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Everything posted by Undertow

  1. yikes, thats quite a broad topic, I suggest you search around the forums for comparisons between housings. I'm sure this has been discussed before. In general though, plastic housings like ikelite i think tend to be a little bigger & heavier on land, but more bouyant in the water due to extra inside volume. They are also cheaper and very durable. Aluminum housings are built to closer fit the form of the camera, so are smaller and often lighter on land. Though they can often be quite negative in the water due to minimal air volume, especially with a macro port. They are also generally more expensive, though prices vary widely. Most housings on the market today are fantastic and will do a great job. Start with a price range and a camera model and narrow your options from there. Cheers, Chris
  2. I agree with mark, if i break a seal both the oring and sealing surface get a good cleaning and re-lube no matter what. I always worry that a hair or speck of sand or drop of water may slip under the oring whenever its not fully sealed. That said I try not to break seals like sync cables over multiple days if not necessary. Chris
  3. Hi all, I will soon get the oportunity to cage dive with tiger sharks (assuming they show up this time...) and would like some tips from those who've done it before (tigers, whites or whatever). I plan to attempt shots from within the cage and shots with my newly built polecam from the boat. I shoot with a D200 + aquatica + 8-inch dome. wide lenses incl. 10.5mm FE, 15mm FE, 12-24mm (not too keen on it) and 17-55mm. 1. shots from the cage: lens choice: was thinking 17-55mm to start, though for close passes i may want my sigma 15mm FE or even the 10.5mm FE. suggestions? strobes: was thinking 1 strobe on a 5" arm to keep it simple. would people reccomend 0, 1 or 2 strobes? It is a small cage (2 ppl and its tight) and I hope to minimize the size of the rig, but a little fill light seems a good idea. it will be right at the surface, and vis is usually fantastic out there (100-150ft) though when chumming the water can get quite churned up with bits of chum. 2. polecam shots my new polecam is crude and heavy (mouting bar weighs 4+ lbs) and requires kiddie armbands strapped around the base of the handles to stay afloat. it is fired with a piece of fishing line and I have yet to properly test it. The idea is to set up the shot when the shark is going for the bait near the boat. I was thinking my sigma 15mm FE and maybe a strobe for fill. thoughts?? Should I preset focus (if so, at what distance?) or set it on group pattern and hope for the best? any thoughts on how to not get my camera eaten by a tiger shark? other tips/ things i haven't considered? thanks! Chris
  4. do you mean water drops when shooting over/under's or blemishes on the port after use? there are a couple threads about treating ports to shed water droplets when shooting 50/50 shots, things like Rain-X and baby shampoo etc. Definitly read those threads, cause i think they say to not use rain-x on acrylic ports... or was it glass... not sure. If you simply mean your port gets hard water marks after use, I would use optical cleaning solution and a microfiber towel to give her a good (but gentle) cleaning. If you mean while shooting UW you probably mean air bubbles, which can get attached when you first take the camera in. I just give it a quick rub with the neoprene forearm sleeve of my wetsuit to clear the bubbles. Cheers, Chris
  5. I wear free diving fins most of the time, unless making a rocky entry or diving in caverns. I use Cressi 2000LD's (the less-stiff grey ones) and love em. They do require a bit of leg power and can give you nasty cramps after a long day of diving. I would guess that's why they're not marketed to scuba divers. They produce some awesome power and are dubbed my 'whale shark chasing fins' - perfect for blue water diving in ripping currents. They don't work so well in tight spaces. They have their place. Mine don't fold in half and I find myself travelling with a bag just big enough... though I have strapped them to the outside of a suitcase before. and they just look cool...
  6. The only problem with using an sb-105 as a slave is the inability to use the diffuser. The diffuser covers the slave sensor and makes it very difficult to fire. This will usually only work by pointing the diffused sb105 straight at the connected strobe. This is quite impractical for an on-camera strobe rig. This generally rules out wide angle, since the sb-105 will give a noticable hotspot. Will work ok for macro though. You could also make a custom diffuser, or drill a hole in the current diffuser. Perhaps even double up on the fiber optic connections, just match the cord end to the hole on the diffuser.
  7. As noted the offical sync speed is 1/250. I've played around a bit and been able to sync an sb-105 to my D200 at 1/320th. When the strobe is fired at full power, i notice a slight dimming in the very top tidbit of the frame, only noticeable when shooting a blank wall. At lower powers, 1/320th is as perfect as 1/250th. At 1/400th and 1/500th there is a noticable black bar at the top of the frame. This is largest (about 1/4 of the frame) at 1/500th with full strobe power and gets smaller with lower strobe power. However, for the sunburst pic, if your subject is entirely in the lower 2/3 of the frame I would try 1/500th. I will try it next dive - I just did the 'test' in my bedroom. I suggest others try it with their strobes to see what shutter speeds they can squeeze in. Cheers, Chris
  8. if you are shooting models, go dual without a doubt. no question. shooting models is all about smooth & creative lighting and dual diffused strobes pointed slightly outward produces rich even lighting that can fill a full fisheye. this avoids the potential hotspots with superwides & fisheyes. also as mentioned filling harsh shadows for macro is pretty key. A second strobe used as a slave can take advantage of side & back lighting if you wanna get creative. go for two. you know you want to.
  9. I caught this on tv when it aired and was truely disgusted. Especially since shark numbers are in drastic decline these days with the finning industry - the full effects of which we have yet to see, (ex. the clam industry in north carolina has completely collapsed as an indirect result of shark fishing). I even heard one fisherman talking to the cameras about how they feel "connected with the natural world" when out shark fishing. though I am no expert/biologist/naturalist, I believe the difference is the low reproductivity rate of sharks vs other fish. Because they are predators, they do not "naturally" face many threats, so they exist in smaller numbers, take longer to reach sexual maturity, and repoduce slowly versus most other fish, often bearing only a single pup. Take the whaling industry as an example of another group of animals with a very slow reproductivity rate and how many species were brought to the brink of extinction last century. This is now happening with many species of sharks on a much more horrifying scale and using much more advanced technology. Fishing for subsidy IS an integral part of our planet's life-giving power. but when done on horribly unsustainable levels, like shark finning today, then fishing for that "monster" shark just for the fun of killing something CANNOT be justified. indeed, let them go one-on-one, hand to teeth with these "monster" sharks and act triumphant. disgusts me. Chris P.S. sorry to rant, this stuff gets me so worked up these days.
  10. HAHA, yeah, putting the port over the front of the lens kinda matters huh?? excuse my blonde moment.... for the record i was going on 6 hrs of sleep over 2 nights when i posted. its been a long week... my aquatica port opening is 98mm too... crikey! better get the file out...
  11. I would suggest trying pantyhose. I've never tried it but when I certified on a dolphin, the instructor said some people put pantyhose over the SCR's outlet valve to break up the few bubbles the system does release. perhaps it would work over an OC second stage outlet too?? that reminds me - i meant to try that on OC years ago...
  12. does the 3.9 inch diameter really matter for most housing port openings? the rear of the lens (zoom ring etc.) is not 3.9 inches, only the front is. the lens could be attached to the camera after the camera is mounted in the housing, as I usually do with my 17-55mm. That way the 3.9 in diameter doesn't have to fit through the port opening. though i guess it depends on how much port extension is needed and if the fatter part of the lens needs to fit within an extension ring. wouldn't the fixed shade on the 14-24mm would be more of a problem to fit in the port? what's the normal distance from a lens' front element to an 8 in port - would this shade fit in??? I am no expert though. Does this make sense? Perhaps someone could make a business out of slicing off the attached hoods for UW shooters... might devalue the lens a bit though...
  13. while hugyfot housings do look quite sexy and compact, i'd say go for the aquatica - you already have the ports. not sure about the hugyfot viewfinder optics, but aquatica's new viewfinder is fantastic, I can't believe the difference. (they can also take the inon 45 degree viewfinder). hugyfot housings are closed using allen screws, versus the standard latches, making opening and closing more awkward. My dad also attempted to get a D80 hugyfot but had so much trouble communicating with them, he gave up and got a subal. consider location, hugyfot are in europe(i think...) and aquatica in eastern canada. where do u live? I've also been very impressed by aquatica's customer service in a recent housing modification of mine, thanks to Jean who's very accomodating. that smooth & sleek hugyfot might get more attention on the boat though...
  14. dappled light indeed, and very well balanced fill flash. awesome shots. what lens did you use?? I'm guessing the 17-55??
  15. First of all we're talking different classes of lenses here. 70-300mm, 80-400mm, 70-200mm + TC, 200-400mm are all wildly ranging lens/price classes. I have used the non-VR 70-300 and found it appauling, soft and full of CA. Especially at 300mm which is where you'll spend most of your time with wildlife. It may be better in the newer model, but for it's class, the 300mm end will always be crummy. I have owned an 80-400mm for a couple years and its the lens that got me started in wildlife photography and it's brilliant! The focusing is a little slow and noisy but only when initially finding the subject, after which it tracks quite nicely and have shot many birds in flight with it. Trust me, the 400mm end makes all the difference and it can be quite sharp. the next step up in price is the 70-200mm + 1.4x/2x TC's. This lens is amazingly sharp (noticably better than 80-400), but 200mm is nothing for wildilfe. With a 2x TC's you will lose light, focusing and sharpness beyond the 80-400mm. It is also a little bigger and heavier than the 80-400 especially with the TC's. I have not shot with the 200-400 but i'm sure its amazingly sharp and fast. Personally I now shoot with a 300mm f/2.8 AFS/VR + TC's and my 80-400's gathering dust (but I haven't the heart to sell it...). So, it really depends on what your budget is, if it's tight, get the 70-300mm, otherwise I'd get the 80-400mm and only reccomend a high end lens like the 200-400mm if you're really serious about wildlife and lugging that weight and price tag around. It will require a monopod to shoot, as does my 300mm. Cheers, Chris
  16. ohhh, come now... everyone wants that big shiny new hunk of magnesium alloy that just glitters in your eyes and yells "buy me, buy me, BUY ME!!" really, though, why would canon or nikon sell you a sensor upgrade when they can sell you a whole new camera! (perhaps housing manufacturers too...) They update cameras so quick becasue they CAN, because technology changes so fast now that they are constantly able to add new features and refine old ones. Its that competitive market that's hurtled digital cameras to the fantastic stage they are now at. I highly doubt anyone here thinks a new camera will magically make thier pictures better, it is an improved tool with which we can express our artistic discourse. It depends on your photographic needs... personallly I love my D200 and will continue to use it UW. I do, however, push that camera to its limits shooting a lot of wildlife (esp. birds) topside. Hence I will sell my backup D200 as I could really use the D300's improved AF, 8 FPS (w/ vertical grip) and 2 extra MP for cropping when shooting for a book printed at 350dpi. (we're not all photo 'hobbyists' - so alas not all money is thrown at it in vain). If aquatica then sells me a new housing back for a decent price, then YAY! Not that I need to jusitfy myself to anyone, just explaining why some D200 owners may be so eager to upgrade. It is true however, that the D300 doesn't seem to offer drastic improvements for UW photography. Perhaps, however, we may see improved highlight rendition, better AF, better noise control etc. If one can sell a D200 for $1200 on ebay, pick up a D300 for $1800 and a new housing back at resonable cost, its not too bad to keep up to date with the latest and greatest professional UW camera gear! Just my own rant!! Cheers, Chris
  17. Tis a bit late, but I just saw this thread and thought I'd contribute. Here in Bermuda, we were at the edge of the eclipse and were only slated to get totality for 10 or 15 mins before the moon set and the sun rose at dawn. Unfortunately the moon dissapeared behind the clouds just before totality!! So frustrating for getting up at 4am but oh well.... The paper still gave it a big front page spread, so i'm happy. The images were taken with my D200 and 300mm f/2.8 + 2x TC (bloody lens & 2 TCs cost as much as my whole UW rig - but it rocks!) Cheers, Chris
  18. which platform are you using, mac or pc? Do you want something to simply spice clips together, or harness some real creative control over your videos (= more $$, more time, much more complexity). Video editing is not easy and takes quite some time to get comfortable with. I hate it and gave it up a few years ago. Anywyas, my recommendations are: for a PC, a common favorite is Adobe Premier Pro, or the cheaper "Elements" version if you wanna keep it simple. for a mac, the primary program is Final Cut Pro, or again the cheaper "Express" version. (imovie also works ok for real simple editing) Have fun and remember that patience - LOTS of patience - is key. Cheers, Chris
  19. In that last pic the D300 lens mouting flange seemes off center with the nexus port opening. this could simply be the angle of the photo, but can you confirm if it was centered or not?? otherwise it looks good and i'm hoping aquatica will make a modified back as I already have my D300 preordered!! ... and that 14-24mm is a beast - yikes!!!
  20. hi chuckaloopa, It sounds like a housed dslr is not for you. They are a TON of work, both in and out of the water! Unfortunately they are a necessity if you want high-end professional results - primarily from shutter response, full exposure control and dedicated quality optics. Otherwise, you seem to be on the right track moving towards a high end digicam. I hear good things about olympus digicams, and olympus themselves make wonderfully compact housings even with strobe connections i believe. Shutter lag is always been the bane of P&S digicams but I believe they're getting better, but not like a dslr. I have no experience wtih recent models. Its always gonna be a trade-off but digicams can still take excellent pics UW, within the limits of the camera system. I would suggest a digicam with a form fitting housing (like olympus), wide angle add on lens option, strobe ports and a good macro feature. These can be much more compact than your D200. Check the P&S forum for more info. Never let camera gear get in the way of taking pictures and having fun!! Cheers, Chris
  21. nice image. I do think the layout would work better if the cameras were aligned at the base instead of the hot shoe. looks like the d300 hot shoe is a little higher but otherwise the dimensions look quite similar (except of course for the offset rear layout). lets hope it'll fit d200 housings with a new back. fingers crossed.......
  22. I have given up on my 12-24 UW - I find it a little too soft. I've complimented my 10.5 with a sigma 15mm FE which is sharp with super close focus. Its designed for 35mm, so the distortion is minimal and not noticable UW. You should not need any extensions or zoom rings either. People also rave about the tokina 10-17 but I have not tried it. The 17-55 is nice but not really a wide zoom when taken UW.
  23. Ikelite makes excellent housings but they are big, heavy and bulky. I think one of the aluminum form fitting housings (like my aquatica) would be much more streamlined. Some of the pricier brands, like subal, are even lighter but not much. The other option is an ewa marine "plastic bag" housing. I have never used one but i believe they make ones for digital slrs that can go to 150ft. Cheers, Chris
  24. Sandisk Extreme, Extreme II, III & IV's 2GB & 4GB models and no problems whatsoever. The only card I ever had problems with was a 1GB IBM Microdrive and I don't think they make those anymore.
  25. Indeed we do... A quick look through David Doubilet's book Water Light Time reveals a number of images with heaps of backscatter, and they have plenty of personality, they work. There are other photos that are squeaky clean and appear to have made a quick layover in photoshop... I could be wrong though, that man is increadibly talented with his strobes (and camera)... As for the above photo: I like the backscatter, composition, and even the downward angle. however the complex and fascinating behavior shown doesn't quite come across with the birds eye view on the sunfish. I think there is much more emotion in the second photo on your flickr sight, it tells the story better. An increadible dive i'm sure! Cheers, Chris
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