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Posts posted by Fruitographer

  1. What timeline are you on and what's your budget. Panasonic is supposed to be working on a Lumix LX200 which would be in my opinion the best choice. This price will probably be around $1,000 and a Nauticam housing would be around $1,300. The older Lumix LX100 is still an excellent choice to get started with and has a micro 4/3 sensor size. where the LX10 is newer but has slightly smaller 1" sensor. The larger sensor will give better low light images although it has a lower resolution. I'm reading reviews now on the different options you would have available Sony makes incredible cameras like the RX100 series but they're supposed to eat batteries pretty fast from everyone I've talked with. Fuji makes a great camera with outstanding colors but they wouldn't really work well for underwater. I tend to do an excessive amount if research so I make the proper purchase from the beginning although it's not always the fastest and I don't like to rush into things until I've looked into all the reviews.


    Is there a reason you're specifically looking for mirrorless. It sounds more like you want a compact more than just mirrorless. I've been looking around for you but it would help to have some parameters of what you're looking for and how much you want to spend. Do you want interchangeable lens or fixed lens? Is there a specific brand you had in mind and if so what's the reason? Do you have a housing brand in mind or are you open. I'll help keep an eye out but it would make it easier for someone to help with these questions answered.

  2. I definitely like the crop better with more room in the leading direction. The color seems a little muted though compared to the first image. Try bringing the vibrance or saturation up. One other thing you could do is get rid of all the backscatter. In Photoshop you can use a filter under noise then select dust and scratches. Make the adjustment until the backscatter disappears. Try to keep the grain close to the same or it might not look as good. There are plenty of tutorials on how to do this. Once you've applied the filter, in the history panel select the paint brush next to the filter you just applied but select the previous action. Use the history brush to paint in the filtered effects using the darken blend mode into the action previous to applying the filter. Look it up on YouTube if you have questions.

  3. Just make another post and attach both photos. Under more reply options you can choose a photo and then attach it. Do that for both images and they should both be displayed. Personally I prefer dark but that's just me, especially if you have a lit foreground. You can also bring the luminance down for blue in post as well, although it's always better to get it right from camera. There's a lot of blue negative space though in the top of this image and if you cropped out half the distance from the top to the tip of the orange coral it should feel more balanced.

  4. I would say to get a used system that still works just fine that is incredibly cheap. I have a TG4 that I've been using for several years with and without a strobe and I've been very frustrated many times by not having a manual mode to control my settings. Now I have a Nauticam housing I just purchased on the way for a D810 that I got a great deal on. If you really want to get into this, don't get an Olympus TG camera of any version, they only have a 1/2" sensor and the images can get quite noisy in low light. That being said I still really like the TG cameras and they are definitely my favorite tough compact camera. I recently found an older Canon Rebel with Ikelite housing and macro setup for only $300. It has a cropped sensor that's much larger than a TG4 or TG5 and will still get much better images even though it's older and save you a great deal of money. I've also found a d700 with a SeaCam housing for around $1,800. Needless to say that since you don't have anything already you can purchase anything that comes up for sale at a great deal without having to look for anything specific just like Hyp mentioned. My recommendation would be to watch the classifieds and wait for a great deal on a full setup at a discount. The other thing you can do is put in add in the classifieds for wanted housing and camera. That's how I found the Canon Rebel with housing and lenses for only $300. Some people have things they want to get rid of but never make it into the classifieds.


    I've been researching this topic for the last month pretty heavily for myself and I would be happy to help point you in the right direction depending on what you want to accomplish and what brand you prefer. If you really want to go Mirrorless, then wait till the end of this year. Canon and Nikon are both coming out with a mirrorless system that is rumored to come out within the year. I was waiting until the Nikon version was released and was going to use it for underwater, but a deal landed in my lap that I couldn't pass up.


    When I first started, all I had was a flashlight and on camera flash. I was able to get some great macro shots this way by keeping the flashlight to the side and turning my on camera flash as low as it would go. The on camera flash should only be used close up and just to fill shadows but never as the primarily light source.


    Another option would be to use a nice compact that still allows manual settings. You'll definitely want the largest sensor size which would essentially be a micro four-thirds. I've done quite a bit of research into everything available within this category and Panasonic Lumix cameras seems to always come up as the best option. The LX10 has a 1" sensor but the LX100 has a micro four-thirds sensor and seems to have great reviews but is a little older. I've heard that an LX200 is supposed to come out within the year. This would be a perfect small camera great for travel but also plenty good enough for underwater. then you could get a Nauticam housing with a macro converter to get the close up shots you want.


    there's a Sony RX100V for sale as a package with Nauticam housing for $1,800. It only has a 1" sensor but I've used one before and was able to get some great shots. the batteries do run down fast in Sony cameras though.


  5. I agree that everyone is right on track by recommending the Non strobes over Sea & Sea. I purchased a brand new YSD2 strobe and used it for just over a year before the housing flooded and caused non-repairable damage. It will also over heat if used on full power for consecutive shots within a shorter period of time causing damage as well, which it even says in the manual. Since it was just past warranty they told me I was out of luck and I had to eat the $750. I had just paid for it. The battery compartment was completely dry and some how the actual electronic components flooded destroying the strobe. When sent in for repairs it took around 3 months just to find out they wouldn't do anything. Afterwards I found out that Sea & Sea was having the strobes built with very little quality control and were having major issues with many of their strobes. Stay away from Sea & Sea like the plague. They have horrible products and even worse customer care. Listen to everyone on this discussion and go with an Inon strobe instead.

  6. It definitely looks like a plain old box that just happens to be a fish which can be difficult to photograph. Personally, I prefer to make texture stand out using my strobe position which can definitely help add depth to a fish without much going on. The lighting in this image looks pretty flat and more of a side light to make the fin and lips pop more would greatly help. Were you shooting TTL or manual for you strobes. If they are on TTL and putting out the same amount of light, one of them can be angled out more than the other to provide a feather that will give more shape rather than flatness. Even if I have 2 lights, one of them will be my key light that will be much brighter than my fill light just used to fill in the shadows slightly so they aren't pure black. With the DS160's there're 2 ways you can do this, either angle one light out more than the other or use an EV Controller with a sync cord attached to adjust the light on one side lower than the other while using TTL. If you're using Manual settings then you can still angle the strobe out or just turn it down a little to the desired effect. I've included a shot I took a while back that shows the effect of more side light using a single strobe. This image isn't perfect but it seemed to work for explaining how to make texture stand out more.


    I've done a great deal of photography in situations where I have to predict when and where something will be before it happens, both on land and in the water. If you try to go after anything to get a shot, it will run and show it's tail. I've watched this happen over and over on manatee tours. On the other hand, if you can watch the pattern it swims or get ahead of it and sit in one spot while it swims to you, there's a better chance of getting something usable. Most people trying to photograph manatees will only focus on getting a photo rather than being friends with it and establishing a connection. Those people never get a shot and they are scrambling and chasing the whole time. I make friends with them so they want to hang out while only spending a fraction of the time actually taking a shot. I end up with the best angles and images every time. Sometimes though things are skittish and there's nothing you can do.


  7. Here is a basic concept of what I'm talking about. First thing would be to get rid of the particulate on it by using a dust and scratches filter adjustment and then using the history brush with darken blend mode and paint away the back scatter. There's plenty of info on this elsewhere. Bring down the black on it's body and bring up the highlights on hairs.


    Here is the best way to practice, go buy a black wig which is easily found at a black hair supply store. Then lay it over a milk jug or what ever else and put it next to a brighter background or even sand for best scenario. Then practice your shots until it's right. Then you can take your time and figure out exactly what to do. With this setup you can put your camera on live view and use a continuous light while moving it around and watching the screen to see what works best. I just tried it and this should help you find the right angle of camera and light to get your shot.


    I did a basic edit and obviously it's rough, but I just wanted to show the idea and it didn't need to be perfect. I brought the blacks down and the highlights of hairs up then reduced the saturation of background to remove blue/green shadows and then reduced the contrast of background slightly. Also removed a bunch of particulate.



  8. I just tested the strobe output versus video light. Using my demonic 758 light meter I tested Both the DS125, DS161, and Big Blue 25,000, and 30,000 lights.


    The settings were ISO 100 at 125th of a second from 20 inches. Both strobes were at F22 and the lights were at F4.0 5 and F4.0 9. So 25,000lm was right in between F4 and F5.6, while the 30,000 was just barely below F5.6. that's a big difference between the strobe and video lights. Even a small weak strobe would work better for you than a powerful video light in most cases.

  9. I will often turn my strobes to adjust lighting. It works great and much faster. One thing I would do is flip it horizontally. our eyes want to travel from the top left of an image to the lower right just like we would if we were reading a book. So if my eyes go from left to right the first thing I run into is a fish but and since I'm not a dog, I would rather say hello to it's face. I've done a lot of before and after photos for health retreats and I used the same portrait for the instructor and just flipped it. The light was coming from the left so when he looked left his face was more lit up. I flipped it so he was looking to the right and light seemed to be coming from the right as well. Everyone thought the photo of him facing the left was brighter because their eyes started at the left of the image and the first thing they ran into was his lit up face. For the one of him facing to the right, the first thing the eyes ran into was the darker back of his head then jumped around to his lit up face. So everyone thought the one of him facing left was brighter even though they were exactly the same.

  10. It's black so let it be black. stop trying to light it brighter than it is. Think of photographing people, White people you shoot for the shadows and black people you shoot for the highlights. you don't try to over expose dark skin or it looks weird.


    A backlight was my first thought but you tried that. Try to sidelight and use a clamshell set up for your strobes, although the tail side strobe should be just to fill in some of the shadows and at a much lower setting to give a slightly more even light. I agree with Tursiops and how he says to light low and skim across the bottom and expose properly. Check your histogram and make sure your blacks aren't clipped. Since your shooting something black it's okay to have a much brighter background which will separate it. As long as you can get those hairy looking things to stand out like it's been backlit you'll be good to go. Don't worry as much about making the black show up as much as making the texture pop and those little hairy things stand out and remember it's black so shoot for the highlights which needs to be done some how with more of a backlight.

  11. It's hard to find a fault at all with these images. They're outstanding. If I was forced to find something, the only thing I see is in the first image, there's two fish that stand out a little lighter on the right side of the image just above and below the fin. This is also being extremely picky and they could go to the print shop as is in my opinion. Possibly brighten the whites a little more but I tend to like things dark and the way it is already.

  12. For your first time shooting manual, you did just fine. The light doesn't act the same way underwater as it does on land. It can be very difficult especially for your first time. There are a bit to many photos to give you any real feed back. I would suggest submitting no more than three at a time or it will take to much time to critique and people may not give as much feedback. Other than general advice. First thing is the composition. There's to much wasted space that doesn't serve a purpose and shouldn't be there. Make the primary subject be the dominant part of the image rather than the background. Put more space in front of the subject giving them more room to swim into rather than leaving room behind them. Otherwise it feels like the subject is going to run into a wall at the image edge. Keep things out of center and use rule of thirds. The school of minnows doesn't have a primary subject and nothing stands out. There should be one that connects with the camera as a primary subject that draws the viewer in. More of a sidelight would also separate them from the background more. The railing is definitely the best image although there's too much wasted space in the upper right. crop tighter to remove the empty blue.

  13. Try flipping the first two horizontally. Since the majority of the world reads from left to right, our eyes tend to look at an image from left to right. Right now they are facing more to the right and it doesn't connect as much. The composition now tends to lead the viewer off the page at the lower right since the fish is looking that way and the thing it's on. If it's looking to the left the viewers eyes will stop at the fish and keep them looking rather than leading on to the next image. There are instances where you would want to lead the viewer to the next image though.


    First image - Flip Horizontally, Darken background


    Second - Flip, lighten the fish and only slightly darken the background


    Third - The lighter part of the image behind the fish is distracting and makes it hard to see the primary subject. Darken that area to even out more. Then darken the background and lighten the fish.


    I put together a basic example of what I'm suggesting and obviously it could be adjusted a little more but this should give you the idea.




  14. I think Tursiops had the crop spot on. the only other thing would be to darken the blurred background to make your primary subject stand out or in this case leave the background lighter and darken the foreground to make the puffer stand out more. the image is very busy and I had to look to much to find the primary subject when it should be more obvious.


  15. I actually like the crop of the first image the way it is. Although I do agree that the orange fish in the lower left are distracting and something should be done. I would desaturate them a little to reduce the distraction and darken everything but the shrimp. I did a basic edit but it should serve the purpose.


    The main thing that would help you in the future is how you light them. Your eyes want to look at the brightest thing first then color. So make the shrimp the brightest thing in your image by angling the light away from the background so it's not so bright. Personally I prefer more of a sidelight to bring out the texture and separate the subject from the background. A snoot would also work great for this. If using two strobes, one could be used for the overall environment and the other could have a snoot angled at the shrimp making it slightly brighter and stand out more. This is would've helped the second image since it's hard to see that it's actually a shrimp in the first place. It seems to blend into the background and gets lost for me. Use your lights to make your subject stand out from everything else rather than just fixing it in Photoshop, which may not always work. I've got shots of decorator crabs in the PNW that would only show up in a photo with a sidelight and a darker background.




  16. First off I realize this is an older post but the critique still may help someone else who looks at this. The main thing I see is the composition should be adjusted to remove the white space in the upper left. It's very distracting and nothing is there which serves no purpose. I did some messing around and if this was cropped and rotated clockwise slightly to remove the white in upper left and waisted space of all blue in the lower right, it would draw the viewer in more and make the school of sardines seem more grand. There's just to much waisted space in this image but it's possible to make an adjustment and make this image pop substantially more.

  17. I'm looking for a few of the older Ikelite EV Controller's for a reasonable price along with some DS125's as well. If you have either of these and would like to sell them, Please let me know and we'll see if I can make my bank account smaller and your's larger.



    Photo from Divestock

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