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About altsaint

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Additional Info

  • Show Country Flag:
    United Kingdom
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Olympus C-7070WZ
  • Camera Housing
    Olympus PT-027
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Epoque ES230
  1. Here's my experience of 1 month ago, and not a satifactory one. We booked flights with Philippine Airlines from Dumaguete to Manila, Manila to Busuanga and Busuanga to Manila. We knew about weight restrictions, and were advised by our tour operator to buy a 'sports card' which allows 20Kg extra per person (so added to the normal allowance of 15Kg, 35Kg total). This was supposed to cover all three flights. This worked fine on the first leg, but when we arrived at Manila to check in for the next flight, we found we were no longer flying with Philippine Airways, but instead a codeshare budget operator, Airphil Express. They wouldn't accept the sports card, and charged excess baggage - we had about 60Kg of excess between four of us, so this wasn't inconsequential. Same situation on our last leg, except at Busuanga they wanted cash, not a credit card. As you can imagine, there were considerable arguments about this, and I had the impression that the disagreements over the hold baggage, may have diverted attention from our hand baggage. I'm not sure what we could have done as an alternative, as we needed to get to Busuanga from Dumguete, and the only airlines that get you there are smaller, budget ones. I suspect the real culprits here are Philippine Airlines, who I presume charged more for the ticketed flights they arranged, than we could had we arranged them direct with Airphil express....plus we wouldn't have wasted money on a sports card. If you are flying with Philippine Airlines, make absolutely sure they haven't offloaded you onto some other airline with different baggage arrangements!
  2. Thank you jetlife2. The strobe is a humble Epoque ES 230. I'm saving up for Inon strobes to accompany the housing! So it was a single beam, manual setting. Actually, it works fine for when I'm shooting at 7mm and the subject is large and close, and providing I get the setting correct. But I'd prefer to take the randomness out of the equation, nauturally. The Epoque I have owned for many years, so is a retained investment until I can afford to upgrade.
  3. I have been using the 7-14mm Panasonic attached to a GF1, within the Inon X-2, and been very pleased with the results. A sample here: and a ( growing ) set on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/14002143@N00/...57626335497001/
  4. We're both good thanks Stew, although it's been a tough call going into the office after a trip like this one. Laura Storm took quite a nice group photo of me and 3 of my friends:
  5. If we assume that msdeedee's capitalization is for emphasis rather than shouting, then what they are saying is the most sensible advice I have read in this thread. And if she/he is shouting...same applies anyway. The underlying message here, is invest in some proper training. Treat freediving with the same respect you would your Scuba training. There is so much misinformation out there on message boards and forums, and even books. Things like the old chestnut of, "if you hyperventilate you can stay down longer", or "I've always freedived straight after Scuba diving and never had a problem". Both of these are things to not do if you enjoy being on the planet. I also teach freediving regularly, judge at AIDA competitions, and used to compete myself, for what it's worth.
  6. One point to note about the dolphins - you have to decide if you want to interact with them, or photograph them. If everyone wants to photograph, then they get kinda bored after a while and go off. They like having snorkellers under the water keeping up with them and mimicking their movements. The night shooting is less of an issue, as the lights from the boat attract squid, which in turn attract dolphin, and so they are there for food rather than fun. I believe on Stew's trip that crew member Connor kept them entertained with an underwater scooter. Plus there were a couple of stowaways on board, and one of them wasn't that brilliant at taking photos so he ended up playing with the Dolphins most of the time. That's what I heard, anyway.
  7. Deep down, my bank manager wished the 10-Bar system would have worked out for me I think we may all be suffering from early adoption syndrome with M4/3. Hopefully in a year or two, this will all be a lot easier....surely?
  8. I know another underwater photographer who also won't take his GF1 underwater, although I don't know his reasons. In my situation I had already made the investment in body + lenses. My X-2 arrives on Tuesday, and the extra cost will sting. For the time being, no new strobes or macro port. But I had to have something to put the GF1 in before mid-March, as I'm off to Tiger Beach and my old Oly 7070 isn't up to the job of the wide angle shots I am after. Right now in the UK, it's 10-Bar, Inon or Recsea ( Recsea have only recently appeared, so too late for me to reconsider ). Just to put my own experiences with 10-Bar into context, I should point out that the ( 10-Bar ) photos uploaded on this thread were the worst ones. I have recently processed some which were a bit better. The best were with the 20mm lens, but of course you are limited with what you can frame with that. The photo here is with the 7-14mm behind the 10-Bar dome, and is probably a bit better than one I posted earlier that was referred to as a 'scandal':
  9. Both of the following captured at a focal length of 7mm behind the Inon dome port. F8 and s/s 160th. pterois plasticasis hippocampus artificiala
  10. I have been luck enough to test the GF1 in both the 10-Bar and Inon X-2 housing. The X-2 testing was in confined water, and tested a couple of days ago. My experiences with the 10-Bar are well-documented in this thread, so I won't repeat those. The X-2 I used with a 7-14mm lens in the dome port, with a single S2000 strobe. The shutter is quite sensitive, but easy to get used to. The zoom works flawlessly, as do all the actuating buttons and levers I used. The rear control wheel can only be rotated, not depressed, but that's not a major issue as you can use the quick menu to change f-stop when shooting manual. My shots were all in raw format, so once I have processed to jpeg I'll upload a couple. A number of people are interested in corner sharpness. My own personal opinion is that I feel more suited to the Inon than the 10-Bar, and will be opting for the Inon as a purchase. The cost differential is quite significant though.
  11. The way I read this is that there is one dome port for both lenses, but only the most recent version supports both (?). If that is the case, then I don't know what distinguishes the two.
  12. Must be the old one, as it was sold as being suitable for both lenses. I presume the new dedicated dome port must be quite new, as I don't believe it has been mentioned here before (?)
  13. Yes, I didn't mention that in my last post, as I hadn't yet viewed my downloaded images. The corners are very blurred from images taken from the 7-14mm lens in the dome port. This example was shot at f5.6, 1/160s, ISO100, 7mm FL:
  14. I have just returned from my trip to Marsa Alam with GF1 and 10-Bar housing, and have learned a few lessons. All over a 2-day period, because after the 3rd day I stopped using the camera underwater. For the remaining 11 days the housing went back into its Peli case. Why so? The outer 'O' ring on the back plate was not sealing and letting water in...only as far as 'O' ring no. 2, but that was enough to concern me. Especially when the user manual explicitly says that a final check is to see that this 'O' ring shows an unbroken seal against the case. The seal tapers off just above the left-hand latch. The retail outlet that I purchased this from was not convinced that I should be concerned about this, but they have agreed to have the housing pressure tested. They showed me their demo housing and I could see that this also had a broken seal in exactly the same place. So I am confused over the conflicting opinions between the dealer and the manual, and annoyed that I felt unable to use the housing for 11 days of the trip. The rear dial knob was a PITA as previously discussed. Especially when in manual mode and quickly needing to change F-stop and shutter speed. Not only is it awkward, but I really don't like the idea that the dial only turns when the dial itself is pushed fully in ( depressing the button ). Makes me wonder if it will cause wear on the camera internals. It also means you have to press twice to alter the setting you are currently switched to. I think someone has also mentioned that the top command control wheel knob can get stuck and push the camera out of alignment so that none of the back plate controls work. That one caught me out for the whole duration of a ( frustrating ) dive. The solution is to pull the knob up once it has been used, but I didn't know that then. The zoom gear for the 7-14mm lens was something I could just not get to work. Wherever I positioned the zoom ring, the rotating knob would not engage with it. Perhaps 2 hours is not enough time to set this up or there is a workaround. For the £67 sterling I paid for the 2 pieces of plastic, I didn't think that represented good value really, and I would have expected accompanying fitting instructions. My plan to fit a screw-on close-up lens to the 20mm port was a flawed decision on my part, but something I wanted to try because I had the CU lens anyway ( a 6 diopter ). The main problem was getting the focus to lock. Even without that issue, it is no substitute for the 45mm macro lens. The 20mm lens on its own had no focusing issues, and I had satisfactory results with that setup. In summary, I wouldn't advice against getting a 10-Bar housing, but you do need to have eyes wide open with regard to usability vs. the benefit of a relatively inexpensive and compact housing. The jury is still out as to what I perceive as a design fault with the back plate 'O' ring, and I'm very interested to hear opinions and experiences with that. Same goes for the zoom gear. Once I've done some post-production tidying up of the images, I'll post one or two of those I did manage to record.
  15. All of the 'o' rings looked dry, and I wanted to make sure there was no hidden gunk underneath them. Also, the contact point for the port 'o' rings on the housing body looked a bit dirty. When I cleaned it, there was a fair bit of black deposit there with some other detritus that came away. It's useful to know that you haven't had problems by leaving the port 'o' rings in place. There's probably another good reason for that, as the smaller of the pair needs a good stretch and then has to run over sharp threads to get it in-place. I'm sure that can't do it any good doing that on a regular basis.
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