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I have been doing a lot more land & travel photography this year and in an attempt to improve my images I bought Joe McNally's book "Hot Shoe Diaries" and then his DVD on the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) - both of which I thought were very good.

 

I then "invested" in an SB900 and have been really impressed with it's functionality and the way it has improved my land images. Particularly interesting is the ability to change the light pattern and the FV lock, which when used with spot metering gives impressive results in difficult to light situations.

 

Which got me to thinking about how effective the SB900 would be for macro & fish photography, as it it will cover a 200mm lens on land, so it seems a good match with my favorite macro lens the Nikon 70-180. I checked on the availability & price of the Subal housing.... One is available, but at the pretty expensive price of A$1600...

 

So, when in doubt - consult the oracle...

 

Has anybody used the SB900 (or SB800) in a Subal housing with a D300, or other CLS compatible Nikon?

 

Don Silcock

Underwater Site: www.indopacificimages.com/

Travel Site: www.nomadicpixel.com/

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Hi Don,

 

I have not used one underwater yet, but I will do some tests shortly. Patima offers a housing at around 800USD.

 

My biggest problem with them is the size. and how to position them in my existing setup.

 

All the best,

Espen :-)

 

 

 

Which got me to thinking about how effective the SB900 would be for macro & fish photography, as it it will cover a 200mm lens on land, so it seems a good match with my favorite macro lens the Nikon 70-180. I checked on the availability & price of the Subal housing.... One is available, but at the pretty expensive price of A$1600...

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Hi Don, Espen,

Not used an SB900 yet, but have been using SB800's for a while with both D200 and now D300. On their own (using 1 only) they work well and have the facility to shoot at any shutter speed! However, trying to get a 2nd SB800 to "listen" to the master unit is not so easy. Something I am working on when the day job allows!

 

Not sure how easy using the SB900 at 200 mm setting would be, as I think it is designed and intended to be mounted on top of the camera? Using flash off camera as we do, aiming may be more of a challenge?

 

As Espen points out they are quite large housings and as such bouyancy may be interesting, not used a Subal (I make my own!) but as the Subal housings are round there will be a fair amount of air space inside, which with some housing systems it might actually help handling?

 

There are a number of manufacturers that have made housings for the SB800 and I suspect now for the SB900, but they are not in common use probably for the reasons above as well as cost and complexity?

 

Hope this helps

 

Best regards

 

Pete Ladell

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Hi Don,

 

I have not used one underwater yet, but I will do some tests shortly. Patima offers a housing at around 800USD.

 

My biggest problem with them is the size. and how to position them in my existing setup.

 

All the best,

Espen :-)

 

 

 

Which got me to thinking about how effective the SB900 would be for macro & fish photography, as it it will cover a 200mm lens on land, so it seems a good match with my favorite macro lens the Nikon 70-180. I checked on the availability & price of the Subal housing.... One is available, but at the pretty expensive price of A$1600...

 

Hi Espen, thanks for this - did not know that Patima had a housing for the SB900. It looks pretty good and I have inquired about pricing & functionality with them.

 

I tried the Subal housing for the DTTL compatible strobe (SB80?) with my D100 about five years ago and did not have any problems as such with the size, but I was using Ikelite 200's as my main strobes at the time....might be different now that I have got used to the Inon 240's...

 

Please let me know how your tests go - do you have a housing for the SB900 or access to one?

 

Don Silcock

Underwater Site: www.indopacificimages.com/

Travel Site: www.nomadicpixel.com/

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Hi Don, Espen,

Not used an SB900 yet, but have been using SB800's for a while with both D200 and now D300. On their own (using 1 only) they work well and have the facility to shoot at any shutter speed! However, trying to get a 2nd SB800 to "listen" to the master unit is not so easy. Something I am working on when the day job allows!

 

Not sure how easy using the SB900 at 200 mm setting would be, as I think it is designed and intended to be mounted on top of the camera? Using flash off camera as we do, aiming may be more of a challenge?

 

As Espen points out they are quite large housings and as such bouyancy may be interesting, not used a Subal (I make my own!) but as the Subal housings are round there will be a fair amount of air space inside, which with some housing systems it might actually help handling?

 

There are a number of manufacturers that have made housings for the SB800 and I suspect now for the SB900, but they are not in common use probably for the reasons above as well as cost and complexity?

 

Hope this helps

 

Best regards

 

Pete Ladell

 

Hi Pete, as per my post to Espen - my previous expereince using the Subal strobe housing with the D100 was OK from a size and buoyancy perspective, but not from a reliability one.... It did not work when you really needed it!

 

If I buy a housing for the SB900, I was intending to use an Inon 240 on low power as a slave to reduce shadows but the main light coming from the SB900. Have you tried a similar set-up with the SB800 as I vaguely recall some posts indicating that set-up was not a good idea.

 

Don

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Don

 

How would you trigger the Z240?

 

In slave mode it will fire after the preflash from the SB 900, won't it? In sTTL it might work, but I've had difficulties trying to do this as a test in the air with my new SB 900.

 

Can you let us know how you get on?

 

Tim

 

:uwphotog:

Edited by tdpriest

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Don

 

How would you trigger the Z240?

 

In slave mode it will fire after the preflash from the SB 900, won't it? In sTTL it might work, but I've had difficulties trying to do this as a test in the air with my new SB 900.

 

Can you let us know how you get on?

 

Tim

 

:uwphotog:

 

Hi Tim, yes.... I am anticipating this problem - hence my questions in the earlier posts, but I think it's worth a try as the Nikon CLS and the SB900 functionality is quite something above water, so I am keen to try and see how much of it I can get to work underwater. I have ordered the Patima housing from FIT in Taiwan, as it's 70% of the price of the Subal unit and hope to get it before I go to Tufi in PNG in the middle of November.

 

Will update the post as I try it out....

 

Don

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I have been doing a lot more land & travel photography this year and in an attempt to improve my images I bought Joe McNally's book "Hot Shoe Diaries" and then his DVD on the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) - both of which I thought were very good.

 

I then "invested" in an SB900 and have been really impressed with it's functionality and the way it has improved my land images. Particularly interesting is the ability to change the light pattern and the FV lock, which when used with spot metering gives impressive results in difficult to light situations.

 

Which got me to thinking about how effective the SB900 would be for macro & fish photography, as it it will cover a 200mm lens on land, so it seems a good match with my favorite macro lens the Nikon 70-180. I checked on the availability & price of the Subal housing.... One is available, but at the pretty expensive price of A$1600...

 

So, when in doubt - consult the oracle...

 

Has anybody used the SB900 (or SB800) in a Subal housing with a D300, or other CLS compatible Nikon?

 

Don Silcock

Underwater Site: www.indopacificimages.com/

Travel Site: www.nomadicpixel.com/

 

Hi Don

 

I have been using SB800s underwater for 5 years now. I find them very versatile as the beam angle will automatically match the lens, the light is the perfect colour for the nikon camera's auto WB, the recycle time is good with nmH batteries, there are multiple power settings and the TTL functionality is exact, not hit & miss like the various adapters on the market. Add to that the convenience of being able to use them on land, the versatility of being able to swop out a unit on the boat if you have an issue and the fact that in 5 years I have never yet had a problem with a strobe not working. I use the Subal housings for strobes and cameras and currently shoot with a D300 and an S5 Pro. Yes they are big & bulky (especially the new SB900 in its housing) but in my opinion this is the only downside.

 

Rgds

Jean

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Hi Don

 

I have been using SB800s underwater for 5 years now. I find them very versatile as the beam angle will automatically match the lens, the light is the perfect colour for the nikon camera's auto WB, the recycle time is good with nmH batteries, there are multiple power settings and the TTL functionality is exact, not hit & miss like the various adapters on the market. Add to that the convenience of being able to use them on land, the versatility of being able to swop out a unit on the boat if you have an issue and the fact that in 5 years I have never yet had a problem with a strobe not working. I use the Subal housings for strobes and cameras and currently shoot with a D300 and an S5 Pro. Yes they are big & bulky (especially the new SB900 in its housing) but in my opinion this is the only downside.

 

Rgds

Jean

 

Hi Jean, you made my day.... I ordered & paid for the Patima SB900 housing yesterday and should have it early next week before I leave for Tufi in PNG on the 13th. I am intrigued at the possibilities the SB900 & Nikon CLS offer underwater, but was a bit concerned that I have wasted more money to try it out!

 

One question - are you using single or dual SB800's? If dual is the answer, how do you get them to fire together?

 

Don

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Hi Jean, you made my day.... I ordered & paid for the Patima SB900 housing yesterday and should have it early next week before I leave for Tufi in PNG on the 13th. I am intrigued at the possibilities the SB900 & Nikon CLS offer underwater, but was a bit concerned that I have wasted more money to try it out!

 

One question - are you using single or dual SB800's? If dual is the answer, how do you get them to fire together?

 

Don

 

Sometimes I use a single strobe and sometimes dual strobes depending on what I'm taking pictures of. When using dual strobes I sometimes fire both electronically (one on full TTL and one on manual as the camera does not allow two S6 connections) but also have a setup where I fire one electronically and one optically from the other, giving me full iTTL on both strobes. In trying out the Nikon CLS I found that in the Subal housings the flash "receiving eye" is not exposed to the light from the master strobe so it needs an optical cable from the master to any slaves. In any case I believe from what I've read on the forums that the light is dispursed too quickly in the water and even if the eye is exposed to the light the slave still will not fire without being optically hard-wired. The strobes have a beam angle equivalent to a 14mm lens at the widest setting and the coverage is excellent. In most cases a single strobe is adequate but its nice to be able to use both so that the shadows on the opposing side are softened.

 

post-2915-1257491251.jpg

 

post-2915-1257491313.jpg

 

Both of the above shots were taken using a single SB800 strobe and a 10.5mm lens and show the wide coverage. In the 2nd shot I was inside a cave and the opening was big enough to admit me with a inspiration ccr and bailout tanks so I was well impressed at being able to light the entrance surrounds with only one strobe.

 

By way of comparison this next shot used an electronic dual strobe setup.

 

post-2915-1257492081.jpg

 

Anyway, have fun with your new toy!

 

Jean.

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Sometimes I use a single strobe and sometimes dual strobes depending on what I'm taking pictures of. When using dual strobes I sometimes fire both electronically (one on full TTL and one on manual as the camera does not allow two S6 connections) but also have a setup where I fire one electronically and one optically from the other, giving me full iTTL on both strobes. In trying out the Nikon CLS I found that in the Subal housings the flash "receiving eye" is not exposed to the light from the master strobe so it needs an optical cable from the master to any slaves. In any case I believe from what I've read on the forums that the light is dispursed too quickly in the water and even if the eye is exposed to the light the slave still will not fire without being optically hard-wired. The strobes have a beam angle equivalent to a 14mm lens at the widest setting and the coverage is excellent. In most cases a single strobe is adequate but its nice to be able to use both so that the shadows on the opposing side are softened.

 

post-2915-1257491251.jpg

 

post-2915-1257491313.jpg

 

Both of the above shots were taken using a single SB800 strobe and a 10.5mm lens and show the wide coverage. In the 2nd shot I was inside a cave and the opening was big enough to admit me with a inspiration ccr and bailout tanks so I was well impressed at being able to light the entrance surrounds with only one strobe.

 

By way of comparison this next shot used an electronic dual strobe setup.

 

post-2915-1257492081.jpg

 

Anyway, have fun with your new toy!

 

Jean.

 

Jean, thanks for this - I am even more intrigued now and can't wait to try out the new toy!

 

I hope to be able to revisit this post while I am at Tufi, depending on the strength of the wireless connection....

 

Don

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Well my Patima SB900 housing arrived this morning from FIT in Taiwan - initial impressions of the housing were very positive as it looks well designed & made and the SB900 fits into it very nicely.

 

All the controls work well, but I could not get TTL when I plugged it into the D300 in it's Subal housing....then I remembered the manual/TTL jumper setting inside the housing and when I tried again - bingo iTTL!!

 

Will play with it a lot more when I get to Tufi this weekend and update the post, wireless access allowing.

 

Don

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Well my Patima SB900 housing arrived this morning from FIT in Taiwan - initial impressions of the housing were very positive as it looks well designed & made and the SB900 fits into it very nicely.

 

All the controls work well, but I could not get TTL when I plugged it into the D300 in it's Subal housing....then I remembered the manual/TTL jumper setting inside the housing and when I tried again - bingo iTTL!!

 

Will play with it a lot more when I get to Tufi this weekend and update the post, wireless access allowing.

 

Don

 

 

Hi,I have used SB 800 for many years, at biginning of trying it, I used F100 film camera, i was very surprising at it's accuracy of TTL.and then, i used that for D 200, S 5 Pro, D 700. Housing is NAUTILUS. Now, I boght SB 900 with Patima housing, In spite of huge size, i would recommend this strobe for it's distinct functional

advantage. However I recognizedthat when i tried dual mode , the other side set by slave mode, in TTL , I should do EV control toward positive. In this situation . pictures were showed as under exposure, that'swhy I did EV control by + . Most big problem is that the requirement of EV compensation was not constant . Does anybody know the solution in this situation??Following pictures were taken by SB 900 with D 700.

post-25407-1258549931.jpg

post-25407-1258550077.jpg

Edited by cho

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i use the sb 800 with d200 and it works pretty good. therefore i think it schould be the same with the sb900! i´m going to combine the two stobes. are ther any repots of this combination?

tom

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I got to try out the SB900 in the Patima housing with my D300 while I was at Tufi in November for a couple of weeks and was very impressed with the capabilities of the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) underwater, as it allows some key creative functionality that I personally could never achieve using "traditional" strobes such as the Inon 240's I currently use & the Ikelite DS200's previously...

 

I have written the whole thing up as an article for the next issue of Underwater Photography magazine and posted the full text & all the test images on my site:

 

http://www.indopacificimages.com/pages/pag...ue/03_ittl.html

 

The Readers Digest version is the ability to use FV Lock & lock in the right exposure for a specfic area of the image, plus the way the SB900 can be set for different "illumination patterns" with center weighted, being the exact things I was looking for - so I am very pleased with my decision to try the SB900 underwater.

 

The nudi image below show the FV Lock functionality - I took the reading on the white patches:

 

post-867-1261720698.jpg

 

The scorpion fish show the center weighted illumination pattern:

 

post-867-1261720850.jpg

 

In summary, I really think the SB900 can help me to create the kind of macro images I have personally never managed to do using traditional strobes. The downside is that you cannot use a normal slave to minimize shadows, but as I explain in the article this is manageable using the "Roger Steene" approach or I you could always go for a second SB900 on manual as described by Jean (jtresfon) in an earlier post.

 

The other downsides are cost & size....

 

I am currently in Bali and will be doing a week's diving in Southy Lombok early in January, so I'll be posting some additional images from there next month.

 

Merry Xmas...

 

Don

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With regards to using two housed SB-800s or SB-900s, has anyone looked into the HeinrichsWeicamp i-TTL adapter which allows me to use two UW i-ttl strobes together. I wonder if there is a DIP switch setting on the HW that would work with regular Nikon strobes.

 

Fred

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Thanks Don,

Very nicely explained on your site. You've got me thinking....which usually means more money. Though I do already have an SB800 and SB900

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