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Undertow

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Everything posted by Undertow

  1. Are you talking about the whole housing or just the monitor here? Are you using it detached from the housing?? Great report, thanks.
  2. Aquatica themselves make an adapter for S&S ports and I doubt they would if it was a bad idea. Of course Aquatica ports would be best. Macro ports are simple. Using an adapter with the S&S macro port shouldn't be an issue. Domes are more challenging. Depends on your dome and lens - the concern being that the lens is lined up correctly in the dome with the adapter. I figure it would change the required extension ring length. You should email Aquatica or a dealer like Backscatter to figure those details. They're very helpful. But sometimes selling an entire housing package could be best. Whoever might want your 1DsMkIII housing may also want ports. If money isn't a huge issue, I'd say just go with Aquatica ports. That way everything will gel perfectly together. Aquatica's Megadome is awesome, especially if you want to use a rectilinear (non-fisheye) wide angle. Cheers, Chris
  3. Well I haven't read through this thread, perhaps this has all been said but... D500 1. Smaller, which translates to significant size/weight reduction in housings. Its under-appreciated but very important - it will handle better in and out of the water. 2. 10fps would come in very handy in some shooting situations - I wish I had that. 3. In a certain sense it has better magnification/DOF for macro - though one can crop a D850 file to nearly D500 dimensions, but it would change your shooting style. 4. Its much cheaper, as are some housings. 5. Rectilinear super wide lenses will perform better behind the same size dome. Soft corners are a real challenge. 6. If you prefer fisheyes, the Tokina 10-17mm is a DX gem that has no FX equivalent (perhaps the new 8-15mm + kenko TC). 7. It really is right up there in quality - I've shot it alongside my D810 topside and its brilliant, the price difference does not reflect an overall image quality difference. Better value for money. Why I'd personally go D850: 1. I want the highest resolution possible - I've had my images blown up to full wall size (7+ meters across) for up-close viewing. Every pixel matters then. But honestly the 12mp from my old D700 is plenty of resolution for 99% of things. 2. I'm set with my full frame lens lineup. I'd have to buy new lenses (superwide zoom, 40mm macro as I love the 60mm view on FX). 3. Marginal edge in dynamic range (0.8 stop by DXO's measurements). It means nothing for 99.99% of people and situations, but I often push my camera's boundaries. I've managed some impressive high contrast shots with the D810, but I shoot some weird stuff. 4. I do love my 16-35mm on the D810 - its my go-to lens (but only behind Aquatica's 9.25" megadome). Perhaps the 10-24mm or some other lens on a D500 would perform as well or better but I don't really know (yes I'm sort-of contradicting #5 above... with a smaller dome D500 would win) 5. I shoot topside more than UW and would prefer the D850 there. Mirrorless: 1. Hugely smaller & lighter. World of difference. 2. Come such a long way, with the right setup (quality body & lenses) most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference from a DSLR. 3. I generally tell people today that unless they know they want an SLR, if you have to ask yourself the question, just go mirrorless. Hope that helps. Cheers, Chris Edit: Oh and just looked at some of your work. Awesome stuff. I see you shoot some action sports too - I'd go for the D500 hands down for that.
  4. Seriously, I do think the D500 is a better camera for UW for a couple reasons. I'd still go for the D850 myself for certain reasons. Currently shooting D810 UW and love it. If you're stuck with an extra D850 and nothing to do with it, I'd be happy to help you out there!
  5. Been very happy with Aquatica. Started with a D200 in 2006, then D700, now D810. They've been progressively better and better. The D200 housing had 'quirks' but my D810 housing is amazing, its a different animal. In 2006 I wouldn't have put them on par with, say, Subal (Nauticam didn't exist then) but now they absolutely are. You can't really go wrong with any of them. Do consider servicing locations/costs. I can say the Aquatica's are built like tanks. I don't baby my gear, I shoot a lot and often on short notice, throwing gear together and rushing around etc... my rig does take a beating at times and handles it very well.
  6. Can't comment specifically on camera, but most photos UW are made with super wide and macro lenses. Generally compact cameras don't have that ability on their own. You get wet-mount add on lenses for the housing. There's a 67mm thread standard and many wide/macro wet lenses on the market. Some compact cameras & housings handle these lenses better than others. Some wet lenses are much higher quality than others too. These would be the two most important factors to me. Browse these forums and I'm sure you'll get an impression of what many use. But I'd really suggest contacting and UW camera retail store as generally they are very passionate and helpful people. Cheers, Chris
  7. You need to consider how close to neutral the rig is to begin with. Its not simply an option of weight to the front or floatation to the back, could become very positive or negative. I add floatation to my viewfinder to balance a bit, though its not perfect. I may add a bit more and perhaps some small fishing weights to my dome. Gluing to the shade may be a viable option, or drill holes and screw them on. But try to avoid anything to shiny on the inside of the shade as it could cause glare/reflections. The rig's trim will also change in various configurations. Dome vs macro port. Strobes or no strobes. Other accessories etc. Many people buy floats for their strobe arms to help balance the rig. You may find the opposite with a macro setup, which can often be nose heavy. Companies sell float collars for this. Cheers, Chris
  8. No idea but heard Tamron's have poor quality control vs other brands (some might be soft). Worth checking with your housing manufacturer if they've tested the lens and figured the proper size dome extension ring. Otherwise doing the measurements yourself for an extension would be challenging. Lenses need to be carefully aligned with domes. If it has a built in hood, it may not fit in a dome. Though all rectilinear super-wide lenses really should be used with large 9"/230mm domes. Also, as we've seen with Nikon's 14-24mm vs 16-35mm, lenses considered 'better' above water may not be so underwater. Cheers, Chris
  9. I think you've misunderstood Mike and I. What we said has nothing to do with the strobe syncing with the camera (i.e. having too fast a shutter speed). This is basic exposure stuff. When using strobes, you're mixing 2 forms of light: 1. Strobe Light - strobe exposure determined by combination of strobe power and aperture 2. Ambient light from the sun - ambient exposure determined by combination of shutter speed and aperture In your excellent images, kdgonzalez, if you erased the strobe light (if your strobe didn't fire), they would be very dark, very underexposed. The eel image would likely be black. That means you have a dark ambient exposure. The issue with the original poster's images was that the ambient exposure was way too bright to begin with. There's no room for disagreement here, this is 100% true.
  10. So I think I can claim tentative success with this after some research and choosing Mothers Chrome Polish. 3 x 15min applications later and all of this etched blotchiness is finally gone. Did put some proper effort into this, scrubbing quite vigorously. I've had this dome (Aquatica Megadome) for about 10yrs and was pretty bad about giving it proper care. It would sit salty on the boat in the sun for hours on end on a regular basis. I never wiped it dry after rinsing etc. In the second photo, you can see the leftover blotchiness right by the hotspot. This is because I didn't scrub properly all the way to the tape (used to protect the o-ring). I might try another application to get a bit further down. The rest of the dome looks fantastic. However my secondary issue is the optical coating on the inside is wearing off (you can barely see as 'streaks' just to the left of the visible blotchiness). So I have to decide if I do an application on the inside to clear it. Not sure its necessary though. Cheers, Chris
  11. Mike is right. This is the second time recently I've seen the same question asked and people keep talking about the strobe. (Yes you may find strobe positioning when over a bright bottom is something to work on but that's completely secondary to the main issue here.) Your ambient (non-strobe) exposure is way too bright.
  12. Recently flew out of LAX (Los Angeles) and TSA was telling everyone to take cameras out of their bags. When I asked about additional lenses they said to leave them in the bag. Didn't have strobes on me but got the impression I wouldn't need to remove them. Sounded like a camera-specific new thing. I also flew through Reno on the same trip and nothing about cameras.
  13. Good lighting & composition on all. I'll break with the trend and say the 3rd is my favorite. Thank I prefer the original background on the second.
  14. Neutrogena (with Helioplex) A former landlord of mine had skin cancer (fisherman) and was treated at one of the top hospitals in the US. The cancer docs there recommended that. Its not cheap but really good stuff. Also heard good things about Raw Elements, but no real info, could just be marketing hype. Regarding that comparison website you linked - I've not looked at it but do remember researching a few years ago and there were some major impartiality & distortion problems with some of the major sunscreen comparisons. Honestly can't recall exactly, but as with everything online, read with extreme skepticism and seek multiple sources. So much disinformation out there.
  15. I've had this same problem with my 9.25" glass dome. Imperfect care over many years. Doesn't seem too bad optically UW but tough to tell for sure. After some research I purchased some Mother's Chrome Polish. So far I've done one treatment and it does seem to have improved but will definitely need a few more applications. I taped off the base of the glass with blue painter's tape so the polish doesn't make contact with the dome's o-ring. Could tell the difference vs the sliver of taped glass after - the polish definitely helped, but there's still a ways to go. I'd read multiple suggestions online of using Mother's Mag & Aluminum Polish for optical glass, but saw a forum post by the company's CEO suggesting Chrome Polish as better. I may also try vinegar & CLR. We'll see. Cheers, Chris
  16. Doesn't actually look like redeye in that seahorse photo?? But if you want to adjust, either PS masking or radial filter in LR. Avoiding it means moving strobes further from the lens.
  17. Been off the DX wagon for a while but I'd consider these options: Nikon 12-24 Nikon 10-24 Tokina 11-16 Tokina 11-20 Tokina 12-28 Back when I shot a D200 I initially used the 12-24, then got the Tokina 11-16 and preferred it optically (though never really shot side-by-side) but missed the long end. The other options didn't exist but I'd consider them now. Not sure about performance comparisons though. Found Tokina to be the most reliable of the 3rd party companies. Sigma's are generally decent too. I shoot the 16-35 on the D810 and love it. The 35mm end comes in very handy at times, so glad I have it over a 24mm(16mmDX) long end. Cheers, Chris
  18. Yes, huge difference, depending on setup. I generally tell people today if you don't know you want an SLR, go mirrorless.
  19. Thanks Chris. I'll look into LR custom presets, no idea how those work. I do already have the TKActions luminosity masks, though don't find them too useful for over/unders. Prefer other methods. That aspect of editing I'm quite comfortable with, but thanks for the suggestion. Definitely thinking more in the baseline RAW process realm, seeing if I can find a better starting point, closer to the camera generated jpeg which in this case is dramatically different from LR's preview. Will certainly try Capture 1 with the free trial. Cheers.
  20. Hi guys, So I've seen this 'issue' for years but never addressed it. I work via Lightroom and have a massive catalog, so no plans to switch, but want to try an alternate RAW converter for certain images. Basics: So we know that your camera, LR, other software etc each create their own previews of RAW data in order to actually show you the image. These previews are different between platforms. I'm sure many have noticed that when LR imports an image, that image can suddenly 'change' as LR creates its own preview (color/contrast etc). Though I'm not sure how the original preview - what you see in import window - is generated (from the camera?). Usually this change is minor and insignificant. Issue: I've noticed with pelagic blue water images (especially recent ones of humpbacks in less than perfect vis) that change can be rather dramatic, becoming more 'muddy', darker, less base contrast etc than in the import window or in-camera. For an image that may already be a bit underexposed and low contrast, its painful to see. Of course I can edit them till my heart's content and I'm very proficient at doing so, often combining RAW conversion with Topaz/Nik filters in PS to get the image where I'd like. All good there, though advanced tips always welcome. But at times it feels like a poor starting point, hard to describe. So I'm thinking to try some other RAW converters and see how they come out. Anyone with any experience regarding this? Any suggestions for alternate RAW converters?? Cheers, Chris .......well I feel I should try and illustrate, but its tough to show. Here is camera vs computer, but I know screens never look the same, camera lcd's are bright. Still its quite dramatic on this humpback over/under. Highlighted image on top right (darkest) is original unprocessed RAW, exact same as image seen on camera. Far left has some basic adjustments, including +1 stop exposure which gets it to the similar exposure as it looks in camera. Problem is - for this type of image - you dramatically lose exposure latitude past about +1 stop. Contrast too, the whale pops nicely in camera, blends into water in LR. I know how to work with it, but it feels like I'm starting with a disadvantage.
  21. Think Tank Airport Security v2: Definitely a 'max' size bag, fits a ton a stuff, and I've flown successfully with it all but once. Cathay Pacific got me with a weight limit of the bag empty! So I carried gear on my person (photo vest stuffed full, sling camera) and swapped housing to my gf's carry on etc. Took the bag on the plane almost empty. I do find the sides like to bow out so I have a pair of straps I wrap around it between check in and boarding so it doesn't look too big. Lowepro Whistler 450: Just got this free, great Lowepro warranty, and agree with Aotus that it's heavy but carries well. Gear capacity is maybe 2/3 of the Think Tank roller + has outer compartment too. While no laptop slot, my 15" fits perfect in that outer 'wet' compartment, but I'd remove it before laying a loaded bag down to access gear. Works while flying though with a small laptop bag packed in my suitcase. Its surprisingly narrow but its designed to carry skis etc on the sides. But that meant, when boarding late, I fit it fully loaded into a tiny overhead space last flight while people with much smaller rollers were lugging them back to the jetway to gate check on the full flight. Massive win. Bonus: The camera box can be removed. Next non-photo trip I may use it as a normal bag. I've also seen someone put the box into a normal small roller, converting it to a camera roller for travel. Kata CC-195: Seems this no longer exists and Kata's been absorbed by Manfrotto. Designed as a pro camcorder bag, its shape is brilliant with a square cross section, and fits a 9" dome standing up as well as my laptop (in a padded sleeve) laying on top of the dividers holding the housing/strobes etc. Just wish it was a roller, would be my go-to for travel with the dome. I also have 2 old Pelicans (I think 1550) that I don't travel with but are great for the boat here, where I do most of my diving/photo. Wish they were rollers though. Seriously would consider the 1510 or 1535Air. Personal item is either Lowpro Flipside 300 (older version) or Photo Sport 200. The flipside is my go-to daily small camera bag (handles an slr + pro lens trinity very well). The Photo Sport is great for mirrorless gear or a subset of dslr gear. Fully expanded it can carry a ton of stuff, even my 15" laptop, yet it can be cinched down super small for activities like skiing. Cheers, Chris Edit: Just thinking about this. Of the 3 bags I described, all can fit straight-in into an overhead bin, but the Think Tank (and rollers in general) are wide, taking up a lot of space across the bin while leaving a big gap between the top of the bag and the top of the bin. The CC-195 and Whistler both have rather square cross sections utilizing the space all the way to the top of the overhead bin and much less width across the bin. This can easily be the difference between having to gate check or not on a full flight.
  22. All the major high end brands seem to make excellent quality housings. Consider not only the housings, but the extras like ports, extension rings, zoom gears, viewfinders. Also they need to be sent somewhere for service from time to time and its not cheap. Personally I chose Aquatica many years ago partly as they seemed the most reasonable cost-wise of the high end housings. Been very happy with them, they're built like a tank. They've improved dramatically over the years and my latest D810 housing has absolutely brilliant ergonomics, beyond what I ever expected from a housing. I wouldn't be too fussed about a top window - my old housings had them but I found it very hard to actually see the LCD, like peering into a cave from outside. I'm happy its gone on my D810 housing as the space is used for more ergonomic top controls. Now its all about using the "Info" button and viewing shooting info on the rear LCD. Much better.
  23. The Nikon TC will not fit. Not only it does have a protruding front element, but it's 'keyed' so that it will only mount on tele primes (incl 105mm macro) & 70-200mm. It is optically far superior to the Kenko and is probably 1.5-2x the size with much more glass inside. I own both but the Kenko's out on loan so I can't do a comparison photo. The Kenko can be used on any lens though.
  24. Congrats on your purchase. A new camera is always exciting. You can definitely use a big dome with fisheyes, in fact for any wide angle bigger is virtually always better optically. Big domes however are cumbersome and heavy. Smaller domes are easier to carry and work with, especially for CFWA (close focus wide angle) where a big dome interferes with the ability to light a close subject properly. Swimming with a 9" dome is challenging, much more so than a macro port. Its a lot to push through the water. Fin choice and dive skills become very important. Regarding specific domes for a fisheye, I can't say. Best to consult the housing manufacturer or UW camera shop or search through these forums. Cheers, Chris
  25. There's been a couple threads recently about best wide lenses for D850. Granted some people believe the 'extra' resolution seems to change the game on what wide lenses are appropriate, which to me is a bit silly. We've had some debate on the topic. Granted I don't do tests, I just shoot a lot, currently the D810 UW (website link below). Definitely the 16-35mm over the 14-24mm (its usable but people struggle with it), but you need to pair it with a large dome, at least 8"/200mm but preferably 9"/230mm+, and shoot it carefully as soft corners can be a real issue with non-fisheye lenses UW. The simplest option is to use a fisheye as they do perform better optically UW and can be used with smaller domes. I believe the best option is the Nikon 8-15mm or alternatively the Sigma 15mm (the Nikon 16mm is sharper but has poor close focusing and generally not used). There is another interesting new option, the Nauticam WACP. Its a port built as an optical lens and is paired with a midrange zoom (I think 28-70mm lens) but offers a superwide angle of view with fantastic optical performance. Search these forums or call a knowledgable UW photo store like Backscatter, Reef Photo, Bluewater Photo etc. They are generally very helpful. Again I'd reiterate that mirrorless cameras are serious contenders and the UW rigs are far easier to handle. Also I'd consider the D500, its an amazing camera. I've shot it alongside my D810 and its absolutely in the same league. There have been recent threads about D850 vs D500 for UW. Cheers, Chris
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