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Posts posted by Alex_Mustard

  1. I shot a lot of useful, but very little stunning underwater photos in 2020. My favourite photos from the highly unusual year are memories of family days at the coast. We visited rock pools in England, Wales and Scotland during the year allowing me to photograph how limpet body shapes change on the different coasts - fascinating stuff. I am not sure anyone will ever seen my limpet portfolio, but here are a couple of Isa enjoying rock-pooling, whatever the weather (SW England and NE England).


  2. These are the tests on a rectilinear lens (modelled) from this article (by myself and Edward Lai):
    comparing dome port size on image quality
    The impact on image quality across the frame when using different sized dome ports compared with a lens in air (this graph plots RMS GEO radius against FOV of a lens, data source: Zeemax spot diagram analysis, Edward Lai, 2017). Results are discussed in the text below. 


    Before moving on, I want to add more data to the graph from the previous section, which is very valuable for improving our understanding of using dome ports. As far as I know, this is the first time anyone has probably collected and certainly presented test data of this kind for different domes.

    The 100mm (4”) dome port performs slightly worse than the 200mm (8”), while the 230 mm (9”) performs considerably better. However, do note the data for a 230 mm dome that was not placed correctly, using a port extension just 3.8cm or 1.5” too short — something I see lots of people doing. Like this, the expensive 230 mm dome now drops as much image quality at the 100 mm. The graph shows that big, expensive domes deliver on image quality, however, they must be correctly positioned to do so. (Also note that all domes give good sharpness in the center of the picture, the advantage of bigger domes comes towards the edge of the frame.)

  3. You’re not wrong. But it is important to remember that a full frame system still takes pictures with poor dome setup etc. You are just not getting the most out of the system. And some don’t realise what they are giving away, because they are getting images that they are happy with and therefore are happy with their setup. 

    Rather than be too critical - I think the solution is to encourage them understand how much more they could be getting from it, with a a few choice purchases and a clear understanding of technique.


  4. 7 hours ago, Architeuthis said:

    I also was waiting for this announcement, but 7500$ is definitely too much.

    Apparently they took the expected price a multiplied it by a crop factor of 2. :rofl:

    Jokes aside - I suspect that the price might drop by $1000 or so in a year or two when they have fulfilled the “I must have it at any price” market and then need to sell some more. It looks a beast, though. 


  5. 27 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:

    Thank you Alex very useful. I particularly like the 'automated batch process' in bridge. So in essence you use Lightroom for tagging and RAW conversion and selection.

    I find lightroom being very slow with that and hence I am using bridge. I was under the impression that lightroom keywords are in the library not in the single file but obviously they travel to photoshop from this diagram


    Yes, keywords are transferred across when you export as either a catalogue (to read into another Lightroom catalogue) or as individual files. Although the Bridge stuff takes up most of the space on my diagram the Photoshop and Lightroom parts take up much more of the time!


  6. I just sketched this to summarise my standard workflow. I definitely have a one way system through the software. Images start in Lightroom and once exported never come back. Then into Photoshop (I never crop or remove scatter/distractions in Lightroom). And then  use Bridge for typing in captions (description and title), making sure my copyright and contact details are correct, and then batch processing them for my four main uses.

    I have this process so that everything only has to be processed once and is done properly at that time (including species names and captions). And that information is then embedded in all versions of the file - making them fully searchable.


  7. I was in Sardinia last week - visiting family and friends and enjoying the warm sea and beautiful beaches. Although I didn't dive (partly because I've hurt my neck - see the latest Wetpixel Live videos!). I also lived there for 2 years. 

    There is scuba diving all around Sardinia. I have more experience of the northern half of the island than the southern. 

    I really like the diving around La Maddalena archipelago - topography dominated by granite - from where it is possible to do trips to Lavezzi too. You can dive this area either from dive centres on the island or on the Sardinian coast. I would suggest going with Vinny at Nautilus in Palau (https://www.divesardegna.com) who is a photographer and also Wetpixel member. 

    I also really like the diving around Alghero (where I used to live, although we did live on La Maddelena for 3 months too). This is a limestone area - with lots of caverns to explore. The water here is always a couple of degrees colder than elsewhere. I have dived the most there with https://www.capogalera.com/default.aspx?ver=en

    I also really like diving in Tavolara and also the wreck KT-12 in Orosei - both of which could be done as a day trip from anywhere in the north of Sardinia with an early start. There is interesting diving almost everywhere - so if other factors decide where you are staying - then dive there and maybe do some of the other locations as day trips. 

    There are very few decent shore dives in Sardinia.

    Here are a few of my pictures from Sardinia (unusually the first seahorse is shot with the rarely used Nikon 85mm macro lens) : 


    Avoid the night clubs this summer!


  8. Hope I am not speaking out of turn - but I am sure Adam would gratefully receive any suggestions of questions/topics we could address. Also this is not a closed shop - if there is a question/topic you would really like to discuss in this format with Adam, then please do volunteer yourself. 

  9. I’ve shot the Z7 underwater - for a handful of dives in Cayman - but only used it with the 14-30mm and Nauticam’s new WACP-2.

    The camera is very likeable on land - but I didn’t love the camera underwater (I did love the lens and WACP-2 once in the water - which is why I kept using it!). The AF with the 14-30mm was totally fine for WA shooting. The synch speed is a negative and the lack of lens compatibility too. I didn’t like the fidelity of the electronic viewfinder for reviewing images. I also was stuck using strobes I didn’t like with it - which didn’t help.

    I used it for a few shots - which you can see here:


    I didn’t like the files as much as the D850 and I expected them to be the same. I never got to the bottom of why this was. 

    I leant the camera around on the trip and some didn’t like it, but one guy, a very accomplished SLR shooter (very regular magazine shooter) loved it - and preferred it to his SLR. So if you get the chance to try one - I would - as I think some definitely prefer this system.

    I don’t prefer it to my SLRs. Sadly, I fear that these mirrorless cameras are the future that the camera companies want us to follow. And we will get lots of new mirrorless and less and less SLRs.


  10. In a normal year I do around 350 dives (stuck in 86 in 2020)! And almost all those dives for the last decade, at least have been running workshops - where I am joined by between 12-20 photographers depending on the trip. In other words, each year I see, first hand, (350x16=) well over 5500 photographer dives - where if anyone has a problem they come first to me. That is close to 30,000 photographer dives in the last 5 years - I doubt many people see many more. And it is clear from that, while you do see problems with all gear, some brands have way more problems than others. 

    The problem of sharing these thoughts are two fold. First, daring to say publicly anything negative against any brand tends to bring you grief - yet, on on trips filled with photographers there is always loads of honest conversations about these things (those who tend not to join trips never hear these widespread opinions and new photographers aren't exposed to them until after they have bought their gear)! Second individuals will always say - "mine have been perfect" - and many are. But most individuals are experiencing less than few hundred photographer dives in the last five years, so have a much smaller sample size.

    Anyway, here are my experiences:

    Sea & Sea strobes which take AA batteries (ie not YS250s) are the least reliable in my experience, by a noticeable margin. Sea & Sea has a strong dealer/supporter network - so please note that I am talking about in my experience. I will leave it up to readers to decide if my experience is with listening to.

    I've nothing against Sea & Sea or their strobes, but I happily shot a pair of D2s for several dives on my last trip to Cuba (while lending my strobes to the D2 owner). The J ones don't break as much, but they still break more than most.

    The Inon Z240 has proved to be extraordinarily reliable over the last decade and more. I'd say the most reliable underwater strobe i've seen. However, I've seen a lot of them have problems in the last few years, though. Which I am sure is an age thing - and I think that they have lasted so long is very, very commendable. 

    The Z330 is definitely more prone to failures than the Z240. But is more reliable than D1/D2 etc. There is a new D3 out - but it is not really in circulation yet - so maybe that will turn things around for Sea & Sea.

    I'll leave my commentary there - within the terms of the original question!

  11. I guess it is good news for our bank balances - that we don’t have to face upgrade envy. And bad news for housing manufacturers - no new cameras - no demand for new housings.

    I think we will get some new cameras this summer. Camera companies normally announce a lot in Olympic summers. Even more so when they are Japanese companies with a Japanese Olympics. While the Olympics are cancelled - these products will have been in development for years and will get announced in the coming months, I suspect.

  12. This is a spinyhead blenny. 

    The confusion around the IDs is long running. First, many people refer to all the tube blennies collectively as secretary bennies - even though there is a specific species called secretary blenny. These ones are commonly called spinyhead secretary blennies too!

    The true secretary blenny is a shallow water species (rarely seen by boat divers, usually only seen by shore divers) and there is confusion about it because on the early (but widespread) editions of one of the popular ID guides had a photo of a spinyhead under secretary blenny.  This one can be orangey around the eyes - but is more obviously spikey on its head.

    The one with orange around its eyes is the roughhead blenny (which has both a dark and golden colour form).


  13. I agree with Phil, the "N120 140mm" is what I would use. To use a Sigma 15mm with a 100mm dome, you need to shave off the lens hood - if you leave it on, the lens cannot get close enough to the dome to not see the edges of the dome. 


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