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About Berkley

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  1. One more thing... We took photos of the Subal 5DmkII housing last week. I've posted the internal views below.
  2. Wow, this 5D mkII thread is deep! Here's a few thoughts and news... I spoke with Aquatica this weekend and they will have a solution to access both AF-ON and the star button. This final production model has been greatly improved over the last 3 weeks thanks to Aquatica's willingness to implement user feedback. Hat's off to Aquatica! As previously mentioned in this thread... the 5DmkII is a great still camera with an exciting video option. Photographers looking to shoot a little video will be very happy with housing designs such as the new Aquatica. Users looking to run this camera primarily for video will likely find the need to jump through a few hoops in technique and customization. The topside video crowd is very excited with the 5DmkII as it gives them exceptional image quality, lens selection, and the ability to shoot very low depth of field and thus achieve more of a film look. However, underwater optics in the 35mm format require us to shoot f8 or higher to maintain reasonable sharpness in the corners in wide angle. Our macro lenses will want f16 or higher for tight shots. Most serious video shooters will likely use some of the popular topside mods to run manual aperture and focus such as adapting Nikon F mount lenses (manual aperture, but also limited to manual focus). Backscatter is currently working on customization geared specifically to these hardcore video folks. However, one doesn't have to be a hardcore user to get good video from the 5DmkII. In the right conditions it can be point and shoot, but a few tweaks will help. Here's some tips and thoughts for photographers looking maximize the video feature. Please consider these shooting techniques as starting points. As we all get more time with this camera, and share notes, we'll certainly come up with more successful techniques. Live view is very functional, but has limitations that are compounded underwater: - Auto focus in live view is slow at best and can be downright impossible on moving subjects - Auto focus while recording can cause radical exposure shifts even with exposure locked - Auto exposure while recording is jumpy and will drop frames if aperture is changed (EOS lenses) - Manual exposure can be simulated, but limited auto exposure lock and ISO compensation (thus interest in Nikon F lenses) Here's an example of a wide angle shooting technique: - Perform manual white balance in photo mode - Capture and lock focus in photo mode when possible (faster, more accurate, allows viewfinder use) - Switch to live view mode - Half press shutter to see exposure info - Point camera at different light sources to vary auto aperture value (f value choice will vary with conditions, below f8 will produce increasingly fuzzy corners) - Press exposure lock - Adjust exposure compensation to dial in the background blue. (Exposure compensation will adjust ISO and/or shutter speed to brighten or darken the exposure) - Adjust video lights (or your focus light) brightness to balance fill the foreground subject - Press record We'll eventually post a detailed article on our test results with gear and techniques. Despite the 5DmkII's lack of full video control, I believe we're about to see some amazing video shot this summer.... especially by photographers. The limited controls and lens selection will shape a whole new look in video, and that's exciting. Cheers, Berkley
  3. Howdy folks... Jim Decker here at Backscatter has tested various combinations of Sea & Sea TTL Controllers, strobes, and housings over the last few months. Planned to post results on our site, but haven't completed testing. We received so many calls from this post, that I thought I should share our rough preliminary results. Skip below for the test results... My 2 cents on digital TTL: Personally, I'm not jonesing for TTL, but I'd welcome a good solution that auto-corrects for quick changes in strobe to subject distances. Unfortunately, digital TTL is not as easy as it sounds. Each camera has unique code and the strobe manufacturers are struggling to keep up even in the topside world. We've tried the various in-housing TTL circuits with poor results on compatibility and reliability. The Sea & Sea controller has been the most field worthy system with our clients, but it suffers from the same issues we had with film TTL years ago.... fragile sync cord connector design. All sync connector designs (Nikonos, Ikelite, Subtronic, Wetlink, EO, Nelson, ICS) are not robust enough for sloppy, low maintenance, marine use. I'm working on a new design, but welcome others to get involved. If you shot film TTL, then you know how difficult it is to keep 5-6 pins connected at low voltage. If you're a new shooter looking to make one of these digital TTL systems work, treat your sync connections like an open wound. Keep it clean and dry.. let it breathe. Don't pop out a sync cord and slap on the caps and plugs as you'll just be sealing in the moisture. Carefully clean and install your sync cords in good light (with glasses if necessary). If you're not willing to do this level of maintenance, I'd recommend you stick to manual strobe technique as manual connection requires less maintenance... >>>>>>> Test notes: The below tests were performed in our product photo booth, not underwater. Sea & Sea TTL controller testing results--Strobes >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Strobes must be in TTL mode. Must turn controller on first. Controller passes preflash signals to strobes. Strobes working correctly emit multiple flashes (preflash). All tests performed with Nikon camera bodies and N version Controllers. Works with accurate exposures: Sea & Sea YS-90 Sea & Sea YS-90dx Sea & Sea YS-120 Sea & Sea YS-110 (controller version II only) Fires multiple preflashes and main flash, but exposure is not correct: Ikelite DS125 Ikelite DS200 Inon Z240 Inon D2000W/Wn Sea and Sea YS-350 Fires only first preflash, but not remaining preflashes, will not fire the main flash: Nikon SB-105 Ikelite DS-50 Ikelite SS-50 Sea and Sea TTL controller testing results—Cameras / Housings >>>>>>>>>>>>> Each housing manufacturer has unique sync circuit wiring. New Sea & Sea housings with a "controller" labeled sync port are good to go. Older Sea & Sea housings need modification. All Subal and Aquatica housings need electronic modification to prevent a feedback loop... except the Nikon D200 housing which will work with full 5 pin sync ports. Nikon D200: works with Sea & Sea, Subal, Aquatica 5 pin sync ports Nikon D70: requires 5 pin sync port modified for ground isolation D2X, D2Xs: does not work with or without isolation mod. Strobe does full dump, no preflashes. D100, D50: no complete testing performed Canon cameras: Minimal testing performed. Housings will need the special Sea and Sea 6 pin strobe bulkhead. Currently only available for the Sea and Sea housings. Comes stock in Sea and Sea 5D housing. Special modification available to add Sea & Sea 6-pin bulkhead to Subal, Aquatica, and older Sea & Sea housings. >>>>>>>> Cheers, Berkley White Backscatter http://www.backscatter.com 831-645-1082
  4. I converted a couple more NEF's that were shot with the Macromate. No crop, minimum focus, otherwise same specs as my previous post. Thanks for the emails. I look forward to meeting some of you at the Fiji Shootout. Berkley www.backscatter.com
  5. Hello all... I shot these uncropped images with our MacromateSLR lens, Nikon D100, 105 micro, minimum focus, Light & Motion Titan Housing with Sea & Sea flat port. The seahorse was actually pulled back from minimum about 1/4 turn on my focus knob to keep from clipping too much tail. The SLR Macromate will produce a 2:1 reproduction on a 35mm format. Most video cameras will produce a 3:1 ratio. Diopter lenses are designed for use in air. If you place them directly in water they loose power and require you to use a more extreme lens to achieve the target magnification. Affordable lenses at this extreme are unable to produce sharp edges. We selected the sharpest achromate (twin lens) optics we could find and sealed them inside an airtight optical port. By installing the optics in a sealed housing, they actually gain power from air water refraction. Thus, you can use lower power lenses and maintain sharp edges while hitting the target reproduction. Unfortunately, this design is more expensive. I'll try to get our macromate gallery posted soon... Cheers, Berkley White www.backscatter.com
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