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Everything posted by Ambress

  1. Thanks everyone for your advice. As work on the book has progressed, there is only one image remaining where there is some degree of concern, and that is the photo of the diver alongside the turtle, where the diver's face is seen pretty clearly. I have read a wide range of opinions here and in other web-based articles on the topic of model releases, and both I and the book author/publisher feel comfortable that a model release is not essential in this case. While the diver may recognize himself if he saw the book, the question may be asked if a judge would recognize the diver well enough to not confuse him with another person of similar features, if any sort of legal action was taken. There is also the non-commercial nature of how the photo is used (not to sell the book itself by any promotion on the cover, nor to promote any product, but only to illustrate story), and the fact that it poses no risk of defamation to the person depicted. The photo in question was taken in Roatan, Honduras of a resident there, not a U.S citizen where the book will be published, so perhaps that too provides a degree of isolation. Having said all this, no final decision has been made yet, as the book still remains to be printed and there is still time to at least make some effort toward trying to contact this person if I can reach someone who knows him. Thanks again, Daryl
  2. Hello James, Thanks for the advice. Part of my confusion on this regards identifiability and your advice sounds as if the question boils down to whether the person in the photo can recognize themself? I would have thought it more of how identifiable are they to others, especially those who do not know them, based upon what features of the person can be distinguished. Somewhat akin to if a sketch artist was drawing someone's image based upon what few details they can gather from the photo, is there enough information there for someone to identify the person if they were to then see them in public. The guy in the 2nd photo is a good example...I feel there is not enough detail to clearly identify him, nor for him to say for certain that is him, apart from perhaps recognizing the dive gear and clothing he is wearing. Looking at the other photos of the dolphin trainer and resort video pro, clearly you cannot see and identify their face. But, if they recognize themself only for knowing the role they play, taken in conjunction with their appearance in profile, does that present a reason for requiring a model release from them as well? Thanks, Daryl
  3. Hello all, I wasn't sure what forum area was best to post this question, but as even the use of any of my underwater photography images in a publication for sale is a new experience for me, I'll just treat this as a "beginner's question". The photos found at http://ambress.com/uwpics/publish have been selected for inclusion in a book to help illustrate the story. None are used on the cover of the book, so there is no direct use of the photos to promote sales of the book. The author asked me early on if I felt a model release was needed for any of the photos, to which I replied "no". My first thought was that all locations were public places and the persons in the photos were not unambiguously identifiable. But I am no professional photographer and have never had to concern myself too much with model releases except in clearly obvious cases. As I never really anticipated any use of my images in a publication, I never sought to obtain any model release from individuals seen in my photos. My biggest concern is with the first photo, where the diver is at least "more identifiable" than the others, but some degree of ambiguity remains, if only for the fact that his dive mask and other gear helps hide any distinguishing features. I will add that the diver in the first photo is a dive guide at the resort where I stayed. Whether he is still there (the photo is from 2006), I'm not sure, but certainly I could make an effort to contact him if anyone really thinks it necessary I obtain consent to use this likeness of him. He is not portrayed in any negative manner that would impact his job. The other photos here do not seem to present any problem, as I think that there is easily enough ambiguity that the diver cannot be readily identified from his features in the photo. I would appreciate any feedback if anyone knows for certain whether or not consent would be required from the persons in these photos, to use this likeness of them in a publication for sale. Again, all would be used only within the book, and none on the cover to help market it. Thanks! Daryl
  4. Having jumped into the housed DSLR realm of underwater photography and deciding that I just don't care to carry along my extra Nikonos equipment, I have posted it for auction on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $1500 plus shipping/insurance and an opening bid price of $1000. The auction ends on April 12. I'm also happy to sell it outside of eBay and deliver it in person within the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area to anyone interested. This is an all or nothing sale, with no items sold individually. Items included are summarized below and more details may be found at http://ambress.com/ebay/nikonos Nikonos V 35mm Underwater Camera Body w/ protective body cap UW-Nikkor 15mm/f2.8 ultra wide (weitwinkel) Angle Lens w/ front & rear caps Nikkor 35mm /f2.5 Amphibious Lens w/ front & rear caps Nikonos DF-11 Optical Viewfinder for UW-Nikkor 15mm Lens Nikonos SB-102 Strobe w/6 Ni-MH 4500 mAh Batteries & Diffuser Nikonos Strobe Tray Set (tray, handle, bracket) Nikonos TTL Synch Cables (2) Sea & Sea YS-30 TTL Duo Strobe w/2 Ni-MH 2200 mAh Batteries & Diffuser Sea & Sea 5-Pin TTL Synch Cable for Nikonos Vanson Universal Ni-MH and Ni-Cd Battery Charger Helix Extension Tube/Framer Set for 1:2, 1:1, 2:1 Macro Ratios Ikelite Nikonos V Grip and Pivot Tray Assembly Ultralight Control Systems (ULCS) Strobe Arms (two 8-inch, one 12-inch), Clamps (3), and various ball joints for strobes and tray assemblies Pelican 1527 Convertible compartmented carrying case (designed as drop-in for Pelican 1520 hard case) Thanks, Daryl
  5. Hi John, Is the Athena OPD-F170 glass port what you have? If so, no worries. It works great with both the Nikkor 10.5mm and 12-24mm DX lenses as is, no diopters needed, but the Extension Ring 40 will be needed for the 12-24mm lens. I bought the same from Reef Photo and have been shooting the 12-24mm with a +2 diopter, per Ryan's suggestion that he thinks the diopter sharpens the images at the edges, but the diopter isn't required. I've shot both with and without the diopter and can't say I've noticed any signficant differences, but my subjects were quite different in each case. The only thing I learned about why I'd not want the diopter is that is cuts off your distant focusing and thus if you should find you're trying to take a photo while out of the water, you will be limited on your focusing range. While in Roatan a couple weeks ago, we came upon a large pod of pilot whales that I was unable to get good photos of using my housed D200 because I had the diopter on the 12-24mm lens. Only those whales nearest the boat were within my focusing range. I could've removed the port and diopter but didn't really want to since another dive was coming up. Regards, Daryl
  6. Having returned a week ago from Roatan, I'm happy to report that my Lowepro CompuTrekker AW backpack served me well in carrying my new Sea & Sea DX-D200/Nikon D200 rig on the trip. Concerned about the 22-lb. limit for carry-ons that was posted on TACA's website, I bought the Samsonite F'lite suitcase to substitute for my Pelican 1650, heeding the advice in this thread. I thought I'd use the F'lite suitcase as my main gear carrier, but I just didn't feel too trusting that TSA wouldn't inspect and mishandle the precious cargo within. Instead, the F'lite case became my regular suitcase for clothing, toilietries, and the durable photo goods (strobe arms, clamps, batteries, charger, etc.), and other items, the bulk of those actually packed inside a 48-can Igloo soft-sided cooler, separate from the clothing. Why the cooler? Well, firstly, Anthony's Key Resort has day trips to Barbaret and Cayos Cochinos, either of which if taken, would've found me wanting some sort of protection for an extra port and lens, and perhaps my Nikon D70, and other items. I could've used my backpack but that was really more than I needed and I also preferred not getting it wet, which would likely happen amidst all the wet divers and gear onboard. The cooler was a cheap and lightweight solution which I deliberately bought in a size large enough to accommodate my two Inon Z-240 stropes and DX-D200 housing w/o arms, that alone right around 22 lbs. This facilitated an in-airport repack if needed, pulling the loaded cooler from the F'lite case and replacing it with my Lowepro backpack. I could empty the items from the cooler that were packed in smaller pouches, laying them loose in the suitcase as space allowed, then put the camera housing & strobes into the cooler and that would be my carry-on. Of course, I could've kept the backpack as my carry-on and moved items from it also, but I felt it might give the lenses and other photo gear better protection in the suitcase than would the cooler. But, having never recalled TACA weighing carry-ons and counting on that to remain true, such was the case. My backpack was about 34 lbs. as I'd finally packed it (similar to what I show here but with D70 body and Epson P2000 added, all arms/clamps/batteries moved to the F'lite case) and with my Dell laptop carried as my separate personal item. As for using the cooler, the low season at AKR didn't enough guests for a day trip, so I never needed the cooler. So, I guess the trip was largely a practice exercise for how I'd transport all my gear. Meanwhile, TSA left my F'lite case alone but did dump my dive bag for an inspection, repacking it rather carelessly. Fortunately most items in the bag were tolerant of such neglectful handling. Daryl
  7. Hi Karl....greetings to you....and yes, I thought cropping the photo any would be a bad idea, but wanted to toss out the idea to see what sort of feedback I got. Daryl
  8. Hello all, Well, having just returned from my snorkeling trip to Isla Holbox, Mexico, I now have my first set of photos taken with my Sea & Sea DX200. Some were shot with the Nikkor DX 10.5mm fisheye and others with the DX 12-24mm zoom, which I feel I favored after having compared the two. But, the 10.5mm sure has its merits where an ultrawide (weitwinkel) angle is desirable. WOW!! What magnificent and gentle giants those whale sharks are! We enjoyed a fantastic day of snorkeling on Saturday, with an estimated 50-60 whale sharks over a 5 hour period that included a group of 10 at one point! Moving to clearer waters on Sunday, we only saw 3 whale sharks, but the last one lingered around and provided plenty of photo opportunities. All in all, I think I'll favor using the 12-24mm zoom, but I'm glad to have the 10.5mm fisheye for times where an ultrawide (weitwinkel) solution beyond the 12mm is called. I've got a long way to go to really become proficient with u/w digital photography, but I was pleased with several of the photos I obtained, and any comments/criticisms on the two images here are welcomed. With regard to any criticisms, I'd welcome opinions as to whether anyone thinks that my failing to capture the full mouth hurts the 2nd photo? I've got other shots of the full mouth, but none quite at this angle that I favored. Would cropping the left side of the image for a more symmetric look improve the image? I think not. One thing I'm curious about and had planned to do, yet forgot to try, was to shoot a gray card reference underwater for use in RAW white balancing. I've got a set of Whibal cards that should work fine for that, but I'm questioning the merit of this idea given how varied the u/w lighting conditions can be. Has anyone done this before? Thanks, Daryl
  9. Adding my own two cents, I've had my photo gear and select dive gear (dive computers, reg consoles for a while) insured under a Personal Articles Policy with State Farm for at least 12 years now. I pursued the insurance parallel to when I first took a Minolta Maxxum 9xi diving in an EWA housing; good thing too, as the first dive was the first flooding and a total loss. All equipment was replaced without a hitch. Subsequent years found an SB-102 flooding and two floodings of a Nikonos V, one a total loss. In all cases, State Farm covered my costs. With the purchase of a new housed system recently, I've now revamped my coverage from a $13,200 total to about $18,000. I've yet to learn the new premium, but proect it to be around $230/yr. based upon the $177 premium on $13,200. That's far better than the prices I've seen quoted by DEPP, Nikonians, or DAN, not to mention what Eric and others have quoted here. I wonder if one of the big differences is that my gear is insured as a non-professional photographer and thus presumably one of lower risk due to less frequent use of the equipment? I know State Farm told me that rates were higher for professionals, but I never asked how much since that didn't apply to me. At present, this is my only policy with State Farm, so there's no multi-line discount. I think it's a good deal considering that accidental damage, theft, and all other types of loss are covered. Regards, Daryl
  10. Has anyone here flown TACA recently? I've not flown on them since 2002 and they now have a 22-lb. carry-on limit which is very restrictive if you don't want to check gear through and leave it at the mercy of TSA or other security personnel to mishandle. In the past I've carried all my gear in a Pelican 1650, but even that is out of the question now if trying to avoid surcharges for bags over 50 lbs. That case so easily holds more than 20 lbs. of equipment that the case itself is the problem, at 29 lbs. Will's use of the Samsonite case sounds like an idea of merit. But, for now, I can pack a fully functional set of photo gear into my LowePro CompuTrekker Plus AW and get that down to 35 lbs. by carrying my notebook PC separately, as I've discussed at http://ambress.com/D200/DX200/carryon.htm. That is within the 40 lb. limits of some carriers but obviously still well over TACA's puny 22 lb. limit. The idea of wearing lots of pockets and doing the equipment shuffle between some possible weighing-in point and the security screening is also clever. For now though, I'll just plan on handling the bag as if it's not too heavy, and just be casual about everything....I don't recall ever having a carry-on weighed and maybe I can escape that this time around too. Daryl
  11. No question the Subal is a very nice housing...with a premium price! That was what I originally had in mind for my D70 when I bought it, but that was largely governed by the idea of shooting with dual SB-800s in the Subal housings. Realizing a dedicated u/w strobe was more powerful and cost effective, I ruled out the SB-800 strobe approach and started looking at less costly housing options, finally settling upon the S&S after also thinking hard about the Aquatica. What I really did was just heed Ryan's advice regarding the build quality of the Sea & Sea housing, in spite of the minor problem I encountered with a non-functional AF Selection pushbutton. The TTL Controller was also a perk that biased me toward the DX200. Packing my backpack as I did was to follow the approach of having a functional u/w righ in it. Had I instead opted to put the handles, arms, clamps, and TTL controller with sync cables into checked luggage, then I could have fit my D70 body and possibly the Nikonos V with 15mm lens into the pack also and still been under a 40-lb. limit, acceptable for at least some airlines. I just wouldn't have a functional u/w photo rig if my checked baggage was delayed. But I would have the peace of mind of being able to keep watch over all the fragile electronic goods rather than watch it disappear into the "hazard zone" of checked luggage. Daryl
  12. Well, I made the jump and am now the mostly happy owner of a Sea & Sea DX200 housing, a pair of Inon Z-240 strobes, and other gear to play underwater host to my Nikon D200, all courtesy of a good price from Ryan and Reef Photo. I say "mostly happy" only because I discovered the AF Selector pusbutton on the DX200 housing is not making contact with the camera body AF Selector switch. Fortunately that is a relatively easy fix, better served by a claw than simply a rubber pad, but I'll not pursue that repair until I return from a trip to Holbox next weekend. Until then, my own solution was to simply lay a thin rubber washer atop the switch before placing and locking the housing back into place. The washer filled the gap needed to maintain pressue on the switch and make the pushbutton operative. I've been exploring how to get all the equipment packed into a carry-on sized Lowepro backpack, and managed it! Including a large Dell notebook PC, the back is hefty at 45 linear inches and 44 lbs., so I'll pull the notebook out to a 2nd allowable carry-on and pack my reg and othe items in with it. Details on what I packed and some of my considerations are given at http://ambress.com/DX200/D200/carryon.htm, but the photos below sum it up pretty well. Regards, Daryl Only the items with red checkmarks made it into the bag.
  13. Hi Pakman, No, I've not yet been in the water with my foam-sleeved strobe arms. Actually, I expect very little change to the buoyancy since there simply isn't enough foam there to do much and there is still compression of the foam at depth. But, I wanted to at least explore the idea. In shallow waters the foam will zero out the weight of the arm segments at least. The 8-inch buoyany arms were already positive, floating at their centerline while the foam sleeve raised their water line maybe 20%. The small 5-inch standard arms were negative enough to sink pretty quickly and now float. I think the only type approach that would really give much positive buyoancy is a strong but lightweight, sealed tube. I don't expect the negative buoyancy to be such an issue that I have to jerry-rig some bulky solution that just adds more drag. Hmmm....nope...there's no Helium fill port on the DX200 housing. Darn! Daryl
  14. A word of advice on the CF readers...don't assume all USB2 readers are built alike. I have a SanDisk Image Mate 8-in-1 that seemed quick enough to me with both SanDisk and Lexar cards. Then I read about the Lexar Pro CF Firewire reader and how fast it was...soon followed by another article I found about how SanDisk's latest CF-only USB2 reader, model SDDR-92 and marked on the packaging as incorporating "EPP" (I think that's the acronym) technology, is even faster than the Lexar Firewire. Apparently, a CF reader may well be optimized for peak performance with same-brand CF cards. So, for $20 I bought the SDDR-92 rather than spend $70-80 for the Lexar Pro Firewirereader, and I'm very pleased with the performance. A co-worker who thought his Lexar Firewire reader would be much faster than my USB2 reader, recently brought it to work for me to try out. With a SanDisk Extreme III 4GB CF card loaded with 1GB of image files, the SanDisk unit read the files off to my PC in 1/3 the time of the Lexar. With a Lexar 80X CF card, the SanDisk unit read that card in about 1/2 the time of the Lexar reader. So, before you rush to spend more for a Lexar Firewire reader, I suggest a comparison to a SanDisk USB2 reader is prudent. Looking at Lexar's website, they've got two Firewire CF readers, one being the Pro model, but neither of which look like the unit my co-worker had. So, it may well be that the read speeds are improved in the newer versions, and maybe that is why Craig is so pleased with his. Meanwhile, echoing other comments, I too have been pleased by the performance of the Ultra II and Extreme III CF cards in my D200. The Extreme indeed supports a higher burst count than the Ultra II, but both support lower burst counts almost equally well. NEF file storage for the D200 is uncompressed NEF by default while compressed NEFs are the only option for the D70/D70s. That too affects how many raw files can be written to a given size card. Daryl
  15. Pakman, Thanks for getting this thread rolling...I've yet to review all of the discussion but just did a similar run of images last night, with my Nikon D200 setup, which is otherwise very similar to yours, in a DX200 housing with dual Z-240 strobes and the Sea & Sea TTL controller. I ran tests in Manual and TTL, with the results found at http://ambress.com/D200/DX200/Z240. Regards, Daryl
  16. Hi Peter, Keeping the strobes back a foot sounds like good advice for close-ups. With clamps factored in, an 8/5 arm combo might give a 1.5 foot reach, but I'm guessing you've got a pair of 8s or similar on each side? Thanks, Daryl
  17. I'd like to re-awaken this topic and ask if those of you who are using dual strobes with double arm segments for each, have compared your results to what you'd obtain with only single arm segments. Roberts' comments related to the strobes he used are helpful, and I'm trying to decide how I'd best like to go for my new DX200 rig with dual Inon Z240s. My past experience has been only with a Nikonos V, rigged with a large SB102 on a ULCS 8"/8" arm combo, and a small, slaved YS30TTL Duo strobe for fill on a single ULCS 12" arm. The photo below depicts this setup, and typically I'd spread the strobes out wider and lower than shown here. Given the size of the SB102, I liked the double segment arms for getting the strobe away from me, and its spread with the diffuser still was enough to cover the UW-Nikkor 15mm lens. Meanwhile, the S&S strobe just gave me some fill that I liked to have at times, such as around ledges where shadows might be an issue. With the widespread strobe arms, the rig as a whole was obviously more cumbersome, and u/w photo pro Jay Ireland suggested a different setup that I came to greatly favor, taking advantage of the double arms to drop the SB102 down and beneath my camera. almost centered. This was quite compact for the equipment in use and worked especially well when again under a ledge, while for fish portaits the S&S strobe still provided enough top lighting to avoid unnatural-looking shadows. Now, I'm switching to digital and have just purchased the aforementioned DX200 setup, shown here with the Z740s each mounted on a single ULCS 8" arm. I've got a pair of 5" arms that I originally anticipated using, yet upon setting the camera up in a dual 8/5 configuration, it seemed overkill. The comments I've seen here, are steering me back toward going that direction, but I'm just looking for any further insight anyone cares to offer. Food for thought is that I'll be shooting with the 10.5mm DX Fisheye as well as the 12-24mm DX Zoom. Also, for those of you shooting dual strobes, do you generally favor a symmetric positioning of your strobes, and do you favor them higher above the camera or lower to each side of the camera? I do realize that sometimere there is an advantage to other positions based upon your surroundings and the type of illumination you're after, but in general, what do you favor? Thanks! Daryl
  18. I have no idea how much this will help and it may be so little as to be laughable, but as I have just purchased a Sea & Sea DX200 and a pair of Z740s, I went ahead and put a couple of foam sleeves around the two 8-inch ULCS buoyancy arms that I have when I rigged out the camera at home. The foam is closed-cell foam sleeving as used for pipe insulation. In fresh water, the buoyancy arms float and the foam distinctly raised them even more, but I'm don't expect that small amount of foam to really amount to much help. Nonetheless, if you extended it to longer lengths, it might offer some benefit. I thought of adding two 5-inch standard ULCS arms with foam sleeving around them, actually doubled up with another foam insert to fit snug on the arm, but I decided the extra arms weren't needed. I've yet to get in the water with my new system but will be checking it out soon in a local lake, to assess the manageability of it, knowing saltwater will only improve the situation. The DX200 with Athena dome, D200, and 12-24mm Nikkor zoom is sufficiently negative that I'm not so sure the Z740s will add that much objectionable negative buoyancy. The overall system is about 5 lbs. heavier than the rigged out Nikonos V that I was using, and it too was negative, thanks largely to the big SB-102 with 6 c-cell batteries, so I'm expecting the new setup to actuallly handle with better balance. You can see the foam sleeves in this photo: As I said...probably too little to even be of much benefit. I hope I find it was all a moot point to even try, in the sense of learning the system handles well enough as is. Regards, Daryl
  19. Thanks Brian and Ken, I think I've pretty much decided to trust my instinct when I bought the Zeagle Brigade and will stick with it. If worse comes to worse and I find I don't like it, there seem to be enough Zeagle fans that I'd not expect it to be a hard BCD to sell for a fair price as used equipment. If I could find the Transpac w/travel wings for $400, I'd give it serious consideration, but the best price I've found short of eBay is $550, but more commonly around $650. Ideally, I'd want to buy it locally in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area so as to be certain of the fit without having to pay return shipping fees. As is, I know the Zeagle fits me comfortably and I'm not too concerned about the ripcord weight release...it is more of a nuisance to reload, but I like the concept of retaining a right-hand, single-point release akin to a weight belt. As for tipping face-forward on the surface, I've heard that is a common criticism of back-buoyancy BCDs, but with good weight distribution and not overinflating the bladder, hopefully I'll not find that too big a problem. Thanks again everyone! Daryl
  20. Matt, Thanks...I'm assuming your Zeagle was the Ranger? If so, then yes, that model is more bulky due to the larger bladder and wings. The Brigage model is reportedly a custom made combination of the Ranger harness with Escape bladder for the Scuba Toys dive shop here in the USA. I find it and the Scubapro Nighthawk seem pretty similar in weight. The bulk of the two is also more similar than I'd have expected for a soft backpack vs. hard backpack BCD, but it may be that the Zeagle's modularity actually makes for a slightly bulkier design. I've not seen many Dive Rite BCDs to really form an opinon on them, but I think they tend to be more pricey than I want to spend at the moment. Pat, Curiously enough, I'd not really even given much thought to the more wrap-around style BCDs like the Glide Plus, perhaps just due to seeing and hearing more said about the back buoyancy BCDs of late. I suspect the Glide Plus isn't that much heavier than my Double Black (similar to Classic), but it probably is heavier than the Nighthawk. I know the Classic Plus felt quite heavy even compared to my older model. As for the Air II, I've got that already, and definitely favor it to an octo. Anyway, thanks for the comments...it certainly wouldn't hurt to take a look at the Glide Plus. Daryl
  21. Hello all, After 3 years of not having been diving, I'm in overdrive mode with equipment purchases, and have found myself in need of a new BCD. I've used a Scubapro Double Black jacket-style for 16 years and really like the ease of buoyancy control that it offers, but there's no question that back-buoyancy BCDs are much less restrictive. I've never dove with a back-buoyancy BCD though. Yesterday, I purchased a Zeagle Brigade (Ranger harness with Escape bladder) from Scuba Toys in Dallas, and compared it alongside a Scubapro Nighthawk at Lone Star Scuba in Fort Worth today to see which I favored. For the moment, the Zeagle is holding my favor. However.....Thinking about the buyoancy control, I really favor the high, shoulder-mounted exhaust of the Scubapro over the Zeagle's upper shoulder-blade positioned exhaust. It just seems the Scubapro is likely to dump air more effectively for that exhaust area. Where the Zeagle has an inverted-U shaped bladder with individual dumps at the base of each "leg", the Scubapro has only a single dump at the bottom of the bladder, but the bladder is a flow-through design without the air trapping issues of the Zeagle. Again, the Scubapro seems to have an advantage here. The rep who sold me the Zeagle even mentioned how he has occasionally had an air bubble shift from one side of the Zeagle to the other, not causing any great problem but nonetheless he did have to adjust his buoyancy or perhaps his position to counter that change. Again, this just overall makes the Scubapro design look superior to the Zeagle. Meanwhile...The Zeagle, with its soft backpack, fits very comfortably and has narrower shoulder straps than the Scubapro. The modular design of the Zeagle indeeds allows for a more customized fit. Both fit well and are comfortable, but overall the Zeagle takes the nod here. I also like that a soft backpack should pack a bit more compactly. If I were to give the two BCDs a 1(bad)-10(great) comfort rating, the Zeagle would be a 10 to maybe an 8.5 for Scubapro. I've rarely used my BCD pockets but it is nice to have good, functional pockets that don't have to be unfolded. Here, the Zeagle easily bests the Scubapro, although the Zeagle pockets could somewhat easily be confused with their weight pockets. There are also several accessory attachment points of potential use, above and beyond the D-rings common to both BCDs. I also like the Zeagle's small roll-down pocket. If I wanted to carry a medium-sized flashlight, macro-mate lens, or other such items, the Zeagle pockets are very accommodating. The Scubapro has smallish zippered pockets good for a small flashlight, signaling tube, or other similar-sized items, but larger items would require using the single fold-down pocket that I find less desirable. Pricewise, the Scubapro is about $100 more than the Zeagle, but that's not enough to be an issue to me when buying a BCD. Although I'm not a frequent diver, I'm nonetheless more concerned about good buoyancy control, overall comfort, and user-friendliness of the BCD. The integrated weights are great, and Scubapro is easily to dump & re-arm, while the ripcord-based approach of the Zeagle works great for dumping but is a nuisance to re-arm. I've never had to dump my weights though, so the convenience of re-arming isn't a major concern. Of those of you who have used either, or even both BCDs, do you have any opinions to offer on what you like/dislike about each? In my mind, good buyoancy control is very important for u/w photography and thus the Scubpro Nighthawk is strongly tugging at me as more important than even the useful pockets and slightly better comfort of fit in the Zeagle. Both are such a dramatic improvement in comfort over the Scubapro jacket-style BCD, that either would make me happy. Unfortunately, I can't take both BCDs and dive with them. It's one or the other. What I really want is the Zeagle Ranger harness with the Scubapro bladder, but that's not doable. I don't think either can be seen as a bad purchase, but there may be something I've overlooked that does carry even more favor to sway my final decision. Having to use both hands to dump both sides of the Zeagle bladder seems a possible nagging nuisance, but if I can get good weighting such that only minimal air needs to be added/dumped throughout a dive, that may be less an issue than I'm seeing at the moment. I apologize for the lengthy post but just want want to make a well-informed decision. Any feedback that can be provided in view of the features discussed is greatly appreciated. Thanks! Daryl
  22. If I keep these posts going, maybe I'll soon quit feeling crabby! (Hermit Crab) ha! Thanks for your feedback guys...it even helps me start recalling more about my Nikonos V rig and how it handled. While not exactly easy, it was possible nonetheless to hold it with a single hand if I had to, the bulk of the weight being on the left side with the SB-102 and an 8/5 ULCS arm combo. I think the buoyancy of that side was just enough to offset the rest of the rig, with the small YS-30 on a single 12" ULCS arm on the right. As I moved things around, the handling improved, but I think it was overall negative just enough to do exactly what Silvio said...rest lightly on the sand if needed, but still be maneuverable in the water. I think I may weigh the entire setup to see how much weight I've been working with vs. what I might expect of a rigged out D200. I've been overlooking the size advantage a smaller strobe offers when in tight places where my SB-102 was definitely anything but friendly to use. Fortunately I could usually pull it back some and allow the slaved YS-30 throw in some fill light, moving it a bit closer. As this is simply an expensive hobby for me, I can't really afford to pursue anything more than a single pair of strobes, and I do want to keep the size down to something that travels more easily. Feedback such as this, not to mention all the other information I've gathered in the forum, is certainly very helpful in planning my purchase. Thanks, Daryl
  23. Hi Silvio, Thanks for the numbers....indeed, that sounds rather acceptable to me, and it also prompted a quick test, since I've not been in the water for a while. My SB-102 weighs in at 4 lbs. with batteries, the YS-30 at 1 lb. Filling a bucket with water, the YS-30 seems very near neutral in buoyance, with only about 1/4 inch of it rising above the surface. The SB-102 is harder to judge but is still buoyant. In saltwater that would only increase. Perhaps there was enough buoyancy there to offset the rest of my rig, but I'm not beginning to remember how if I didn't pivot the camera and instead turned the rig for a portrait orientation, I think I was actually fighting the SB-102 buoyancy some. Overall though, it was never a big problem and no doubt the strong ULCS arms factored in. So, perhaps even if more negative, I'd find no issues with the Z740s. Overall, I think I might even prefer a slightly negative system to positive, when considering my overall buoyancy control would be easier to manage if all I had to do was add a puff or two of air to compensate. Thanks! Daryl
  24. Greetings Udo, Thank you for your comments. Indeed, there are many things to add to the buoyancy (negative and positive) of a u/w camera rig, such as the sync cables, battery types, the current camera lens/port configuration, etc. It has been 3 years since I last went diving with my Nikonos V setup with a large SB-102 and smal YS-30 stgrobe, and I don't recall if the SB-102 strobe is positive or negatively buyoant. But I do know everything was quite a handful. Personally, I can't imagine two smaller small strobes posing much of an issue to me, but the comments I've seen about the "heavy" Z240s still has caught my attention as something to consider. Thanks again, Daryl
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