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phxazcraig last won the day on October 2

phxazcraig had the most liked content!

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About phxazcraig

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    Manta Ray
  • Birthday 10/19/1953

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  • Location
    Phoenix, AZ, USA
  • Interests
    Photography, especially underwater. Diving. Motorcycling. Travel (63 countries, 50 states). Computers (self-employed IT consultant for 22 years).

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    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    various Nikons
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  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Sea & Sea YS-D1, Backscatter Miniflash with Snoot
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  1. Here's an example of what I mean. How long is that scuba tank up in the corner? I have not applied distortion corrections on this.
  2. What sort of feedback are you looking for? I just did 2 weeks in Roatan with a Z9 and a 14-30 with IRC behind a 230mm dome port. This after years of shooting the 16-35vr. I can say that the 14-30 is pretty sharp with the IRC, but the perspective distortion at 14mm makes you not want to have a diver in the corners.
  3. One thing you can do with 4k videos is to 'stabilize' the output by cropping. Give options in downsizing beyond just shrinking the file size. Adobe Premier calls this 'warp stabilizer'. Makes the output look like it was shot on a tripod. Here is an explanation of it:
  4. I've been leaning toward shooting with one strobe ever since I attended the Digital Shootout in June. The instructors there were basically interested in shadows more than even lighting, and you can get some pretty dramatic effects with one strobe. And if you are shooting with a snoot, even more so. My suggestions are as follows: -take off any diffusers. Using only one strobe causes hard shadows. Lean into that. -in general a strobe should be somewhere above the subject because lighting looks unnatural from other positions -no, you do not need to mount your strobe directly in front of the lens. Put it there if the resulting shadows will look best from that position. Move it left or right as the scene indicates. -whether dual strobes or not, consider the reflectivity of the surroundings. If you are shooting an object sitting in sand, move your strobe(s) very high up as the white sand will reflect a lot of light. Shooting with a snoot can give very dramatic lighting, but it can be a royal pain to line up on a target. As least for now (I'm a snoot beginner), I find I need to position the snoot/strobe right in front of the lens and directly above it to have any hope of getting lined up on a target. But you can get shots like these:
  5. My Z9 rig with dual strobes, focus light, 14-30 and 230mm dome port weighs 26 pounds out of the water. My macro setup is considerably less. Have you shot with a 230mm dome to have a point of comparison to the 28-75 and WACP-1? Also, is that the new Nikon 28-75 (rebranded Tamron) or another lens? I'm very much wondering how your setup compares to my 14-30 and 230mm dome in pretty much every way - size, weight, comparative focal range, and optical performance? Even if the WACP-1 is heavy, it is physically smaller than the dome port, and that would/could make it a lot easier to pack by allowing more gear to fit around it. Does the WACP-1 come with some sort of hard protective lens cap? One of the nightmares of traveling with the 230mm dome port is trying to protect it with just a neoprene cover. I have been transporting it the entire time in a Thinktank roller carry-on. It's very inefficient in the use of space.
  6. I'll give my Nikon options, but I'm not sure if there is an equivalent Canon option. I used to shoot an RX100 II, but I got frustrated with poor autofocus speed. I too was frustrated with wet lenses and working distance. I went full frame, taking my D810 under in a Nauticam housing. I shot macro using the Nikkor 105mm macro lens and (briefly) the 60mm macro. I later upgraded to the D850 (amazing autofocus), with the same 105mm lens. During the time I shot those cameras (2016 to 2022) I did a lot of macro shooting, and I determined that 105mm was a bit short for full frame. I was constantly cropping, often to about a DX/APS-C area. For that lens, a Nikon D500 might be perfect. But for me, there was a certain distance I could approach animals, and closer than that led to the animal fleeing. Based on my cropping, I figured a 150mm macro would work the best. And indeed it did - I put a 1.4TC on the 105 macro to give me 150mm, and I was then able to fill the frame at my normal approach distances. However, I did not like the slight degradation in sharpness, along with slowing of the autofocus speed, so I took off the TC and never used it again. I try to get closer, and I just crop as needed. For the REALLY small stuff, I have no answer yet. I have thought about add-on wet lenses like the SMC-1 or CMC-1, and I think if you are going to shoot creatures of the size of Wire Shrimp and smaller, you're going to need some way to get to 2X or more, possibly along with a tripod. When it gets down to it, underwater photography is quite challenging. I think that's what makes it so fun when you get a good shot from your efforts. It actually takes effort, skill and good equipment to do well, though the definition of 'good equipment' can vary widely in price.
  7. I'm looking at Curacao and Aruba for January at this point.
  8. Since my wife died in 2017 I've not had a dive buddy. I typically try to go to a resort when no other divers are there and pair up with the dive master. When I was diving with my late wife, we were both into photography, and so neither was a particularly good dive buddy to the other. That said, if I were diving with a non-photographer diver, I would have several things I would *like* for that diver to do for me: 1. Find subjects. Obviously! Always useful to have another spotter. 2. Be a good subject in a wide-angle scene. Many wide angle shots benefit from having a diver in them, in the right place, and without bubbles obscuring their face, at least. A so-classic-it-is-cliche shot is that of a diver in the background with a dive light centered in their shadow pointing toward the photographer. 3. Actually help get the shot. In particular it would seem to be (I haven't tried this yet) easier to have a dive buddy holding and aiming a snooted strobe on a subject. Assuming you can trigger it, with a long-enough fiber cable, it could be far less troublesome that trying to sneak up on a fish with a strobe mounted on an arm in front of camera. 4. Watch out for danger while you are absorbed in shooting.
  9. Wouldn't this cause a date discrepancy between date shipped and credit card charge date?
  10. No shore diving for me. Yes, Bonaire doesn't have a lot to do for the non-diver, though the food is sure good. I just need water that is approximately as warm as I will experience in Truk, with stuff for a non-diver to easily do. Probably in the Caribbean for ease and cost of travel from the western US. In January I definitely have weather concerns overall. Probably I need a dive resort within walking distance of a town that has things to do and see. Since this trip is ostensibly to give my girlfriend a vacation, I'm not so focused on the diving, which means if the diving isn't excellent it's sort of ok. It's partly an equipment check trip. But time of year argues for getting pretty far south.
  11. Suddenly I'm wondering about the viability of simply using the 24-70f4 behind the 230mm dome. The focus gear is the same as the 14-30. In fact the focus gear is labeled "24-70". DX does make things so very much simpler. But then I often cropped my D850 images to DX, making it into a part-time D500. 10 pounds. And $5000. I remember now when the WACP-1 came out and I heard those specs. Was astonished at weight and price. Somehow not so much now. Carrying the 230mm dome port for 7 years sort of warps your viewpoint. I just want ANY advantage in travel pain.
  12. As others have pointed out, the optics of your equipment are extremely limiting once you move away from the center. I'll point out that should you actually go to the logical extreme of getting a big dome port and suitable lens/camera to put behind it, you will still have corner issues. I addressed that with yet more gear, adding a Sea & Sea Internal Correction Lens. Finally I had something that gave 'decent' corners. But the cost! Not just $$ cost, but the cost in portability, and ease of diving. I have a 230mm dome port that is a real pain to travel with, and it's a pain to carry (rig weighs 26 pounds out of the water), and it's big with lots of drag while diving. So - big dome ports are the answer to one problem, and the cause of 3 or 4 more. Here is a bit of advice to have better corners with what you currently have. You need to work around the weaknesses of your equipment. So... 1. stop down, a lot. Go shoot a scene, perhaps with a lot of lettuce coral from side-to-side, the underwater equivalent of a brick wall. Just take some test shots wide open, stopped down a stop, then 2 stops, then 3, etc. Find out if there is any appreciable improvement with some minimum f-stop, and start shooting stopped down at least that far. 2. Be careful with focus points. You may want to focus slightly closer than your subject to move the plane of best focus forward a bit to include more foreground. 3. Try to avoid foregrounds that are significantly closer than the plane of focus on the subject. This is where you corners probably look the absolute worse - focused 6 feet away, but with corner elements coming in several feet closer. 4. Shamelessly crop out the edges and corners. Plan ahead with your framing for this. 5. Wet lenses (small dome) might help. I'm not sure how much though. Don't ever expect much from the corners of a flat port with anything wide angle.
  13. OK, shifting more and more away from Caymans in January, a lot because of weather. (Rainy season, plus water temps low for me.) My girl announced interest in Aruba, and so I'm looking for recommendations there. I've read the water temps are like 85F, which seems high to me considering it was colder than that in Bonaire in June. But no biggie. One of the reasons I want to go in January is to have a chance to test a new custom 5-mil wetsuit and get the weighting right before I go to Truk in March. Requirements are the same. Looking for a dive resort where I can go dive from a boat in the mornings for 2 tanks without needing to commute to the dive center. And the resort must have options to do non-diving stuff in the afternoon, including any manner of tours or sightseeing stuff for the non-diver. And weather needs to be decent in the afternoons for such tours. I've been to Aruba once, on a honeymoon cruise. Never be to Curacao, but I now remember hearing some disparaging remarks from my Bonaire divemaster, who had moved from Curacao to Bonaire a couple of years ago. Said the dive sites were not good in ways, meaning trashed, I think.
  14. Hmm - I missed the 10 pound size of the WACP-1 somehow. I remember reading about it years ago now. The WACP-C seems to have been designed for compacts, so I haven't really considered it. My main goal is to find an alternative to packing the 230mm dome port in a carryon, Period. (Plus the WACP series hopefully improves on the optics as well.) If I can find a smaller dome to use, then maybe I still use carryon, but I'm very much leaning toward getting a Pelican suitcase and just packing the heavy stuff. If the WACP-1 is smaller but still heavier, then it's probably out for carryon, and if I can pack the 230mm dome in a Pelican, I've probably just solved my main issue. Thanks for the angle of view comparison. I don't think I want anything wider than 14mm. (Except maybe for video, which seems to really like wide.) On the other hand I very much want longer than 30-35mm. There have been so many lost opportunities for even 50mm. A 24-70 might not be very wide, but it would give me focal ranges I have not been able to shoot since my RX100 II in 2014. I briefly considered a fisheye zoom like the 8-15 until I found that it's not available in Z mount. I do generally like the idea of close-focus, wide angle. Don't seem to be able to do that particularly well with the 14-30.
  15. I have been shooting a wide zoom behind a 230mm dome port since 2015. I'm kind of sick of traveling with it, and I'm more than willing to consider other options. The main driver for my discontent has been carrying the 230mm dome in a carry-on where I constantly worry about getting it gate-checked if I'm late boarding and can't find overhead space. I carry it in a Thinktank roller bag, not particularly suited to going in the cargo hold. So I'm considering a WACP-1. But I'm confused as to how much the thing ends up weighing and what lens to use behind it. I'm now shooting a Z9 in a Nauticam housing, using a 14-30 behind that 230mm dome, plus the Sea & Sea Internal Correction Lens. If I simply swap out the 230mm dome for a WACP-1, it seems that at the least I get a smaller chunk to pack, though I'm not sure if I save any appreciable weight. It also looks like the WACP-1 is a better candidate for checked luggage than the 230mm dome. I would love to have less to carry on. So help me out here - compare the 230mm dome port + 14-30 to a WACP-1 and ??? lens. What is my closest equivalent lens choice, and how much does it all weigh compared to the 230mm dome with 50mm extension? My carry-on is ridiculously heavy at 42 pounds. I'm really wondering about lens options - I don't have a feel for angle of view expressed in degrees. I do have a feel for the 16-35 and the 14-30 lenses behind that 230mm dome on FX cameras. What is closest with the WACP-1, and what less-wide options can I use as well? (24-70 instead of 14-30? Same zoom gear.)
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