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Zen 100mm Dome...

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A small dome, like the Zen 100mm, will allow you to take photos you cannot with a larger dome - the urchin shot above is good example - with the small urchin being the whole width of the frame even at 10mm. It is cheaper, lighter and easy to travel with. But it has some limitations, which are not specific to this dome, just a consequence of its shape.

Alex

 

Wow, that is a small urchin! :P

Looking forward to your report. I hope that it will include shots of your strobe set-ups.

Using the Seacam 6" dome (effectively an intermediate size between 4 and 8 inch FE domes) I try to use the dome's shade to minimize flare while using mainly one WA strobe centered over the port. I posted a set-up shot in your slave thread.

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Hi all,

 

I received my Zen dome last week (Thanks again Alex!) and have been playing with it a bit.

 

I got it for close focus wide angle (CFWA) and wide angle macro (WAM) to get round the problems of trying to light things that are very close to the dome port. I'm shooting DX with my D2Xs in a subal Housing and have been using a Tokina 10-17 for some time. I've set the dome up with a 30mm extender, which seems OK, but this may well need additional adjustment.

 

My first impression of the dome was quite how small it is! When compared with an 8" dome it seems really tiny! It also seems very well made and finished.

 

In use, for CFWA, with a Kenko 1.4x converter, you can really feel the magnification working! You can get the front of the dome so close to the subject that you really can feel the magnification "pulling" the subject in:

 

780840868_AV8Eu-M.jpg

 

Practically, this means as long as you can physically get the strobes in close enough, that lighting is fairly easy! With dry gloves, the strobes want to be where my hands are! The reduction in distance between the front of the dome and the subject helps with colour and sharpness.

 

For more general wide angle, I took the following series of shots. These were all shot at 1/60th which may be a bit slow, and I am getting used to the set up-so please don't take them as anything like definitive! The full image looks like this:

 

784564909_3wHPZ-M.jpg

 

I've then taken crops of the left hand bottom corner, and zoomed them to 100%

 

1/60th at f5

 

784564601_EJyzD-M.jpg

 

1/60th at f6.3

 

784564627_xdTvU-M.jpg

 

1/60th at f7.1

 

784564964_EhwZ4-M.jpg

 

1/60th at f8

 

784565009_grmcZ-M.jpg

 

1/60th at f9

 

784565120_UeKq2-M.jpg

 

1/60th at f10

 

784565152_4UFDY-M.jpg

 

Corner sharpness seems to suffer at large apertures!

 

I'll do some more playing-please note that these aren't definitive.

 

Hope this is of interest

 

Adam

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I used this dome port for the first time Sunday. Very poor water conditions so couldn't eliminate backscatter. This shot was at F8 with a D300 and the Tokina 10-17

 

post-72-1266385205.jpg

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Reading another tread reminded me of something. I was going to test this dome as a macro lens. Perhaps with a ext. ring.

 

Has anyone tried this 100 dome with a macro lens?

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Hi Dave,

 

There is an interesting post from Steven Frink about using small domes (in this case a seacam one) with the Nikkor 60mm one in this post

 

I've got acold, but as soon a sit clears, Im going to have a play with the Zen one

 

Adam

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Yes, I read that thread. Reminded me that I wanted to try this dome for wide angle. I've used domes for macro before. It would be nice to have such a small dome that could serve dual purposes.

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After reading Stephen Frink post, on using a small dome with macro lenses, I thought I'd give it a try! I used it with a Nikon 60mm f2.8, on a very dark and gloomy day. I used a 33mm extension on my Subal housing. For reference purposes, the water temp was 4 degrees, and I lost all sensation in my hands for most of the dive (despite dry gloves!)

 

The port gives really nice results-sharp and it corrects the parallax that you get with conventional flat ports. I will definitely try it some more

 

797605740_F5zB4-M.jpg

 

797605888_32YkL-M.jpg

 

797606041_a4m5c-M.jpg

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Excellent news. That means that it could be a great port for travelling- both the 10-17mm and a 60mm macro all with one port. I love it!

Nice photos too. Especially like the first one. You're a brave man with those temperatures.

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Did you use an extension ring with the dome when shooting the 60 mm lens.

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Yes on my ND2, I added a 33mm one.

 

Hi Adam,

 

With your 60mm and the 100mm dome / 33mm ext is the 1:1 focus point of the lens inside the dome ?

 

If so are you going to be concerned of getting too close to a hard object & trashing the expensive dome (or indeed subject) ?

 

Paul C

 

kudos for you going in at 4C BTW

Edited by PRC

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Hi Paul,

 

I haven't experimented per se!

 

Ken Rockwell gives the minimum focus distance (1:1) as 48mm for this lens. From the front of lens to subject.

 

With the Zen port and the 33mm extension, the lens does protrude into the port say 10mm. Given that the corners are less of a problem with a macro lens, getting the nodal point perfectly in line is not as much of an issue.

 

The port itself is also very shallow so the lens only has about 20-25mm in front of it.

 

So it is just about OK! Given that though-I don't see this as a replacement for a conventional flat port (or dome port for that matter!). I see it as an alternative, that is great for fish portraits etc, but would stick to a flat port for "true" macro. I think it gives a subtly different look to some types of picture, and that is exactly what I am after!

 

Adam

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I think it gives a subtly different look to some types of picture, and that is exactly what I am after!

 

OK thanks for that Adam - To be honest myself I can't justify the price tag for CFWA - just have to hope someone else is around at the time for a loaner!!

 

I know I have hit the front of my flat port a couple of times and would just cry if it were a $900 dome....

 

Paul C

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Alex,

 

Did you try the set up with a 10-17 and 1.4TC on the D700?

 

Julian

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Did you try the set up with a 10-17 and 1.4TC on the D700?

 

No, I tried the 15mm & TC on D700. I don't have a zoom gear that works with the 10-17mm and TC. Also you would need exactly the right sized port extention to make sure you don't hit the inside of the dome/or get cut off.

 

Also I used the Zen Dome in Cayman, which does not really have the most suitable subjects for WAM. And since it was Adam's dome I didn't want to risk dinking it against something. So only did a couple of dives + the pool tests.

 

Alex

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Can I go back to the strobe positioning question? I'd like to understand the issues with using large strobes to light the subjects using the little dome. Is the problem that wide strobe pattern blows light into the dome or that it's just tough to get them close enough or .......? I'm wondering if a large dia. snoot would help (if it's a pattern issue) almost a barn door type effect? I have the Ys 250's or the 110's if smaller is better but their really isn't that much difference in the diameter.

My shiny new Zen 100mm showed up yesterday so I'm itching to give it a try. The pool is still a little cool but the hot tub is ready. Just waiting for the duck. :)

 

Any thoughts appreciated,

Steve

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I used the small Zen dome on a couple of dives in Lembeh together with Seaflash 150's (similar size to ike DS-125/160) and found it quite difficult sometimes to get them close enough to the dome. I didn't have any issues with the strobe flaring into the dome.

 

Can imagine smaller strobes (e.g. Inon Z240) being much easier to position. Maybe the 'baby' Inons (S2000) are sufficient...

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Hi Steve,

 

I've found the issue is getting my Z220's in close enough to the port, and still being able to hold the housing handles!

 

I think it is a physical size issue-you want the strobes in close and behind the port-but that's where your hands are!

 

Adam

 

Hot tub......???

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My shiny new Zen 100mm showed up yesterday so I'm itching to give it a try. The pool is still a little cool but the hot tub is ready. Just waiting for the duck. :)

 

 

Steve

 

 

Come on Mr Williams get in the pool and do some more of your testing. It cant be as cold as diving in murky UK waters. ( not that I do that ) Mine is now ordered and will be heading to Lembeh in may. Then up for sale when I return.

 

A quick question for 5D MK2 owners: Has anyone succesfully used a Zen mini dome on a Sea and Sea housing in combination with the 1.4 TC and 10-17mm and obviously an extension ring. If this is a possibilty then i might not have to get rid of the Zen.

 

Stew

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Hot tub......???

 

Yep, Hot tub....

 

 

4487874275_6367b85d06_o.jpg

 

My wife took this and mentioned something about evidence to use at the hearing. The good news is the new Nauticam rig has been underwater (a nice toasty 102 degrees F) if not officially baptized in saltwater yet. :) The great news is no red lights or large bubbles. :) This is the Zen 100mm setup on the Nauticam 7D with electrically fired YS-250's. I put one of those fuzzy car wash mitts in the spa to play with strobe position. I thought the long yarns would sort of replicate anemone arms or I could at least see some shadows to understand how the light was acting. I shot everything at 10mm, zoom ring is back ordered.

 

I quickly understood what you were trying to tell me about getting close enough to light the front of the subject. My normal macro strobe position started to go bad with the subject about 6 in. away. After some trial and error I was able to work out a couple positions that allowed me to get a reasonable exposure with the subject actually touching the dome. You can tell from the shot above that it was a very bright day in Arizona today. Ambient exposure was about f/8.0 at 1/250 Iso 100. So I was shooting my mini test, manual f/14 at 1/250 with the strobes around 1/4 power, diffusers on. I was playing with strobe angle, position for and aft, up and down, and power. Four variables will keep you in the water a while. I started off shooting my 13" x 19" lens chart and you can really see how the corners roll away optically. It's pretty clear why you can lose corner sharpness as you open up the lens. You can also see how the normal strobe position would cause problems. It's made worse by the reflective plastic but you get the idea. This is at 10mm f/14 1/250 about 1/4 power on both strobes.

 

4488516428_bf83f36af9_o.jpg

 

This is the mitt I used about six inches from the dome. The shadow on the right is all from the sun.

 

4487868325_ba21cb708f_o.jpg

 

 

Here is a shot with the fuzzy things touching the dome with the strobes positioned beside and behind the dome, angled in toward the subject, right strobe higher than left, 1 notch under 1/4 power.

 

4488516564_ff3b747154_o.jpg

 

After a little practice I think the issue is not so much the size of the strobe as it is how sensitive a great exposure is going to be to position and angle. Very minor changes give very different results. The good news is after playing around I'm confident I can get reasonable results with the big YS 250's.

 

 

The Nauticam is really feeling nice, everything comes to hand almost instinctively. It loaded up without a problem. I don't have a manual yet so I just screwed on the tray, stuck it in the housing and everything worked. My old S&S ports with Nauticam adapter ring look like they were made for it. If you look close at the top shot you can see I have both the handle and housing arm balls mounted so I could try out different arm mounting positions. I definitely prefer the arms mounted on the housing. I also figured out that when I'm doing this type shot for real I'll only need to use the shorter 5 in arm on each side. Unless I trying to use Martin's inward lighting technique, but that's for next time. I feel a good hot soak coming on.

 

Happiness is a new rig, a dry camera, warm water and more to learn.

 

Cheers,

Steve

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Um, I would remind you that O-rings are designed for a normal temperature range. Remember what happened to the Space Shuttle when it's O-rings got below 32 degrees?

 

It is not recommended to take housings in a hot tub. Still, they were pretty cool shots.

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Thanks Dave,

Good point partner, I was thinking about that. Of course normal around here in the summer is way above 102 air temp so I was comfortable it would be OK based on past history. And you don't have to worry about the rig being in anything close to 32. Heck the pool is at 70 and I wimped out.

 

Edit- I did some checking and the lowest high temp range for elastomeric material I can find is around 180F. The old Nikonos rings would fail about 220F. Some of the silicones are good to 450F. Not sure what the Nauticam o-rings are made of but I'm feeling pretty good about getting back in the warm water.

 

Steve

Edited by Steve Williams

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Steve - you will lobster thermadore yourself before you cook a nitrile o ring,

 

Some of the pool chemistry might get at nitrile after a few years immersion I suppose.

 

Dont forget these o ring things are fuel rated - and some of the stuff in diesel is just nasty - even with coke and ice.

 

Thanks for the test shots.

 

Paul C

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My wife took this and mentioned something about evidence to use at the hearing

 

Too funny Steve!

 

Great info-thanks for sharing.

 

Adam

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