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Everything posted by Aussiebyron

  1. I have a pair of Ikelite Ds161 and honestly the LED video light isnt bright enough by todays standards. If it was me I would buy the Ds160 and put the extra money towards a spare battery. Regards Mark
  2. I found the Sigma 17-70mm a bit useless underwater as its not wide enough for me for wide angle and its not that good for macro on the other end as you have to use it with a big dome. I think there are few others are like me who bought the lens as it was discribed as a great general purpose lens and ended up using it for a few times before retiring it to the collection of dust gathers. Regards Mark
  3. Heres a few images of Manta's up close with a fisheye Regards Mark
  4. As Tim stated, the Fisheye lens like the Tokina 10-17mm on Dx camera underwater is a different animal than compared on land. The benefit of such a wide angle of the Tokina 10-17mm especially as 10mm is that you can fit a whole large animal like a Manta in the frame as well as being nice and close to get good coverage from your strobes to light the subject. Get close and have the strobes positioned well is the secret.
  5. Mark, appreicate your reply. On the wider scale of things have you compared the Nikon 8-15mm against the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye on the D500? Regards Mark
  6. Mark whats your opinion the Nikon 8-15mm when compared directly against the Tokina 10-17mm on the Nikon D500? Regards Mark
  7. I have done a couple of trips to Truk and must say its one of my favourite places to dive. Both times we stayed at the Blue Lagoon Resort, first time was with a group of mates and the second time was with my partner. The first time was good as we had our own boat for the group but the resort was over run by Australian divers as there must have been a promotion sent to every dive shop in the country. This didnt affect the diving as much as our boat went earlier before the other boats and the staff sorted out a roster of who's going where. It was an issue on land as at meal times there was a long wait for meals as the staff found it hard to handle such a large amount of people at once. The second trip was completely opposite and we basically had the resort all to ourselves and had our own boat and guide and went where ever looked the best for the day. The only down side was that a English couple arrived a few days later and were placed on our boat since we were the only boat in use. This didnt start very well as the couple stated to us on the boat as we were heading out from the dock that they are not interested in wreck diving and more interested in looking at Nudibranchs which live on the wrecks. Their dive gear was the very basic recreational gear as they stated themselves that they only dived when on Holidays. I questioned them on why did they choose Truk Lagoon? (they must have very good travel agent which can sell them anything). Anyway this spoiled our diving a little as we could not go to the deeper wrecks as the other couple were not equiped for or wanted to. Basically we were doing two dives a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Mainly because your doing long deco dives as you want as much time on the wreck as possible. Yes there is sometimes a long boat ride to wrecks located further away but it also has the benefit that your boat can pick and choose on the day which wreck you want to dive. Also you dont get a whole liveaboard diving on one wreck all at once. I did see the Odyssey move about alot on both trips but the Thorfin didnt move at all. It was more like a floating motel than a liveaboard. What I liked about the Blue Lagoon is that its quiet and laid back, food was good (I ate alot of Sushimi) and you can take your time and do things when you wanted to do them (within reason). Another thing I dont like about liveaboards is when someone comes down with the flu or Gasto, everyone gets it sooner than later. I plan to go back to Truk next year and I am looking at going back to Blue Lagoon or even looking into the Truk Stop which is located in town. Regards Mark
  8. I agree with Tim, especially about the crazy part. But honestly I think you have to sit down and think about what your shooting most of the time or what you see yourself shooting in the near future. Your better off spend money on kit which you will use often esdpecially when on a budget than gear which you would like to have but dont get the chance to use it. BTW the 4 inch domes are great for shooting GWS from the cage....lol Regards Mark
  9. I dont think the Sigma 17-70 will fit behind either a 4 or 6 inch dome. But if you choose a larger 8 inch dome you can shoot the Tokina 10-17mm and if you want later buy the Sigma 17-70mm. The disadvantage of using a 6 inch dome over a 4 inch dome is when you want to shoot CFWA with the Tokina 10-17mm with 1.4x teleconverter. The whole idea when shooting CWFA is that you can get close to your subject and this is where the 4inch domes work their best. So if your going for the Tokina 10-17mm first on a budget then you be looking at either the 8.5inch acrylic or the 4.33 acrylic dome. If your looking at shooting CFWA then go for the the 4.33inch but if your wanting to shoot the Sigma zoom later on go for the 8.5 inch Regards Mark
  10. I give you some advice as a Nikon D500 user but I use a Aquatica housing so I do know what ports/extension you will require. Is there a reason why you want to buy a Sigma 17-70? I purchased that lenses years ago as it was called the best in between lens when you want to shoot wide and macro. Unfortunately after I bought the lens and used it a few times it was an in between lens which wasnt wide enough for wide angle and wasnt really good for macro as you had to use it behind a large dome and couldnt get close to the subject. It ended up being retired from underwater use and made a good walk about lens on dry land. Tokina 10-17mm is a great lens especially if you like to zoom for your wide angle. Its a versatile lens by itself and great on the D500 and even more versatile if you add it to a kenko 1.4x teleconverter for CFWA and behind a mini dome. If your into shooting fisheye and using the Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm for most of the time maybe you should look at the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye as its a better performer than the Tokina @ 10mm, but you dont get the versatility of the zoom but you dont need a zoom ring either. Then you have to choose if you want to shoot the Tokina behind a larger dome or shoot it behind a mini dome. I personally shoot the Tokina and Nikon 10.5mm behind a larger dome as it balances the whole setup better and easier to shoot off the hip. Maybe the Nikkor 8-15mm might be more suited to you if your budget allows? Nikkor 105mm macro has been the primary macro lens for Nikon cameras for years followed by the 60mm especially when shooting on Dx cameras. Since I am not a regular macro shooter I went with the less commonly used Tokina 100mm macro lens which is a well built lens which comes at a fraction of the price than what the Nikkor 105mm VR does. I simply use it behind a 105mm macro port and have had great success when using it and wonder why it hasnt been used more often on Nikon cameras. Another recommendation is if your going to shoot alot of macro is to put a external viewfinder on the back of your housing. They are not a cheap option but they make a dramatic improvement when shooting macro especially super macro. At the end of the day I recommend you set yourself up to what your shooting the most. I personally wouldnt buy the sigma 17-70 at first and see if you really require it after you bought your wideangle and your macro lens. Regards Mark
  11. Hi John, I used the the Tokina 11-16mm with my Aquatica 8 inch dome with 28.5mm Aquatica extension (#48453). Honestly rectangular wide angle lenses are not suited for what I shoot as I mainly shoot with the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye. Have you thought about putting a 1.4x Teleconverter on the Tokina 10-17mm and shoot that behind your small dome for CFWA? Regards Mark
  12. I have been shooting the D500 since it was released mainly because I have a collection of DX lenses left over from earlier D7000 and D90 and simply the cost. I mainly shoot Fisheye's and I am of the opinion that DX camera perform better than FX in this instance especially when you use the Nikon 10.5mm. The D500 ticks all the boxes which I want it to do at a price which much lower than the FX range. I use the following on my D500: Nikon 10.5mm Tokina 10-17mm Tokina 11-16mm Nikon 60mm Tokina 100mm I went with the Tokina 100mm as I dont shoot much macro and the Tokina 100mm is a great lens and is half the price of the Nikon 105mm. It does the job for me. Regarding the battery life of the D500, once changed to the newer nikon battery EN-EL15 Li-ion 20 and turning the camera onto flight mode I was able to get well over 1200 shots for stills. If video was used ther battery life is reduced greatly but I think that is the same for the D850. The D500 has excellent video and custom WB of the fly is great. I can't comment on the D850 as I have never used one but at the end of the day I think it comes down to you sitting down with your budget and seeing what the best bang for buck. Going for a housing which is made of clear plastic isnt one of them either. Regards Mark
  13. I shoot with the D500 and I have the following wide angle lenses for it: Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye Tokina 11-16mm I use the Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye all the time as it performs better than the Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm which is what I shoot at. I have used the Tokina 11-16mm a few times but its simply not wide enough for what I am shooting underwater, but its an excellent landbased lense. If your after a rectangular DX lense for your D500 I recommend the Tokina 11-16mm Regards Mark
  14. For up close photography on large animals I recommend you first start with the local spots like Broughton Island near Nelson bay, Fish Rock at South West Rocks, Julian Rocks at Byron Bay. These places would be suited for a road trip by car. The Secret is to go mid week as both places get booked out on the weekends by groups, especially SWR and Julian Rocks. You can fit North and South Solitary islands in too, but I rate them behind Fish Rock and Julian Rocks and often only have diving available during the weekends as its quiet during the week when it starts to get colder. The next place is Wolf Rock which is about 3.5 hours North of Brisbane. Which is like a mix between Julian Rocks and Fish Rock as they have Grey Nurse Sharks, Leopard Sharks, Manta's, Groupers etc etc all in one spot and its currently awesome diving there at the moment. The Yongala wreck is a great dive and a must do but the problem with planning a dive there is that its very dependant on the weather and it takes a bit to get there. There are direct flights from Sydney to Townsville, then hire a car for an hours drive south to Ayr to where the dive shop is. Then another place I would recommend is Beqa Lagoon for the the Bull and Tiger sharks. Its a must dive to do Regards Mark
  15. The battery in Aquatica Surveyor last several weeks and I use the vacuum sensor. Regards Mark
  16. I throw my housing and domes in a padded cooler bag which you can buy a Big W or K Mart for $25. Wrap them in a few layers of bubble wrap and have them weight in under the 7kg carry-on limit. Good thing about it is that you can use as a camera bag for carrying to and from the dive sites or on a dive boat. Regards Mark
  17. I decided to take Adams advice and shoot with AF-C and with group points (4 in a diamond shape) with my 10.5mm Nikor Fisheye on Grey Nurse Sharks at Fish Rock, South West Rocks, Australia. Over 5 dives and 1700 odd shots I only had 2 shots which were out of focus but mind you I was shooting inside a dark underwater cave at the time. Interesting as it was in a 4 shot sequence one shot was in focus then another wasnt and number 3 was in focus and number 4 wasnt. But overall I was happy with shooting in AF-C. Here are the unedited resized shots:
  18. I found the best spot to be near the feeder and on the side which he feeds from as you want to get the action shot of the shark coming in and grabbing the bait and then moving towards you. Practice shooting with higher FPS to get the action shots with strobes turned down to keep up with the camera Regards Mark
  19. I dont shoot macro very often but when I do its like 3-4 long dives a day for several days and normally in Indonesia. Last trip I bought a Tokina 100mm macro lens and used this for the whole trip and used with the Aquatica close up lense (+5 and +10). The reason why I bought the Tokina was because I didnt want to spend the money on the 105mm when I dont shoot macro often. I was surprised with the quality and performance of the Tokina 100mm macro. The AF was super fast and pin point accurate and there wasnt a need to go manual. There was some very fine rocking back and fro when using the +10 but this was in only a few rare occasions during the trip. I have my D500 housed in an Aquatica AD500. Regards Mark
  20. Looks like you have talked yourself into the D500. Also bare in mind that there are other Wide Angle lenses which work very well with the D500 and do not cost a arm and a leg. The Nikkor 10.5mm f2.8 FE is an outstanding lens which can be bought at a reasonable price. If you want rectangular wide angle the Tokina 11-16mm is also a great lens to play with. Battery life with the D500 is great. But you have to use the new batteries for it. Use the older batteries and there be shorter battery life. This is only an issue if you already have the older batteries from earlier models. If you do Nikon will replace them with the new batteries free of charge. I shoot close to 1000 shots with video over 2 dives and still have maybe 80% battery life. I also turned off WIFI on my D500 as i found it used battery life as it was searching for a decent WIFI at the dive shop (lots of wifi connections). I turn on airplane mode and never had a problem since. Any questions just ask, Regards Mark
  21. I dived Beqa Lagoon in 2014 with Beqa Adventure Divers and would have to say those dives would be some of the most exciting and full on dives I have done with sharks. I used a Nikon 10.5mm FE on my D7000 for all my dives as often the sharks are very close. The 10.5mm FE on Dx is the same as your 15mm FE. I personally wouldnt add a 1.4x TC to the 15mm as I would find it not wide enough especailly when sharks are right in your face. The secret is to try and position yourself in the best location at the start of the dive and not be afraid to get close. Have a chat before hand to the dive shop and the guides and hopefully they can put you in a good position. One dive there isnt enough. Regards Mark
  22. Hi Larry, It was my plan to go strobeless, High FPS, and auto-ISO earlier in the year as normally its prime time for blue water and Manta'sand Leopard Sharks (aka Zebra Sharks). I wanted to shoot higher FPS and see how the D500 performs but unfortunately our late summer great conditions this year never happened due to storms, floods, and low vis. I believe alot of Humpback whale divers/snorkelers go strobeless and shoot auto-ISO in locations like Fiji/Tonga with their gin clear water and hopefully they can give you more information regarding auto-ISO in the water. Normally in less than perfect conditions like in when the vis isnt gin clear, cloudy, or when the subjects are a bit deeper than 5m which for me is most of the time over here especially this year I run with strobes turned right down with a 1/320th shutter speed and around f8-f10 and change the ISO according to your position your facing towards the sun. I run my D500 at 3fps or higher and its depending on your strobes, the Ikelite DS161 work well for this but it takes a little bit of playing to work out which power setting/FPS combination works with being able to keep up while shooting continious. I found that on the Ikelite DS160/161 strobes that -2 power setting works well with 3 FPS. Regards Mark
  23. Hi Larry, Yes I use the group mode which looks like 4 spots in a diamond shape. I found this more suitable with the fisheye with animals up close. I setup before the dive with each lens I am using and with macro I move the single point around with the joystick too choose my own focus point. As Adam himself stated in his Review of the D500 in Indonesia "AF shooting modes are a matter of personal preference to some extent". What works for one person might not suit anothers. Shooting Sharks with the Nikon D500 with a Nikon 10.5mm Fisheye at f8 or f9 works well for me in AF-S as well as shooting macro with the 100mm with close-up lens as often I am trying to be completely still and focusing on what I want to shoot and not what the camera has decided. I can see the benefits of shooting AF-C with fast moving subjects which I do use when shooting whales, Dolphins, and sea birds. Underwater for me AF-S works well for what I am shooting. Regards Mark
  24. I have been diving with the Aquatica AD500 for over a year now and it was an upgrade from previous Aquatica housings I owed (D7000 and D90). My setup has Ikelite bulkheads as I use Ikelite Ds161 strobes in manual mode. As others have stated the ergonomics on the Aquatica are great and everything is close to your hands for quick setting changes, I especailly like the ISO lever which is righ next to your right thumb. The housing grips are brillant and simply mold to your hands and there is no movement or flex in them especially when you have heavy strobes hanging off the ends of them. The latches were a little hard to get use to when I first had the housing but now its very easy once you get the nack of it. The housings are machined out of a block of Aluminium alloy, then anodized, and powder coated with polyester with the control buttons made out of what I believe to be stainless steel. All of which makes a housing able to with stand alot of abuse and still works and looks in good condition after many years of hard work. My Aquatica D7000 which I still have looks in great shape considering its done over 1500 dives since I have had it. I also like the adition of the Surveyor moisture and vacuum system as an added peace of mind and safety feature. It has saved my camera on a couple of occasions when I hadnt noticed a stray hair from my beard had found its way when setting up. Its also important to trust the system once the alarm does go never minding how well you think you have put your setup together. The constant flash of a little green light during the dive does reassure you alot. Corey I noticed that your Canadian and with Aquatica being based in Montreal they would most likely be able to provide quick support and service when the need arises. Which is also an important feature when looking at housings especially those of us who live on the other side of the world. If you have any other questions just ask, Regards Mark
  25. Larry I use AF-S with group area when shooting wide with Fisheyes and AF-S with single point when shooting with macro lenses. I had issues with out of focus shots when using AF-C on my D7000 and went back to AF-S and continued on with the D500. Havnt played with the AF-C on the D500 as the AF-S works for me. I went with group area as I am shooting sharks mainly and it gives a faster and more accurate focus on what I am shooting. Regards Mark
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