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Everything posted by Draq

  1. I have not seen any reviews or discussions of the Lumix 8-18 lens underwater. I find myself wondering if anyone has had the opportunity to try this lens (for stills) in a 170 or 180 dome and if so, how it compares to the 7-14 lenses, particularly in the corners.
  2. This has sparked my curiosity...where are these rumors?
  3. I will be doing a liveaboard in the T&C soon. Never been there and deciding which lenses to take for the EM1. I assume it is fairly typical Caribbean diving. Thinking of the 12-40 and the 8mm, and can't decide whether to take the macro and/or a wide rectilinear zoom. Any thoughts from those familiar with the diving there?
  4. I guess to be fair, I am not that knowledgeable about ports for the Oly housing. My son uses one and at some point we were looking for a solution for a lens and could not find a suitable port, but I believe not all Oly housings use the same ports so that might have been part of the problem, and it is possible that there is more variety now than a couple years ago.
  5. One other consideration...Nauticam offers ports for a broader range of lenses, including Panasonic lenses, so you may have more flexibility there and if, in a year or two or three you decide you want to switch to a different Olympus camera model or even a Panasonic camera, it is much more likely that you can continue using the lenses and ports you have already acquired on the new housing. may not matter to you, but worth thinking about.
  6. I am not Wolfgang, so forgive me for butting in, but FWIW, I have been very happy with nauticam housings. In the micro four thirds product line, my choice would be the EM1 ii, followed by the EM5 ii, followed by the EM1. But both of those are current cameras, so used housings will be harder to find than housings for the earlier cameras. I know there is one for the earlier version of the EM1 on ebay now, but I know nothing about the seller or housing. The new Panasonic G9 is also getting good reviews but is very new so there will be no used housings for it. Lenses and ports depend a lot on your interests. In my opinion, the best choices for these cameras are the 12-40 lens in a 170 or 180 dome, the 8mm fisheye in a 100 or 140 dome and the 30 or 60mm macros in flat ports, or the WWL-1 wet lens with a good 14-42 lens. Underwater photography isn't an inexpensive hobby. Keep an eye on the classifieds here and you can probably find a decent deal on a used housing, ports, etc. To save money on cameras and lenses you can check out the Olympus outlet (or whatever it is called) where Olympus sells reconditioned cameras and lenses at a discount. In budgeting, keep in mind you need arms and clamps and cords and flotation, etc. I strongly encourage you to invest in a vacuum valve. That alone is a good reason to go with something other than Oly housings. Good luck and the people here are always happy to help you.
  7. Cannot use that lens with the WWL, but it is a great lens in a 170 or 180 dome if 12mm is wide enough for you. I tested the WWL last week with the 14-42 EZ lens. It worked fine and corners were better than eitther 7-14 lenses in a 170 or 180 dome, but overall I felt the shots looked a little soft. In a few weeks I will test it with the Panasonic "Lumix G Vario 14-42 II lens. My research suggests this is probably the best zoom lens for the WWL-1 unless you want the 12-50 for its macro feature. I am a little concerned about excessive CA using the Panasonic lens on an Olympus body, but hopefully that won't be a problem. Of course, sample to sample variability between lenses can make a big difference, so a different 14-42 Ez may have been more impressive. I may try a different one when I can get the time, but I suspect the Panasonic will be the best choice. I hear the 12-32 might be a good choice, but can only be used from 14 or 15mm up, so I am not sure there is much value in that. For what it is worth, and for those looking for ultrawide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel), FOR ME, I see little value in using a lens like a 15mm in the WWL-1. Just get the 8mm fisheye and a 100mm or 140mm dome. If you don't like fisheye, the E-M1 ii now has a de-fish feature, although I have not tried it.
  8. It sounds like you would be happiest sticking with a compact. Check out the Panasonic LX10 with one of the housings available for it and if you want a small strobe, look at an Inon s2000. Larger sensor, good video, small form factor, less expensive than Sony. Just a thought.
  9. I approach it form the other end. I just use Tribolube or Nauticam grease on everything. But I don't like wasting all those other little tubes and jars of stuff so I sometimes carry those around and use them too. I don't want o be trying to figure out which O rings fit what if I don't have to. But your approach sounds logical.
  10. Does anyone know, by chance, what the Zen branded grease is? I have a few containers of it and its appearance is such that I am fairly sure it is not Tribolube or Christo. I am switching to just taking nauticam grease in their little tubes or taking Tribolube in a contact lens case with me instead of 3-4 different brands for strobes, housing, ports, focus lights, etc. I doubt the Zen can fill that role, based on appearance, but maybe someone can tell me for sure.
  11. It depends on your priorities. The 12-40 is excellent and one of my favorite underwater lenses for reef scenes, fish portraits and semi-macro (close focus, good magnification, but not really a macro lens), but it is sort of an "in-between" lens, lacking the angle of either the 7-14 or 8-18 lenses or the macro abilities of the 60. But, since you already have the 8mm and the 60, I think it would be a good choice, if you are willing to deal with the 170 or 180 dome. I hear great things about the WWL and am going to try that out in a few weeks. The advantage being that with the 14-42 it is supposedly a do-everything lens, except for macro, but you can pull it off the port and use a CMC to get macro, so if the claims are true, it can be a one-lens, one port solution. It also is supposed to overcome the limitations of an ultrawide (weitwinkel) rectilinear lens underwater. From what I have been told, if you want to do the WWL, you would want to consider either the 14-42 EZ or the Panasonic 14-42 over the Oly lens, due to port sizes and amount of extension when zooming. I have the 12-50 and it is okay, but I have never been overly impressed with it. 12mm in a flat port just isn't wide enough. I view it as a macro lens that can be zoomed out to get some portraits and reef scenes if necessary. I suppose it would not be bad as a general purpose lens in a much smaller port than a dome. I would rate the 12-40 as a better choice unless macro is really important or you need something more compact than a 170 or 180 dome. Generally, there is some variability in lens quality. It could be that your particular 14-42 is not as good as it should be. It might be worth doing some testing on land to get an idea. But, in general kit lenses are designed to meet a price point more than other lenses and are often not stellar. I hope this helps some.
  12. I have no idea about this. just asking. If what you say above is true, then would that suggest the charge indicator lights are unreliable in general?
  13. It is the system Inon has used for years. From a technical standpoint, the inner piece is not really a cap as much as it is the contacts for the batteries. It isn't waterproof. It appears that Inon has not changed the battery compartment at all. I think they should have re-designed it so that a flooded compartment could not flood the strobe. I think that is the one real weakness of these, although I have used Inon strobes for a long time with no problem and would not let it deter me from buying these. I think the color diffusers may be out already. Backscatter lists them on their site.
  14. I was hoping someone would reply. I am interested in that product as well, but it is quite expensive so I thought some feedback would be useful. Must not be popular. They have two different models of this and I can't tell from the website which one fits which housing.
  15. Zen seems to update their charts only occasionally. You might want to call and ask about using the 8-18 in the dp-170, if it is of interest to you.
  16. I have not yet seen any reviews or comments about the 8-18 underwater. I think a lot of folks have one of the 7-14 lenses already and feel little motivation to switch or to add a lens so close in focal length, unless there is some compelling performance advantage. On the flip side, I doubt there would be a reason for you to replace the 8-18 with a 7-14. Based on my time with the 7-14 lenses, I would encourage you to try use smaller apertures on the lens to improve corner and edge sharpness as much as possible and perhaps avoiding putting important things on the edges or in the corners of your shots. Wide angle lenses tend to have edge sharpness issues when used underwater in domes. I have never used Aquatica, so I can't provide any information on it. I will mention, though, that the nauticam 180 dome does work for all (or almost all) of the Panasonic and Olympus wide angle zoom lenses (with appropriate rings and adapters) so it is a relatively safe purchase even if you end up adding or switching lenses. Perhaps the same is true with aquatica gear. I have used nauticam stuff for several years and have been quite pleased with it.
  17. I don't dive wrecks much but from what I understand, most people who do a lot of photos of wrecks don't like the distortion of fisheyes. Straight lines will not be straight with that lens. I would think you would want to use the 7-14 with a 170 Zen or 180 Nauticam glass dome, but be aware of likely edge/corner softness. The WWL-1 and a compatible lens might also work, should provide better edges and some closeup ability but would be a much slower lens (aperture-wise). I am not sure how important that would be to you.
  18. I had not seen your question and have just posted the same question in the lights forum. I haven't received any responses. I did notice the Howshot cords are multi-strand. and that is usually desirable, but that is all I know. I have always used the nauticam cables but wanted to pickup another backup cable and the savings are appealing if these work well.
  19. Has anyone had any experience with the Howshot 613 core fiber optic cables? They are substantially less expensive than Nauticam or Sea and Sea.
  20. I think it was a bit odd, from a marketing standpoint, for Inon to discontinue the current products months before introducing a new product. I would have thought they would have at least waited until they had photos or specs or something. The new Retras look promising but they are expensive and one has to be somewhat brave to invest something close to $2000 in a couple of strobes that are new on the market from a fairly new company. Not saying they aren't a good product or the company won't be around, but still, they are a relatively unknown and expensive. You should be able to buy two new Z240s for just a bit more than a singe Retra. I would expect there to be Inon strobes around if you keep looking and surely there will be some on t he used market. My Z240 strobes have worked for a long time and work well in TTL when I use that. I have used them with a number of cameras and housings, mostly Nauticam. Really, I have no complaints and no reason to change or upgrade, but am curious about what the new strobes from inon will be. I do wish someone could come up with something significantly smaller than what is out there now, but I doubt the technology exists.
  21. I do have TSA Pre-check, but I estimate that I have been able to use it about 70% of the time. At my home airport, they don’t staff the pre-check line during slow periods and often my flights have me checking in late at night or very, very early in the morning and the pre-check line is closed and I have to go through the regular line and in many such cases, I have to do the full screening. I have also experienced that in other airports several times…no pre-check line is operational for some reason and everyone gets the full screening. I have also had multiple occasions on return international flights when, no “pre-check” annotation appears on my ticket when it is issued at the airport I am connecting through within the U.S. I have had both the airline and TSA say "oh well, too bad, no pre-check for you on this flight." This isn’t unique to me, I have seen it happen to others on multiple occasions. In large part, I don’t want to be “that guy” that holds up the security line as I unpack bags and move stuff around to comply with the screening. Therefore, I tend to pack in a way that works efficiently if the pre-check fails somewhere along the line.
  22. TSA is implementing new rules. All electronics larger than a cell phone will need to be taken out of carry-on bags and placed separately in bins to be sent through the x-ray machines. This will include cameras, but does not apply to lenses, according to what I have read. I am wondering whether this will apply to my Inon strobes. I need to decide whether to pack them in a manner where I can easily pull them out and place them into a bin. I would be interested in hearing what other people experience or learn about this. The new rule is being “rolled-out” over the next couple of months, so it may take a while to figure out if how this will be handled. I thought about asking TSA, but I strongly suspect I would either have someone repeat the new rule to me and be unable or unwilling to go beyond that, or I would be told that which electronics have to be screened is discretionary with TSA people at the time and place in question.
  23. I am curious about how many flashes one can expect from a full charge, whether the unit fits in a EM1 II Nauticam housing and what delivery time to the USA is. Anyone have any information on these things?
  24. Thank you all for your input. I remain on the fence about whether a WWL-1 offers much benefit. I have seen some reports that results of the WWL-1 and 14-42 lens are noticeably superior to the 7-14 in a dome and on a par with the 12-40 in a dome, but others say maybe not so much. I don't really care about lens speed too much, since I usually shoot around f 6.3 and smaller anyway. It looks like once the buoyancy collar is added to the WWL-1 it is not any smaller than the 180 dome, so packing might not be simplified. I would not anticipate using the WWL-1 as a removable lens to switch with a CMC underwater. It would stay on during any particular dive, although I suppose I could also take a CMC on a dive trip where macro was anticipated, and thereby omit the 60mm and flat port. I am still tempted, with the idea that I could save packing space by substituting the 14-42 and wwl-1 for the 7-14, 12-40, a couple of adapters, if indeed, the quality of output would not suffer. If anticipating split shots I would still likely choose the 180 dome, and would still take the 8mm Zuiko and 100mm dome and probably the 60mm in a flat port where macro was likely, unless the CMC on a 14-42 would replace it.
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