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Basil last won the day on January 14 2021

Basil had the most liked content!

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About Basil

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  • Show Country Flag:
    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Panasonic LX100 II
  • Camera Housing
    Nauticam NA-LX100
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Sea & Sea YS-D2J

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  1. Are the strobes still available? I have a YS-D2J and I could use a second (and a spare)
  2. You are welcome! One point of clarification: Autofocus through the WWL-1 was completely fine - just as snappy and reliable as the camera is on land (i.e. no difference in autofocus performance from having no wet lens). The camera is great for wide angle, including close focus wide angle shots. Autofocus with the CMC Macro wet lens was much harder - and I think it had more to do with the minimum focusing distance, and the fact that the magnification of the wet lens alters that on the camera. But again, I am not an expert on macro photography. I look forward to future dive trips for more practice, once the pandemic ends!
  3. So the folder on my website is www.basilkiwan.com/Nature/Saba-Dive-Trip/ That was all shot with the LX100 II. I mostly shot wide angle, with many shots using the Nauticam WWL-1 on that trip. Take your time weighing out options, because it is an expensive purchase. Cameras that have more housing options are definitely more attractive, because your housing is likely to be more expensive than the camera. The LX100 II is good at macro, but the Sony RX100 line of cameras (probably the RX100 VII) has an advantage because of its longer focal length lens. When I want to shoot macro on the LX100 II, I use the standard port, and flip on the Nauticam CMC wet lens - that arrangement allows me to shoot tight macro, or flip the lens out of the way and shoot regular mid-range focal length portraits (though not wide angle). I find shooting macro challenging, because with a wet lens, I usually have to manually focus (autofocusing through a wet lens is difficult), and it is hard to manual focus when you are buffeted by currents. But that is more a limitation of me, as a photographer, than of the camera. If you go to interchangeable lens camera, (Sony, Olympus, Panasonic), you get the advantage of more flexible lens options. For example, with micro 4/3 cameras (Panasonic, Olympus), there is the excellent Olympus 60mm macro lens, and some of the zoom lenses in that class have decent macro modes. But generally, you have a larger rig (more ports, swapping lenses and ports between dives, etc..) That said, it is worth checking out housing options for any camera you might be interested - Nauticam, Ikelite, Isotta, Aquatica, AOI, Fantasea, etc... because some housings are definitely smaller than others. For macro specifically, the other advantage that both the Sony RX100 line and the LX100 line have is flash synch speed. Compact cameras have a leaf shutter - the shutter is built into the lens, not on top of the sensor. Interchangeable lens cameras (mirrorless and DSLRs) have a focal plane shutter. Typically a DSLR or mirrorless can synch with a flash or strobe at shutter speeds up to 1/200 or 1/250th of a second. If you go faster than that, you start getting this black band across your image - which is actually the panels of the shutter moving across the focal plane. Cameras with a leaf shutter do not have this limitation. The RX100 VII can synch up to 1/2000 of a second, I believe the LX100 II can synch with a flash or strobe up to 1/2000 or 1/4000 of a second. It add flexibility to your photography, particularly for macro photos, where you want to obscure the background. When you shoot with a strobe underwater (or on land), your shutter speed is controlling the ambient light. Your aperture is controlling depth of field. Your strobe is lighting your subject in the foreground. If you have a high shutter speed, you can "kill the ambient" - the background can be rendered almost black, while your subject in the foreground (say a little blenny) is light carefully by your strobe. It's not the only way to get that black background that isolates your subject your subject in the foreground, but it is an extra tool that you don't get with mirrorless or dslr cameras. That said, I have not used this very much (since I am typically shooting wide angle not macro), but it is something I want to try more of on my next dive trip.
  4. I use the LX100 II in a Nauticam housing. I used the LX100 prior to that, and Nauticam has a conversion kit that allowed me to use the LX100 II in the same housing (for a cost of $30 or $40). It is a larger sensor than other compact cameras (4/3 sensor), and it has a very close-focusing zoom lens with a bright aperture (F1.7 to F2.8 over its zoom range). It is good, but not great, for macro, though I am not much of a macro photographer (my next skill to master). I find it quite good at 4k video, Panasonic and Canon cameras are supposedly the best able to set a custom white balance underwater at depth, which is important in video (saves a lot of hassle in editing). The camera's strength is close-focus wide angle photography, because the lens is very close focusing. The LX100 II is also just a nice travel camera and good for street photography. Backscatter has a good review of the camera and housing setup on its website. I have some pictures on my website that I shot with this setup in Saba, in October 2019 (the "before" days). There are more capable options, but you are looking at interchangeable lens camera, and more expensive/extensive ports. Bigger sensor cameras will give better image quality and low light performance, other things being equal (but they are rarely equal). I wonder sometimes about trading up to something with a larger sensor, but I would have to jump from the current 4/3 sensor to a full frame sensor to see a significantly better image, and that would entail a separate camera/lens/housing system which takes up a LOT of room (luggage restrictions are really tight) and a lot of expense. I would do it if I could do dive photography for a living (don't we all wish that), but as an amateur, I have plenty of capability in my current setup and do not feel constrained. I have much more to learn!
  5. I just saw this thread. For what it is worth, I have the LX100 II in a Nauticam housing. I actually like the setup. I had the original LX100, and upgraded the camera to the LX100 II, and since the cameras are almost identical physically, I could use my original Nauticam LX100 housing (there is a conversion kit that costs about $30 by Nauticam to work the zoom lever on the lens). I have the Nauticam WWL1 (I picked a used copy not long before my last dive trip), and at the wide end, the camera performed admirably. I also have the Nauticam CMC for macro, though I am not as skilled a macro photographer. Backscatter has a pretty accurate of the whole setup on their website, which you probably already saw. In terms of image quality between the two, it should be a wash. The EPL-10 uses a 4/3 sensor, but it is the older 16 MP model (more megapixels is not always better - more resolution can give more noise in the shadows), and it may have an advantage in lower light, which is what we encounter underwater. The LX100II has a newer 20 mp 4/3 sensor, but because the camera is engineered to use multiple aspect ratios without losing resolution, you wind up getting about 17 mp worth of resolution - the image circle created by the lens covers about 80% of the sensor. Panasonic did this as a tradeoff - it allowed them to design a really small zoom lens that still had a fast aperture (F1.7-F2.8), and enable photographers to play with different aspect ratios (switch on the top of the lens), but you are losing a bit of light gathering capability because the camera isn't using the entire sensor. Other things being equal - bigger sensor generally yields better image quality. But other things are never really equal. In the case of the LX100 and LX100 II, that zoom lens is fricking fantastic. It is F1.7-2.8 over the full frame equivalent of a 24-75mm zoom range (the lens is actually 10.9mm-34mm - I hate it when manufacturers do that full frame "equivalent" nonsense). By comparison, a high end standard zoom on a micro 4/3 camera from Olympus or Panasonic would be 12-35mm F2.8 (Panasonic) or the 12-40 F2.8 (Olympus) - they are much bigger as the cover a slightly bigger sensor, but the zoom lens on LX100 II is actually a bit brighter/faster. The other key aspect, relevant to underwater photography, is that the LX100 II's lens is very close focusing particularly at the wide end. If you are into close focus wide angle photography, it works really well! The camera at the wide end can focus on things that are an inch in front of it. In terms of white balance, which is super important for video, Panasonic cameras handle that really well (that seems to be a strength for Panasonic and Canon, other manufacturers seem to be limited in this respect). You can nail a good and accurate custom white balance at depth, and the video footage will look really nice. It's not Panasonic's video focused camera (like the Gh5 or the G9), but it shoots decent 4k. One other consideration is flash synch speed. Most DSLR's and mirrorless cameras top out at 1/250th of a second. Beyond that and you start getting the black bars of the shutter curtain across your image. However the LX100 II has a leaf shutter - something that compact cameras often have, as well as medium format cameras. The aperture blades are in the lens. The camera will synch at any strobe speed, at least up to 1/2000 of a second. I was exploring this a bit on my last trip. Where this comes in underwater is if you want to do one of those shots where you have a subject lit by your strobe, with a black background. You can just keep bumping up your shutter speed and really kill the ambient light in the background and make it black. So it is some additional flexibility. But with the EPL10, you get a lower cost housing, and access to the full catalog of micro 4/3 lenses. Money is an object! For me it was a no brainer, I upgraded cameras but could use my LX100 housing. So if you spend less on the housing, you can spend more on dive travel, and that is a perfectly reasonable choice.
  6. I have the X-H1 which I use as my land camera. I love it, it is fantastic. It's not the absolute best camera at any one thing, but it is a great great camera at just about everything. (Studio, wildlife, street photography) I thought about getting the Nauticam housing for it, to replace my LX-100, which is my underwater system. Long story short - I upgraded to the LX-100II, which fits in the same housing. I wound up adding the WWL-1 to my system. The Fuji X-H1 could be brilliant underwater, but it depends on what you want. For video, the image stabilization would be really helpful. However, I don't know how well the X-H1 will execute a custom white balance underwater, which is really important for uw video work. Canon and Panasonic seem to be best at this. Alternatively, you can compensate by adding a filter (Magic Filter or Keldan red filter) to the camera lens, though this then pose a challenge switching between stills and video. The question of white balance matters less for stills because you are shooting to your strobe(s), and can easily adjust the white balance on raw images. (It is much harder to adjust white balance on video files) There are no native autofocus fisheye options from Fuji, though there are 2 native wide angle zooms (10-24 F4 and 8-16 F2.8), and several wide primes (12mm, 14mm, 16mm). There are many more lens options in the micro four thirds ecosystem. For me, it came down to cost and size issues. I upgraded my camera without having to replace the housing, which was awesome. My kit fits in my carry-on bags (just barely), which is also really helpful, and that alone keeps me from upgrading to a larger sensor system. The image quality is better with a larger sensor: the LX100 II uses a slightly cropped micro 4/3 sensor, vs APS-C for the X-H1, but the quality gain just was not enough to justify the increased cost and size. There is no wrong answer, it's just a matter of what works best for you.
  7. I can't say that I tested the LX100 II much in terms of video, though I did get a nice clip of a turtle near the surface. But for stills, I liked it quite a lot. It is not a huge improvement over the LX100, and it may just be that I am getting more practice in... but, it sure seemed like the color that the LX100 II is capable of producing is really nice.
  8. Hi Friends I returned from a dive vacation in Saba, and wanted to share a few impressions of shooting with my setup: an LX100II in a Nauticam housing, using the WWL-1 wet lens. This was the first land based trip in awhile (vs liveaboards), and it was a very chill, relaxed week (a welcome relief from stress back home) with lots of great food, great friends and fun dives. This is my first dive trip with the LX100II (I previously shot with the original LX100). This isn’t a proper review, just some observations/things I learned, in case it is useful to others: Same housing (YAY!): The LX100II is physically almost identical to the original LX100, and fits in my original Nauticam LX100 housing, with the addition of a $35 conversion kit to accommodate the slightly different sized zoom lever. I am happy to extend the life of my existing housing, and not spend $1210 for a new housing (Nauticam makes an LX100II housing as well). Overall, the camera controls are the same - I didn’t have to relearn anything. Small size has its advantages: Backscatter did a very nice review video of the LX100II and one of their observations is that the camera and housing setup is small enough to get into some really tight spaces. They were right about that, I got some nice shots of a nurse shark under a coral outcrop that probably would have been impossible with a larger camera setup. Maneuvering the strobe into a good position was actually more difficult than maneuvering the camera and housing. Nauticam WWL-1 convert: I splurged and picked up a used WWL-1, but I was really dubious about it, because sweet Jesus that thing is heavy. But I got the buoyancy collar and hard cap — the whole package was a bit unwieldy topside, but underwater it was fine. Optically, I was pretty pleased, it is a sharp lens. I wound up using that combination a lot, and really enjoying it. Trying to master the strobe: I shoot with 1 strobe (YS-D1) and 1 video light. I have been hesitant to add another strobe, until I have really mastered the art of strobe positioning. Until then, it would be a bit unwieldy and overwhelming (though having more light is always better in photography). With that background in mind, I loved playing with this existing setup. I got better over time using the strobe on Manual, with the flash on the camera set to 1/32 or 1/64 power — that enabled me to fire off shots as fast as the strobe would let me, because the camera flash took almost no time to recycle. With practice, I got better at getting the strobe positioned correctly - minimized the backscatter while still lighting my subject, and I got some really pleasing images. Leaf shutter: Like some other compact camera, the LX100II has a leaf shutter. Without discussing the mechanics, it greatly raises the limit on flash synch speed for the camera, and adds an extra element of creative control as a photographer. Shutter speed controls the background ambient light. Using the higher shutter speed, you can effectively darken your background and isolate the subject further (which is lit by your strobe) - this can very useful for macro photography. I’ve tested shots with this setup at 1/1000 of a second, I think the notional synch speed limit is either 1/2000 or 1/4000. I was mostly shooting wide angle, but even then higher shutter speed is helpful to freeze action and get a sharper subject, and/or to darken the blue water in the background. Image quality/Size ratio: When I got the original LX100, I was focused more heavily on shooting 4K video - which Panasonic cameras generally do very well. Over the last few dive trips, I have been more interested in exploring the LX100’s capabilities for still photography. That trend is continuing with the LX100II - I shot almost no video on this last trip. That is also a function of dive topography: it is easier to shoot video is shallower water and the diving in Saba is pretty deep. That said, I was just really grooving and trying stuff out photographically, and seeing what works and what doesn’t. Practice is fun and it makes me a better photographer. For a little tiny camera, the image quality is fantastic. The new model seems to have a better color palette: the blues seem more true, and the reds are touch richer. The extra resolution is nice, as I got some nice detail, even when I crop images. I have toyed with the idea of a larger sensor camera (I shoot APS-C (Fuji) on land, I used to shoot full frame), because other things being equal, a larger sensor gives better image quality. But other things are rarely equal. FOR ME, I find that the marginal gain in image quality with a larger sensor camera could not possibly justify the extra expense, size, and weight. Others have different views (there is no right or wrong). With that in mind, I had a lot of fun with my little LX100II setup, and I can’t wait for the next dive trip. The link below is a gallery with a few of my most recent underwater pictures. https://www.basilkiwan.com/Nature/Saba-Dive-Trip/
  9. I think most of the higher end compacts use leaf shutters, though I don't know why (maybe it allows the camera body to be smaller??). I know that the Fuji X-100 series has a leaf shutter. Mirrorless and DSLR lenses use a focal plane shutter, and that limits max shutter synch speeds to around 1/250. On the other end of the spectrum, leaf shutter lens in the medium format world are hand crafted, incredibly expensive, and highly sought after. On my last dive trip, I took my LX100 and did some photography of some inane piece of coral on a wreck, and progressively bumped up the shutter speed. It really does darken the background. It was kind of fun. I will have to play with that more on the next dive trip (sadly, not until October), see how I can use that to my advantage.
  10. Is this still for sale?
  11. Backscatter just posted their LX100 II review. They used the AOI UWL-09 Pro wet lens, and the images look good. If I go down the wet wide angle lens route again (still undecided), I lean towards the Nauticam WWL-1, just because Nauticam now has a float collar for that beast, and the AOI lens does not have that https://www.backscatter.com/reviews/post/Panasonic-LX100-II-Underwater-Camera-Review There were a few points in the review that were incorrect: the camera has a 4/3 sensor, but the image circle on the lens does not cover the entire sensor, though it is a multi-aspect ratio sensor. The camera uses about 81% of the sensor (it's the 21 MP sensor in the GX9, the LX100 II uses 17 of those 21 MP). The other point, which is noteworthy is that the electronic shutter does not determine flash synch speed. The LX100 II, and many other compact cameras, and some high end medium format cameras, has a leaf shutter mechanism. I don't fully understand them, but as I understand it generally -- the shutter mechanism is in the lens body, not on the focal plane with the sensor. It's actually a really neat feature, it makes the camera fantastic for "strobist" photography on land (google David Hobby and Strobist). On land, you can shoot with a leaf shutter camera at say 1/1000 or 1/2000 shutter speed, the flash will still synch and light your subject, and you can kill the ambient light in the background because the shutter is so fast. It's great on those sunlit days where the sun is high and the light is harsh. Underwater, it is really usefully to getting a darker, or even black background, like on a macro shot.
  12. I feel silly about the WWL-1 because I had it, hated or and sold it. At the time, there was no float collar. If that had existed when I had the WWL-1, I probably would have kept it. Maybe I’ll try again? So Nauticam has a conversion kit they sell for $30 to convert the LX100 housing to accommodate the LX100 II. It replaces the pieces that operate the zoom lever. I’m about to send my housing in for servicing (it’s time), and I have already asked them on the phone already to install the conversion kit so that I can use the new camera (the parts are quite fiddly and I don’t trust myself to do that conversion). They asked me to send the new camera so that they can check the fit. I’m just pleased that to get to upgrade my existing housing to accommodate the new camera. It’s actually not unprecedented: the Nauticam housing for the GH3 accommodated the GH4, with similar conversion kit. By the way, as a land camera, the LX100 II is a LOT of fun
  13. @Interceptor121 Thanks for the explanation, I very much appreciate it!! I'll be travelling soon to Seattle, and maybe I can check out some wet wide lenses at Optical Ocean Sales. My guess is that any of the options are big and cumbersome. For stills, it's less of an issue. I have the mini-dome, and that restores the lens to its on-land field of view - 24mm in full frame terms. For video, unfortunately, there is more of a crop - to about 32mm in full frame terms, which kind of bites (it's actually more of a crop on the LX100II than the LX100). But despite this flaw, I like the camera a lot - the images are even better, the colors are quite pleasing. And the lens has a very close focus, which I find useful underwater. HOWEVER, a wet wide lens could be really nice for video, to give that wide open feel, and claw back some extra scope in the angle of view (especially with large pelagic creatures). I want to see reviews of the AOI-Fantasea UWL-09 Pro lens and the Kraken KRL-01, and ideally handle both and see how I find them.
  14. I spoke with Backscatter, and they are going to post a review of the LX100 II soon. They may have some wet lens recommendations. What is the issue with acrylic vs glass domes? I thought glass was more fragile because it’s impossible to repair any scratches in a glass dome vs an acrylic dome. Is acrylic significantly worse optically? I am considering the AOI-Fantasea UWL-09 Pro lens (Glass dome) or the Kraken KRL-01 (acrylic dome). Alternatively I could suck up my pride and try again with the Nauticam WWL-1, for which there is now a flotation collar. If anyone has experience with any of those lenses, I’d be keen to hear about it.
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