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watboy

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Everything posted by watboy

  1. I have no problems getting 80 shots out of a single OEM battery w strobe on. The battery prices are pretty high, but I found an extended grip w battery on sale, so I ended up paying not much more over an OEM battery, and I find the grip quite useful on land. I can get 2 dives in when shooting macro. Wide angle, i can get 3 in since i tend to take fewer pics and a fair number of them are with the flash off.
  2. First time my leak alarm went off, it was due to small amounts of water collecting inside from condensation / not fully drying the housing whenever i opened it. Eventually there was enough to work its way down to the leak sensor to go off. Was easy to check as I tasted the water and it wasn't salty. No damage to the camera or housing. Second time I was on the 3rd dive of the trip and it went off at 30meters due to one of the button o-rings. teaspoon of water got in, tipped it forward so it would pool in the doom. Camera was fine, housing electronics was fried. Got the whole thing rebuilt and 200 dives later still working. If you dive enough, its a question of when you will flood, not if. Diving and saltwater is a very unforgiving environment to equipment. I've come to realize that unexplainable failures isn't whats weird; its going long stretches with no failures that is weird. Somethings bound to break down soon.
  3. Get a Maha 8 battery charger. Best charger i've found and more convenient than 2 chargers when fighting for sockets. Bring 2 sets of eneloops for each strobe plus 2 spares. I've had batteries die on trips, and a single dead battery was enough to stop the strobe.
  4. The Australian one is pretty good to. "There is a persistent threat of kidnapping in southern Philippines, including coastal and island resorts and dive sites, particularly in remote locations in the Sulu Sea. The situation in the southern Philippines also creates an ongoing risk of kidnapping in the coastal region of eastern Sabah in Malaysia, which is highest in the area between the towns of Sandakan and Tawau and particularly at outlying resorts." The US has this to say "Terrorist and insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago continue to kidnap foreigners in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and the southern Sulu Sea area. This area stretches from the southern tip of Palawan, along the coast of Sabah, Malaysia and the islands of the Sulu Archipelago, up to Zamboanga City, Mindanao." Tubbataha seems to be just north of this area. My friends in security checked with their local contacts. They were less concerned about Palawan as the military always is more alert since the Dos Palams Kidnapping. My question to them is whether or not the military is really alert at Tubbataha.
  5. I should have expected the answer of X is just as dangerous as Y. But that really isn't my question, nor are these answers very useful. I'm not asking about broad geographical regions. We're talking about the Sulu sea. I don't think anyone would say that Jolo is just as safe as Paris to visit. Paris, Manila, Palawan, Tubbataha, Jolo, they are all different places (some more broad than others) with different risk profiles. Pretty much all western Embassy's have placed travel warnings for the Sulu Archipelageo, some have expanded that to include the Sulu sea, the US's warning includes kidnapping warnings for Palawan. Anyways, if people are interested, I have checked with some security consultants that I work with. I would summarize their advice as, Sulu Archipelageo - DO NOT GO, Palawan - if you already planned a trip, don't need to cancel, but if you haven't made plans, don't put down non-refundable deposit. They are checking where Tubbataha lies between those two.
  6. Then thats pretty bad. In Paris, you are one out of five million potential victims. In Tubbataha, you are 1 in a 500 maybe. So given an equal likely hood of an event, you are 10,000x more likely to get involved.
  7. Been keeping an eye on the local developments. As there is a history of hostage taking in the sulu sea / palawan area, how safe is Tubbataha? Various sites say its patrolled by military and there's a army ranger station there. But is it really patrolled or is it just a few park rangers checking permits and chasing poachers... more fish and game personnel than counter insurgency. Normally I wouldn't care, but this trip I'm bringing my loved one.
  8. If you are thinking this will be a long term hobby, go Nauticam. The beauty of the M43 system is the large number of lenses with ports that work very well underwater (wide, macro, fish eye, zooms, video lenses). You can over time invest in lenses and ports that could still be used when/if you upgrade your camera/housing in the future. If you are on a budget, I highly recommend the 4.33" acrylic dome. It can take both the Pana fisheye and the oly 12mm without any spacers, and is easy to travel with. The 12-40 dome options are bigger, glass and pricey. Then get the 60mm macro w port. You can get 2 ports, fisheye, macro and semi wide angle without breaking the bank (at least on UW photography standards). I suggest you resist the urge to try to "do it all" on one dive, you'll take better pics with a proper macro and wide/FE setup than the 12-50. You can add a 2nd strobe, close up wet lenses as a second step. This is what i've been doing for the last 4 years. I've only recently just taken the plunge and got the 180mm glass for the 7-14 for about $2k total. I'm glad I didn't start with this but was able to add it on when I was ready (skill and money wise).
  9. Do to some poor planning and lucky raffles, I've ended up with a pair of S2000 and Z240s. They're both great, well built and reliable and have lasted years and hundreds of dives. The S2000 is great for macro. The small size makes for a much easier rig to handle and they are easier to position for tight shots. However, its woefully insufficient for wide angle. Only other grip, the controls are quite small on the s2000, but for macro I just set sTTL and forget about it. The Z240, is far more capable strobe, but costs more. If you could, I would seriously consider spending more to get a Z240. It will outlast your camera... and the next camera too, and you can later get a second Z240. I would not recommend the D2000.
  10. Thanks everyone. Have an Oly EM1 and will bring just the 7-14 (14-28 equiv) and fisheye lens.
  11. Going to Tubbataha first week in June. Hope weather isn't too bad. I'm really trying to get my gear to as small as possible and thinking of not bringing the macro kit. From my research, seems like all the daytime dives you'll want to bring wide angle. Would i want macro for the night dives? My current thinking is to not bring the camera during the night dives (and thus don't need macro). But I'm slowing down - I used to do every dive possible, but on the last few trips I started skipping the night dives if there was nothing special.
  12. I think the 12-50 might be able to fit, just not fully work. I have the 12-50 and the fancy nautical zoom gear. The real complication is the mechanism used to engage the macro mode which requires the special gear and port (the port has an extra gear on the barrel to engage macro). The power zoom is engaged through a gear using the knob on the body, I don't see why this would be effected using the 4" dome port. The 4" dome port looks to be a fatter barrel as well, so should be enough space to fit. The nauticam gear is quite expensive, especially if you don't use the macro mode. There are other gears out there that only work the power zoom, that are far more affordable. https://deepshots.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/deepshots-olympus-12-50-zoom-gear Says its works for the 4" dome.
  13. I went to palau 2 decembers ago on the Solitude One (great boat, great experience). Big 2 week trip so I brought almost my entire kit: 60mm macro, 7-14 oly in 180mm dome, 12-50 w zoom gear, 12mm and 8mm FE in 4.33 mini dome. I never used the 60mm macro, I did the night dives the first two days then skipped the rest. Guess I'm just getting old, but for me, it wasn't worth a 4th dive of the day and there was no need for macro during the day. For blue corner, we used reef hooks, was a great show but the sharks never got very close. I ended up just using the 12mm in the 4.33" or the 12-50, and dropped the strobes. Nothing was getting close enough for the strobes, and the smaller rig was much easier to handle in the current. We did a number of caverns and walls, a few wrecks, all of which were beautiful and I would bring the 7-14mm. I never used the fisheye. Personal preference, I like to use the FE it for close up of big fish, but never got that opportunity during our trip. Seemed like all the big things were where the current was strong and never got close enough.
  14. I bought my GF some white fins. I WB off those.
  15. There's an excellent setup guide here if you search for it for EM5 settings and included some focusing and exposure strategies. I found it to apply perfectly to my EM1 mk1. I'd bet it would also apply very well to the Mk2.
  16. Firstly, I think Nauticam housings for EM1 has handles that mount to the housing, you won't need a flexitray. Secondly, its not a good setup for a complete beginner. Way to much to start with, not even just underwater, you'll stress out between dives just getting that thing ready. You will inevitably forget/lose/break/flood something and it will just add stress to your trip. I think it best to start w 1 strobe. I'd also wait awhile before getting the CMC1. The 60mm macro is already quite powerful, adding diopters, the depth of field is very shallow and focusing can be maddening and you'll risk ramming the reef. Also find the recommended EM setups and start learn how to use the AEL/AFL and different focus modes. It takes sometime to get to know your camera and be able to get it to "work". Once there you can add more stuff to it. I started with EM1, 60mm macro and 1 strobe and just did sTTL. Wide angle I found to be a far more challenging than macro. Added a GoPro w red filters for wide angle video. Later, I added 8mm fisheye and a 2nd strobe and started practicing manual strobe. Most recently I got the oly 7-14mm with 180mm dome.
  17. I think the obsession comes from only doing this 2x a year, you feel a need to be re-acquianted to what spent your money on instead of saving for retirement. As in many activities, its amusing to see the difference between pro's and hobbyists with disposable income. A complete random aside... When I was a kid, I had a doctor neighbor who would go on a grand adventure every couple of years. At first, he'd have stacks of magazines studying for an adventure, then gradually he would accumulate the various items he needed for seeing polar bears or climbing mountains. Over the course of many months, his garage would transform from library to expedition workshop. After his trip, he would have thousands of slides, and he'd spend the next few months sorting through the slides and creating a slide show. Finally, he would have a dinner party showing his grand adventure. He had dual projectors to have seamless transitions between slides. He'd have the actual tools of his trip to show off (too this day, I know when and where i learned the word "crampon"). I think I was the only kid who enjoyed it, I don't know if it was more adventurous before GPS and travelocity, but it felt to me like listening to a great explorer. I find myself doing a similar thing. When I'm bored of spreadsheets, I look at dive blogs on where I'd rather be. Then of course, I see some new gizmo I must have (UV Snoots!). But I have to force my subordinates at work to watch my trip photos. "Why don't you just post it on Instagram?" they say. end random thoughts
  18. I try to do 2-3 trips and log 60-80 dives a year. I live in SEA, and I've been able to do liveaboard trips to Philippines, Micronesia, Indonesia, Maldives... great diving within a few flights from home. Five years ago i decided to combine photography with diving into one mega money sink of a hobby. Started off with a point and shoot, added a strobe, upgraded to an EM1 in a Nauticam housing, added another strobe... added ports... lights...diopters. Its become a monstrous beast, taking more and more of my time. It may not have the full bulk of a DSLR, but its got the same level of complexity. It takes a full day to maintain, test and pack my camera before a trip. And then a full day to unpack, clean, and store in such a way that I can find all the parts again 6 months later. During the dive trips, I'd spend much of my free time in the camera room, changing batteries, swapping lenses/ports, downloading RAW files while my girlfriend would be relaxing / reading her book (i.e., taking a nap). For my next dive trip, i'm thinking of leaving the camera at home and just enjoying the diving and the sun deck. It would be a tremendous load off my mind (and back). Anyone ever try leaving their camera at home? Will I re-discover the freedom to dive without my camera, or will i just be taunted by endless streams of hairy pygmy false whale sharks holding perfect poses 2 meters from my mask. Oh yeah, and i've been into drones for the last few years. I'll keep bringing that. DYI drones are far more demanding than UW photography. I guess I could get a DJI, but where is the fun in that?
  19. Every dive trip I go on, there's always a few people with far better skills than me to learn from. I too started focused on macro and am trying to learn WA. One bit I learned last year which has helped me getting started 1. Put strobes on full power manual and leave it there. Most of the time you want as much power as you can get. sTTL is basically useless for WA. 2. Use aperture to control the exposure of the foreground lit by the strobes 3. Meter and use shutter speed to control control the exposure of the background After setting ISO, I find this to be much easier on my brain having to only two settings to mess up. Still doing too much trial an error and by the time I finally get a feel for the right aperture setting the dive is over.
  20. I use 10 stix jumbo floats for my EM1 in a Nauticam. 3 Floats on 9" arms x2, and 2 floats on 7" arms x2. Rest of the setup is a pair of z240 / 60macro in 65 port with +5 subsee on flip holder / sola focus light. This makes this barely negative. I was really surprised how much floatation i needed. I started with 4, which did not provide any noticeable help. When I go to wide angle ports, I drop the focus lights (diopters of course), and go with just 6 floats on the 2 9" arms, and thats also only slightly negative.
  21. Update Nauticam with glass dome, 2 Z240's, 2 7" arms and 4 jumbo stix floats, slightly negative. With 2 9" arms and 6 jumbo stix float, microscopically positively, had to add a focus light to make it neutral. I found that i preferred slightly negative more. Purely neutral gets annoying when I wanted to stow the camera to deploy an SMB.
  22. Just my personal experience. For new housing, take down to 30meters empty. Fully work all the buttons and knobs. Afterwards, leave as long as can w vacuum check on / or in bucket of water and camera in place, test all the buttons/knobs, then dive as normal. Then last year, my camera with 200 dives passed all my normal checks, but at 20 meters flooded when I hit one of the buttons. A teaspoon of salt water got in, leak sensor went off, I tipped camera down so water would pool in the port. Camera survived, it is listed as "weather proofed", but housing electronics fried. I didn't have the tools/parts/knowledge to do an in field repair, so was out of a camera for the entire trip. But at least I saved my camera, and the housing was easily fixed back home. I still stick to my old procedures, only if i have new items such as port or bulkhead connector will I do a dive with no camera in the housing. Nothing is 100%, but a rinse tank/vacuum test is enough assurance for me. Unless the check dive is absolutely boring, I think the benefits of an additional test of a housing at depth without a camera do not offset the cost of not having a camera for one dive. This is my personal choice, others may make a different one for their own preference. I will say my camera flooding concerns were initially at World is Ending Paranoia, but hundreds of dives and one flood later, it is down to Another Scuba Related Risk to manage levels.
  23. The Oly 60mm macro I think is a must have for anyone with a m4/3. It takes sharp pics, 120mm equivalent focal length, works great with wet diopters, fast focusing, and a bargain at $400.
  24. I'm going to Palau for New Years, and have decided to finally get a big dome for some rectilinear wide angle as well as try my luck with over/unders at jellyfish lake. Ordered a Nauticam 180 port and N85 to 120 adaptor to use the Oly 7-14 pro on my EM1. Anyone know the bouyancy characteristics of this port? I currently use 2 ports, a 4.33" acrylic mini dome for the Pany fisheye, and the 12-50 port for 12-50 and 60mm macro lens / subsee diopter. Wondering what to expect what the bouyancy difference will be between the 120mm glass dome vs the 4.33" acrylic mini port. Will I need more floats? thanks
  25. I would drop the D2000 from consideration. You have the power of the S2000 compact in the full body size of the Z240. D2000 may have a better pattern, but for me the compactness of the S2000 trumps it. Go for either power or compactness. I started with a pair of S2000, gradually ended up with a pair of Z240's. I still use the S2000's for my macro trips. Never had a flood on any of the 4. Just look at the o-ring when you close it. You should get in the habit of visually check all seal anyways.
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