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Everything posted by slowhands

  1. The new Ikelite Fiber Optic Adapter for their DS strobes is here: http://ikelite.com/web_two/fiber-optic.html It does not do TTL, only manual control, so you have to set the strobe for manual flash. But no more electrical cable, and one less O-ring. Alas, most of Ikelite's DSLR housings do not allow the flash to raise and fire. So this new Fiber Optic Adapter is mainly for using Ikelite strobes on Point and shoot Cams, I guess. I think I saw a circuit for a LED flasher that sits in the hotshoe and might be able to trigger this, but can't recall where now.
  2. Phil, you are always a step ahead on Olympus stuff. I had not heard about the Athena adapter. It sounds good, but ... the opening for the lens is still narrow, so that only m43 lenses will fit (well, I tried the m43 converter and it won't fit, so forget the E series lenses I wanted to play with down under). There are not a lot of lens options for m43 just now, so while it's great the Athena adapter will let you put the 8 inch dome on the PT-EP01, I'm not sure what lenses at present make that worthwhile. What combinations make sense?
  3. I did not believe this until I got a new Canon housing and looked for the mold release lines. They look like slightly raised lines through the area where the O-ring seals. I could see they might allow a slight leak at pressure. Sanding actually makes things rough, not smooth. You just can't see it if you use 3000 grit. As a woodworker, I know the best way to make wood really smooth is simply to scrape it with a sharp edged tool, called .. a scraper. Any sharp edge will do. I use the back edge of a utility knife blade, not the cutting edge but the back. It's fairly sharp and will not do harm. Just run it over the tiny ridge until all is smooth. Don't apply so much pressure that you add to the problem, just drag the edge over the mold release lines until you can't feel them with your fingers. There are typically 4 hairline mold release lines under the O-ring. Pity Canon left this quality control step to the customer, but that's life. I like the housing otherwise, bone dry for me.
  4. Excellent work. Did you get the Dyron adapter at Cameras Underwater? They are the only practical supplier I found. I'm on the verge of getting the adapter from them. The Dyron 15 and 20mm conversion lenses are so compact compared to the Fisheye and Inon wides, I'm so tempted to get the 20. I worry the 15 is just not sharp in the corners, but wow it's wide. Can you post some pics of your housing with the lenses and especially your DIY conversion of each lens? I was thinking of giving that a go too and don't want to re-invent the wheel. My idea was to put a step ring on the DC35, since the Dyron adapter is tough to buy here in the USA. Then I would use the 67mm screw mount versions of these lenses, but if the bayonet mount versions can be modified, that's great. Thanks again, this is great stuff!!
  5. I had the same problem with my PT-027 years ago. One option is to rob one from another housing. There are a lot of PT-022s sitting around unused, cheap. It's the same part. I lucked out. The good people at Reef Photo happened to have a replacement bulkhead in stock for $30. Give them a call at 877.453.8927.
  6. It is possible to do this. If you just want a manual trigger and will use your strobe in manual, that's very simple. If you want to try to do DSTTL, it is more expensive. How much would people be willing to pay for such a device?
  7. This may be possible. Your strobe has a sealed bulkhead for attaching a cord, so there is no risk of leaks. I believe your Sea&Sea Nikonos cord could be modified for this purpose. Get hold of an Ikelite TTL cable with 5 pins and remove the Ikelite Connector for the housing end. You may find a resistor inside the Ikelite connector, connecting the SP line to something, discard it. You have 5 wires in your S&S cable, 4 off which connect directly to the corresponding pins in the Ikelite connector. You need Ground, X, and Ready as a minimum; Q is optional if you want manual only. Don't use the 5th wire, called SP, it's not what you need for the Ikelite. I'd try to find fresh O-rings for the connector to reseal it, but the old ones may suffice. See the following site for information on the pinouts for Ikelite and Sea&Sea: Strobe Connector Pinouts It may be possible to supply the Power signal that the Ikelite housing needs for its TTL converter from the Ready line. That may allow you to use the Ikelite TTL converter's Manual control capabilities (the YS-120 is too slow for TTL). Try this by simply connecting the Ready signal also to the Power signal. I doubt there is enough voltage for it -- I have not done it. The proper way to do this is to modify the YS 120 internally to supply +6V on the former SP line. Then the TTL converter would be powered and may allow use of the manual modes, but not TTL. By the way, this suggestion applies only to the Sea&Sea YS-120. I don't recommend trying something like this with the very old Ikelite strobes, since they have potentially destructive voltage levels on the X line which will destroy your TTL converter. I doubt Ikelite would be sympathetic, since they advise against it. "Do not use TTL Sync Cords with very old Non-TTL Ikelite SubStrobes that have only four connectors (no center contact) in the bulkhead. Non-TTL sync cords MUST be used with these strobes. These strobes were made before TTL existed, and a TTL sync cord on these old strobes will apply 360 volts to a Nikonos V camera which fries it instantly."
  8. Earlier in the thread, people suggested brushing the surfaces to be soldered to break the oxide layer, using a very hot solder iron, using flux. You can solder these, but be quick as too much heat will harm the batteries. The other thing people said was these are too fat, and may be tight in the housing. Better to use the undersized 3800 MAH Tenergy cells. As for chargers, why not use an old laptop charger? These are all made to charge NiMH batteries, and accept worldwide voltage. I find them cheap at flea markets. Cut off the battery plug, replace it with a new one from Radio Shack, and save a bit.
  9. I would not assume it is the flash tube. That's pretty reliable. What usually fails is one of the several power semiconductors that control the duration of the flash. Far more likely to be one of those. The ready light blinks whenever a trigger signal is sent, and it has nothing to do with the actual flash discharge, other than causing the first in a series of events that is the flash. To be sure, I would send the entire strobe to Ikelite, I think you will be chasing your tail otherwise.
  10. You are correct, no slave sensor on this YS-60 / S. It has a cable for Sea & Sea cameras with a 4 pin plug on the end (not a Nikonos 5 pin connector). The only way to make it work with a 5050 is to use the Digital Adapter S (Sea&Sea) from Heinrichs Weikamp: http://www.heinrichsweikamp.net/#/en/digital_adapter/ Order DA-O-S, for 92 euros by Paypal. This is a cool gizmo, a slave sensor you affix over the Olympus flash on the outside of the housing. I use black Velcro with cutouts. It is powered by the strobe through the cable, no batteries. I would only use this YS-60/S in manual: on the camera, slave and on the strobe, manual not TTL. It tries to work in TTL, but I fried one doing it. So, use manual.
  11. TSA has had a restriction on Lithium batteries for years. I have never been bothered with this restriction, but I am aware of it. They enforce it spottily. See: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/ass.../batteries.shtm The reason is lithium burns in air and cannot be extinguished by the standard extinguishers on airplanes. Lithium primary batteries are the most concern, since most secondary batteries have thermal protection/fusing built in. To satisfy TSA, carry the spare batteries with the terminals covered, either with the original cover, or tape. That's supposed to be enough protection.
  12. I use the Sigma on a D70, and find it an excellent lens for half the price of the Nikon ($450 vs $900). It is slightly wider at 10mm end, which is very significant at these angles of view. It is probably not as sharp as the Nikon, and it's aperture varies from f/4 to f/5.6 at the long end. The build quality is very good. Now, there are some details to be aware of when using it in an Ikelite housing. It does fit a standard Ikelite zoom gear, using the thnnest rubber shims only (very tight, but they all are). The front of the lens is too fat to fit through the port, so you do have to mount it with the camera in the housing. It is a bit of a trick to remove the lens, once mounted, because you can barely reach the release button on the camera, but a pencil works fine for that (eraser end). As you can imagine, this means you have to remove the lens to remove the camera to change batteries, not very convenient, but I assume this is the same with all the fat lenses. Someone mentioned the Tokina. Check with Ikelite to make sure you have the right port and zoom gear for it. It think it might be a special zoom gear, not sure, so I think it's a good idea to call them. As luck would have it, Ken Rockwell was right about the Nikon lenses being a little safer bet, compatibility wise. Sigma has to do a free update to the firmware in the lens for a new function on the D200, the rear AF switch. It works in all other D200 functions, except that AF switch function, without the update. If you don't have a D200, this is not an issue. If you do, make sure the dealer sells you an updated lens to work with the D200. I will send mine in whenever I can spare it, but this lens is so much fun I really don't want to be without it.
  13. Yes, I found after I posted that there is an update for the 7070 firmware to version 1.1 that corrects the issue of poor flash operation with low EV (dim light). (Olympus does not mention this as being corrected in this update, but it is.) To check the version of firmware, you run Olympus Master software, plug the camera into the USB and turn it on. Olympus Master queries the camera what firmware version it has, and prompts for an update if needed. If you have 1.1, you have the latest and should not have the flash problem.
  14. There are several things that cause that delay. The camera must determine exposure, white balance and focus. And being in a housing and in dim light underwater causes some problems too, as you will see. There are some ways to work around the delay. But you will NEVER achieve the speed of even the slowest DSLR (typically a tenth of a second). Frankly, you may be better off to move to a DSLR, if you can afford it. Otherwise, reset your expectations and try some of these workarounds. SPEEDING UP AUTO MODES: To speed up the camera in automatic exposure modes (every mode but Manual), first try presetting exposure in advance by depressing the shutter halfway, then waiting for the shot. The camera then will take the picture much faster when you fully depress the shutter. It takes planning, and there is still delay (say 0.3 seconds). In dim light, increase the ISO to avoid too slow shutter settings and camera shake. A little noise is better than a blurred image. SPEED UP BY USING MANUAL EXPOSURE: A better technique is to use Manual exposure mode. Forget Program, Shutter, Aperture, and all the scene modes. You won't have to wait for the camera's pokey computer to figure exposure out. This is harder, because you need to know what settings to start with, then make adjustments based on the results. But it speeds up the camera, and often your choices are better because the camera gets fooled by unusual conditions underwater. In Manual exposure mode, try 1/100, f4 for starters, check the shot afterward, and make adjustments. The Splashdown Divers website has all this and more in a table, so check it out. Here is the link again for reference: http://www.splashdowndivers.com/photo_gall...up_settings.htm You can easily make a table of your own preferred MyMode settings, using the spreadsheet posted in the Yahoo Group MyOlympus Files, here: http://f2.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/gJntQ11QzWN4i...60_my_modes.xls THE REST OF THE STORY, SLOW AUTOFOCUS: Unfortunately, the 5060 and 7070 are very slow to autofocus in dim light underwater, and this may be part of your problem too. I think there are two reasons for this. First, they have a slower lens than the 5050 (by almost 1-1/2 F stops!), which makes focusing much more difficult. Second, the AF assist LED, beneath to the optical viewfinder, is mostly blocked by the PT-020 housing! On the 5050 in a PT-015, the AF assist LED is not blocked due to its different location. These differences have a lot to do with the poor autofocus performance in dim underwater conditions. In dim light you may not be able to autofocus at all -- the camera just hunts and gives up. In fact, your two second delay sounds just like the camera is hunting for focus due to low light. (Again, one workaround is simply to manually focus, by setting distance.) If you want this camera to autofocus more quickly in dim light, try using an external modeling light. It's a good idea to buy a strobe that has a modeling light, but I tiewrap a small flashlight to my setup because mine does not. I am willing to bet you will see a real speedup in focusing if you try this. FLASH PROBLEMS: You mention you are using slave flash. I imagine you're optically slaving your strobe. If that works, fine. But there is a delay of .13 seconds between the pre-flash and mainflash that you can bypass (hey, it all adds up!), if you use an external slave in Slave mode. To do that you need either the the PT-020 and Olympus strobe in a housing, an Ikelite housing with their DS strobes, or the PT-020 with a Heinrichs converter driving a suitable strobe. That's a whole other topic, but it is a good idea to consider for many reasons I won't go into here. There is a problem using flash in dim light with the C-7070 (and I suspect also the 5060) that you should be aware of too. The camera firmware limits the flash to a very short duration when the exposure value is low, even if it should be a long flash. This is probably a design decision, to protect the internal flash from overheating, but should not apply if there is an external flash with lots of power. Unfortunately, it does apply. In dim light, the camera gives a brief flash, internal or external, sorry. You get a black picture. The only way I know to work around this is to use manual external slave flash control triggered by the brief flash, and adjust the external flash manually for conditions (not all flashes allow this). So, try using manual exposure and a modeling light. Learn what settings work for you and put them in the MyMode setups. It should improve shooting speed, but it will never be as fast as any DSLR.
  15. You should fully charge your batteries after every use, and for a few hours each month also. Leaving the batteries without charge for a year will shorten their life, and may allow cell reversal, requiring replacement. The Smart Charger Indicator Lights have three modes: Slow Blinking: deeply discharged, so the charger is slow charging your battery. Continuous: quick charging. Rapid Blinking: fully charged I doubt your batteries are fully charged, so probably they are being slow charged to bring them up, then the charger will go to quick charge. Leave the charger connected overnight, and see if the strobe works properly with the charged battery. If not, you need a new battery set.
  16. Ask yourself: how you would shoot with it? What subjects at what distances interest you? Decide what you want to shoot, then what lenses will support that. Then you can pick what ports you need for the lenses you will use. Not sure which lenses? Read these articles: Here is an excellent article recommending lenses, ports, and technique with this housing. The photos illustrate what you can achieve with various lenses and good technigue. http://www.splashdowndivers.com/photo_gall...uipment_d70.htm Here is an interesting discussion by other members here on what lenses they use professionally. Remember, they shoot for a living, and what they need to shoot to sell may not be what you personally like to shoot. http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=10569 My personal suggestions: If you shoot small stuff the 105 lens is magnificent. If you shoot large subjects, like pelagics, wrecks, you want a superwide lens, like the 12-24 zoom, or the 10.5 fisheye. Consider the Sigma 10-20mm, and 15mm fisheye too. The choice depends on your interests and budget. I would suggest diving with your 105 and getting a feel about what else you need from that experience.
  17. Would just a cord to a bulkhead fit? Maybe you could just connect to a Nikonos bulkhead. I heard there was some maker developing a line of smart cords with converters built in, from Nikonos to some fairly decent strobes. Could be vaporware though, it's been a while since I heard of it. The strobes were made by some company, I think the name starts with I, maybe Inon, I forget. I hope they keep it simple, no buttons or LEDs, because I get awful confused already with all them buttons and lights like the back of a semi truck.
  18. I noticed a similar problem on my Ikelite 7070 housing. The problem was the housing rubber wheel would not quite engage the mode dial with enough friction to turn it, and a couple of the top mounted controls were not quite aligned with the actuators. The cause seemed to be that the camera was tilted forward a bit, due to pressure from the foam gasket around the LCD. Due to this pressure, the rear bumpers of the camera were lifted off the camera saddle about 1mm, and the camera tilted forward enough to miss the actuator. Because of their excellent commitment to support, I know Ikelite would have fixed this in a jiffy. But rather than send this back to Ikelite and be out of action, I shimmed the camera backward a tiny bit, just enough to operate perfectly. Because I did not want to bend the mode dial shaft, I was very cautious with the amount of backward tilt. I used Dymo label tape on the saddle of the housing, under the front edge of the camera. I chose this tape because the adhesive does not bleed and the tape is tough and thick. Now its another odd item added to my "Save a Dive Kit". End of problem. We divers have to be able to cope with minor things like this, or be out of action on trips.
  19. I believe it's a 10-20mm, f4-5.6 lens. It is half the price of the Nikon 12-24, but not as sharp at the edges. Probably a good candidate for the shoot. I have this lens, and like it a lot. But you do get what you pay for -- Nikon lenses are usually sharper and more likely to be compatible with future products. They should be, at the price. Latest gotcha: for the D200 many Sigma DX lenses have to be re-chipped to work with one new function on the camera, the rear AF switch, including this one. To their credit, Sigma is offering to do this no charge, but you lose the use of the lens for a period of time. Again, this is only for the new function on the D200, and does not matter for the previous Nikon DSLRs.
  20. You don't say which type of OLY-TTL-PT-? converter you have. Was your converter the -S (Sea & Sea) version or the -N (Nikonos) version? See: http://www.heinrichsweikamp.net/blitz/indexe.htm One version makes your housing look like a Sea&Sea Motor Marine III bulkhead, the other makes it look like a Nikonos V bulkhead. If it was -S, bad news! No new cord is available to to mate a Sea&Sea camera to Ikelite. See if you can exchange it for the N version from HeinrichsWeikamp, and get a cord for the N version below. If it was -N, you need an "Nikonos housing to Ikelite substrobe" cord, from Ikelite only. Your camera looks like a Nikonos housing, so you CANNOT use the Ikelite housing to Ikelite Substrobe cord 4103.51 as previously suggested here! You can probably use any of the older Ikelite Nikonos TTL camera to Ikelite substrobe cords, numbers 4104.31, 4104.51, 4104.6 (and their dual strobe versions -32, -62). The 4104.31 cord leaves out the SP signal, which the converter does not use, so it should be OK if that is all you can find. The other two, 4104.51, 4104.6, are the old cords used for TTL from Nikonos III, IV, V, and RS cameras to Ikelite substrobe. There must be a lot around used and they are available new from Ikelite also. The strobe needs 3 signals to operate, the X, Q, and Gnd, and I believe the converter draws power from the strobe on the Ready line to operate. Hence you need a 4 wire cord to the strobe, and the old cords should have those wires to run TTL. If you have an Ikelite cord that is not labled, you can test the continuity on the pins listed in the following description and verify the wires needed are there. The Ikelite and Nikonos interfaces are described here: http://www.camerasunderwater.co.uk/info/tech/nikttl.html
  21. The SB800 is a great strobe. I love mine. But it's expensive at $400 x 2. It makes more sense economically to build a dual strobe system another way, just using older Nikonos style strobes. To do that, use the HeinrichsWeikamp iTTL converter and two cheap Nikonos style underwater strobes to make a dual iTTL strobe system. The strobes are cheaper so the total cost is lower, and the strobes are better for underwater use. Here is the converter: http://www.heinrichsweikamp.net/blitz/indexe.htm See also the list of strobes you can support with it (iTTL of course). Since the converter puts out Nikonos style signals, any Nikonos compatible strobe can be used that is fast enough to do preflash (see list). Underwater strobes are a better starting point for a dual system. They are often much more powerful than the SB-800. They are designed to be waterproof, yet have venting for battery gases. This is a very serious issue, since both Sea&Sea and Nikon had big recalls due to injuries related to the gas buildup in the YS-50 and the SB105. Still, if you really want to adapt land strobes to underwater use, it might be cheaper still to use the converter and a pair of older strobes that can do preflash, perhaps two Nikon SB-80DXs at $125 each. You still need two waterproof housings, the dual cord, and the converter for this system. It would be cheaper to just use strobes designed for underwater.
  22. It looks like this is still in development, and unfortunately the 8" dome product available now only supports the 12-24, but does not support the 10.5. As of today, you need two 6" domes, 5503.15 and 5503.50. See the list: http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/2port_nikon.html The 8 inch dome system MIGHT support both in the future (Ike said January 2006 some new product would be out and I assume this is what it is). According to rumor, the 8 inch dome has multiple extensions, so fewer ports would be needed, better for travelling. A shorter extension might be available for the 10.5mm Nikon with the same dome, for instance. Here is an early review here of the first version of the 8" dome showing at least one additional longer extension: http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/canon-10-22...te-8-dome-port/ Aquatica has been using extensions on its domes for years, so this is a proven concept. But I can understand Ikelite being very cautious about modifying a very long lived and proven port system, with sunk engineering and tooling costs. Developing a new port system with extensions that is backward compatible with old housings and yet as good as or better than the current product is a very tough design and manufacturing challenge. I'm excited about what might come out in January, but actually today you can buy the two 6" domes, for less than the price of just one 8" dome. Your housing choice should not be held up by waiting for the new product.
  23. I would suggest you look at the Splashdown site, because the site owner went through just the progression from Olympus PS to Nikon DSLR that you are considering. His experience and recommendations are helpful, and there are lots of photos to demonstrate what the various rigs are able to do. He also recommends some lenses, interestingly the same ones I would suggest. Here are my recommendations based on your expected uses. Nikon makes some outstanding macro lenses. Probably the AF 105mm F2.8 lens would be a good first choice ($450+), giving you more distance to subject than the 60mm. It's my favorite on land for closeups, and is a great lens. The 60mm is also great, for larger subjects ($350+). If you want the sharpest closeups possible, these are the ones. For wide angle, the most popular is the 12-24mm Nikon, but it's very expensive ($900+). You might consider the Sigma 10-20mm zoom at half the price ($450+). You can do some interesting close wide work with these, because of their ability to focus closely while displaying the environment of the subject in the wide background. Whatever lens you buy, you have to match it with an apropriate lens port for your housing. If you use the Ikelite housing, the ports are listed here for example: http://www.ikelite.com/web_pages/2port_nikon.html These two lenses, a good macro and a wide zoom, will do nicely for a start, and I would get some experience before buying more.
  24. Another possible solution would be to increase the ISO setting, to allow the use of smaller apertures and TTL flash control, which is what you want. It should make the camera TTL exposure system allow faster shutter speeds, smaller apertures, and/or shorter strobe duration. On land you would be concerned with degradation of image quality, but I suspect that unless the water is perfectly clear, you probably won't notice a modest ISO increase.
  25. As a wedding photographer topside, I am completely sold on TTL with my Nikon D70/SB800. There are one-time opportunities for shots that I can't make otherwise, and they make or break the shoot. Very often the same is true for me underwater photography. If I can rely on the camera to set the flash exposure, I can concentrate on composition -- and get a properly exposed shot 99% of the time. So, pardon the contrarian view, TTL flash is my preference. However, water absorbs light strongly. You need additional strobe power for underwater use, beyond what the standard strobes like the SB800 will deliver. Unfortunately, the older UW strobes do not work with the newer digital cameras. The digital camera makers have each invented complicated new strobe control protocols that won't work with earlier strobe gear from Ikelite, Sea&Sea, and Nikonos. Some of those old strobes are great devices. I suspect one reason many photographers don't use TTL is simply because their old strobes won't support it, and they are comfortable and familiar with their old friends. But there is an inexpensive converter made by a little German company that will translate those new camera stobe control protocols to generic strobe protocols, to allow SOME older strobes to work (must do pre-flash -- see list later). There has been no mention in this discussion of these aftermarket TTL converters (which work well with Nikon, Canon, Olympus digitals). I use one. With a compatible strobe, it works well. For me, TTL flash is simply a useful technique, a tool. I can use it or override it and use manual settings at any time. For a photographer who seldom has an opportunity to shoot underwater, it is a great help, because the chances are most shots will be good, without a learning curve. For the pro, still consider it for the one-time photos that you otherwise might miss. Again, it is just a tool, to be used with your knowledge and experience. Here is a pointer to the maker: http://www.heinrichsweikamp.net/blitz/indexe.htm Here is a list of supported strobes: http://www.heinrichsweikamp.net/blitz/indexe.htm Here is a pointer to supported cameras: http://www.heinrichsweikamp.net/blitz/indexe.htm
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