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Everything posted by Undertow

  1. like loftus said, you want sharp glass you gotta drop for the 17-55 and the 70-200. both are stellar. (EDIT: i mean "eye-poppingly sharp" glass, all nikkors are sharp.....) can't wait for my D300 to arrive (for topside only... unless jean hooks up a cheap housing mod). pulling my hair out seeing it "in stock" at B&H and not at my local shop i ordered from.
  2. Alex is right, adding a 2nd strobe would help substantially with lighting ability. Lenses also play a bigger role than megapixels so evaluate your lens options too. As far as cameras, if money is a big factor, get a D200 after the D300 is released, but I'd really suggest waiting for the D300 housings which i suspect will be ready by summer (in the nothern hemisphere). If money's not the biggest factor, why buy an "outdated" camera? (disclaimer: that doesn't mean it's obsolete or sub-par in any way..... D200's a great camera :-) changing housings would cost a bunch, but a big veiwfinder is 'brilliant'!! chris
  3. That second shot is really cool and potentially really amazing but the negative space hurts it. The blown out whites and the branch-like shadow are distracting. I have an idea what's up: at 1/125th and f/8 and the white sand, you're letting the ambient light do most of the exposure work with only a little strobe (at least what it looks like to me). What exposure mode are you using? I would close your exposure to f/16 or f/22 and use the strobe to expose and isolate the frog fish from the background. Also always shoot macro at base iso (ISO100 i think on D80). You said you stopped down but got the same thing - if you're using program auto or aperture priority, then the camera will simply slow the shutter speed to give an equivalent ambient exposure. This would be exactly why your f/22 pic would look soft. It is NOT because of diffraction - I wouldn't listen to Dan who seems to describe diffraction as something that would destroy the sharpness. It does not and is a very subtle effect at f/22 only noticable upon very close inspection. I've shot upwards of f/32 on my D200 + 60mm with plenty sharp results. Shoot on manual, using f/16 or f/22 and 1/250th and light with the strobe on TTL (or using the strobes power settings to adjust exposure). Frogfish are tough to make pop out, but I would suggest using strobe light and focus to islolate him. Try to get lower to make the background more distant and throw it further out of focus. Get even closer and shoot his head with eye and lure and try using the stobe at different positions/angles to light him but not the sand. You don't, however want it completely black, as black fish black background won't work, just want the sand darker relative to the fish. This is easier said than done. Hope this helps. Cheers, Chris
  4. I think they meant manual *exposure* control, setting your own shutter speed and aperture, try that. In fact, try both manual exposure and flash controls. Otherwise see if you can turn TTL off. I know that my D200 w/ 1/250th sync will sync at 1/320th perfectly and with a small dark bar at the top of the frame with 1/400th and 1/500th which won't matter if the sunball is at the top of the frame! As far as the Auto FP setting with the SB800, which I'm not sure if the D70 has or not, it will sync at any speed BUT you don't get full flash power output, you get relatively less output as the shutter speed increases. That's the catch and why nikon doesn't advertise "flash sync at any shutter speed!!". Chris
  5. I just want to say thank you, Troy, for posting your initial experiences with this unique UW rig and I hope to see more pics soon. I've been following this thread loosely and know none of this tech stuff, but I think Troy's getting unduely bashed here by trying something different and relating it to us. I don't recall him trying to convince people that MF UW is 'superior' and pixel picking b/w his hassy and a 1Ds3 seems to be beating around the bush. 39mp certainly could make some big prints though! Dan, however, seems a little hung up on the technical stuff - his posts were going over my head and I paid little attention to them. Personally, I like taking pictures and i know Troy is keen to take some more (once this irritating tropical storm passes...) and I'd love to see them. Cheers, Chris btw, I did really like the look of those shark shots - IMHO they definitely seemed to have that 'smooth tonality', but that's just me on my puny 15" lcd screen...
  6. I've never taken it UW but i know the tokina 10-17mm can focus ridiculously close, about the same as my sigma 15mm FE which can focus on air bubbles on the dome port. This makes both extremely useful at close range and the reason why I traded in my nikon 16mm FE for the sigma. My sigma, like the tokina affords the ability for 'macro wide-angle' shots of any subject that will let you poke a dome port in their face. this lionfish was only a couple inches from my dome and i have others where he's even closer, but without the wreck which really gives the 'macro wide-angle' feel. . Try getting corners like that with a rectilinear wide lens! If you want close focus, forget about the 12-24mm, get the 10-17mm FE or the sigma 15mm FE. Cheers, Chris
  7. I'm pretty sure you can focus at infinity UW with a +2 diopter, just not topside. I believe an 8" dome will be optimized with a +3 diopter, which would adjust the lens' focus range to that of the virtual image created by the dome port. Dual element diopter's are better, I use a Canon 500D which is a +2 i think. There are a few old threads about this topic and a good article on Dome Theory in the articles section. like ChrisS said, make sure you got the proper port extension first. Cheers, Chris
  8. I met a dentist on a liveaboard who said he flooded 2 nikonos RS's and either one or both were from a single hair seated across the oring. That same day another guy flooded his RS i think from an ill-seated oring. The dentist loaned the guy his backup RS.
  9. be careful on liveaboards: we were getting ready for a dive on a liveaboard in Oz when my dad goes to his camera to find the housing filled with salt water - on the camera table!! Turns out he'd left the back latches 1/2 on (ikelite housing latches hooked on but not closed) and one of the crew mistook his camera for another, handed his open housing to someone in the water who said "that's not my camera". The crewmember swapped cameras without even knowing he just flooded my dad's. The livaboard company replaced his kit. I prefer to prepare everything the night before as I can be quite a zombie in the morning. I once flooded a canister light first thing in the am cause i forgot to put the oring on. I always say that i never really wake up until i get underwater... and if that doesn't wake u up then some water sloshing around the port certainly will.
  10. seems that the relative positioning of the left strobe is different than the right. find the difference. do you have a dome shade? if so, lower the strobe so that its behind the middle shade flap. the corner of the frame is where the fisheye lens sees the most. remember that diagonally corner to corner, the 10.5mm sees 180 degrees. All strobes will produce a 'burst' of light (as scott said above) up to about one foot or so in front of the strobe, so if the strobe is in the top corner less than one foot back from the plane of the dome (from the lens' front element) - voila! - a burst of backscatter in the corner. this is not uncommon, I still get the same thing in my 10.5mm pics when i'm not careful, even in clear water. Cheers, Chris
  11. 17-55mm with a good dioptre for sharks - very sharp - one of your FEs for mantas.
  12. I can vouch for that too! It is certainly the most expensive piece of glass to never make its mark on a sensor or piece of film - but it is more than worth it. Like jean says - from keyhole to port hole.
  13. this really grinds my gears too, as I prefer to compose properly within the 3:2 frame, yet requests for 8x10's & 11x14's sometimes force me to mutilate the image. Where I live, custom frames are expensive and pre-cut selection is limited, so I use alternate sized mattes. Put an 8x12" matte in an 11x14" frame instead of the 8x10" matte it comes with. My fav is framing a 12x18" print in a 16x20" frame, I find the boarder size much better than an 11x14" print. there are also online stores that sell bulk frames & mattes in any ratio you want for a decent price. I refuse let archaic frame ratios dictate my style of shooting. I prefer the semi-'widescreen' feel of a 3:2 ratio and composing to a frame-within-a-frame would only serve to complicate matters. Cheers, Chris - of course if you buy a new D3, its got a silly 5:4 ratio shooting mode...
  14. not sure what the diameter of the compact dome is, but I believe rectiliniear lenses perform much better with a large dome, like a 20cm/8inch. The lens will be focusing super close with a small dome, requiring a stronger diopter. I know a 20cm dome is optimized with a +3 diopter, and a small dome will need a stronger one. You are also comparing the best prime lens ever made for underwater shooting (nikonos 15mm) with a zoom lens behind a small dome - I doubt you can get the sharpness of the amazing 15mm. Hope this helps. Cheers, Chris
  15. Lots of fantastic stuff commin in. Here's 3 of mine. This year's theme: open ocean. Cheers, Chris 1. Sunbeams pierce through the deep blue on a rare flat calm as a free diver plunges toward the abyss. 2. Bermuda 3. D200, Aquatica, 17-55mm @ 17mm, Canon 500D dioptre. 4. On the edge of a deep ocean seamount 23 km offshore in nearly 200ft vis during a flat calm, the sunbeams appears to create a reverse sunburst into which the free diver is drawn. 1. Nearing the end of a 12,000km journey to the North Atlantic from its breeding grounds off South Africa, this Greater Shearwater dives for fish in the rich offshore waters near Bermuda. 2. Bermuda 3. D200, Aquatica, 16mm FE, 1 SB-105 strobe 4. We found this hungry fellow sitting on the water near a seamount 23km off Bermuda and with some bait fish in the water he eagerly pursued ever last morsel. A surprisingly fast swimmer, these oceanic wanderers take on a silvery coat underwater as oil protects their feathers from waterlogging. 1. Cautiously curious: This oportunistic wahoo investigates its surroundings as it wanders across the barren open ocean. 2. Bermuda 3. D200, Aquatica, 17-55mm at 55mm, Canon 500D dioptre, 1 SB-105 strobe 4. Over a seamount 23km offshore, a prized wahoo fishing spot, this ocean wanderer investigates the photographer as it searches for a meal...
  16. Thanks. it was FREE SWIMMING! Don't think I could shoot a hooked one... I actually had to shoot the weigh in for a big wahoo tournament the week before for my paper... that was tough and I like this shot better! We had a lot of time while waiting for the sharks that never showed up and after numerous attemps finally got close enough to shoot a 'hoo. I had to free dive down about 25ft to get close enough. Loftus: I will send Jim an email as I'm sure he could offer some tips, thanx.
  17. Thanks guys for the tips, I have seen some people’s pics from the shearwater trips only to drool all over my keyboard. I also meant to subscribe to Fathoms after I saw it at dema last year, I will do that and get ahold of the issue with the article too. beautiful mag i remember. I appreciate people’s concerns regarding the operator so please let me clarify: I am going out with a group of local researchers finding tigers (seasonally Aug-Oct) over a seamount 13 miles off Bermuda. The seamount rises to 200ft and they regularly anchor in 250-350ft so there’s no “standing on the bottomâ€. These guys have received grant money to tag and monitor our local tigers as little, if any, research has been done on Bermuda’s sharks in the past. They have invited me out to shoot for articles in our local paper & sister magazine as well as provide them with professional quality images to promote the research project. While the project is still young, it is quickly growing as interest in our local sharks moves beyond fishing for sport. One aim of the project is to try and dispel myths about sharks and teach people about the threatened nature of these beautiful animals. This is where I come in with the paper/magazine. Perhaps we can reduce the number of people that want to catch and kill tigers purely for sport. Here is the infant site for anyone interested: http://www.bermudasharkproject.com/ Given all that, the plan is still to take shots from the cage with the 17-55mm and use the polecam for shots as the shark is going for the bait – cause everyone wants to see a frame full of teeth (well, maybe not THAT close with the 15mm FE). I have been out with them twice this year with minimal shark action and no shark pics... The trips I couldn't make were the successful ones with mutiple taggings. I am especially curious about strobe use. In the youtube vid alex linked, they don't seem to mind the constant strobe fire. Did you find that true? Ours do seem easily spooked and I'm not sure about the strobe. Any other tips are greatly appreciated. Cheers, Chris here's a couple pics from the last trip with no sharks... all shot with the 17-55mm the first 3 at 17mm and last 2 at 55mm (last one is a wahoo). I've never seen anything like this day... there was NO wind, it was like glass out there (13 miles offshore), the vis was about 200ft and the BLUE...
  18. bottom line: 15mm FE is best for UW 10-20mm is best for topside you decide.
  19. I would opt for something b/w the raw and the processed colour image, though the b&w + extra contrast would be nice. The 'agressively processed' image is a little too processed and the colour seems duller. I'd boost the contrast of the raw image & take a little green out but keep it moderate. I'd also leave the diver in, but that's just me as a PJ, i don't like the idea of changing the reality of an image. overall a wonderful image.
  20. for the tiny stuff, shooting at 1:1 (stuff the size of your camera's sensor) or greater, you will want the canon 100mm macro lens (which does 1:1 max i think) and add a diopter or even a teleconverter to shoot small stuff. Shooting at these magnifications is increadibly difficult. Focusing, steadying the camera, lighting and limited depth of field are all major challenges with super macro. A focusing light is almost a necessity, as is a bare sandy patch to rest yourself on in order to keep the camera steady. There is a pinned topic "going beyond 1:1", or something like that, in the Digital SLRs/Housings forum. check it out. Cheers, Chris
  21. If the dust is on the outside of the glass at the mouting side, then clean it off. If its really inside lens, it will not get on your sensor! I have seen dust inside a lens before, usually tiny specks, still visible without a torch. Not on a nice new nikkor though. I did (and still do) have dust inside my old nikonos 15mm lens and never noticed problems. It will probably be ok. Personally though, and I'm anal about these things, I'd do my best to send it back to the ebay seller. Depends on the seller and the item description though, you may get stuck with it. Give it a try on your camera and see if you can notice any problems (find a camera test chart online). I doubt it. Cheers, Chris
  22. yeah, thought that would do it - works like a charm (knock, knock on wood) we'll see in the water tmrw. thanks dan, chris
  23. wonderful photos, makes me want to go back! we never got those big schools of hammers... but its impossible to complain about cocos. I especially love that hammerhead portrait (#6) - it is a stunning shot. though I'm curious what the original framing was, if it was horizontal and there was more empty space to the left (or right) I'd add some to push the shark more off-center. again I can hardly complain... seriously, you should put that one in the sport diver images column thread. great stuff. chris ... and I remember those jacks at dirty rock!!! the diver says it all - pure mahem...
  24. Hi All, One of the push buttons controlling the d-pad on my D200 Aquatica housing is sticking when pushed in. It started a couple months ago being a little slow to spring back, and now when pushed in it completely sticks, jamming the camera d-pad down in the process. This is quite hindering when UW. not sure exactly how these controls work - i guess they're just a spring and an oring or two inside? Should I put some grease on the button shaft to lubricate it? Should I take the control apart and clean/grease? I worry this friction, when i push the button back through, may damage the oring and cause a leak. I have some major UW shooting to do before the season is up and don't have time to send it to aquatica. Any suggestions?! I'd especially like to hear from Jean on this one. (shoving some grease on the control shaft seems the best idea but i thought i'd check here first) Cheers, Chris
  25. There is a great piece in the 'Articles' section about dome port theory. I believe the dome creates a 'virtual image' that appears closer than the subject really is, but it's not 2-D like a tv. This is why diopters are used - to balance the lens' focusing range with that of the virtual image. As for zooming = cropping, the simple answer is no. Cropping removes resolution, optical zooming does not. I'm sure you could do macro with a dome, but you really wouldn't want to. Domes exist to exploit wide angle lenses, flat ports are simpler and sharper (i think....). I'm sure someone will corect me if i'm wrong.
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