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Everything posted by Nicool

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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!!
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Bloody 8-15mm lenses! Why on earth don't manufacturer go for a Tokina 10-17mm like lens (FOV wise) :/
  16. Interesting conversation! The housing width is something, but when it comes to air travel packing, I found the height of the housing is a bigger constraint. Recent housings that don't use the pop-up flash have been able to reduce on that side, the next constraint will be that port diameter indeed. I am curious why we see 120mm diameters being used by manufacturers, as I can't think of a lens that would need that width, even with zoom gear. Maybe the venerable 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikon lens, a pretty large beast, but most would be thinner.
  17. I would like to thank everyone for their replies here and perspectives shared, quite helpful. Massive special thanks to bghazzal for his reply that is not only comprehensive, but really answering my exact question, taking into account my specifics. Indeed, since my main pursuit is and will remain still photography, it will take precedence and i won’t want to restrict my photo artistic options by having setup a lens that will allow video. If i see spinner dolphins... guess what i will choose between photo and video I did try the TG6 videos this WE during shallow snorkelling, Great Barrier Reef, and footage seemed of decent quality, but these really were easy/ideal conditions. I straight away noted the battery life issue, and too narrow field of view (no housing, no extra lens). I will review the video examples shared with attention, but see myself most likely go with the GoPro7 option. I do shoot mostly in darker waters though (temperate Australia) so noted the IQ will suffer on a small sensor like the GoPro’s when light is missing. With my modest needs, i think this will be ok. One point bghazzal raised and that interests me is the autofocus performance. I suspect it gets more critical on a DSLR’s shallow DOF, and more forgiving/no brainer on a small sensor, especially if using a wide lens like the GoPro’s. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  18. hi all, Just to set the scenes, I am a newbie in videography (topside & underwater) but my wife and I have 13 years experience shooting underwater photos. Our UW cameras have had video capabilities for the past 10 years (Nikon D7000, Oly OM-D EM5, Nikon D500, D810), but we have never pressed the record button, except by mistake! We are just getting started into videography, watching through tutorials and the good work of some of you. I will start recording videos myself soon, though I don't have high ambitions, I'd need advice on the gear to start with. My needs are recapped hereafter: -my wife and I are both photographers, and this will remain our main underwater imagery focus (we're going down with a Nikon D500 and Nikon D810) -from time to time, one of us will be taking videos, essentially these will be filming the other one while he/she takes photographs or just dives around. -most of our diving is shallower than 25 meters -occasionally, if a rare encounter/behaviour shows up and our DSLR lens aren't a good fit, we might capture a video -occasionally, record a family video when our kids try snorkelling -occasionally (maybe), some vlogging videos -at some point I might get video lights, probably not at the start The options I see: 1/ Using my son's Olympus TG-6. He's not using that camera too often yet so we can borrow. However we have zero accessories so far, so thinking I would need to get a housing, plus maybe a WA conversion lens. 2/ Getting a recent GoPro, such as the Hero7 Black or more recent I will need to get a housing too. I take that GoPro have a single fisheye lens, so field of view will be wide enough for underwater scenes by default. 3/ Using the built-in video functions of our Nikon D500/D810. I doubt this would be the right course of action as A/ I may not have the right lenses mounted (still diving for photography as a priority) and B/ even if I have the right lens mounted (e.g. a Tokina 10-17mm), adding video lights at some point would make our DSLR rigs really too bulky. I am really hesitating between the TG-6 and GoPro. Not sure which has the best image quality, and any other considerations I should look into? cheers Nicolas
  19. I too wouldn’t bother with a bag. Orginally I was fitting my gadgets in large drysuit pockets, and I must say the LSD was nearly filling one cargo pocket. Then i had a few wetsuit dives, seeing me clipping that much accessories on D-rings: -1x LSD + 1 mask -2x Reductors + macro rings -Backscatter coloured filtered system (for another strobe) Very easy to grab gear and use my Retras in different ways during the dive. I would just clip/unclip, sometines leave an accessory on the seafloor for a while if i will be stationary (all are slightly negative). I like to keep macro rings and masks in pocket when i have one though. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  20. Hi there I think the range of accessories make a lot of the Retra flash’s advantage. During a dive i happily switch from a snoot to a diffuser to reduction rings, depending on subjects, and do so for macro and WA/CFWA. ypu mignt want to look at the detailed review I have published in Underwater Photography Mag #117 (http://www.uwpmag.com/), of the Retra flash pro + accessories. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  21. Super useful real-life test Gudge, thanks for taking the time! I watched this thread with curiosity as whether it would change my mind on Mirrorless Autofocus being a showstopper for me to use one of these cameras. I started UW photo with a Nikon D300, striking AF, and then moved to a mirrorless Olympus (2013) only to rush back to Nikon DSLRs in 2014, after missing too many shots due to disappointing AF. In 2016 I bought one of the first Nikon D500 out there and enjoyed shooting it since then. Specs sheets aside, my shooting style means I challenge autofocus to its limits: some silty dives, with current and sometimes surge bouncing left & right, I like to shoot at dusk or under rocks, or at the entrance of ocean caves. In those dark places, I turn OFF my focus light (more used as a dive light), as I noticed countless situation where, even in red mode, it would impact how close I get to a subject, and how comfortable the subject is to display a behavior. Oh, and I use ALL the time continuous AF tracking. It compensates my own movement in current/surge, as well of movements of my photo subjects, brilliantly (Nikon D500 + Nikon 60mm AF-S macro, or Nikon D500 + Tokina 10-17mm fisheye). Not sure if it was designed for my usage, but it surely works well, and makes a big difference in bringing that memorable shot home. My observations and frustrations over the years, when it comes to researching the mirrorless offering: -the test benches that reputable photomags would use to compare autofocus is just irrelevant: I stopped reading these when I realized a few years back all modern cameras would nearly get top mark -testing AF in a store is useless: those are brightly lit spaces to make sure all cameras look & perform great -limited "field" observation shared by users of those new cameras, at least in situations comparable to my shooting style: tracking a bird in bright daylight isn't the same game, and snapping a few fish portraits in a bright tropical reef with 20 meters viz isn't the same game neither. So, thanks again for sharing your experience. I think in the next few months I'll try to borrow/loan a recent mirrorless setup to try and see for myself, if it matches or beats my D500 in my shooting style.
  22. Be it Sony's or another one, Nikon announce their Z9 will have a stacked sensor, see from the official Nikon press release: It utilizes a newly developed FX-format stacked CMOS sensor Can't wait to see what will happen. Hopefully Nikon can challenge the Sony offering and offer healthy competition for us consumers.
  23. My understanding: stacked sensors yield higher data bandwidth, and these mirrorless cameras manufacturers may choose to use these extra/faster data in a number of ways. One is for the autofocus to "see" the scene more often/with more details and react quicker/smarter in terms of driving focus. We're understanding that Nikon won't be using exactly the same design as the Sony A1 + it's totally up to them to decide how they use the faster data. So there is opportunity for Nikon to differentiate themselves. My personal hope is that they put a focus (haha) on the autofocus - I mean Nikon are leading autofocus performance in DSLR land. Yes the architecture is different on a mirorless camera (no more dedicated AF sensor), but surely they can re-use some of their knowledge, algorythms, etc. Being late doesn't mean you cannot catchup in the race and take the lead. Up until 2007 Nikon was using CCD sensors whereas Canon was on CMOS. Nikon was lagging in image quality because the signal-to-noise ratio is harder to manage on CCD (so quicker image degradation/more loss as ISO increased). End 2007 Nikon launched their first CMOS DSLRs (D3 and D300) and overtook Canon in noise management / High ISOs. Exciting anyways!!
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