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About whaleshark

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    So Cal

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    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Olympus E-5, E-330, C-8080
  • Camera Housing
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Dual Ikelite DS-125
  • Accessories
    ULCS buoyancy arms
  1. If you can find Jim Lyle here or on ScubaBoard, ask him about his Olympus OM-D EM-5 for underwater. If you want more than 12 MP you need to consider the latest Olympus Pen, the E-PL5 or E-M5 (whatever they're called) or the more advanced OM-D EM-5. Look at the creative controls and manual exposure controls for all of these cameras. It should be easy to access aperture and shutter speeds for flash/distance exposure control. For Olympus micro 4/3 consider using the prime lenses, like the 60 mm macro lens or the 8 mm fish eye lens.. Any of the Panasonic lenses, like the 45 mm macro will fit it too. For more info about micro 4/3 lenses look here: http://www.four-thirds.org/en/index.html The Olmypus housings look great but the port options are limited. See if they have options for installing other ports from 3rd party manufacturers. And consider the Nauticam housing for the OM-D EM-5. Here's a good description of the OM-D and the Nauticam housing: http://reefphoto.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=161&products_id=5899
  2. I've found that a teleconverter does not add magnification but it increases the focal length and working distance. The mimimum image size is the same but you can achieve it from farther away. A 1.4 teleconverter reduces the light by one stop. A 2x reduces the light by two stops. Teleconverters generally don't work well on slow lenses but do work on f/2 and f/2.8 lenses. They reduce image quality, but not significantly on the faster lenses. You have plenty of light with dual strobes so small apertures with a TC at macro distances are not a problem. No one wants to shoot macro wide open because of the negative affect on DOF. It just gets harder to autofocus when the minimum f-stop drops to around f/5.6 or f/8. Otherwise reducing the aperture is really not an issue for UW macro. I'm shooting macro with the Olympus E-330 in an Ikelite housing and the 50 mm f/2 macro lens (100 mm equivalent). It provides 2:1 macro which is a 34 by 26 mm minimum image size. On Olympus 4/3 format, using the 35 mm f/3.5 macro lens allows 1:1, or an 18 mm by 13 mm subject size. That's a really small image size. For topside wildflowers and other macro I use the the E-5 with the 50 mm lens and a flash ring. The 50 mm macro achieves 2:1 at a reasonable working distance, several inches away. The 35 mm macro lens achieves 1:1 at about 1" from the lens, or right at the lens port face. That's not useful underwater, but you can still focus the 35 mm macro at less than 1:1 magnification from farther away. The 50 mm is a better lens for UW macro on Olympus 4/3. The 2:1 macro image size on 4/3 is essentially equal to what the full frame camera achieves at 1:1. The 4/3 sensor is only a little bit smaller than the APS-C sensor size. Apart from recent advances with newer APS models in high ISO and DR, the IQ and functionality is similar. For macro UW with strobes shooting at low ISO is typical so the differences are marginal. An extension tube increases magnification without reducing the light. With the 50 mm f/2 macro and the EX-25, a 25 mm extension tube, it achieves 1:1 from a closer distance. In-focus range is limited to between 2" and 4" with the lens focused from minimum distance to infinity. I've used this combo a lot topside with a ring flash and the image quality is great. The subject size is as small as 18 mm by 13 mm with the Olympus 4/3 format. For UW macro here are the downsides to using this 50 mm + EX-25 combo (and probably with any system): It's very hard to find subjects within the focus plane at that magnification. Everything is a blur until you bring the subject right into the focus distance. Autofocus is awful unless you're already close to correct focus. If you're too far away for the lens + EX it will never achieve focus. Shooting topside with the EX-25 I typically manual focus at anywhere from minimum to infinity and then move in until I achieve focus. It may be possible to arrange the Ikelite zoom ring to function as a focus ring even with the EX-25 in place. I put the zoom ring on the focus ring for both the 50 mm macro and the 8 mm fish eye lens since there is no zoom and it works well but you can not see the focus scale. For UW behind a flat port the 50 mm + EX may be far enough away At the available focus distances, but strobe lighting will be difficult. I've found the Olympus 50 mm f/2 macro lens to be very capapble for UW macro. I haven't had any desire to increase focal length with the EC-14 because the 50 mm is far enough for most subjects. It's also challenging enough to aim and focus with just the lens so I'm not ready to make it more diffficult with a longer focal length. As other people have said, I think achieving greater magnification than 1:1 underwater is probably better with a longer focal length. I may try this using an extension tube with the Sigma 105 mm or Sigma 150 mm f/2.8 macro lenses.
  3. There are lots of good ideas here. I learned a lot from reading all of them. I could not find the Samsonite F'Lite bag on their website. They have lots of other 30" rolling luggage hard cases that would work well. They're not cheap but lots of them are on sale for over 50% off. http://shop.samsonite.com I'm travelling to Little Cayman soon with a bunch of friends. We're flying on United to GC and Cayman Air to LC. The United baggage limits and fees are $25 for the first bag and $40 for the second bag. Two checked bags = $65. We get one carry-on bag and a personal bag, laptop bag or backpack. From Grand Cayman to Little Cayman the Cayman Air island hopper allows 55 pounds per person combined total in up to two bags and only one carry-on of 15 pound max. plus a personal bag. Anything over the weight limit is $0.55 per pound. No one with dive gear and UW camera gear is going to meet the limits on the island hopper. On many of these small island hoppers they weigh you and your carry-on bags as well as your luggage. They have to know how much total weight they have on the plane. The only reason I can meet these weight limits is because my wife doesn't take an UW camera. Just your dive gear in a rolling dive bag weighs about 35 lbs. Add clothes, toiletries, a hat, a basic camera and a good book and it weighs 50#. I will be carrying all of my cameras and lenses and small expensive accessories in my carry-on. I use a pelican 1510 rolling carry-on-sized bag because it's easy to pull through airports. I'll carry a medium sized daypack too. The housing, batteries and UW accessories go in the checked luggage. I've done this for many years on one and two leg trips and never had a problem. I use a rolling Underwater Kinetics hard box. It weighs much less than a Pelican box and probably about the same as those Samsonite hard luggage bags (12 lbs and up). The Ikelite UW housing, dual Ikelite DS-125/160 strobes and spare batteries, arms, clamps, chargers, misc batteries, Fantasea focus light, flashlights and accessories go inside the checked UK hard box. I wrap everything seperately in the lightest padding I can find - bubble wrap. Big rubber bands, rather than tape, wrap both ways to keep it rolled up and make it easy to reuse on the return trip. If you opened the box you'd see bunch of various sized packages in bubble wrap. The gear all fits in the box with some room to spare before I hit the 50# limit. I fill the rest of the case with more bubble wrap or open-cell foam. Open-cell foam does not expand in flight. Leave the air vents open on your hard boxes when you fly. Otherwise they may pop open on ascent and if they vent slowly they can be crushed on descent. Same goes for toiletries and liquids in plastic bottles. Squeeze the excess air out before you pack them. My friends tell me to get TSA locks. I've never done this before but I will this time. I usually put black plastic wire ties through the lock holes. They can't be seen on a black bag or box and will stop anyone from opening it quickly. I've only had them cut once and nothing was missing.
  4. Thanks Udo, I sent the port off to Ikelite. If I spent $30 or so for a polish kit and hours trying to do it right, I'd be better off letting Ikelite replace it for $150. The outside was pristine, with only minor marks. I would have considered the polish method if the damage were on the outside. The port will be near perfect inside and out now when it comes back. I also had a bad dual sync chord that needed testing. Turns out it flooded and needs replacing. Ikelite gave me a better price for replacement so they're really standing behind their gear. I'll get the port and cord back before my trip. The shipping will be expensive for 2-day or next day air, but that's what happens when things break just before a dive trip.
  5. I did something really bad to my Ikelite 8” dome port this weekend. After not shooting UW for about a year I have been putting all the pieces together. We’re going to Little Cayman in a few weeks. I was testing the strobes and needed to put a lens on the camera. I had the super wide port body on the big dome but instead of mounting the shorter 8 mm f/3.5 fish eye lens I put on the larger 11-22 mm f/2.8-3.5 WA zoom lens. If you shoot with Olympus you know these lenses and how different they are in size. Both lenses are great underwater but they require different port bodies. I had my DIY neoprene port cover on and couldn’t see why the port body wasn’t engaging with the port locks. I kept rocking and rotating the dome trying to get it to seat. To make a long violin solo short, I ground up the inside of the dome port on the knurled lens filter, making an ugly round mark. Ouch! I felt awful and awful dumb at the same time. Please don’t try to cheer me up by saying, “Duh, you should ‘a known better”, ‘cause that won’t make me feel any better. L LOL, I know I deserve it anyway. J So Ikelite is being very helpful, as always. The acrylic dome can be replaced in my existing dome body and shade without having to buy the whole Dome Assembly new. It’ll cost me about $150 instead of $400. Gee, I feel a little better already. I thought about this polishing method but it would be really hard for me to do this evenly on the inside of the dome. My hands are too big to fit inside and if I didn't polish the whole surface evenly the dome would have anomalies in the surface that would show up as distortion.
  6. Yes, I know Tim from fourthirdsphoto forum and dpreview Olympus DSLR Talk forum. We've made a dive on the Yukon together too. He's a good trader to deal with. Honest and reliable. Tim, it looks like a good deal. If I didn't have the E-330 in an Ikeilte housing already, I'd go for this. Do you have any photos of the lens? Just curious because it would help. And I've seen the photos of your lens at 4/3 Photo. Dave Gaines
  7. Hi Jim, I don't have a Nexus housing and can't say I'm familiar with the O-ring in a groove but I think it might be similar to the port O-rings from Ikelite. Sand and other grit can get under and around the O-ring, which can cause a leak. I'd suggest removing them and cleaning the entire O-ring and groove. I take my rig apart between dive trips and store the whole thing in plastic dust-free storage boxes.
  8. Jim, Aperture priority will set the shutter speed for you based on the ambient light. Underwater there's usally enough ambient light for a correct exposure without flash so the camera sets the ss slow enough for correct exposure. It also shuts the strobe down early. But a slow shutter speed doesn't work underwater with moving fish, it doesn't sync with your strobe and ambient light is monochromatic (makes everything blue). That's why it's better to shoot manual mode, control f-stop and ss and let the camera control the strobe duration in TTL. With settings at ISO 100, f/5.6 and 1/125 sec, the strobe will usually provide lots of light, bringing out the full range of colors in subjects within the range of the strobe. I can't see your photo yet. But assuming the exposure is correct you could adjust these settings for better results. Try shooting at ISO100. If this shot is exposed right, you could set ISO 3 stops lower at ISO 100 and use f/8, or 3 stops wider. This aperture should give you enough DOF and the lower ISO will give you less noise and cleaner images. At f/22 the lens will likely produce some diffraction. This is true with most if not all lenses made for crop-sensor and FF DLSRs. Ansel Adams had no truoble shooting at f/45 (and 5 seconds on a big tripod) with his 8x10 format but with a smaller SLR format f/22 isn't the best option. It's not the sweet spot of most DSLR lenses. That sharpest aperture would be near the middle of the f-stop range, usually around f/5.6. In TTL mode with the lower ISO you will get very close to correct exposure by choosing f-stops that are reasonably close for subjects within the flash range. If you're stopped down a little too much, you'll lose some shadow details. If you're too wide open, you'll blow the highlights. Watch the histogram in review for unwanted peaks at the extreme ends of the graph. Keep the peaks off of the shadow side and the highlight side of the histogram (either luminosity or the red channel in RGB). Adjust aperture as needed for the distance until you get exposure right. My best advice is like what they used to say about film. Shoot with the same film speed until you know what it can do. For digital & flash, set the ISO to the lowest setting and leave it there. Leave your shutter speed at 1/125. Soon you'll know which f-stops to use for which distances. Good luck and keep shooting. Dave
  9. I am looking for info from anyone shooting the Olympus Zuiko 8 mm f/3.5 fish eye lens in an Ikelite housing. I'd like to verify the results you may be getting with this lens using the Ikelite Super Wide Port Body and the 8" Dome Port. Also, are you removing the dome shade to avoid getting the edge of the shade in the view, or vignette? I want to buy the Port Body to go with this lens and I want to get the best one. The 8 mm FE lens length is 3" from mount base to the front of the fixed hood. It is 2&7/8" (2.875") from the mount to the front surface of the front lens element. IOW, the lens front element is 1/8" shorter than the longest edge of the flower petal hood. Just FYI, the lens offers a fish eye view with 180 degree FOV on the diagonal. Looking at the Ikelite web page for the Modular Port System I see that the #5510.11 is for lenses up to 2.75" with the Dome and that the #5510.16 is for lenses up to 3.5" with the Dome. But the port chart for Olympus on the Ikelite page suggests using the #5510.11 with the 8 mm FE. Is that to avoid vignette of the dome shade or is it the better length for sharpness? I called Ikelite and their port expert told me the right port body is probably the #5510.16, not the #5510.11 based on the length of the lens. He said it may improve sharpness by increasing the distance from the lens to the dome. He said the lens will project just past the flat black base of the dome and therefore won't cause the base to show in the image or cause vignette. Has anyone tested either port body enough to verify whether the port body they have fits the lens length and distance to the dome port correctly? Does anyone know if either port body provides the best optical focus? With your Port Body are you getting any edge softness or are the images sharp in the corners? If so at what f-stops? Did you remove the dome shade for use with this lens? Did anyone try filing or grinding the Dome shade down to remove it from the image without having to take it off completely? Regarding the 7-14 mm lens in my other post here, I may not be stopping the lens down enough to prevent edge softness. I'm going to continue to experiment with that lens and dome port combo to see if I can improve results at f/5.6 to f/8. Thanks for any info you can give me, Dave in So Cal
  10. Hi Jim, You've gotten some good explanations of why the strobes aren't providing enough light. The settings you're using are adequate for ambient light. There's enough light for exposure without much flash so the camera shuts the strobes down early. Take the camera out of program mode or aperture or shutter speed priority and use manual mode to control both shutter speed and aperture. Set the ISO to your lowest setting, ie ISO 100. You should be able to tell how much light the strobes are providing by the color of your subjects in review. Subjects with in the range of the flash should have the full range of color. Everything beyond the range will be the color of the ambient light, blue for clear Caribbean water or green for temperate, California waters. If you use the histogram set it for RGB, not white luminosity and see how much red is in the scene. Red is the flash, blue and green is the water or ambient light. Start by setting f-stop around f/5.6 or f/8 and a shutter speed to sync with your strobes. I use 1/125 sec with ikelite DS-125 strobes and an Olympus camera so you should be able to do the same, depending on the sync speed for your Canon. For close in or macro work stop the aperture down to f8, f/11 or even f/16. For wide angle reef shots open up the aperture to f/4 or f/2.8. If your shutter speed is 1/200 sec you'll get dark backgrounds on close-up work and it's faster than you need for wide angle shots. Try setting shutter speed to 1/100 sec, 1/125 sec or 1/160 max for most shots. If you want a dark background for close up or macro work, then set the ss faster, to 1/200 sec. A ss of 1/100 would be the minimum for most reef scenes to stop fish action but it may work for a wide angle lens (or even slower, like 1/80). With my Olympus E-3 or E-330, and I suspect with your Canon, I have to set the camera to sync at one particular ss speed. If you choose one sync speed an then set the shutter speed for another setting, the strobes may not sync properly. Even if you can adjust ss after choosing the sync speed, you should be able to set the ss and leave it on one place, only adjusting the aperture as needed for subject distance. Once you master using TTL in manual exposure mode you can advance to manual control of the strobes. Then you can do stuff like wide angle shots where you use 1/3, 2/3 or full strobe power to light up big fish in the foreground while setting the camera to expose for the ambient light in the background with wider apertures. I'm still learning to do this myself. But you should be able to get excellent results with your set-up using TTL and my suggestions above. Good luck, Dave
  11. I'm looking for input from anyone using the Olympus 7-14 mm UWA lens behind a dome port. I just got my Olympus DSLR in the water for the first time last May in Cozumel. I'm shooting an E-330 in an Ikelite housing with modular ports. I spent a lot of time reading the Ikelite website and talking to Ikelite to make sure I ordered the right ports for the lenses I have. I spoke to their port expert about the Olympus Zuiko 7-14 mm f/4 lens (14-28 mm equivalent) and the Ikelite 8" dome port. Here's my feedback on the focal length that produces the best results for this lens and dome port combination. In May Ikelite told me the #5510.25 Modular Port Body that's made exclusively for the 7-14 mm lens wasn't matched for the full zoom range of the lens, that it was optimized for one particular focal length. When I used the dome port I found out it was matched for the 11 mm to 14 mm range but at 7, 8 or 9 mm it produced severe blurring and soft borders, with only the center third being somewhat sharp. It was best at 14 mm. I was shooting at ISO 100, 1/80 sec., and mostly at around f/5 but also from f/4 to f/5.6 with similar results. I was exposing for the open blue water backgrounds and filling the foreground with dual DS-125 strobes. Some have suggested using the lens at f/5.6 or smaller, but that requires using a higher ISO when you're exposing for the open water backgrounds, as we do with a WA lens. The distance between the lens and dome port is controlled by the length of the Port Body. The Port Body length could be different, but it comes in one specific length that Ikelite chose for the 7-14 mm lens. The front element of that lens only moves about 1/8" when zoomed and of course the front lens element has only one shape, so it's more complicated than matching the curvature of the dome to the front element of the lens. I believe it is dependant on the distance of the lens from the dome. Do I need a different Port Body with a different lens-to-dome distance? Do I need a larger dome port for this UWA lens? I read a post on another forum that suggested the Athena 9" port produces good results for apertures of f/5.6 and above. That 7-14 mm f/4 lens is a rectilinear ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) angle lens that's extremely sharp, corner to corner in air. It's one of Olympus' Super High Grade (SHG) lenses. It is not soft in the corners like some brands of UWA lenses. I was really hoping to be able to use the lens at 7 mm (14 mm EFL). With the same 8" Dome Port and the right Port Body, the Olympus High Grade (HG) 14-54 mm f/2.8-3.5 lens provides good results at 14 mm. And the HG 11-22 mm f/2.8-3.5 lens provides good sharp results all the way from 11 mm to 22 mm (22-44 mm equivalent). Having the #5510.25 Port Body that only allows using the 7-14 mm lens from 11 mm to 14 mm is not a useful improvement over these other two lenses. Needless to say, I'm disappointed. Two friends in the LAUPS group also have the Olympus E-330 and the 7-14 mm lens. They both said they struggle to get good results with this combination. I think the Port Body should be retooled to be shorter, to allow using the lens at 7 mm, even if it's only useful from 7 mm to 10 mm. Otherwise, I'd like to find a combinatiion that produce acceptable results at 7 mm. Any comments or suggestions would be welcome.
  12. Good advice Jcc, Also, for $100 plus shipping Ikelite will service all of the buttons, replace all of the o-rings in the buttons, check the flash connection and TTL control and pressure test the housing. I'm having my Olympus E-330 housing serviced while they upgrade the front from a 2 port lock to the 4 port lock style. If you read that announcement you'll see the service is only $50 with the conversion. The total rebuild kit or the "annual" mainenance service is cheaper than the cost of a flooded housing. Dave
  13. These two Canon cameras are not the same. The lenses are different. The G11 focuses much closer at 1 cm compared to 5 cm. That equates to bigger macro magnification. Only a rigorous lens test will determine which has the better lens. And end results matter too. How are the jpg files processed? Are these the same? What are the RAW file write times and are these too slow for practical use underwater? The G11 has a hot shoe, not that you'll use it with a slave strobe and the Canon UW housing. But it does allow use of an Ikelite housing with the direct connection, TTL controls built by Ikelite for strobe lighting exposure controlled by the camera. You don't need to use the built-in flash with the Ikelite housing and strobes because the strobes are connected to the hot shoe.. The Ikelite housing for the G10 has a dome port for better wide angle coverage. Not sure exactly how the dome attaches, but it is available. I suppose the G-11 housing is the same. The G-11 has much better creative controls. Check how you adjust ss and f-stop with both cameras. You need to be able to adjust aperture with one button, not two, so you can do it with one hand while holding the housing bracket with the other.
  14. Moose, According to the spec's and description I found, this camera has P/A/S/M controls, allowing full manual control of aperture and shutter speed. For external flash control you'll want to set the shutter speed to sync with the slave strobe and adjust aperture for distance. Set ISO to the lowest, ISO 80 for this camera. Start at 1/100 or 1/125 second and f/5.6 to f/8. Try to set the user preferences so you can change f-stop with one button so you don't have to use two hands to adjust UW. Otherwise you have to let go of the camera or bracket to press the buttons, which is very hard UW. Don't bother shooting over 100 mm focal length. The ss required to overcome camera shake at tele zoom will be too fast for the flash, OIS notwithstanding. If you use the tiny built-in flash use the same settings and stay within a 2-3 feet of your subject for better color. Here's a link to the description. http://www.dpreview.com/news/1001/10012605panazs7.asp Most P&S record RAW files too slowly to be practical for UW. Better to shoot jpegs UW. When the fish action, photo ops or turtle shots occur you want to be able to shoot multiple shots from different viewpoints quickly. Good Luck. Dave
  15. Panasonic LX3. Great topside camera. But as far as I know the only housing available is the 10Bar for around $1000. For the nearly same price you can get the EPL-1 and Olympus housing. With any luck the Panasonic m4/3, 45 mm macro lens will fit in the housing too.
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