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Posts posted by RogerC

  1. Yeah. If you are playing the multi--shot game, with any strobe,  you must find an exposure that works at lowest power, and even then, you are probably going to get a limited set. Also easier on the wildlife you are photographing.

    And more importantly: even if the strobe can keep firing, you gotta give it a rest or you risk overheat. At some point, it's a better game to play with video lights.

  2. excellent call, I totally forgot that. Yes, for blackwater, I had set up exposure bracketing, 3 fast shots in a row. I had that on during the dive, got in the water with that on, so that's exactly why the strobes immediately failed on that dive. But I probably was hitting them pretty fast, more than one time in a second, during some testing, to see if they would fire consistently. Man, that should be in the manual, the manual does not go into much detail on how the strobe learns the trigger sequence. It doesn't mention the 1 second, all it says is:


    Depending on the camera model or settings, the camera’s built-in flash will flash once or multiple times for every photo. The MF-1 will analyze your camera’s flash and automatically synchronize after the first test flash. First power on the strobe and select any power level from 1-6 and take a single test photo. The MF-1 will analyze this test flash and memorize the proper setting for your camera. If you change cameras or flash settings on your camera, simply power off the MF-1, power on and take another test photo to synchronize with your new camera or camera settings.

  3. Update, my strobes are working, backscatter sent some helpful info. It was pilot error.

    As I said, the strobes learn your camera's flash sequence on the first trigger. What I didn't know is that they are watching for the full first second for the strobe sequence, so I must have jumped in the water excited, fired my strobes several times in less than a second, probably to test exposure, and they learned a crazy trigger sequence. And then from then on, because I was trouble shooting and testing, I'd probably fire a bunch of times in the first second again, and there you go. Pilot error as root cause, which is why both failed.

    Thanks for all the help.

    ChrisRoss, thanks, changing the internal strobe is a good suggestion, but I didn't bring it, it cycles slower and runs down the camera battery, the nauticam trigger is self powered and always ready.

    DaveHicks, what problems have you had, anything to avoid? Hopefully they have quietly made revisions that will make them more robust, I do really like these things. Yesterday I was holding one free handed, with a snoot on, and I was able to turn the power dial while holding it free hand to adjust the brightness. Such a pleasure to use these things.

  4. So I'm in the Philippines right now, hopped in the water last night on my first blackwater dive, and both my backscatter mini flash strobes failed. They will  fire like 1 time in 10, sometimes 1 time in 3, it’s random. Never every time. And rarely do they both fire at once.

    Both failing makes it seem like a camera or housing issue, but I don't think so. These things have brains that analyze the camera's flash trigger sequence, and this is the second time I've had a failure with them. Anyone know how to do a factory reset on them? The other time I had an issue I had to return the strobe, I had asked about doing a factory reset of the brain, they asked what battery I had, and then told me to send it in. Cryptic, but makes me think there may be a reset that could help me. I've emailed backscatter, but no response yet, time zone issues.

    I have powered them off and on many times, that should reset the strobe triggering sequence, no luck.

    I have put charged batteries in the strobes.

    The modeling light works, the powers and ready light works. 

    I have swapped sync cords. 

    I am using an oly OM 1 in a nauticam housing and a nauticam flash trigger. I put new batteries in the trigger, no change. I can see the red light from it at the end of both cords. I really thought that was the issue, since both strobes failed, but no luck. The trigger fires every single time without fail.

    I have not yet tried them on another housing, there is only one other shooter here (typhoon season) and he hasn't been in the camera room.

    Any other suggestions? 


  5. my wife would tell me to sew it myself, and I can (look up "quick stitch sewing awl", they are great for thick neoprene, web belts, BC material, etc) any anyway, neoprene also works well with neoprene cement. Trouble is old neoprene and unfinished neoprene edges shed a lot of cloth and rubber shrapnel, my older dome covers are making a mess, but that is a good idea. Neoprene cement to close the end of the sleeve, and aqua seal on any open edges to try to tack down the nylon shell and keep it from shedding. The SeaFrogs thing looks great, thanks. I've never seen their housings before, nice price and they have a vacuum port. 

    • Haha 1

  6. Hi. Have you tried the subject tracking underwater? I'm curious if any of the subject tracking (bird or maybe face) with lock focus on fish, particularly really small active midwater fish. Bird mode does a great job on birds in flight and a small fluttering fish may look similar enough that subject tracking might work on it. thanks.


  7. Thanks, everyone. The smallest size I've tried is:


    #006 ID:1/8" x OD:1/4" CS:1/16"


    and it's damn small and hard to get on, but still too big. Mine are hard, though, 70 durometer, maybe something softer would mash flat and make it into the bore.


    The 007 is a size bigger, guess I'll try a 005.


    Hey Bill... if there is one fundamental truth in rocket science, it's getting the right size oring, believe me.

  8. The o-rings on my fiber optic cable rotted and fell off. I replaced them with the smallest, thinnest, o-rings I had, but no luck: the new o-rings are so large or so stiff that I can't get them inserted anymore. I took the o-rings off, but now they are really loose and just falling out. I hold them in with blue tape, hair ties, whatever I can find. Nothing works well. Any tips? I think I need to find a source for really small o-rings with a really soft durometer.

  9. Regarding using spray silicone on housings and buttons, 2 issues:

    • I've heard that it can cause a problem with lexan housings, it can permanently fog or distort the surface. Not sure if that's true and I can't find any reference on it right now.
    • It's too thin and runny. Yeah, that can help it get down the shaft to the oring, but you want a thick grease that stays in place, not a thin runny product that can evaporate. It's like replacing the axle grease on your car's wheel bearings with wd40. It's just not gonna last that long, and it will dissolve the thicker grease if you ever try to go back to the good stuff, so you'll have to clean the thin stuff off if you want to get the thick stuff to stick.

    So how do you get the thick grease to migrate on the button shaft and get to the oring? Warm up your housing. Not hot, just warm. Soak it in warm water.


    I've had a lot of housings over the years. Ikelite, olympus, nauticam, gates, light & motion, sealife... for me a sticky button is just a sign that the button needs service, the lube has worn off. Sounds like a more serious issue for others if it's happening right after a service.


    When I'm on a trip and need a quick and dirty fix, what I do to service them is to mop some oring lube onto the button shaft on the inside. Warm up the housing, push the button in, and on the inside of the housing, mop some silicon grease onto the shaft and then push the button about a million times until the grease migrates up the shaft onto the oring. I use the edge of a business card to get the lube onto the shaft as close to the hole as possible. I use a lot, I try to build up a fillet of grease all around the hole so the shaft will drag it in as it works. It makes a mess. I clean it up after with a q tip.


    When I'm home, I just remove the e-clip with a pair of bent needles nose pliers, remove the button and the rings, clean and grease everything, and re-assemble. DO NOT DO THIS THE NIGHT BEFORE A TRIP. DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT TIME TO GET SPARE E-CLIPS AND ORINGS. YOU WILL LOSE ONE.




    These tiny parts jump around and get lost, I don't care how careful you are. The e-clips get bent, sometimes you can bend them back into shape, not always. Some say they should always be replaced. If you are going to try this, you are going to need to have spares on hand. Either order some e-clip and oring kits, or measure what size you need and order a bunch of them. Look on amazon for e-clip kits and oring kits. They have e-clip tools, I've always gotten by with small needle nose and heavy tweezers.


    McMaster-Carr has a good page (as usual) on e-clips, with dimensions of the clips and shafts, so you can easily figure out which size you need:



    • Like 1

  10. on my housing, the anodes are on the bottom. One on the door and one on the body.


    I use lanocote (lanolin) on fasteners that I want to be able to remove later. It works well, but it is like a heavy pasty grease. I worry about it migrating on to optics and orings and places I don't want it.

  11. A lot of old Oly gear for sale, not sure what to price it at so I went for eBay auctions. Starting price may be high, not sure what this stuff is worth anymore. if that's true, they'll be lower next time or PM me with an offer.


    PT-015 housing for C5050

    PT-E02 housing (E330 housing)

    PT-E05 housing (E520 housing)

    PPO-EO2 flat port for 14-54mm

    PPO-E04 dome port for 8mm (or 7-14mm with extension)

    Athena flat port for 50mm lens, with 67mm front thread

    PER-E01 port extension

    PER-E02 port extension


    Oly bodies: E1, E330, E520, Pen E-PM1


    Tetra flat port


    Ikelite DS125

    Ikelite EV Controller

    Ikelite extension cord




  12. I'm looking for a video light, and really like the completely sealed Solas... but I rented a fix neo, and really like the display of run time remaining and the ability to change output by smaller increments when needed.


    Has anyone had any flooding issues with them?


    If I never, ever opened it, would it be as "factory sealed" as a sola? would there be any salt water trapped in the mating surfaces that would build corrosion or mineral deposits and cause trouble down the road?



  13. I have the acrylic nauticam 4.33 port, and I did manage to scratch it pretty badly right dead center. The 8mm lens is really eager to focus on the scuff, especially in blue water without any other obvious subject. Whale shark coming? yeah, here's a photo of your dome.


    I've managed to buff it out, but the dome is so small that it's a little hard to work on. The abrasive kits remove the bad scuff, but then leave a bigger ring of slightly less scuff, which the next abrasive can take out, but then the circle bigger, on to the next abrasive.... it gets harder near the edges to work the abrasive smoothly, and I find it much easier to do on big domes. Your milage may vary.


    Personally, I'd go glass at the athena price point but not at the zen price point.

  14. The water was warm last summer as well. Around los angeles there were many warm water sightings: dorado, wahoo, scalloped hammerheads, green turtles, even a whale shark. One cause I heard was not el nino, but that a different mechanism kept the water warm in the 2013/2014 winter. That's certainly true again right now. SoI'd guess that 2015 will be like 2014. And the Solmar publishes video trip reports on their youtube channel. You might look at the trip reports from last may and see if it looks good.


    We did Cocos during an el nino, and the hammerheads weren't schooling, we'd only see a few at a time. It was still an incredible trip.

  15. some great points, thanks. It makes me take another look at the quality of the 60mm macro vs the 50mm macro. I never read any comparisons because I so love the 50mm, and the 60mm was the only choice for the OMD, that I didn't want to hear that the 60mm didn't stand up well to the 50. The 50 is such a great lens that if I were building a macro rig, and the 60 was not as pretty, I'd go for the EM-1 for a macro rig just to build a rig around the 50..


    love the small size of the em-5 for wide angle. I swim a lot when I'm shooting wide.

  16. oly page:




    Good summary, interesting stuff on better focus with older lenses:




    looks too different to fit in the same housing.


    Price drop on the EM-5 by $100 for body only right now. That sale ends 9/14, not sure if there will be a permanent price drop or if they're selling both cameras or what.








  17. DeepBlueMD:

    how did you tighten that ball? did you just bottom it out hard or did you somehow tighten the locking collar? Mine is loose and spins. I'm afraid to bottom it out so hard that it locks, and I cant get a wrench on the collar, so any strobe I put on it just swings around.



    thanks for the macro shots! I dont normally use ttl but it would be nice to have the option.



    Backscatter is a problem with a ring flash. Best to fill your frame with a subject that hides it. The bigger problem for me is that you need to use depth of field to separate your subject from the background. The wrong subject and big depth of field is you can wind up with a very flat dull image. Its a fun challenge and a very compact rig.



    Never had the RS tray, but I liked my pivot tray. You can get low with it since the main tray is on top, not on the bottom.

  18. Hi,


    First, I just want to mention that the gopro 2 is far ahead of the 1 on firmware. Much easier to use, much easier (automatic) to update. And the wifi back and iphone software are even better, a total must have. Every camera should have that power, it's amazing. a full interface for your camera including live view on your iphone or iPad! The gopro3 should be even better.


    to your questions:

    1-don't know.

    2- I split, but I like viewfinders, I'm old.

    3-don't know.

    4-yes. it's pretty easy to get moved by surge, and going for more DoF and smaller aperture gets you into diffraction problems. The DoF on the small oly 4/3 sensor is a little too short for my taste. Just my opinion.

    5-filters are better than post processing. You have too much blue light coming in, you need to knock that down so the blue and red are more balanced and the limited dynamic range of your sensor can take a decent photo. Might be darker, but it's balanced.

  19. regarding the 12-50, I do dislike motorized zoom for stills, but it is the way to go for video, and it may surprise you how much video you start to shoot.


    regarding the 7-14, i vastly prefer rectilinear to fisheye, but after shooting the regular (not micro) oly zuiko 7-14mm for years and never getting sharp corners, I'm pretty happy with the sharpness of the little m4/3 8mm... not to mention the cost and size of the lens and dome. The old athena dome I used with my 7-14 was pretty small, but it feels like a bus windshield now.


    Regarding lenses in general, think how you shoot and what you shoot. On his E330, I think I can say that jim used his oly 14-54 lens 90% of the time. I took mine in the water once. Different styles. I have no interest in taking my 12-50 in the water due to that port price, I'll probably even sell the lens. Only bought it because I had to buy a kit to get the camera early (anyone want it? email me an offer). But that 60mm macro, can't wait until that comes out.


    The other lens I really want is that tiny new ultra pancake 15mm so I can carry the camera in my pocket all the time on land.

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