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Caribbean_Corallimorph

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About Caribbean_Corallimorph

  • Rank
    Starfish

Additional Info

  • Camera Model & Brand
    Olympus E-330
  • Camera Housing
    Ikelite
  • Strobe/Lighting Model & Brand
    Ikelite DS-125
  1. Does anyone have any experience diving Lembeh/Bunaken at the end of March? I know that here in Bali, the diving can still be hit or miss due to the end of the rainy season. I leave Indonesia on April 9th, so I can't go to Lembeh any later than that (leaving a few days to pack to leave Indo). How are the water conditions, viz, etc? Chances of heavy rains, etc? Thanks, Colin
  2. I had the same thing happen with my e330 Ikelite kit. I always double check that the hot shoe is pushed all the way in. Once I realized this was an issue, I've never had it be a problem again, as it is quite clear now when it clicks all the way in. Now I always take a test picture before I get in the water to make sure everything's all sync'd up.
  3. Hi, I just wanted to relate my recent story of my camera flooding. Last night I flooded my Olympus e-330 with 50 mm macro lens inside my Ikelite housing. Yup, I lost $1200 worth of camera equipment in less than 5 seconds. I'm still not exactly sure how it all happened, which bothers me a bit. Somehow the lens port managed to pop up after the dive and before the freshwater dunk tank. Details as follows: My dive buddy and I had just completed a night dive at Tulamben in Bali. After a pretty good dive (great harlequin shots eating a starfish arm), with no camera trouble whatsoever, I emerged from the water to walk back down the beach to the car park. Being that it was nighttime and all, I kept my DS-125's modeling light on to use as a flashlight to help me walk down the beach without tripping over any rocks. In doing so I had to hold my camera sideways by one handle in such a way that the strobe, which is mounted on a deluxe ball-joint arm, was free to hang downward. The only thing that I can think of, is that at some point the strobe must have swung and hit the front lens port of my camera. If you are unfamilliar with the Ikelite system, the lens port is only attached to the housing body with two small plastic locks that snap over the plastic edge of the port with an o-ring underneath to create the seal. When underwater, the pressure pushes the port against the housing, so you never really have to worry about the port coming loose underwater, despite the dinky appearance of the port attachment mechanism. However, above water, without the force of water pressure pressing it tightly to the housing, I think that the dinkiness of the design displayed itself. I think that the strobe must have swung and hit the port just hard enough, and just at the right spot to pop one side of the port up. I never heard any "clunking" or popping sound indicating that this had occurred, but it is the only thing that I can imagine to have occurred. When I got back to the car park and wash-down tanks, of course the first thing I did was place my camera in the freshwater rinse tank to remove the saltwater. Upon doing this I heard a much more intense "blub blub blub" sound of bubbles than I am used to when I do this (usually a few bubbles bubble out from the hollow strobe arms). And of course I put the camera in face up... I immediately pulled the whole unit out of the water to find my housing already 3/4 of the way full of water, and a 2 cm open gap between one half of the lens port and housing body. *%#&! The ladies' slim line sanitary pad inserted into the housing in case of a minor leak was certainly no match for this sort of deluge. I opened the camera housing up and emptied the water as fast as I could, removed everything, drying everything the best I could with only the illumination of the car's dome-light, in the dwindling hope that something can be salvaged. Afterall, it is only freshwater... The plastic snap-lock that hold the lens port down was pulled up, it appeared to be lifted significantly higher than I imagined they could be levered. However, it did not break the snap. In fact this snap appears totally fine at the moment. I was able to pop it back down into place, and it works perfectly. I would have expected that the amount of force required to pop up the lens port would have at least broken the snap, but obviously this is not so. This seems to be quite a weak point in design on Ikelite's part. Before the dive, I ensured that both of these snaps were properly seated and popped in. Had this been during the daytime, the chances of this happening would have been much, much more slim. I certainly would have noticed such an obvious defect as a giant gap and a crooked lens port. With only the car's headlights for illumination, everything inside the rinse tank was shadowed and in the dark. I spent the rest of the night drying the camera and housing. There wasn't a lot of water in the camera itself, but there were definitely droplets in places where water should not be (like inside the camera's flash...). The lens (Olympus 50 mm macro) seemed to be mostly dry, so I hoped that I could at salvage this $400 piece of glass. There really wasn't any water inside the camera body itself that I could see. By the morning, there was a condensate fog in the interior layers of the lens's glass. I don't have much hope for my most important lens. After letting the camera dry completely overnight with all the orifices opened up, I put in a fresh battery (although the one inside at the time of the flood appears to be ok, wasn't wet, and charged normally. I didn't much hold my breath when I tried turning the camera on this morning, expecting the worse, and that's what I got. Nothing happened. Until I get a new camera I won't be able to test the lens, but I don't have much hope for it, even if I can manage to get the moisture out from inside the lens. So I'll have to buy another one of these macro lenses too. If I'm lucky I'll end up with a spare... However, I just read on a recent post that Olympus lenses are "weather sealed". Can anyone elaborate? What sort of chances do you give this lens considering it only experienced a minor amount of freshwater? What can I do to maximize the chances of its survival? I currently have it inside the Ikelite housing sealed with a bunch of silica packets to absorb the moisture. I never expected a flood to have occurred at this point. I am ever vigilant about double checking my o-ring seals on the camera housing after I close it up, re-checking again just before I get in the water, and checking one last time once I'm in the water. I always clean my o-rings and keep them freshly lubricated with Ikelite silicone grease. This is my tool, and the source of great fulfillment as a 24 year-old aspiring underwater photographer who is currently working as an intern developing coral aquaculture techniques, earning about $5 per day (50,000 Rp/day). Needless to say this disaster really takes the wind out from underneath me. My underwater camera setup is the most expensive item I own, and I saved my money for a year to purchase it. I take excellent care of it. I had always assumed that flooding is supposed to happen DURING the dive, not after it. Fortunately, it appears that the TTL circuitry inside the housing that controls the strobe seems unharmed, and appears to be functioning properly. There was some moisture on the circuitry, but I unscrewed the covering and carefully dried it all out overnight. When the dead camera body is attached to the hot shoe, and the strobe is turned on, the TTL light lights up as it should. I can switch the circuitry to "manual" and adjust the strobe output with it this way. So I'm assuming that everything is fine, but I guess I won't be sure until I get a new camera to try it out. Just last week I had ordered a new DS-125 to add as a second strobe, along with deluxe strobe arm and dual sync cord. Family members had chipped in such that this could be my Christmas present. However, due to some difficulties in being in Indonesia, and requiring that it be shipped to an address other than my billing address, I hadn't been able to pay for it yet. It is fortunate that my phone card hasn't been working, because I had been trying furiously to get in touch with the camera company (Helix Camera) that I purchased the strobe package from on eBay, in order to give them my credit card information over the phone. So basically, dodgy Indonesian phone networks saved me $800 on gear that now I really cannot afford. The company won't be very happy about me not purchasing the strobe I bought using the "Buy it Now" function on eBay. Perhaps they'll have some compassion to my situation, or more likely I will finally have a smudge on my otherwise perfect eBay feedback... I can at least put that money I had planned on using for the strobe towards a new camera...again. Also quite fortunately, the memory cards in the camera were unharmed, so at least I didn't lose any of the day's pictures. I have just related my story to Ikelite, but I doubt it will accomplish much except hopefully spur a better port lock design in the future. Has anyone else had a similiar problem with their Ikelite dSLR housing? As you can see I have done nothing but support Ikelite in all my underwater camera accessories. I had been very pleased with the quality up until this point. It's sort of ironic that if I hadn't had this failure I'd be supporting Ikelite again with the purchase of a second DS-125 strobe package. It will be quite sometime I'm sure before I can afford to spring for this as I now need to give this money again to Olympus. I also wonder about the TTL circuitry. Sending it back for maintenance at this point is not very convenient, although I do plan on doing so when I return to the States in March. If it turns out that my strobe is getting funny signals, then I suppose I will have to send it back as soon as possible. I won't know until I get my new camera. But like I said, as far as I can tell it seems to be functioning normally. I knew that a camera flood was going to be inevitable at some point in my "career", I had just hoped that if it was going to happen, it would occur in several years just after a better model camera comes on the market, giving me an excuse to upgrade. Either way I got 65+ dives out of it and over 6,000 photos, many of them extraordinary. If I had taken this many pictures on a a film camera, I'd probably be saying "Well I guess it was about time something like this happened to me...". But I don't think anyway I look at flooding a 5 month old camera is going to make this any easier... Hope everyone else had a better weekend than mine. But I am taking it pretty well. Its only material, its only money, I'm fine and healthy. I've still got a smile on my face. Within the larger context of the 24 hours of diving around this event, its actually a pretty amusing story. "Murphy's Law of diving after a camera flood" proved itself true on the following morning's dive (my buddy's camera was still fine, and he uh, needed a buddy for the dive), seeing a whole host of critters that I'd been hunting for for the past couple of months. Doh! Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer, Cheers, Colin
  4. I have been shooting my e-330 for 2 months now, and taken it on about 60 dives and taken over 5000 pictures (I've been busy in Bali on an internship ;-) and plus I've got a learning curve to climb...). This was my first step into dSLR and even SLR photography. previously I owned an Olympus c-5050, but I had only ever used it with the pt-15 housing, no external strobe, and shot mostly in Automatic mode. Things like Aperature, f-stop, shutter speed, etc meant nothing to me. So basically my e-330 was jumping into fresh water. I liked the quality and ease of use of the c-5050, and what I perceive as Olympus' attention to underwater photography, so I remained brand loyal... I must say that I am very impressed with this camera, the design, picture quality, and the ease of use. I primarily use the 50mm macro which I think is great. I also use the 14-54mm zoom which I am also very happy with. I use this camera in an Ikelite housing with a ds-125 strobe. Mostly I shoot in TTL mode which I have been very happy with. The in-housing TTL adjustments allow for fine tuning which I appreciate. RAW adjustments in post-processing seem to take care of the rest of the issues with exposure. For 90% of my shots I use the LCD live-view. The resolution isn't as clear as the view-finder, but it is certainly more convenient, and I think it allows for capturing tricky, finicky subjects much easier than using a view finder. The focus lock light tells me that everything is in focus, so this compensates for the lower LCD resolution. I shoot in Manual mode, mostly adjusting the aperture to suit my needs at 1/160, ISO 100 for macro. I practically consider this camera point and shoot, but the images that I produce are definitely professional. I must also say that my approach improved drastically after a one day underwater photo course with Jeff Mullins in Tulamben, Bali. He really helped ratchet me up several levels very quickly. Fortunately he uses the same camera (albeit in a 10bar/fantasea housing), so this lesson was ideal for me. I spent a lot of money on this set-up, but I consider every penny worth it, and would highly recommend this kit to anyone that isn't already familiar with shooting SLR, and but even SLR shooters I'm sure would like it. Cheers, Colin
  5. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the new Sigma 105mm macro lens for the Olympus 4/3 system. I specifically would like to know what the maximum length of the lens is when fully extended so I know what Ikelite flat port I would need for it. What are people's impressions of this lens for super macro pics?
  6. I was hoping someone might have some advice for me in regards to adding a second strobe to my Olympus E-330 dSLR in Ikelite housing outfit. I currently have a single DS-125 strobe and single sync cord. I shoot mostly macro in TTL mode. I would like to add a 2nd strobe to get more even lighting distribution, but I'm not sure what's the best route. I read somewhere that the TTL-Slave sensor #4100.5 was in actually preferrable to using a dual sync cord for TTL control with a second strobe... Does anyone have any experience with this, comments or advice? My mind isn't made up whether to go with a DS-50 or DS-51 using the slave sensor, or to shell out the extra bones for another DS-125 which would allow the use of a dual sync cord OR the Slave sensor. I've also contemplated trying to save even more money buy buying an older Ike SS-100a and use the old slave sensor #4100. I can't see why this setup shouldn't still provide me with proper exposure even without new fancy digital technology. I'm up to my ears in ideas without a clear path through it. Additional perspective would be helpful :-) Thanks in advance for adivice, Colin
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