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Everything posted by H2Oplanet

  1. Thanks Rocha...these are very helpful threads and a good start...I forgot about the viewfinder choices with SeaCam which is not trivial...
  2. I have been shooting Canon 1Ds and 1Ds Mk II cameras in Subal housings for ~1-1/2 years now and generally I am VERY happy with the results. Having said that, I believe that the Subal system is not as comprehensive as it should be. Specifically, to my knowlege, a manual focus port is still not available for the 100mm lens (crutial for super macro work w/ teleconverters, extenders and diopters...in conjuction with port extension). Also, the system is less than ideal for over/under work and pole-cam work both of which are important to me (I continue to use film-based Nikonus RS systems for pole-cam work). It is my understanding that SeaCam can/does address these omissions with a more comprehensive line of accessories: manual focus flat port is available, 9" dome is available, and supposedly a nicely designed pole cam arrangement is available (not clear if this is an off-the-shelf system or if it is custom). Lastly, one other concern is that Subals availability of new products and response time to field problems has been less that desireable. Again, for most shooting I think Subal is fantastic but I want a system that addresses these other "special shooting" situations. I am seriously considering jumping to SeaCam in the next few days... Any "pseudo-objective" recommendations? Is SeaCam just as sluggish in terms of product availability and responding to problems?? A change will be costly so I want some opinions other than those of the distributor... Thanks...
  3. Hi Cor, I posted several months ago that I was experiencing <10 hour bulb life with these lights...also, have experienced similar charging problems to those you and others are reporting...apparently the problem is widespread...hope all else is well!
  4. Anyone comtemplating purchasing Subal strobe casings for the 580's should first inquire about reliability. Subal has an intermittent problem with the 550's which, to my knowledge, has not been rectified. I field tested their reported "fix" over the last 5 weeks in Indonesia and the "fix" does not solve the problem. I first reported the problem to them back in the fall of 2004 but I believe that they were aware of it before then. UW Photo Tech has been notified that the "fix" does not work and I await a response from them and/or Subal...In fairness, I just returned this weekend and e-mailed them yesterday. I will notify this Forum of their response as soon as I hear something pertinent. The problem is manifested by the strobes not going into "ETTL mode". Typically this occurs after a battery change. You know the strobes are not functioning in ETTL when (1) ETTL is not displayed as the mode, (2) the f-stop signal is not received or displayed on the strobe and (3) the strobes only output at minimum power. Some versions of the 550 strobe housings had been supplied by Subal with a "modified" stainless steel plate that secures the strobe foot to the strobe housing hot shoe which. This modified plate (corners cut at 45 degrees to facilitate insertion of the stobes into the housing which can be difficult at first) was later thought to be the source of the ETTL problem. They speculated that these "modified plates" were perhaps not securing the foot sufficiently to the hot shoe whch allows the spring loaded connector pins of the strobe to displace away from the appropriate connector location(s) on the hot shoe (5 current carrying pins plus a mechanical indexing pin as I recall). There is a fairly high bending load and the explanation seemed plausable. Well the replacement plates (plates which were not beveled on the corners) did not rectify the problem...ETTL still works intermittenly and mysteriously. In fact, I replaced one of the "unbeveled" plates with the old style beveled plate and it continued to work for the remainder of the trip. I have spent hours in the field trying to understand the cause(s) of the problem and to work out a potential solution but have no reliable solution to report. Sometimes the strobes just mysteriously begin to work and sometimes they will not. I have cleaned contacts, traced signals with multimeters, reseated strobes, replaced strobes (swapped out five different strobes to make sure there was no problem with the stobes themselves), etc. and nothing has reliably resolved the problem all of the time. I am not a member of "TTL anonomous" as I would rather be able to lend all of my attention to factors such as composition, aperature selection, shutter duration, approaching marine life optimally, etc. I see great benefit in letting the system calculate and deliver proper exposure-- whether for film or digital. However, I have seen wonderful results from those who have opted to go manual (or been pressed into that position because of limitations with amphious strobes) and I acknowlege that obtaining proper exposure manually makes alot more sense with digital systems than it did with film cameras for many of the well documented reasons brought up at this site. However, The 1Ds and 1Ds Mk II when used with 550's in ETTL mode (when you can get them into the mode and keep them there) delivers incredibly accurate exposures for most shooting situations (the light is soft and diffuse and renders surface details and colors like no other system I have seen or used). For macro, supermacro and even some wide angle situations I find the system incredible. Sorry for the long post but I wasn't sure if this information was out there and I felt it pertinent for the few of us contemplating housing Canon 550's or possibly even the new 580's.
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