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stewsmith

lens choice for Lembeh

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I am back off to Lembeh in April/May and want to go there this time to get some half decent shots. When i was there previously I only had a point and shoot and got some " ok " shots.

I now have a Canon 350D in a Sea and Sea housing. S & S shutter activated focus light, twin YS 90 strobes, Canon 60mm macro. I have used this set up on a couple of trips and I am happy with the results. I added a Woody's dioptre to the set up for a recent trip to Sipadan & Komodo and again was fairly happy with most of the images.

What I would like to know is:

 

Should I invest in an alternative lens for getting more than 1:1 which is what shots I am after, or is there another way to achieve better magnification without having to buy another lens. I am restricted to weight as I am flying with Singapore and am already 4kg over the allowed limit. Bearing in mind that they charge £42 per kilo for excess baggage I would prefer an option that keeps my weight down.

 

Stew Smith

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I am back off to Lembeh in April/May and want to go there this time to get some half decent shots. When i was there previously I only had a point and shoot and got some " ok " shots.

I now have a Canon 350D in a Sea and Sea housing. S & S shutter activated focus light, twin YS 90 strobes, Canon 60mm macro. I have used this set up on a couple of trips and I am happy with the results. I added a Woody's dioptre to the set up for a recent trip to Sipadan & Komodo and again was fairly happy with most of the images.

What I would like to know is:

 

Should I invest in an alternative lens for getting more than 1:1 which is what shots I am after, or is there another way to achieve better magnification without having to buy another lens. I am restricted to weight as I am flying with Singapore and am already 4kg over the allowed limit. Bearing in mind that they charge £42 per kilo for excess baggage I would prefer an option that keeps my weight down.

 

Stew Smith

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Hola Stew

 

I'm not familiar with Canon so i don't know if you camera had a cropped sensor . In my case i went last year with a Nikon D200 ( 1.5 x cropped sensor ) and i shoot all the time with the 60 mm and left the 105mm in my room .

 

For more than 1:1 i used the macro mate ( wet diopter, i think similar to the one you have ) so if your camera is a cropped sensor's one, i think you will not need a longer lens unless you want to capture some gobies at their hole in the sand ( specially the ones that live on symbiosis with the shrimps ) they are too much shy for the working distance of the 60mm .

 

A big advantage of the 60mm at Lembeh ( dark and sometimes bad vis. ) is that autofocus works much better than with longer lenses.

 

If your goal are the bargibantis , they way to go is with the longer lens and even better with a 2x teleconverter attached. i have the Kenko that is not expensive and very light in weight but you will need a big extension ring for your housing.

 

 

If you want examples , i can send you the link of my Lembeh gallery at Flickr .

 

Good luck and happy shooting

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FWIW, I shot an Olympus E-330 in Lembeh and never took off the 50mm. A Woody's diopter was useful in many situations. I took my 105mm lens, but it stayed in the camera room.

 

If you are there to take pictures of the really tiny - H. denise and kin, or the pygmy pipefish - then you will want more magnification.

 

Get a photog's vest and fill the pockets.

 

Pictures here:

 

http://diver.net/bbs/posts002/72865.shtml

Edited by jlyle

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great shots, i love the story about the male mandarinfish.

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I have just flown Singapore air/silk air to lembeh 2x in 60 days. Bags are weighed, mine were all over weight. No one said anything at all. Weight was a major concern of mine. My carryon backpack weighs in at 15kg and I have a second camera bag carryon with the housing and lens in it that is about 5 kg.

 

One flight was non stop to Singapore from Newark, NJ USA and the other had the layover in Frankfurt. Great airline.

 

Buy a photographers vest just in case.

 

The water is murky with a lot of backscatter.

 

In nikon lens I would choose the 60mm for many dives. 105mm is a must bring as well. If your trip is long enough I would also do closeup wide angle shots.

 

Critter sizes vary from 5mm to 300 mm with most in the 50 to 200mm range. Personally I would love to dive that area with 2 cameras, 1 macro and 1 for closeup wide angle.

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you guys who fly from america get a totally different allowance to us flying from the uk. i dont know why this is. we only get 20kg for checked luggage and 5kg for carry on.

i already have a photographers jacket which is full of things already.

i will probably have to leave my W/a set up at home due to the weight and size of the dome port and its protective container.

. I am really gutted about this as we are there for 14 nights and i was hoping to dive a couple of the wrecks in the strait that everyone forgets are there. i was also hoping to get back to bangka, siladan and do some nice exhillarating drift dives. i remember the walls to be very nice when i was there a few years ago.

 

singapore air suck

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I flew from Manchester to Bali with Singapore airlines earlier in the year, i had loads of stuff, 2 bodies, 6 lenses, 2 strobes, housing, all diving gear and some teaching materials. It all got on, i just had to argue a bit that i'd asked for an extra allowance (they give you an extra 5 or 10kg's for dive gear i think).

 

You can buy clothes there if you have to!

 

Remember that in the UK you can only have one carry on when you go through security, BUT there is nothing stopping you from carrying your laptop in your hands then they don't weigh it (you have to take it out for screening anyway, you just look eager this way :wacko: ) and having a spare laptop case in your main, larger carry on. Once you've gone through initial screening you can redistribute all the stuff from your camera vest to your large carry-on and your laptop can go into another bag.

 

I use a small neoprene targus laptop case and a wheeled trolly-dolly bag for my carry on when leaving the UK. More than enough space in there to fit my housing, w/a port and all my lenses once i get through initial security.

 

My record thus far was flying from Manchester-Gatwick-Singapore with over 100 kilos including my carry on. I had a desktop and 17" lcd monitor in there as well as 4 strobes and all my backup gear! I didn't pay a penny excess, just look poor and smile a lot!

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my laptop only weighs 1.1 kg and fits in my wifes hand bag. this isnt the problem. the problem is when you gety a new recruit on check in and you are faced with a £ 750 excess baggage bill. and tats just one way

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I'd love to travel as a pair, it makes it loads easier. Just chuck out all your wifes hairdryers, straightners, curling tongs etc and put in your electronics!

 

Seriously though, getting your clothes washed in Indonesia is really cheap, i think i get 8 t-shirts done for a dollar if i go to a small store. Maybe take hardly any clothes. Are you taking a pelican? Consider ditching it for a hard sided plastic case that weighs considerably less.

 

Have you enquired with SIA about getting some excess baggage upfront? Sporting allowance?

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We just got back last night. In 60 dives I used the Nikon 60mm for all but 6 or 7. Added a marcomate when needed. Otherwise I used a 105mm on 2 or 3 and the 10.5 on 3 in the north end of the straits and once experimenting with it and 2X.

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I'd love to travel as a pair, it makes it loads easier. Just chuck out all your wifes hairdryers, straightners, curling tongs etc and put in your electronics!

 

unforunately my wife dives too and has a video set up so her camera gear, lights and lenses go in the case before her straightners, dryer make up

 

Seriously though, getting your clothes washed in Indonesia is really cheap, i think i get 8 t-shirts done for a dollar if i go to a small store. Maybe take hardly any clothes. Are you taking a pelican? Consider ditching it for a hard sided plastic case that weighs considerably less.

 

8 t shirts.......i will only be taking 3

 

Have you enquired with SIA about getting some excess baggage upfront? Sporting allowance?

 

unfortunately my wife dives too and has a video set up, so her camera gear, lights and lenses go in the case before her straightners, dryer and make up

 

8 t shirts.......i will only be taking 3

 

yes i have spoke to them and the soft spoken lady on the phone politely told me to " feck off " its £46 per kilo

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Just got back myself and did 95% of the dives with the 60mm on a 20D. Only went to the 100mm and a TC (1.4x) just to play around with it. With your cropped sensor, there isn't really much need for a ton extra magnification (but its so much fun trying to find that pygmy with a microscopic DOF!). The extra working distance of the 100mm is nice for shy subjects (i.e. gobies), but comes with the price of a significant increase in backscatter and AF seeking in the murky waters of Lembeh. I found it mostly annoying. Wide angle kit stayed in the camera room.

 

I think there's something about Heathrow (Australia is terrible too)! I had 49 kilos total checked both ways on Singapore/Silk Air (through L.A.) and not a peep out of the clerks. As for the carry-on weight, enforcement seemed to be very random in L.A., Manado and Singapore (I saw some people hassled in L.A.). All I can recommend is keep the roller out of sight of the clerk and think light thoughts about the 15 kilo backpack you have slung (ever so delicately) over your shoulder.

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I'd love to travel as a pair, it makes it loads easier. Just chuck out all your wifes hairdryers, straightners, curling tongs etc and put in your electronics!

 

Haha, wish I had hairdryers, straighteners, curling irons, etc. that I can toss out of my bags to lighten the load. But unfortunately, most of my international dive trips have been add-ons to business trips, so not only am I hauling around dive gear, camera bodies, lenses, housings, strobes, and laptops, etc., but also meeting materials, business clothing and shoes and accessories, and other random work materials.

 

Luckily, the company springs for business class when I travel internationally, so I do get to take advantage of greater weight limits for my checked bags. It's definitely a great perk and one that makes packing for my upcoming return trip to Jakarta/Lembeh/Bunaken a lot easier!

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