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Draq

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Everything posted by Draq

  1. I was going to suggest the sites that makar0n listed. They are good sources of tech info. I use a MAHA C800 for AA and AAA batts. The 800 does not use the larger power block of the 801 and 808, so easier to travel with, but a bit slower charging. I use it on soft charge and it takes a max of 3-4 hours to charge 8 cells. Not using soft charge would halve that. Frequently, the batteries are only about half discharged, so it takes far less time. I also use a Fenix ARE X single bay charger for 18560 batts. It takes other sizes as well, but I try to limit the rechargeables that I travel with to AA, AAA and 18560. It has settable charge rates and runs off a USB cable so I can use it via either a computer or wall outlet. It will also charge AA and AAA, but doing so one at a time could get tedious. I like to use chargers with a proper charge rate or one I can set. Slow charging so the cells stay cooler extends their life, generally speaking.
  2. From what I read, the only difference is that they have reduced the size to accommodate the gripped Z9 and some tripod plates and such. It works (or not) with the same lenses as the original version. But that is just what I have read. Not having a mirrorless Nikon, I have never used the FTZ.
  3. I use Stix and Nauticam carbon float arms depending on circumstance. The Stix are used on ULCS or Nauticam arms. The Stix are nice because they are light and fairly small and can be quickly changed around as needed. I use the jumbo size have cut some in half so I have more flexibility. The Nauticam arms are bulky and expensive, but their buoyancy does not change, they don't stay wet and are easy to rinse. I tried a couple kraken adjustable float arms, but one of them leaked during the warranty period and the seller said to take it up with the manufacturer and the manufacturer never responded to phone calls or emails, so I won't do that again. But, there are a few quirks with the Stix; somewhere below 100' they will compress and once they do, even if they return to normal shape, they seem to compress more readily in the future at shallower depths. In that regard they do sort of have a useful lifespan after which their value diminishes. On a recent trip my son's Stix arms compressed even though we never were below about 80.' I suspect they must of been damaged on an earlier trip but am not sure. It did not make a critical difference in their use, though. Maybe after a few years they become susceptible to compression without ever being taken deep? At the end of a dive trip they can be slow to dry which might be is an issue for packing, and sometimes it seems that salt cannot is hard to fully wash off or out of the floats and a salt residue can appear, if that matters to you. Following a dive trip, I soak Stix in warmish water fully submerged. I change the water once or twice over then next couple of days, and that seems to help get them clean. I have not used them but I think the Inon megas are good, from what I have heard, if their length and weight options work for you.
  4. New flash trigger died following installation and testing but before first dive of the trip. Completely dead...no signal to strobes and doing ambient light stuff was not really practical. Have gotten a warranty replacement, and will now start taking a backup, since I still have an old trigger that will work. I enjoy the 60 and 105 as well. The 85 is sort of a compromise lens (I hope) that I thought would be worth the experimentation since I already had the necessary port and extension ring. Longer distance than the 60 but a bit easier to use than the 105 on a crop sensor. But yes, the 60 is pretty much a standard, especially if one already has a 105. We will see how the 85 does, but I don't have any macro-type trips planned any time soon. I usually prefer wide angle shooting anyway.
  5. I realize the OP has already purchased a lens, so this is late, but I thought I would add a comment. I am happy with the 60mm but recently bought the 85mm macro (which may now be discontinued?). The reason is the substantially greater working distance. Some small creatures get perturbed when a port is really close. The 85 offers substantially greater working distance but should be easier to use than the 105, which I also have but is heavy and can be too much for general use. The 85 works with a 20mm extension on the 60 port, so that port, with appropriate extensions, can handle three macro lenses. Unfortunately, this is theoretical at the moment. I have not gotten to try out the 85 yet because on my last dive trip I had an equipment failure resulting in no strobes...
  6. I am not into Bull Shark dives so I have never dived in Cancun. I would definitely look at taking the ferry over to Cozumel, but also I seem to recall the diving was not too bad down in Puerto Aventuras, South of Cancun. But that was a long time ago. You could also look into doing some Cenote dives on the mainland if you like those or have not tried them. I don't have any specifically photo-oriented dive ops to suggest but for Cozumel you would probably like Jeremy at Living Underwater or Tres Pelicanos. Hope this helps
  7. Ever wonder what your luggage experiences at the airport? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJV-JiTWWXI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP1fxYWaO_E https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MZqiE3yGlQ&t=11s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MBWZWyvMng
  8. I know there is a quality improvement with the wet lenses, but I think just focusing on that (sorry for the pun!) misses a lot of the issue. The WACP and WWL allow you to get sharper images, including corners, at larger apertures. That means some combination of lower ISO, faster shutter speed, lower strobe power, easier ambient light shots sometimes, and perhaps less diffraction. At least that is how I look at it. And yes, some of those things also contribute to image quality I suspect only with big enlargements or really critical viewing would one be able to identify a wet lens shot from a wide angle and dome shot if things are set up right and we do a good job on the photo. The wet lenses also allow greater zoom range so if the pelagics don't show up or the viz is bad, you may still be adequately equipped to shoot other subjects that wold not work well with a 12-24, 17-70 or whatever. Thinking only in terms of absolute image quality overlooks other benefits and I don't know about you folks, but for me it has always been true that the raw ability of the camera and lens is rarely the weak link in the image quality, it is almost always my skills that hold me back.
  9. I admire the WACP-1 and am convinced it offers great image quality potential and other and benefits. But I am somewhat put off by the fact that this very expensive lens often works best with out-of-production lenses, or lenses likely to go out of production, such as some of the the Canon EF range, and/or works in only a limited focal length range with current lenses. Good luck finding a clean 28-70 3.5-4.5 D lens for a D850. (The notable exception appears to be Sony with its 28-60). Buyers are far more likely to choose mirrorless cameras going forward, and to purchase lenses that are at least compatible with those new cameras. Not many full frame 28-xx 3.5, or crop format 18-55 3.5 lenses are being made for mirrorless. I feel the WACP it is overly expensive, heavy and large if just using it to convert a fixed 28mm lens into a fixed ultrawide (weitwinkel) semi-rectilinear lens, except perhaps for specific purposes or those being paid to take the photographs. I admit to some temptation to get a WACP and use it with a D500 and the 18-55 lens. Sharper corners at larger apertures allows more flexibility in shutter speed and ISO settings and the large zoom range offers some of that "one lens covering different subjects" kind of benefit. But unlike a dome port that can be used with a variety of lenses across brands, and will likely work with new lenses as they are developed, the WACP seems to be fairly limited and inflexible. Increasingly, lens makers are not making 28-70 type lenses, except for large, fast lenses, opting for wider focal lengths instead. Strangely enough, Nauticam does not even list the WACP-1 as compatible with, nor does it make a zoom ring for, the newer version of the 18-55, that may still be in production and offers improved focus speed. Maybe I am wrong about this? I suppose there is no reason I can't use the D500 and an 18-55 for several years, and it may not really matter what other cameras or lenses it fits?
  10. I believe the U.S. will be open to UK visitors starting in early November.
  11. I don't have any galleries or videos of macro from those places. As far as I know, the Cayman islands are still closed to travel. When I think of macro in the Caribbean, I think of nudibranchs, gobies, blennies, frogfish and seahorses when you can find them, shrimp and crabs. They all exist at most destinations. Bonaire and Curacao come to mind because of the ease of shore diving and therefore the ability to spend an hour or more poking around some area, instead of being rushed by a dive guide leading a group. I have never been, but maybe Blue Heron Bridge in Florida coupled with a few days around Key Largo?
  12. Sorry, I have not been to any of those and don't know much about the diving there, except to say that, just based on a memory of discussions and trip research in the past, I think the Bahamas and Barbados are not really considered macro destinations and I never hear anyone talking about Jamaica. In Covid times I guess we sort of go where we can and with a bit of effort, you can find macro stuff anywhere. But I am sure you already know that. I am not sure of the travel situation in the UK or EU right now, but historically, I believe KLM offered direct flights to Curacao and I would think St Maarten, maybe?
  13. I have been traveling to Mexico for years. I actually looked at buying a property there once, many years back. Mostly I try to shrug off the seemingly never-ending corruption and scams, but sometimes I find myself feeling really tired of it and like I just won't go back. Recently I was booking a trip to Mexico and I just couldn't do it and booked a trip elsewhere. It actually felt kind of satisfying to give the finger to Mexico, figuratively speaking. Not saying I won't go back, but there is this bit of irritation every time I start looking at it. I mean, come on, you don't pay duty anywhere in the world on personally owned items you take on a vacation and bring back home with you. What's next? "Duty" on my watch or shoes or cell phone whatever? I actually have Mexico-specific packing practices, and that just feels wrong. Okay, rant over. I feel better now.
  14. I think Roatan has a decent macro reputation, but I would not want to compare it to Asia. Bonaire and Curacao might be reasonable options as well.
  15. Actually, to partially answer my own question, I now recall that I have a lenscoat lens hoodie that fits on the WWL-1, but I am unsure if there is one that would fir the WACP, or if there is anything better out there.
  16. The recent flurry of WWL and WACP discussions has caused me to wonder about something that may be a bit weird to most. The hard caps for those products are great fro traveling and on a boat, but not really convenient to take in the water. I am pretty sure that was never intended. I sometimes find myself getting back on boats in choppy conditions, hanging on a crowded tagline and/or handing up my camera to a rushed and sometimes not very careful boat guy. So I typically take the stretchy neoprene dome cover with me on a dive and put it on before handing camera up. I don't see many people doing that, but it makes me feel better about having less risk of a scratched port. So is anyone aware of something that would fulfill this purpose on a WWL or WACP-1? Not really asking about the WACP-2 because I think that would need a spare tire-sized cover.
  17. I am in the DX format camp. I used micro four thirds for years and then moved to a D500. Due to the larger format, I have more flexibility in cropping, but the big differences for me were dynamic range and the focusing performance of the camera compared to EM1 MkII. Much faster and more accurate focusing, especially in lower light and much better tracking of fast moving creatures. Perhaps with better skills I could overcome this, and I have retained the Olympus gear, but the DX vs M43 size difference is modest and the DX is really just a lot more enjoyable for me. When making the switch from M43, I was thinking of going full frame and almost bought a D850, but was talked out of it by several people, and frankly, as someone who does this as a hobby, and who has to travel to dive, I am glad I went DX. I just cannot deal with the travel implications of a 230mm dome. This (and price) has also kept me from the Nauticam wet lens options. I tried and still have a WWL, but it is heavy and some of the other options dwarf the WWL. For me, APS-C and its amenability to 100mm, 140mm and 170-180mm domes and crop factor boost for macro lenses hits a sweet spot. Also, for wildlife photography, the crop factor gives me a some nice options in hand-holdable / comfortably-carried telephotos and zooms. Unless Nikon and Canon put more effort into DX format mirrorless, I am not sure I will go that route willingly.
  18. I believe the English language does not adhere to verb conjugation rules as closely as some languages and there are so many exceptions to the rules that one cannot just rely on those rules. So we rely on practical knowledge. Or not. If it is dive and dived, why is in not ride and rided instead of rode? If it is eat and ate why is it not sleep and slape? Walk /walked but not run / runed or runned? Anyway, "dove" also rolls off the tongue more fluidly than "dived" does, so it gets used a lot. Generally, I am more interested in hearing about the dive than worrying about the grammar so I don't care much in discussion, and am not distracted by the word, but like to see "dived" in writing..."dove" distracts me when written and I am likely to hear it in my head like "duv" at first...as in the bird.
  19. Well, I guess all I did was save a bit of money, then. Had I understood that better, I might have opted for the pro, but I am sure the prime will be fine.
  20. I have not been able to get mine in the water yet, so this may not help, but I went with primes. I have never needed full power out of Z240 or Z330 strobes, and as I understand it, one gets more flashes per battery change for the primes as opposed to the pro, which I thought more valuable than more power that I did not really need for my style of photography. But I can't base this on any actual use. Time will tell. Pilot light power is unimportant to me.
  21. After having numerous trips cancelled or unavailable and thus being dry-docked for the past year and a half due to Covid, I have finally got a trip scheduled that SHOULD actually go forward. Not the very best destination I suppose, but it is warm salt water, so I am excited and will get to finally use my Retra strobes. Going to Grand Turk. Did a liveaboard in the area a few years back and looked at some old lens choice threads here, but my trip was shortly after a major hurricane and photo ops were poor. I wanted to see what others thought about subject matter/lens choices. I generally do CFWA, but like to adapt to the subject matter. Normally I travel with the 10-17 and 60 macro for my D500, but could switch to or add a 10-24 and/or 17-70, but that also means lugging the large dome. I don't think Worthwhile to add one or both of those? Anything else I should consider? Thanks.
  22. I like what Tim showed and have seen that idea used before. I attach a computer to the camera also and that provides a nice place to do so. However, I also have found that if I need massive lift, the big Nauticam carbon arms help. They are about 650 gr each. I am not sure, but I suspect because of the mounting ball for a focus light, the location of the fiber optic bukhead and the need for access to the vacuum button, I don't think the extra arm over the housing would work. On the other hand, I do have a rope handle that I use to hand up the rig to the boat and I have wondered about finding a way to attach a couple floats to each end of that. I normally stow it while in the water, but there is no real reason for that. A couple of zip-tied Stix floats of whatever size is needed should add up to 360g flotation and is easily removed.
  23. Never heard that one before. Had to look it up. It fits...
  24. Thanks all and Nicool I did read your review. I think I will hold off on the snoot and superchargers for now, but the other stuff looks useful and I think the old phrase is "in for a penny; in for a pound.
  25. Not to criticize your preferences; I think everyone should choose what works for them, but I have used Inon strobes for over 10 years. D2000, Z240, Z330, S2000, and my son who also does underwater photography has been using Inons for about 7 years. Neither of us has ever had a strobe flood. Proper lube and using some reasonable caution when screwing down the cap seems to be the key. A brief examination through the clear cap to confirm the O ring is not twisted is a good idea. The O rings seem to last forever. I change mine every few years out of caution, but then keep the old ones as spares. For those who are concerned, an additional O ring can be installed inside the cap, creating a double O ring situation. Sorry you had problems, but I cannot agree with the garbage thing. I have never has a S&S strobe, so have no knowledge other than what I read, and it appears that once S&S closed their China plant and moved production to Japan, things improved and I assume the D3 is made there as well. It might take a while for their reputation to improve following the Chinese D2 issues. Or maybe the D3 is crap. I have no idea.
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