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Don Silcock

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Everything posted by Don Silcock

  1. I did a 10 day trip to Ambon (which was supported by Maluku Divers) earlier this year and have just had a comprehensive 9 page article published in X-Ray - plus I have updated the location pages for Ambon on my site. You can download the Ambon article on this LINK The intro page for the Ambon location pages are available on this LINK
  2. In January this year, with the support of Tulamben Wreck Divers who sponsored my trip, I spent six days diving the Liberty Wreck 4-5 times a day. My objective was to try and understand the level of degradation that happens on the wreck because of the sheer numbers of divers who visit it - up to 150 a day in peak season.... I felt that there must be more going on than was immediately apparent because diving the wreck every year or so, and photographing it in the process, shows that significant damage does occur but the wreck seems to be able to rejuvenate itself! It was a really interesting experience and I documented it all in an article that is in the current issue of X-Ray and over the weekend I completed updating my site with a kind of "insiders guide" to the Liberty so that other divers can understand what I think I gleaned from the experience. Here is the link to the insiders guide to the Liberty wreck and just follow the various links to the other pages. Here is the link to the X-Ray article on the Liberty wreck. Don
  3. With the help and support of Tulamben Wreck Divers, who sponsored my diving, I spent six days last January diving the Liberty Wreck in Tulamben, Bali. I first dived the wreck back in 1999 and have visited it many times since and while I thought knew the site well, I decided that I should have a little immersion therapy on it to try and better understand why it seems to stay good despite the volume of traffic it gets. So I dived 4-5 times a day on the wreck for the six days and in the process really felt that I could feel it's pulse, because the Liberty is almost a living thing - there is so much going on! I documented it all in an article that is in the latest issue of X-Ray which you can download on this LINK to my site if you would like to read more... Don
  4. Hi Mike, all land-based on the last trip.... Don
  5. I have decided to sell my Patima SB900 housing, complete with strobe cord and ULCS mounting ball - it is on Ebay on the following ling: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/170812167390?ss...984.m1555.l2649 Don
  6. Hi Daniel, thanks - appreciate the feedback! I hear there is some good diving in the Alor area - correct? Don
  7. My article on diving and (some) travel in Timor Leste has been published in the latest issue of X-Ray - really pleased with the end result. Don Here is the link: http://www.indopacificimages.com/index.php...ping-crocodile/
  8. Great news - thanks! Looking forward to seeing the images. Don
  9. Another very interesting post from Thom Hogan, my stomach is still telling me that a $2500 D700S and D700X is a possibility.... Don Almost on Cue Feb 25 (news and commentary)--Dealers on Friday got some new pricing from Nikon, specifically on the D700. The new suggested price is soon going to be US$2199 (currently US$2699). But here's an interesting kicker: there apparently won't be a minimum advertised price (MAP) associated with that, which would mean we'll likely see someone drop under the US$2000 mark. Some people have questioned my slight shift on predicting what Nikon will introduce next. Actually, it hasn't been a slight shift. If you go back and read what I wrote in 2010 versus where we are today, I think you'll find that Nikon went a bit different direction than I originally expected. The post-quake thinking at Nikon seems to be a bit different than the pre-quake thinking, too. Nikon seems a bit more emboldened in its decision making since the last management change. Looking back on my conversations with Nikon executives over the past couple of years as well as anonymous tips I receive, I can see that I didn't pick up on all the clues that were dropped. Mea culpa. But let me explain one thing that still seems to be hanging a bunch of you up: entry FX. First, it should be clear that a US$2000 D700 is very much an "entry FX" model ;~). And a danged good one, at that. Many of you seem perplexed by why an entry FX model makes sense, and why a US$1000 difference in price between it and a D800 works. First the rationale: the market for new DSLR sales boils down to upgraders. The notion of "new camera users" coming into the market is mostly wrong. Young adults aren't opting for DSLRs, and that would be only a small percentage of the purchasers now, anyway. The side-grade from film SLR to DSLR is now mostly complete. So today Nikon is actively soliciting Coolpix users to upgrade to CX (Nikon 1). CX users will be solicited to upgrade to DX. And DX users, well, it's only natural to upgrade them to FX. But if the entry FX body is 3x the price of the top DX body, that's a pretty big money leap. Entry FX can't be more than 2x the top DX price if it is to encourage upgrading. Indeed, it probably should be 1.5x (which would be about US$1800). That puts us right at the likely D400 pricing, which is one reason why I think the D400 could go either way (DX or FX). Yes, a DX D400 at US$1900 and an FX D800 at US$3000 are almost 1.5x apart, too. So what's the advantage to making a D400 FX? Lenses. Indeed, the "where are the DX wide angles" question continues to be an interesting one. One might leap to say that this is more evidence that the DX line might stop at the D7000 point: someone who pays US$1600-2000 for a DX body is going to want lenses that don't exist. But those lenses do exist in FX. I still think a D400 could go either way and is more likely to be DX, but given Nikon's recent aggressive push, I can't rule out an FX D400, thus what I wrote in the next article. The new US$2200 pricing on the D700 just throws another wrinkle into the mix.
  10. From Thom Hogan today.... The D700s and D700x Feb 24 (commentary)--I notice that Nikon Rumors is recreating a poll that I've run many times, only in a slightly updated guise. It's basically the "what do you want to replace a D700" poll. The choices have always been (1) improve the low light capability (the D700s choice: 12mp D3s sensor in D700 body), or (2) increase the pixel count (the D700x choice: 24mp D3x sensor in D700 body). With over 25,000 responses prior to the D800 leaks, my results put the D700s and D700x options neck and neck: within two percentage points, at 49% versus 51%. As I write this, the Nikon Rumors results are 58% versus 42%, still very close and within sight of a coin toss. Indeed, one might explain the slight tilt Nikon Rumors tilt towards the D700s option as being people deciding that the D700x option (the D800) was a little too x for them once it was announced. That, coupled with the 16mp versus 36mp choice--16mp is closer to 24mp but keeps the essence of the D3s sensor--probably explains the difference. Still, taken at face value, all these polls that have been run about the D700 followup choices still indicate the same thing: there's strong demand for both options. Put another way, Nikon needs to produce both options. So the question is: will they? I keep getting vague hints from anonymous sources that the D400 is indeed not a DX camera but something akin to a D700s. To date, no information I've received about that has the clear ring of authenticity to it, though. The interesting thing is that there are two missing cameras from Nikon's DSLR lineup: a high end DX model, and an entry level FX model. The D7000 doesn't satisfy the high-end DX side primarily because of its buffer. That, coupled with the new "top" for DX being 24mp (Sony A77, NEX-7), means Nikon doesn't have a true competitor at the top of the DX line at the moment. I can't see Nikon foregoing that, so it's easily imaginable that the D300s replacement is a 24mp DX D400. On the other hand, there's that strong demand for a D700s. Curiously, Nikon announced that they'll continue to build the existing D700, but they didn't change pricing at all. That seems like a "patch," not a solution. Either the D700 needs to come down to a price one full step below the D800, it needs to get the D3s sensor, or both. Meanwhile, the D7000 is coming up due for an update late this year. Could it be the new high-end DX? Imagine this lineup for a moment: <LI class=bt>D3200. Entry DSLR, and entry DX, 24mp. <LI class=bt>D5200. Mid-level DX, 24mp. <LI class=bt>D7200. High-end DX, 24mp. <LI class=bt>D400. Entry FX DSLR, 16mp. <LI class=bt>D800. Mid-level FX, 36mp. D4. Pro FX, 16mp. versus: <LI class=bt>D3200. Entry DSLR, and entry DX, ??mp. <LI class=bt>D5200. Mid-level DX, 16mp. <LI class=bt>D7200. High-end DX, 16mp. <LI class=bt>D400. Top DX, with 24mp sensor. <LI class=bt>D700. Entry FX DSLR, 12mp. (Eventual D720 or phase out?) <LI class=bt>D800. Mid-level FX, 36mp. <LI class=bt>D4. Pro PJ FX, 16mp. D4x: Pro studio FX, 36mp. Basically, it boils down to which of those lines you think makes more sense. The first list seems lean and clean to me. The second list has a lot of historical slop in it, and some pixel count marketing issues. Add in a third Nikon 1 model (my Z1), and the first list would be 3 CX, 3 DX, and 3 FX: basically an entry, mid, and top in each line, with the lines being spaced nicely (except for the Nikon 1, which is currently out of whack in terms of pricing). The second list is more hodge podge, with new/old overlap and essentially four choices in each category. I know which list I'd want to market. Does Nikon?
  11. Quite possibly my wishful thinking at work here as I was personally hoping that the sensors out of the D3X and D3S would be cascaded down - but..... Nikon are very good at teasing us all along and extracting the maximum spend out of each of us as we search for that perfect system and it won't be lost on them that there is currently a revenue opportunity with the 3X and 3S sensors. Now that they have set the technology high bar with the D800 and the price point at $2999, there is a FX gap that could be filled at about $2500 with the D700 and those sensors. I guess time will tell, but my gut feeling is that Nikon will be reluctant to let that opportunity slip. Don
  12. My guess is that Nikon will release a D700S and a D700X using the sensors for the D3S and D700X and price them about $2500 - halfway in between the D400 and the D800... The point being that both sensors are still of great functional value which will have been left untapped if not used in the D700 body. I would certainly buy a D700S if one came out as it gives me the better high ISO capability and would go straight in my D700 housing. Don
  13. I don't know, which is why I am asking.... According to the Inon data sheet, there is no S100 listed and there are differences between what they recommend for the S90 vs the S95: S90: 28AD Mount base - DC35 and M27AD S95: 28LD Mount Base DC43 and M27-LD So I don't want to buy the one for the S95 on the assumption it will work on the S100... Don
  14. I recently bought a Canon S100 and would like to try the INON UFL-M150 ZM80 bug-eye lens with it and the Canon housing, but according to the literature on the Inon site there is no adaptor for it. Does anybody know if there is a technical reason that Inon are not supporting the S100 or is it just that the have not got round to it yet? Don
  15. Mary & Don The reason don is having soft corners is that the dome is not placed at the nodal point of the lens. The dome is designed for the lens and then when you add the tele-converter you move the nodal point out 3/4" or 19mm. If you could put a extension on the dome that would really help the situation. you can read more about the nodal point here: http://www.creativeillusionsphoto.com/virtual.htm The reason for using the tele-converter is to get the full range of the zoom back. With a 1.4 tele-converter the lens becomes a 14-24 with no vignetting. without the tele-converter you would only have a 14-17 lens without vignetting as seen by the link that Grtz Tobias provided. I was originally using this set-up with the small Subal DP55B dome and a 20mm EXR, which was when I suffered the soft corners.... Then after discussing the set-up with Ryan at Reef Photo he suggested the 100mm Zen dome and a 28mm EXR. I had already bought the Zen superdome and had been very impressed with it - so I went for the 100mm and 28mm EXR. I was using it this afternoon on the Liberty wreck in Tulamben, here in Bali and an image is attached below. Still slightly soft in the corners, compared to the Sigma 15 FE and Zen superdome, but not too bad.... The image is a straight JPEG from the NEF - no tweaks at all. Don
  16. Mary, I use a "shaved" Tokina 10-17 with a 1.4 Kenko TC on my D700 in FX mode behind one of the small Zen domes - it works well overall although it is a bit soft in the corners. Don
  17. I did a two week trip to Timor Leste just over a year ago - which in the interests of full disclosure, was supported by Dive Timor Lorosae - to dive the coastal sites in the capital Dili itself, and to the east and west of Dili. In Dili I dived Tasi Tolo, Dili Rock and the Pertamina Jetty a couple of times each, while to the east we dived Secret Garden, K41, Bob's Rock, One Tree and Dirt Track - again at least twice at each spot. To the west I did a few dives at Maubara and tried to dive Bubble Beach but it was all fenced off. Timor Leste is an interesting place with a traumatic recent history that sinks in all the more when you are there and diving the coastal sites involved daily road trips which I was initially dreading, but came to really enjoy them because of the scenic coast road. I really enjoyed the majority of the dives and it really did wet my appetite to go back and do some boat based diving, because if the shore dives are good there must be some pretty special offshore sites! Did not get the chance to dive Atauro or Jaco Island because no boat was available, but maybe next time.... I finally got round to updating my site with several location pages for Timor Leste, starting with this one on the country itself: LINK - just follow the links at the bottom of each page for the rest, or use the Locations tab on the menu bar. If you want to skip the history lesson.... here is the LINK to the scuba diving overview page and just follow the links at the bottom of each page from there. Constructive criticism gladly accepted - trying to build my site in to a portal in to the Indo Pacific.... Don
  18. I did a bit of tweaking in CS5..... what do you think? Don
  19. Hi Rand, thanks and yes it is an intriging wreck - I was so lucky to get 15 minutes on my own with it because as soon as the other divers arrived the overall ambience seemed to change, along with the viz..... Don
  20. Hi, I tried a few B&W quick and dirty conversions to see what they came out like - here is one of them.... Can't make up my mind if it is better though. Don
  21. I recently had an article published in X-Ray magazine on the B17 Black Jack bomber wreck in Collingwood Bay, Papua New Guinea. I have documented the history of the wreck and how it was found on the Black Jack location page on my site, but there is quite a lot of additional information on the wreck in the article. It's a great, if somewhat challenging wreck due to it's depth and remote location - but if you get the chance to dive it, take it as there are not many aircraft wrecks around that are as big and as intact as the B17 Black Jack... You can download the X-Ray article on this LINK to my site. Don
  22. In September I spent two weeks at Walindi Resort on a supported trip as part of a book project I am working on for PNG. It was a great trip and I had numerous great dives, but really wanted to dive the Mitsubishi Zero wreck as it was on the front cover of UWP just before I left and I was quite intrigued by it. As it is located close to shore, it has to be dived after a couple of rain-free days and it was the last day of my trip before I finally got to dive it, plus I was really lucky as the small group of US based divers who were on the boat with me that day let me go first and have 15 minutes alone before they came in. This was really critical as the wreck is on a sandy seabed that is easily stirred up... I was even luckier as I found the wreck staight away on the bearings given to me by the dive guide.... Navigation never was my forte underwater! It's a great dive and a very photogenic wreck - probably my best shot is shown below and you can see the full gallery on this LINK and you can go to the location page for the wreck that describes the background and how it was found on this LINK Don
  23. Yep.... I heard the great white story from Simon!
  24. Nice report - jealous that you got to Atauro.... I did two weeks in Dili last year and dived many of the coastal sites plus Tasi Tolu and was pleased with my images and the trip overall, bit really wanted to get to both Atauro and Jaco as I have heard some good things about both places. Do you have any contact info for either Barry's place on Atauro or the place you stayed at? Don
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