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andrew_73

Housing the Fuji S2

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Hey all..

 

Bought a 2nd hand S2 set up with a 1st Generation Ikelite housing. However, I've been told by more than 1 person that Ikelite isn't the best around. Would just like to get more insight from others(whether you use the S2 preferably or not) with regards to other housings like Subal, Aquatica, Seacam and Ikelite itself.

 

Many thanks!!

 

a

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Hi Andrew.

 

Chill out mate! :D

 

Of course there are heaps more housings available for your camera. But given that you've already got the Ikelite, why not try it out and see if there are things that YOU find limiting YOUR shots. Everyone is going to have a different preference on these things.

 

The Ikelite will keep the camera dry just as effectively as any other housing (provided you set it up correctly). There are a wide variety of ports available to suit just about any lens you might want to try. You can even use Aquatica's legendary 8" dome via an adaptor if you want to.

 

Subal, Aquatica, Seacam, Nexus and Hugy all make nice aluminium housings (not sure they all do an S2) with controls placed in slightly different configurations and with different viewfinder and port options available. However, I caution you listening to random remarks suggesting that you should dump your current housing in favour of another system without actually seeing what other features/function you might actually need/want.

 

Many people have taken superb photographs with the combination you are using and more often than not, the equipment behind the camera (ie., the photographer) is the ultimate determinant of photo quality.

 

Did you read James' review? http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/ikelite-s2-pro-housing/

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Hey,

 

thanks for the reply. Well, those guys telling me aren't exactly new but then again, they're into u/w photgraphy much more than me so perhaps they're more concerned about wear and tear over the long term. However, I seriously doubt I'll be really putting hours into my set-up!

 

In any case, you're right-it's the photographer that makes the shots count! Haha! Thanks!

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Andrew, just tell your friends that it's "clear aluminum" :D:D

 

Karl

 

go to My Webpage for some shots with Ikelite housings :D:D

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I have to agree with the "its the indian, not the arrow" comment made above. Yes, other makers offer some port choices that may be different or offer more flexibility than those offered for your Ikelite, but you can still make great photos with that rig. Learn to use the DSLR with what you picked up. You will be able to go many miles and then, when you want to improve your image quality, consider investing in a different camera system like the high end Canon or Nikon cameras that will have a superior sensor. When you do that, move to one of the ultra hip aluminum housings. For now, you have a really great setup. I used an S2 to learn and have used Ikelite housings with other camers. I found the Ike housing I owned to be great and super tough. One time, it fell off the roof of the van I had rented, and it did not break or leak. Now that is tough!

 

Like Karl says and demonstrates with his websites, you can take great photos with the Ike rig.

 

Hope this helps you feel more excited about your setup!

 

Mike

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I agree with the others that the housing isn't going to make much difference in the quality of your pictures, however there are some reasons you should look into upgrading your housing now.

 

#1, ports, port extensions, zoom gears, and focus gears are not cheap. If you are going ot change housings, you want to do it before you invest a lot of money into these items. Additionally, you can keep these items even when you change cameras/housings in the future, so there is a definite advantage to picking a housing manfuacturer and sticking with them.

 

#2, the biggest difference I have seen in as you go up in price for the housings is how well and how easily the controlls funcion. I started with an Ike and loved it, but sometimes you have to look through the housing and fiddle with the control knob to line it up with the switch on the camera and actuate that switch. I recently bought a used S2 and Aquatica housing and I can't believe how well all of the controlls function. If you line the camera up right when putting it in, all of the controlls just function... not having to screw around with them to get them to line up. Also, the shutter release has much more feel to it. I once saw a friend's Subal housing and couldn't believe how nice the controls on it were... they seemed just about as refined as the controls on the camera iteself... sweet!

 

#3, Chicks dig aluminum housings B)

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I used Ike housings for years. IMHO the only drawback to ike housings was the port system ( although it is not a major issue for most users). The internal diameter of the ports limits what lenses can be used. second is the system does not use extension rings to adjust the port length, therefore each lens needs a individual matching port.

 

In my case the port design limited my super macro capabailities, but I did manage to get to 5:1 using custom ports.

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I'm with Whatisea (above) who stressed that, with luck, your ports may be a lifetime investment that will see you through several generations of housings. Put another way, once you've invested in a couple of expensive ports, this becomes a very strong disencentive to switch to another housing manufacturer if/when you decide to upgrade to a new camera and housing down the line. Dome port optical quality and range (not all dome ports can handle ultra-wide (weitwinkel) fish-eyes) is a critical issue, and you need to decide whether to go with an acrylic dome (Ikelite) or glass, which is more expensive, and also much heavier. There are adherents of both around, and people have done excellent work with acrylic domes.

 

Viewfinder optics and positive reliable controls are also important. Ease in opening and closing the housing, ideally without having to remove strobe arms and other accessories, isn't quite as big a factor now as it was when there were only 36 shots on a roll of Velvia, but it's still important.

 

I've got a review of the Subal housing for the FS2 on the site. It's at...

 

Subal FS2 Review

 

For the record, I think most of what I wrote in that review of the Subal housing still stands - it's an excellent housing, and the big Subal dome is magic. But a couple of additional points:

 

One problem is with the housing mechanism to manipulate the rear control dial slipping slipping. This only manifested itself after a year, when the control dial wheel had become slightly worn and the mechanism a bit sticky. My jury rig fix was to add a small nylon bushing to increase tension on the spring that pushes the disk against the control wheel (this is not approved by Messrs. Stepanek & family, by the way) and by having the mechanism in the camera cleaned and lubricated (and the plastic control dial wheel itself replaced) when the camera was serviced.

 

A similar problem I have not been able to fix is the mechanism on top of the housing that controls the mode dial. I rarely want to change modes u/w, but this also makes it impossible to change ISO, which can be important.

 

The retrofit viewfinder optics Subal offers for some other models cannot be installed on the FS2 housing, which is a disadvantage as the camera viewfinder image is already quite small. I doubt that you will want to use manual focus much with the Fuji S2 camera in any housing.

 

Frogfish (Robert Delfs)

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Hi Robert

 

I missed you at DEMA.

 

I was in Raja Ampat immediately before that (with Max). Before that at KBR and Tasik Ria.

 

I went digital with a set of S2 Pro s. Only flooded one so far! Buying secondhand S2 s seems a good bet. Gosh, flooding a 12-24 makes your eyes water!

 

Got a Subal housing with the lousy viewfinder but trying to make a profit is fairly limiting on what I can buy. I like the way that the S2 works TTL with my existing flashguns though. Even though I shoot in RAW I rarely need to adjust the exposure post-shooting.

 

JB

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Hi John.

 

I'm sorry I couldn't make it this year, but I've been strapped to the computer this past ten days, recasting projections for visitor arrivals in Komodo Park over the next seven years in light of the 2nd bombing incident on 1 October. There are alternate scenarios, but my best guess right now is that this incident will not have as big an effect as the 2002 Bali bombing, which led to an 18% drop in visitor arrivals in the park 2003.

 

This is important because the World Bank - Global Environmental Fund financing that has just started to flow is partly keyed to hitting certain eco-tourism revenue targets each year. The plan is that visitors will start paying a conservation fee from 1 January 2006. I'll be posting more details - including how the conservation fees will be used - here (or rather somewhere else, not this forum) sometime in the next few weeks. Also the new code of conduct for divers (esp. u/w photographers) and guidelines for operators, which also go into effect in January.

 

I'm glad you're enjoying the S2 Pro and Subal housing, but sorry about your flood, especially with the 12-24 - that must have hurt. (How did this happen? I would have thought that back fasteners on all these newer Subal housings would be much harder to screw up than the older ones.) I had my S2 in the water at Nusa Penida Saturday, doing a test drive of Dr. Alex's Magic Filters and the 10.5 mm fisheye, the first time I've had the rig in the water in awhile.

 

Conclusion: the Magic Filter work wonderfully shooting horizontally within the depth range for which they're designed, but aren't so hot shooting upwards at wheeling mantas with a sunburst in the frame, not that the S2 is great at that sort of high contrast shot with or without a filter. I think I spun through every plausible combination of aperture and shutter speed, but nothing really worked. There was also a mola on the second dive. I missed it, but it didn't really matter as I still had the filter on the lens. The mola was at 30 m., so it never would have worked anyway.

 

The tiny S2 viewfinder image is probably this camera's biggest limitation u/w, IMHO. I've become used to relying 99% on autofocus, but am looking forward to the D2X and being able to use manual focus again once in a while. But I'm certainly going to miss standard TTL.

 

I'll be in Raja Empat in January, on Larry's boat.

 

Robert

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Hi Robert,

 

I found the dome port of the Subal S2 can easily be rotated by a deckhand as he pulls off the cover and hands it down to you. One new camera and lens later, I now always do this in the water!

 

By the way I got a macro lens now!!!

 

I hope to meet up with the owner of Larry's boat in London in November. He is in the Aussie wine business. My wife does not drink much. She spills most of it. Saw Larry. Nice boat. Hope they can make a profit!

 

Raja Empat is the next place to see a lot of liveaboards so enjoy it while you can.

 

The Swiss owner of Pindito invited me out there for next year so maybe we'll meet up.

 

JB

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I was in Raja Ampat immediately before that (with Max). Before that at KBR and Tasik Ria.

 

 

JB

 

 

Gibbs? Damn, he is far too polite and humble to be hanging out with the likes of you! But a very nice guy to say the least.

 

Another week in the US for you? Oooo i can just imagine the sarcasm floating over the heads of those poor people...

 

 

I'm also looking at chartering Larry's boat for next year, was thinking late in the year but who knows...

 

Think we have gotten this thread far enough off topic now?

Robert, have a look at my Magic Filter review on the wetpixel homepage for some more insights on the flexibility of it.

 

 

Back to your regularly scheduled program...;)

 

MIke

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Trust me, JB has learned to lower the level and sophistication of his sarcasm when dealing with us hick 'Murricans, so there's never any real danger of it floating over our heads. I'd assumed that John meant Max Ammer (sp?), not Gibbs, but if the latter, then I'm very sorry that I missed both of you. What does it take to get you guys to stop over in Bali for a few days?

 

To wend back to the topic of - if not exactly S2 Pro housings, then of Subal ports (and John's unfortunate flood....

 

John: You probably already know this and/or it may not be relevant, but I believe Subal changed their port O-ring specification a few years ago. If I'm not mistaken, the newer ports have slightly bigger grooves and take a slightly thicker o-ring. I still had a couple of old rings for my older port. I once got one of the older rings on the newer dome port by mistake. They look almost the same, but it was readily apparent that the port was way too easy to turn. Just a thought.

 

Also semi-on topic, I lost the neoprene Beanie cap that Subal makes for my dome port last year. It seemed good for reducing the risk of scratches in a RIB crowded with other cameras with flailing strobe arms, dive equipment, people swinging their weight belts to put them on, etc. There's a guy here in Bali who makes wetsuits - his main business is leather. I asked him if he could make new covers for my ports - I never even had one for the 105, but flat ports scratch too. The one he made for the domeport is fantastic, with a perfectly-shaped hard rubber piece cradling the glass. The price was very reasonable, and now he has the measurements. The flat port cover is also fine, also has a thick hard rubber disk in front of the glass (it's otherwise like a big neoprene beer can holder), and was simpler to make. He's also made me some nice smaller side side pockets to go on the waist band of a harness - the one Halcyon makes is too big, IMV. Anyone interested, let me know.

 

Raja Empat is magic, I'm very excited to be going back.

 

Mike: I'll check the magic filter review, thanks.

 

Robert

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(1) Max Ammer.

(2) I am aware of the O-ring spec. of Subal housings. Mine has the latest but I do have an old macro port with the smaller O-ring. Nevertheless it is easy to twist the dome/spacer off (in air) if you are not careful.

(3) I used the proper dome cover from my Nexus or Sea & Sea port. That Subal one is only good for the Synagogue.

(4) Mike, I met up with Paul and Karen at DEMA. They are setting business up in Tonga.

 

What was this thread about?

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Thanks for all the insight, guys. Much appreciated.

 

Btw, John, thread was started for info on housing the Fuji S2! ;)

 

cheers!

 

andrew

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