.facebook.com/nicolaslenaremy Safe diving! Nicolas
  19. The other area where some floats could be added would be the focus unit, at least some of them, to pull some volume away from the front lens, sleek challenge indeed. Thanks for sharing the background behind this shot Gudge, nice one by the way. So far I've spent 4h30 in the water with my EMWL and can only see 1 subject I might have struggled to do with a "fatter" relay lens. However, I can see many more that would have been easier to shoot if my rig were more neutral. The downside for me with large float arms at the front is imbalance when I fiddle with arms positioning. I found that having 2 strobes pushed at the front (2-10 positions) worked well for many subjects, but I do like to play around with my lighting, and in this department i had limited flexibility with the EMWL non-lifted. I personally would accept a bit of a "fatter" EMWL in exchange for that neutrality in water. I am pleased to report I found a company who manufactures on-demand floats custom made for the EMWL (among many other smart UW photography gadgets), mine are being produced and I'll share observations once I have tested them: https://eocean.eu/en/accueil/280-buoyancy-collar-for-nauticam-emwl-relay-lens-750gr.html
  20. Thanks a lot Jan for theses detailed explanations, I hadn't suspected you carried your clean water on the site, but it makes good sense!!
  21. Hi Jan, Very nice DIY indeed!! Thanks for sharing. Can I ask what you're doing when entering the water: will you disassemble the 3 pieces to let all the air bubbles out, or just rotate the bubble release rings? will the sock already by on when you do those things, or do you add it afterwards, once bubbles are out? Looks like I let some bubbles trapped in during my first dive with the rig, at least that's how I explain the annoying black donuts on my photos, so want to make sure I get these guys out
  22. I am finding myself with the same issue Gudge, also compensating with my most floaty arms at the front, but this works well if not moving the arms much. When I start doing more creative lighting, this will straight away un-balance the whole rig. Hoping Nauticam are watching this thread (wink wink ;)) I can only vouch for them to design a solution, suggestions below: A custom float/collar that would fit around the relay lens. Fitting it there would mean limited disturbance when swapping front lens element underwater. Also, we need this to remain as sleek as possible, to keep the advantage of a tiny rig that marine life tolerates closer. There I see two design options: Option 1 (my preference): a collar + shackle system, which just clips around the relay lens. Makes it impossible to use the flip holder nor strobe mounting brackets (ref 87518), so the collar should come with some sort of shackle, making it possible to clip it on a D-ring on your BCD. Then, when i want to store safely my (fully assembled) EMWL out of the way, I take it off the macro port, add the front/rear caps, and just clip it on, next to the ton of accessories I am clipping anyways (Retra snoot, Retra macro rings, car keys, etc. etc). Option 2: this collar fits around the 87501 flip holder. Then you can use both (I can't see myself crawling through waves and rocks out of a shoredive with the EMWL still on my macro port). In both cases, I believe it's essential to keep the diameter of the whole thing as small as possible, in order to make it less intimidating to wildlife. In the meantime, I'll try to craft something myself but Nauticam would surely do a better job
  23. Bloody 8-15mm lenses! Why on earth don't manufacturer go for a Tokina 10-17mm like lens (FOV wise) :/
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