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About FishFotos

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  • Location
    Southern Ontario, Canada

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  • Camera Model & Brand
    Sony HVR-Z1U, Sony HVR-A1U, Nikon D-300, Sony F828
  • Camera Housing
    L&M Bluefin Z1, Ikelite A1U and F828
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    L&M Sunray Pro, Ikelite DS-50, DS-125's, Ikelite Pro Video II
  1. It was scary deep, Wagsy - I think if my brother stood on the fantail of the wreck and I stood on his head, I'd break the surface! Quite happy with the Sola 1200's but would love to try the 4000's. Alan
  2. uwxplorer, the shallower regions (at least) of Lake Huron have been decimated by zebra mussels resulting in very clear water but very little plant life. On these night dives, however, a few bait balls of minnows emerged and about a dozen healthy and curious lake trout were with us in and around the wreck. On the downside, another invasive specie, the spiny flea was out in force and schooled up whenever the lights were on making clear shooting impossible.
  3. Once again my brother and I were out at the wrecks in Tobermory, Ontario. This time it was a bit warmer (7 Celsius) and a good opportunity to try my three new Sola 1200 light with the 7D at night. I still need to work on the light spread to cover most of the Tokina 10-17 range and the balance of the rig has changed, but overall I was quite impressed with them - especially for their size. The spiny fleas, on the other hand, loved them. [youtubehd]mUwTFkD6gXQ[/youtubehd] Available in 1080p Thanks for watching, Alan
  4. Thanks for the feedback, Steve. I have downloaded the trial version of Lock and Load X and will compare it against SmoothCam, which I am currently trying to manipulate more to my liking. I very much enjoy using this rig, but as I mentioned previously I need to upgrade the lights and I'm still on the fence as to whether to purchase 3 SOLA 1200's now or wait for a few months and see what the 4000's have to offer. Alan
  5. How do you find the light coverage of the three Sola 1200's with a 15mm on the 5DII. That would be similar to the 10mm side of the Tokina 10-17 on the 7D and I'm wondering if I would get good even coverage on wide close wreck details. Would you happen to have any examples that I could view? Thanks in advance, Alan
  6. Thanks very much for the feedback, Drew. You're absolutely correct, a few of the clips had the SmoothCam filter applied to them in FCP Studio using the default settings (Autoscale 1, Translation Smooth 2.5, Rotation Smooth 2.5 Scale Smooth 0, Mix 100). It not only introduced the jelloing effect as you mentioned but also a couple of hesitation points as well. I don't rely on IS in post much and therefore I haven't experimented with configuring the SmoothCam settings at all - and in this case just applying the default may have done more harm than good. I think to complicate matters, it wasn't a completely solid ice overhead and there was some ice movement which, I'm guessing, would make it even more difficult for the IS to sort out. Perhaps it's time to dust off the FCP manual ..... Alan
  7. Thanks for the feedback, photovan! The naked 7D in Aquatica housing with the Tokina 10-17 and a 6 inch dome is a treat to manage underwater. I used it recently in this configuration in the warm waters off the Mayan Riviera and it makes for a great travel rig - if not a bit light for my liking. Add the XIT404 baseplate, tripod legs, NIHM battery pods, HID lights and cabling and drop the water temps to 1 degree Celsius and it takes a bit more advanced planning to get good results. On this ice dive I knew we wouldn't be going deeper than about 35 feet so I just preset a camera user setting that I had used before in similar conditions so that all I had to worry about on the dive was composition, aperture and focus (made easier with the Tokina set predominantly on 10mm). ISO remained at 100 throughout and WB was around 4000K. The less my numbed brain had to deal with, the better .. This setup resulted in very little post work as well. The negative bouyancy was not a big issue and added to the overall stability, however, I am looking forward to shedding the HIDs, battery pods and cables in exchange for some self contained LEDs (SOLA 1200 or 4000's) I think that would make for a very user friendly setup and the additional illumination would definitely help. This is the current rig from the front, side and back. Tripod legs are splayed out as they don't support the weight of the rig securely on land: Alan
  8. My brother and I just managed to sneak a final couple of dives in at the Lighthouse point in Tobermory, Ontario before complete ice-out. This short video was shot using a Canon 7d in an Aquatica housing, Tokina 10-17 and L&M HID lights all on an XIT404 tripod backet. The topside shots were from a Canon XF300. The HID's are going to be repaced by 3 SOLA 1200's or a pair of 4000's when they are introduced later in the year. Enjoy! Alan
  9. Thanks Nick, After talking with the folks at L&M, I was informed that a number of the Bluefin HD housings had battery pod channels that were machined too wide. Mine is obviously one of them. The formal fix is not a user-install (shim) but a re-work at the factory which I have opted to do. Mine were so wide that the battery pods could be popped straight out (not just slid down the track) so, like you I was using bungees and tape to keep them secured on the housing. I keep those items in the repair kit now next to the WD40 pen! Interesting point about the BF 900 with the front and rear bulkheeads holding the pods on. Even the BF HD manual says to remove the rear plate before installing pods. Obviously a spinoff from the previous housing's manual as this is not a necessary step on the HD since the tracks are open at both ends (unfortunately). Having said all that the housing and lights are a pleasure to dive and housing, camera, lights, batteries, 2 regulators and 2 dive computers can be easily carried on board aircraft by two people. I'll let you know how the fix works out when I get the housing back the week after next. Alan
  10. I am diving a Sony Z1U in an L&M Bluefin housing with Sunray Pro lights and have been enjoying great success with this combination. I have used the lights only occasionally but decided to take them to Mexico last week for some shooting of the deep arches and swim-throughs off Playa del Carmen. I have not had the lights below 100' before and my attempts during this trip resulted each time in the pod locker coming loose and both battery pods detaching from the housing and dangling from the leads (with the lockers disappearing into the bottom). Between dives, I adjusted the tightness of the set screws holding the locker in place but the result was the same - snug on the surface but separated at depth. If the screws were set too tight the pods would just pop out of the tracks. Has anyone using this housing/lighting combination experienced the same or am I doing something wrong?? Thanks in advance for any help! Alan
  11. Hi Jon, I am currently diving the configuration you are referring to (A1 with Ikelite housing, Inon100 and dome). While I like the additional angle the 100 and dome offers, I'm not happy with the loss of detail around the edges. Zooming slightly improves the image but doesn't completely eliminate the softness and the resultant reduction in WA is not an acceptable trade-off in my opinion. I think the only solution is to pay for good WA glass - unfortunately not an option with the Ikelite housing. There was some discussion previously about Ikelite manufacturing a port that would accept the Sony 0737Y WA converter but that didn't materialize into a port being made commercially available. For topside use I have found that converter to be quite acceptable. Amphibico is developing a WA solution for the CMOS Sony's that should be available late summer for about $2K. My original thinking was to purchase the EVO Pro housing and their new lens when available later in the year. The new EVO (ELITE), however, has the rear monitor - which I can work around - but DOES NOT have access to full manual focus, exposure or telemacro. The original EVO Pro SE, which had all of those features, is no longer manufactured and although listed on a few reputable camera websites is not actually available (sites not updated - only the ELITE being carried). To make matters worse, it appears that Gates is no longer making their A1 housing either and the used market for both housing appears to be dry. I have been very happy with the A1 for my purposes. It has been involved in providing footage in multimedia projects for the past 18 months and has accompanied me to Africa, the North Atlantic, Carribean and places in between. The image quality (in the right environment) and the portability are exceptional. Without a good WA solution and housing to match, however, I am starting to consider alternatives. Alan
  12. I was on the phone with Joe at Amphibico this morning aswell to clarify the initial e-mail I had received. He stated that the previously quoted battery time for the monitor on the A1 ELITE housing was based on alkaline batteries (50-70 minutes). With NiMH batteries, however, the useable time is increased to approximately 3 hours. He also confirmed that the QM71 battery for the camcorder will fit in the housing so the life of the monitor batteries will basically match the life of the camcorder battery during normal use.
  13. Amphibico will also be releasing the new Dive Buddy EVO HD Elite for the Sony HDR-HC1 and HVR-A1 HDV camcorders on April 23rd with the rear monitor mounted at a 10 degree upward angle on the door. No viewfinder option. A picture is now available on their site. In email correspondence with the folks at Amphibico, I was told that if the monitor is powered by lithium ion AA's (I'm assuming 4) it will be good for 50-70 minutes in 'good' conditions. Since I'm currently using the Ike housing with mirror and reversing circuitry, the rear monitor is an upgrade from an ease of use standpoint. My main concern, however, is battery life in colder climates. In Mexico two weeks ago, the QM71 battery was good for a couple of hours on the morning dives in 78F water as well as the video capture to the laptop back at the hotel. Last weekend, however, with local water at 32F (and some ice ), the same battery was gasping for whatever batteries gasp for after about 15 of shooting. At least now I can monitor the camera's battery drain on the LCD and plan accordingly - I'd hate to have the monitor, as the only source for shot composition/focus, cut out unexpectedly beforehand. Although not directly related to this thread, the Elite housing will accept the camcorder with standard and medium (71) batteries, however, not the 91's. Also, a wide angle solution for the CMOS housings including this one is in the works and will be available by mid to late summer. No tech spec or pricing info available yet. Alan
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