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Undertow

high frame rates - who uses them??

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Hi all,

 

In a recent D200 vs D80 discussion I said 5fps vs 3fps was vital for me to help "capture the moment" on my D200. Dr. Mustard disagreed with me arguing that setup and patience should be used to "capture the moment".

 

Now I don't want to compare portfolios with the good doctor, but I love my 5fps underwater and want to know what everyone else thinks. (topside stuff aside).

 

Ex 1. When I shoot macro, I set my 2 SB-105's to 1/4 and 1/16. I can get 2-3 frames at 5fps with the strobes firing depending on battery power. When little fishies are darting around or I'm bobbing around, getting 3 properly exposed frames instantly helps to catch focus or composition in one of them.

 

Ex 2. This weekend I was shooting someone freediving for lobsters (the industry is very well regulated here in Bermuda). At one point, I saw a nice silhouette pic as he snorkelled above me, but my strobes were turned on. Instead of taking to time to turn them off and missing the shot, I fired at 5fps and by the 3rd pic I had the silhouette.

Another spur of the moment shot I got when he peered into a cave and I suddenly needed only 1 strobe on 1/2 power and the second shot at 5fps had only that as my full power stobe had not recycled.

 

Perhaps this sounds like sloppy shooting to some. There's much merit for being prepared and patient 1 shot at a time. But in this digital age, I can't help but take advantage of the features these tools offer.

 

I'm still fairly new to UW shooting, but I find I could miss some pictures without the high frame rates. Especially topside as a photojournalist, but below as well.

 

Let me know what you think,

Cheers,

 

Chris

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That's an interesting solution to the problem of trying to turn your strobes down/off/away at a moment's notice. Lots of thinking to be done about this :P ...

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For most work i use the patience (with my subject) and faith (in my abilty) approach.

I try and work to the moment, and the following sum (even with a high frame-rate camera) gives interesting results:

 

1/500 th of a second exposure x 5 frames per second = 5/500 or 1/100 or 1 percent of the second actually recorded. That means 99 percent of that second isn't recorded, or in other words, was missed.

 

Having said that I still like to have a high frame rate camera myself, so I can be ready to go again asap. And I guess if I ever need it, its there. Also, when the manufacturers are pushing up the frame rate, hopefully that means you can expect a shorter shutter lag time too.

 

When they get high res cameras up to 36 fps, then maybe we can just film everything and pic a frame at leisure later. Not that i would find that much fun, and certainly not a challenge.

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When they get high res cameras up to 36 fps...

 

no real need! once you hit 30 frames it is video! :P

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If a technique works for you .... then use it!

 

One note of warning though, I would be wary of doing so in warm water with powerful flash guns as they may just overheat if fast recycling is required with a hefty power setting (which they may not be able to sustain for long anyway) even at lower frame rates.

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This image would have been impossible without a high frame rate.

 

D2_comp1.jpg

 

As photographers it is good to try to use all the tools at our disposal to help us create stunning underwater images. And as camera capabilities improve it is good to make the most of them to make images that weren't possible before.

 

That said I think using high frame rates as a scattergun approach is not necessarily a great way to reliably produce excellent pictures.

 

Alex

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I tried to copy Alex's image with D70 and failed :P

 

I could only get 2-3 shots from each jump and they were not in the optimal phases of the flight.

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I tried to copy Alex's image with D70 and failed :P

 

I could only get 2-3 shots from each jump and they were not in the optimal phases of the flight.

 

 

with the D70 and a small buffer you need to shoot that in jpeg and continuous fire mode where you can just hold the button down. Even then, hard to shoot and even harder to stitch together!

 

good job by Mr Mustard on that one

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Amazing shooting Alex, I'm still trying to get one half decent split shot.

 

Regards

Gary

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I can get 2-3 frames at 5fps with the strobes firing depending on battery power.

 

How many can you get with a 3fps camera? I'd guess 2-3 frames.

 

As long as you are using strobes, the fps of the camera will always be of limited value.

 

Shooting sports on land with the D100 after using an F100, 3 fps seemed very slow compared to 5fps. Then came the buffer/write thing. I thought there was something wrong with the camera. I kept staring at it hoping it would write faster. It didn't. I pushed the button harder and more often. It doesn't work on elevators and it doesn't work on cameras either.

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I shoot with D2H's specifically because of frame rate.

 

However, that is mostly due to topside considerations; I believe I've only used that rate u/w twice, both times for sports.

 

I do sincerly believe in Alex's position that using a fast frame rate as a machine gun is no substitute for thinking and composing. One gal we used to work with had the nickname "machine gun"; she would come back from a car accident with over a hundred images from the exact same spot. Sheesh. Use your legs to move around and get a different perspective!

 

All the best, James

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Hi Chris,

 

Your thinking! Strobe recycle time can obviously be a problem as you pointed out.

 

High frame rates are really good for moving subjects (whales, sharks, silhouettes) in natural light

when you're not dependent on a strobe.

 

Would love to see some of your shots!

 

Best,

 

Tom

 

http://www.tomstackphoto.com

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Here are a couple pics where I found my 5fps indispensible. I shot these as part of an article on freediving for lobsters (my first UW based shoot!! - albeit for the free bimonthly magazine released with our newspaper).

 

Not the most spectacular pics, but there was this violent little chop on the surface which made the 50/50 shots real tough and forced me to fire away like a "machine gun" to get the right composition.

 

362014505_71beed22f5.jpg

flickr

 

362014415_2e1cc887f5.jpg

flickr

One gal we used to work with had the nickname "machine gun"; she would come back from a car accident with over a hundred images from the exact same spot. Sheesh. Use your legs to move around and get a different perspective!

 

haha - I too will sometimes come back from an accident with over a hundred pics, but from every position, angle & perspective i can get. I am a very trigger happy shooter - but I don't fire blindly. Serves me well though.

Cheers,

 

Chris

Edited by Undertow

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