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About bobeson

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  1. I am selling my 3-year old Subal D10 housing. It is in excellent condition, only used for one two-month trip (about 60 dives) and then stored after being serviced by the dealer. Never flooded, has moisture alarm, two strobe connectors, spare o-ring kit, port cap. No ports included. Asking US$1,300 or best offer. I also have a D100 body in excellent condition for sale, with spare battery and charger. US$500/best offer. Also, subal housing for SB80DX strobe - use TTL flash underwater with the D100 with this rig. Includes Subal sync cord. US$300/b.o.
  2. bobeson

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    FWIW, I'm also experiencing auto-login failures. They are consistent, everytime I return to the site I need to re-login, but it seems to keep me logged in for the duration of my usually-short sessions.
  3. My wife and I went to Sipadan last May, and we were unable to get a direct flight from KL to Tawau - we arrived in Kota Kinabalu at about midnight, checked into some fancy overpriced hotel for five hours, then caught the early morning flight to Tawau. It was most unpleasant. The overland shuttle from Tawau to Semporna was a little less than an hour for us, and about 45 minutes by boat to Sipadan If there is now a direct flight from KL to Tawau that is great - it will make Sipadan a much more pleasant place to visit. We decided that the difficulty of traveling to Sipadan was not warranted by the quality of the diving, and that Manado offered a better variety of diving opportunities and was much more easily accessed, with direct flights from Singapore, and was therefore a much better destination for us than Sipadan. You might consider this as well. I think Sipadan is over-rated.
  4. Does the Subal D10 with the FE2 port allow you to use the zoom ring on the 12-24? Is there a gear to attach to the lens?
  5. I bought a Sunray mod light in April, and over the course of a two-month trip in May and June I experienced a number of failures with the light. It would stop working, and then start again a week or two later for no apparent reason. I was quite dissappointed with this $400 "flashlight." When it was working, I had problems with the slow charge rate, which couldn't keep up with a three dive per day schedule. After I returned the light to Backscatter, they sent it back to LMI, who admitted a design defect with the light, and replaced most of the components with the latest versions. I haven't used it much at all since I got it back from service, so I can't give a report on the upgrades. I give credit to LMI for being straightforward about the repairs, which essentially replaced the entire light with a new one. There are previous posts in this subforum which discuss this light in more detail - try doing a search.
  6. I purchased a Subal housing for my D100 earlier this year, and had a number of problems with it. Subal was very slow to correct these issues, and I am still waiting on my defective SB80DX strobe housing to be replaced by them. It took 4 months for them to deliver replacement parts for the camera housing, which had numerous design defects, and now we're going on 6 months for the strobe housing. It makes me wonder how Subal ever earned the solid reputation they seem to enjoy. I certainly don't give them high marks. Have you considered the LMI Titan housing? I'm still quite intrigued by it - the ROC controller looks pretty nifty. I am concerned about the reliability of LMI's electronics, however. I had problems with one of their SunRay lights, but at least they were responsive in repairing it. So far I haven't heard of many complaints about the Titan housing reliability, and I'm hoping it might indicate a higher product quality than they used to ship.
  7. We stayed in Ubud at the Tjampuhan Hotel during both of our trips to Bali, including one earlier this year. We really love that hotel - it's uniquely beautiful. Prices are reasonable, but not cheap. We negotiated US$70/night at the front desk, but couldn't get a reservation beforehand for less than US$90/night. Ubud is much nicer than the southern areas of Nusa Dua, Kuta, etc. Nusa Dua is a fancy, phony tourist development only - very little authentic Balinese experience to be had. It's also very expensive. Kuta is just nuts. We stayed a few days in Legian at the Hotel Jayakarta, and it was fun, but we hated the high-pressure sales tactics of all of the vendors, who swarmed us everytime we went to the beach. And our thoughts of surfing around Kuta were dashed when we heard that ear infections are common following contact with the ocean waters off Kuta because of untreated sewage, and we didn't want to risk losing dive days because of ear troubles. Ubud still has pushy vendors, but not nearly as bad as the Kuta area, and there are many great cultural events to be seen up there, including some of the best gamelans and dance performances on the island. There are also many nice hikes to be had, and some awesome restaraunts. Transportation to the airport and Benoa Harbor are pretty easily arranged from Ubud - I wouldn't let the distance dissuade you.
  8. Scorpio_fish, I went to North Sulawesi earlier this year, so I could provide a little information about your options. We only spent a week there, so I don't have a lot of information to give you, but we were there long enough to want to go back. We stayed the whole week at the Tasik Ria resort south of Manado, and dove with EcoDivers. We liked this operation a lot. Even though they are located further away from Bunaken marine park than most of the other local outfits, they have the nicest boats by far - the only ones with real heads and lounging space. They also have a great house reef, which I was skeptical about at first but after a couple of dives there I was hooked. They are about an hour boat ride away from most of Bunaken, versus 15-20 minutes for outfits like Thalassa, but the boat ride was enjoyable, and we didn't mind doing it. Bunaken had some really great diving, and I would heartily recommend it over some other, over-rated destinations such as Sipidan, which we also visited on that trip. We also took a day trip to Lembeh, and wish we had been able to dive there for longer. I don't usually like muck diving very much, but this was far, far more interesting than any other muck diving I've ever done. I would suggest doing a two-week trip to Sulawesi - one week diving Bunaken, and one week diving Lembeh. We heard that a side trip to the Bangka Islands was worthwhile, but we didn't find time for this. I don't know anything about the Ocean Rover, so I can't give you feedback on that.
  9. I took those shots with a Nikon D100 in a Subal D10 housing. I don't recall what lighting I was using on each of the different shots, but I alternated between using dual YS90-DX strobes and a housed SB80DX. I was most likely using one YS90-DX with a sync cord and one in slave mode for those shots, since the SB80DX housing was giving me so much grief. I believe that all three of the winning shots were taken in Indonesia, near Komodo, but I would have to search through my archives to be certain. They were taken on a two-month trip through Sipidan (Malaysia), Papua New Guinea, Bali/Komodo, Manado (Indonesia), and the Lembeh Straits. I came home with almost 5,000 digital pictures, and selected over 300 keepers. Despite this, I had a tough time picking shots to enter, as the ones I liked the most usually had lighting problems because of the equipment issues I was having. I'm surprised that the anemone fish shot took first place, because it's such a cliche subject, but I suppose the picture is a good one.
  10. Ahem, if I may be so bold as to toot my own horn, I also had winning entries in the latest NCUPS competition. I took first, second, and third place (a clean sweep!) in the Novice Digital Macro category. These photos were taken with my very first underwater photography rig, and it had many problems that I overcame with field repairs. I wouldn't have taken more than a handful of pictures on that trip if it weren't for duct tape, superglue, and rubber bands - no joke! I won a week-long liveaboard cruise in the Bahamas on the Aquacat. It wouldn't have been my first choice in destinations, but somehow getting it for free has provided tremendous leverage in convincing my wife to take another vacation this winter
  11. I purchased a Subal D10 housing in April for use with my D100 on a two-month diving trip through Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia during May and June. I waited that long because I was hoping to purchase the Light and Motion Titan D100 housing because of the ROC strobe controller, but once it came down to the wire, it looked like they would not release it in time for my trip. I was also concerned about reputed reliability problems with Light and Motion products, and had heard very good things about the reputation of Subal products. When I decided to purchase the Subal D10 housing, I thought that the all-mechanical nature of the housing would go a long ways to ensuring that I would be able to use the rig without failures. Unfortunately, this was only partly true. As soon as I got the rig home from Backscatter, I discovered a problem with the shutter release mechanism, which seemed to frequently fail to fully depress the shutter button. Because I had so little time before leaving, I elected not to return the unit, and instead used some super-glue to attach a small piece of plastic to the mechanism, to act as a shim. This worked adequately well, but it was my first dissapointment of many to come. The next problem came while I was on a dive boat in Sipidan, on my fourth dive, and the first using the FE2 wide-angle dome port. After the dive, while back in the boat holding the rig in my lap with a neoprene dome cover in place, the dome suddenly fell off the housing, went between my legs and landed squarely on the boat's deck with a resounding thud. To say I was startled would be an understatement. Apparently a small pin which prevents over-rotation of the port in the housing's port mount had sheared off, allowing the port to rotate into a position that allowed it to come out of the housing. There was very little friction to hold the port in position while above water. I verified that I was using the correct, newer style "thick" o-ring on the port. Underwater, ambient pressure created sufficient friction to prevent port rotation, but above water, I had to resort to using duct tape to keep the port from falling off. Not good! The port was fortunately undamaged in the fall. The next problem was discovered while in Papua New Giunea, aboard the Peter Hughes Star Dancer. I had not been able to use the SB80DX strobe housing from Subal in TTL mode, and finally figured out that the problem was in the strobe sync cord connector harness inside the D10 housing. Because of incompatibility between TTL and D-TTL signalling, Subal had elected to not solder the TTL signal leads on the hotshoe connector of the sync cable assembly, thus preventing me from using the D-TTL strobe housing I bought from them for $$$ ($700? I forget now.) I decided to perform Yet Another Subal Jury-Rig, and managed to solder the TTL signal leads to the wiring harness using a kitchen knife and propane blow-torch, since there was no soldering iron on the boat. This worked, and allowed me to use the SB80DX for macro TTL, which I enjoyed doing. However, I was forced to disconnect the TTL signal wires on one of the sync cord ports in order to avoid damaging the YS90DX (or would the strobe damage the camera? I forget now.) This meant that when shooting with two YS90DX strobes, one of them had to be in slave mode, and I could only plug the SB80DX into one of the two ports, but it at least allowed me to shoot TTL. I soon discovered problems with the SB80DX housing which made the D-TTL function fail intermittently, which I have addressed in a separate posting in the Lighting forum of this site. I managed to mostly fix that problem with another jury-rig involving duct tape. In addition to these problems, I was frustrated by the poorly-functioning mode selector knob, which was very difficult to rotate at depths. I also didn't like the very slow action of the aperature knob, as mentioned by previous posters. I still prefered to use the front knob for aperature, instead of switching to the rear shutter-speed knob for adjusting the aperature. It meant I needed to watch one of the aperature indicator read-outs instead of knowing how many stops I'd changed it by feel alone, which I would greatly prefer doing. Also, the CSM focus-mode switch was a defective design, and did not allow switching into Continuous focus mode, which I fortunately did not want to do anyhow. There was a note included with the housing which alerted me to this problem. The rest of the product documentation was of dismally poor quality, I have to also mention. After returning to California, I returned the whole rig to Backscatter in early July for warranty repair of the numerous problems. I have yet to receive the rig back from them, although I got a call yesterday claiming they finally received the new parts from Subal and would finish the repairs and ship it to me at the end of this week. I'll believe that when I have the unit in my hands Subal still hasn't come up with a fix for the SB80DX strobe housing problem, however. One the one hand, I did enjoy the all-mechanical nature of this housing, because it allowed me to make field "repairs" and keep shooting, although not without a great amount of frustration. On the other hand, I was quite dissappointed with all of the product quality problems I experienced with this expensive, "top of the line" system. Subal receives poor marks from me for product quality, but even worse marks for service and support. Many months have gone by while waiting for them to ship replacement parts, and they were reticent to admit design faults with their products, according to Backscatter. Fortunately, despite the numerous problems I had with my housing system, I still managed to get a few good shots, and just this weekend learned that three of my images had placed in the Novice Digital Macro category of the Northern California Underwater Photographic Society SEA2003 competition, earning me a week-long trip on the Aquacat liveaboard in the bahamas! Woohoo! Now I need to figure out what kind of rig I'll bring
  12. I bought a Sunray mod light in April for a two-month trip, and experienced a failure about ten days into the trip. The unit refused to power up, and just blinked a flashing red LED error indicator. Eventually (two weeks later) it started working again, but then failed again after another week. I went through that cycle once more before it stopped working altogether, about five weeks into my trip. When the unit worked, I liked the light output - very even coverage, reasonably bright (but not remarkably so). However, I was dissappointed with the battery life, and frequently found myself with no focus light midway through a dive. The recharger is not fast enough to keep up with charging between dives on a liveaboard dive schedule, so you need to keep the light turned off most of the time, and turn it on briefly for shooting only. I would much rather have swappable batteries or battery packs than a built-in battery pack that I cannot remove. After returning the light to Backscatter for repairs, they told me that Light and Motion acknowledged a design defect, and replaced the control board and much of the rest of the light with the latest version. It would seem that LMI did not adequately test their product prior to release. While on the Kararu in Bali/Komodo, I spoke with a photo pro who says his company has stopped purchasing LMI products because of reliability problems. This is a pity, since much about the design of their product generally seems to be good, but unfortunately they need quite a lot of work on the reliability of their designs. If I could find a light with comparable light output and swappable batteries, I would gladly trade in my Sunray.
  13. I wanted to let people know about some problems I had with two Sea & Sea YS-90DX strobes I purchased in April 2003. After working well for the first few dives, I began to experience intermittent failures on first one and then both strobes. After a few more dives of switching them off and on repeatedly to get them to stay powered on, they finally quit working at all. I eventually determined that the power switches had a mechanical fault, and would only turn the strobe on when the switch was pushed in a particular direction with continuous pressure. I managed to jury-rig a solution using zip ties and rubber bands, but it was also prone to frequent failures when the rubber bands would pop off the switches. Sometimes I managed to get them to turn on with properly applied duct tape, but this too was prone to failure. At depths of > 60fsw, even the rubber band technique often failed to keep the strobes powered. It was a frustrating experience, and greatly soured photography efforts during my two-month diving honeymoon. (although I still managed to get three award-winning photos :-) After returning the strobes to Backscatter for repair, they were able to fix them relatively quickly by replacing the power switches. Apparently there was a known bad batch of YS90DX strobes. Hopefully anybody else who experiences these failures will be able to get their strobes repaired quickly as well. I have yet to test the repairs, since I am still waiting (since July) for the rest of my rig to be returned, thanks to endless delays from Subal.
  14. I had those problems with my Subal SB80DX housing as well, the exact symptoms you described. I eventually discovered that it is due to a faulty mechanical tolerance on their hotshoe mount, which provides intermittent contact with the strobe connector pins. I was able to jury-rig a mediocre solution by putting some tape on the inner part of the hotshoe rails, thereby forcing the strobe a bit lower onto the mount. This was prone to failure however, but it did let me get a bit more use out of the strobe, which I liked using. And, since both of my YS90DX strobes were giving me lots of headaches due to faulty power switches, I ended up using the SB80DX for most of my macro shooting. After returning from my two-month trip (95 dives in SE Asia) which featured numerous problems with both the Subal SB80DX housing and the Subal D100 housing (not to mention the Light and Motion Sunray mod light and the Sea and Sea YS90DX), I submitted the unit to Backscatter for warranty repair of the hotshoe issue. This was back in early July. Apparently Subal only recently admitted the problem, and I am still waiting for my housing to be fixed and returned. I must say I have been quit dissatisfied with my Subal purchases to date.
  15. I just got a 60mm Nikkor from B&H last week after facing the same availability issues. I found that the trick is to sign up on the B&H page for the "notify me when available" email service. The first notification I got I didn't act on for over 12 hours, and by then they were out of stock again. The next notification I got I immediately placed an order, and now I have it in hand.
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