Jump to content

Alex_Mustard

Super Mod
  • Content Count

    8576
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Alex_Mustard

  1. Yeah the leak detection is still part of the strobe. My video was a one-take-live effort - so I didn't remember everything - or explain everything quite as clearly as I would in an edited, written review. The App is awesome - they already added something for me to test in Egypt and I was able to update both strobes and to have a different function on one of the User modes! Alex
  2. The biggest limitation of the D2X is ISO. It is a base ISO camera (ISO 100) and increasing the ISO at all means the image quality falls apart by modern standards. Despite being just 12MP - the files still hold up well and process well and can be uprezzed. Therefore it is best for macro and wide angle in bright conditions with powerful strobes - so that you can shoot at low ISO. Shooting the camera - the LCD screen is very small these days. But the AF is still pretty decent. Alex
  3. A production specification pair arrived with me today. Just took the photo below. I haven't seen the email sent out to those who pre-ordered. But my understanding from Retra is that they are well into the production run now - and they are planning to have all the pre-ordered strobes ready at around the same time to send out in the second half of October.
  4. I have an M5 - it is lovely and small and I am considering taking it underwater. Think it could be a great combo with the Tokina 10-17mm. Has anyone got any updated impressions on this camera UW? Alex
  5. I regularly use Nauticam ports (including the WACP) on my Subal housings (type 4 ports) - I use an adaptor from Saga. I am pretty sure that the difference in port to lens difference is 30mm longer like this (Subal housing sticking out more and the adaptor - compared to the original Nauticam port on a Nauticam housing). Alex
  6. Had to check this thread to see whether the question was photoshopping it into or out of images! Photographers are well aware that images with trash in can be good sellers and we now show off about taking worthy ‘environmental’ images in the same way we used to humbrag about competition wins. I even hear stories (dunno if they are true) of photographers staging photos of marine life interacting with plastic etc. To get back on point - I think the most important thing to consider with manipulation - is if you do it - be open and honest about it (including a note about it in the image caption). I don’t think most people have an issue with photoshopping - as long as they are not misled. Alex
  7. I think it depends on what subjects you are planning to shoot. For me, on some trips it is my most used lens, on others I don’t even travel with it. It is great for big animal destinations with unpredictable diving (e.g. Galapagos, Maldives). But I prefer the straight fisheye when shooting scenics. Alex
  8. Not interested in trying them. But if someone makes a housing that takes Nikonos V lenses - that could change. Alex
  9. Thanks Tom. Hopefully a housing manufacturer will look into making a port adaptor for it. Alex
  10. Does anyone who if a Nikonos V 15mm lens could be adapted to work with the Z series cameras with appropriate adaptor - like it is on the Sony mirrorless cameras?
  11. Hopefully the Z6 and Z7 are the first step on this path and they will be followed by cameras that are more suited to underwater shooting. Alex
  12. It is the best combination for the LSD - unsurprising as both are designed by the same company. Here is a photo from the recent Wetpixel workshop I ran in Lembeh: I find the bayonet mount for the different diffusers and rings a bit stiff on my Retra flashes - but it's strength makes perfect sense when using the LSD. Alex
  13. British photographer Will Clark has used the WACP on canon FF pretty much exclusively for the last year. He is a good source to ask questions: He recently posted his contact email on his Facebook page (second post down, currently): https://www.facebook.com/bifter?hc_ref=ARRKamIRyg6UCxxC5EHOQljXkS2jpXmg-3eZWyptir3raCmllXx1jJTQAtBrMW8F9j4&fref=nf
  14. My understanding is that the physically bigger the lens you want to use behind a lens like the WACP, the bigger the WACP has to be. And to make it work with a 24-70mm (f/2.8), for example, the WACP would have to much, much bigger to give any measurable image quality advantage over the current WACP and 28-70mm. And as such would weight 7-8KG and cost $10,000. So this approach was not considered because the current WACP and 28-70mm gives really noticeable image quality advantages over anything else available covering the same FOV underwater. I also feel that the simpler design of older lenses is better suited to being incorporated as part of the optical setup of the new lens (the WACP + zoom lens). I did test more expensive 28-70mm lenses with the early WACP prototype (not the production version) and these did not perform as well behind the WACP as they Nikon 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5. Despite being better lenses out of the water. The hard thing to get our head around is that a relatively cheap, old lens can out perform an expensive new one. Because we've all bought expensive pro-glass and seen the difference it makes to our pictures out of the water. What you have to factor in is how much image quality a dome port in water gives away. Which is much more than the difference between the old and new lenses. This is why the WACP works. The reason the WACP is not made for the latest pro lenses on land is that it would end up way too large to travel with and cost way too much (and actually gives relatively little improvement because there are diminishing returns on the water corrected optics). It is already at a size that causes production issues because of the availability of such large pieces of optical glass (bigger than even the mega expensive super telephotos). Alex
  15. This caught my eye: “two exciting new features exclusively for the new Retra Flash”. I guess you will tell us in November. Alex
  16. For me the main issue with the Z6 and Z7 for underwater use is that I don’t think that they AF with AF-D type lenses. This means lenses like the Nikon 16mm, Sigma 15mm fisheyes, the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye and the Nikon 28-70mm that we use with the Nauticam WACP, and any converted Nikonos RS lenses. In short a big loss for many underwater photographers. The only common lenses that work are the 8-15mm and 16-35mm. I have both of these, but for many people the need to have to but one (especially the 8-15mm) is a big financial penalty for switching to the Z-series. That said, I have not tried the Z series cameras yet. So I am not 100% certain on this. And Nikon’s promotional material isn’t exactly forthcoming on the matter - talking about what is compatible, rather than what isn’t. Alex Perhaps this Z discussion should be split into a new thread.
  17. I favour the D850. This is partly because I am invested in excellent FX lens options (Nikonos 13mm, Nauticam WACP, Zeiss corrector port, large domes etc) and partly because the camera is excellent. When the D5 was announced, I got mine without hesitation and have used it extensively underwater. I shot the D500 a little underwater back in 2016 and while I thought it was very good, it was no D5. A friend who is a D500 user and lover tried the D5 at the time and just let out an expletive about the difference. However, at the start of this year I also got a D850. And that camera has really surprised me. In the D4 and D800 era I shot the D800 quite a few times, but always wanted to go back to the D4. The D4 was way ahead at getting the shot. I also preferred the RAW files to the D800 for UW subjects. I expected a similar thing with the D5 and D850, but I found I was wrong. The D850 is inferior the D5 at getting the shot as others have said, but both are so good and the difference is definitely much less than with the D4 vs D800. Secondly, I prefer the the D850 raw files to the D5 for underwater subjects. So I keep using the D850. I will still do some shoots with the D5, but I haven’t used it since the Galapagos in May and have done all keep wanting to take the D850. I do feel guilty having a D5 on the shelf - although it will be getting some frontline use again soon. Alex Alex
  18. As a feeling - the 8-15mm is the best non-water contact fisheye you can use on a Nikon - it is noticeably sharper than other fisheyes. But it is not as good as the RS 13mm fisheye or WACP. But of course, the images are totally useable for any application. I was processing some recent shots of the Kittiwake wreck the other day and I noticed that the image quality wasn’t as nice as usual (most obvious as Chromatic Aberrations) and then I remembered that I had used the 8-15mm that day, rather that the RS13 or WACP I normally use for my wide angle. But of course the images are still very nice. It is a small difference - but when you know how it can be, you do notice it every time! But the main reason for using the WACP is that it has a totally different angle of coverage than the 8-15mm. The 8-15mm is 180˚ corner to corner @ 15mm. The WACP covers 130˚-57˚ corner to corner with the 28-70mm - making it a super versatile option. But I still always travel with a fisheye too - for shooting the biggest subjects (wrecks, scenery, very big animals, etc). I take the RS13mm when splits are not important and the 8-15mm when I expect to shoot some splits or want to use the 16-35mm too (they use the same dome). Alex
  19. I don’t know. I guess it might be interesting to have the numbers of all lenses - fisheye to macro to know what we are used to having underwater. But generating these numbers takes a lot of work and I am not sure that it will happen. Alex
  20. I see my name! I run plenty of underwater photography workshops during the year. More than my wife likes. I announce all my workshops via a newsletter, which you can sign up for here: http://www.amustard.com The newsletter basically lets you know that a new trip is open for bookings and the full details are live on my website. I do not advertise my workshops in adverts or on Facebook. They are only promoted through my website. This really helps in bringing a group of like-minded photographers together, which is essential for an enjoyable and productive shoot. My trips are mostly populated with photographers who have been before or by shooters who have been encouraged to join by a friend, who has been before. Because my workshops are popular, they regularly fill soon after I have sent out this announcement email. Once a trip is fully booked, it is marked so on my website (which is why they all look full). I don’t open trips for bookings as soon as I have planned them and reserved boats - because it means that my guests end up having deposits out for ages in advance. I usually open them 18-9 months before they happen. If you really like the sound of a particular trip, even if it is full, then it is always worth contacting the agent to be on the wait list, because cancellations almost always happen. Photo workshops, and indeed my workshops, aren’t for everyone and I have tried to share as much honest information about what they are like on my website. Read this before booking. My best advice is to ask opinions of people who have been on my workshops and find out if they are right for you. I would also add that many photographers run workshops and many are excellent, and some are not! So it is always worth asking around for opinions from photographers who have been on workshops and work out who are the good teachers and who are not. Finally, plenty of people have written articles about my workshops, this is the most recent one I have seen: https://www.henleyspiers.com/blog/2018/2/3/whats-it-like-on-an-alex-mustard-workshop Alex
  21. Downside of a dome: you can't use an accessory diopter with a flat port, you can easily scratch your expensive dome, you get less magnification, the lens does not focus quite so close. On the plus side you get a 33% greater angle of coverage (I often use this combo when shooting larger macro subjects - e.g. octopuses on muck dives). You also get corners free from Chromatic Aberrations - which are very noticeable in fine detail when using the Nikon 60mm AF-S G behind a flat port. Most people don't worry about this - because the important subject matter isn't in the corners - but if you look at your images you will see it. This is an example of a very standard image shot with 60mm and curved port (unprocessed direct from camera): Here is the corner detail - screen grab from lightroom. See how all the detail is well defined right to the corner. This is the advantage of a curved port. This is a typical corner frame crop from a flat port shot with a 60mm, which shows all the detail is smeared by CA. Of course - most of the time this does not matter as the main subject is rarely in the corner of the frame! I use both. The flat port most of the time. A curved port (a small section of a larger dome - not a mini dome) when I value greater angle of coverage and/or specifically want those perfect corners. Alex
  22. I normally avoid discussions about specific strobes, because I think light is the most crucial thing in photography (I know how valuable having exactly the light I want has been to my career). And the right quality of light is far more valuable than the quantity. However there are no measurable specs for quality - so photographers argue about the measurable specs. However, I know what light I want and need and that informs my strobe choices. ------------ I shot a pair of Inon Z330 strobes on a trip to Cayman in January. That trip persuaded me to get the Retras (although I haven't got them yet). But I would add that both strobes are a significant step on from the previous generation strobes like the Z240 and D2. On that trip I used the Z330s most of the time (as I had used the Retras before and had a good knowledge of their performance) - which is how I assessed them, but did one dive with one of each strobe to compare them in a single shot to share. This shot is not what I based my own conclusions on - but it is consistent with them. This is the comparison shot of the two strobes (that I posted on Facebook at the time) - screen grab from Lightroom: Quotes from that post"Comparison of coverage and quality of light between single Inon Z330 strobe (left) and single Retra flash (right). This is not a comparison of strobe power - I did other tests for that. The Inon was slightly ahead on strobe power, but that may be because the diffuser is does not spread that light as wide. Both strobes are considerably stronger and have more coverage than an old Z240. Do consider that both strobes have done very well in lighting a large wide angle scene, shot into the sun, with just one strobe, which is very impressive. These were both shot on about 50% power. Taken with Nikon D5 and 8-15mm fisheye @ 15mm, f/11 @ 1/320th, ISO 400." "The difference between the strobes was immediately obvious testing them together. With diffusers attached, the Inon is about 1/3 stop more powerful than the Retra. I did the tests with diffusers on because you'd always use them that way for wide angle. This difference is almost entirely down to the difference in the diffusers. The Z330 currently feels a bit unfinished and rushed to market. It needs a better diffuser - one that spreads the beam a little better and warms the light (it is currently way too cool - and you can't add gels because of the domed front)." and "Strobe manufacturers like to quote Guide Numbers - which is the most useless information there is. This is because the guide number is inversely proportional to how wide the strobe beam is set to be. If you want a high guide number, simply make a narrower beam. Easy. Unfortunatlely the best light for lighting wide angle scenes in clear water is wide and soft - so that it illuminates the subject naturalistically, without eyecatching burned-out hotspots and harsh shadows. Some manufacturers do quote angle of coverage - which is good. But again it is not the best statistic. What is more important than how wide the beam is - is how much of a fall off of light is there from the centre to the edge. Two strobes might both have a quoted 120˚ coverage, but in one, after 90˚ there is only 20% of the light remaining. In the other there is 70% remaining. The second example will be easier and more flattering to use." Quotes from that post"Comparison of coverage and quality of light between single Inon Z330 strobe (left) and single Retra flash (right). This is not a comparison of strobe power - I did other tests for that. The Inon was slightly ahead on strobe power, but that may be because the diffuser is does not spread that light as wide. Both strobes are considerably stronger and have more coverage than an old Z240. Do consider that both strobes have done very well in lighting a large wide angle scene, shot into the sun, with just one strobe, which is very impressive. These were both shot on about 50% power. Taken with Nikon D5 and 8-15mm fisheye @ 15mm, f/11 @ 1/320th, ISO 400." "The difference between the strobes was immediately obvious testing them together. With diffusers attached, the Inon is about 1/3 stop more powerful than the Retra. I did the tests with diffusers on because you'd always use them that way for wide angle. This difference is almost entirely down to the difference in the diffusers. The Z330 currently feels a bit unfinished and rushed to market. It needs a better diffuser - one that spreads the beam a little better and warms the light (it is currently way too cool - and you can't add gels because of the domed front)." and "Strobe manufacturers like to quote Guide Numbers - which is the most useless information there is. This is because the guide number is inversely proportional to how wide the strobe beam is set to be. If you want a high guide number, simply make a narrower beam. Easy. Unfortunatlely the best light for lighting wide angle scenes in clear water is wide and soft - so that it illuminates the subject naturalistically, without eyecatching burned-out hotspots and harsh shadows. Some manufacturers do quote angle of coverage - which is good. But again it is not the best statistic. What is more important than how wide the beam is - is how much of a fall off of light is there from the centre to the edge. Two strobes might both have a quoted 120˚ coverage, but in one, after 90˚ there is only 20% of the light remaining. In the other there is 70% remaining. The second example will be easier and more flattering to use." ​That said, the deal breaker for me with the Z330 is that I could not use it for inward lighting (p122-123 and p152-153 of my book) - because it does not have a sharp edge to the beam to exploit. So the decision was actually reasonably easy. Alex
×
×
  • Create New...