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About UWphotoNewbie

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    Broomfield, Colorado
  1. I used this review to finally justify pulling the trigger on the Nikon AW110. I wanted something primarily for rafting, kayaking, skiing and beach photos and light duty snorkeling. I absolutely will not take a DSLR near the beach/sand, something that ultimately was the undoing of even this camera. And I need something pockatable and quick for watersports. Manual control is cool but just gets in the way when trying to snap photos from a kayak. I have a Canon S100 already. Technically, the TG2 would probably be the best for snorkeling and a backup to the DSLR rig with its larger aperture, limited manual control and add-on WA lens, but the $150 extra cost on the Oly plus better GPS and wifi made me choose the Nikon. The review gave one more point to the Nikon, even though I'm sure the Oly IQ is better, this was all the cognitive dissonance I needed. I'm not sorry. The IQ is fine. Lots of keepers. It's fun to shoot and throw it in the beach bag. The GPS is astounding. Amazing placemark database and very good worldwide maps. Ability to upload photos to the iphone to post to facebook on vacation using the same app I use for the D600 is handy. 60 ft. rating means I could technically take it on dives. I've used it on ski trips since and I feel better about whipping it out in a snowstorm than I do with the S100. Ultimately, the first model I had failed. About halfway through the trip and after about 10 snorkeling trips I noticed water fogging the rear LCD and a few drops inside the battery door. I left It open in the hotel room to dry out overnight, but then the screen stopped working. It seems to be a fairly common problem with these according to the reviews on Amazon. Not just the Nikon but any of these in the test. I exchanged it at COSTCO and they gave me a new one plus $25 as the price had dropped still farther in the 3 weeks I had it. I suspect that fine sand in the seal was the culprit. In the future I will do more to protect it from sand. But given that beach use it the whole point of these, I'm glad I didn't spend $150 more on the Oly and very glad to have COSTCOs return policy.
  2. I'm glad you figured it out. Its not suprising that you need a few little tweaks to the housing. These are not mass produced products and a little adjustment is par for the course. I had to add some plastic washers to the rear dials to get them to engage properly. This is normal and another reason I don't want to upgrade my D70 as old as it is. With infrequent diving I know I would spend a good part of my next vacation tweaking/learning. The D70 is clunky but isn't broken and still gives awesome pictures since I know its quirks.
  3. And today here it is: http://nikonrumors.com/2013/09/19/nikon-1-aw1-camera-now-available-for-pre-order.aspx/ Amazing but so far I have yet to see Nikonrumors be significantly off the mark. I don't know if this is really a Nikonos, but its the closest thing we have seen in digital. It has a ways to go to be a genuine dive camera. They certainly prove that a Digital Nikonos is possible and I think this is the best argument I have seen for mirrorless.
  4. I had the same issue recently with my D70 Ikelite housing. Like Tinman, it was the shutter lever pressing on the shutter button. I should inspect it to see if its an issue with the spring, but I was able to work around it by lifting up on the shutter button a bit each time after each shot. It was less annoying an issue than it sounds. I recently started diving again after 5 years and upgraded to the D70s. My D70 never had this. Perhaps the spring is worn out or misaligned if the D70s shutter is slightly different than the D70. I would inspect the shutter button and lever mechanism. Water pressure can act on buttons at depth. If its half pressing the shutter the LCD won't display no matter what else you push.
  5. Great shot Loftus. I don't see anything wrong with her.....er...it...the shot I mean. Corners? I wasn't looking in the corners. Also very nice 14-24mm shot Alex! I shoot the 14-24mm topside as my D600 does not have a housing and so I'm still using a D70. Topside its excellent. My results are consistent with the reviews, the shrpest I have seen even in the corners. According to the reviews including DXOmark, the corners topside on the 14-24mm are supposed to be sharper than the 16-35. Topside, the wide end of the 14-24mm is unbeatable for bringing the viewer into the frame. I've had zero troubles using it without a protective filter even with the bulbous dome. Just be careful and don't be afraid use it like a tool not a jewel. I think the issue Alex is referring to is performance behind a dome. AFAIK no one has really figured out yet the best formula for this lens behind a dome. That combined with the inability to use filters gives the edge underwater to the 16-35mm. I plan to sell my 11-16mm and 10.5mm and buy the 16-35mm to use underwater with the D600 and topside with a polarizer. But for now, I'm still enjoying the D70. I picked up 2 barely used D70s bodies for $100 each and they are great in my D70 housing (my D70 is very worn out).
  6. I would not be overly concerned with sharpness underwater--water quality (and your proximity to the subject) makes a larger difference than any difference between these three lenses. I have the Sigma 15mm and find that it is the goldilocks lens on DX. Just wide enough to get super close, just narrow enough to keep extranious elements out of the frame, and the narrow FOV cuts down the fisheye effect. I personally like the focal length better than the 10.5mm. Still, for very big subjects and expansive reef scenics I still like the 10.5mm. But you really need to be much more careful with how you use it than at 15mm. Its easier to get a good shot with the Sigma, and now I use it on full frame too while my 10.5mm sits in the drawer waiting for that very special case. I do like the freedom of not having the zoom control to worry about and F2.8 is faster to focus and better with filters than a slower zoom. However if I had the choice of the tokina when I bought these, I'd go with the zoom. I think this is a miricle lens underwater. While I think it has limited utility topside, I think it really is the only WA you need underwater. Also think about carrying less gear when you travel as dives are limited and so is luggage. This lens really does it all.
  7. For underwater shots of anything larger than about a foot, you will want a wide angle lens. Your strobes no matter how big won't travel much more than 3 feet so shots of divers, turtles, grouper, sharks up to reefs and wrecks will need a WA lens. Fisheye lenses are the standard choice because the fisheye curvature really isn't as weird looking underwater as it is above. Partial fisheyes like the 15/16mm on DX or the 10-17 are ideal. For rectalinear lenses you will need a diopter behind most domes. Fisheyes won't so that's another reason underwater photographers prefer fisheyes. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any AFS fisheyes. So you are stuck with rerctalinear lenses. The new version of the Tokina 11-16 mm will focus with the non-focus motor bodies. I have this lens and traded it for my Nikon 12-24mm. I have been very happy with its performance. The F2.8 is great for indoor photos as well as wreck shots using filters. I believe it is sharper than either the Nikon 12-24mm or the 10-24mm. In fact, I think it is the sharpest DX wide angle lens available. None of the full-frame rectalinears will be wide enough on DX either. You need to be "unreasonably" close to your subject to get good underwater shots. :-)
  8. I picked up a Nikon AW 110 at Costco prior to my trip to Hawaii this August. Although I still was diving with 10 year-old D70, I wanted something smaller for snorkelling, pictures of the kids on the beach and in the water and for action shots kayaking and rafting at home in Colorado. The Nikon looked like the best deal and the GPS/wifi options looked useful as well. I chose this over the Olympus for its lower price and better depth (it might work on most dives) better GPS and wifi. I do like the olympus faster and wider lens and better strap attachment point and ability to use a WA lens. I used the camera for over a week and the experience was great. The photos were well exposed, sharp and the WB was spot on. It's easy to set a custom WB as well. It worked well for its intended purpose. While I love using my SLR in manual, in a all-conditions camera I want dirt simple. Who has time for settings while trying to snap photos of your friends from a kayak while balancing your paddle in an eddy? The GPS is simply awesome even tagging the nearest point of interest which was suprisingly accurate, with hugely detailed worldwide maps and POIs its nothing short of incredible. You actually could use this thing for navigating in the wilderness in a pinch. It even works as a depth gauge and the altimeter is barometricThe WIFI is also really cool allowing me to do quick facebook posts while on vacation from my phone or tablet. Who needs a laptop? All was well until the 10th day of our trip when at the beach I noticed some fogging on the rear LCD. I took it back to the hotel and let it dry out overnight with the door open and battery removed. It worked well in the hotel, then the next day at the beach the screen went from intermittent to not working at all. The camera seemed to still be taking photos but no LCD. Carefully opening the memory card door revealed one small drop of water inside. The card/battery door is grerat on this camera with a very positive lock and it never opened. I snorkelled with this camera a lot but never dropped it or took it lower than 10 ft. I did perhaps abuse it by leaving it in the sandy beach bag and took it into the surf. Perhaps a small grain of sand had made its way into the O-ring. Costco faithfully refunded me my money and I re-bought it from them (at a $30 discount too due to a current promotion). In retrospect I will be fanatical about using the included brush and more careful with sand. Questions: has anyone else had these tough cameras leak? Has anyone tried the Olympus FE lens with the nikon on the filter adaptor? Both are supposed to be 40.5 mm threaded.
  9. Just back from the big Island. I can highly recommend Kona Diving Company. I dove a 3-day package with them (2-2tank days plus the 2-tank evening/night manta dive). It was awesome. Lots of big wildlife. Excellent vis. The folks at KDC did everything to make my dives fun and worthwile. Very accomidating of my big camera rig. Great freshwater camera rinse tank. They do everything, set your gear up, take it back and ash/dry it each day. I'm not used to this kind of treatment but I'll say it is nice! Definately do the manta dive. Its my best ever diving experience. I can't imagine anything better than 28 mantas buzzing the tops of your heads? Seriously?
  10. Just back from Hawaii. We had a perfect vacation. Four days on the Hilo/Puna side and 7 days in Kona. Great weather, saw some amazing things topside and in the water. Snorkelling, diving and beaches were beautiful. I dove Kona Diving Company at Gina's suggestion. I went for their 3-dive package (2 2-tank days and their 2 tank evening/manta night dive). They were perfect. I can't say how they compare to other operators there (and there are many choices), but my experience with Kona Diving Company was awesome. The reefs on the big island are impecciable and the vis was amazing. Lots of wildlife. Mantas, tiger sharks on 2 dives, one whitetip shark, dolphins, turtles, a whole school of eagle rays, 2 octopus, 5 kinds of eels, one nudi, plus all the reef fish. Lots more to see I'm sure. I only did 6 dives! The manta night dive was the most incredible dive I have ever made. We had 28 mantas doing loops over our heads (almost scraping the tops of my strobes). We stayed for an hour of this and I shot until my strobes ran out, then shot available light for a while then just kicked back and took it all in. Amazing! KDC treated me very well. I'm used to and expect to haul and set up my own gear. But I can get used to having someone else do it for you :-) They took my gear at check in the day before my first dive (a little leary to be honest), and all my gear was on the boat the next morning rigged up. They changed over my gear between dives and took all my gear back to the office, washed and dried it and had it on the boat set up the next morning. Kinda luxurious but I got used to it. Nothing lost or misplaced. They have 2 large electronics rinse buckets (large size rubbermaid bins) that fit my Ikelite w/ 2x strobes. The staff was very friendly and good at spotting the small critters. ~ 3-4 divers per divemaster. Good food (lunch or dinner) onboard. No trouble handing down my gear. They did take snorkellers with us on the manta dive, but unfortunately I couldn't coax my kids and wife to come after all. I'm very comfortable on night dives but for those who are leary of the dark--don't be. There were so many divers/snorkellers from so many boats in the water that it wasn't dark at all. More like a swimming pool at night with the lights on. I dove with only my strobe lights, then when my strobes ran out no lights at all and was quite comfortable. I've done the stingray city in Grand Cayman and Stingray/nurse shark alley in Belize but the manta dive tops them all. I can't say if these guys are better than annother operator on the Big Island but I'd choose them again easilly.
  11. Thanks for the tip Gina, I will be leaving this Thursday and plan to dive with Kona Dive Company. They have a 3-day package that includes the manta dive plus will take my family as snorkellers. The 3-day package will save us some money too. Also obviously, everyone on this site dives with huge cameras. Any problems asking them to lower the camera to you?
  12. Thanks Rick! I will look into Pacific Rim.
  13. Who do you recommend for diving in Kona? I have about 100 dives and padi advanced. I don't need a personalized experience just a competent crew that will pair me up with a buddy and let me dive with a DSLR.
  14. After about a 4 year hiatus of diving I've finally planned a new diving trip to the big island of Hawaii. Has anyone dove Hawaii and what are your recommendations? I'm traveling with the family but I have reserved 2 days for diving on the trip (plus LOTS of snorkeling time with the family). I won't be bringing a buddy so I'll I will be with a charter cattle boat group and whoever they buddy me with. I'll need an operator who doesn't mind since I'll be diving with my DSLR rig. Of course I understand that I have to sacrifice photo time to stay aware and with the group/divemaster. Cruising around the web, the manta night dives look amazing! Does anyone know of a 2-tank trip that takes snorkelers as well as divers? This may buy me another day of diving :-) Also, it looks like most companies offer 2-tank am dives. Do 4-tank days exist or is it not practical given the distances to dive sites? What operators and sites do you recommend? Thanks for your help. Any other travel suggestions are welcome. In addition to diving and snorkeling our family (kids 10 and 13) plan to see the volcano, do some hiking and see some cultural sites (Kaloko-Honokohau and Pu'uokohola). We will be 4 nights in Hilo and 7 nights in Kona.
  15. What are Nikon shooters using for WA zooms on FX? Is the 16-35 the logical FX successor to the 12-24mm / 11-16mm on DX? At least you could use this with filters.
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