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Everything posted by TimG

  1. I've got similar experiences to Mark: carry-ons weighed in the UK - and now much more difficult because of counter-terrorist measures. Occasionally weighed by Qantas and Emirates; defintely weighed for inter-Maldives island travel. It is certainly getting more difficult to board with sizable carry-ons for routes commencing in Europe.
  2. Yeah I agree with the guys. I reckon it takes me about an hour to setup and test my system. So I invariably set up the day before and do a fresh water dunk test. I then leave my system in its travelling box with everything switched off. When I get to the site I just power everything up to check it one more time - and away I go.
  3. I've found that you need to get pretty close to the main object in the photo and have the stobes spread wide apart. Even then I found objects were not illuminated unless they were within 3'-4' of the lens. I found it helped to use both strobes trained on, eg really lighting an object in the foreground; rather than trying to get broad, wide-spread illumination.
  4. Mercy, you were setting yourself a challenge! How did it go? Manta Rays will come quite near to divers - as you may have discovered - if you stay still and let them come to you. A wide-angle lens (I'd suggest something like 12-24) should do the trick. But lighting the scene, especially at night, is pretty tricky. Strobes really do not travel very far through water; and I suspect the strobes firing might scare off the rays. Did you get any pics?
  5. I've just bought a Fixeye 48 light which uses 8 replaceable AA batteries to power its LEDs - rather than the Fixeye 20 which uses a rechargable power pack which some Wetpixelers seem to have had problems with. I've not yet really given it much of a run so cannot say just how good it is with my Nikon D200. But it features adjustable light output and is very solidly made with good, easy to use controls. And the 48 LED model is much cheaper than the 20.
  6. Hi Andy Sounds like a great trip. I would suggest setting the WB to Auto. You can always see after the first few pics (at a pinch) or certainly after the first dive if that is the right setting and tweak accordingly. Its easy enough to vary the setting if you shoot RAW, as you are doing, once you have the images on to your computer - although I appreciate you are trying to avoid that. Or maybe do a quick initial shore dive in roughly the same depth to see what works best?
  7. Cracking photo, Mike, congratulations! I'm no marine biologist, but are they really teeth? It seems to me that critter is giving you the time-honoured Anglo-Saxon gesture indicating that he would welcome it if you gave careful consideration to taking your camera and strobes and, errr, moving off to some other stretch of reef If this is the case, you might want to claim a world first!
  8. Hi David I'm on my third Subal: Coolpix5000, D100 and now D200. I think they are terrific. They handle well, are well made - and, so far at least, I have been able to find buyers when I felt it was time to upgrade. I'm really happy with my D200/Subal combination. You will find posts on these pages with people saying they find the combination awkward because of its buoyancy featues - a bit negative. I can't say I have had the problem.
  9. Thanks for the comparison pics, Alex. Interesting in the light of the discussion a couple of weeks ago about the difference in weight/size for travelling with either a D2X set-up or D200/D80. The difference for a couple of bodies and the housing must be quite significant - especially with airlines, certainly out of the UK, becoming less generous over baggage allowances.
  10. Not an easy choice for sure. A lot to choose from and some big bucks involved. Its especially tough if you can't get to at least see and hold the housings. But then that's probably the issue for a lot of us as there are just not too many convenient dealers. My last three housings have been bought sight unseen based on very good dealer email advice (Seaoptics) and reading the posts here. Happily I have been delighted with all three which were, err, Subals There has been some good advice on working out what your realistic budget might be. There are a lot of expensive extras in terms of strobe arms, focussing lights, battery chargers. Oh, and then ports. Those need to be factored in to avoid nasty surprises All the major housings are "good". If there is an option of renting for either Bonaire or GBR, that might well be worth a try. It would give you a good idea of what feels right. And that, balanced with the cash, seems to me to be the key. And then, if you're still not sure, get a Subal.
  11. Hey John How about stacking up a bunch of D2XS boxes on a bit of land in London and selling them as a new style of London living? They'd probably be worth more than the cameras......
  12. Add another vote for the D200. The camera and the housing are neater for travelling and that second body takes up less space too.
  13. Hi John Although I havn't used the Tokinas, I started with the same lens specs on my D100/Subal system: a 12-24 and a 60mm macro (I had Nikkors). I really liked what they could produce and am still happy with them - though I have now moved to a D200. I think adding a 105mm after makes good sense. And you might also like to take a look at the 10.5mm which can produce some amazing results. It would be worth planning your port purchasing so that you don't necessarily have to buy new ports if you go to more extreme lens choices (like the 105 and 10.5) On strobe arms, I've been really happy with Ultralight 8" plus a 5" for each strobe. I started with a single SB-105 on the Ultralights. No problems and I was happy with the combination. I'm not familiar with Ikelite ports but I would imagine you would need a zoom adaptor ring for any zoom lens. I use them on my 12-24 and 18-70. This then links the lens zoom ring to some form of control mechanism on the housing. Diopters? I don't use one with the 12-24 or 60mm. But one or two Wetpixelers do use a diopter with the Nikkor 12-24. Very best of luck with it all
  14. Hey Carol - if you'd like to supply the 105VR I'd be more than happy to test drive the setup for you I'm a simple straight 105 man - probably because I bought it two weeks before $*^&% Nikon announced the 105VR. You can never win eh? Cameras and computers! Tsk. On the arms, Leander, I'm using the straightforward Ultralights: 1x5" and 1x 8" for each Inon. But if negative buoyancy becomes a real problem, you could always switch to the buoyant Ultralight arms I guess. I must admit I've not had a problem with negative buoyancy on my system with any of the lens/ports that I use - 10.5mm, 12-24, 17-80, 60 with the FP90 and 105 with the FP90 and a 30mm ring. And I'm no Charles Atlas. Although I do enjoy a couple of whippets for breakfast.
  15. Hi Leander I'm using the D200/ND20 combination with a pair of Inons and a Fixeye 48. I love it! Weight does not seem an issue underwater. As for battery life, I did two dives with the seals off Montague Island this weekend just gone by and filled my 2GB card. No battery problems at all. There was plenty of power left - it actually seemed better than topside! But maybe thats because I usually use the 18-200 VR topside and had the Nikkor 12-24 on the go underwater.
  16. Hey Colonialist It means the doors open at 7.30 but the meeting starts at 8pm
  17. I'd vote for dry gloves too. I've got DUI ones which work fine with my camera controls - and I wear a pair of thin, DUI-provided, material gloves under the rubber dry glove. This does away with suit squeeze quite nicely, provides a nice warmth - and, as I say, still allows me to operate the controls on my Subal housing.
  18. Phew Stew! You were one lucky guy there! Congratulations. Its good to hear a story from someone who "got away with it". I can't help but feel though that it must have been an even bigger shock landing in the UK after 3 weeks in the Maldives. Welcome home! I've been Up North for the last three weeks and have yet to see the sun.
  19. I've heard the story too of using a sliced raw potato - but for stopping fogging on masks. I've never tried it. I prefer good ol' Manchester spit. Licking the dome port sounds on the margins of dodgey to me
  20. Hey Dave There was some good advice on Wepitxel about a year ago on ways to fit clips on to Ultralight arms to form a triangle of the two sets of strobe arms to make lifting easy. A search should find it. This makes it easy to clip a rope for a boat crew to lift. The line doesn't need to be especially heavy but if you tie on a carabiner (using a bowline knot) it is then straightforward for the crew to throw the line down and for you to loop it through the strobe arm, clip it, for it to be hauled up.
  21. Welcome aboard! And welcome to being continually broke as you have just bought the latest must-have accessory. Its almost always the case that the housing costs as much as, if not more than, the camera. It goes with the territory sadly. This means that getting the equipment choice right is important if you are not to be continually buying new stuff - and losing money in upgrades. There is loads of good advice on these pages and it would be worth doing a search (if you havn't done already) for the camera you use - and the housing that goes with it. Renting might be a good option if you have a dive shop that carries rental gear close to what you might buy yourself. They don't all rent disposable cameras. So its worth a try and then you would see what can be produced. As Dave wrote above, strobes are fairly important. A Magic Filter may well work well (they do!) but you wouldn't want to buy a camera that didn't alllow for a strobe to be added. That would be too limiting. Best wishes - and good luck!
  22. Thanks for that Sam. I've just switched from a Subal-housed D100 to a D200 with an Inon 220 and 220S. Part of the process of switching means I have "lost" the focussing light and laser of the 220. The Subal housing electronics and the D200 don't seem to be able to handle them. I was wondering about upgrading to the 240 - but I might well give the focussing light a go first. Those strobes are not cheap!
  23. I had a week at KBR in January 2006. I have to say my experience was nothing like the original post. The rooms were, I thought, really nice - dark wood for sure, but comfortable local-style furniture, nice drapes, good bathrooms, spacious and ocean views. A terrific infinity-style swimming pool. Food was good, plenty of it - and maybe better than a lot of European-style food in that part of the world. Yeah, the pace of delivery was "leisurely" but no problems getting food on time to dive. I thought the service very good: friendly, helpful and usually delivering what was asked for. The DMs were superb. Bottom line, I'd go back for sure. And you can't say better than that.
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