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Posts posted by TimG

  1. 5 hours ago, horvendile said:

    Would even longer, say 2 x 200, be better or worse?

    I suspect not as handy.

    Having a slightly shorter arm at the snoot end helps, I find, get the snoot closer to the position you want. It might also become an issue of quite how far you can get your left hand/arm to reach to the end of the arms to move the snoot. 

    Barmaglot makes a good point on the buoyancy issue. Snoot/strobes are heavy. I have a second Retra (usually switched off when snooting) on the right hand side of the housing with the same arm arrangement. This keeps the system in rough balance. But it does need a lot of Stix - and, as Bermaglot suggests, I have an arm across the length of my housing loaded with Stix.

    With my Subal housing, a D500 and, say, 60mm macro lens plus the setup of 4 arms, 2 strobes, 1 snoot and cross bar, I have a total of 10.5 Stix Jumbo floats - around 1800gms of buoyancy. My system is just very slightly negatively buoyant which is the way I like it. 

    This is the setup for Stix:

    Housing + Nikkor 60mm + Retra/Reflector + Retra/LSD

    8” arm x 2 each with 2x Stix

    5” arm x 2 each with 1.5x Six

    10” arm with 3.5x Stix

    Total Stix = 10.5 = 1810gms


  2. As Chris says, there are multiple factors which can impact on TTL. Quality of cables, correct centering of LED initiators, even the quality of cables from the trigger to the bulkhead. 

    As an example, I found that using the double-holed Inon bush you can use to connect a fibre optic cable to the Retra could cause TTL issues. Having two holes in the bush, the light is not centred, each hole is very slightly offset. No problems at all for Manual initiation, but not always reliable for TTL. 

    So it’s a question of working through and eliminating possible causes. Chris’ suggestion of checking with Turtle is a good starting place. 

    But bottom line, go Manual! It’s easy and usually trouble free. 


  3. 3 hours ago, horvendile said:

    Edit: Question - would I want one of those flexible arms for mounting the Backscatter MF snoot combo?

    You certainly need flexibility in the arm((s) to be able to move the strobe/snoot easily and smoothly.

    As an example mine is on combined 8” and 5” ULCS arms (with 3 clamps).  The clamps are slackened off just slightly so small adjustments are relatively easy to make whilst looking through the viewfinder. You need to be able to keep your eye on the subject whilst creeping the aiming light into the right place with the left hand. 

  4. I'm a big snoot fan and, like Barmaglot, use the Retra strobe and Retra LSD combination which works very well. The circular flash tube surrounding the centralised aiming light is the ideal setup for snooting. 

    As Barmaglot says, I think many of us start with a painted set of plumbing piping or plastic bottles. And, yep, it doesn't work! Sadly. Very satisfying to build, but hopeless in creating snoot-lit pictures as it's almost impossible to aim correctly.

    Agreed too, that two snoots are definitely one too many - although I did try with two sets of painted plumbing piping.

    I set up with the snoot on my left hand strobe; hold the camera with my right hand and make (hopefully) small adjustments to the strobe/snoot position with my left hand.

    Like so many things connected to u/w photography, it's practice, practice, practice - but it does require the right gear otherwise high levels of frustration are likely.

    Have a go with a painted plastic bottle by all means, but don't expect much and relish it if you do get a well-light pic - or perhaps I should say a pic that is snoot-light as you intended.  I think I managed it once........

  5. Hi!

    If you prime focus is WA It'd be worth giving some thought into which lens you would use and how you'd house it. 

    I shot with the D800 for a long-time and just loved it. I was going to move to the D850 but was persuaded to switch to the D500 for the ease of WA reasons. This was back in 2017 and I've never regretted it for a second. I do appreciate though that you probably don't want to go as far back as D500 technology!

    That said, I can't for the moment see any advance in technology that would make me want to upgrade and I have a Z6 and Z9 for topside.

    I suspect the same would be true of the D850 as long as you crack the WA housing with something you can live with. Sounds like traveling is not an issue so a big 230 dome may not  be a problem - and maybe you are used to that anyway with the D800.

    I'm sure others will chip-in, but I'd suggest that you'd be good for 5+ years with the D850 if you're relaxed about not having the latest technology.


  6. If you’re considering moving to a DX or MFT system it would certainly be worth checking exactly how much weight you save by changing the camera, port, housing and lens as part of the total system. 

    In previous discussions of this issue the view has often been that the saving isn’t as great as you might perhaps expect. Presumably, you would want to reuse all the arms, clamps and strobes which can still be significant weight factor.

    I seem to recall too that there are mirrorless housings which weigh more than the broad FX equivalent. 

  7. Hi!

    Snoot macro shots have become a real favourite of mine over the last few years.

    The trick, I found, was getting the aiming light and the strobe output to light the same place; then understanding what extra exposure you need to compensate for the limiting of the strobe output created by the narrowing of the light by the snoot. 

    You can certainly work on both these elements on dry land - being careful as you say of overheating the strobe especially as you start to increase the power. But getting the alignment right between strobe and aiming light can be a huge help.

    If you have a strobe where the aiming light is in the centre of the flash tube, this is straightforward. But if the tube is offset from the aiming light it is much more tricky. If you now plan to buy a strobe for shooting this is worth bearing in mind. I’ve not used the MF-2 so I’m not sure how that works but certainly worth checking. A snoot like the Marelux SOFT Pro contains an aiming light so à combined system should work well. But is very expensive. I use the Retra LSD which works extremely well with the Retra circular flash tube but, I found, much more difficult with an offset tube as used on the Inons. 

    Hope this helps a bit. Shooting can be a slow, frustrating business to start with but I find it really absorbing with the potential for great results. 

  8. Hi Yehia

    Ive been using Retra Pros for just over 2 years and love them. I’ve no experience of a Nauticam housing but with my Subal and a D500, I use the UWT trigger and homemade 712 strand. fibre optic cables with Howshot  connectors. 

    I shoot mainly in Manual, HSS quite a bit but seldom TTL. It all works really well. The UWT trigger is very good and support, from Pavel, who is a regular contributor here, is excellent.

    The Superchargers are a great edition. I can usually get at least 4 dives from a set of batteries, say 350 shots, with the battery indicator still showing Yellow. 

  9. 1 hour ago, horvendile said:

    I have been thinking about snoots too. Never used one but... how hard could it be?

    :lol2: Let's just say, not easy! It takes practice for sure.

    And, what I found really important was having a strobe focussing light that was accurate, ie where it light was where the snoot would light. This is not always a given depending on the strobe/snoot arrangement.

    I was getting pretty frustrated with an Inon Z240/Retra LSD combination and, after much agonising. sold my Inons and bought Retras. Praise the Lord, it was a miracle!

    Here's couple of examples of showing macro with snoot.

    I don't know which snoot might work best with YS-D1 but a circular flash tube with a central focussing light really helps.






  10. I need to replace the rubber eye cup on my 45-degree Subal finder. I’ve had the finder for 15 years and this will be the second replacement. So not bad. 

    Does anyone know of any rubber eye cups that fit? Or do I just have to order from Subal? I think that’s what I did last time. 

  11. 4 hours ago, Mags said:

    Thank you sooo much @g3cko You have made my month/year!!! I'll let you elaborate if you want ;) One gear is perfect, the other just needs a bit of a tape tweak. The EXR33/4 extension is pristine and bonus, it came with another ORing :fishgold: If ever we meet the beers are on me!:drink:

    So what have you crazy kids been up to now????

  12. 2 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

    I'm not saying don't get the lens but there are so many nudis and very cool critters to shoot that don't need a super macro lens in those waters you could be shooting an amazing variety new stuff for a week without even thinking about going super macro. 

    I'm with Chris on this. 

    I do lots of macro especially with a snoot. The idea of super-macro sounds is so appealing but in practice, I found, is an utter pain resulting in very few images that are worthwhile.

    As Chris explains the depth of field is minimal (millimetres) and keeping the subject in the area is so hard given the inevitable water motion and maybe the creature's own movement.

    As he says, there is so much stuff to macro photo without going super. Especially if you try a snoot too! That brings a whole level of complexity and creativity of its own. 

    The pic below was shot on DX sensor camera (D300) with a 105mm lens and is pretty much 1:1




  13. 7 hours ago, oneyellowtang said:

    I just spent a week diving (in the southern Philippines) a pair of Retra Pro X strobes with superchargers. Definitely recommended...


    7 hours ago, oneyellowtang said:

    You may be tempted to not get the superchargers - I highly recommend not skipping these. I was able to shoot 3 dives/day easily with these on, whereas my previous experience (w/out them) was that by the third dive shooting anything close to full power introduced significantly longer recycle times and less available light output.

    Totally agree with oneyellowtang on the Retras. I've done around 450 dives over the last 2 years with them and rate them highly. As you say, highly versatile with the various accessories - and very good indeed with the Retra LSD for snoot shots. Ease of use, quality of light and design, customer support, AA battery use.... all first class.

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