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Posts posted by BernardPicton

  1. I'm having a strange problem with shutter synchronisation on a Nikon D600 with twin YS-D1 strobes and fibre optic triggering, 105 mm macro. Mostly it works fine in macro at f22 but if I increase subject distance I sometimes get a black border on the bottom of the photo. If I open up to f16 this goes away. I'm not sure if I move farther from the subject at f16 if the black border comes back.


    I have the strobes on DS-TTL II mode (red ready light). Someone just showed me that slave TTL mode gets rid of this problem (blue ready light, engaged by long press on target light button). Can anyone explain or confirm that I should be using slave TTL and not DS-TTL II mode?


    Images attached: DS-TTL II mode - Slave TTL mode





  2. The dome port shade on my Subal DP-FE2 - 2005 vintage, plastic, broke while in a box, resting. I had it on a dive in February, 9 degrees Centigrade, came back to it last week and it was cracked open at the thinner part just as shown here. I think it is a design fault - if I push it back together as tightly as I can on the dome port it leaves a gap of about 5mm. It must be under considerable tension at normal to cold temperatures.


    I know this type of plastic expands quite a bit when warmed up - I had trouble fitting the zoom ring on the 12-24 lens and was told to put it in hot water for a few minutes, dry it, then fit it. This works a treat as it goes on easily then and grips tight once it cools down. From comments here I see that is also how you get the port shade back on. Like John I also had some considerable electrolysis on the screw, it doesn't hold the shade on, a ledge on the port and contraction does that, the screw just stops it turning round. Mine came out (reluctantly), but I'm going to whack it full of grease before I put it back in.


    Has anyone received free replacements for these shades?



  3. I've been a fan of TTL since the Olympus OM2. When I put that in a case to go underwater I butchered an olympus flashgun and rebuilt it in a perspex tube with some bigger batteries and a focusing light. I later did the same thing with the Nikon F3 and some vivitar guns. I mostly shoot macro. I was usually hard up and hate throwing away wrongly exposed pictures, most people were surprised at how few badly exposed shots I got on a roll. In 2005 I bit the bullet and swapped to digital with the Nikon D70 (from F3/Aquatica and home made TTL flashes) so I didn't want to lose TTL. There wasn't much choice, but I went with the SB800 and Subal case for it.


    I needed it specifically for a project where we were collecting small sponges for the museum collection, photographing them first before disturbing them. We were working at 30-35m almost exclusively as there aren't many sponges above that depth at our sites. That means you get 25 minutes of useful time per dive, so you need to work fast. I am delighted with the results, really consistent exposures, normally shooting quickly at three or four different distances on the same subject, then moving to the next. My colleague was using the same camera in Ike housing with no TTL, also not an experienced UW photographer. Still they got some good results, but much slower as they needed to check exposure and adjust a bit. I had the luxury of being able to go in close on a small nudibranch or out for an octopus (between sponges!) without needing to change settings, so ended up with a lot more useful frames at the end of the season. I mostly just left it on manual F22 1/250 ISO 200, TTL flash. If I backed off for a bigger subject then the flash ran out of power, so sometimes needed to open up to F16 or F11, but that's only one small thing to think about.


    I have shot the 12-24mm on TTL and was surprised how well the iTTL coped, I could never do wide angles with TTL before. Given that you can set the camera on manual and choose aperture and shutter speed and still have TTL flash fill I reckon it might have application in this situation too.

  4. I've been using the Nikon SB800 in the Subal housing (which has a dome port) for two years now. I got it because I wanted iTTL with the D70 rather than because it was ideal. I've been really surprised at how good it is. The iTTL exposures are always extremely consistent and accurate. Mostly I shoot macro, using the 60mm Nikon micro. I have tried it with the 12-24mm zoom though and didn't expect it to cover the angle. I've attached here a shot taken with just the one flash, at 12mm (=18mm 35mm equivalent) in dark conditions in Strangford Lough Narrows, Northern Ireland. You can see that there is some fall-off at the corners (I didn't have the w/a diffuser in place), but there is no tendency to burn out the centre and the shot could probably be easily balanced out in Photoshop. At the 24mm setting it is evenly lit. Given the cost of underwater flashguns and the fact that the SB800 is useful on land too I think it's a bargain. What I miss most is the spotting light from my old flashguns.


    I've reduced the NEF file in size and increased the contrast a bit using Capture 4 but not cropped it. If you save it you should be able to read the EXIF data. 1/250 f22




  5. Sorry Jean, didn't mean it was the Aquatica's fault. I did look at it afterwards as my A3 housing never opened with one catch out of four not closed. The A4 one did if the top two and one bottom one were closed. I think there was too much tension from the top two and they were not ideally placed - too high. Two latches open diagonally would even up the tension and the bottom would close again.

  6. I've been using the Subal D70 housing for the last two years. The latch has to be depressed about 2-3mm against a quite strong spring then turned. I think it's much better than the overcentre latches on most other housings. The only one I ever flooded from the latch was an Aquatica F4 housing on a night dive, where one of the bottom latches must have got knocked open in the boat or getting into the water, the housing just filled right up straight away! It had four latches - but three aren't enough to close it - four chances to flood it. BTW the Subal is the best housing I've ever used, and I started with a Nikonos in 1975, 2 Ikelites, 3 Aquaticas.

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