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Everything posted by scubanerd

  1. Nice to hear you are liking the IBIS of the GH5. I have had a tough time getting some 'real' reviews of the benefits of IBIS UW. I have been successfully shooting Macro with and without a tripod for many years. Sometimes a tripod is just not an option and I don't like to rely on it. I was just in Indonesia and trying to perfect my skill with the SMC, easier said than done. I am hoping the IBIS can assist with that level of macro / zoom. Your comment about 'i would feel naked without it'. Do you feel IBIS is helping on WA shots as I normally don't have much of an issue on WA assuming conditions are not extreme. Please elaborate. Thanks!
  2. I am setting up my new rig and have been battling between buying the GH5 or S version. GH5 seems awesome for stabilization and the S seems awesome for low light performance. I am planning on using an 8mm for wide and a 60mm for macro (paired with a SMC). It dawned on me today that maybe the best choice is 'both'. Since they both work in the same housing, why not load the housing with the S for wide angle dives and use the GH5 for macro? I figure for macro I will also have artificial light so low light is not needed, and having the ability to stabilize those super macro shots could be very beneficial. Am i crazy or brilliant?
  3. I am in Colorado, US Pics: Nauticam Housing - rear front - (you can see the scratches I am referring to on the top of the housing. This was caused by my monitor resting on it during boat travel). I also have the port cover but thought it would be better to leave it off for pic Zen 230 - This pic also shows the 'scratch' i was referring to: Zen 230 - Dome Macro & Extension Ring: Sola Top: Sola Front: Let me know if you need more, just took these quick with my phone
  4. For sale - Nauticam NA-D800 housing & ports. Details: Complete housing with M16 vacuum valve & included vacuum pump Used - about 400 dives. Never flooded Recently had complete overhaul from Reef Photo, about a $600 service. All O rings replaced and everything lubricated and checked. 33 dives since overhaul Great shape. Couple of scratches on the front/top of the housing but purely cosmetic Retails for $3800. Asking $2K as standalone (kit price below) Zen 230 Dome port with extension ring: Used in conjunction with the Nikon 16-35 F4 VR rectilinear lens Zoom gear Great shape, no scratches on lens. Minor scratches on bottom port hood from use Retails for $1899, asking $1k as standalone Nauticam Macro port 60 with extension ring 70: Macro port 60 to be used with 60mm Macro lens Use extension ring 70 for use with 105mm Macro lens 67mm thread for added lens (such as SMC) Perfect shape, no scratch on lens or port Retails for $700 (port + ring), asking $400 Two Sola Video 2500 Flood lights: Great shape, minor wear and tear on casing Comes with chargers and bags Retails for $350 per light, asking $350 for pair Kit price - I would prefer to sell the whole kit so offering an extended discount for the package. Your black Friday deal is $3K total for everything listed above. I can provide pictures as requested. Happy Thanksgiving!
  5. Hi all. When I was looking for monitors and decided on the SmallHD 501, I found it a bit difficult to find some good reviews on it. So I thought I would post my recent usage review for anyone looking at this setup. Background - I have been shooting UW video for about 15 years, and been through many different rigs. The only other rig I have owned that had an external monitor was the L&M HC3 setup. The monitor was good for framing, decent for color/balance, and no help on focus or DOP. I converted to using a dSLR about 2 years ago in order to take advantage of the optic capabilities that a dSLR offers. In using the dSLR for video, it became very apparent that the optic 'capabilities' also offer some optic 'challenges'. In particular i have found that with the full HD anything that is slightly out of focus is basically unusable. I cannot count how many times in the last two years I thought I had the footage, but in post review the image was slightly out of focus and was trashed. In came the need for a real external monitor. Setup (no monitor) - I have a Nikon D800e housed in a Nauticam enclosure. I have a couple of lenses, but I find myself either shooting the 18-35 wide angle with a Zen 120 glass. I use the 200 for macro work housed in the standard nauticam flat port. For lights I use 2 L&M Sola 3000 and also run a Sola 800 Photo for red lighting when needed. I normally equip the housing with a Nauticam 90degree viewfinder. Setup (with monitor) - Changes to the housing: You must have an open M16 bulkhead to install the HDMI cable/adapter. If you do not have an open one (i was already using the 2 M16's on my housing), you can purchase the optional adapter that provides the suction valve in addition to the M16 bulkhead. I purchased one. I moved the existing Nikonos style strobe bulkhead into the position of the existing suction valve (right side) and then used the adapter to provide a spot for the HDMI bulkhead in addition to keeping the suction valve. The HDMI bulkhead is designeded to go on the left side of the housing. The housing comes with two ULCS style ball adapters mounted to the housing. These were/are already in use for mounting the lights & arms. I installed two additional ULCS ball adapters on top of the housing. Once these were in place, I used 2 3inch ULCS arms and a 3 way ULCS adapter mount the two arms and the ball adapter. This provided a solid method for attaching the monitor to the housing. I tried with a single arm, but it was too flimsy out of water. This also allowed the monitor to be moved up/down and also pivoted if needed. UW, I found the setup to work perfectly, and many times I was shooting by only holding the monitor whilst the camera was in a hole or tough to reach place. I have pictures if anyone would like to see it After getting the monitor mounted, it became evident that keeping the 90degree viewfinder was not an option. The conflict on the space they need. So i installed the standard viewfinder that comes with the housing. More on this below. After the adjustments to the housing, everything else was pretty standard. As noted with other posts, running the HDMI cable through the housing and connecting to the camera is a bit tricky, but doable. You may want to change the settings on your camera for the HDMI output. Personally I like mirroring what is normally on the camera LCD screen. Since the SmallHD does NOT do recording, this is a fine option and gets me all the info. I then turned off the LCD screen on the camera to save battery. Review - The monitor and housing are bigger than you expect and adds some additional bulk and heft to the rig. For my diving this last week, I had to walk about 800 ft in the sand to get to the pier. By the time I made it to the pier, I was tired While in the boat, I just kept it under my seating location and overall it faired well while crashing into waves and the like. Asking the captain to hand me my rig after entry was a bit of a challenge, i have not weighed it but I am guessing it is 30-35 pounds out of water. In the water, it is very nice. Overall I would say the monitor housing was neutral and did not really affect the buoyancy of my rig. I have worked on this over the years trying to perfect it. It is about .5 neg in the water and is very easy to maneuver. I found that overall the monitor performed as expected. It allowed me to confirm the following while diving (no surprises in post):Focus options (peaking, etc) were amazing. This is the first time I have had this feature UW, I could never go without it again. Example, I was filming a mantis shrimp on a night dive. It was acting very strange and I was forced to keep moving the camera closer and further due to its movement. The monitor allow me to re-focus when necessary. in previous attempts, I am sure I would have lost focus without knowing and the shot would have been lost. Having all the info (LCD info) on a readable screen was very useful. It takes some steps out of my work flow such as checking shutter speed, exposure, ISO, etc. I felt like it was much easier and realistic to modify these settings at will. Previously, was would typically fix the ISO and use shutter and exposure to compensate. Being able to see/adjust all of these DURING a shot was very cool. Many times I would use the focal length I wanted for the scene, and then use shutter to brighten/darken the scene. If shutter was not applicable, I would adjust ISO to help compensate for contrast. Pixel zoom (just click up on the monitor joystick) was surprisingly helpful, especially with wide angle shots. Be aware that with the nikon series, when you click the 'record' button, the video output has to re-sync with the camera. This causes about a 1-2 second lag on the monitor. This did not really affect me, but certain times I definitely hit record early to I could frame and focus properly. Lastly, I tried to perform some still photography with it, I did not enjoy the experience. First off, you have to use live view for taking the pictures. This comes with it own set of limitations (depending on camera model). When you press the shutter release, the camera has to re-sync. Then if you have review turned on, the monitor blinks again. Finally to go back to taking a picture, the monitor blinks one more time. This adds precious time to the overall workflow for taking a single picture. It is useful for a quick snap here and there, but if I was setting up for strictly stills, I would remove the monitor and put the viewfinder back on. But that is just my opinion. Additional thoughts - These monitors support LUTs (look up tables) in order to apply a 'scene' for post production. For example you could apply a sepia scene to it. I have gone away from red filters and would prefer to add it is post. These monitors have the capability for a loupe that would allow you to play the raw content from a source (camera for example), run in/out of the monitor, and apply LUT's. The output would go to your recording device for final post fixes. I have heard reports of the monitor getting very hot while in use. I did not have this experience. However, I did not run the monitor all the time. I found the monitor was good for about 4 continuous hours while on full brightness. So I was shutting off the monitor for parts of the dive.
  6. For those who may run into this problem in the future, here are the details on the L&M Compact Monitor Power Supply: Output: 6v, 250mA Size: 2.5mm Polarity: Center Positive
  7. I seem to have ruined my L&M power supply that charges the compact monitor (Blueray, etc). I am going to contact L&M to see how quickly (if at all) i can get a replacement, but in case I cannot get one in time I was hoping someone out there could give me the output details on the OEM power supply? (volt/amp) Maybe I can use a standard DC adapter in a pinch? Thanks... Ryan
  8. I agree, the problem with the buoyancy is the fact that we are shooting extended periods of time, it is a non question for still camera's. I also like your point about having to combat the weight. However, take it down a notch on the weight side; what is easier to hold steady for 10 seconds, a perfectly neutral housing or one that has ~some weight to it? Since most manufacturers of housing try to make them slightly negative I am guessing they believe that is preferred, but is it? Or does it just come down to skill
  9. In your opinion does the buoyancy (+/-) of your rig affect your footage? Is it easier to capture steady footage with a heavier rig? If you hold a feather in one hand and a brick in the other, which one stays more stable over 90 seconds? My wife has a new dSLR housing that is ridiculously heavy UW; I have been going through the steps to adjust the buoyancy of her rig and my mind starting wandering into video land. With a still camera it seems to make all the sense, the flash is going to freeze any motion you have anyway so why not have a near neutral rig. But I am not sure it translates to video. Opinions? Ryan
  10. When I asked L&M about it they told me the difference was the gear required to use manual focus. I purchased the new 105vr port...
  11. Just adding my opinion. My L&M housing came with locline arms for the lights. I prefer ULCS arms for 2 reasons, 1 you can get more distance/positioning with ULCS and 2 the locline arm mounts for the L&M gave the arms some play which caused the lights to wiggle a little. It drove me nuts. I also like the fact that I can easily add options to the ULCS arms such as a slate, monopod, etc... Ryan
  12. L&M answered my email. They are hoping to have a prototype by Oct 2007; we will see about a delivery date.
  13. Maybe I wasn't very clear in my question. Let me try again: If I wanted to use the new HD 16:9 external monitor from Amphibico/Gates on a L&M housing, is there a way to convert the L&M plug/signal to conform to what the Amphibico/Gates is looking for? I currently use the L&M external monitor that takes the output signal (regardless of camera setting) and converts it to 4:3 SD. And actually I am not sure if the monitor is doing the conversion or of the output from the housing is already converted. I have done a little more research since my initial post and it does not look promising. I have an email into L&M to see what their take is on an HD monitor. It seems that I would need to modify the bulkhead or create my own to allow this to happen; all of the HD hookups I have seen are 5/6 pin and the SD bulkheads are usually 3 pin. If I hear anything back from L&M I will post it here. Ryan
  14. Has anyone seen/read/heard about a way to convert video signals between housing mftr? For example with some of the new 16:9 monitors becoming available I would like to convert my L&M video monitor to a 16:9 one, without having to wait for L&M to build one. I don't know if it is even possible with all the signals running through specific electronic boards that are different for each housing. I haven't really given it much technical thought, but I figured I would throw it out there. Ryan
  15. Yup. A person can always go through the menu presses by looking through the housing, aligning the dial to 'one push' and then aim at whatever. However I don't like taking my eyes off the action, I have missed too many things that way. After now using the housing on several trips I use two methods: 1) For WB off the sun i have become proficient at using my left hand for making the presses without having to look at where the pointer is actually pointed. An external monitor is helpful to see when the MWB is finished and check basic results. 2) After Nick's excellent MWB test(s), I really liked the hand-job look for open reef scenes. During my last trip I used this technique for all reef scenes. I would go through the menu presses as with step 1 (edit: until I was ready to press 'one push'), then lift the housing about a foot vertically so I could easily put my right hand in front of the lens from underneath the housing. This prevented me from blocking any ambient light coming into housing. Once again, an external monitor is useful; I would point it down a little so I could see the results with the housing raised. Ryan
  16. I wrote a review of the HC3 and there are some details in there about the MWB technique. I know shawnh mentioned it should work once you get the plunger in the right spot (and he is probably correct), but I found it to be a little difficult. Instead of being a 'button' that doesn't move (like the FX1), it is a turn dial that when spun changes the function (direction) of the dial. Once I had pressed the 'menu' button, pressed the 'white balance' button, and moved the dial to the 'one push' button, i found it difficut to then change how I was holding the camera to free one hand and then use it for WB. It can/could be done, but it is not like pressing a real 'one' touch button and keep going. I was in the process of taking a pictiure of my hand, printing it on high quality printer/paper, and then sandwiching it between two clear sections of plastic/lexan/etc. However I am lazy and I found performing a WMB off the sun every 15 feet and again if I changed depth during dive was sufficient. Anything else can be adjusted in post. just my .02 Ryan
  17. I accidentally ran into this feature, it may be in the manual somewhere but I don't remember seeing it. If you press and hold the 'manual' button a menu will pop up that you can select between the 4 different options for the manual ring and you can choose to reset (once you have it all horked up ). You can scroll through the menu options using the manual ring and make your selection by pressing manual again. I put the camera into the housing and everything works as expected. I can now set a manual exposure, and then go back to using it for focus or wb shift. When i change scenes I can reset. Ryan
  18. I was just trying to share. Actually shawnh motivated me; in an unrelated thread he mentioned that there is too much housing chatter and not enough technique posts, which I agree with. i have attached a picture for better explanation. You could always use a longer arm or clamp on another length.
  19. After much research regarding the topic of an UW tripod, I built (or as someone else said 'cobbled') together an UW tripod using the L&M tripod adapter (for the HC3) and ULCS tripod adapter and arms. My goal was a very short tripod that I could use to position the camera in front of a possible subject, and then leave the camera in place as I swam away ~20 feet. My initial reasoning for this was the Cozumel Jaw Fish; I was trying to capture the Jaw Fish out of the protective hole they build. Regardless of what I did, my regulator was too much noise and I was never able to get footage. I am proud to say the tripod worked beautifully for this purpose. However, as the subject of this thread states, this is not about tripods. If you have ever dove in Cozumel you know that there is ALWAYS a current and closer to shore a pretty strong surge. I stay in a place that allows 'shore' diving but the surge was consistently 3-5 feet regardless of day, time, etc. I was trying to get some footage of a seahorse, but I found the surge to be too strong for any useable footage. This was a sandy bottom and even dumping my BC and laying on the bottom did not do the trick. After a few unsuccessful attempts, it dawned on me that I could add an additional arm to my current lighting arms and use it as a monopod. So, picture the L&M housings using ULCS arms for lights; where the lights attach to the housing I used the tripod adapter to attach an 8 inch ULCS arm in addition to the standard arm I used for my lights. For my rig, an 8 inch arm pointed downwards hangs below the housing about 3-4 inches. I was able to use this as a monopod to get the footage I desired. I was able to dig the monopod in the sandy bottom and use it as a pivot. Granted this would not work for standard reef shots, as you would not want to damage the reef, but I found it very useable. Does anyone else use a monopod or something similar? Ryan
  20. I have noticed that many of the pros on this board recommend to non-pros to enter UW video contests to get your name/product out there. That seems like sound advice. I have been trying to compile a list/reference of the available video contests out there. I have been able to find more photo contests than i can shake a stick at, but the video contests seem to be a little harder to find. My searches on the web/wetpixel/etc seem to be either too bland and catch everything, or too pointed and catch nothing. I would like to eventually build a calendar of contests so I can get an idea of when my work needs to be completed, when to schedule dive trips, etc. Please reply with any contest you are aware of (or participated in) that is for UW video. Maybe we can make an official contest thread. Ryan
  21. I don't know about anyone else, but I constantly battle myself on two different philosophy premise: 1) "Well, if I am going to already spend (insert monetary value) then what is a few (insert monetary value) more?". 2) "Do I really need to spend (insert monetary value) to get that feature(s)" Example. I was in the market for a new dSLR last year; I was trying to decide betwen the nikon d80, d200 and d2x. My first premise tells me that I should buy the d200 over the d80 to get the additional features for a few dollars more. My second premise tells me I don't need a d2x at over 3 times the price of the d200 to get a few extra features. I ended up purchasing the d200. That being said, I sometimes find myself wondering if I could have used some of the d2x features, or could I have been happy with the d80. When I look at the 'break the bank' question I have strong opinions. I fell into the trap 10 years ago after learning to dive and falling into love with it; I wanted to be able to take pictures/video while uw. At the time I was not making much money but that did not stop me. I dropped cash (er, should I say credit) on a JVC DV cam and an Ikelite enclosure/lights. While this was not the highest end setup out there, I could have gone much cheaper. Over the next year my diving frequency was curtailed as credit card bills start to accumulate. I eventually had to put myself on diving exile until my finances were under control again. After that first year of no diving, if someone would have asked me to choose between being able to dive again or keep my camera and bills, it would have been a simple answer; back to diving. However that was not a choice and buyers remorse starts to creep up. I made a promise to myself (and maybe the wife) that I would never purchase luxury items unless I was using luxury money. What I find really strange about the whole paradigm is the idea that spending non-real money (credit) was really easy for me but spending actual cash I had saved was extremely difficult. I made the decision to buy the Ikelite kit in a matter of days, while it took me months to settle on my latest setup. I would highly encourage folks out there to dive & video/photo within thier means. It is easy to justify why you NEED a new *whatever*, try to justify why you DON'T NEED it. Anyone wanna buy a used UW video setup?
  22. Thanks for the footage. I am on a slow speed connection this week, so I will have to either start the download and go to bed or wait until this weekend I wonder how much difference there is between the S&S, etc and something like the gates/L&M which have higher end optics? As I mentioned, I was not trying to say the HC3 is a replacement, etc. but the footage I saw between the two on the same dive, same compupter, same everthing was not enough to make me say 'wow, so that is what you get for another $5k-$6k'. I agree, there was some noticeable differences in sharpness and contrast, and I thought there was less color bleed on the FX1. Ever since I bought an HC3 last year, I have always wondered if I made the right choice. I was leaning towards purchasing the FX1, but the main drawbacks for me was the size and price, in that priority. When I finally got the chance to see side by side footage, I was not overly impressed. We also had an HC1 to compare and we all agreed the HC3 looked better than the HC1. So I guess my point is/was do you (or anyone else out there) really feel there is twice the difference between the HCx and FX1? I use the term twice as that is about the size and price delta between the two. Ryan
  23. Hey Wags, I am curious about your comment. I have seen many clips from the FX1 and the HC3. While I think the FX1 has the ability/features to capture footage that the HC3 does not, I haven't seen a huge difference in HDV quality of the same subject(s). That being said, I have yet to view FX1 footage on a large HD screen. I am not trying to say the HC3 is a FX1 equivalent. Please expound on your comments. Thanks, Ryan
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