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stuartv last won the day on January 3

stuartv had the most liked content!

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About stuartv

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    Manassas, VA

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    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Olympus OM-D E-M10
  • Camera Housing
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Inon Z240

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  1. I should also note that the failure to fire was not because I didn't wait long enough for the strobes to recycle. I was shooting with the strobe power dial usually set between f/4 and f/5.6. Sometimes f/8. And definitely waiting more than a couple of seconds. Except, I put the camera in continuous drive mode at one point. Mid speed. When i shot some strings that way, when the strobes fired on the first shutter release, they would continue to fire on every shutter release until I let go of the shutter release lever. In other words, when the strobes worked, they could sustain firing at several flashes per second. In single frame mode, I was definitely not shooting remotely close to that fast.
  2. @Pavel Kolpakov I'm now in Utila and just had my first dives with this trigger. I am having serious problems. I'm posting here hoping you will see this and tell me what stupid thing I'm doing. I'm shooting a Sony a7rIV. My camera does have the latest firmware installed. V1.1, I think? I have Inon Z240 Type 3 strobes with optical sync cables. I have been using these strobes for about 3 years and never had any problem with them (as long as I had my settings right). I have 2 cables, each connecting to a separate connector on the housing. Today, they strobes were working seemingly randomly. Meaning, sometimes they would fire and sometimes they just wouldn’t. I was shooting in Manual, with an explicit ISO and shutter speed always at either 1/125 or 1/100. The camera Flash setting was set to Fill. So, the strobes should have fired every time I released the shutter. What I noticed: Sometimes I could clearly see that they did a pre-flash. I don't think they should pre-flash in Manual mode? Sometimes I would release the shutter and they would flash correctly. I had it where I pulled the trigger and it did not fire. I turned the camera itself off and back on and pulled the trigger again, with no other changes, and the strobes fired. At one point, I disconnected one of the optical cables from the camera housing and released the shutter. I could not see any flash from the trigger’s LED. Ambient light was not very bright, so I think I should have been able to see it flash. Whenever they fired or didn’t fire, it was always both strobes working the same - either they both fired or neither one fired, so I’m pretty sure that it’s not a bad sync cable (otherwise, I would have had 1 fire but not the other). I started my first dive with the buttons on the strobes for the “pre-flash” setting locked in the Pressed position, as I thought from memory that that was correct. It took me 10 minutes in the water with no strobes firing before I tried twisting those buttons and letting them pop out – whereupon the strobes started firing immediately. After that was when they were intermittent (i.e. as described above). I switched the camera to Shutter priority and the strobes to TTL mode (and pushed the pre-flash buttons in) and when the strobes fired, I got well-exposed images. But, I *think* (I could be misremembering on this part) that even that way they failed to fire a few times before I finally switched everything back to Manual. Thus, I *think* the problem has something to do with the flash trigger itself. Got any ideas what is wrong? Thanks for any help! - Stuart
  3. Thanks for bringing this thread back to my attention. I finally got a Nauticam housing for my a7rIV last week and had the Reef Photo guys install the UW Technics TTL trigger in the housing before they shipped it. Test firing it at the house seems to work just fine (for example, using TTL in Shutter priority mode). I'm heading down to Utila tomorrow and will get to really work it out. I have always shot underwater in full Manual mode. But, I'm going to have a go at shooting with TTL and see how that works out for me. For some situations, I could see it being very handy.
  4. I had one other thought on this. As Tim alluded to, if you would also use the lens out of the water, then the 2.8 is likely to be a better choice (if it's in your budget). But, even if you are going to only use it in the water, the 16-35 2.8 G Master is meant to be better quality glass than the f/4 ZA version. So, you might see SOME improvement in image quality using the GM, even though it's likely to be stopped down. I was shooting m43 before and I never invested in good lenses because I knew that long-term I would eventually change to full frame. Now that I'm into a FF camera, my philosophy is to not spend money on anything except the best of whatever I'm buying. I.e. in this case, I would get the G Master over the ZA. Now that I'm on my long-term platform, I consider the lenses to be a long-term investment, so it makes sense (to me, for me) to not spend on something that is less than the best just to save some bucks. @phxazcraig: Do we know each other? LOL I just noticed your Interests tag line. I am also (<-- a presumption there) an IBA member (and a self-employed IT consultant). Though I sold my BMW a few years back and use a KTM 1290 SA for long distance now.
  5. Thank you for that. I wasn't quite sure how to take your other post, so I decided to take in the best light, rather than the negative. I'm glad that's how you meant it. I have no real experience with shooting macro or using diopters. I have only shot small critters through a dome, by zooming my kit lens. The Meikon dome is decent. I used that for 2 or 3 years before I upgraded to the WWL-1, and I was pretty happy with it. It took a while before I got to the point of feeling like I really wanted to do something to improve my image quality. So, it might be fine for you. But, if you want to shoot macro and WA in the same dive, I think the WWL-1 and it's ability to zoom through it might give you something closer to an all-in-one solution. My personal feeling - for ME - is that I would zoom my camera in and out during a dive to switch from shooting WA to shooting something small and close. But, I personally would not try swapping between macro and WA by changing from a wet dome to diopters and back during a dive. With that setup, I would get in with either macro or WA setup and only shoot that during the dive.
  6. Well, you have a pretty good camera and a housing already. You're talking about buying a new housing and a couple of different lenses. By the time you do all that, I'm pretty sure you could get a WWL-1, which would work with the lens and housing you already have. And it would give you much better wide angle image quality than using the cheap Meikon dome. As well, I think it would let you zoom your lens to 50mm, to shoot through the WWL-1, to take pictures of pretty small things. Not true, 1:1 macro, but good quality pictures of pretty small critters, nonetheless. For someone on a budget, it seems like an all-in-one solution that might actually be less expensive than the other options you were talking about. Especially if you shop with a little patience and find a used WWL-1 (as I did).
  7. I'm sorry if I sound dense, but I still don't understand what you mean here. Maybe a concrete example would help me. Suppose you and I are side by side looking at a sea turtle laying on the bottom snoozing. You adjust your D500 so the turtle fills the frame. I adjust my a7r3 so the turtle fills my frame. We have the same Angle of View, but we're using different focal lengths. So, we're at the same distance. How does the D500 have a resolution advantage? One of the reasons I stepped up from my m43 to an a7r4 is exactly for the cropping advantage. I've had plenty of shots with my m43 where the subject was further away than I was setup for - or smaller. I got a shot that was exposed well enough (to fix in LR). But, I had to crop it to get a decent composition. With the m43, I have had plenty of those where, after cropping it to a good composition, what was left did not have enough megapixels left to look good, for example, displayed in full screen mode on a 24" monitor. I think I will be able to take the same photo with the a7r4 and still have a much more usable image. That seems like a real, not imagined, advantage for cropping. I don't understand what I am missing here. Before anyone is compelled to say it, yes, I know that the best answer is "get closer". But, reality is, when I'm down in NC shooting sharks swimming around, I often do not have time to adjust my camera for a tighter view. I would miss the shot completely. So, I tend to swim with the camera set as wide as it will go and I get as close as I can. When I am lucky, I get close enough to fill the frame and I can get a REALLY nice photo. But, other times, the shark will turn off just a few feet before it is close enough to fill the frame. Then it might only cover half the frame (or less). But, with the right cropping it can still turn out to be a nice photo. So, I could be wrong, but I feel like the extra MP of my new camera will be a genuine benefit to me. I am very well aware of that. You may have noticed in my post that you quoted that I linked to the DOF calculator that I used, for the calculations of the numbers I presented. Something that makes it more complex that just m43-f/8 == FF-f/16 is that I was comparing real world configurations, which means an m43 with a 60mm lens to a FF with a 90mm lens. That is why my example is based on a presumption of a specific subject that you are trying to shoot. I.e. all calculations are based on having the same Angle of View, so that whichever camera you consider would have the frame filled by the subject. In other words, when I address the question of which camera/lens should I choose, I prefer to approach the question by saying, "what do I want to shoot? And, which of my options would be the best for that shot?" In the example, I arbitrarily chose to "shoot" a subject that is 4.8" wide. Once I know what I'm going to shoot, then calculations are all based on a presumption that I will shoot that subject in such a way as to fill the frame. So, with a FF and 90mm lens, I would need to be 1.0 feet away from the subject, for it to fill the frame. With an m43 and 60mm lens, I would need to be 1.4 feet away. And for a FF in crop mode, with a 90mm lens, I would be 1.5 feet away. From there, if I want the DOF that the m43 camera would give me at f/8, I would have to use f/11-13 on the FF in crop mode and f/20-22 on the FF in FF mode. So, in the example given, the m43 would arguably give the best result (being a f/8). But, I think I would still choose the FF in crop mode. It gives you slightly more working distance and only requires f/11 - 13. However, if your normal macro shooting on an m43 requires, say f/16 - f/22, then I could see where even the FF in crop mode may no longer give nearly as good results. Disclaimer: There is a significant extent to which I am simply regurgitating "book larnin'" here, so if I've missed the boat, so to speak, on any of these, I would be very grateful to anyone who can enhance my understanding of the subject.
  8. Thank you for that. You have some really nice photos on that page! I can only hope I will get comparable results with my WA shooting as I go forward with my new camera. I have not gotten it in the water yet. Still waiting on my housing. But, I was shooting an E-M10 the last few years and when I started using a focus light on it, I did notice an immediate large improvement in my focus accuracy. I have done most of my photography on the wrecks off the coast of NC - usually 100 feet or deeper - so the ambient light is not often what you'd really want for your AF system...
  9. I understood that we were talking about the lens, not the camera. And that is what my comments were intended to address. I guess you have only tried it with an a6xxx, so it could work just fine on an a7xx? I just ran some DOF calcs. Subject distance of 1 foot using a FF camera. Using this DOF calculator: https://www.pointsinfocus.com/tools/depth-of-field-and-equivalent-lens-calculator I think I'm finally starting to understand. Example: With an E-M5 at 60mm and f/4, and 1.4 feet distance to the subject, the width of the frame (at the subject distance) is 4.8", and the DOF is 4.9mm. With a Sony a7xx at 90mm, to have the same width of the frame - so the subject fills the frame equally to how it would on the m43, the distance to the subject would be 1.0 feet, giving a width of frame of 4.8". And, to get the same DOF, you'd have to use f/10, which would give you 4.7mm for DOF. That all sounds okay. f/10 on a decent FF lens should not have bad problems. But, I can see where, if you were using f/8 on the m43, that would give you a DOF of 9.74mm. And, to achieve equal DOF with the FF, you would have to use f/20 - f/22. And at that point, diffraction could (probably would, I think) start to degrade the image quality compared to the m43. However! I also ran the numbers based on putting the FF camera (with a Sony 90mm lens) in crop mode. I'm not sure if I did this correctly, though. Basically, I set the calculator to a sensor size of Nikon DX, and left the focal length at 90. Compared to the previous 2 calculations, the FF in crop mode gives these results: Distance to subject would be 1.5 feet, the width of the frame would be 4.7". To get the same DOF as the m43, when it's on f/8, you'd have to use f/11 - f/13. That does not sound like a very big deal (to my very inexperienced mind). And with an a7r4, you're still getting 26MP. So, compared to most m43 (all?), you actually have a higher resolution image to work with. In the end, it is probably academic to me. I got an a7r4 recently, but I have never shot macro and I think I'm not too likely to buy the 90 just for that purpose. I am more likely to spend the money for a WACP and shoot macro-ish with the 70mm end of the kit lens. In crop mode, that will give me 105mm focal length and 26MP, which should actually be pretty decent, I would think.
  10. Actually, now that I think about it, I have dived with people using an iPhone in a waterproof case who were taking pictures. Does that count as a camera in a housing? Seems like it would. Maybe should be a separate poll option, though. It is certainly low cost of entry.
  11. I sort of get that. But, the divers I have talked to in person who are looking for something to use underwater are almost always people who were not photographers before, and they are looking to upgrade from a GoPro-style action camera. I guess that just means those people are often not so passionate about it that they find their way here. Personally, I have an old Nikon N70 film camera. No way I would have thought to house it. I think I'm not the norm. I was not an active photographer for many years before I got into u/w. I guess most people are one of two categories: They were already an active photographer on land, so they housed a real camera for the first u/w. Or, they were not a photographer at all and they ended up getting a GoPro. Regarding your statement that the entry point is much more expensive that it used to be, I note that you can get a TG-5/6 in an Olympus housing for about $750 or so. And you can get a Sony a6xxx in a Meikon housing for under $1,000, I think. If that is much more expensive than it used to be, then how cheap DID it used to be?!? I can't imagine it being cheaper than that, say, 5 or 10 years ago. Am I wrong about that?
  12. I get that a smaller sensor has more depth of field for the same f/stop. But, I'm unclear on what you mean when you say "simply better DOF". You shoot a Nikon DX with f/4.0 and you'll get the same DOF as a FF camera shooting at f/6.0, right? So, can't you get the same DOF with either sensor size, just by using the right lens and f/stop? I don't know if shooting a FF in crop mode makes any difference to DOF, as you don't need to change exposure settings when switching between FF and crop. So, the parts that are in focus, will still be in focus and the parts that are not in focus will still be not in focus. I think. Another way of looking at it, when you switch to crop mode, your effective focal length is 1.5x. Your aperture has stayed the same physical size, so your effective f-stop is divided by 1.5. Net result, crop factor cancels itself out and DOF stays the same. I think. As for focus speed, I don't know anything about the Sony 90mm and the a7r3, but from what I've read, I don't think focus speed with the r4 is an issue. And I can't cite a source, but it SEEMS like I've seen mention somewhere that focus speed with the 90mm on the a7r3 was fixed (improved?) by a firmware update. I really don't know and have no personal experience with the 90mm. But, I have to ask, what is your statement about the 90 focus being slow based on? r3 or r4? Latest firmware in the camera and lens or not? I am by NO means trying to say you're not right. I'm just trying to understand the basis of your information.
  13. I know this thread is old news, but it was linked from a current thread. This particular post has left me really wondering. Why are you saying that smaller pixels are an advantage? My understanding is that bigger pixels are better. They accommodate a larger circle of confusion, as well as, theoretically, picking up less noise. In other words, a 24 MP full frame sensor would have bigger pixels than a 24 MP crop sensor and, theoretically, the FF sensor would have a distinct advantage. In comparing the the a7r3 and the D500 for macro, it seems to me that you can shoot the D500 with a 105mm lens. But, you can shoot the a7r3 with the Sony 90mm lens in FF mode and get 42 MP images. Or, you can shoot it in crop mode, where you will have an effective focal length of 135mm and you will still get 18 MP images - compared to the 21 MP from the D500. With the bigger pixels of the Sony, all other things being equal, I would also expect that the image noise would be slightly less as well. So, it seems to me as though the Sony would be the preferred option for macro - based purely on sensor size, pixel density, and lens choices. Differences in ability to focus are a different consideration. But, it seems like I have heard that a firmware update may have fixed some issues that had been reported with slow focusing of the 90mm? Regardless, I have never shot macro. So, I wonder how important AF really is? To my completely inexperienced point of view, it seems like using manual focus with focus peaking would be the best way to be sure you are actually getting exactly what you want in focus? I don't know (really, I don't!). Maybe using a spot focus and adjusting that to exactly what you want to be in focus allows AF to work well for macro? Anyway, now that the a7r4 is out, I think this thread takes on a new flavor. Shooting macro with an a7r4 in crop mode produces 26 MP images. So, you can choose from the 50mm and 90mm lenses and have 50mm with 61MP, 75mm with 26 MP, 90mm with 61MP, or 135mm with 26MP. And, from what I have read, the a7r4 with 90mm lens performs extremely well. In the latest Underwater Photography e-zine, Phil Rudin reports that: http://www.uwpmag.com/
  14. I am really surprised that there are so many people who went straight to a compact camera in a housing and did not have a GoPro first. It seems like everyone I know or meet has always had a GoPro before they bought a "real" camera of any kind (for u/w use). Personally, I had a GoPro for years before I even started diving. Then, I did take my GoPro in the water a few times, and I did shoot a very few number of stills with it, in the water, before I bought my first "real" camera. So, I voted in the poll as GoPro. However, if the question were "what is the first camera you bought for the purpose of underwater use", then I would have voted ILC. Even Meikon offers polycarbonate with a port system now, in their Salted line for Sony crop sensors. Very inexpensive, too, compared to any other option I know of. My Meikon housing for my m43 camera is a fixed port setup, but it has been flawless over the last 4 years. I think they offer an amazing value. And, for that reason, I think the transition from GoPro is not that hard. GoPro is SO limiting (for stills). A Sony a6xxx in a Salted housing can be put together for less than $1000, I think. And then you have options for using flashguns and for different lenses for WA and macro. If you're going to stick to recreational depths and don't need a full frame sensor, but you want good quality underwater photos, I think that setup is actually very compelling over a GoPro. I started with the Meikon housing and their cheap wet wide angle lens for my E-M10. I upgraded a year or so ago to the Meikon housing with a Nauticam WWL-1. That gave me a quite noticeable improvement in image quality and I have gotten some pictures with that setup that I am VERY happy with.
  15. I just stepped up to the a7r4 (from m43). I got the 28mm lens and WWL-1 for wide angle. I think the WWL is smaller than the dome you’d need for a 16-35. The kit lens with the WACP is the ultimate solution, but I’m not ready to spend that much money yet, and I already had the WWL. Also, 90mm may not be long enough for other cameras, but the a7r4 gives you so many MP that you can crop a lot more than you could with, for example, a D850. And, you can shoot it in crop mode to turn that 90mm lens into a 135 and still get 26MP images.
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