Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Tinman

  1. A Nikon D500 is a great choice. Nikon has definitely upgraded upgraded the performance of its cropped sensor camera lineup with the D500. If I had not made a decision to house my Nikon D850 at some future point, I would be looking at bumping up from my D7200 to a D500. I've got a couple of Nikon D300 cameras and a Nikon D300s that I make available for use by aspiring underwater photographers who want to try a SLR system. Newbies do okay with the cameras, but Nikon has made notable improvements in it cropped sensor cameras. Obviously, there are lots of excellent housing available. I have Sea & Sea, Ikelite, and Nauticam housings sitting in my equipment closet. All of these housings work just fine. During the pandemic lockdown stuff, I finished work on an old Subal housing for a Nikon F100 (film camera). -Tinman
  2. There are lots of good comments and recommendations in response to your inquiry. Nikon's cropped sensor D500 is an excellent choice for macro use. Another Nikon cropped sensor camera that you may wish to consider would be a D7200. The D7200 has a slightly higher megapixel count at 24 megapixels than the D500's 21 megapixels. Of course, Nikon made some improvements to the D500 in other areas (like low light sensitivity) and I doubt losing 3 megapixels would make much of a difference to the quality of your images submitted for publication. If your budget is not limited, a new D500 system would be a great choice. If there are budget limitations, some really good deals on used D7200 housings pop up from time to time. I use both the Nikon 60mm micro and 105mm micro lenses on my D7200. Both lenses work extremely well, but I have a preference for the 60mm. This said, the 105mm does allow greater working distance. My 'go to lens' for fish images not requiring macro work has been a 16-85mm DX for several years. Lighting is critical for quality images. Get strobes and learn how to use them. A couple of years ago, I was caught in a low light situation, and missed an opportunity to capture what would have been amazing images. This experience prompted me to stop resisting the purchase of a focus light. I purchased a focus light with a red light option. I have used the red light with success on some skittish subjects. Sometimes, you get a fleeing fish butt image regardless of what you do. Of course, there are other manufacturers' cameras and lenses that allow photographers to capture outstanding macro images as well. We tend to talk about the cameras and systems we are most familiar with. Obviously, I am a Nikon guy. (LOL) -Tinman
  3. If you look at the port/lens charts from different manufacturers, you'll generally see that the dome ports recommended for use with fisheye lenses are often the same as those recommended for primes and renticular zoom lenses are the same. This said, there are a some exceptions. For example, I have one dome port that's specifically designed for my Nikkor 10-24mm zoom. While the dome ports used with different lenses are often the same, The length of port extensions used with lenses differ depending on the focal length of lenses. Just take a look at the port/lens charts available on different housing manufacturers' websites. You'll see which dome ports and extension combinations work with what lenses and see which lenses require specifically designed dome ports. -Tinman
  4. For what it's worth... I had an opportunity to do some diving with a Guadalupe operator a few weeks ago during a trip in the Gulf of California. The operator was in the area while having some work done on boats at one of the area's ports. The Mexican government is requiring that Guadalupe operators make new cage modifications for the 2021 season. Cages must be closed-up considerably over what has been the past requirement. I didn't inquire about the new spacing requirements of the cage bars. I guess there was a breach incident (probably 2019) that resulted in a shark dying. In addition to my 8" dome, I have a 5" dome specifically designed and tuned for use with the Nikkor 10-24mm. Underwater Camera Stuff markets this dome. It's a good product. -Tinman
  5. It's not unusual to see varying perspectives regarding lens choice. I've read posts by Ken Kurtis regarding his Socorro trip with interest. In my opinion, Ken posted spectacular images captured during his recent trip and commented that he mostly used his Nikkor 28-105mm on his Nikon D750. I encourage you to take a look at Ken's images. He did some impressive work with his Nikkor 28-105mm. -Tinman
  6. Opinions will vary, but I wouldn't recommend using your drill on your Ikelite housing. There are easier ways to install an Ikelite vacuum system on your housing. There's a lot that can go wrong with a do-it-yourself drill & tap job. If you muck it up, you'll be looking at purchasing a new housing. Wouldn't it be fun to have any damage you might do appear while you're on your 'bucket list' trip? One of the easiest ways to install an Ikelite vacuum system on an Ikelite housing is to simply remove the cold shoe from the top of the housing and install the vacuum valve in the pre-drilled & tapped hole. If you're using the cold shoe to mount a GoPro or focus light, you can relocate these types of devices on a strobe arm. There are ball mounts that permit putting the GoPro or focus light right on strobe arms. One of the beginning underwater photographers I work with just replaced the cold shoe on his Ikelite housing with the Ikelite vacuum system. It was a very simple process. He wanted to keep all of his housing's camera controls intact. Another option is to send your housing to the Ikelite Service Department and have them do the drilling and tapping work. This would allow you to keep all of the stock controls and cold shoe on the housing in place. The service department is excellent. -Tinman
  7. Just curious... you've listed a Nauticam NA-D300 housing and Nikon D-300 camera body, but your photos are of a Nauticam NA-D300s housing. Where's the Nauticam NA-D300 housing?
  8. Tiger Beach is still on my 'bucket list', but I've made several trips to Guadalupe. During my first trip (2016), I used a Nikon D7200 and a Nikkor 10-24mm to capture images. While I got some great images during that first trip, I found myself wishing for a lens with more reach. Sometimes, the sharks came in close, but often, they didn't. Even when the sharks came in close, I found myself shooting at the longer end of my focal length range. During most of my cage time, I climbed outside the viewing window and hung outside the cage to get closer to the sharks. I kept one leg wrapped around the inside of the cage so I could move back into the cage if necessary. I did have to make a hasty retreat back into the cage to avoid a large (16') male that must have thought I looked like a sea lion snack. The shark's run on me happened really quickly (like seconds) and I didn't even have time to adjust to a wider focal length as I slipped back inside the cage and he broke off to avoid hitting the cage. The following series of images were captured with my 10-24mm at 22mm and these versions have not been cropped. Yes, if I could have had time to zoom back to around 16mm to capture the third image in the series, I probably would've had the shark's eye and nose in the frame. I was too busy moving out of his way to even think about adjusting my focal length. When I made subsequent trips to Guadalupe, I used a Nikkor 16-85mm and it worked well. One of the irritating things about using surface cages is the mackerel that take up residence under and around the boat. Those damn fish always seem to be in the right place to screw up a shot. The Nikkor 10-24mm is a great lens. Most of the underwater images in my sea lion book were captured with a 10-24mm. If I were making a trip to Tiger Beach or another trip to Guadalupe, my 10-24mm would be in my equipment bag; I'd also be packing my 16-85mm. For what it's worth, I use an 8" dome with my Nikkor 10-24mm and Nikkor 16-85mm. The 16-85mm does require a close-up filter to focus on the dome. -Tinman
  9. Great points Dave! I tend refer to any rechargeable batteries that aren't Lithium-ion as NiCd (nicad) and NiMH batteries aren't the same as NiCd. I undoubtedly need to use correct terminology when tossing my opinions out there. Thanks for providing correct information. It's good to know that Ikelite is still doing the exchange program. At the time I exchanged my battery packs, I didn't consider the out-of-pocket expense unreasonable for new battery packs and chargers. -Tinman
  10. It's probably worth noting that all recharagable batteries eventually reach a point where recharging isn't possible. This is true regardless of whether the batteries are lithium ion or regular nicad. The manufacturer of the rechargeable AA nicad batteries I use in my Sea & Sea and Nikonos strobes predicts that their batteries can be recharged 2100+ times. Personally, I think that's a bit optomistic. But, I'll be happy if their prediction is correct. Reduced battery life is the primary reason that I trade in my cell phone every few years for a new one. It's also the reason I've got a couple of old notebook computers stashed in a closet. The computers work when plugged in, but the batteries are dead. Eventually, I will have to replace my long-lived Ikelite DS161 battery packs. I wouldn't let the Ikelite lithium ion battery packs be a deal killer. This is especially true if the strobes and lithium ion battery packs are working. My monthly maintenance routine on my Ikelite strobes and battery packs includes exercising the strobe capacitors and putting a fresh charge on the battery packs. Both parts of this routine are easy. Exercising the capacitors requires hooking the strobes to a camera via a housing, firing the strobes and allowing the strobes to recycle. Like rechargable batteries, capacitors can deteriorate with age and stop working it left sitting for prolonged periods of time. Putting a fresh charge on the Ikelite battery packs involves draining the batteries by placing the assembled DS161 in a bucket of ice water, turning the strobe's video light on and leaving it on until a check of the power indicator lights show that the strobe is low on power. For me, if all of the power indicator lights are off, it's time to recharge the battery. I do not discharge battery power until the video light stops working. If you decide not to purchase those DS161 strobes, please drop me a PM. I may know some people who are looking for a good deal on some used DS161 strobes. -Tinman
  11. There are lots different opinions about strobes. I've used Ikelite DS161 strobes for nearly ten years and produced excellent images. The strobes are well-made and robust. The design of the strobes greatly reduces potential flooding issues. Mine originally came with lithium ion battery packs. I never had issues with those original battery packs. Ikelite eventually decided to stop making the lithium ion battery packs and offered a trade-in program to exchange lithium ion packs for nicad packs. I did the trade-in program back in 2016. If you're interested in switching to the Nimh, you can check with Ikelite and see if they are still offering the exchange program. The cost of the exchange was not huge. I occasionally run into photographers who are still using their lithium ion batteries on their DS161 and DS160 strobes. None have indicated encountering any problems with charging. Ikelite told me they switched back to regular nicad battery packs because they were having problems getting the resources needed to continue building lithium ion packs. I do monthly maintenance on all my strobes regardless of whether or not I get to go diving. Those 2016 nicad battery packs are still performing very well. I closely monitor charging all of the nicads I use. Should you ever need the strobes serviced, Ikelite's service department is excellent. A lot of people probably did the exchange program in 2016. I picked up a couple of used DS160 strobes this past summer and the nicad packs were made in 2016. Another photographer I dive with also picked up some used DS160 strobes during the summer and his had nicad packs made in 2016. I run other brands of strobes on some of the camera systems I've assembled for student use. I've got some Sea & Sea and old Nikonos strobes. These lack the robust build of my Ikelites. If you're interested in seeing what you can do with Ikelite DS161 strobes, take a look at my website: www.cortezbluephotography.com. -Tinman
  12. I've never had any failure to perform issues with Ikelite DS160/161 batteries. All of my Ikelite battery packs were manufactured in 2016. I think 2016 was the year I swapped a couple of Ikelite lithium battery packs when the company switched back to nicad. I encountered an issue with one of my DS161 strobes doing strange stuff a few years back. Ikeite's service department asked me to send them my DS161 strobes and battery packs so they could check things out. They said the battery packs were fine and my strobes needed a firmware update. I do a monthly maintenance routine on my battery packs as well as my strobes. This keeps the batteries and strobe capacitors conditioned. Carrying a spare battery pack is always good insurance for potential user error issues you may encounter on dive trips. And, make a point to avoid distractions when you're assembling your camera/strobes system. -AZTinman
  13. I've got four Ikelite NiMH battery packs that are dated 2016. Two of these were purchased used and I have no idea what kind of maintenance the previous owner did. All four packs hold a good charge. I originally purchased the lithium version of Ikelite's battery pack before 2016, but took advantage of Ikelite's exchange program when they stopped making the lithium packs. I do a monthly maintenance routine on mine. This looks like exercising the strobe capacitors by powering them up, firing and cycling them multiple times. The monthly routine includes discharging the battery packs by immersing the assembled strobes in a bucket of cold water with the video lights on and leaving the video lights on until the lights noticeably dim. This battery discharge typically takes about eight hours. The monthly capacitor exercise routine is done with all of my strobes (Ikelite, Nikonos and Sea & Sea) and Nikon speedlights. Everything still works. On a plus note, Ikelite's service department is excellent. If you encounter issues with your battery packs, it might be worth contacting them to inquire about the possibility of having your battery packs rebuilt. -Tinman
  14. I appreciated you helping him out. He'll give the equipment a good home! I think you were pretty clear about what was going on and I don't get why people are feeling victimized. -Tinman
  15. For what it's worth, I referred an aspiring underwater photographer whom I've been working with to Kraken's offer to send the handles to someone who would give them a good home. This particular individual will do exactly that. I appreciate Kraken's willingness to standby his original offer and send the handles to this individual despite the offer he received from someone else. An "unserious/unprofessional seller"... I don't think so. Thanks Kraken! -Tinman
  16. I just noticed this feedback thread. I've purchased several items through the Wetpixel Classifieds. Here's some quick comments regarding a couple of recent purchases: P. Kolpakov sold me a Nauticam NA-D300s housing and assisted in tracking down some additional parts that I needed to put it into service. The housing was exactly as he described and shipped without any major issues from the Russian Federation. A. Sallmon sold me a Sea & Sea macro port and port extensions. All of these parts were as described and shipped from San Diego immediately. Communication with both of these individuals was excellent! -Tinman
  17. Before you buy a Sea & Sea housing for a Nikon D200, you might want to check on the availability of O-rings for the housing. I've got a couple of Sea & Sea D300 housings and it's very difficult to find O-rings for them. Evidently, Sea & Sea stopped making the O-rings for D300 housings. A housing for a D200 is older than my D300 housings. -Tinman
  18. I've done a couple of Guadalupe trips. During the first trip (2016), I used my Nikon 10-24mm (rectilinear) and it worked very nicely. It's probably worth noting that, I spent considerable time hanging outside the cage during that first trip. I'm small so it was easy for me to slide through the viewing opening on the cage and keep one leg wrapped around the inside to retreat back inside if necessary. One large male did give me the 'staring into the Jaws of Death' experience near the end of our last day during that trip when he made a run to try to pick me off the side of the cage. I simply slid back inside to get out of his way. It happened so quickly that I didn't even give it much thought until I was reviewing and post-processing images. I didn't feel like I needed my strobes during the first trip. The curved field of view that a fisheye creates isn't something I care for; mine never came out of my gear bag. As I prepared for my second trip, I added a Nikon 16-85mm to my camera bag. I felt like I had missed a lot of opportunities during my first trip because the 10-24mm didn't give me enough reach. Sometimes you have sharks that drop-by for close passes and others don't come in as close. The second trip (2017) was good. I was happy with the 16-85mm and I used my strobes during some of my cage time. White sharks have blue eyes and it's difficult to get the color unless you can light them up. One of the frustrations I encountered at Guadalupe was the screen of mackerel that take up residence under anchored boats. It was extremely difficult during both trips to capture decent images of the sharks with the number of mackerel that show-up. Another minor irritation was the people who had their Gopro cameras on long sticks. I missed more than one opportunity for great image captures because a Gopro on a stick would appear in my viewfinder as sharks would come in close. Of course, this is one of those give & take things. Other divers are there to capture images and video too. Some of those folks were probably silently cursing the nut job who kept climbing outside the cage to pursue the images he was after. Do plan to wear what you need to stay warm. Sometimes you have to wait long periods of time before a sharks decides to drop-by. It can get chilly if you don't have enough wetsuit. If you're interested in looking at some images from my trips, check out the portfolio on my website www.cortezbluephotography.com. -AZTinman
  19. I still maintain several Nikonos cameras and a housed Nikon 8008s system. The cameras see limited use as my digital system involves packing a lot of equipment. Some of the film gear occasionally makes trips where flying isn't involved. I do some travel via truck into Mexico. As noted in Algwyn's post, using film presents some limitations. I've sometimes used my film cameras to mentally reset my brain to put more effort into composing photographs. It's easy with digital to operate in 'point & spray' mode. I've packed film gear out to Isla Guadalupe a couple of times and captured images of white sharks with color as well as black & white film. During both of these trips, there was no shortage subjects so it was easy to switch between digital and film. The color images have a different look that digital. Interestingly, while I developed the black & white negatives, I never got around to printing them. I've still got the negatives stored around here somewhere. Keeping my Ikelite Nikon 8008s housing in service has been a challenge. Replacement o-rings for the housing back proved difficult to find. Ikelite stopped making the o-rings years ago and the parts department folks didn't believe they had any old stock. I was able to research an obscure Ikelite part reference number and they discovered that they did have some. I purchased their remaining stock. The Ikelite service department will not attempt to service my housing. They're afraid they might break it. As long as Bob at Southern Nikonos is willing to service my Nikonos cameras, I'll be able to keep them running. I'm not aware of anyone else in the U.S. who's still doing service work on Nikonos cameras. I think using the film cameras from time to time helps me be a better photographer, but digital is lots easier. Getting my recently published book completed has been my major focus for three years and doing lots of shooting with film hasn't been much of a priority. -AZTinman
  20. For what it's worth, the L-164B uses a 1.35 volt battery, but a voltage reducer is available to allow use of a 1.5 volt battery. I've got a couple of these meters I use when I'm in the mood to use one of my old Nikonos cameras with 1.5 volt batteries and voltage reducers. CRS (Camera Repair Service) out of Chandler, Arizona, used to make the L-164B meters for Sekonic and they have the voltage reducers to keep them working.
  21. I thought I'd submit a couple of photographs for the 2020 UN World Oceans Photo Contest, but cannot get the host sit for submissions to work. Has anyone else encountered difficulty. I e-mailed the host people and received zero feedback. -Tinman
  22. Bob at Southern Nikonos was still servicing cameras a couple of years ago. I haven't been in contact with him lately. During my last e-mail exchange, it sounded like he still had a huge parts inventory. -Tinman
  23. Are your handles on backwards or is this your selfie rig? (Just kidding) -Tinman
  24. At the risk of beating a dead horse, a dome that's specifically designed for a specific lens tends to work well with that lens. The combo of my Precision dome and Nikkor 10-24mm works well regardless of where I'm capturing images. It works nicely in blue water as well as reef environments. My larger domes work well with the Nikkor 10-24mm too. -Tinman
  25. FYI... for those not familiar with Precision domes. My 5" Precision is specifically designed for use with the Nikkor 10-24mm; this particular dome will not work with any other lens than my Nikkor 10-24mm. I've used the 5" Precision dome/ Nikkor 10-24mm combo for early morning spinner dolphins off the coast of Hawaii (the Big Island) in blue water. The combo produced great images. -Tinman
  • Create New...