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Everything posted by TimG

  1. Yeah, I agree with James too. Having done P+S and DSLR, there is no doubt which is more satisfying. You know your own mind far better than any of us: is there a chance that you will put the money into a P+S system (which is still not cheap) but always regret it -and be hankering after the DSLR? If so, my suggestion would be to really shop around and see if you can find a 20D housing which is affordable. Have a look at the second hand offers in the Classified forum. Good luck with it! Not an easy call.
  2. I'd pretty much agree with Slowhands. Its not an easy choice and you may well find as you get more experienced that your favourite choice changes. This makes puchasing on a limited budget tricky. I'd say, to start off with, the Nikkor 12-24 and 60mm lenses are winners. Although not everyone's favourite, the 12-24 is very versatile and will do the reef shots you want - and its a great topside lens too. However I am now really getting into the 10.5mm which can produce awesome results - but is much harder to use and, for me at least, is pretty hopeless topside. No-one will argue with the 60mm which is just excellent. It is very versatile for fish portrait shots. But you are right too, if you want the pygmy seahorses (and that's what I'm now hunting too), the 105mm is The Business. I bought one about two weeks ago to use in Indonesia - and just love it. But, it is harder to use than the 60mm. Focussing is just trickier and needs more work. And it is not so easy to use for standard fish portraits. So, I would say 12-24 and 60 or 105. But maybe start with the 60: you'll just be able to use it in more situations - and then keep an eye out for the 10.5 and 105. Of course, you could just buy them all and remove the agonies of decision. Remove your bank account too
  3. Rats! If the visibility and the currents don't get you. that nice Mr Gates may bush-whack you at some stage......
  4. Hi Peter Mat has told you about "ports" - a key issue - but don't worry about "ignorance": that's what Wetpixel is for - to get your questions answered. Besides, the more time I spend in life, the more I realise just how ignorant I am!
  5. Its perhaps worth adding a footnote that, certainly as of summer 2005, it was no longer possible to stay on Sipadan island. I visited from the liveaboard MV Celebes Explorer (which is very good). We were allowed to walk along the shore line near to the jetty shown in the trip report: but that was it. No walking into the interior and no walking around the island. And a military detachment with persuasive-looking light machine guns tended to underline the position. But this had, happily, no impact on the diving which was indeed amazing. More turtles than you can shake a wide-angle lens at - let me through, boys - and the occasional pelagic. Some cute blue-ring octopus on nearby islands reefs too
  6. Hi Peter I agree with Mat. I moved - as I think Mat did - from a Coolpix 5000 to a Nikon D100; and have never looked back. The D100 plus my Subal housing is proving a delight. Of course my bank account has never looked back either - but that is another story. It's a good time too to be shopping for a D100 with the D200 due to appear in the next few days. Many will move up up the D200 (including probably me) and second-hand camera bodies and housings should be readily available at good prices. I can heartily recommend Subal to go with ithe D100; and if you buy ports for the housing you should be able to move these from one Subal housing to another as you progress onwards and upwards with camera bodies. If you can get a Subal D100 housing for $1200 - and its in fair condition, snap it up!
  7. Awesome picture, James. It made my skin tingle. That could be a lifetime best shot - let alone for 2005.
  8. Interesting, thanks for that, Matt. I'll stick with RAW
  9. The blue rings are not advertised as needing special grease! TAnd mine sure are getting plain ol' regular silicone and seem fine. Like Terry, I think its a pity they didn't stay with blue for the new ones. They certainly are easy to spot and check.
  10. Hi Robert I'm really sorry to read about your flood - but many thanks for the very useful drawing illustrating the issue. I bought my D10 Subal housing and ports just over a year ago. Both extension ring bags were marked with stickers saying they contained new, wider o-rings. And the FP-90 port I bought has a blue o-ring rather than black......
  11. I dashed out of Jakarta airport on Friday, taxi'd across to the FedEx warehouse, grabbed my 105mm FedEx parcel shipped from Seaoptics (thanks Carey), jumped back in the cab - and hurtled back into the airport to catch my flight to Manado. Arrived in Manado to find my dive gear hadn't. Arrived that is. Still that's why you carry your camera and housing right? And gear can be rented. 5 dives and about 500 photos later, I'm now a firm 105mm fan. WOWEEE! The thing is awesome.
  12. Welcome to the Road to Ruin. If you want a tip, don't start! Housed film disposable camera yesterday, point and shoot in housing today, DSLR and twin strobes tomorrow...... Good luck with it. Tons of fun lie ahead. Of course complete bankruptcy too.
  13. Hey Ryan You may have started - or re-started - quite a debate. I had a Coolpix 5000 system and shot RAW and now have D100s and shoot RAW. There is no doubt that the frustrations of missing shots while waiting for the RAW file to write to the card was one of the reasons I moved to DSLRs. Why shoot RAW? Well its better, isn't it? It has all the data and is lossless. So it has to be better. However I recently attended a very good workshop organised by Oceanoptics in London where Charles Hood argued very persuasively that shooting JPG was just fine - even for commercial purposes. (You can always switch it to TIFF before handing it to the agency/user and they'll never know the difference) Charles argued that you could shoot JPG and then use a JPG copy of your original JPG file (which you never modify or re-save) to create a TIFF and work on that. He also argued that you could save a JPG many times (20 I think he said) before the image shows degradation. So provided you are not going to do major work, it is perfectly possible to work entirely on JPG. The advantages: speed of processing, less memory used up, less hard disk space, unlikely to have camera buffer filling-up issues. I may not be quoting Charles perfectly bu this was the gist; and he was very convincing. And I'm still shooting RAW. Well it has to be better, right?
  14. Hi Bruce Sorry for the delay. I've just had two excellent days diving in Benuken National Park I've found with Rawshooter Premium that you can do more than just white balance and tweek the exposure: cropping is also available. I usually find that this is enough and so tend not to flip it into Photoshop - although I guess I could if I wanted to. Maybe its a hangover from film photography, but I really try hard to get it right in the camera and tweaking to a minimum. But you are right - and you have correctly understood the advice - it depends on what your RAW editor is capable of doing as to whether you use Photoshop as well. When I used Rawshooter Essentials (which was free) I white balanced and colour tweaked in RE then used Photoshop for the rest. But now with Rawshooter Premium I find I don't need Photoshop nearly as much. Hope this helps. I guess at the end of the day you have to play around with a few different programs and see what works best for you.
  15. A tutorial! Hee hee, you wish.... Well this is what I do Bruce - and it works for me: shoot all pics as RAW; then import into a folder on my laptop D drive named specifically for the event. I then go through them using Rawshooter Premium, mark up the Trashbins one and the 1,2,3 shots. Ditch the Trashbin. Depending on how many are left, I then clean-up the 1s and 2s with Rawshooter and output them back into a folder named with the specific event name plus 'edited" (eg, Sipadan Day 1 edited). I will usually output as a JPG so I can linger over them but they load quickly (With Rawshooter its easy to go back and re-output with the same settings to, eg a TIFF for sale or printing). I then import all the keepers (the 1-3s) into Photoshop Album which I index and catalogue (I have about 12,000 like this). I then burn the new lot on to CD or DVD; then copy the CD or DVD on to an external hard disk - and remove the orginals from my D drive. So I then have two "off-line" copies of each RAW file plus a thumbnail on my laptop. It sounds a bit fiddly maybe, but it works well and it is pretty quick.
  16. Hey Bruce How cool!! From the pics I have seen of cage diving, I would have thought the 10.5 would be ideal if the shark approaches the cage. For slightly more distant shots a 12-24 would be next best. With either you should be able to get whole body shots. A 105mm would be way too long - and even a 60mm probably too long unless you are looking for pics of dental work. But I'm sure you will get replies from Wetpixlers who have been there, done that. Have a great trip and post some pics when you get back.
  17. Hi MPC I use both the 12-24 and 10.5; and the 60mm and have a 105 on the way. The 12-24 is, for me at least, a terrific lens and I have got some excellent results with it. As Luiz says, it is much easier to use than the 10.5 and more flexible. However the 10.5 can produce awesome results if used well. I found it quite a "challenge" to start with but am now starting to get results that I really like - and I can see that it will not be long before I join the ranks of 10.5 lovers. If you are only going to buy one WA for the moment, I'd suggest you go with the 12-24 - especially if you want a topside lens too. It is just more flexible and practical. I'm not sure I have got very many 10.5 topside quality shots to enjoy.....
  18. Hey Robert I'm sure I should know this, but what's a suicide clip? Same as a Fastex? Or something else? I use Fastex clips to do the same thing you do - two of them to clip my housing (via the ULCS arms) to my BC D-rings. It does indeed work well.
  19. Food for thought, isn't it? Like all of us, I want the best equipment that I cannot afford. The D2X is the top of the heap for sure. But there are issues of weight and bulk as well as cost. Much though I would love a D2X, it is just so much extra weight and volume to tote - especially for someone who does not make their living from them. I have enough problems aleady sweet-talking my way through check-ins. I suspect a D2X outfit would just push the envelope too far. And cost: sell a kidney? I really want to have two bodies with my housing for the inevitable disaster and so I have a top-side body to use too during my trips. The cost of a two body D2X set-up is scary. So my D100s work just fine for the moment; the D200 looks terrific and well worth checking out and, ha, affordable And, yes, a brace of D2Xs: in an ideal, budget-less, limitless airline baggage-free world.
  20. I can appreciate all too well the cost angle, but I must admit I feel much more secure when I have downloaded to my Epson P2000 and can actually SEE my RAW file pics. I know they are there, safe, warm and well.........
  21. I'm sure glad I didn't offer to give you hand carry your luggage in Orlando, Tom
  22. Interesting question! On a Subal D10 I run a length of line through the fabric grip fitted handle. This then loops back and I clip the line to itself with a caribiner. This seems to work and I figure the fabric - and Subal bolts - are sufficient to hold the weight of the system when submerged. The other end clips on to my BC.
  23. Yeah I agree with Matt. On my Subal housing I like, in addition, to take the easily removable bolts off (eg that hold the strobe shoes to the housing) off and give them a good soak to remove salt. I pack all my gear, once dry, into its Pelican travel case with a largish Silica Gel pack. Of course I have to open the case periodically just to make sure its all happy in there - and to gaze lovingly at my toys
  24. Tough one, Imp! I do like to pull my wheely-Pelican with me (the 1510) into the cabin while manfully giving them impression that both it and the Tamrac camera rucksack on my back are, well, fly-weight. However I have found that airlines in my area seem to be tightening up on cabin baggage weight. At check-in at Manchester UK, the Emirates handling agent gave me a bit of hard-time about having 14kg and 12kg cabin bags - and I was flying Business. But they let me go. Flying through Indonesia no-one seemed to bother but the overheads on 737-size aircraft struggle to carry a Pelican - so I had to hold load it which worked out fine. I had the same experience on a round the world trip a few months back. What others have suggested, which sound a really good idea to me, is to pack the Pelican inside a nicely stained, travel-weary cargo-style bag - and shove some soft clothes around it. That way the bag is not so obviously potentially valuable cargo. One other thing, sorry Pelican, but those brass combination locks you sell for the cases are hopeless. I have twice arrived at destinations to find the hasp sprung out of its fastening. I now add ties to close it.
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