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Alex_Mustard

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Everything posted by Alex_Mustard

  1. In the UK the DSLR market is slowly getting going, but most of the serious Brit UW snappers I know are sticking with 35 mm. I am interested in whether the DSLR market is dominated by people who have never used an SLR underwater or is mainly full of converts, who already own housed SLRs. I am curious what were peoples' last underwater camera before they went down the DSLR route? To start the ball rolling I used (well still use) a Nikon F100 in a Subal housing before (very adventurously) going on to Nikon D100 in a Subal housing. Alex
  2. Speaking as a marine biologist I'm more concerned that it only has 4 arms!! Have I discovered a new species?
  3. I've been using/planning to use this technique for split level shots. By exposing AND focusing for both the under and over parts of the shot separately seemed an obvious place to exploit the joining of two images to create a greater whole. I think it is important to keep the camera as close to the same position as possible between shots so that perspective is maintained and the image doesn't look too stuck together. I used this technique (just using jpgs) for the split level image I used in my D100 Subal D10 review in Underwater Photography Mag's Feb Issue. You can quickly see the same image on my D100 page click here I got plenty of mail about that article but no one has questioned the "integrity" of the split level! Although that may have something to do with the fact that it is probably the worst split level shot I have ever published! But with about a 4 stop difference in exposure between the under and over aspects (in the UK in January) I think the image is acceptable image that I could have never managed on film. Alex
  4. Hey guys, I am a big fan of using DTTL for macro with my SB80DX. The pool tests I posted recently showed that DTTL reliably quenched the flash exposure over a range of apertures from f4 uptp f32 from the same shooting distance. Click here to see the DTTL tests This setup means I have more time to think about composition and how I want to control depth of field to enhance the image. In otherwords it gives me more time for my photography (... and I need all the time I can get!) rather than technical issues. For me this setup was very inexpensive to achieve because I already had an old flash housing, and traded in my old SB28 plus a bit of money for the SB80DX. Old tubular flash housings are now very cheap on the 2nd hand market. They were popular about 10 years ago for 35 mm macro photography but are now a bit out of fashion (in the UK, anyway) because everyone is using ring or quad flashes for macro. So while I agree that manual is easy for the D100 and macro, DTTL is easier! Are S2 users shooting manual flash for macro? Alex
  5. Thanks Craig. Useful stuff. I learn so much on this forum! For several years, with film, I have been using Wratten Gels. In blue water I have favoured 40CC red and 50CC red. These work well assuming a calibration of 4CC units per foot of light path from the surface to the subject to the camera. So I am still talking about very shallow work. I have not tried the UR Pro or the FL-D (infact don't even know what that one is!). Do you reccommend trying these? Alex The only online versions of my filter work on film are in Underwater Photography Magazine Issue 1.Page 20/21
  6. White balance control was the MAIN reason I decided to buy a digital camera. The technique works well with available light photography and enables you to take images that you just can't get on film. This image shows four shots taken in the pool with my D100 by tuning the white balance with a grey card. The first shot shows my friend with the white balance in daylight. The second shot is with the white balance tuned with the grey card. Which has produced a much more "natural" result. Images c and d are autobracketed shots with plus one stop warmer and one stop cooler of white balance. These images were generated by the camera from the same frame and written to the card. Since techniques for white balance tuning will vary between cameras there isn't much point in getting into it. Also different cameras offer different amounts of white balance control.
  7. The SB80DX does do pre-flashes while flat. DTTL, unlike standard Nikon TTL (with a Nikon land speedlight), does all flash metering with preflashes. Yes, that's right - once the shutter is open DTTL cannot react to any changes! The use of two guns is a real minefield. Standard guns (on slave) will fire at the same time as the DTTL preflash and therefore will not light the picture. A pair of SB80DXs might work - but there is some stuff in the SB80DX instruction manual about this and I can't remember what it says. I have been considering using a reflector as an alternative to a second strobe for macro - but am not progresssing much with this idea. For cost, plus the risk of bring additional complexity and problems, I will be sticking with a single SB80DX for macro and standard lenses then going over to a pair of manual Subtronics (that I normally use with my F100 35mm camera) for wide angle. Alex
  8. No problem with the image, James, I only put things on the web that I want to share. I'll try the IMG button next time. I used to use a housed SB26 a few years ago with my film system. But never really got on with it. I did keep the housing - its just a tube with no controls for the strobe. It does have a dome port to maintain the flash coverage. Anyway the same tube fits the SB80DX and it works very well indeed. I leave the flash on DTTL mode and let the head zoom with the lens. The lightbox, however, doesn't fit in the flash housing. You can turn off the sleep - but I don't think I bothered - because it wakes up again when you half press the shutter. Alex
  9. My Subal has been rewired for DTTL and I have found this works very well. On the page below there are a set of test shots I took in the pool with the D100, Sigma f2.8 28-70 @ 44mm. Exposures were all at 1/160th @ apertures: f32, f22, f16, f11, f8, f5.6, f4 & f2.8. DTTL has controlled these flash dominated exposures (of the orange fish) very well at all apertures apart from f2.8 where the camera was not able to quench the light quickly enough. I am very impressed that DTTL works relaibly over 6 stops. My D100 test page I am using insulation tape to block the contacts in the hotshoe. Which I have found is very easy to do, reliable and simple to reverse. I am now happy again because I am able to shoot both DTTL and manual guns! After trials I am happiest using manual strobes with all three small contacts in the hot shoe blocked (see diagram on webpage linked above). Although as stated by Don (from Stephen Frink) they will work with only the top contact blocked. The solution I am using leaves only the trigger and ground connected - all that is needed to fire a manual flash. I prefer this because I know I have stopped all unwanted communication between the camera and strobe. Alex
  10. Thanks for the tip Don. Problem solved. It is worth noting that when the flash circuitry is disabled in this way the camera no longer knows it has a flash attached - although the flash is triggered when the shutter is released. As a result we have to watch our flash synch speeds (only 1/180th) when shooting on Aperture Priority Auto - because the camera will not complain/stop us if we exceed them.
  11. When I bought my SB80DX I got my Subal D100 housing rewired (with all 5 wires connected in the flash circuitry so I could use DTTL). I can now shoot this gun in DTTL and Manual without problems. However with all 5 wires connected in the housing I am unable to fire older strobes (e.g. YS30). The only solution I can think of is to leave one flash socket wired for DTTL. And connect a second flash shoe adaptor to the other flash socket on the housing, with just two wires connected, to let me use my older non DTTL guns in manual. Does anyone have any other suggestions/experience with this problem? Does anyone know if strobes like the YS90DX and the DS-125 will work when all 5 wires are connected? While writing this post I have got an email suggesting blocking the offending contacts on the hot shoe. Anyone know which ones? Alex Why couldn't Nikon have got the D100 to work with standard Nikon TTL (like the increasingly attractive S2) rather than just with DTTL?
  12. Yeah, you guys are right! My main worry with the lens was fitting it inside my existing Subal ports. I know that 17-35 and 18-35 Nikkors fit (just). And I've recently bought a Sigma 28-70 f2.8 that only fitted into the port after I took the rubber grip off the lens barrel! Hence my concern. Alex
  13. Really useful PDF, James, I was never going to consider this lens - but actually it looks pretty good. The 82.5mm diameter of the lens barrel is the same as the 17-35mm lens and that fits in many housings. So sorting it shouldn't be a problem. I am not sure if the barrel length changes when the lens is zoomed? I wrote an article in Underwater Photography Magazine Issue 5 with some practical tips on getting the optimum housing configuration for wide angle zooms. Underwater Photography Mag Issue 5
  14. Sorry for this post - I had a connection problem.
  15. How about trying to get a housing for this beast! http://arstechnica.com/archive/news/1046836224.html
  16. Eric, I checked out your '03 shark trip galleries yesterday. Stunning stuff. The Mokarron hammerhead shots are particularly impressive. I also enjoyed seeing the people pix - especially because I know the Brit subject matter. I agree with Ryan that the D100 shots are nice, but I disagree with Ryan about the sunrays. As a D100 owner I am worried by how poorly the camera has dealt with the sun, producing large white sunbursts/sun spots (both in my own tests and in Mauricio's pix). I do realise that the medusae were shot in shallow water, which always makes it difficult to keep the sun spot small (because you are closer to the surface). A smaller aperture would also have helped to make the sun smaller (the info does not say what aperture was used) plus possibly a slight underexposure of the background. I am sure that in Berkley White's D100 article at Backscatter.com he had some sun burst shots with better results - but I can't find them now. But I am concerned that this is a difference between film and CCD - in they way that each respond to the massive overexposure caused by including the sun in a scene. I do think that sun spot size is also a result of the 1.5 times reduction in lens coverage with the smaller (than film) chips in the D1, D100 and S2. This means that the sun will always be bigger in the frame for any given lens that it would be on 35mm film. I guess I will know the answer to all this when I finally get my D100 into tropical water (Grand Cayman) in April and can see how it performs with shots I have taken many times on film. My tests with backgrounds in UK have been inconclusive (see image below). Viz has been about 1 metre so I have had to do everything just below the surface. This shot below is the full image taken with D100 and 16mm at about 1 foot (30cm) below the surface (f14 @ 1/1/250th - no exposure compensation Aperture Priority - Matrix metering). I think that the sun spot is reasonably controlled here - but I still find it a bit large and unsightly. I think that I have got away with it to some extent because part of the sun is obscured by the edge of Snell's window. I am interested to hear how others have been getting on with sun bursts? Looking through various people's online galleries shots with the sun in are quite rare.
  17. So sorry to hear about the flood. Since the housing will still be fine (after a clean and check) why not get another S2 - possibly a second hand one. There seem to be quite a few about second hand considering it is still such a new camera. I don't imagine that there aren't any other digital SLRs that will TTL with your strobes (which you did not flood). Do Canons TTL with the Ike DS125s?
  18. As an owner of both a D100 with the Multi-Cam 900 autofocus (shared with the F80 and S2) and a F100 with the Multi-Cam 1300 (shared with F5 and D1) I would say that having the (in my opinion, far poorer) Multi-Cam 900 in the Kodak is a major drawback. I would imagine that Nikon want to keep their decent autofocus system for their own future top line cameras? Of course the difference in autofocus is meaningless for wide angle and most standard fish photography where both will be fine. But for low light macro (especially super macro) and fast moving subjects then I know I get shots with the F100 I couldn't get with the D100. OK, I know that other more skilled (and more patient) photographers probably could get these shots. But for me I notice the difference and find it significant in the results I produce. Alex For fairness, I must add that the D100 can, of course, get lots of types of images that the F100 cannot!
  19. This looks like a good housing. A serious contender with the Subal and Light and Motion. For people in the market for one of these housings it is important to think about backup and dealer support. All underwater systems can go wrong and in many ways how easily you can get your kit fixed is as important as how good it is in the first place. That's why hardly anybody in the UK/Europe uses Ikelite flash guns because the customer support for them is so poor compared with North America. Alex
  20. I think that you're right, James. As soon as you want to shoot moving subjects or action macro TTL is a must. Of course it is easy to get exposures right with manual flash - but when you only have one chance on that really top class subject we need TTL... Housing a DTTL gun (e.g. SB80DX) is pretty easy - I have now got my SB80DX working with my Subal housed D100 - but it would probably best to buy a camera like the S2 in the first place that TTLs with all Nikon/Nikonos compatible strobes. And I am sure that it will come as no shock to anyone who knows Subals that their D100 housing is ergonomically superb. Alex
  21. It would be good to see more digital pictures appearing in the big underwater image print competitions. In the A4-A3 size range (12"by8" to 16"by12") If, between us, we could get among the winners there it would be a great way to get the 35mm establishment to take both digital cameras and digital photographers seriously. Examples are: The LAUPS International Competition and The World Festival of Undersea Images Most of the big competitions are towards the end of the year - so lets all get shooting.
  22. I have put one of my D100 SB80DX trial shots on the following page. Its the fluorescence photograph of an anemone at the bottom. Of course this is one of the sorts of static subjects ideally suited to manual flash(!) but I am pleased with the TTL performance. http://www.soton.ac.uk/~atmu/D100/d100.html
  23. I am using an SB80DX in an old plastic SB26 housing. It DTTLs fine with my Subal clad D100 and TTLs fine with my F100. I intend to only use this gun for macro. And will probably use my subtronics on manual for wide angle when not using filters and grey card (which I am far more interested in than flash lit wide angle because this is something I just can't do with film). I think that the TTL/DTTL is essential for getting the best possible macro shots and therefore if one does not plan to house a DTTL gun then the S2 must be favoured over the D100. Good subject matter is a key ingredient in successful macro photography. Just about every macro subject commonly encountered underwater has been shot from every conceivable angle. One of the few areas where you can get fresh macro images is to shoot animal behaviour and for these sorts of shots you often only get one chance - exactly when you need TTL. If you just want to do macro abstracts of static subjects or posed wide angle then manual flash is fine, possibly even preferable. And tools like ROC are fantastic. But not having TTL or DTTL is a serious limitation for macro and standard lens (28-70) photography of more ephemeral subject matter such as behaviour. Alex
  24. My problem with DTTL is that Nikon could have done what Fuji did with the S2 and made their digicam's work with standard Nikon TTL guns. Which would have been a great benefit for users of third party underwater strobes. I have found DTTL works very well (on land) so long as you keep it easy for the camera. And there is no reason that it won't do the same underwater. My D10 is currently being modified to work with DTTL gun (because subal supplied mine with on 3 wires of the 5 connected!). I should get it back this week and will report on how it behaves in the pool. If you want to see DTTL in operation then put your D100 or D1 on a slow exposure (in M) and shoot rear curtain synch. You then get the pre-flashes and the main flash seperated by the length of the exposure. Of course if the reflectivity of the subject changes during this time the exposure is wrong. Bad luck Nikon D100 users!
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