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Everything posted by Undertow

  1. Yes, checking for cleanliness first throughout is key. Otherwise: Did this happen when you made the switch from D7100 to D500? The lens is notorious for 'hunting' UW due to the low light/contrast conditions and the fast speed of its AF motor. Could it be focusing faster on the D500 and therefore hunting more if it can't find focus? When it was first introduced many preferred the older screw-drive 105mm as its slower AF actually helped people to 'stop' the AF close (let go of the button if the camera couldn't lock focus) and 'rock for precision' as you say. The newer lens focuses so fast its hard to do the same. Chris
  2. Ummmm.... I shoot the D810 in an Aquatica and do indeed use my 24-70mm UW (though its been a while). Aquatica offers an extension ring and zoom gear for the lens. Good for sharks. Does Nauticam somehow not support the lens?? I'm not sure what you mean by "lens selection is very limited" - Nikon/Canon SLR's have great lens selections....
  3. Stick with the D810. Period. I would agree the D500 makes more sense for UW if buying new. However I disagree with Adam that AF is so important UW. The D810's AF is fantastic (its my housed camera) and while I haven't used the D850 (I have used the D500), I consider AF as quite unimportant UW. I shoot more topside than UW and pushed the AF limits of many cameras in challenging situations over the years, but UW is not one of them. That being said, the D810's AF is improved over my old D700 UW with the 105mm - I use my focus light less which is great for shy subjects. That did impress me. I wouldn't expect to see any significant difference with the D500/850 UW. Topside action would be a different story. The D810 was a huge leap over the D800, much closer to the D850 overall, despite what the spec sheets say. I'm glad I made the D800-810 upgrade, but have no desire for the D850. Chris
  4. I've been through many bags and my current favorite (just been to Indonesia and back) is the Lowepro Whistler (larger one). Its shape is unique. Camera compartment is deep enough to hold my Aquatica D810 housing. My 9.5" dome goes in the outer expandable clothing pocket. Its fairly narrow so fits in tight overhead spaces, using the vertical space instead of horizontal. I've fit it when people with much smaller rollers have to go back and gate check. Bonus is that the camera compartment can be removed if going on a flight with small overheads (done that too). Of course you have to deal with carrying all the weight, but I find airlines don't usually bother questioning & weighing backpacks like they do rollers. I also have a Thinktank Airport Security which is a great bag, but just too much for tight carry-on rules these days. That served as my 2nd checked bag on my latest trip, carrying strobes, arms, torches, tools, chargers etc. Also a Peak Design Messenger as 'personal item' which handles one body and a couple lenses. Overall worked well managing a ton of UW and topside camera kit.
  5. Skipping through this thread a bit... but will say my D810's AF with the 105mm macro is mind blowing compared to even my previous D700. Don't need a focus light for 90% of situations whereas absolutely needed it for most things with older cameras. No mirrorless camera could remotely hope to compete with that. No firmware updates are going to magically bring sensor-AF up to par with a modern dedicated AF module. Not anytime soon at least, no matter how good some people claim it to be. Perhaps under 'ideal' circumstances but UW shooting is far from that.
  6. Haven't read through this whole thread, but would suggest the Lowepro Whistler backpack (the bigger size). The shape of the bag is unique, quite 'deep' (how far it sticks off your back) especially using the outer pocket expansion. This means it can fit straight into most overhead bins, using the full vertical space in the bin instead of the horizontal space. I've fit it when people with smaller sized rollers have to take them back off the plane to be gate checked. Also agree backpacks get weighed less. Just traveled to Indonesia and back, never got weighed once (it was about 40-50lbs). Even used the outer pocket (kind of a clothing pocket) for my 9.5" dome + clothes, always a challenge to pack. One extra bonus is that the camera compartment can be removed (had to do so once with a small plane). That box is also a size that fits nicely in most normal carry on roller bags, seen that done too. Amazed to see pics of people packing their housings with the handles still attached - to me an utter waste of valuable space. Unless you can't detach the handles from some housings???
  7. Lots of people suggest things online they haven't actually tried. If you find less backscatter without diffusers, then go without! Makes sense to me. They're certainly not required with a circular flashtube strobe like the ikelites. Narrower beams are definitely better in murky water, I'd say as narrow as possible while still covering the area you want. The idea is to get light onto your subject but not the water between the lens and subject.
  8. Super easy. Just cut and flame polish the ends (hold a lighter to it briefly!) What's the coiled cable you've found? I've been using straight cables for a while, tried coiling one once with boiling water and it lost too much light transmission.
  9. As Chris says, get an extension closest to the length of the TC for dome port use. For macro, you only need an extension if it doesn't fit already (no need to balance the optics as with a dome port). Ideally you want the front of the lens as close to the flat port as possible.
  10. As others say, the Inon Z-240 has been an UW workhorse for many years and I hear good things about the newer Z-330. That said I chose to go with Retra - have one of the previous models and a preorder in for the newer model. So far its been fantastic, great light quality, ease of use etc. The ikelite ds160/161 etc produce lovely light but they (like some other strobes) are very big and bulky and I find the controls very awkward to use UW. Cheers, Chris
  11. That's a broad question as there are plenty of options. However, it is common knowledge that TTL metering is virtually worthless for wide angle shooting UW. A camera's brain is not tuned to the way light works UW. People do have success with close up macro images using TTL. Great images, but for that type of work I'd expect to use manual strobe settings.
  12. I'm happy you've even asked the question as all-too-often these days people don't think twice about manipulating the reality of their images. The lines have become so blurred. There's no easy answer, especially if your preferred outlet won't publish pictures with trash. I always err on the side of reality, journalism quality. But often we do want 'clean' images. Sometimes that means collecting trash before shooting a photo!
  13. There were a couple threads about this a few years ago. I've used multiple king size bed sheets sewn together. Need lots of weight to hold it down. Much more than you think.
  14. Housings are generally compatible with the whole range of strobes on the market. Yes the z240 should work. If electronic sync (vs optical) then you would need the appropriate cable as it uses a different connector from the ikelite strobes. While Ikelite strobes are lovely, they're also big and bulky and the controls are hard to grip UW. I honestly found them quite frustrating. I think the best bet to figure the options in a specific case is to call one of the dedicated UW photo stores. They're all generally very helpful.
  15. I'm a bit confused as to your question as you're talking diving vs not diving options. These are different pursuits entirely. Unless this is just a post to advertise the Fifish, which I believe would be against forum rules. To answer your question, no it's definitely not a good tool for UW photography. Even the official promo material is uninspiring, video footage very shaky. Looks like an overpriced toy.
  16. Diving is generally presented as fairly easy and safe. In a way it is both. But people often forget that you're completely dependent on both your equipment and skills to survive. If either of those fail, you can die very quickly and easily. Photography, especially with a big heavy SLR rig, adds a serious level of complexity to diving in multiple ways.
  17. I'd urge you to seriously reconsider starting UW photography as a beginner diver. You need excellent dive skills to even have a hope of safely pursuing photography UW. Its surprisingly difficult compared to shooting on land. Please spend some time diving first before trying to shoot photos. I cannot stress this enough. That being said, there's also a huge difference between shooting with an big heavy SLR rig and a small point-n-shoot camera. SLR rigs are very awkward to handle in the water - all it would do as a beginner diver is to make diving much more frustrating and dangerous to you and your buddies. Cheers, Chris
  18. Sharp wire cutters. Just flame polish the end after. Super easy.
  19. I mean open ocean images - where you're shooting into the endless blue. I've seen some weird things happen, especially in post processing trying to add contrast. Yes generally from a shallow depth as I do most of this stuff freediving.
  20. I shoot a lot, including tons of blue water whale images and I've never seen a reflection like that. Reflections come from sunlight hitting the front of the lens and reflecting in the dome port. You only ever see a section of the lens, not an entire circle. You'd have to shoot with the sun dead center in the frame for that to be possible. I'd agree with troporobo - my best guess is post processing artifacts. It happens with blue water images quite easily.
  21. Sensor-based AF can't compare to a dedicated AF module (requiring a mirror). It's certainly come a long way but still a far cry for the foreseeable future. I guarantee you Sony won't suddenly revolutionize sensor AF later this year.
  22. Here's a quick snap. This isn't the ideal way to rig it for this purpose, but since I switched to optical sync I've taken to mostly carrying my strobes separate, including on my weight belt until I'm in the water. This carabiner position works best for that. Aquatica handles have a pass through hole in the center which is great for the loops. They also act as hand straps (much easier to shoot one handed) and points to mount a shoulder strap for carrying longer distances. Also shows the new vs old aquatica clamps. New ones (with red logo) are fantastic. Very smooth.
  23. I have the old (version 1) 11-16/2.8 and it was fantastic when i shot DX. Sounds like the 11-20mm is the newest version of this lens - its replaced the 11-16mm version 2. A quick search implies its just as sharp and with the longer zoom range it seems like a no-brainer. My guess is that the 11-16mm is still for sale to clear out existing stock. My biggest issue with the 11-16mm was the short zoom range - it just felt like an 11mm lens with a little give. Now I shoot the Nikon 16-35mm on full frame and find the long end very useful at times. I am surprised your housing brand doesn't support the 11-20mm. I'd contact them or perhaps a dealer like Backscatter that may have figured this lens out. I would not compromise on the extension ring length. Alining lenses with domes properly is very important. Cheers, Chris
  24. Also very curious about prescription mask options too right now (though not bifocal). This definitely would have fit best in the old "Unrequited Gear Lust" forum category. I think its best here now, noting that the pinned "Fins for photographers" was moved to this category.
  25. It will always be a problem on land. Especially with heavy Ikelite strobes. I have small carabiners mounted near the strobes and a loop of line on the housing handles to hold the strobes in place while carrying on land. The quality of balls & clamps matters too. I recently got a couple of the new Aquatica clamps (with the red logo in the middle) and they're fantastic compared to my old ones. Gonna upgrade my whole system with those. But no balls/clamps will support the weight of strobes on land. It does help to fold the arms inward over the housing when transporting, getting in/out of the water, long swims or dealing with currents.
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