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Jock last won the day on October 24 2013

Jock had the most liked content!

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About Jock

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    Wolf Eel

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  • Camera Model & Brand
    Dinosaur (Nikonos RS!) with Ikelite SS 200; Olympus OM-D 5 with Nauticam
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Inon Z240, Sea&Sea YS-110a

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  1. High quality, professional lenses normally cost a lot. They have (or should have) a superior optical quality, resulting in sharp, detailed pictures. Just a devilish question - do we as U/W photographers really need them nowadays? Software possibilities seem to be unlimited, just a couple of mouse clicks and wham! the picture is (hopefully…) better than before. I found a program called DxO PureRaw2, which promises to enhance RAW pics with artifical intelligence, Sounded good to me, so I gave it a try - and was more than impressed. The software downloads profiles for the specific camera - lens combination, then provides global lens sharpening, lens distortion correction (de-selrect for close focus fisheye pics…), recovers details and removes color fringes. All with just two or three mouse clicks. I made screenshots from the „compare results“ window in PureRaw and attach a few cropped before-after samples as lossy jpgs, 3x enlarged. No further adjustments made. Hopefully the difference is noticeable on your screens. (If you click on the pics they will be enlarged.) Crab: Olympus OM-D EM 5 plus Panasonic 8mm/3.5 fisheye, ISO 200, f/8, 1/40sec. Bird: Olympus OM-D EM 5 plus Panasonic 100-300m/4.0-5.6 at 300mm, ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/125sec. When developing raws from my Oly TG5 results are even more impressive. No pics attached, just believe me. Is this (in technical terms!) good enough? For me 100% yes. For National Geographic? Possibly not, but who knows… Software is advancing rapidly. I think Adam and Alex mentioned in one of their Wetpixel Live videos that maybe 30+ Megapixel sensors could be unnecessary sooner or later due to the phantasic results when Gigapixel AI or similar software is used. Maybe expensive lenses will become unnecessary, too, at least partially - what do you think? The money you save could be invested in a dive trip… Cheers, Jock
  2. Strange discussion here… If you are satisfied with your camera why in the world should you replace it („never change a running system!“)??? Just for the sake of having something new or impressing fellow photographers with the latest equipment? Come on … If you upgrade* from a compact camera or if your camera/housing/top lens is broken/flooded/stolen mirrorless may be the smartest option. Unless you want to take the risk of buying second hand and invest in a system that is probably vanishing Nikon, Canon, Sony. But no one talks about Panasonic or OM System (ex-Olympus). They probably have the longest experience with mirrorless and for sure phantastic lenses for uw-use. And their top of the line cameras are very fine, IMHO. Jock * Re upgrade: I was fascinated (and kind of frustrated at the same time) when I worked on a pic I took with my carry-always-with-me Oly Tough TG5 last week in Antwerp. It was a photo from a decorative marble ball inside the train station in low light. The (raw) file was not too sharp and with lots of noise. Then I processed it with the free test version of DXO PureRaw2 - and could not believe my eyes. No more noise, sharpness like from an expensive „pro“ lens. (I am on holiday now and can‘t upload the pics, they are on my Mac back home.) So I am not sure if going from a good compact cam to a dslr is really an upgrade for the average photographer in terms of picture quality. But this may be is good for a new thread.
  3. Regulator: A couple of years ago I bought a Poseidon Xstream - and for me it is perfect. It has a side exhaust, similar to the Hollis mentioned above. No bubbles in front of your mask; it is streamlined so there is almost no drag in a current. It does not protrude much, so it will not interfere with a housing. The regulator is bullet-proof, the inner construction seems to be simple but very effective - and I find it very comfortable to breath with. Both the Poseidon and the Hollis are a little bit "exotic", so if you should go for one of these it might be a good idea to know where to find a qualified/certified service center... Jock
  4. When I went digital wit an Olympus E-M5 in a Nauticam housing and my two trusty Inon Z240 strobes I was completely disappointed by the strobe exposure results (Macro / TTL) - mostly under-, but sometimes completely overexposed. Manual was never a problem. I had spent a lot of money on the equipment - except for the fiber optic cables, they were a cheap no-name brand. And exactly those cables were the problem. Can't remeber if it was here or in another forum where a fellow photographer recommended the use of multicore Sea&Sea cables. And bingo! - No more problems since I used these cables. They also reliably work with my YS-110a and both my Inon S2000 backup strobes. No experience with the YS-D series. I think it was this guy who told me that not only some strobes, but also the Olympus TTL protocol (at least on an E-M5) is very picky... Maybe you can borrow a high quality cable from a friend and test it with your before buying? Hope this helps.
  5. Color Temp seems to be 5,800K without / 5,500K with diffusor. A bit blueish, IMHO.
  6. Renting out UW-Photo gear? You are tempting the gods... Maybe you know Bob Halstead? He wrote „NEVER LEND YOUR CAMERA GEAR TO ANYONE IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (This is the Gods’ absolute favourite, the gear is certain to stuff up)“ - and I think most forum members will fully agree. Here you can find the full essay: http://www.divebuddy.com/blog/11135/cant-take-joke-dont-take-up-underwater-photography/
  7. It could be helpful if you gave some more infos: Where do you dive most of the time - tropical/clear water or in areas with limited visibility? Only on holiday or every other weekend? (Analogy alert: I need a new car, which one could you recommend?) That said, ask three people and get four opinions... As troporobo said, the 12-50mm is a versatile lens - this is the first lens I would buy, together with the Nauticam port. Good for Macro, good for wide angle, If you are a "macro guy", the second lens would be the 60mm macro from Olympus (or maybe a 45/30mm macro if most of your dives are in murky waters). If you are more into wide angle, the Panasonic 7-14mm is a great lens, even for close-focus WA. And an acrylic port is "good enough" (unless you regularly publish in National Geographic). A fisheye lens is definitively not a good lens to start with - IMHO! Of course you could buy the the Oly "Pro"-line lenses, but do they give you a guarantee for better pics? Nope. A good way to spend the money you save with cheaper lenses is to join an UW-photo workshop. You come from a compact camera, your EM5 will give you much more options for better pics - but also much more options to screw things up... A workshop might be a good investment. The key factor for good pics is behind the camera. Best, Jock p.s.: Here in the forum there is an old thread about UW settings for the E-M5. Or look here: http://www.uwphotographyguide.com/olympus-omd-em5-best-underwater-settings
  8. If the "AmazonBasics Convertible Rolling Camera Backpack" weighs 4.25kg - what do you want to put inside? Camera-Gear? Have fun at the airport... I use an EastPak "Hatchet" which itself is very lightweight (780g). With all the gear that I do not want to check-in it is well above the airlines cabin luggage weight restrictions (economy class) - but it does not look heavy! Absolutely no problems up to now...
  9. Bob, are you still using your Olympus OM-D? I have an E-M5 and used to have exactly the same problems with inconsistent TTL exposure you describe. I was told the fiber optic cables could be the problem - I had cheap ones - and that was it! I bought one Sea&Sea and one Nauticam cable. No more problems since then. But still, as I wrote in an earlier post, IMHO background exposure in Macro with sync speeds of 1/125sec and below and small apertures is NOT dependent on sync speed. So you do not get a darker background (which was the „opener“ in this thread) when using 1/250s instead of 1/125s. The burning time of the strobe is shorter anyhow, so it does not matter what exposure time you set. Pavel probably knows if I am right or wrong. Regards Jock
  10. As I wrote before, a fisheye lens is another option.
  11. If you have a Pana Fisheye and the Nauticam 3.5" dome - take it with you!
  12. Thanks for the photos, Tom For me (without underwater testing, just by comparing the specs) the "want-to have" strobe would be the Seacam: small, beautiful design, 4.400K colour temperature, 130° coverage (GN8 metric / around GN25 imperial), accessories like diffusor, snoot available. When I changed from analog to digital I changed from Ikelite SS200 to Inon Z240. What I really missed was the circular flash tube from the Ikelite. For my personal taste the Ikelite gave a much more "pleasant" lighting; maybe because of the circular tube, maybe because of the colour temperature, or maybe bcause of a combination of both). The Seacam has this circular flash tube, the other two not. BUT: For the price of one 60D you can buy two Inons or Retras....
  13. I am not sure if the 30mm macro lens makes sense underwater. Macro lenses are optimized for - guess what - macro. But with the 30mm lens subject distance definintively will be too close when used in macro mode. As you mentioned, difficult/impossible lighting, and of course only for static subjects. Of course you can use the lens for subjects further away and have less water between the fish or whatever and your lens than with the 60mm lens - but why not use a zoom lens instead? Much more versatile. Jock
  14. Well, maybe because you have to be very brave to be a beta-tester??? If a few pre-production strobes work great on one or two dive trips that does not mean anything. See the problems Sea&Sea has, lots of complaints here in the forum. The Inon strobes are workhorses and over the years have proven to be reliable. Not a bad choice at all!
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