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About ordvr

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  • Birthday 05/17/1970

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  • Location
    Hillsboro, OR USA

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  • Camera Model & Brand
    Nikon D300
  • Camera Housing
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Ikelite DS-125
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  1. Hello All, Thank-you all for the great advice, observations and insight (both with postings and email)! Several of you have questioned whether I have the proper extension ring in my setup, and it appears that I may not! Let me explain. I decided to double check that I was using the correct extension ring, and I naturally went to the Aquitaca website. I looked up the correct ring for the Sigma 17-70mm HSM, on a D300, with an 8" dome port, and it calls for part number 18462 (39.5mm extension). I've been using part number 18453 (28.5mm extension). [sounds of me screaming...]. So I went back to my file, where I kept a hardcopy of all the Aquatica information from when I ordered my kit. Guess what? At that time they didn't list the "HSM" version. They listed only the "Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro" which called for the part number I purchased. I remember talking to Aquatica about the lens and they stated their best guess was the same extension. They were correct, but they've changed their recommendation on the proper extension. Today, they list the 39.5mm extension (#18462) for both versions of the lens. Conclusion: Aquatica, after further testing, has changed their recommendation for the proper extension ring, from a 28.5mm to a 39.5mm. They recommend the same thing for both lens. Lesson: When things are not perfect, check Wetpixel, and talk to the the housing manufacturer, because recommendations DO CHANGE! I assume that while this isn't common, but it does happen that recommendations change because more extensive testing reveals that a different port extension works better. Have others had this happen to them? I have not tried the check 'davephdv' recommended yet, but I do want to compare what I've been using against the proper extension ring, as soon as I get that. Several of you stated that I need to check and double check that I had the correct port extension. Since I had what was recommended I moved on to the next thing in the list, when all along I should have gone back and double checked that the recommendation hadn't changed. I don't know how to thank-you all enough. I would never have figured this out without all the great advice. It is clear to me from the number of you talking about the port extension length that this is a problem that has come up for many of you, and which is not an easy one to explain. And I shouldn't trust just one source, but instead do some experimentation of my own! These day's I'm back in school, and barely working part time, so I don't get to purchase items much, and I don't get out to dive very often. However, I will get this tested in the next few months, and post an update. Thank-you all! Greg
  2. Thank-you All! I haven't shot any other lens in the 8" dome port, but I have some pictures with a 60mm in my macro port. I can put a couple of the 'sharpest' ones up for comparison. And I've looked through my pics and selected a couple more with the 17-70mm Sigma (same dive trip) that are as good as I've managed to get. I compare the best I've managed to shoot, with what I see posted here regularly and I always feel like I'm doing something terribly wrong, or I have something messed up with my gear. Composition isn't my thing, but take a few thousand pictures underwater, try everything, and a few should come out quite sharp. First two shots are with 17-70mm on a trip to Port Hardy, Canada (north end of Vancouver island). These are about as sharp as that lens (with me shooting it) gets underwater. Giant Pacific Octopus - 17-70mm Sea cucumber - 17-70mm The next 5 shots are all with my 60mm in my macro port. They are sharper, and they just tend to be easier to shoot (much higher success rate for 'clear and sharp' pictures). Rock Scallop - 60mm Leg of Puget Sound King Crab - 60mm Spiny Crab (I think) - 60mm Grunt sculpin - 60mm Anenome - 60mm So would it be expected that the 60mm is going to be a lot sharper, in general? I have a 10-17 tokina FE I can shoot in the dome port (never have yet), which might show if the port is a problem, but the lens is so different I don't know if it would offer any real information. The lens seems to be quite sharp above water, so I was thinking that it isn't likely to be the camera or lens, but how I was using it underwater. I'm just not sure. Oh, when running through pics from that trip I saw I had a couple of a crew shooting digital, 3D (two cameras in one housing), IMAX video. What a cool camera, and a nice bunch of guys doing the filming. I can't wait to see the movie they are filming (in a year or two?). Digital, 3D, IMAX video camera in action - 17-70mm Thanks for any insight! Greg
  3. Hi Dave, I took dozens of photos of that, and other shrimp over the course of a couple of dives, and I was never able to get a single one that is truely sharp (in focus?). I shot a wide variety of f-stops, and several speeds, in addition to both ISO 200 and 400. Most of the pictures I took were in good light, and at less than 40 feet. All were with two DS125s. I thought this picture was a good example, because even at F32 I didn't really have anything in the picture that was really sharp. I shoot in both AF-S and AF-C mode, but set it to focus priority in either case. I've shot with single point focus, but unless I'm shooting non-moving subjects with 'good light' I find I have problems getting a focus lock. So I often shoot in 9 or 21 point dynamic-area AF. I've actually dove with a friend who carries a tiny sony P&S without a strobe, and we've both shot pictures of nudibranches. He seems to get a much sharper image most of the time. Or rather, everything will be in focus. I've even tried manual focus, while lying on the sand, looking through my viewfinder and taking multiple pictures. That, I've discovered, just isn't a solution for me. It just seems like the details are not really all that sharp (in focus). Here is a picture I took with the same setup, at F10, where I was able to get the eye truly in focus: Eye in focus That seems to be very 'rare' though. Thanks, Greg
  4. Hello All, I've had my D300 about a year now, and I've primarily used my Sigma 17-70mm HSM underwater. I shoot it in an Aquatica housing, with the 8inch dome port, and dual DS125s, all in manual mode. The problem is that I simply cannot get a 'sharp' image. Above water the images are quite sharp, so I'm not sure what the problem is. Regardless of whether I shoot at the wide end or macro, I have a terrible time getting a sharp image. I've put three images (not cropped, just resized significantly and converted to JPG) at: Sample pics showing sharpness problems I'm not sure what the problem is. I shoot in manual mode, and generally shoot at f/16 or smaller apertures, 1/100 to 1/200 second. I've had about 75 dives with this camera, most with this lens and I'm just not happy with the results. I actually was able to take better pictures (crisper/sharper) with my old camera (also shot in manual mode). I have some that are okay, but this next gallery (large pictures, not significantly resized) are the best of a couple thousand shot on a trip. Socorro trip So, does anyone know if this is typical of this lens? Do I need a diopter? Could it be a camera problem? Am I just in need of some serious instruction? I really appreciate any insight anyone can give. I'm pretty frustrated. Thank-you! Greg Cooley
  5. Scott & Steve, Thank-you for the information and advice! I'm trying to contact people state-side. I think the best chance is it to get someone to bring an extra strobe with them. Thanks, Greg
  6. Well, right about now I'd advise against getting an Ikelite strobe or electronics. I recently got a D300 in an Aquatica housing, and stayed with Ikelite strobes because I already had one DS125 from my old system. Well, one pool dive and 4 ocean dives and I had to send both strobes, the TTL converter and the dual sync cord in to Ikelite. They told me the TTL converter had leaked, a wire was broken in the sync cord, and my old strobe needed a new battery and rebuild (okay, it was three years old, so that wasn't too bad). I've lost two other sync cords on my last system and had to send the strobe in once. Now I'm in Cabo and ready to get on a live-aboard in just over a day, and one of the new battery packs just broke. I've had so many problems with Ikelite electronics I wish I'd gone a different route, but I can't afford to for now. When they work, they are very nice, but man have I ever had a lot of problems. No complaints about the housing though. For a lens, get the Sigma 17-70 HSM. It is a wonderful lens and I'm really enjoying using it underwater. I sort of wish I hadn't bought the macro port yet, because the 17-70 fits in the dome port, and it is long enough to suit me for now. But if you want serious macro, this lens isn't long enough. If you are trying to spend a bit now, and more later, perhaps by a dome port and a lens like the Sigma, and get wet and see how you like it. Greg
  7. Hello All, I'm in Cabo San Lucas diving a couple of days before getting on the Nautilus Explorer to go to Socorro. The battery pack on my new strobe (Ikelite DS125) broke this evening. The plastic 'tooth/cog' in the center of the batter pack which mates to the main electronics half cracked off. Is there anyplace to pick up a new one in Cabo? I'm diving tomorrow (without my camera) and Wednesday morning before getting on the Nautilus at about 4PM on Wednesday. It would really suck to come all this distance and have my brand new camera out of commission. Thanks for any helpful information you have! Greg
  8. Yes it is. Greg Actually, I should say I still have everything but the strobe. Regards, Greg
  9. The camera is still up for sale. Regards, Greg
  10. Yes, I still have the camera and housing. Greg
  11. I haven't tried NX2. Is it an improvement, or easier to use? Has anyone used both, and have enough experience with both NX and NX2 to state whether it is worth going to NX2? Capture NX doesn't seem to be as easy to use as I'd expected. And it does more than I expected. That means I'm just going to have to spend time with it, and see how I like it. For now I'm considering buying an 8GB card (versus the 2 4GB cards I currently have) and shooting both Raw and JPEG for a while. I can probably shoot until the battery dies with that, so I can make it through a day of diving without having to open the housing up. My fear is that if I got to JPEG I'll end up with some fantastic shot, and I'll then realize that it would be better or more marketable if I'd shot it in RAW format in the first place. [Feel free to tell me I'm being paranoid, or down-right stupid.] If I didn't enjoy this so much I'd really be put off by all the work and learning I have to do! Greg
  12. I have just purchased a Nikon D300 and Aquatica housing, so I'm saying goodbye too my Olympus. It has been a great camera. 1. Ikelite 6130.61 Housing - Fits C-7070, as well as C-5060 (The extra piece for the C-5060 comes with it). - Single handle. - have extra o-ring, some desicants. - H20-D Leak detector (not installed, new with instructions. - extra rubber tips for controls. - 2 shields for blocking the camera flash (when using a strobe). - I'm keeping the DS-125 for my new camera, but just so you know this is set up with the electronics and plug in the housing. - I paid $510 in Sept 2005. I haven't had a problem. Asking $250. 2. Inon Wide lens UW1000 (UWL 100 Type 2). - - Paid $329 in Sept 2005. Asking $200. 3. Olympus C-7070 - 512MB XD card, 1GB Compact flash, extra battery chargers - Original box and packaging - Olympus PLF-40.5 filter (Polarizing filter) - Olympus UVF-40.5 Filter (UV filter) - Originally paid $410, then $600-something to replace it. (first one was stolen in Maui in 2006, and I had to purchase a 'new to me' one off ebay. Asking $250. If you want to see pictures of the equipment, or samples of pictures I have taken with this camera, let me know. I'd like to sell only in the US (I'm in Oregon). You can also reach me at g.cooley2@verizon.net. Greg
  13. I have now downloaded CaptureNX 1.3.1. When I checked for updates from version 1.3.0, the software claimed there was no update. Until the previous post I never thought to go to the Nikon website and try to download the software (appearantly Nikon doesn't understand what 'checking of updates' means... ). Once again this forum helps me out! Thank-you! Greg
  14. This is very interesting, so I've gone and tried a couple of things. First, though, I opened Nikon CaptureNX on my MAC, and tried to update it. There are no updates. Unfortunately, there is a warning that states: "Capture NX Ver. 1.2.0 and 1.3.0 are not compatible with Mac OS X version 10.5. As image files may be corrupted when they are saved, this software should NOT be used under Mac OS X version 10.5. We are currently investigating a means to resolve this isssue." Since it has been about 3 months since I got the software with the camera, and there are no updates, I'd say they aren't working on this very hard. :-( Next, I switched my camera over to record both JPG and RAW and took a few pictures of a tree frog that has decided a flower pot on the front porch is home (I scared him out earlier when I first stumbled on to him, and when I went back a bit later, he was back in the pot. He really seems to like it). Anyway, I adjusted the color to 'vivid' and shot a few pictures. Then I opened the files in Adobe Bridge, which comes with Elements 6 for the Mac, and sure enough, the NEF files don't have the setting, while the JPG does. [small screams...] So now I'm forced to wonder if I'm better off shooting RAW, RAW+JPEG or just shooting JPEG from the start. I don't know when I'll be able to use Capture NX. Is there a short list of settings in the camera that can't be read from RAW/NEF files by anything other than Nikon software, or is it pretty much everything? Anyone have any idea when Nikon might get their software to work on the current version of Mac OS X? Thanks, Greg
  15. I see references to using CaptureNX, rather than other software to convert from RAW to JPGs, and this has me wondering. I have a D300 and Aquatiica housing (haven't gotten it underwater yet though) and I've been shooting all RAW images and then working with them in Photoshop elements 6 on my MAC. Does anyone know if the RAW converter in Elements reads the 'camera defaults' and applies them? Is there a difference with CaptureNX? Also, as I recall, when I purchased my camera, CaptureNX didn't work on the MAC (except for viewing - don't save). What sort of workflow (software tools) do others use with Nikon DSLRs? Thanks, Greg PS I can't wait to get the camera underwater, I've had everything for 2 1/2 months, but haven't been able to make it to the water. :-(
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