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Alex_Mustard

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  1. Hi All, Sorry to be late to this discussion - my wife is overseas and I was looking after our baby daughter alone this weekend - so no internet was possible! Physically smaller diameter lenses are definitely better with corrector ports, which tends to mean using older lenses. The large front elements of the latest generation of lenses would require huge corrector ports to work as well as the older lenses. And as Ryan says these would just be too heavy and too expensive - importantly with very little improvement in image quality - remember it is the port that the bottleneck on image quality, not the lens. Nauticam ran lots of tests to settle on the size they did. (This is also something I have found with my own rectilinear corrector port - (http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=54681), which after much testing I now use only with 20mm f/2.8 (90˚ FOV). My own corrector port is an Ivanoff style port, made by Carl Zeiss, it is rectilinear, and does out perform a dome port, but is outperformed in image quality by the WACP. Plus is FOV 90˚, rather than 130˚) To answer Fred's question - the lenses I tried behind the WACP have been Nikon 28mm f/2.8, Nikon 28-70mm f/3.5-f/4.5 and Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-f/2.8. I know that Jason Isley also used the Nikon 28mm f/1.8. I don't own the Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8-f/2.8 and considered buying one second hand. But speaking with Edward at Nauticam he thought that it might not offer any advantage over the f/3.5-f/4.5 with the WACP - which is actually a sharp lens, despite being small and slow. I will try it one day. I tried the Sigma 28-70mm f/2.8-f/2.8 with an earlier prototype of the WACP and also send my lens to China for Nauticam to test in the lab with the production WACP. But for luggage allowance reasons I haven't retested in the field (I was also testing the Retra strobes and 8-15mm (reviews on Wetpixel) on these same trips - as well as doing my own photography. I would like to try more lenses - but the focus thus far has been evaluating the WACP - and it was sensible to all be using the same lenses to do that, rather than introducing another variable. For me the best lens was the 28-70mm f/3.5-f/4.5. I liked that it is small, it is also a very useful travel lens for topside stills and video. Picture below: The WACP allows you to focus to the port with all the lenses I tried. I guess this is partly because the WACP sticks out so far, but I guess it is also designed to help lenses too. Here are two shots of my fingers on the dome - one at 28mm and one at 70mm. These are on the preproduction prototype (from Oct 2016) - which is why there is cut off from the dome shades @ 28mm - you don't get this now. Alex
  2. I am excited to see people using them too. It was interesting to lend them out to the guys and gals on my workshops, but with lots of people wanting to try them, nobody got more than a couple of dives - so didn't get to know them in detail. So it will be exciting to see owners put them through their paces. Alex
  3. Hi Rob, My Seacams are my main wide angle strobes. They are the strobes I use for all my wide angle in blue water. I know their light and how to make it do what I want. So I will continue to use them as such. I also own 6 Inons, so I plan to get a pair of Retras, though, to use where I was previously using Inons. I don't always travel with the Seacams - as their long length makes them less suited to macro shooting - and the wide beam angle isn't always beneficial in murky green water. And baggage allowances are not unlimited! Alex
  4. Report here: http://wetpixel.com/articles/field-review-retra-flash-by-alex-mustard-and-friends Hopefully more people will get to try them in the coming days as orders begin to ship and we will hear more opinions and see more images. Alex
  5. That's interesting and concerning, Adam - that your photo has exactly the same flare in the same place as mine. Alex
  6. I continue to be concerned by the level of flare that the 8-15mm gives sometimes, when shooting towards the sun. This photo was taken in shallow water in the Caribbean - and the sun + flare etc is making a big mess of the frame. This was shot at the 15mm end, but I was using it without the port shades and the lens hood, because I had a zoom gear on it. This is just a screen grab from Lightroom - but you get the idea. I only used the lens on one dive on this trip. Are others, who are shooting the lens more than me, finding this problem SOMETIMES when using it without the lens hood and port shades? Alex
  7. I remember that one Phil, I still have my 2x TC. The shape of it means that it won't work with my RS lens adaptor, so I can't use it now. I (and others) used to use it with the 13mm on the RS for WAM shooting (as well as on the 50mm). I never had the 18mm - nor tried it. However, my understanding is that it is just a land lens and dome (converted to work with the RS) and not a water contact lens, like the 13mm, 20-35mm or 28mm. And therefore is not of interest to use today - as it is probably considerably worse that the 16-35mm and 230 dome combo. Although this is just my suspicion. Alex
  8. I have this lens and I also have a 20-35mm (left over from my RS days that I have not had converted). The 13mm has been my standard wide angle lens for a few years and I am very happy wth it. It is the best fisheye, but I do think that those of us who have spent lots of money converting them, tend to overstate by how much. In all honesty, I struggle to see much of a difference with other fisheyes (Sigma 15mm or Nikon 8-15mm) with a 230 dome, once you are shut down more than (a true) f/13. If I was ordered to go back to shooting a dome, I don't think I'd make that much fuss with most subjects (there are exceptions). If you want to see some samples - visit my website and type - 13.0 - into the Image Search box at the top of my home page. There are 350 images taken with the lens on digital on there. http://www.amustard.com I have also used it (occasionally) with DX Nikons, even shooting a GWS at f/5.6 with excellent image quality: http://www.amustard.com/library/twentyone/MEX15_am-12024.jpg I am curious to see images taken with the 20-35mm on digital. It is so long since I used it - I have forgotten the types of images it suits - here is a frogfish taken with the 20-35mm (on film) in the Red Sea: http://www.amustard.com/library/twentysix/RS02_am-104.jpg Alex
  9. I was able to get the test pair of Retra's that I had with me in Cayman and Cuba into the hand of lots of photographers this month. So hopefully you will start to hear some of their opinions soon and also see their photos. Alex
  10. Saga make adaptors to use Nauticam (N120 type) ports on Subal type 4 housings - I am sure they must make a type 3 one too. Alex
  11. The ones I shot in Egypt were pre-production, but I think operating on full power. Although I never had a need to turn them up over 50% during my shoot. Alex
  12. Having used the extra battery compartment - it is super secure. It doesn't look like it in pictures - but in reality it is very, very strong. Alex
  13. A jetty over a coral reef at sunset, Ras Umm Sid, Sinai, Egypt. “The power and coverage was impressive for shooting Sunset Split shots that are a real challenge for lighting because you must illuminated the whole underwater scene evenly and entirely otherwise it is black.” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikon 8-15mm @ 8mm. Subal ND5 housing. Zen 230 dome. 2 x Retra strobe. 1/250th @ f/22, ISO 800. Mae Dorricott dives down beneath the afternoon sun near the Temple, Sharm El Sheikh, Sinai, Egypt. “The warm, soft light from the standard wide angle diffuser brings out pleasing skin tones on people.” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikon 8-15mm @ 8mm. Subal ND5 housing. Zen 230 dome. 2 x Retra flashes. 1/125th @ f/14, ISO 800. Anthias team over a coral head, Yolanda Reef, Ras Mohammed National Park, Sinai, Egypt. “The wide angle diffuser produced soft, even warm illumination over reef scenes.” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikonos 13mm. Subal ND5 housing. 2 x Retra flashes. 1/200th @ f/14, ISO 500.
  14. Anthias dart out from a coral head, Yolanda Reef, Ras Mohammed National Park, Sinai, Egypt. “The wide angle diffuser produced soft, even warm illumination over this busy scene.” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikonos 13mm. Subal ND5 housing. 2 x Retra flashes. 1/125th @ f/14, ISO 320. A school of batfish swimming in open water, Shark Reef, Ras Mohammed National Park, Sinai, Egypt. “The Shark Diffuser helps light reach more distance subjects, such as this school of batfish” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikonos 13mm. Subal ND5 housing. 2 x Retra flashes. 1/200th @ f/13, ISO 320. Anthias and soft corals on the wall of Shark Reef, Ras Mohammed National Park, Sinai, Egypt. “The wide angle diffuser produced a pleasing quality of light on this bustling reef scene, with fish and corals.” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikonos 13mm. Subal ND5 housing. 2 x Retra flashes. 1/125th @ f/18, ISO 320.
  15. Here are some shots taken with the Retra Strobes in the Red Sea. The strobes were still preproduction versions and I didn’t get as many dives with them as I would have like. But from what I saw, I was impressed. A pod of Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins swimming over a coral reef, Sha’ab El Erg, Hurghada, Egypt. “I shot these dolphins with the standard wide angle diffuser, which did a nice job. If I had had time to change, I might have used the shark diffuser!” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikonos 13mm. Subal ND5 housing. 2 x Retra flashes. 1/250th @ f/13, ISO 500. Three British WWII Norton 16H motorbikes with school of soldierfish, inside the wreck of the Thistlegorm, sunk by a German bomber in 1941. “I used the mini-beam restrictors to avoid spraying light around too widely in the silty Thistlegorm and produce clean results.” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikonos 13mm. Subal ND5 housing. 2 x Retra flashes. 1/6th @ f/13, ISO 800. A British WWII Albion BY5 bridging vehicle inside the hold of the Thistlegorm. This scene is too large to photograph in a single frame, so this is a mini-panorama of two frames. Thistlegorm Wreck, Sha’ab Ali, Egypt. “The wide angle diffuser produced plenty of coverage to illuminated this large subject evenly so that two frames could be automatically joined together.” Shot with Nikon D5 and Nikonos 13mm. Subal ND5 housing. 2 x Retra flashes. 0.3 sec @ f/13, ISO 800. Alex
  16. A sample selection of images are processed now. I am just waiting for the OK from Retra to start sharing them. Alex
  17. An area of interest for me was how this lens handles the sun. The ability to capture the sun well is a major reason why I would favour the Nikon 16mm over the Sigma 15mm fisheye. With the 8-15mm at the 15mm end - with dome shade and lens shade attached - the lens captures the sun pleasingly. OK, there is no clear sunball in this shot - but the sun's rays are handled very well. However at the 8mm end, with the dome and lens hood’s removed (as they must be), I got obvious flare shooting into the sun. This is the flare spot at the bottom of the frame: This is a flare reflection from the main sunball at the top of the frame. Here is the whole frame. In this case the flare spot was easily cloned out, because of the nature of the background in this particular frame. I have only used the lens on a couple of dives, so far, and want to do more testing (or hear from others on what they are finding) before coming to a firm conclusion. Alex
  18. Yeah, I'll try and get some example images processed tomorrow. I processed the ones from the Nikon 8-15mm first. Alex
  19. That photo was also shot using Retra's new strobes.
  20. I hope to be able to pull together a selection of shots and some thoughts for Adam to publish tomorrow. Regarding the blue ring at 8mm - it is not an UW effect. Here is a split I shot with the lens at 8mm - and the blue ring is as prevalent above water as below. Taken with Nikon D5 and Nikon 8-15mm at 8mm. Subal housing, Zen 230 dome, 20mm port extension. Alex
  21. Giving them a workout this week. We'll try and get them in the water as much as possible. Alex
  22. Surely the wider your spread the light, the more particles in the water you light up. And therefore the more backscatter you will get. I am not against domed diffusers, I believe they can be very valuable, but they increase backscatter, not reduce it. Alex
  23. Really enjoying this conversation and wanted to be involved even though I haven’t seen the lens yet. I am really keen to try this lens. For some reason availability has been very limited in the UK, but I am grateful to Adam for lending me his to shoot in the Red Sea. However, away from the glitter of new gear, I don’t find this lens that enticing on paper. As we already know from the Canon 8-15mm, the zoom range is not that useful on a full frame camera. Nikon market it as two lenses in one, rather than a zoom, and I think that this is a good way to think of it. That said, I am not a fan of circular fisheye shots (despite using one as the opening image inside my recent Secrets Of The Seas book!), and I don’t want to dive routinely without protective dome shades (even though they easily unbolt on my Zen domes). So for me, on full frame, it comes down to whether a Nikon f/4.5 15mm is better than a Sigma f/2.8 15mm. And I don’t think it will be by enough to get really excited about. (I will still buy one because, like Adam, I have both FX and DX underwater systems. Like many I would have been much more excited if Nikon had made an updated replacement for the Nikon 16mm f/2.8, one that focused close and had image stabilisation. In my experience the Nikon 16mm has always been better at handling the sun than the Sigma. However, the big difference between the Nikon and Canon Full frame 8-15mm fisheyes is that the Canon 8-15mm is clearly the best fisheye for underwater use a full frame Canon user can buy, even if they only shoot it at 15mm. This is not the case for Nikon users. Not only might this lens offer little compared to Sigma 15mm, Nikon users have the option of the Nikonos 13mm. The Nikonos 13mm offers little advantage over a Sigma 15mm and 230mm/9” dome at apertures of f/13 or above. Except that its small size (lack of dome) makes it much easier to light subjects very close to the camera. The strength of the Nikonos 13mm’s water contact optics is with subjects shot in the range f/11 down, where is out performs any lens behind a dome very noticeably. This is especially exciting for full frame users, because rather than giving away aperture to DX users to achieve comparable corner sharpness, you actually gain aperture! Of course the Nikonos 13mm cannot shoot split levels, which is a significant limitation, especially as these are amongst the most commercial type of wide angle underwater images. For me the final piece to puzzle might be the new Wide Angle, water contact fisheye system that Nauticam are developing. This is not a 180˚ lens, but has a tighter angle of view with a FOV range of about 60˚ to 130˚, but with the advantage of being able to shoot at more open apertures and still giving excellent corner sharpness, because of being designed solely for in water use (can’t do splits either). The downside of both the Nauticam lens system and the Nikonos are that both are expensive solutions. The Nauticam port is also heavy because it involves a lot of glass! Alex
  24. I’ve continued to use both, since the D3 came out. But increasingly I use the FX option (in my case D5) for more and more of my photography. I think a major reason in this (apart from the D5 being an amazing camera - if you like the D500, you’ll love the D5, it is even more of the same) is the FX wide angle solutions I am using. Three of which are water contact optics (I use 3 - RS-13mm, Zeiss Ivanoff with 20mm, and Nauticam’s forthcoming lens). These at the very, very least negates any advantage that a DX system has regarding corner sharpness, therefore allowing me to shoot at more open apertures and restoring the ISO advantage of an FX body. ISO flexibility is a huge part of how I shoot underwater and FX does this best. This is something that I value even in bright, topical destinations, because it is not bright everywhere! Below are a couple of examples - the first from my first 2000 shots in Cayman Dec 2016 to show the spread of ISO values I used (all set manually, no Auto-ISO): This example is from the Wetpixel workshop in Lembeh Oct 2016 - also with Nikon D5 (although I think it includes some shots taken with D500 and some with my Olympus): Alex
  25. Thank you! The resolution here is perfect for the talk. Do you want me to credit you when I show it, or not? It is a great examples of the classic problems that many people find. Alex
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