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Everything posted by Undertow

  1. Hi all, I am starting to shoot for a book (both UW and above) and the design company says that the high quality book printing needs to be at 350dpi. Any less would result in unsatisfactory print quality, so they say. That limits full res images from my D200 to approx 7.5 x 11 inches. That's scary since i'd like to do full page & double page spreads etc. And many of my above water action shots (birds etc.) must be cropped even smaller. This also suprises me as in other threads, people say that make huge prints 3-4 meters across from these cameras. I shoot all raw now, but have some older jpegs. Both files are 10mp, but obviously jpegs sacrifice quality. Is there a way to quantify this quality loss since both are theoretically the same resolution? Does anyone have any experience with printing a high quality photo book from a D200 or close to 10mp digital slr? Can anyone support or refute this 350dpi requirement? I forget the exact name of the printing process though. I appreciate any input. Cheers, Chris
  2. bill makes a good point. to shoot the same subject, you will need to be further away with a 105mm vs a 50mm. In clear water this isn't so bad, but in poor vis, that extra distance means more particles between the camera and subject. However, shooting at 1:1 with a 50mm lens requires practially focusing on the front of the port, which will often scare critters away and be very difficult to light properly. If you're looking to shoot stuff close to 1:1, a 105mm lens gives a reasonable working distance. plus you can add a diopter to easily go beyond 1:1, which isn't feasible with a 50mm. Chris
  3. Hi Gery, If you want the 'best' lens, get the nikon. AFS, VR, internal focusing, a 9 blade aperture diaphram (smooth out-of-focus areas) and nikon glass make it the best option by far. If money is more important, the nikon 105mm VR is quite a bit more $$. I'd look for a used non-vr nikon 105mm, and i'm sure there are plenty available (at the same $$ or less then the sigma or tamron) from people upgrading to the new 105mm VR. Personally I am snotty about my nikon lenses vs 3rd party. Others love their sigmas, tokinas etc. Every time i try a 3rd party the optical differences are immediately visible. I think the reason to by a sigma or tamron is either because money is a major issue or if they offer a truely unique lens (like the tokina 10-17mm FE or the sigma 15mm with super close focus.) Always check your housing manufacturer to see what you need to house each one first. The 105mm VR is fat and i'm not sure if all housings can take it. hope this helps. Cheers, Chris
  4. hi larry, i doubt many people have. i hear the 18-135 changes length quite a bit over the zoom range. this presents a problem with u/w dome ports. The port will have to be pushed so far out from the housing to fit the lens length at the 135mm end that when at 18mm, the port will be too far out to optically mesh with the lens. i don't know for sure that the lens length changes too much, but i don't think superzooms are very applicable underwater in general. Also, if you haven't already bought it, I would get the 18-200mm VR as an all purpose topside (not UW) lens over the 18-135mm non-vr any day for just a little more $$. Cheers, Chris
  5. Hi Rob, Nikon's page for the 105mm afs vr micro says that autofocus is not possible with the nikon teleconverters, though i'm not sure why: http://www.nikonusa.com/template.php?cat=1...;productNr=2160 (click on "Tech Specs") The nikon converters are designed to work with only a short range of lenses, primarily nikon super teles, and won't function with others. The kenko, though i'm sure not to the optical standard of nikon, will work with any lens, including all autofocus and vr. I've used my kenko 1.4x with full AF & VR functionality on the: 70-200 afs vr, 80-400 vr, 300mm vr, 105mm non-vr and the 10.5mm. The kenko is very nice and I'd get it solely for compatibility & af with any lens. Cheers, Chris
  6. To each his own i guess. hehe. I hear your point about potentially dragging dust particles. To prevent that senario, start at the beginning of the sensor with the swab at an angle as described above, and sweep so that by the end of the sensor, the swab is straight up i.e. perpendicular to the sensor. This happens naturally due to the confined space your working with and means you never drag the exact same part of the swab along the sensor. I must admit, the thought of blowing compressed air onto the sensor give me goosebumps. Whatever works for you as long as it means less cleaning and more shooting!
  7. First of all, I would NEVER use compressed air to clean the sensor, you risk serious damage if any particles get blasted onto the sensor - like a sand blaster. Not sure if Wagsy was being sarcastic but that sounds ludicrous. I clean both my canon 1dmkii & nikon D200 sensors regularly and here's a couple tips: Always make sure to use the sensor cleaning or mirror up command on the camera, not the bulb setting to expose the sensor (with a fresh battery). I use Photographic Solutions swabs and solution (make sure to get the right type for your camera - my 1dmkii & d200 use different ones). i put 2 drops on each side of the swab, 1 per corner, 4 drops per whole swab. Get under good light, open the mirror, and wipe in a continuous motion from one side of the sensor to the other, using just enough pressure to keep the swab flush with the sensor. Also keep the swab at an angle relative to the sensor (not perpendicular - i.e. when mopping the floor, one keeps the mop angled while sweepeing, not straight up). the angle should be pulling the swab face, not pushing it. this puts the dirt on one side of the swab, so then reverse using the other side of the swab, to wipe back, covering any area not wiped on the first pass. (b/c the swab is slightly smaller than the width of the sensor). turn the camera off to close the mirror when done & i like to use the same swab for a quick swipe of the mirror. then throw it away hope this helps, Chris
  8. indeed a square sensor would be interesting but specialized. What would be better is if nikon came out with a modular sensor system camera, meaning you could choose one of, say, 4 sensors: a 1.5x 3:2, a FF, a 23.7mm square or maybe a fuji super ccd depending on your needs & budget, then upgrade (at a service center) to a different sensor (with new firmware) if your needs changed or new technologies came out. Of course, there may then be less demand for new cameras, which nikon are more than happy to sell you along with a new sensor. I don't pretend to know anything about the inner workings of dslr's if that would even be feasible, but I'll throw that out there while everyone's speculating. Chris
  9. As far as I'm concerned, this camera is for people that buy it with an 18-135 or 18-200, take some pics of their kids' football game then stick it on a shelf until they go on vacation where they stroll around dangling it off their neck taking the same pics one could take with a $300 p&s that fits in their pocket. *breath* They will set it on full automatic and never really appreciate what modern DSLRs can do. Unfortunately this seems to represent a growing share of the DSLR market. Anyone with any sense would save for a D80 over this camera any day. It has only 3 focus areas and only works with AFS lenses! No application in UW photography IMO. Nikon should instead be spending their time getting that D3 line out and maybe some new lenses! (ones that aren't consumer level variable aperture superzooms!) my "I'm feeling very cynical today" 2 cents Chris
  10. I too just bought a 17-55 and love it. Only on a couple dives on it, but topside a beautiful & super sharp lens. The flat port idea sounds promising, i'll have to try it out with my aquatica & extension ring for the 105mm. I'd love to see some more pics in the meantime. Cheers, Chris
  11. i'm skeptical about the application of the 8mm for underwater because it is a circular fisheye designed for full frame (35mm) cameras. This means that on film, it creates a 180 degree view *circle* in the middle of the frame. on a cropped sensor, i'm not sure if you'd get a full frame image but likely still get some vignetting. I'm not sure what camera you have, but i'd suggest if you have a full frame camera (film/ canon 5D) get the 15mm (canon, sigma) or 16mm (nikon) fisheye. If you have digital get the tokina 10-17 for canon, or 10.5mm for nikon. For the cameras, these lenses give you the widest view possible without vignetting, meaning they see a rectangular crop out of that 180 degree circle (so they see 180 degrees diagonally from corner to corner). I apologise if you know all this already, but personally i don't dig the circle images produced by the 8mm. they're kinda cool at first, but limited in application. hope this helps, Chris
  12. I would consider slinging it like a stage bottle. I have tried it once for fun and it worked well - albeit a little bulky under your left arm. One clip to the left shoulder dring and one to the left hip dring. I also used to clip my old video to both shoulder drings letting it sit over my chest but that rig was relatively small (but did it in cocos and it worked well). Just firmly attach 2 bolt snaps, one on each handle, and try different clip points before you go. I'm not sure exactly how james does it in his video, i'm scared to open such a large file with my connection. might make my computer explode. One major recommendation: take only 1 strobe on dives like alcyone & dirty rock - the reduced weight is a godsend and 2 strobes can be a nightmare in that kind of current. You also won't likely be doing reefscapes (if you are then you're lookign in the wrong direction!), usually only adding some fill light to all those cute litte critters like hammerheads & whalesharks, so 1 strobe is all you need. have fun, that place is like neverneverland. cheers, Chris
  13. No, you shouldn't need an extension. I believe the whole concept of this setup (and i may be wrong...) is to get the lens closer to the dome port because it can practically focus on the dome to begin with (i believe...). With the massive view of the 10.5, and without the TC, and with the space between the front of the lens and the dome, one can't make a smallish object too large in frame even if it's practially touching the dome. With the TC, the minimum focus distance (measured from the sensor) remains the same, but the front of the lens is closer to the dome and the field of view is smaller, which increases your reproduction ratio enabling you to shoot small stuff while retaining a super wide angle field of view. hence the oxymoronic term 'macro wideangle'. It does sound like to do this you need to get the dome dangerously close to the object/creature and I'm sure lighting that is a nightmare too. (someone correct me if i'm wrong...) Cheers, Chris
  14. Hi Jean, You are right, it is Bermuda. This is Chris Burville, we spoke on the phone the other day about the button issue on my housing and your upcomming trip here. I'd still like to hear what others use to shoot this magnificent creatures. Especially from people that have been places like the silver banks. Also if anyone's used colour correction (i.e. magic, ur pro) filters for shooting them. Cheers, Chris
  15. That is a great shot RAD and it certainly appeals to me, as it is a different pic, not the usual full body cuttlefish shot that those unfamiliar with the creature might need to see to know what it looks like. Your words also paint an exciting picture. Good stuff
  16. I'd like to know what people recommend for a nikon to shoot humpbacks. I figure the wide options would be the 10.5, 16, or 12-24? would the 10.5 be too wide & fishy?? i only have the 10.5 right now, with my busted 12-24 at nikon with no news as per the extent of damage. Was thinking of getting the 16. Suggestions? Also, has anyone used magic filters? I suspect they would work well for shooting level to downward with the sun, but would perhaps ruin any potential upward silhouette shots?? Cheers, Chris here's a couple from last year before i got my housing. All D200 + 80-400VR (my favorite lens):
  17. I think you're right about my strobe angle. i didn't anticipate how extreme the side lighting would be, i did have the 2 strobes to the side pointing in, thinking the right one at 1/2 power would fill in the shadows, but i guess at these magnifications it is harder to fill in the gaps with side lighting. I'll try them next to the port parallel with the lens next time. Thanx for the tip. Also, i chose manual focus cause i've tried the 105mm + TC on land and auto focus never quite got it. I needed to set it manually and move the camera slightly to catch focus. perhaps i'll try it on autofocus next time. Do most people shoot super macro (at just over 1:1 these barely qualify...) in manual or auto focus or a combination?? Thanx for the tips - more criticism welcome, don't be bashful. Cheers, Chris
  18. what do u guys think about these pics - it was first try at semi-super macro yesterday. 105mm + 1.4x TC, not quite min focus. maybe a little more than 1:1 for the shrimp, and about 1:1 for the crab, i think. is there enough detail? these little shrimps seem hard to get crisp detail out of. i did sharpen both a bit already. is the shrimp just another bland 'everyone has it' sort of image? our shrimps aren't so colourful as elsewhere... Didn't even see the mollusk when i took the pic (at about 1:1, that thing is tiny). took one more about 10secs later and the mollusk was gone... Thoughts? I cant believe how hard it was just to find the things through the viewfinder. And I couldn't connect the auto/manual focus selector gear to the housing b/c of the TC, so all manual focus. gives me more appreciation for some of the popping supermacro i see on here. (don't worry about my feelings - tell me if [and why] they blow.) Cheers, Chris
  19. does anyone know where you can see a full gallery of all past winners since it started ('98?) , not just last years?? Cheers, Chris
  20. Here's a link to an old thread on pole cams: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showt...&hl=polecam I'm trying to put one together now myself. I like Vizarts post about half way down the first page suggesting a boat antenna holder that has a metal clamp/release to allow the connection to rotate. This way you can customise the angle of the camera relative to the pole securely. I fear a ball joint connection may not be stiff enough to hold the camera at an angle relative to the pole. Of course this is pure speculation. For the pole, i see people suggest telescoping pool skimmers, but i find those flimsy. I found this fantastic telescoping aluminum/plastic gardening pole thats solid & light and has a strong connection in the middle. The end is also reinforced with plastic on the inside. Its built with a mount on the end to attach different tools, like a do it all gardening system. Its made by a German company called Wolf Garten. I'm not sure what the metal pieces are made of in the latching mechanism connecting the two telescoping pieces. They may rust, but I haven't tried mine yet. Still need the antenna clamp thing to attach to the housing. Hope this helps, Cheers, Chris
  21. I don't find VR drains that much power. I've shot entire days of whales topside with an 80-400VR, filling a 2GB card with about 250 fine jpegs. Lots of reviewing & deleting whenever the whales were diving. The battery would get low by the end of the day. I do find the battery power to be a little weak, but nothing like you describe. Hope you figure it out. Cheers, Chris
  22. I have no experience with either lens but I think that optically, a Canon (or Nikon) f/2.8 prime will always crush a 3rd party variable aperture zoom. The restriction to a single focal length also forces you to think through your composition moreso than just zooming the lens to fit. You may miss a couple shots without the ability to zoom but the pics you do take will be better. I consistently find myself getting better pics with primes than zoooms. That said, a 10-17mm FE zoom is a unique, intruiging lens. I'd get the Canon FE first. But that's just me. Cheers, Chris
  23. AzonIc, you have a couple lovely compositions, especially dive 2 pics 1 & 2. The focus seems to be slightly off on some of them though - they just seem a little soft. Do you use AF-S or AF-C? If you use AF-S, the focus could be locking then a slight movement from you or the subject can throw the focus off a little. I also think you should shoot at a smaller aperture to increase the depth of field, I'd suggest at least f/22. Also, have you photoshopped these pics? I think they could use an "auto levels" at least. Also try taking out some midtones by dragging the middle slider to the right in "Levels" (though auto levels should do that). tis a very cool nudi. i think second dive pics 1 & 2 are the real keepers, superb shots. the others are a little soft and could use a little extra contrast. i like the lighting, but i'm no expert on the subject. I think you've got the right idea artisitcally, trying lots of different angles and compositions is key. I do think they need a just little care on the technical side though. I am still new to UW photography, so don't take my opinion as gospel, perhaps some of the pros can make some better suggestions. Cheers, Chris
  24. hey buzo, awesome shots - the natural light ambiance is gorgeous. I'm amazed to see you guys approach the gators so close. How do they react to people? I've only seen them from an airboat tour and was irking to get in the water with 'em. Dunno much about them though. Not sure how well a strobe would work with wide angle in the murkiness, but not much experiece with that. I think the ambient light looks fantastic - maybe even try a green water magic filter... Cheers, Chris
  25. Wow, that's a gorgeous shrimp, i will look carefully next time when i'm with the 10.5 then shove on the macro if i find... thanx for the suggestion. Chris
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