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About FatCat

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  • Location
    Mostly where I don't want to be, except when diving.

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  • Camera Model & Brand
    Olympus PEN E-PL1
  • Camera Housing
    Olympus PT-EP01
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Inon Z240
  1. Hi everyone, Does anyone know if the AOI AD-LP-01 port adapter (for use of ports for PEN housings on OMD housings) has a system for securing the adapter? I know that on the Zen port adapter there are two screws to prevent the adapter from turning, but I can't seem to find any indication on the internet that the AOI adapter has a securing system. Thanks in advance for any pointers.
  2. Not much to say on photography skills, but I'm with CamelToad on the buoyancy issue. Buoyancy control has little or nothing to do with what kind of buoyancy compensator you use. Back when I still taught dive courses I used to demonstrate this by using a plastic carrier bag instead of a BCD. Look for something that feels comfortable and have a good hard look at the ergonomics and fit of the thing. When I went shopping for a new BCD to replace my trusty old first generation Beuchat Masterlift wing that had given up after twelve years, I tried the Apeks/Aqualung Black Ice. For me it's pure torture. It doesn't have any lumbar support which causes the tank (we dive with steel here) to pull down hard on the shoulder straps. It hurt. A lot. I ended up buying a Scubapro XBlack, which fits me snugly and allows me to hike a half kilometer to the water's edge over the dikes without any discomfort or back pain, which is a definite plus. It's also a back buoyancy BCD, which I prefer, but that is personal preference. I'd say: focus on your buoyancy skills first. As for the environmentally sealed issue: it's not important unless you dive in dirty or contaminated water. The environmental seal is a barrier between the outer pressure chamber and the inner pressure chamber of your first stage.This barrier is usually liquid silicone. It prevents build-up of debris and particulates in the outer pressure chamber (where the water pushes against the membrane to open the inlet valve in the internal high pressure chamber of the first stage) and yes, it does act as an anti-freeze protection. There are other cold water protection systems that are just as reliable but are cheaper and easier to maintain.
  3. Getting around on holiday dive sites is not that much of a problem, really. We usually revisit places we know by heart and the staff know us and let us dive apart from the group. But there still is a difference between doing a quiet little solo dive looking around and ferreting out stuff and going out on a day boat. Still it's not much more than reef on the left hand side or reef on the right hand side. The biggest adjustment is for my wife: until I started mucking about with a camera, she was the one who went and poked her nose in all kinds of nooks and crannies whilst relying on me to keep an eye on her. Now the fin is on the other foot. But she doesn't mind, really. Besides, after about four hundred dives, it's high time she learned to navigate In five weeks we're off to Port Ghalib again and the guides were actually excited that I finally had given in and got a camera last time we went. Most of them are quite serious about photograpy themselves. The point I was trying to make - not so very well, I presume - is that underwater photography, if you try to approach it seriously, is one of the harder skills to master in diving. Sure, I wasn't bumping into reefs and I didn't cause any fire coral avalanches, but looking at my dive profiles, I was a bit shocked at how much more of a sawtooth profile I had been diving. Before the camera, I dove textbook profiles, two months ago, in clear subtropical waters I was diving with up-and-down peaks and valleys of about a meter on the first six or so dives. I really appreciate you guys feeding me tips. There's more than enough to learn and experiment with in Egypt and here at home I can always rent the Oly 60mm lens for a weekend to play around with in Zeeland. And there's a magnificent lake in the Port of Antwerp with lots of plants and juvenile fish that usually has very good viz in high summer (well... five meters... that's crystal clear for us) where I can go and practice.
  4. You touch upon the key factors here. I may be a novice photographer, but I am certainly not a novice diver. Even with more than a thousand dives under my weight belt and having taught many classes on peak performance buoyancy, I was amazed at the level of difficulty involved in keeping trim, pitch and yaw and position under control whilst manipulating an unwieldy, slightly buoyant box, getting my brain to compensate for the different refractions between eyes, camera display, lens and subject, let alone calculating for lighting, exposure, shutter time and whatnot. Adding an electronic viewfinder to my camera was one of the best decisions I made in terms of underwater photography, since it eliminates a lot of lining-up issues. Here in Belgium and Holland, focal length is less of an issue than it is in tropical waters. Wide angle is mostly impossible due to bad visibility, and most subjects are more or less indifferent to divers (think lobsters, crabs, nudibranch). Getting close is generally not where the difficulty lies. Tropical waters are another kettle of fish (excuse the crappy pun, please) altogether. On holiday, there are not only photographical issues to consider, there is also the buddy (aka my wife) to consider, since her navigational skills are somewhat less than nonexistent. There is the whole diving in a group with a guide thing (though most guides keep an eye on photographers) and there is the abundance of subjects and possible approaches. So I'll leave off the lens experiments for a while and focus on mastering my existing kit and on bettering my photo skills. Maybe in a year or two I'll have gotten to a point where I'm ready to start sharing the results with the world.
  5. Thanks for the info, Bart. I'm not really considering the sigma lens for macro shooting, but I'm wondering if the longer focal length might allow me to stay farther away from the fish, so as to capture a more natural behaviour. With a single focus lens I won't be tempted to zoom in and out (I tend to get a bit wishy-washy when framing).
  6. I've just introduced myself in the new members section and I'd like to start picking the brains of all you knowledgeable people. I use an Oly E-PL with the 14-42mm kit lens in the standard PT-EP01 housing. Works fine. Works even better now my father-in-law splurged on an Inon Z240 for my birthday (yay)! I wonder if a prime lens that's a couple of centimeters shorter than the kit lens, specifically the sigma 60mm, would work with the standard port that is designed for a lens that is about 8,5 cm long, as the kit lens is. Would this cause vignetting? Has anyone tried this?
  7. Hi, I'm Frank, an "old salt" as they say. I've been diving for 14 years now, have over a thousand dives and don't bother with certifications any more. Let's just say I've gone up the c-card ladder and now I stick to diving. I've recently picked up a second hand system camera with housing and... got hooked on underwater photograpy.
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