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phxazcraig last won the day on October 29 2018

phxazcraig had the most liked content!

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About phxazcraig

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    Wolf Eel

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    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
  • Camera Housing
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Sea & Sea YS-D1
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  1. Have you thought about using the Sea and Sea 77mm Internal Correction Lens? It works wonders for my 16-35.
  2. I can add a little bit of information here. I've been diving with a D810 for three years, and a D850 for 6 months, and a 16-35vr for wide angle. I use a Nauticam 230mm dome on a 90 mm extension port. Apparently 70mm extensions were recommended in the past, along with a +2 diopter. For years I tried the 16-35 with and without the diopter, but I was always disappointed in the edge and corner performance, I wondered why I spent so much money and effort on wide angle only to get shots I always had to crop. Then I added the Sea and Sea 77mm internal correction filter. Night and day improvement!!! I have little else to compare, and nothing in the DSLR world, but if you are going for the 16-35, I'd certainly recommend the Sea & Sea lens along with 90mm extension and the 230mm dome.
  3. Member 0 5 posts Report post ---"I'm currently using a TG-5 in Olympus housing with 2 Inon S2000 strobes, a focus light, and the AOI UWL-400 wide angle lens. After taking 3 dive trips with the camera I've decided to upgrade to a dslr setup since I was pretty frustrated with the TG-5's lack of manual control, shutter speed, and low light performance. The deciding point was when I went to Malapascua and couldn't take a single good picture of the thresher shark over 3 days, as no lights or strobes were allowed. I also had a lot of trouble taking good pictures of the mandarin fish mating since they moved so fast and I couldn't shine a focus light on it." I hear you. I went to a DSLR after years of point-n-shoots, and a year of a Sony RX100 with dual strobes. Lack of autofocus speed and precision was the primary driver, but since then (using both D810 and D850) I'd add in dynamic range and resolution as extremely important factors. ---"So I've decided on a Nikon D7500 since it seemed to be a good mid-range option and bought the Nauticam housing. I bought 2 lenses, the Tokina 10-17mm which seems to be widely recommended for wide angle, and the Nikon AF-S 85mm which seems like a good compromise between the typical 60mm and 105mm recommendations. I bought the recommended zoom gear for Tokina + the 4.33" dome port, and the compact port base + macro port 30 per Nauticam's port chart." Sounds good so far, though I have only FX experience here and not DX. However, DX cameras have some lens advantages that make be a bit jealous. DX cameras have a lot more options. My FX cameras don't even have a mid-range option. Some macro comments: I've shot (FX) with the 60 and 105 Nikkor macros. The 60 was an experiment to see if I could get both macro AND somewhat of a mid-range option. With the 105, you almost can't get a whole diver pic - the strobes are too far away and water clarity becomes a big issue. With the 60, macro suddenly became an issue - I had to be so close to my subjects that it just didn't work for me. That experiment lasted one dive. So I've been shooting the 105 macro for 3 years now, and the biggest complaint I have is that it's a bit short for my usual macro subjects. Some divers can get closer, but I tend to shoot from about 3 feet away. I tried a 1.4TC next, and while it gave me pretty much exactly focal length that worked best (150mm), it robbed enough sharpness that I was dissatisfied with the results. Which makes me think you 85DX macro might be just right. That said, the 60mm is no slouch and has been used successfully by many photographers underwater. The lack of VR on it is a bit of an issue. ---"All in that already cost me over US$6000 and I'm debating whether or not I want to continue to purchase the below items, which based on my research seems to be "nice to haves" but not totally critical:" Yes, I hear you. I just went ahead and bought pretty much everything I wanted, with the idea that "I'm not getting any younger, and it's now or never". I bought a 180 degree viewfinder with my first DSLR rig, along with a leak detection option (Nauticam). ---"-Nauticam vacuum pump- I haven't had any issues with my TG5, and no issues with my Go Pro Hero 5 before that. We've been diving for 3 years and never had a flood so questioning whether it's worth the $200?" Oh, it's TOTALLY worth it! Not even a question. Not only will it give you great peace of mind, it may very well save your dive rig sooner than you think. I had a couple of warnings over the years on pump-down, and one definitely saved the rig by alerting me the dome port wasn't properly attached before diving. These are also great for those hurried-on-board-fixes or battery changes one does on a dive boat. I always carry my vacuum pump on board with me, even if not intending to change batteries between dives. ---"-Nauticam external viewfinder - either 45 or 180. I read the 45 is really good for macro but it takes a long time to get used to, and not recommended if you only take a few dive trips a year? I wouldn't mind paying for it if it's easy to get used to but I wouldn't want to pay $1000 for it if I need to waste a few dives at the beginning of every trip getting used to it" I thought about the 45 degree, but opted for the 180. I don't remember the logic at the time for not choosing the 45 degree. I bought my first rig having never used (or even seen) another FX DSLR rig. With the 180 viewfinder, I can easily see the whole viewfinder through my mask. It's just a high-eyepoint viewfinder. If it magnifies too I never noticed. I need to be able to read the viewfinder information displays as well as the corners of my subject. As an added benefit (?) it gives me a third stabilization point, along with both hands, as I press my mask against the external viewfinder. Probably the same without it, but totally different than shooting Live View or mirrorless and holding the camera out in front of you. ---"-a macro diopter, thinking through Subsee+10, Nauticam SMC-1, and Aquako III. My next trip is to Anilao, but wondering if I will take a few days to adjust to the 85mm macro lens before I can move on to supermacro anyway, so if I can push this purchase further down the line? The Aquako appeals to me the most because of its small size and price, but it's a 52mm thread. If I get a swing mount, then use a 52 to 67mm setdown ring, then attach the Aquako, will there be too much distance between the lens and the diopter to be effective?" I don't know the answer, but am intrigued with the idea. I've gone back and forth with the thought of adding diopters, and I'll probably try something at one point. I had wet lenses on my RX100 rig, along with a flip holder, but I could never get a decent shot with the macro adapter. (I was probably not close enough). And I actually never once used my wet dome lens for wide angle. Given my TC experience with macro, I'm a bit suspicious of loss of IQ, and I'm actually looking into a 150mm Sigma macro lens, if I can marry it with a proper port and extension. ---"My next trips will be 1) Anilao, 2) French Polynesia, 3) Maldives - so thinking macro lens for 1) and just the wide angle for 2) and 3)?" Personally I always bring both wide and macro when diving. So far I've mostly been doing macro for morning dives, then wide angle for afternoon dives (assuming clear water) when the sun should mostly give better light for ambient. I've not been to Analao or Maldives, but I have been to French Polynesia, and I'd say there are both wide and macro shots there in abundance. ---"I will also have the standard 18-55mm kit lens, should I try to use it with the 4.33" dome port or the macro port?" No idea here - I don't have a standard zoom option with my D810/D850 - but I suspect the dome port is what you'll want. No idea on extension length. You know that dome ports do not enlarge while macro ports do? "Lastly I'm debating what to do with my TG5. I can 1) give it to my husband who isn't really a photographer, and who also has the go pro hero 5, 2) try to sell it- but seems like a waste for something that's only been on 30 dives, or 3) take it with me as a backup camera?" Take it as a backup camera.
  4. My two cents. I use a D850 in a Nauticam housing with 105mm macro port and 230mm dome port. I have to split it into three bags. Whole process is shown here: http://www.cjcphoto.net/uwcamera
  5. I've shot with a number of Canon point-n-shoots, then a Sony RX100 (II), then a Nikon D810 and now a Nikon D850. I added external strobes with the Sony RX100. By far the biggest difference in image quality improvements resulted from two things: 1. adding strobes 2. autofocus improvements Lesser improvements came from better lenses, and of course lots of resolution. Another sometimes-overlooked aspect is dynamic range. The D810 and D850 shot at ISO 64 have huge dynamic range, and I make very full use of that range in post-processing. if you want to see how the images improved, you can just hop around my web site (www.cjcphoto.com) and look at some of the older web pages (all are in chronological order) compared to the newer ones. (I also have a before-and-after page showing shots right out of camera compared to post-processed in Lightroom.) Adding strobes: Finally I had light, and light I could control. I first used dual strobes with the Sony RX100 and it was able to get shots I couldn't approach with ambient lighting. I moved the strobes on to the DSLR rigs and still use them today. Autofocus: Let's face it - AF on point-n-shoots pretty much sucks, though it's probably improved since my Canon s120 and Sony RX100 II came out. But with the cameras I've used, the autofocus points have been too large to really discriminate the subject I want a lot of the time, and slow enough that I have a huge collection of 'fish swimming out of frame' shots. The D810 cured that issue, and the D850 further improves on it. There are big tradeoffs when you move to a DSLR rig. Besides the cost. The equipment is so big that I take up two carry-on bags (waist bag and roller bag) plus some space in a suitcase to hold the rig (disassembled). And crucially I'm limited to wide angle or macro with nothing in between. (I use Nauticam housings, and there simply aren't any recommended mid-range lenses and matching ports).
  6. After seeing another diver lose his week-old $1000 rig on a liveaboard, I decided to use a strap and be very aware of it. I just use a common dive strap as seen in the photo below. It clips to a quick-disconnect on a d-ring on the left side of my BCD. The very first thing I do in the water when my camera is handed down from the boat is to attach that strap. My only tip here is that if the connector is too high up on the BCD it can be hard to see with a mask on and a bit of a pain to connect.
  7. I made up a short web page showing how I have to disassemble and pack my rig. Might be useful: http://cjcphoto.net/uwcamera/all.html Here is a shot of the bag before adding padding:
  8. Give us some background! I'll assume you start by being a reasonably competent scuba diver and that you have some experience with a camera. My basic advice is 'start small and cheap'. Small is easy. Cheap is relative. (Not much that has to operate in salt water is really cheap). Perhaps just get a $300 Kraken universal smart phone housing and try that. In the past I would recommend a simple Canon point-n-shoot with matching housing. Used to be able to get the combo for about $500 new. Problem now is that cell phones have killed off the cheaper point-n-shoots from Canon. You could get a Powershot ELPH 190 (around $150) and pair it with a $199 Ikelite case. Or, perhaps best for now, you could look for used equipment - there is a lot of it out there, in all sorts of conditions.
  9. The third one looks like a Striped Dwarfgoby. Some sort of Goby anyway. The last one looks like a wrasse,
  10. I don't know. I was just going through a batch of images that all were 'eye-centric' and came across that one. I do not remember seeing another fish like it on any of my Roatan trips. It was taken with a 105mm lens, which may give some idea of the size. I don't think the image is cropped.
  11. Yes! I think you are correct and I just have an odd angle to ID. The second one seems some sort of snapper, maybe a Mutton Snapper.
  12. Feedback: I used the 1.4TC for a day, but when I reviewed the shots that night I could see some image degradation. I quit using it because of that, but I really did like the focal length. Basically it allowed me to shoot exactly as I've been doing except not have to crop. But I think a) it may be better to crop, and b) I'll just have to get closer. I've been strongly considering a Sigma 150 macro, if I could get a port to fit. As for focusing speed, I was correct. The D850 is faster enough than the D810 that a TC'd lens feels about the same on the D805 as the bare lens did on the D810 in terms of focus speed. The loss of sharpness was very slight, but I'm chasing those gains. Here's an example shot with the 105+1.4TC-EII.
  13. Interesting topic - I believe I have the same Thinktank bag. And I even made a Facebook album about packing it on my last trip, in March. D850, Nauticam housing, dual YS-D1 strobes, Kraken focus light, etc. I use a bunch of bubble wrap and a Neoprene hood to pad things, mostly. I also have a color check card in the outer pocket that provides a bit of protection. First comment - I have to remove the upper two ball joints to make this fit. The D810 housing was even a bit worse as it is slightly taller. I use a ziplock bag to carry a small pliers to remove the ball joint and hold the removed joints, plus a second smaller ziplock to hold the 4 plastic washers at the bottom of the joints. I also carry a quarter or a small screwdriver to help mount the camera to its tray. I don't remove the lower two ball joints or the handles. I do tuck things in around the handles, like the vacuum pump and parts of strobe arms. About half the space is taken up with a 230mm dome port, and the other half with the housing plus lots of bits. This is supposed to be a link to my packing album. https://www.facebook.com/craig.johnson.9887117/media_set?set=a.10213978886493409&type=1
  14. Sorry, don't have any other angles, which makes this tougher. I have larger versions available (these are the thumbnails) at the links below the images. http://www.cjcphoto.net/uweyes/images/page54.html http://www.cjcphoto.net/uweyes/images/page71.html phxazcraig
  15. My really first underwater camera was one of those disposable film ones. After that, Canon SD630 in Canon housing. Then followed a series of such Canon's: SD870is, s95, s120. Each failed with a zoom defect above water by the way. Then a Sony RX100 II with a pair of real strobes. Then Nikon D810, and D850.
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