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Everything posted by dreifish

  1. Unfortunately, I cannot agree that photographers are more careful about damaging the reef than other divers. If anything, in my experience, they are much, much worse. I've been working in Indonesia for several years now and it's all too common to see inexperienced, overweighted divers with (sometimes large) camera systems, no control over their buoyancy and no awareness of where their fins, knees, legs, and dangling equipment is. It's really a travesty, and "no glove" rules are an ineffectual way to address it. The root of the problem isn't gloves; it's bad buoyancy skills, bad propulsion skills, and lack of awareness/care for their positioning and the reef. Bad instructors and bad dive guides create and exacerbate the problem. Too many photographers place the image first and don't realize how much damage their are doing in the process of pursuing those images. Worse, dive guides out here for the most part are not willing to confront such bad divers (whether out of a cultural dislike for conflict or simply because they don't want to risk a reduced tip). Generally, the guides try their best to make the guests happy, and if a guest wants to get a particular image, they'll facilitate that behavior even when the guest really shouldn't be allowed to dive with a camera at all. Personally, I would like to see dive operators take a much harder stance and not allow divers to bring cameras underwater when their skill is clearly lacking. I would like to see a new Underwater Photographer dive certification offered that would only be available to divers who can demonstrate excellent spatial awareness, buoyancy and propulsion skills in water. This card would be required before operators would allow divers to bring a camera with them on their dives, especially in protected areas like Raja Ampat. I'm not talking about a PADI specialty certification or anything so banal. It would have to be a rigorous standard. GUE Fundamentals comes to mind. To pass the certification you'd have to be able to demonstrate: Excellent buoyancy. That means being able to hover in place a few inches off the bottom with a camera in a horizontal position (like you might use while taking images) without moving your arms or legs at all for at least one minute. As a practical prerequisite, that means not being 2-4kg overweighted, which is an all-too common occurrence I see. If you need to rest on the bottom or support yourself with a stick to take pictures, perhaps you should work on your buoyancy first before working on your photography. Excellent propulsion technique: Moving in the same position described above while maintaining neutral buoyancy. Being able to perform helicopter kicks to turn in place, modified flutter kicks with your knees bent at 90* angle, small frog kicks in the same position, and to effectively be able to swim backwards in the same position. Basically, the kind of skills required to get a cave diving certification or GUE Fundamentals certification at a bare minimum. If you get in close to a subject to take a picture, you should be able to swim backwards and exit using the same vector you used to approach. Situational awareness: Maintaining awareness of your surroundings while taking images. Ensuring no dangling bits of gear, and being aware of where your limbs and other body parts are at all times. I recognize that this is an elitist view and a pretty stringent set of requirements. Most people would require competent instruction and 100 or more dives to master these skills. But climate change is already having a massive impact on our reefs, and there are an increasing number of divers that want to experience the few remaining fantastic dive sites. Apart from implementing quota systems in these places to restrict diver pressure, I believe curbing bad underwater photographer behavior is one of the most effective ways to protect these fragile environments. If you're an underwater photographer and care about your impact, there's steps you can take to make yourself a better diver: Make sure you're not diving overweighted. Do a proper buoyancy check: at the end of each dive, with ~50/700psi left in your tank, while doing your safety stop, fully deflate your BCD and hold your arms and legs still so you're not finning yourself up. You should be neutrally buoyant. If you find yourself sinking, it mean you have too much weight. To facilitate buoyancy, dive without a neoprene wetsuit where possible. Because neoprene compresses at depth, it requires more air in your BCD to compensate. Air in your BCD changes in volume with changes in depth. Simply put, the more air in your BCD, the harder it's going to be to maintain your buoyancy. Resist the temptation to add weight to make yourself sink easier at the beginning of the dive. Instead, concentrate on being calm and still and breathing out fully to go down at the beginning of the dive. If you're wearing a very thick wetsuit, it's ok to kick yourself down the first few meters until that wetsuit compresses sufficiently that you can descend the rest of the way. Much better to be slightly underweight at the beginning and end of the dive than to be overweighted throughout the main portion of the dive which is spent at depth. Take a GUE Fundamentals course or a cave diving course to really fine-tune your buoyancy, trim and propulsion techniques Until you've really mastered your buoyancy and propulsion techniques, leave the camera behind or dive only in places where there's no coral or other fragile environment to damage.
  2. The WWL-1 (and the Nauticam WACP) is a .36x modifier. So the 14-42 becomes a 5-15mm. 130* at the wide end, about 70* at the long end. Remove the WWL-1, and you're left with a 18-56 lens inside the flat port in terms of field of view.
  3. Wolfgang, I own the WWL-1/14-42II combo as well as the Canon 8-15mm in a 140mm Nauticam dome which I use sometimes on the GH5 with the 35mm n85-n120 converter and the 20mm n120 extension ring. I also have both the Viltrox 1x and 0.71x adapters and I've tested both. The 8-15 quality is great. Perhaps slightly more micro-contrast then the WWL-1 when paired with the 0.71x adapter. I actually do notice an IQ difference with the 0.71x speed booster actually producing noticeably better IQ then the 1x bare adapter. With the 0.71x adapter on the GH5, the 8-15mm has a field of view at 15mm that more or less approximates the field of view of the WWL-1 at the widest end. The degree of fisheye distortion is also similar between the 8-15mm at 15mm and the WWL-1 at the wide end. Maybe the canon has slighly more barrel distortion. I prefer the WWL-1 setup, mostly because of ergonomics -- with the WWL-1, I can just take the camera out of the housing and put it back in without touching the port or lens. With the adapted 8-15mm, I have to remove the dome port, remove the lens from the front, then open the back of the housing and take the camera body out. Reverse the process for putting the camera in. This is a big pain in the ass IMO. The other reason I prefer the WWL-1 is that I mostly shoot video, and, for video, the fisheye distortion from the 8-15mm is a big limitation at anything other then the 15mm end. The WWL-1 simply has a much more usable zoom range for video. I only use the fish-eye zoom when I'm set up primarily for photos. There I tend to prefer the wider field of view a 180* fisheye produces. Oh.. and for the record, I don't think the adapter 8-15mm produces quite the same optical quality as the native fisheye lenses. I don't have one at hand to compare directly, but I used to use the Panasonic 8mm fisheye with my GH4 and, from what I can recall, the images were a bit sharper than what the Canon 8-15 + 0.71x speedbooster produce. Bottom line, I think comparing the WWL-1 with the 8-15mm fisheye zoom or 10-17mm fisheye zoom is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. They zoom ranges mostly don't overlap. If you introduce a 1.4x TC to the 8-15 to try to bring it into the same range as the WWL-1/14-42II combo, I think you're degrading the image to the point the WWL-1 produces a better image and still not getting the same broad focal range.
  4. In terms of image quality, I have shot the 8-18 in the 7" dome port prefer the WWL-1 + 14-42II lens to any of the wide angle + dome port combinations. It's significantly wider, doesn't have the tendency to try to turn dome-up, can do close-focus wide angle better, and can be removed underwater to allow you to use the 14-42mm lens in the flat port bare or with a diopeter for macro. So the actual usable zoom range is more like a 5-55mm zoom, accounting for the flat port's magnification. I'd only pick the 8-18mm if you find yourself mostly shooting subjects around 18mm, where it will produce a better result than the 14-42II in a flat port. Or if you shoot a lot of splits. I also question whether the Zen 170mm dome port is a good solution for both a fish-eye and rectilinear lens. With the 7" and 180mm Nauticam domes for example, the actual dome is a smaller section of a larger-diameter dome which makes it more ideal for rectilinear wide angle lenses. If the Zen 170mm dome is hemispherical and not a smaller cut of a larger sphere, then it's not going to produce great results for the wide angle zoom. If it is section of a larger diameter dome, then it's not going to be ideal for the fisheye. The WWL-1 option is also going to give you a zoom range that's closer to the Tokina 10-17 fisheye than the 8-18 rectilinear lens would. 17mm on the Tokina gives you about a 100 degree field of view which I remember correctly, which is about as wide as the 8-18mm gets at its widest end. If you want a solution purely for fish portraits and big things that don't want to come close (sharks, I assume?), then something like the 12-35, 12-40 or 12-60 mid-range zooms in a dome port might be your best bet..
  5. I was curious to determine just how much more powerful strobes are than video lights, so I put together a little test where I shot my Sea & Sea YS-D2 and Gates GT14 light side by side and tried to match the resulting exposure with each of them at full power. Setup: Shot in a cave to reduce ambient light impact using a Panasonic GH5 with Canon 8-15mm fisheye at 6mm using a Viltrox 0.71x speedbooster for the widest possible field of view in order to demonstrate the shape of the resulting beam from each light. The target wall was about 1m away from the camera. For the YS-D2, I removed the diffuser to judge the strobe's full power. As you'll see below, this produced a slightly narrower beam spread with a more pronounced hotspot than the GT14 achieved. There is also a notable color temperature difference (as the specs predict) with the GT14 being about 300k warmer than the YS-D2. Here are the resulting exposures to illustrate the beam spread and the power: Left GT14 at F2.8, 1/250, ISO 200; Right YS-D2 at F16, 1/250, ISO 100; Conclusion The unmodified YS-D2 strobe at full power is somewhere between 5 and 6 stops brighter than the Gates GT14. Let's say it outputs about five stops more light (i.e. it is 32 times brighter) once you account for the fact that the light is concentrated into a slightly narrower cone. So if you wanted a video light that matches the light output of the YS-D2, you'd need a 448,000 lumen light. Imagine -- two video lights putting out 1 million lumens. I'd say we're a little ways away from completely replacing strobes with video lights for photography
  6. It is in their latest dealer catalog, but the website might not yet have been updated. Retail price is $79 each.
  7. No Miru, no blue filters. I have 2 Gates GT14s paired up with 2 Scubalamp V6Ks for lighting. Some of the shots, like the wobbegone shark, are also just ambient light.
  8. I have one in Indonesia, but an immaculate glass dome is kinda like a good lens -- it tends to retain its value, so don't expect much of a discount over buying it new . On the other hand, I'm not really using it much these days, so I'd sell it for $800. Has some scuff marks on the outside of the lens hood from sitting on the boat floor.
  9. Yes, Keldan and Gates are definitely charging a big premium for their brands. Some of that is justified by better ergonomics, reliability/usability factors and after-sale support and warranties. Another thing to keep in mind is that, at least with the GT14s, we're talking about 2+ year old technology. When the GT14s came out, there was nothing else out there that compared. LED lights are evolving fast, so two years on, the GT14s are starting to look a little bit old in the tooth. Or at least they can't justify such a price premium anymore. At current prices, I would be hard pressed to recommend the GT14s or Keldan lights new to anybody.
  10. Still searching for a buyer, Jonathan?
  11. Leaving the WB on auto would automatically compensate for changes in distance between your camera and the subject for example -- so the further away the subject, the more water your lights have to travel through, and thus the more of the warm colors that get filtered out. Whether this actually produces better results than fixing your white balance to the color temperature of your lights (or slightly warmer to account for the slight attenuation from the water) probably varies from camera to camera. It's certainly worth trying out, but may indeed lead to weird color shifts during your shot. Auto WB also could save you the trouble of changing your white balance between dives if conditions change (e.g. water clarity changes).
  12. Interesting point, Interceptor. I wonder how that impacts overall picture quality. My understanding is that the WWL-1 was designed to correct for both the water to air interface at the front dome element and for the water in between the back element and the flat camera port. I wonder if keeping the space between the back element of the WWL-1 and the housing port water-free would actually degrade the image quality in any way. The WACP, which is the WWL-1 larger cousin, on the other hand, was designed to have a dry back element.
  13. Run time is of course important, but there's a few things to consider here: (a) I don't know how exact the run time ratings on the Big Blue lights are. Based on the power capacity of their batteries and the lumen output, I'm very suspicious their ratings are only ball-park. They're just not in line with all the other lights. How can the BB VL33000P-II have twice the runtime of the Jaunt W30 with a smaller battery? Are they really the only ones using a much more efficient technology? For the most part, the LEDs on all of these all come from Cree and the lights are all current-generation. (b) Do you really need 90 minutes of runtime on lights? For me, 60 is more than enough for one dive (really, 30 is enough). One advantage of the Scubalamp and Jaunt lights is that the battery packs are reasonably priced, so you can always buy a second set to keep charging on the boat. Multiple sub-100Wh battery packs are much easier to fly with than the +100Wh battery packs the Big Blues use. On that note, I spoke with Jaunt and they are now manufacturing the G18 Plus with 97Wh batteries, so no more concerns for travel! © Weight. This one is a big one for me and puts most of the >20000Wh lights out of contention. They're just too heavy, both on land and in the water. I have used the GT14s for quite a while now, and their dry and submerged weight create a number of problems you have to work around. I think anything heavier is frankly impractical. You'd need lots of big floats to compensate for the weight in water, which makes the rig hard to push around underwater. On land, the heavy weight places strains on the camera tray arms, not to mention all the ballheads and clamps. My light arms almost always flop around out of place even tightened down unless you hold the rig just right. (d) Light quality. The BB VL33000P-IIs use sub 80CRI LEDs which I don't think are sufficient for professional work and will produce muted warm colors anyway. What's the point of having all that light if you're getting crappy colors at the end of the day? Maybe if you intend to only use them with blue filters anyway. I think the CB15000Ps are competitive with the V6Ks and G18 lights in terms of price and power. I don't necessarily like their 120* beam angle, but the biggest problem for me is the battery pack. You can only travel with 2 of them, and even then some airlines or security checks could give you a hard time. So if you travel, I don't think they're a good option. If you only do local diving and the 90 minute runtime is important to you, they may be the best pick out of those three though.
  14. Yep, large sections of it are slowed down from 60p to 24p.
  15. Hi Miru, No, it's all filmed from a drone An Inspire 2 to be precise.
  16. I believe a few of the other (non critical) buttons also cannot be used. But yeah, that's essentially correct. I believe there's a few compatibility posts on wetpixel from around the time the 1DX II first came out.
  17. Don't use the big dome without the proper extension, it will significantly degrade your image quality. The advantage of big domes is that they give you better corner sharpness, especially with rectilinear wide-angle lenses. But this is not a high priority for shooting humpback whales, since there's no reef or detail in the corners of your shots.. it's all going to be blue water anyway. And since you have to snorkel/swim to keep up with the whales and position yourself in the right place, the big dome is a significant disadvantage. It acts like a sail. You're much better off with the mini dome. Finally, since the Tokina 10-17 can already zoom in quite a bit and humpback whales are big subjects, I don't really see the advantage of using a 1.4x teleconverter. It's only going to degrade your image quality and encourage you to zoom in to fill the frame when you should be swimming closer/waiting for the whale to swim closer instead. From everything I've heard, the water in the Silver Banks can be quite murky. Minimizing the amount of water between you and the whales should be your priority. You'll simply get better shots without the TC because it will force you to get closer to fill the frame with the whales.
  18. The WWL-1 is an excellent lens to start experimenting with wide angle photography. And it actually works very well for CFWA as well, since you can focus all the way to the front glass element. As Interceptor said, it's not worth investing in any rectilinear wide angle lenses and large domes -- the WWL-1 does a better job for anything in that range except split shots, obviously. And the 14-42 II bare port will handle any fish portraits that you can't get with the WWL-1. For macro, you have two options. Cheapest would be to get a diopeter and use it with the 14-42. That's a good starting point and a Nauticam CMC-1 will easily get you to 1-to-1 macro range. The Olympus 60mm macro and panasonic 45mm macro lenses are also great if you need more than 1-to-1 macro. And I've heard good things about the 30mm macro lens for versatility, though it wouldn't be the ideal choice if you want super macro because of the short working distance. The panasonic 8mm fisheye with the 4" dome is also a great setup if you want a fisheye. But it's more limited than the WWL-1 in some ways -- it's best for big scene wide angle, reefs with big fans and corals, whales and wrecks. For everything else, the WWL-1 actually covers a more useable zoom range.
  19. Take the exact same shark-close with far sharks in the background situation that you're describing, except now you're shooting stills instead of video. Wouldn't you want the background sharks to be the same color as the foreground one? Whether you're shooting stills or video, the same two possible schools of thought about white balance apply, and the same techniques are used to produce the desired result: (a) Create a scene with both foreground and background illuminated by light of the same color temperature for a 'natural' look. Technique: set white balance based on ambient light, use strobes or video lights with blue filters to match the ambient light temperature to fill in the shadows on foreground subjects; or (b) Create a scene where white balance differences between the foreground and background illumination create stronger color contrast and more subject 'pop'. Technique: set white balance based on the color of your strobes/video lights; get nicely warm-colored foreground subjects set against a rich blue water column for maximum color contrast between subject and background. Optionally, you can use warming filters on your strobes or video lights to create even more color contrast between foreground and background and achieve richer blues in the background by setting you white balance cooler (e.g. around 4000-4500k). There's nothing that says you must use technique A for video and technique B for stills. You can use either technique for video or stills depending on the artistic vision you have.
  20. The situation is the exact same for big scene wide angle stills using strobes. Yes, strobes are more powerful than video lights still, but they're not effective beyond 1 meter or so either, so you're still dealing with a mixed white balance situation. I believe people do use blue filters on the strobes sometimes too, in conjunction with manually white balancing for the ambient light when shooting big scene wide angle.
  21. Agreed Richard. I'm considering replacing my GT14s with 4 Jaunt G18s. If anyone else is the market for the G18s, let me know. I can place a group order and offer a bit of a discount off the retail prices .
  22. The Canon 8-15 works fine with the Metabones IV/V adapter. The problem is it has to be front-mounted on the camera, you have to remove and replace the dome each time, which is a bit of a pain. It also worked fine for me with a cheap Chinese adapter for a while, but stopped working mysteriously after a few months.
  23. Fringed by tropical rainforest and coral reefs, the clear-water mangroves of Raja Ampat, Indonesia are the filtration plan of the ocean. Mangroves trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land; without the mangroves, coastal reefs would be smothered by the runoff, blocking off the vital sunlight that the coral needs for growth. The dense root systems of a mangrove forest protect the coastline from erosion from storms, are home to a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species, and provide a vital nursery for many reef and pelagic fish species as well. A study on the Mesoamerican reef, for example, showed that there are as many as 25 times more fish of some species on reefs close to mangrove areas than in areas where mangroves have been cut down. This makes mangrove forests vitally important to coral reef and commercial fisheries as well. Filmed in the mangroves surrounding Yangeffo island and west Waisai aboard the Blue Manta live-aboard. For booking inquiries, contact White Manta Diving at www.whitemanta.com.
  24. As Interceptor mentioned, the V6K can be made with flat fronts if you order at least 10 of them. But I think the Jaunt G18/G18 plus may be a better option than the Scubalamp V6K/V6K pro. The main benefits of the G18: (a) 18k lumens vs 12k, so half a stop brighter; (b) battery compartment can be swapped without removing the whole light from your rig; © a much more responsive and larger control button with the ability to program two seperate light exposure levels; (d) 5000k color temperature vs 5600k, so should be able to set your white balance cooler and get nicer blue water backgrounds; and (e) the G18 Plus is 200g less negative in the water than the V6K Pro. So power and ergonomics. On the other hand, Scubalamp has two advantages: (a) they make blue (ambient light) filters for the V6Ks while Jaunt doesn't yet and (b) they apparently now make a remote trigger that can be attached to your camera handle and can turn multiple of their lights on and off simultaneously. For full disclosure, I've been a dealer for Scubalamp since last year and I'm now also a dealer for Jaunt.
  25. Very interesting -- pumping up the tint certainly explains why we end up with purple water column issues. I experienced those a lot on the Sony a7rii (with a red filter) and my old GH4, but haven't noticed them as much on the GH5. So if Canons are also limited to 10k/+150 magneta, what accounts for the better results from their white balance underwater? Is it simply that the stylistic choices they include in their color profiles tend to boost the reds at any color temperature when compared to the color 'science' from other manufacturers? I've never been pleased with the results I get with CWB+ a red filter below 10 meters and attributed it to the fact that warm light is simply too attenuated by that point regardless of how much you boost that signal. But other people seem to think on canons you can get nice natural light results down to 20 meters. Having never shot a canon underwater, I've always been a bit in awe of this supposed ability.
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