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Tom_Kline

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Everything posted by Tom_Kline

  1. I am just back from Hawaii where I used the Retras for all my underwater shots. I used the battery extension compartment with new black Eneloops for 100% of the shots. I attended the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, OR the week before going to HI. I packed the strobes with fully charged batteries prior to leaving for Portland complete with extenders. I.e., they traveled with eight batteries per strobe inside. I topped off the batteries upon arrival in HI and indeed found that they needed re-charging. The strobes worked well. I depleted the strobe batteries by only one LED (of four) worth of charge (when I remembered to check) over the two-week diving period (with a day off to switch islands) and doing multiple dives per charge. I did four blackwater dives and did not bother recharging before doing a dive the next morning (three of the four). My only mistake was removing the extender compartment together with the door once. It was challenging to pull the door off with my less than dexterous fingers. It is best to hold the compartment against the strobe with one hand while unscrewing the knob with the other. The unscrewing action lifts the door off very nicely. The battery compartment design is much better than other recently used AA-battery powered underwater strobes IMHO - Seacam 60D and Inon Z220 (same battery compartment as 240 and 330). Tom
  2. The shot showing the glow around the hand is likely due to light scattering by water and stuff in the water. Solutions are to get closer and to move light source more to the side (to avoid straight back reflection of light off subject). These solutions may not be possible for all scenarios. I have had to toss a number of pix because of this myself. Not sure exactly what the issue is with second pic. Keep in mind if you are using an underwater camera rig for topside shots there will likely be issues related to the extra glass (not part of the lens design of the lens being used) such as the port. Drops of water being the main problem. However there may be issues like those one gets from using filters: especially lens flare. These issues have not stopped me from taking topside shots with an underwater rig :->> If the lens or port being used has issues as described by Undertow, then they would factor in as well. However, one can get your glow even with OK optics.
  3. Not enough justification for me to buy the 60 EFS lens IMHO. I have (at least it was cheap!!) and have used the Canon 50 macro under water as well but that is no justifcation for Canon not having brought this lens up to date. Meanwhile how many different Canon 300/2.8 lenses have come??
  4. Keep in mind that a 50mm f/1.4 lens will have 0.45 to 0.5 meter minimum focusing distance (about 1.5 feet). This means that at minimum focus distance your 20cm long subject will appear small. To focus closer one needs to use a diopter lens which will degrade the image as well as narrow the focusing range. If you are using a dome port all bets are off without a diopter since the bare lens can only focus beyond infinity. If you want to bring an f/1.4 lens on a dive trip (e.g. to shoot topside available light shots) a wide angle such as a 35mm f/1.4 would be better because they typically focus closer.
  5. Great point. Here is where Nikon beats Canon infinity to zero. This above opinion is based on actual use as I own both the Canon 50/2.5 and Nikon 60 AFS. As well, the Canon 50 2.5 only focuses to 1:2 whereas the Nikon focuses to 1:1 without extending.
  6. I have the same problem as well when shooting salmon in streams using ambient light. There is a fair amount of drifting debris. Bubbles can be a problem (as just suggested) as well. Shooting with a fisheye lens at point blank range helps to minimize the problem. As well, it is best to avoid shooting into the light. Sometimes one does not much of a choice other than not shooting at all. Check out this shot: http://www.salmonography.com/Salmonid-species-galleries/Chum-Salmon/i-9CHRBCD/A (easier for me to find image on my site). Note the light blotches in the water column. I see a dark one too (left side), probably a twig. Not too bad backscatterwise at the spawners that were real close. I angled the camera to avoid shooting into the sun - this gave the reverse perspective from many of my other shots - but easy to see the eggs emerging from the female from this angle! A downside is that the housing cast a shadow on the bottom (shot taken less than 2 hours from true noon).
  7. You should be able to shoot an 8"/20cm long subject using 100mm on FF if the vis is reasonable. I would not even bother with the Canon 50 1.4 for underwater work. I have used the 50 Canon macro which is OK except for its stone age AF.
  8. Elements refers to the number of glass elements or actual lenses (100% glass) making up the complex lens (multiple lenses, metal, etc.). Since lens elements are frequently glued together, a group of elements glued together is referred to as a group. For example a simple achromat lens can consist of two elements in one group - a number of long focus lenses made in the past were of this design such as the 400 and 560mm f/6.8 Telyts made by Leitz (company making Leicas before the name was changed).
  9. It sounds like you have solved your problem. BTW there have been issues with your strobe model that have been addressed by a new J version. But what was fixed with the J version may not be be related to your issues.
  10. From this it sounds like the LED trigger is not working correctly for your strobe. It also suggests that the FO may be OK. Issues with aligning the LED trigger with the FO? Do you know the LED is even working - maybe it is dead or simply not responding to the camera?
  11. Your problem may be in the housing (trigger part) or fiber optic connection and not with the strobes. A strobe has to be able to see the triggering light coming through the fiber optic so if the FO is not just right or the amount of light generated by the trigger is not enough your flash will not go off. This assumes that the strobe is set up correctly to respond to the triggering light. I have another model S&S strobe - one has to have it in the correct mode to operate as desired - slave, cable synch, etc.
  12. Maybe this one? http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=60524
  13. Bought a Seacam port from Brandon Cole from this ad: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=61266&hl= It was sent promptly and arrived in beautiful condition. I am a repeat customer and would buy from Brandon again.
  14. Factory installed plugs should be OK if left alone. For example, I have never touched the plugs in my older Seacam housings that were originally intended for a "pilot" light switch. Some are > 10 years old. More recent housings use this same hole for the lens release. Keep in mind that there may be more than one potential leakage pathway in a bulkhead whereas a plug has just one O-ring.
  15. Not familiar with the Technics units but there are a number of TTL converters out there, including discontinued ones. Many have been discussed here on Wetpixel over the years. I believe most of these are for converting from Nikonos TTL to digital camera TTL.
  16. The RETRA strobes will not be able to do any sort of wired TTL. There are just TWO contacts in the wired bulkhead. They are for basic flash synchronization, nothing more. There is thus no Nikonos film style TTL as found in older strobes. Therefore the various converters for using Nikonos TTL will NOT give you TTL!!!
  17. Your parrotfish looks like one of these http://www.salmonography.com/Aloha/Fish-Portraits/i-rs4wqN5/A and http://www.salmonography.com/keyword/Calotomus%20carolinus/i-wP6M3Ms/A from my homepage, Stareye Parrotfish taken in Hawaii.
  18. These folks disagree with you: https://www.aflglobal.com/Products/Test-and-Inspection/Fiber-Optic-Cleaning/Kimwipes.aspx Do you have a citable source to back up your statement?
  19. See this on the front page: http://wetpixel.com/articles/full-details-of-the-inon-z330-strobe-announced However, I did not see the energy output: Watt-Seconds or Joules
  20. I know what you mean since I live in bush Alaska. As for general underwater photo gear I have bought from Reef- http://reefphoto.com/shop/as well as Backscatter and Bluewater. Of the three Backscatter is the only one I have seen in person having been to Monterey, CA a few times over the years. I also spent quite a bit at Seacam USA aka Stephen Frink. I have had great support from all four.
  21. I stop down a fair amount - more now that I am shooting with higher ISO capability. I have a Seacam 4" dome but use it these days with a 1D4. I have been too chicken to shoot it with FF, ROTFL! Here is shot from this year: http://www.salmonography.com/Salmonid-Topic/Spawning-Act/i-5sdnkC5/A Looks like I used f/14 (with the Wideport) and ISO 6400 (reading the exif data off my website) - this is a natural light shot with direct sunlight on the fish. It was 2.5 hours after mid-day.
  22. First, I recommend watching this video: To do CFW with the Canon 8-15mm at 15mm on FF I use a smallish wide-angle port (Seacam "wideport") that has a radius of curvature that is greater than typical of microdomes (approximately 2'' (50mm) ).
  23. Nice report. Batteries are wired in series so the voltages can add up. Just remember that negative out (what you see with the battery in place) in the first (left) position and alternate from there. Battery level indication is what makes the strobes professional grade IMHO. Seacam left this out of their 60D strobes which is a very sad omission. Tom
  24. Sasha, glad you found it useful. Sorry that it took a while. I have found the TTL useful but once I get more familiar with the strobes I will probably start using them more in manual mode especially when the strobe is very close to me as well as the fish like in the last setup shot. My main disappointment with the 60D is the loss of battery management found in the 250D and 150D. This includes the battery level in 5 steps when the strobe is turned on as well as visible and audio alarms as the batteries run down. Nice to know that the batteries (battery pack) will need to be exchanged soon. Warning is better than sudden death. With a setup like that shown in the last pic it is possible to swap out batteries without removing the camera from the stream. I can manage this process better (pick a good time) with the warnings. Looks like Adam will have a nice strobe comparison before too long. Not much of anything on the J version of the S&S strobe to answer your original question. Tom
  25. Now for some shots with the second one that failed. #1 was with Seacam at the time. One shot is from a stained system. There are beaver ponds upstream of where I took the shot (as well as downstream). The other is from the day of failure #2. Same technical issues as #1. The setup shot shows an A on the display as it was in TTL mode. The tree branches in the front of the camera in the setup shot are the same ones in the underwater shot.
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