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Ol Dirty Diver

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About Ol Dirty Diver

  • Rank
    Sea Nettle
  • Birthday 01/20/1981

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  • Location
    Big Island, HI

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    United States
  • Camera Model & Brand
    Nikon D700
  • Camera Housing
    Sea & Sea MDX-D700
  1. "Perseverance pays off." Thanks, Alex, for your continued help. I'm happy to report that I have now acquired all of the functionality that you originally reported! My base plate with camera mounted fit snug and flush in the mount, but your suggestion of playing around with this got me to lock the base plate without it seated all the way in…i.e., I let the camera sit ~2mm closer to the back. This allowed the buttons on the back to finally reach far enough to depress the camera buttons enough. So then I made a temporary spacer out of cardboard to keep the base plate from going all the way in, which continued to allow the buttons to work. But I noticed that clamping the back down didn't appear to seal the bottom side of the housing; I could see the O-ring from outside. Looking carefully it became apparent that the photo/video switch is what protrudes the furthest from the back, and since it's now misaligned with the new position of the switch on the camera it must be the cause of the insufficient seating. Appeared to be easy to remove the switch from the inside of the housing, a single Phillips screw, so I did. Replacing the back still left a gap on the bottom, so then I tried it again without my cardboard spacer. With the base plate seated fully in the mount all the buttons now work and the back appears to seal fully! The photo/video switch couldn't be used anyway due to the misalignment, so removing it from the inside of the housing (which still leaves the switch sealed on the outside) seems to be a solution for making the housing compatible with the D810 and retaining nearly all the button functionality. Have you tested this in the water yet? I guess I will now (tub of water test first). While some users may be fine with losing the capability to record video, I actually am still determined to sort it out, and I think it's possible. The photo/video switch actually wouldn't be necessary. I just tested what happens if the switch is set on video and you hit the shutter button…The camera still shoots a photo (you have to specify this in the custom menu). In fact, the camera acts entirely in photo mode unless you hit the Live View button to start video mode. So I just need to figure out how to get the arms to reach the Live View and Record buttons. These buttons are within millimeters away from the existing housing ones, so it seems feasible. Still interested to hear any guidance on this if anyone has any or can direct me to some! I came very close to ordering the Nauticam. But I think I'll be able to stick with trusty Sea & Sea now!
  2. PRICE: $3000 OBO Brand new MDX-D800, never touched the water. Bought it hoping it would be compatible with my new D810, but it is not. So if you could use a housing for your D800/D800E here is an opportunity to save a few hundred dollars (I also had to pay for shipping from mainland). http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/866438-REG/Sea_Sea_ss_06162_MDX_D800_Underwater_Housing_for.html I also have lots of other Sea & Sea accessories such as wide angle ports, extension rings, strobes, etc., for anyone that could use these or would like to make the investment in a complete setup. Happy to ship to any island (or back to mainland). Will consider any offers. Thanks, Kurt Chambers Big Island, Hawai'i
  3. Thrilled to learn this! Thanks so much. I'll inquire with Nauticam to learn whether I can acquire one of their housings in time.
  4. Thanks, Alex, for the additional advice. I was hopeful that I had tried it before with housing's on/off button switched unfavorably, but following your instruction unfortunately did not change the compatibility for me…Same as before. Big trips coming up in two weeks and I've no idea whether Sea & Sea will ever even release an updated housing for the D810, so I'm in quite a pickle! I see that Nauticam may offer theirs in my time frame so I'm tempted to switch over after 7 happy years with Sea & Sea gear. I've never even used any other brand of housing, so I've no idea whether my Sea & Sea ports would be compatible with the Nauticam, or if I should be looking forward to acquiring all new ports?
  5. Since AlexDawson described so much compatibility of the Sea & Sea D800 housing with the D810 I went ahead and acquired that housing. Sadly, I cannot corroborate nearly as much functionality as he described. Among the important functions that didn't work for me: rear command dial, info/menu/play/trash/mode buttons (these are in addition to the ones he said didn't work for him). However, I actually could hit the shutter release. Not sure why his gave him so much more functionality. Many here have mentioned modifying their housings. Can anyone direct me to some guidance on this? I've never needed to do it, but would consider it for the time being. Some of the buttons appear to almost reach, even depressing buttons slightly but not enough for camera to notice. All I can think of is wrapping tape around inside button ends to bulk them up? Thanks, Kurt Chambers Big Island, Hawai'i
  6. Anybody sitting on a Nikon 16mm f/2.8D in good condition they aren't using enough any more? Kurt kurtchambers@gmail.com
  7. Through a great deal of critical thinking (and head scratching), I think I calculated the exact amount of extension I need. For some reason, Zen couldn't provide me with the parameters of radius and glass thickness corresponding to their 8" dome port, so I tried to measure and calculate these (11.433cm and 0.5cm, respectively). Then I had to determine the location of the entrance pupil of the 16-35mm f/4. For this I followed up on the advice I received in the Digideep forum to check out Underwater Photography Magazine #36 (May/June 2007) - "Domes" (p.36) by Pete Atkinson. I used the method recommended (aligning pins) to measure the entrance pupil at 2.5cm @ 16mm (from outer edge of filter over lens) and 3.5cm @ 24mm (entrance pupil moves between these points, going back to shallow position @ 35mm). This method also seemed worthwhile for determining the entrance pupil location, but I couldn't be sure about a few things. Anyway, with these parameters I was finally able to calculate that I need 6.433cm of extension @ 16mm (5.433cm @ 24mm), and I think this is probably accurate to within 0.2cm. Although Zen wasn't able to provide me with the parameters of their dome port, Ryan Canon @ reefphoto.com did share the following: "I'm not able to offer the exact dimensions you are requesting, but maybe I can help in another way. When we've calculated theoretical dome port positions in the past, they are only right about half the time. We've resorted to actual in water testing to determine the best combination, and are working on that now for 16-35/4. Our preliminary testing indicates 70mm of extension and a +2 diopter to be the best combination. Sea & Sea Extension Ring 40 + SX Extension Ring equal 60mm of extension. We are not evaluating if the difference between these two extension lengths justifies producing a dedicated 70mm extension ring for Sea & Sea." It's funny to have calculated the amount of extension I need so precisely when I'm limited to only two lengths of extension ring from Sea & Sea, the 40 (4cm) and SX (2cm). I already have the 40, so I've ordered the SX and will hope that 6cm of extension is close enough. I still wonder what the penalty is of having too much extension though (so that the entrance pupil is placed behind the dome's center of curvature), say, if I used two 4cm extension rings (for 8cm of total extension) instead? The closest that my lens would need to focus is the outside face of the dome port. Based on my calculations this would ideally be 8.933cm from the outside edge of my filter (for 16mm), but will actually be 8.5cm with my extension rings. This plus the 17.7cm sensor-filter distance of my D700/16-35mm will put the sensor 10.3" away from the outside face of the dome, and the lens' minimum focusing distance is 12" (10.8" @ 20-28mm) according to Nikon. Thus, my lens won't quite be able to focus at the dome's outer face, but will be close enough that I don't think a diopter would be worthwhile. How much real distance does 1.7" of virtual distance (the difference between my minimum focusing distance and the sensor-dome face distance) correspond to? I'll pick up my new extension ring this week and hopefully find that my calculations have been worthwhile. I also hope they'll help others who pick up this lens, and I would be interested in hearing whether others' experiences corroborate my findings. I wanted to share a few recent photos with my existing setup, though (i.e., too little extension), just to show the quality I'm getting in spite of the corner softness issue. I've been shooting at f/8 as a compromise between image quality and corner softness reduction.
  8. Yep: "As an empirically derived rule of thumb, good corner image quality is limited with rectilinear lenses to those with a field of view not exceeding 90~100 degrees. Beyond this (and for critical applications, even below this) the image corners will remain of lower quality than the centre of the image. It important to understand that this is due to the optical constraints of using a simple, concentric dome port and has little to do with the camera lens. No matter how good the camera lens is, it cannot compensate for an inherent optical problem caused by using a simple concentric dome port!" (reference). Referring to this table of field of view associated with focal length on full frame, it becomes apparent that an FX user shouldn't shoot any wider than 18-22mm with a rectilinear lens, corresponding to 100-90° FOV (in the diagonal dimension). The way I'm thinking of this is that since the virtual image is on a sphere concentric with the dome, the wider the field of view the more "thickness" of that spherical image the lens is trying to capture, and there is simply a limit to how thick of an image the lens can capture due to its limited depth-of-field. I'm confused about the particular location in the lens that needs to be aligned with the dome's center of curvature. This article states that it's the lens' "primary principal plane" (which could be considered synonymous with the 'primary principal point' for our purpose). You mention the entrance pupil/nodal point, which may actually be different points considering that they are distinguished from each other in the Wikipedia article on cardinal points: "The nodal points are widely misunderstood in photography, where it is commonly asserted that the light rays "intersect" at "the nodal point", that the iris diaphragm of the lens is located there, and that this is the correct pivot point for panoramic photography, so as to avoid parallax error. These claims are all false, and generally arise from confusion about the optics of camera lenses, as well as confusion between the nodal points and the other cardinal points of the system. The correct pivot point for panoramic photography can be shown to be the centre of the system's entrance pupil." The principal points/planes are also distinguished from the nodal points in that Wikipedia article: "The two principal planes have the property that a ray emerging from the lens appears to have crossed the rear principal plane at the same distance from the axis that that ray appeared to cross the front principal plane, as viewed from the front of the lens. This means that the lens can be treated as if all of the refraction happened at the principal planes. The principal planes are crucial in defining the optical properties of the system, since it is the distance of the object and image from the front and rear principal planes that determines the magnification of the system. The principal points are the points where the principal planes cross the optical axis." "The front and rear nodal points have the property that a ray aimed at one of them will be refracted by the lens such that it appears to have come from the other, and with the same angle with respect to the optical axis. The nodal points therefore do for angles what the principal planes do for transverse distance." Ohhh, wait a minute...just read this: "If the medium on both sides of the optical system is the same (e.g., air), then the front and rear nodal points coincide with the front and rear principal points, respectively." Guess that clears up the confusion. Thanks for your advice on determining the optimal lens-dome distance, and the dome's true radius. I'll try those. I tried to reason out of the necessity for a diopter in my original post. Based on the minimum focus distance of the 16-35mm (~11", from sensor plane) and the sensor-lens outer element distance with my D700/16-35mm (~7"), I figured that I could focus as close as ~4" in front of the lens. Even with my lens protruding into the dome so much, I've still got ~2" between the lens outer element and the dome's inner surface. I expect that the calculations for optimum extension will suggest that I increase the distance nearly another 2", so that my lens should be able to focus almost as close as the outer surface of the dome. In spite of that, you still think one would help? It's the only way I dive, so of course. I've already used a Sea & Sea with NX dome port, so I'm used to the bulk, but that's why I'm displeased at having to add more bulk with these extension rings (I'm already planning to buy the Nikon 16mm fisheye now...). On the plus side, my new Sea & Sea housing is negatively buoyant (while my previous was quite positive)...Makes descent much easier.
  9. Thanks, Tom. Your results give me hope. I'm pretty sure I just need more extension. At least I finally learned how dome ports work in the process of trying to figure it out.
  10. Ken Rockwell: "The Nikon 16-35mm VR is the sharpest ultrawide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) zoom I've ever used. Under test conditions, it's even slightly sharper than the old king, the beastly Nikon 14-24mm." "There's no question that it's time to sell your 14-24mm and get this smaller, lighter and far more practical 16-35mm instead." "Since this new 16-35mm f/4 VR is slightly sharper than the huge 14-24mm f/2.8, it's time to sell the 14-24mm and buy the 16-35mm f/4, and pocket the difference before used values of the 14-24mm fall." "This 16-35mm f/4 VR just became my top recommendation for an FX ultrawide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel) zoom." http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/16-35mm.htm I've got this lens (+ D700 + Sea & Sea housing + Zen 8" dome) but I'm still trying to sort out how much extension I need between the housing and dome port...The "40" extension ring is definitely not enough since I've still got fuzzy corners (and the lengthy 16-35mm is coming to within an inch of my dome). Wondering whether I need another 40 or just the SX extension. Anyone got either used that I could buy? Hoping to sort it out soon so I can post some respectable shots!
  11. I just maxed out my credit card on the following dream rig: Nikon D700 Nikon 16-35mm f/4 (the new lens...better than the 14-24mm?) Sea & Sea MDX-D700 housing Zen 8" optical dome port Sea & Sea extension ring 40 I hoped that I would finally have a nice sharp image through to the corners, but apparently the rig still needs more optimization (see attached images taken at f/5.6 and f/11). Because the lens I'm using is so new I haven't been able to find any advice online from others using it underwater. In an effort to figure out what I need to do, I've been reading up on dome port theory online and while the terminology and math starts to get over my head, I think I get the gist. But there's still a few things I'm not sure about which I was hoping someone on here could answer: From this article I learned that it "must be such that the camera lens' primary principal plane ends up at the dome's centre of curvature. Positioning the lens in that manner ensures that its underwater field of view will be identical to its in-air field of view." Where exactly on the lens is its "primary principal plane"? I'm guessing this may be aligned with the outermost element of the lens (which I know moves in a zoom), but I can't be sure from the other resources I checked. If I should manage to align the lens' principal plane with the dome's center of curvature, does this actually yield the best possible image quality underwater for a particular lens/dome port? Is the issue of corner fuzziness eliminated assuming the lens' minimum focusing distance can handle the distance to the virtual image? It appears that dome ports are not actually complete half domes (as indicated in the dome port theory articles, such as this diagram), but instead only sections of a half dome. Indeed, the Zen website admits this about my dome port: "[it is] an 8" segment of a much larger BK7 crystal glass dome". Therefore, if I was trying to achieve positioning the lens' principle plane at the dome's center of curvature, should the front element of the lens be recessed in the housing and certainly not protruding into the dome port itself? What is the penalty of allowing the lens to protrude into the dome port? I'm guessing the problem of corner blurriness is exacerbated the further the lens protrudes inside the dome port (i.e., the closer the lens is to hitting the dome port itself)? I suspect that this is the reason I'm dealing with corner blurriness. I really don't think it's an issue of the minimum focusing distance of my lens being too short to accommodate the distance to the virtual image. I can estimate that the virtual image (at infinity) is 3 x radius - 4 x dome thickness in front of the outer surface of the dome port (reference). In my case this is some distance greater than 12"; since my dome port is only a section of a half-sphere, the opening of which is 8" across, the radius of my dome must be something greater than 1/2 the 8" diameter of the opening (I emailed Zen to learn the exact radius). My lens has a minimum focusing distance of ~11", as measured from the sensor. With the D700/16-35mm I measured the distance from the sensor to outer edge of lens at ~7", meaning I can focus as close as 4" away from the outer edge of the lens, easily accommodated by the over 12" I have to work with outside the dome + the distance between the lens and dome. It seems that I have plenty of focusing distance to spare, so I really don't think I have any need to use diopters, which I'd prefer to avoid anyway to preserve image quality and depth-of-field. So is my theory correct so far? Is it really in our interest to try to position the lens' outermost element (which I'm assuming to be the "primary principal plane" or close enough to it for my purpose) at the center of curvature of the dome port? If this is necessary for good corner resolution, then I can understand why my rig is failing in this regard: my lens protrudes too far into the dome port. I knew I'd need an extension ring, so I got the one recommended by Sea & Sea for the Nikon 17-35mm (extension ring "40"), which was also suggested by the vendor to be all I'd need (*note that the new 16-35mm is 0.7" longer than the 17-35mm). But if you look at the attached photo you'll see that I'm hardly using much of the real estate of that beautiful dome, due to the lens still coming so close to the inner face. I'd estimate that there is about an inch between the outer edge of the lens and inner face of the dome, and that the outermost element of the lens is receded ~3/4" inside the outer edge of the lens, so that there is probably 1.5 - 2" of space between the outer element of the lens and the inner face of the dome. An obvious solution is simply to go ahead and buy another extension ring, or test someone else's out. The latter is not an option because I don't know other photographers with this sort of gear, and the former is not something I want to do carelessly since I am already so strapped having bought all this already. I want to be sure it would be the solution, and I figured if I could understand the theory I could perhaps precisely measure how much more extension I'd need. There are two options for the extension after all, the thinner "SX" extension ring, and putting on another thicker "40". It really looks to me like I could afford to double the extension, which would be unfortunate because the current amount of extension is already adding so much bulk. I know that another option still is to simply forget about using a rectilinear lens and opt for a fisheye, but it so happens that I have important assignment which requires images shot at 24mm and minimizing distortion. If anyone actually read through this entire post and can advise me, I'd be much obliged. There's no doubt that this new Nikon lens will become very popular with underwater photographers, so I feel that my observations and whatever conclusions we arrive at regarding housing/dome port/extension ring combinations with this lens will be of great value to other photographers who acquire this lens in the future. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
  12. Great opportunity to score a top-quality underwater video housing for a reasonable price! * I am selling a barely used Top Dawg II underwater housing, which is in excellent condition and completely functional. The Top Dawg housing fits nearly any Sony camcorder, making it the most versatile underwater video housing (with an LCD!) on the market, which is a significant feature because pretty much all other underwater housings only fit a single camera, disallowing you from upgrading cameras without buying a new (expensive) housing too. If you're familiar with Light & Motion housings, the Top Dawg looks awfully similar to the Stingray, right? That's because Light & Motion makes Top Dawg; it's their value line of underwater housing. * If you don't have a camcorder, I am also selling the barely used Sony HDR-HC3 HD camcorder I used with this housing. Therefore, I am selling everything one would need to get into advanced underwater videography, for a significant discount compared to what it would otherwise cost. * I have created a Buy It Now listing on eBay which includes all the information on what I am selling: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170447051660. * If you're interested in this housing, you'd probably be interested in several of the other things I'm listing: several wide angle conversion lenses, Sony HD MiniDV tapes, spare batteries, etc. http://shop.ebay.com/kurtcham/m.html * If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable using eBay, I can either walk you through the simple process or just as well sell to you directly. * All offers will be considered. Thanks for looking and feel free to ask me any questions.
  13. Great opportunity to score a dSLR + underwater housing for a reasonable price! * I am selling a used Sea & Sea DX-D70 underwater housing w/ NX dome port, which is in good condition and completely functional. * If you don't have a Nikon D70 dSLR (for which this housing was made), I am also selling the D70 (with all essential accessories) which I used with this housing. Therefore, I am selling everything one would need (except for a lens) to get into advanced underwater photography, for a fraction it would otherwise cost. * I have created a Buy It Now listing on eBay which includes all the information on what I am selling: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170446830729. * If you're interested in this housing, you'd probably be interested in several of the other things I'm listing: numerous popular Nikon lenses (including 12-24mm and 10.5mm fisheye I used with this rig), Sea & Sea zoom gear for 12-24mm and other Sea & Sea accessories, Top Dawg II underwater video housing (along with Sony HDR-HC3 I used with it), etc. eBay Seller: kurtcham * If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable using eBay, I can either walk you through the simple process or just as well sell to you directly. * All offers will be considered. The only reason I'm parting with my rig (with which I've taken a LOT of great photos) is because I'm finally upgrading, to a Nikon D700 + Sea & Sea housing.
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