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Posts posted by pKai

  1. Manual, Manual, Manual -- for everything -- specially in multiple-strobe setups.


    Yes, TTL will give you a technically correct exposure most of the time either macro or wide (to a point).... However, part of the idea of having two strobes (besides more light) is to balance the light in a pleasing way. This means different power settings/positions on each strobe. This is easier done manually with some practice.


    Even if your manual exposure is not dead-on.... your pics will still look better with balanced light. You can always correct the exposure in Lightroom up to about 2 stops in either direction -- that's a 4 stop latitude. With practice, you can get any manual exposure within a couple of stops by just eyeballing it.


    The best computer of all is between your ears..... GUE likes to say this about dive computers.... I like to say it about camera computers.

  2. Auto ISO is something to be avoided. I've observed ChrigelKarrer's Fuji experience on Canons and Nikons at all price points. Seems like the software developers think cranking up the ISO early is good. Obviously they are not photographers.


    Select the ISO appropriate for the situation -- low ISO when there's lots of light... higher (to a point) when not. If you want to do something special like use an ultra-small aperture and want to preserve a certain shutter speed... then by all means crank up the ISO -- just know you're getting some noise. Its better than "surprise" noise when the camera thinks ISO 3200 is a good idea in 30' of water on a sunny day -- I've seen this.

  3. I mixed 1" balls with o-rings (on my tray/handles) with a Sea & Sea Arm VII arms and clamps on dual YS-110a strobes. The Sea & Sea balls are bigger and the clamps grab at a slight angle. Been using them 3-4 times a week for 6 months with no issues.


    The Sea & Sea tray that came with the arms sucked and I replaced it with another that has built-in 1" balls on top of the handles. Everyone told me it wouldn't work (my friends at Reef were adamant about this - LOL!) and I would have to spend and additional $400+ on a set of new arms...... I tried it anyways and see no problems at all..... if anything, the bolt on the clamp sees a bit more stress from the angle, but that's it. I can tighten them enough to not move either on land or underwater without having to crank them too much more than before.


    My advice: Try it first before you plunk down more money.

  4. Want something even more reasonable?


    I use a Princeton Tec 4AA LED model -- the one meant to strap onto your mask. I rigged it with a cold-shoe ball mount. Works great as a focus light. Cost: $65 + the ball mount and one strobe arm clamp I had left over from building my strobe rig. You could do it for about $100 even having to buy all that. I have a piece of magenta gelatin liberated from an old enlarger that serves as the fish-friendly red light for night dives.


    I don't see any need to spend hundred$ on a "true" focus light...... Solas in particular.... they are wonderful pieces of engineering but IMHO, a solution looking for a problem.

  5. Yes, faster lenses AF faster.... to a point..... Somewhere at about F4-5.6 and under, you won't see any difference... That said... some lenses AF faster than others.... see Canon chart from other poster.


    What this means in practice is that if you have one of those variable F-stop zooms where the max is (for example) like F3.5~5.6, you will see a difference in AF speed with the lens on wide (max F-stop 3.5) to Tele (max F-stop 5.6)....


    On many cameras/lenses a focus light will speed up AF dramatically. That's true with my Oly E-pl2 and was also true with my former Canon S90. Is it worth $500 for a Sola? Not in my opinion. I rigged up a 4AA LED Princeton Tec ($65 -- the one meant to strap to a mask) to a cold-shoe ball mount and it works as good as a Sola...... doesn't flash or have the "red" option, but who cares. I get 5-6 dives out of a charge from the 2000ma AAs.

  6. I use State Farm Personal Articles Policy. Very economical and good..... Last summer, I lost a Canon S-90, housing, and 2 Ike strobes when an idiot boat crewman let is slide over the side. They paid full replacement value by check within 10 days no questions asked. They also offered to replace everything for me (IOW, buy it and send it) but I took the money (same amount) instead and upgraded to M4/3 by adding some cash of my own.


    IDK if this available in the UK (noticed your flag, there...)



    I pay like $350 annually for all my dive and photo gear (like $21k) covered against anything except getting nuked -- like the other poster said.... LOL... I suppose if my gear gets nuked, I won't be far enough away from it to matter.... LOL!

  7. I am fairly new to underwater photography -- I dabbled in the 1990s with film and didn't pick it back up until about a year ago with digital. I have, however, been shooting on land for some 30 years -- professionally on and off, but pretty consistently throughout.


    I've heard and experienced the exact same "purism" discussions many times over the decades dealing with:


    1. Exposure meters -- "How can this mindless machine judge light better than a talented human..."

    2. Motor drives -- "A Real Photographer will never need 10 frames per second to make a good image...."

    3. Zoom Lenses -- "They are tools for lazy people that don't know what lens they need...."

    4. Slide VS Print -- "A Real Photographer can take a prize-winning picture in the camera every time....."

    5. Auto Focus -- replace the word "light" in #1 with the word "focus"

    6. Digital -- "A bunch of ones and zeros will never produce the beautiful tone that Kodachrome can......"

    7. Photoshop -- pretty much the same discussion as #4 all over again.


    Before my time, I'm sure the same arguments were had when film overtook glass plates, electronic flash overtook bulbs, and roll film overtook sheets..... Guess what? -- ALL those "obsolete" technologies are STILL in use today in certain circles just like many of us still shoot primes, film, focus, and meter manually.


    Light-field photography is the new kid on the block come 'round to ruin our art....... so the purists say.....


    I say "bunk" --- Every new development contributes to the art in its own way. I welcome them all and to the best of my ability incorporate them into my work. Its up to us to take this technology and take image-making to the next level. Its all about the finished product hanging on the wall in a gallery or at home. Its about the jaw-dropping magazine covers. Its about what emotions the viewer feels from enjoying our work.... Its about using our craft to "put people there" inside the wreck, on the reef, or in a cave.


    Its NEVER about how we make the things in the first place.


    Does anyone care what brand hammer and nails a master carpenter uses? Hand? Electric? Air-powered? Of course noone cares...... that beautiful oak and maple wall unit in your study speaks for itself.


    <<off the soap box now -- LOL!>>

  8. I want to see a full-on review VS the D800 before I make up my mind on this one.....


    Seems like a $1,000 price hike is a bit much for the increased specs I see on paper...... Have to see real images to see if the new kid on the block earns its higher price tag. The D800 is $3k and that was my expectation for the 5DIII.


    In the meantime, there are at least double the number of used 5DIIs on eBay this week as there were last week. If they drop much below $1500 for a minty sample, I will seriously consider THAT as my first foray into FF over the III. I've always shot Canon crop (7d currently) since switching to digital a decade ago, but I do miss the large 35mm viewfinder, wide lenses being wide, and of course, the large images.......

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