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Posts posted by adamtaylor

  1. Hi folk, I feel embarrassed at having to ask this, but I have just switched from a fantasea nano focus light - which turns off at crucial moment of strobes flash - to Sola photo 800 - which does not. Not had time or opportunity to use and see how it works....

    I bought it so I could:

    *use it with red light at night etc, and not to frighten creatures, and

    *to use as general dive light.

    *But ALSO, and most importantly, to use as a focus light; still photos not video.

    I am mounting it with YS mount on top of camera housing (Canon compact S120 and housing; 2xInon s2000 strobes)

    So -

    Q1 if it stays on when the strobes flash, does it not completely overexpose? Is it just a question of trial and error?

    Q2 Is it preferable (for the above reason) to use it on just red for photos? and keep the white for a general dive light

    Q3 If so, does it significantly change the colour cast of the photo?

    All and any help/advice very welcome


    Hi Trwen,


    I thought I would chime in as the vast majority of my diving is done in similar murky waters. (Howe Sound next to Vancouver, British Columbia has significant levels of plankton and tidal influences from 4 river systems meaning that fresh water mixing and sediment is often heavy down to 40+ foot depth. Apparently the combined drainage area of these rivers is equivalent to the land mass of Great Britain)


    If your conditions are as bad as they sound you will be wanting as much light as possible, and for the price and flexibility the Sola 800 should be a good option.


    I use a Sola Photo 800 with my Olympus EM5, initially mounted to a single 10" arm on one side with a YS-D1 strobe mounted to same size arm on the other. On high power it worked as a decent 'fill' light from the opposite side.


    After purchasing a second strobe I went to double 8" arms and mounted the Sola 800 to the housing's cold shoe using a flexible loc-line arm. This allowed me to extend up over the subject for focus light and macro video, with the added bonus of twisting the arm down so the sola was alongside the port for use in lighting under boulders or into cracks. It's one thing to bounce your strobe light under a boulder, but completely another to have enough light to compose and focus on a small, skittish subject hiding in a dark crack.


    On high power I have also used it as a fill light for Close Focus Wide Angle, especially when subjects are close up to a wider dome which sometimes casts a shadow.


    Comments on your initial questions;


    1) I have not had overexposure issues from the Sola, it really doesn't compete with the strobes unless they are manually dialed down to their lowest settings.

    2) Red works well with skittish critters, and for my camera's autofocus.That being said the image on my LCD is so red that my eyes cannot adjust and fine-tune focus manually. Basically I cannot tell the difference between something which appears to be in focus, and something which is tack-sharp. With the Sola on white I can magnify 5-10X on my LCD and manually focus on the smallest details. On red I cannot even confirm focus beyond the shape of the subject.

    3) Under normal circumstances I haven't really noticed any difference in photos when the light is on red. If I was experimenting with settings, a strobe didn't fire, or kelp floated between my subject and the strobe I would occasionally notice a change in colour tone, but those images were poorly lit and never keepers anyway.


    My one main complaint is battery life for multiple dives, especially in cold water. When used mostly on low setting (with occasional medium setting) it will last over a couple of long dives . On High it will be drained by the end of a single long dive.


    Based on 3 years experience with the Sola Photo 800 I would say it is useful for critter spotting, but not as good as a bright spot beam would be. Given the choice I would prefer a spot, or video light with spot capabilities for critter finding.


    I bring this up as in plankton-rich or sediment filled water the Sola 800 throws a wide beam which lights up ALL the particles in the water column. With the light mounted to the camera which is typically held out in front it ruins your ability to spot things at a distance, and lessens your ability to spot things beyond the edge of the lit area (think octopus hiding next to a boulder)... The broad beam also casts a much gentler shadow from well camouflaged subjects. In low viz, especially on night dives I often find myself holding the camera up over my head so the wide Sola beam is pointing diagonally down across my vision, instead of looking through all the sediment from behind the light itself.


    Please keep in mind I am making an apples and oranges comparison to my dives prior to carrying a camera. Previously I would use a halcyon canister light with intense spot beam that did not light up the entire water column. More importantly it provided significant contrast / shadows when pointed at a subject that was well camouflaged. It is too bulky and bright to use with my camera, but was an amazing critter spotting tool in murky waters. Given how little I now use It I should probably sell it and purchase spot capable video lights.






  2. Thanks Tom


    I freely admit that I am relatively new to underwater photography and basically fumbling in the dark with Lightroom. I use LR to record keywords, make minor adjustments and crop images. I then export those I want to share as JPEGs... The rest of the LR functions remain a mystery to me...


    The pixel count I gave above was from the JPEG files I created, one converted from RAW using Lightroom, the other using Windows photo gallery.


    Looking at the RAW image EXIF data in LR I note that the actual dimensions are 3456 x 4608


    On a whim I opened a RAW file using Windows Photo Viewer, made a JPEG copy which showed the 'missing' edges and then opened it using LR. The full height / width is now visible in LR and the EXIF info shows that the dimension count remains the same as the original RAW file.


    I then made some tonal adjustments and synced the settings to compare. Of course I find that the colours of the RAW file appear more realistic, but prefer the composition / wider field of view of the converted JPEG. There appears to be a slight change in the shape of the sea lion's head so perhaps LR is applying a lens correction which may explain the 'missing' sliver along the edge of the images?


    It's not a big deal, but as mentioned in my earlier post that extra little bit of space at the edges could make a nice shot even better.


    Was hoping there may be an easy fix which I could add to my workflow when importing and reviewing images.


    The mystery continues.


    Attached are a couple sample images to demonstrate what I described above.











  3. I would have to agree with the comments about using standard / cheap lens covers of the appropriate size.


    I have the Nauticam Macro port for Olympus 12-50 lens and it came with a pretty much non-functional cover.


    With the glass so close to the end of the port I worried about not only attaching a cover, but the glass contacting the bottom if I wasn't paying attention while shooting macro. To solve this I bought a 77mm rubber sun shade (plastic threads) which gave me an extra 1/2" clearance from the glass and did not interfere with the optics at the wide end as long as and the shade was kept folded. Easy to fit a 77mm lens cap on with lanyard around the port. The standard lanyard is actually long enough to pull the lens cap back behind the housing and wrap around my housing tether to keep it from floating into the shot. After over a year of constant use the tiny metal springs did rust out... I do try to support my regular dive shop / housing source whenever I can, but there is something to be said for dropping by any camera shop for a cheap and easy lens cap.


    As an added bonus the rubber sun shade leveled out the camera when sitting on the table as the handles & tray protruded from the underside of the housing causing it to tip. I also feel less guilty when I occasionally rest the rubber shade on the bottom to stabilize the shot / improve the angle as opposed to the aluminum port alone (typically soft bottom or rocky substrate).







  4. Thanks Tim,


    Just tried your suggestion and it did not reveal the outer edge. Same image, just showed the various crops or zoom within the original image size.


    The top image is what is is visible in LR and is compressed from the JPEG exported by Lightroom. Along the bottom (long side) of the image the sea lion has only one eye visible. There is also one full & one partial fin barely visible in bottom corner


    The bottom image is what is visible using Windows Photo Gallery which I used to convert the ORF file to JPEG. Looking at the right side of this image you will note that both eyes are now visible on the sea lion and that both fins are visible in the corner.


    So my question is - can Lightroom access this full image as it will make a significant difference.


    Perhaps it is the camera's aspect ratio that shows up in Lightroom?






  5. Hello all,


    I have seen this mentioned somewhere before but could not find by searching.


    Is there an aspect ratio or image size setting in Lightroom to show the ENTIRE RAW image?


    I happened to open a RAW file in Windows Photo Gallery and it is larger (as in wider / taller) than what is visible in Lightroom.


    Would this additional part of the image be accessible in Lightroom?


    The difference is not large, but for images of fast moving critters who are at the edge, or out of a shot that additional height and width could improve or save an image. (not necessarily this one as the sea lion still too close to edge of frame)


    Any suggestions?


    If it makes a difference I am using LR 5.7 and am shooting an Olympus EM5 in RAW only


    Not sure how to manipulate images on this forum so they have different orientations for some reason? The upper image is what is visible in Lightroom, the bottom what is visible via Windows Photo Gallery


    Thanks in advance,









  6. While I can't speak specifically for the Olympus fisheye I did try my Panasonic 8mm fisheye in my 180mm dome set up for my 12-40mm lens on EM5 in Nauticam.


    I believe that the new Olympus fisheye is longer than the Panasonic but that probably wouldn't make much difference. I removed the 20mm extension ring and mounted the 180mm dome directly to the n85 to n120 adapter and the lens was so far back from the glass dome that I ended up with the porthole look to the image. The majority of the image was the black inside of the n85 to m120 adapter and dome port leaving only a small round image through the glass dome.


    Given the reported diameter of the new Olympus fisheye I don't think it would work with the n85 to n120 adapter I have as it does not have an external lock.


    The size of the 180mm dome port also creates some strobe placement issues if you are trying close-focus wide angle shots (CFWA) where the subject is tight to the dome.


    Truthfully I love the compact size of the 4.33" dome for CFWA but was hoping to try some over-under shots with the fisheye AND the bigger glass dome. The 4.33" acrylic dome plus wave action makes over-under very difficult with the fisheye, let alone strobes burning the corners of the images in my local plankton / sediment filled waters...







  7. Hi Rob,


    If you are still considering the EM5II and want to take my EM5 in Nauticam for a swim come over to Bowen and try some new sites? Lee, if you want to join maybe he can compare both to his current rig, I will admit to some interest in the 7D's capabilities for the deep, dark sponge reefs. A 20 minute ferry ride and you are almost guaranteed nobody else at the dive sites to kick up the bottom...


    Rob, I have the Nauticam 85-120 port adapter plus extension for my 12-40 lens if you want to check it out, I may be switching to the newer version that is also compatible with the new Olympus 7-14mm


    The EM5 is my first interchangeable lens camera and I am impressed with what it can do in our local waters...


    The 60mm macro lens is great, but I find it hunts a lot when conditions are challenging (fresh water mixing as mentioned by Lee) and that distance shots such as fish portraits tend to slightly wash out due to suspended sediment (may also be due to my strobe positioning)






  8. Espen,


    For my 12-40 lens and 180mm dome port set up there are internal locks that keep the dome port, extension ring, and adapter connected. You need a small screwdriver or pen to manipulate the lever to unlock them.


    The entire assembly then slides over the 12-40 lens and then is locked into place by the port lock on the side of the Nauticam Housing. From what Mobula say's it will also fit over the 7-14 lens


    I can try to send images of the locking mechanisms tomorrow. Or maybe someone can locate an image online?






  9. Has anyone heen able to physically fit-test the new 7-14mm in a Nauticam?


    A quick measure of my adapter port this morning showed a 78mm inside diameter. This was with a tape measure, not a protractor so may not be completely accurate. I am hopful that the adapter / port assembly will fit over the new 7-14mm


    For those unfamiliar with the 180mm port, extension ring and adapter they have internal locking mechanisms to lock the components together. Basically you put your camera in the housing, attach the lens from the outside, THEN slide the completed port assembly & adapter over the lens. The completed port assembly is locked in place using the mechanism on the side of housing.


    The million dollar question appears to be is the internal diameter of the M4/3 to SLR adapter ring wide enough to fit over the new Oly 7-14?







  10. EspenB the dome port hangs approximately 3.5cm below the bottom of the housing. Definately taking some time to get used to the size of it compared to the flat port or mini-dome for the fisheye... For close focus wide-angle it definately changes some angles that you can achieve when a foreground subject is close to the bottom / rocky reef.


    Here are some images of the my housing with the 12-40 f2.8 lens attached & port off, then a couple angles with it on.


    I am hoping the upcoming Oly 7-14 will work with the same set up, or maybe with one less extension ring?









  11. I have the 180mm glass dome and extensions for my E-M5 Nauticam Housing and use with the 12-40 f2.8 lens


    Works great, took a little getting used I the size, and attaching the lens to camera body inside the housing & THEN securing the port with extensions attached.


    Considering the only other ports I had used were the flat port for 12-50 kit lens and the 4" mini-dome for the fisheye I will admit to being nervous about the slight movement of the multiple parts.


    System has worked flawlessly since I got it


    Love the lens, and the ability to get wide-angle images even with the low viz waters around Vancouver, British Columbia.


    Zoom for the 12-40 is controlled by the knob on the housing. Had hoped that the focus knob on the adaptor port would be able to achieve manual focus, but have not figured a way to have both zoom and focus gears.


    Will definately be having a close look at the Oly 7-14mm when released. The wider angle would be nice.






    • Like 1

  12. Thanks for your suggestions.


    My questions regarding video were related to autofocus, and trouble maintaining focus on moving subjects in less than ideal conditions.


    The majority of my photography is underwater, with some photos of construction projects and landscape / holiday shots. I honestly don't see myself using a 12mm prime lens.


    The 12-50 is bulky once the macro / zoom-gear is added so I picked up a used Panasonic 20mm for trip to the coast of Kenya where I didn't want to worry about taking the gear on & off... It's a great walking around lens but I haven't used it in over a year.


    Thinking I will sell it to offset some of my wish-list purchases.


    Ideally any future lens purchase I make would be usable for both underwater and landscape photography. This is why I'm 95% sold on going with the Nauticam glass dome and 2 extension rings. That combo appears to work with 3 lenses and allows for manual focus.






  13. Thanks Phil,


    Will see if I already downloaded that issue.


    The Nauticam port chart lists a 180mm glass dome not a 170mm. I thought I read somewhere that the 180mm WAS a Zen dome... I could be mistaken?


    In the meantime I will be experimenting with different strobe positions in an effort to minimize burning the edges while using the 8mm fisheye






  14. Thanks for the suggestions.


    Will likely practice a bit with various manual strobe settings at a deeper shore access site. Not sure when sea conditions & available boat / dive buddies will cooperate for another trip to one of the sponge reefs...


    Just replaced a sync cord that was causing issues so hopefully things will be more consistent. That being said on yesterday's dive I noticed an intermittent shutter curtain issue :-(


    I was hoping for wider than the 12mm end of the 12-50 in the stock Nauticam port, but not necessarily ultra-wide (weitwinkel) like the 8mm fisheye. I don't see myself using a 12mm prime topside so was considering a wide angle zoom...

  15. Hello all,


    Appologies for the long post, but I am looking for a comments on a wide angle lens for an EM5 which is suitable for cold water diving with tons of plankton / suspended sediment.


    Searches on this forum have provided great information, but I am hoping for input specific to using these lenses with low light, high plankton & suspended particle levels. Even when visibility improves at depth large particles in the water column can create major backscatter.


    Some background - I have 20+ years diving experience and have had my camera for 2 years. 80-90% of my diving is done in Howe Sound which is a fjord next to Vancouver, Canada. This area has large tidal swings and is heavily influenced by river run off; the catchment area of the various rivers / creeks which influence local condtions is roughly 250,000km2. Fresh water mixing, plankton blooms and river run often reduces visability of the top 30-40 feet so much you cant see your fins...


    Currently I am using the EM5 in a Nauticam housing, with a Sola 800 photo light and two YS-D1 strobes mounted on double 8" arms. Current lenses are 12-50mm lens in Macro Port, 60mm lens, and 8mm Panasonic Fisheye in the acrylic port.


    Local life and conditions lends itself to Macro photography, and I find myself struggling at times with wide angle, particularly with the fisheye unless surface conditions are perfect.


    The 12-50mm lens in the Macro Port with gear was a great starter lens. Autofocus works well in decent conditions, but it struggles when the current picks up, especially with large amounts of plankton, sediment or fresh water mixing as it cannot decide what to focus on... This lens has not seen the water in roughly a year.


    The 60mm macro is great at close range, but starts to wash out if I get further away trying to frame a larger subject.


    I love the fisheye in ideal conditions, but often find the corners of images get burned with backscatter (even when my strobes are pulled 12" behind the camera). Perhaps more practice or switching to manual strobe setting will help but I am not convinced the fisheye will give me the images I desire in local waters.


    This leads to my desire for a good wide angle lens, that is NOT a fisheye. To be specific I am looking for good low-light capabilities as some sites I visit are rather deep...


    Recently there have been a number of Glass Sponge Reefs discovered in local waters, they appear to thrive in these conditions as there is plenty of food as well as disolved silica which they build their 'skeletons' from. I am involved with a couple non-profit groups which have been mapping then field proofing these reefs using drop cameras and scuba divers. We are working on a few different approaches in an attempt to convince the government to protect these unique and fragile ecosystems. Decent wide angle images go a long way in discussions with non-divers.


    Howe Sound is the only known location in the world where you can Scuba dive on Glass Sponge Reefs, a handful of them start in the 85-120 foot depth range. In other areas in Province they start in 100's if not 1,000's of feet of water. Combine that depth with high levels of plankton and sediment and you get very dark conditions down on the reefs. Perhaps a few times a year there will be good light penetration, but the majority of the time it's basically twilight down there.


    Even on days with decent visabilty there are large suspended particles to create backscatter. These reefs generally extend out of sight, and I am trying to create images showing their scale. Quite honestly I am struggling to provide enough light without buring out the images with backscatter, especially the edges when using the 8mm fisheye. Lightroom only can help so much...


    Now for my specific question - From what I have read the 180mm glass dome combo appears to offer flexibility on lenses and is likely my next purchase. This leads to my request for advice / opinions on the following lenses;


    The Olympus 12-40mm Pro appears to be a great lens, I am curious about the wide-end of it's range.


    The Olympus 9-18mm also appears good, but I wonder how much wider it is than the 12-40? For the price difference I am leaning towards the higher quality of the 12-40mm Pro and maybe selling my 12-50 set up.


    The Panasonic or the rumoured Olympus 7-14mm would likely be good choices. Anyone have thoughts or advice on use on these lenses based on my local conditions?



    Thanks in advance,





    Here are some images of the sponge reefs







  16. Thank you Eric, Chris, John, Tom & DiverPam for your comments and suggestions.


    They definately point me in the right direction.


    While I am sure I will 'graduate' to a desktop system at some point in the future finding a laptop that I can grow into and also use for work makes the most sense for my present situation. Having invested in a new camera, housing, light, strobes etc., an extended vacation and a few bits of new dive gear this year cost and the ability to use as a work computer is key for me. I simply can't justify a dedicated home system right now.


    After reviewing last year's thread I will be shopping around with your suggestions in mind.


    Thanks for all the input, This forum is a great help to us Newbies :-)








  17. Hello all,


    New to Wetpixel but have been diving 20 years, a few of them with a little Olympus point and shoot and recently purchased an Olympus OMD E-M5 in Nauticam Housing.


    Loving the camera and shooting RAW, just find that my current laptop is severely slow when it comes to editing RAW files with the Olympus software. Would like to start working with Lightroom and know my current system will be painfully slow... There isn't much incentive to get creative and explore the possibilities offered by RAW images if my computer is constantly bogged down.


    Yes, I know I can upgrade the RAM etc. on my current laptop but want a system that I can grow into, as opposed to a band-aid patch to just get by for today...


    Hopefully someone on this forum has upgraded their system recently, or could suggest minimum requirements to ensure that I can efficiently edit my photos AND grow my skills, possibly expanding into Photoshop etc.


    When editing takes way more time than actually taking the pictures the files will pile up, and I will never get around to dealing with them. I am embarrassed to admit that other than a first cull I still haven't sorted and edited my MANY pictures from a trip to Kenya in February / March. If I don’t streamline the editing process my pictures will just end up sitting in digital purgatory somewhere on a hard drive :-(


    Looking for something portable that I can take to work with me, as well as on vacation. That being said, it doesn’t have to be the smallest, lightest, latest and greatest thing out there. As I live on an island and commute by water taxi something with some durability would be a bonus.


    In addition to photo editing I will be using the laptop for basic MS Office functions such as Word, Excel, Project, as well as playing music, watching movies etc.


    I am a PC user but would consider Macbooks if the cost / benefit can be justified.


    Any thoughts?


    Thank you in advance for your input.






    Adam Taylor



  18. Greetings from Bowen Island (Vancouver), British Columbia


    New to this site and relatively new to Underwater Photography. Looking forward to learning more through observation, comments and feedback.


    For 3-4 years I had a little point and click Olympus but after the housing sprung a leak I went cameraless for a few years. Having spent a fair amount of time in the water over the years with videographers playing 'critter spotter' it was time to get a decent underwater camera of my own...


    What made me take the plunge (pardon the pun) was finally booking a long term dream trip to Kenya for Safari and diving. This trip prompted me to research cameras and purchase something to do the trip justice and that I could build my skills with. I ended up purchasing an Olympus OMD with 12-50 lens + Nauticam Housing along with a Sola 800 and one Sea & Sea YS DS1. The cheat sheet for basic camera settings I found on this forum was a great help for a newbie. Prior to my trip I managed 2 quick cold water dives to play with my new system.


    A Borrowed 75-300mm telephoto did wonders for wildlife photos on land while the 12-50 lens in the Nauticam provided great flexibility underwater. Ocean conditions on the coast of Kenya are challenging for a beginner photographer; current, large surge, sand and sediment in the water column combined with lack of manual focus while in the housing made for a VERY steep learning curve. Regardless it was an amazing experience and would highly recommend it to anybody.


    I have been diving for 20 years and am fortunate to live within an hour of many decent dive sites and within a day's travel of cold water sites that are famous around the world. I am active with the Underwater Council of British Columbia and Marine Life Sanctuary Society of BC. We advocate for marine conservation efforts, placement of divers mooring buoys, continued access to shore dive sites, diver safety and perform community outreach programs such as underwater cleanups and Beach Interpretation days where we collect specimens while diving for viewing shoreside by local schools and Nature Clubs, the critters are then returned unharmed to the water.


    My first few months of taking Underwater Photography seriously has been both challenging and very rewarding. It has brought a whole new appreciation not only for photographers, but the fun local critters which I had begun to take for granted after so many years diving.


    In hindsight adding photography to my love of diving and the marine environment was the next logical step which I should have taken years ago. Being able to capture images underwater allows me to share these passions with my non-diving friends, family and neighbours.





    Adam Taylor

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