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Don Silcock

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Everything posted by Don Silcock

  1. I succumbed to temptation today here in Shanghai, where I am currently working, and bought the Tokina 11-16 after managing to bargain it down to the same price from B&H plus postage to Australia.... I bought it principally for use above water, but was wondering if anybody has used one underwater yet with a Subal housing. If so, which port EXR is needed and does the lens need a dioptre? Thanks, Don
  2. Steve's....thanks for the advice - looks like I'll just have to settle down and learn Lightroom then! I have the latest version and it's running on a decent machine, so I guess it's just me that will have to get stuck in to it. Thanks for the tip on the Scott Kelby book! Don
  3. After spending many hours trying to master Photoshop I stumbled on Rawshooter a few years ago. I was so impressed with it's effectiveness & usability that I paid to upgrade from the free download to the Premium version. Overall I have been very happy with it but now that Pixmantec have been bought & submerged into Adobe I can no longer use the software with my D300 land camera, but still use it with the D200's I use underwater. As a registered Pixmantec user I was provided with a free copy of Lightroom but have not had the time to learn if fully and it seems much more complex to use than Rawshooter. Has anybody else been through this scenario and found a Rawshooter substitute they can recommend? Thanks, Don
  4. Bruce, my "technique" - if you can call it that....is to get in the water with Woody's diopter clipped on to my BCD and my camera ready to go. Then I look for what is about and in Lembeh, with the right guide, the world is your oyster - there are critters everywhere if you know where to look, and good guides know where to look. Then it's a case of how big the critter is ands how close I need to get to fill the frame. For a reasonable size creature - say an Ambon scorpionfish - you can fill the frame without needing the diopter. For small stuff, you need the diopter. The worst thing you can do with the 70-180 is back off too far when there is a large critter, because the end result is awful due to the amount of water between the lens and the critter. Generally speaking, anymore than 18" away is too far and the less water, the better! The other points you have made are exactly why I like the 70-180 so much, but you have to know it's limits and stay within them - if you do this, you will be richly rewarded....it's a great lens in my opinion. Don
  5. It's my last day in Lembeh today, so I tried some experiments with an Athena ring flash and a single Inon 240, fitted with a home made snout to concentrate the light. I had also intended to try the wide-angle macro technique that Alex wrote about recently, but never got round to it.... I was still using the 70-180, but without a Woody dioptre, as it cannot be used at the same time as the ring flash. I have to say that my results were dissapointing because the critters we saw were what I would call "medium size" and without the dioptre I was unable to get close and reduce the amount of water between the lens and them. It's clear that the dioptre is ESSENTIAL to get the most out of the inherent versatility of the 70-180. Sitting here sipping my cold Bintang at the end of this 7 day trip, which came at the end of a 12 day charter from Sorong through Halmahera to Lembeh, where we shot mainly wide-angle, makes me think about Alex's points earlier - basically I was so pleased to get so many good "traditional" images of the vast array of critters here in Lembeh, that I never got chance to experiment as I intended to.... I am a great believer in stretching one's personal evelope and trying new things, but Lembeh is such a "target rich environment" that I was concentrating on getting what I wanted to shoot before trying new things to get the different perspectives. Diving from Divers Lodge means that you leave in the morning with the set-up you will use all day, as lunch is on the boat, so there is no way to change your rig. Don Elmer, to answer your question about the port - it's the Subal one with the manual focus option, but I rarely use it as I find the autofocus to be quite good provided I use my Fisheye focusing light.
  6. Hi Elmer, yes - they are uncropped images.... I really do not know what happened yesterday, but I finally got a cooperative pygmy! Here is the image that I got just before the earlier one - not quite upto Alex's free swimming image, but I was very happy to get it and I think it further illustrates what the 70-180 can do... The pygmy is the most dangerous creature in the sea in my opinion - I have got in to more deco trouble with them that with any other creature! Don
  7. Here is the 70-180 at 180mm this morning, together with Woody's diopter to photograph the pygmies at Magic Coral. It shows the other end of the scale from the rhinopias that is possible from the same lens. Don
  8. Well, this is quite something - here is the same rhinopias (I think....) but shot with the 70-180 @ 70mm and f22 but lit differently. I went for a dark background and tried to make the rhinopias stand out against the black sand. It will be interesting to see what people think. Don PS... Same disclaimer as Alex, the image was adjusted on an uncalibrated laptop....
  9. I am also currently in the Lembeh Strait (at the Divers Lodge...) and just finished my 6th day of diving and have used my 70-180 on every dive. I brought a Nikon 60 and the Sigma 28-70, but have not bothered using them once! I have got some great macro images with it and have been able to shoot everything from shrimps & crabs less than 5mm in length (with a Woody dioptre) to large frogfish & Rhinopias - all on the same dive or day out on the boat. The 70-180 is greatly maligned in my opinion - I have used it for nearly three years now and found it to be a really versatile and very sharp lens. I got some great shots of mating mandarin fish at dusk tonight, surely the ultimate test of low-light autofocus, which is supposedly the weakest point of the lens. Don
  10. At the risk of getting flamed (only joking Craig...) I disagree - it's true the AF on the 70-180 is not the fastest in the world, particularly on the earlier DSLR's like the D100, but it's not bad on the later ones like the D200 & D2x. When the light is low it needs a focus light for sure, but I don't think thats a big deal anyway and the sheer versatility and sharpness of the lens is fantastic. It's my standard macro lens and I would not part with it! Don
  11. I have decided to have a clear out of stuff I am not using and have posted two Sea & Sea YS90 strobes on Ebay. Both are in very good condition - here are the links: http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi...E:IT&ih=007 http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi...E:IT&ih=007 The first is for a YS90 TTL and the second is for a YS90DX Don
  12. What the hell is happening to WetPixel? The thing that always impressed me about this site was the great input to be found here, but lately it just seems to be "flame central". We don't need all this negativiity. As my son keeps telling me - build a bridge, get over it....
  13. Athena made me a custom fitting for my ring flash so that it would fit my Subal macro ports - I have the details if anybody needs them.... Don
  14. I have a YS30 for sale - hardly been used at all.... Don
  15. Well, I succumbed to temptation and bought one of these in Singapore on my back to Australia on Thursday. The Ralf Tech agent had 20% off as part of the "Great Singapore Sale". Thanks for the feedback. Don
  16. I am always looking for ways to reduce the amount & weight of stuff I take on a trip and I'm considering buying a Ralf Tech Travelight BCD. Is anybody using one? Don http://www.ralftech.com.sg/sjacket2006/tra...travelight.html http://sports.ciao.co.uk/Ralf_Tech_Traveli..._Review_5619749
  17. Well....I have decided to buy two Z240's and see for myself how they stack up against the Ikelite 200's. The deciding factor being the current strength of the Aussie dollar which makes the Inon's quite a bargain - I just need to make sure I hide the credit card statement from my wife!
  18. Hi Ryan, I literally only got the lens shipped from Japan to Sydney the week before I left for the Bandas so no time to do a pool test - even if I had one.... I had read here on WP that somebody was using a short EXR so I thought I would start off with the 10mm but it did not seem as sharp as the 10.5 so I tried it without and it seemed better. Not exactly scientific testing though.... It is a very versatile lens though and great potential - be interesting to see what Alex does with it! Don
  19. Alex, I used the 10-17 on a recent trip to the Banda Sea with my Subal D20 & D200. I started off with the FE dome and a 10mm extension but then removed the EXR as the results seemed soft in the corners compared to the 10.5 I had no problems with the zoom without the EXR so it sounds like your housing. The lens is great, I was very impressed with mine. Don
  20. About 18 months ago I upgraded from some old S&S 200's to two Iketite 200's which were subsequently converted to DS capability thanks to the late & great Ike Brigham. As such I am very happy with the DS200's & manual controllers - they are powerful, have great coverage & light, are quick to recycle and so far 100% reliable. I just completed my third liveaboard trip with them & no backups and very pleased to say I did not need any.... However, they are big & heavy and take up a lot of space in my carry on luggage! It is not going to get any easier with carry on stuff so I am always looking for ways to reduce the size & weight of what I take on my trips. I have heard a lot of good things about Inon strobes and I'll be in Japan soon on business and was considering buying a pair of the new Z240's, but I have also heard that the color temp is quite cold for wide angle. I am also struggling to understand how they can hope to compare in performance against the DS200's when the claimed guide numbers are 24 for the Inon's versus 76 for the Ikelites.... So....when in doubt, consult the oracle - is there anybody out there who owns, or has owned both and give me some guidance? Thanks, Don
  21. I just tried to do this with the 17-55 but the ID of the Subal flat port (105mm macro) is less than the OD of the lens so the port will not fit.... The 17-55 is a big lens and the OD is greatest at the filter end. I have the same problem using a 60mm EXR and the FE dome, but get round it by attaching the EXR to the housing & then putting the lens through and onto the camera (making sure I don't get anything on the sensor) and finally putting the dome port on. I tried the Sigma 17-70 in the flat port and less than about 28mm the round edges of the port are clearly visible at the corner, so I think it would be the same with the 17-55. Don
  22. Thanks for all the responses above - greatly appreciated! Don
  23. I decided to purchase the Sigma 17-70, despite already making a significant investment in the Nikon 17-55. I love the Nikon lens - it's really a quality piece of equipment, but it's close focus ability is limited and the extra range of the Sigma combined with it's close-up ability convinced me to buy it for use underwater as a general purpose "scouting" lens. I very much doubt that the image quality will be close to the Nikon 17-55, but I intend to take some test shots this weekend with both lenses and will post the results next week some time. I had a nice surprise when the Sigma lens arrived yesterday as the old zoom ring from my 18-35 film zoom fitted and have the lens, D200 nicely in my Subal housing. I now need to get the correct extension ring and see if I need a dioptre - hence this post. Has anybody else got this lens working in a Subal housing yet? I believe that the 33mm EXR and FE dome is the right combination, but what about the dioptre? Don
  24. Hi Boi, I bought the 17-55 last year and have been very impressed with it's performance. Luiz Rocha, who was already using the lens, recommended a 66mm extension ring and a +2 dioptre with my Subal housing and I found the results were excellent. Don
  25. I am looking at buying a Nikon teleconverter for use with my 70-200 f/2.8G ED-IF VR but I'm not sure which one to go for - the 1.4x. 1.7x or 2x Can anybody offer some advice on this? Thanks, Don
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