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Basil

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Basil last won the day on October 30 2018

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About Basil

  • Rank
    Lionfish

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  • Gender
    Male

Additional Info

  • Show Country Flag:
    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Panasonic LX100
  • Camera Housing
    Nauticam NA-LX100
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Sea & Sea YS-D1
  1. 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/
  2. 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.
  3. Is this still for sale?
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. @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.
  7. 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.
  8. Thanks for the suggestion. I seriously considered that, but decided that the hassle and expense of selling my existing system and buying a new system was just not worth it, at this point. (In a couple of years, maybe). The potential improvement in image quality and video quality isn't enough to justify the expense. I like having a smaller system underwater, easier to manage. But, I am reconsidering the addition of a wide angle wet lens. Any recommendations are welcome!!
  9. Friends I have the Nauticam LX100, and am about to upgrade to the LX100 II (which thankfully can fit into the existing housing, with a slight modification). I previously tried the Nauticam WWL-1, but oh my God that thing was a monster. It was so big and heavy and I found it completely unwieldy in the water So I reconsidering my decision -- should I try with a different wide angle wet lens? If so, which one?
  10. I got my conversion kit too. I wish they would have sent an instruction sheet to figure out how to install it (I think I will manage to figure it out). I haven't decided yet on whether or not I am getting the LX100 II, or going to "something else", so I will just hang on for a bit. I am leaving this weekend for a week of playing with sea lions underwater in Mexico, and I think I will be just fine with my original LX100
  11. I just ordered the "Conversion Kit for the NA-LX100 housing to use the LX100 II camera." I haven't decided on whether I am upgrading to the LX100 II, staying with the original LX100, or going to "something else", but for $30 (cost of the kit), I thought it would be good option to have. I'm not in a rush to make a decision. -Basil
  12. I got an email from Nauticam that they are releasing conversion kit to allow the NAU-LX100 to work with the LX-100II, and posted about it in the photo gear forum. It is a relatively minor part needed to convert the LX100 housing to an LX100II housing.
  13. Update: I got word this morning from Nauticam that they are releasing conversion kit to allow the NAU-LX100 to work with the LX-100II. It is a small piece, which, from what I can tell from the drawing they sent, either adjusts the button to press one of the top function buttons on the camera, or it adjust the on-off switch. Either way, it is a relatively minor part needed to convert the LX100 housing to an LX100II housing.
  14. Since you are talking Sony E-mount (I used to use those), you might want to try full frame lenses e-mount lenses on the APS-C camera, if there are lens ports that permit that. Part of the reason I left Sony E-mount was the lack of decent APS-C e-mount lenses (Canon, Sony and Nikon all neglect their APS-C lens lineup because the full frame lenses are more lucrative. They are also generally heavier/bigger). Personally, I found it difficult to get enough depth-of-field when I was shooting full-frame, while still keeping noise to acceptable levels. But that is just me, everyone has their own views. Whatever you are most comfortable with is the right answer for you!
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