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stuartv

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Everything posted by stuartv

  1. I understand all that. It was well discussed. My point was that, my experience with shooting a similar setup is that, if you use a focus light, you don't have to turn off Live View AND it helps the camera focus. Win-win. The a7c will be somewhat different than my a7rIV, of course. But, I find that having a focus light (which I turn on and off, as needed) is very helpful, quite often. Maybe it's only the rIV and the a7c is much better, but my camera often has trouble getting a quick focus in lighting situations that SEEM like (to me) should be plenty of light. Maybe it's just low"-ish" light combined with reduced contrast from being underwater. Regardless, since I started using a focus light on my rig, I don't dive without it anymore. It comes in handy too often.
  2. Thank you, Alex! Those 3 are at the top of my list as well. The barrel sponges are indeed cropped a bit and shot at 60mm. I cannot say for SURE, but I am PRETTY sure that I had the WWL-1 on at the time. The photo was shot during a night dive and I don't recall doing any shooting during a night dive with the bare flat port. Actually, I don't *think* I did any shooting with just the bare flat port at all. Always the WWL-1 or the CMC-1. I think. I do have CRS... (Can't Remember Shit)....
  3. Hi Wolfgang, Thanks for posting this info. I was starting to wonder if anyone could see them. I used links to where they are hosted on Facebook. Since @waterpixel can see them, I'm guessing it is something to do with that. Perhaps Alex has a FB account and is signed into in his browser and you don't. The pics are set to Public, so I was hopeful that anyone would be able to see them here, whether they were signed into a FB account or not. Bummer. I need to make some time and make a choice of a real photo hosting site. I am just loathe to make a hasty decision - like throwing them up on Flickr - without suitable due diligence. That is why I now I have a bunch of "orphaned" photos still on Photobucket.... I will attempt to do that soon. But, I'm about to head out for a weekend of diving 2 states away, so it won't be this weekend...
  4. That said, I have a thread (currently 2 down the list from this one) where I posted some photos from my last trip, where I was using my setup with the CMC-1 for the first time. All my macro shots were done using standard Auto Focus (Spot w/Tracking). I plan to experiment with DMF and Focus Peaking, as it seems like a better way to go for macro, but I haven't done it yet. The point being, you CAN get decent results with the 28-60 lens, CMC-1, and normal AF.
  5. If your screen is black like that, then you would probably do well to add a focus light. Turning off Live View lets you see the subject on the LCD screen, but it doesn't help the camera to focus. I'm shooting the same setup as you, but with an a7rIV, instead of an a7c. A focus light will help your camera focus and also let you see it on the LCD screen without having to turn off Live View. Also, for help focusing on Macro subjects, you might try using the DMF focus mode with Focus Peaking. Press the button to get initial focus on some part of the subject, then move the camera slightly back and forth and watch the focus peaking on the screen to release the shutter when the part you want is in focus.
  6. I shoot an a7rIV. I keep a focus light mounted (but not necessarily turned on) all the time. Shooting macro, it seems to happen a lot that by the time I've move the camera in to close enough, I've blocked so much ambient light that without a focus light, my camera will not get a focus lock. As well, it's hard for me to even see the subject very well in the viewfinder (or LCD). I don't see why a focus light needs to be expensive or heavy. I use a plain old (cheap) 1000 lumen video light I happened to have. 1000 lumens is totally overkill, in a light that is a spot beam. In a wide beam, it's more than is needed, but not really OVERkill. Mine does not create any problems for me, that I have noticed yet. The point is, it does not need to be very bright at all. A lot of focus lights are only around 200 lumens and that should be plenty for macro. In which case, it's so dim compared to your strobes that it doesn't need to turn off for the shutter release. So, any old small, not-very-bright light will do. It does need to be on a mount that allows you to reach it all the way out to the front of your port, so I can shine down almost directly on the front of your port. Otherwise, if you have a close working distance lens, you end up blocking the focus light from the subject when the port is close enough to take the picture.
  7. I bought my Inon Z240 Type III strobes about 5 years ago - plus or minus. I bought them used for about half the price of new ones. They still seem to work fine. I did replace the magnet switches for the Flash Cancellation last year as one of them seemed to have gotten flakey. That was cheap and easy and is, I think, generally considered a maintenance item anyway. I keep thinking I should get new strobes as these HAVE to be ready to kick off. Buy new ones and keep these as backups. I probably will, in the not too distant future. I was really looking hard at getting Retra Pros. But, I just happened to price them out yesterday, with the few accessories I would need or want. The total came to USD$3,500, before tax (for a pair)! Now I am back to thinking I'll get a pair of Z330 Type IIs for less than half the cost. I have not really suffered at all with the 240s, so I think the 330 IIs will be just fine for me. Maybe I'll get the Retras some day, when I get hired for a pro u/w photography gig... *snort*
  8. Hmmm... it seems like there must be some trick that you didn't find. Or, it could be some "feature" of the particular camera/strobe combo you are using. I am looking forward to some time (someday!) to really experiment with mine and see if I can get it to work reasonably well. I think it *would* be really handy for some WA scenarios - if it worked well.
  9. Were you not able to make it expose correctly more consistently using an Exposure Compensation adjustment on the camera (or the strobes)? I guess I'm asking, is the TTL with the UWT and Retras completely useless? Or does it just require some unexpected adjustments, but then it will work well enough to be useable?
  10. Also, to address the original question ... well, I can't, exactly, as I have not done any shooting with TTL. But, I have set myself up to be able to and, now that my setup seems to finally be working correctly, I'm going to start experimenting with it. TTL seems of pretty limited use for macro - to me. For macro, the distance to the subject seems to generally be very static. I can position my strobes and adjust their settings manually and (generally) not be worried about missing my shot. Where TTL seems like it would be most useful is for shooting wide angle - for moving subjects. Without TTL, my most common issue is shooting a moving shark. My strobes are either set to give good exposure when it's further away and, if it keeps coming closer, it starts getting blown out. Or, they are set to catch it up really close, but then the frames where it is a little further away are underexposed. I am looking forward to a time when I can shoot an approaching shark and the strobes (with TTL) automatically adjust so I get good (or better, anyway) exposures during the whole approach. So I can just concentrate on operating my lens zoom and framing.
  11. Ah. That is ... unfortunate. Personally, I hate that kind of thing. I would be replacing the Ikelite housing, so I was not locked into their strobes or limited features from others. But, that's just me.
  12. Right. The question is whether you could replace the Ikelite TTL electronics with something else - like UWT - that would let you use TTL with Inon strobes.
  13. Why are you saying you'll lose the TTL option if you use Inon Z330 II strobes? You're using an Ikelite strobe trigger and it doesn't support TTL for the Inon strobes? Is there no option for a different trigger that would support TTL for Inon?
  14. Even if you're shooting in the blue, you're trying to get the subject to fill the frame as much as possible, right? And corner softness also means some softness at the middle edges, too, right? So, even in the blue it sounds like the 16-35 would be preferable to the 28-60 through a flat port. No?
  15. Thank you for that. Questions: Why do you say the 14 might be nice inside of wrecks? If the WWL setup is wider, it seems like that would be preferred inside a wreck. Otherwise, your post reinforces my feeling that the WWL setup is the way to go. But, I would still like some thoughts on how the WWL setup compares to the Sony 14 + 230mm. Does the Sony 14 combo eliminate the corner weakness issue that comes with the Sigma 15mm (vs the WWL1)? I suspect not. Regarding shooting sharks, that is my primary focus (ha ha!). I find that if the shark is too far away for the WWL1 combo, then it is also too far away for my strobes to properly illuminate. If I'm shooting ambient (VERY rare), and I need a tighter frame, I will put the camera in APS-C crop mode. That is one of the things I love about shooting the a7rIV. I can do that and still get a 26MP image to work with. Or, more likely, I will not change the camera setting and will crop in post to the 26MP (or however many I want) image. Same result. Either way, I suspect it gives me a frame that is as tight or tighter than Full Frame through the 35mm lens and dome.
  16. I am home from a week on a liveaboard in Turks & Caicos Islands. I feel like these are the best of what I shot down there. I was shooting a Sony a7rIV in a Nauticam housing, with the Sony 28-60 lens. Using a WWL-1 for wide angle and a CMC-1 for macro, 2 x Inon Z240 Type III strobes with f/o cables and a UWT trigger in Manual mode, and a Archon 1000 lumen wide angle (video) light as a focus light. I've had the camera and housing for about 18 months now and this was my first trip with photos where all of it seemed to actually work correctly the whole time. 2 bad/failed triggers and a magnet switch on a strobe that needed to be replaced have foiled me for far too long. It was SO nice to dive and not have camera hiccups! I had a 2 lens holder with bayonet mounts on one of my strobe arms. Being able to switch between WWL-1 and CMC-1 while in the water proved very handy several times. I liked being able to shoot sharks and sea slugs in the same dive! Any comments or constructive criticism on these would be truly welcome.
  17. I just read @Phil Rudin's review in the latest UWPMag of the Sony 14mm lens, with a Zen 230mm dome, for WA. Any thoughts on how the image quality from that would compare to using the same Sony camera with the Sony 28-60 lens and the WWL-1? His article says the 14mm lens gives a 114 degree FOV. And the WWL-1 setup gives 130 degrees, I think. So, the kit lens and WWL-1 is wider? What is one better at versus what the other is better at?
  18. Yes, I totally get that. I was responding to mjrovner's comment about publishing cycle times in W-sec.
  19. Yeah.... That would be nice, wouldn't it....? I very rarely fire at full dump. What I would like to see is cycle time when set to f/4 (on my Z240, or the equivalent exposure output from other strobes). I don't even think W-Secs is suitable. I know from working with other lighting that the "watts" of output is not necessarily comparable between different lights. Different lights have different output emitters and electronics that result in different efficiency and efficiency curves. One light putting out 50 W-sec could be brighter or less bright than another that uses a different light emitter or different circuit board. What I can say (to your earlier question) is that even my Z240 strobes will fire at around 2 frames per second, when set to something like f/4. So, multiple frames per second with the Retra Pro should not be a problem at all - IF you don't have them set to too high of an output setting.
  20. Question: Are the recycle times you're talking about for when the unit is firing at full power? If so, then are you making a fair comparison between the Prime X and Pro X? I think it would be more useful to compare the recycle times when the Pro is set to the same power level as the Prime. My guess is that, if that's all the power you need, then the Pro probably recycles just as quickly as the Prime. But, if you DO need more power, the Prime cannot deliver and the Pro can. In other words, my guess is that there is no downside to the Pro X, as you have suggested.
  21. Yep. That is exactly why I got the double-sided bayonet mount to go on one of my float arms. As well, I might have times when I want to shoot something of a size that I don't want the WWL-1 or the CMC attached.... I haven't actually used it yet, though....
  22. My port shipped with the focus knob installed. I don't recall anything in the box that would constitute a plug for the hole if I removed the focus knob.
  23. I could stand to remove mine. How do you plug the hole that is left?
  24. If the WWL-1B is rated to 150m, and the foam buoyancy collar is only rated to 50m, then I wonder why the WWL-1 is only rated to 100m? It must be different than the WWL-1B in more ways than just not having a metal buoyancy collar... Not that it's likely to matter to me... If I ever get to the point of diving deeper than 100m, I doubt I'll do it enough to get to the point of feeling comfortable enough to add a camera rig to all the other stuff I would have to be taking... I might do a few dives deeper than 100m eventually, but probably never while also carrying a camera.
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