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Backscatter

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  1. Hello Traveldave, There are certainly a few options that are great for the Olympus E-PL10 and most of them have been mentioned below. The two main reasons we chose the AOI-UWL-09PRO were overall image sharpness and versatility. The sharpest option would be the Olympus 8mm or Panasonic 8mm fisheye lenses and the AOI dome. This will give you a 180° field of view, but you are stuck at that FOV. I like how close you can get with a fisheye and how forgiving the focus can be. But you have to be on top of your subject. So sharks, eagle rays, etc. can be hard to shoot with this lens. Due to the nature of a fisheye lens, you can shoot at lower apertures than a rectilinear wide lens and still get sharper images. Thus you can shoot at higher shutter speeds and lower ISOs for better overall images. With fisheye, it is ƒ8 and be there. Another thing that you really can only do with a fisheye lens is split-shots or over/unders. Can't pull them off with a wet-mate lens, nor can you focus both above and below water at the same time with the Olympus 9-18mm lens. The Olympus 9-18mm lens is a good alternative to the AOI UWL-09PRO, but you do not get the same coverage. The Olympus 9-18mm lens will get you 100° to 63°. Also, due to how dome optics work underwater, you have to shoot a high aperture to maintain corner sharpness. You want to shoot ƒ16 (ƒ11 if there is no reef/details in the corners) to get any semblance of a sharp image. This means that you will need to boost ISO or slower shutter speed for some shots. But this is a better option for skittish large subjects, like sharks. The AOI UWL-09PRO lens will give you 130° to ~108°. So the narrowest this lens gets is where the Olympus 9-18mm lens starts. Also, since this lens has been optimized for underwater, you can shoot lower apertures and still maintain a sharper image than the 9-18mm lens. You can also take it off mid-dive and shoot tighter shots, or throw on a macro lens and get some macro in. The only downsides to this lens are cost, size, size, and weight. You have to get the float collar for it, and that just makes it bigger. The AOI-UWL-09PRO has the best non-fisheye image sharpness and versatility, but it is costly and heavy. There are other versions of this lens, like the UWL-09 (not pro), but the image sharpness suffered significantly. We never recommend this one because of how poorly the images came out. The AOU UWL-04A or Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens are another option. Certainly cheaper than the UWL-09PRO, but the overall image quality is also not as good. Since these lenses were designed for smaller sensor cameras, you do not get the same angle of coverage. You will go down to 100° at the widest and it is not as sharp as the AOI UWL-09PRO. That being said, it is sharper than the Olympus 9-18mm lens at the same apertures. With either the AOI UWL-09PRO, AOI UWL-04A, or Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens, you can add the AOI QRS bayonet system to them for easy removal underwater. The Fantasea UWL-04F has been discontinued from Fantasea, so we have not tested it with the Olympus E-PL10. Knowing how they are made, it is optically identical to the AOI UWL-04A but does not have a QRS bayonet option. The current version from Fantasea is the Fantasea UWL-400F or UWL400Q. The Q includes the QRS mount, while the F includes the 52mm threaded mount. A more inexpensive option is the Inon UWL-95 lens. This is a non-dome option and can get you 95° on the wide side. We have tested this and it does work, but there is no bayonet option for it. We have tried all the different versions of the lens and all the bayonet options vignette at full wide. A low-cost solution, sharper than most at that price, but not the sharpest and can only be threaded on. You can add a dome unit to the Inon lens, increasing the FOV to 140°. This would be the second sharpest option after the AOI UWL-09PRO lens. The downside to the Inon UWL-95 is that it is also a heavy lens by itself. A lot of glass with no air. This makes it a sharper option, but heavier in water. When it comes to picking a lens, a lot of it comes down to what type of subjects are you looking to shoot, how close are you willing/can get to your subject and how sharp are you needing in your image? If you would like to talk directly, please feel free to give us a call. +1-831-645-1082 I hope this clarifies some of the options for you. -Sean
  2. Spencer, I used to shoot my 5Dmk II in a Subal housing. Never had any problems with it. Good solid housing. Keep an eye out in the Wet Pixel classifieds... I sold my Subal housing there earlier this year. Maybe someone else will post theirs soon. When I upgraded to the 5Dmk III I ended up getting a Nauticam housing because I really liked the build quality and the ergonomics for shooting video. It just seemed well thought out and well made. If you're remotely considering moving up to the 5D mk III before buying a housing, here's an article that talks about the key differences between 5D mk II and 5D mk III for underwater video. http://www.backscatter.com/learn/article/article.php?ID=139 Joel
  3. Hi Richard, We are expecting to receive our first shipment of "White" and "Silver" GoPro Hero 3 cameras next week, and the "Black" version will apparently ship around mid November. Berkley White managed to get ahold of a Silver Hero 3 and just left for the Maldives where he will do some testing with it. I'm not sure if the bitrates for the new Hero 3 cameras has been released yet, but the Silver and Black editions both feature the "Protune" codec which is 35Mbit on the Hero 2 via firmware upgrade, so probably at least that high on the new cameras. Perhaps the most exciting thing about the Hero 3 Black edition are its high frame rates, including 1080p/60p, and 720p/120p. This makes it a really interesting option for doing slow motion effects very inexpensively. We are actively studying the Hero 3 and plan to adapt our Flip Magic Filter for it in the very near future. The front flat port of the housing is significantly smaller than on the GoPro Dive Housing for the Hero 2, so we will need to do a redesign. But we're happy to see GoPro embrace the underwater market by including a housing that can be used for diving right out of the box. Our plan is to show a prototype of the new filter at DEMA, and we're also discussing the possibility of having interchangeable filters for shallow, deep, and green water situations. We will post something to our website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts as soon as we have something to announce. Thanks for your interest.
  4. I think that's a good choice - the 8 inch dome will definitely yield better results, especially with the 10-22. It's still pretty compact, all things considered.
  5. I haven't personally, for rectilinear zooms one is really better served by a larger dome in order to maintain corner sharpness. But according to Subal, it is possible to shoot with this dome using the combination of a 33mm extension and +4 dioptre. Best, Sterling
  6. I highly recommend the T2i, it is a great rig, extremely versatile for the price. I haven't heard whether any manufacturers are going to jump on the T3i yet, but I would doubt it given the very limited improvements that Canon made, especially with regards to features that are relevant underwater. I just don't think the investment would be justified. Same is pretty much true for the 60D. There is an Ikelite housing available, but few other manufacturers jumped on board. I had the opportunity to shoot both the Aquatica and Nauticam housings for the T2i last summer. Let me know if I can answer any further questions you might have. Best, Sterling
  7. Steve, Let me know if I can be of any help with your order. Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have. We're here to help! Best regards, Sterling
  8. We just got in our first batch of HD Hero cameras and Russ Sanonian brought one with him the Philippines and will be testing it there. The lack of LCD is definitely a limitation on the HD Hero, but as a multipurpose camera (bike/surf/helmet/underwater) it is certainly interesting. Could be interesting as a scooter cam or even mounted to one's hood or on top of an SLR as a secondary camera. As I understand it, a major advantage of the JVC Picsio is that it will focus down to around an inch, whereas the Flip specs state that it will focus from 1.5 meters to infinity. This would obviously be a huge advantage underwater. Sometime early next year we'll be posting a head-to-head article with the HD Hero, the Flip and the JVC Picsio.
  9. Though we stock several major brands, one of our most popular housings for the 5D Mark II is built by Aquatica. It offers excellent value for the money, and is really well thought out in terms of the amazing video capabilities of this camera (such as the included hydrophone). Berkley White used this housing for testing the video abilities of the 5D Mark II, and wrote up his findings here If nothing else, this article may be a good starting point for using the 5D as a video system, and reading about the Aquatica system. All the very best, Sterling
  10. Hi all, We are offering a special course on using Adobe Photoshop CS4 to edit your underwater photographs in our Monterey classroom on October 24. This seminar is instructed by Scuba Diving Australasia Field Editor and Photo Pro Doug Sloss. You can learn more about the course here. We hope to see you there if you're in the area. All the very best, Sterling
  11. Hi again, Jim Decker, Backscatter CEO, had a chance to shoot some test footage with one of the 7D cameras that just arrived at the shop this week. Good news - the bitrate of the Quicktime files is even higher than the 5D Mark II!! In 1080p mode, the footage is encoded at 46 Mbps, and in 720p at 47 Mbps. This compared to 42 Mbps from the 5DMKII. Also, toggling custom settings allows the frame rate to be set in 25p and 50p for PAL, in addition to the 24p, 30p and 60p for NTSC. 50p and 60p are only available in 720p mode, but still, this should be very interesting for shooting at higher frame rates and then re-conforming using Cinema Tools for slow motion effects. We've yet to test high ISO footage, but this will be the next big factor to check out against the 5D Mark II, to see how the APS size sensor holds up. Hopefully the dual processors will make a difference in noise reduction. Best regards, Sterling
  12. Hi folks, Just wanted to add some info to this thread regarding Subal housings. We just heard from Subal this week that they have an ND300s housing coming very soon, a prototype of which will be shown at DEMA. There is also going to be an upgrade available for existing ND300 owners, by replacing the back lid with one designed for the new control layout of the D300s. So fantastic news for Subal ND300 shooters wanting to add video to their toolbox! It's the only upgrade of its kind that I know of at this point. Best regards, Sterling
  13. Hello, We've heard from Aquatica, Sea & Sea, and Subal that they are planning to make housings. I know that Subal hopes to have a prototype to show at DEMA, depending on when they get their camera bodies. Ikelite is fairly certain, but we have not heard word from them officially. We will stock housings from all of these brands as soon as they are shipping (and can order Seacam, if they produce one), which at this point will likely be end of the year/beginning of 2010. We also just received our first shipment of cameras this week. Best regards, Sterling
  14. Hi Joss, I'm not sure what your budget is like, but there are certainly SLR solutions less expensive than Subal. Ikelite and Aquatech have SLR housings available for well under half the cost of their Subal Counterparts. But they still can run in the thousands of dollars once you add ports and configure an entire system. For more advanced compacts, you might want to take a look through the article that we wrote earlier this year that details some of the best options in various price ranges. http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/best-underw...meras-for-2009/ Let use know if we can help you. All the best, Sterling
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