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weedgal

Help So Many Questions**Im New!!

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Hi All,

 

My name is Jessica and I just joined this site. A few months ago I purchased Canon 40D and yesturday I purchased Ikelite housing with 6" dome port for 17-85mm lens, and DS125 strobe. I started last year with a LOL PowerShot A75 with housing. I know, a joke camera to the one I have now. Im going to Fiji and Australia Jan 6/09 for 2 months. Ill be on a liveaboad with Taka for 5 days as well doing the GBR. I hoping after $5000.00 in equipment I made the right chose! QUESTIONS...

 

1. Im in Ajax Ontario...anyone know of any underwater photo classed?

2. What can I buy to transport the equipment from Canada to Fiji/Austraila?

3. Should I buy a different lens for better pics then the 17-85mm?

4. I see contests for pics, can anyone tell me more about this?

5. Any info on the equipment I purchased would be great too!!

 

Thanks

Jessica

Edited by weedgal

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This sounds like a once in a lifetime trip..wow. I just did a similar trip to the Philippines and here's my thoughts.

 

1. A true macro lens and a true WA lens will make you happier. I purchased a macro lens but thought my 14-42mm would be wide enough for any WA shots. In the end, I missed not having a true WA lens. Had I not purchased the macro, I would have been in tears. My 14-42mm was good only for fish pics.

 

2. I'd recommend a photo backpack with a laptop slot for your carryon. For the housing, there are several types out there.

 

have fun,

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I HIGHLY recommend you purchase the Tokina 10-17 Fisheye zoom, and a 60mm EF-S macro lens. I also didn't see that you have a strobe - you need one.

 

I sure am jealous - you're going to have a great trip.

 

Cheers

James

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I HIGHLY recommend you purchase the Tokina 10-17 Fisheye zoom, and a 60mm EF-S macro lens. I also didn't see that you have a strobe - you need one.

 

James, do you think there'd be value in getting the Canon 100mm f2.8 macro w/ the dedicated macro port for it?

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For my first trip, I got a 10.5 Fisheye, 60mm macro, 105mm macro and 18-50mm F2.8 Macro.....

 

James is right...I loved the 10.5 but wished I had a zoom at times 10-17 would have been perfect. I have bought one since and am waiting to try it UW.....also, I had a 105mm Macro but after a few dives, I realized that I only used it only when I knew that there were good macro subjects out there......the 60 was more than enough in almost all cases and doubled as a great fish portrait lens (which would be hard to do well with the 105- especially if the vis is bad).....

 

i would get all the lenses and port combos if finances would allow (travel allowances included)....however, if asked what I would start with, James' advice on the Tokina 10-17 and nikkor 60 is truly spot on.

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James' advice on the Tokina 10-17 and nikkor 60 is truly spot on.

 

I wouldn't have thought a nikkor 60 would be real handy on a 40D!

 

Just to throw in my 2c worth, they're really cutting down on weight restrictions here in Oz now. I just got a Lowepro Vertex 200 bag, which fitted nicely in the carry on size restrictions, and gave me a fair bit of room for my current set ups. I was easily able to carry it around making it look like it weighed under the 7kg limit!

 

If you need more than this, you may end up having to check some items in.

 

Ryan.

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oppps my bad....I meant the lens choices of a decent WA zoom and a short macro.....

 

Interesting choice on the bag...must look into this....I am going to Perth and will try to dive at Dunsborough in October. I am really concerned about the heavily enforced weight restrictions at the airport there

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Im going to Fiji and Australia Jan 6/09 for 2 months.
Hi Jessica, sounds like a great trip, how do you feel about adoption? Don't you need someone to carry your camera? Here is my first cut at some answers to your question and a couple more you might think about.
1. Im in Ajax Ontario...anyone know of any underwater photo classes?
Don't know of any classes local to Toronto, my recommendation is to spend some time on wetpixel, get a copy of "The Underwater Photographer 3rd edition" by Martin Edge, and find yourself a warm pool where you can practise. Best case if you have the time is to make a quick run down to Cayman and spend a few days with Cathy Church http://www.cathychurch.com/
2. What can I buy to transport the equipment from Canada to Fiji/Austraila?
Gary gave you some good ideas check out this thread for more than you want to know about packing.
3. Should I buy a different lens for better pics then the 17-85mm?
I can higly recommend the Tokina 10-17, great lens. I found the 100mm macro a blast to use in gin clear water, the 60mm I would use if I didn't have the vis, or I am taking shots of critters who won't be scared off by the closer focus distance. It depends on the kind of images you want to make.
4. I see contests for pics, can anyone tell me more about this?
The picture of the week contest here is what I'm guessing your asking about. Very competitive in that there are a bunch of great photographers entering all the time. You can check it out here or just click on Contests at the top of the page.
5. Any info on the equipment I purchased would be great too!!
I'd recommend you do a search on the 40D here on wetpixel to get started. Lots of threads have discussed it. If you have any specific questions let us know.

 

Now for a couple of things to think about before you head off to OZ in Jan. What do you plan to use to store and process your images? Planning on a laptop? With the 40D you will have much bigger files than with your P&S. Make sure you can handle two months worth of images. Recommend you have a way to back them up too, so your whole trip isn't sitting on one hard drive. I'd also think about getting up to speed on a good image processing program so you can get the most out of your new camera. Lots of folks here like Lightroom for the Canon. It will really help you organize all those great shots your going to get. Have fun Jessica, enjoy the ride :)

 

Steve

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I vote for the Sigma 17-70 macro. Awesome lens, especially for someone not familiar with the nuances of major macro (100 mm) or really wide angle (10-17 mm). And leave the 17-85 at home, the 17-70 will do just as good for land shots. - If not the 17-70 then the 60 mm is a must have for u/w.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

TomC

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Jessica -

 

Don't feel awkward about moving from a PnS to dSLR. Nearly everyone here was in the same boat at one time or another. I just switched over in November, and although it is scary and expensive, I am so glad I did it!!

 

I am in a bit of a rush and don't have time to address everything you asked (also, I am not the person to ask in some cases!!!), but I do have a few recommendations for you.

 

First, I assume that you can't drop unlimited cash on lenses - if you can, I'd second (third?) buying dedicated macro and WA (60 and Tokina 10-17, the latter I still covet!!) - you could go for a 100 instead or in addition, but it is a bit harder to shoot with, and starting with a 60 might be a bit easier. If you have to choose one, I'd personally start with the 60 macro, but others might have different opinions - I think you will have an easier time shooting macro as a dSLR newbie with one strobe.

 

Second - get into the water, even if it's just a pool - with your rig before you go. Practice a bit. Test stuff out. You will be glad you did this before you get to beautiful, tropical water!! (Also - if you can't find a class, READ - get yourself a beginner UW photog book that explains the dSLR settings, if you weren't doing a lot of manual settings with your PnS - there is a steep and scary learning curve - I suggest this because I didn't have a damned clue what I was doing, but you may not be in that boat!!). Fathoms had a number of really nice, reasonably simplistic articles that helped me a lot, and there is a lot of information to be found on wetpixel - if you don't find it, ask.

 

Good luck and have a great trip!! Welcome to the world of being completely broke and having all your non-diving friends look at you like you are an alien whenever you open your mouth.

 

Allison

Edited by vetdiver

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Hi Jessica,

 

Welcome to wetpixel! You've come to the right place. I recently set up my 40D system, so I can really echo what James and Steve have said. The 10-17 is an awesome wide angle lens - it focuses super close and has a virtually unlimited depth of field, so you can have the turtle's flipper on your dome port with your buddy in the background and it'll all be in focus. The 60mm is sharp as a pin, focuses fast, just a great great lens, more versatile I think than the 100mm. Unless you have unlimited $$, those two are a great base.

 

As for packing, after reading everything here, I got a Lowepro camera backpack with a laptop slot in which I carry the camera body, 3 lenses (there's space for two more), my laptop, and still have room for other sundry small carry-on items. This is my "personal item". The rest of the gear fits in a Tamrac rolling bag - that's housing, two DS-125's, macro and dome ports, arms, chargers, etc., so that if I'm on a carrier that allows 1 carry-on plus a personal item, all my photo gear comes on board with me. So far :)

 

Again, Martin Edge's book and some pool practice before you go will make a huge difference.

 

Most of all have a great trip!

 

Phil

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I just came back tonight from a two day trip in preparation for my PNG trip in August. It was the first time my new Canon 40D in a Seatool housing got wet...

 

I've tried 2 lenses this trip, the above mentioned and beloved Tokina 10-17 FE which is great for WA shots and the other lens I use which is not mentioned is the Sigma 17-70mm Macro and I must say that I was pleasantly suprised by it. It makes good (but not as good as a dedicated macro lens) macro shots and very good fish portrets. I think this is a great scouting lens if you don't know what to expect (turtles or nudies) from a dive.

 

I'm also looking for a good way to transport my rig and currently looking at the stormcase (simmilar to a pelican only better reviews). Let us know what you decided and why.

 

Have fun on your trip!

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Tokina 10-17 FE or canon 10-22 WA?

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n2addict - Tokina 10-17 hands down. My canon 10-22 EFS has been relegated to topside landscape shooting.

 

Jessica- you've got some great advice already. Given that you're diving Fiji and GBR, I reckon you'll be shooting more wide angle and big fishies. Based on that, maybe a Tokina 10-17 Fisheye and the 17-85mm would make a good combo. Maybe to save on the $$$, get a diopter for the 17-85mm for closer focus ability?

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Jessica,

 

The 100mm with the dedicated flat port is an excellent combination for Macro. The Sigma 50mm Macro is also an EXCELLENT lens and should work fine with your 6" dome. It's inexpensive and gives you normal and macro capability. I've borrowed one on several occasions an it's definitely on my short list of lenses to get.

 

I recommend getting a copy of Martin Edge's UW Photography book as well. It's an excellent tool that will help you improve quickly:

http://www.edgeunderwaterphotography.com

 

B

Edited by BotSO

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n2addict - Tokina 10-17 hands down. My canon 10-22 EFS has been relegated to topside landscape shooting.

 

Jessica- you've got some great advice already. Given that you're diving Fiji and GBR, I reckon you'll be shooting more wide angle and big fishies. Based on that, maybe a Tokina 10-17 Fisheye and the 17-85mm would make a good combo. Maybe to save on the $$$, get a diopter for the 17-85mm for closer focus ability?

 

The 17-85 requires a + 4 diopter to work with a small radius dome to achieve focus on the virtual image - you won't get a sharp focus without the diopter. Unfortunately, this just allows you to achieve focus, doesn't noticeably increase magnification - which is the major weakness of this lens.

 

I have shot the 17-85 on a 20D - pretty average lens. Not enough magnification to shoot even relatively small stuff like a nudibranch. It is a decent fish/turtle lens if you don't know what you'll see on the dive; but the Sigma 17-70 is much better, as has almost 2x the magnification; so you can shoot decent macro with it.

 

One more vote for the Tokina 10-17 and Canon 60mm macro as the baseline; absolutely the 2 lens to start with uw IMHO. Then the 100mm macro (great for the really little stuff with a little standoff distance - plus tack sharp lens), and finally the 17-70 Sigma for scouting/fish dives.

 

BTW - the 40D is a fabulous UW camera. Can't tell you how much better autofocus and low light performance are (plus love the big screen) than the earlier models like the 20D. Be sure and practice a little before you go - sounds like an incredible trip (and Steve's advice on Martin Edge's book is very good also).

Edited by bversteegh

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its good to set the 40d to show the camera setting in the back lcd, some times its hard to see it on the top lcd.

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WOW!! thanks everyone for your input. Ill up date you on what Ive done thus far. I will be purchasing the Tokina 10-17 and if I have the $ Ill also try for the 60mm. I also purchased the Lowepro Rolling CompuTrekker Plus AW. Which looks like it should hold all my equipment. Ive also ordered the book by Martin Edge, should be in today! I found an underwater photography class close to me as well that I signed up for. So thanks for all your help. But one thing...im not to sure what a diopter is and what it does?

 

Jessica

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Jessica -

 

A diopter (also called a filter in some catalogs) is a screw on magnifying lens (attaches to the front of the lens). So diopters are one method to increase the magnification of your lens underwater - but since the screw on diopters are dry lens, you must put them on before the dive - so you are committed. They work by allowing the lens to focus closer - so you magnify the object. But you lose depth of field the closer you focus - so harder to keep in focus. And you also lose the ability to focus at infinity - which isn't a big deal underwater; but if you come across a bigger subject you want to photograph - you'll have to be farther away to focus (than the same lens without a diopter) - which means you'll lose sharpness and color. Note this is behavior when you use a diopter behind a flat port, now on to a dome.

 

A dome lens is designed to correct for the difference in the index of refraction between air and water (~ 1.33) - effectively eliminating the magnifying effect of the air/water border that happens at the surface of a flat port (or you mask, as another example). But they are in fact on optical element, and create a virtual image at 2x the lens diameter (ie a lens behind an Ike 6" dome must be able to focus at 12"). So if your lens has a minimum focus distance longer than this distance (like the Canon 17-85 lens, for example); you must use a diopter (+4 for that lens) to be able to work behind a dome.

 

One final thing - for your flat port work (macro) - you can use an external diopter (like a Woody's or Nexus Diopter) that you can remove underwater - best of both worlds.

 

Hope this helps you

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