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peterbkk

L&M Bluefin / Sony CX550 experience

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With the WA lens on I can feel/see the red filter lens side drag slightly on the rear rim of the port.

There is a screw that holds the tray spring in the front of the housing, when not flipped up the diopter/red filter recesses into a "channel" behind it.

My hands were too large but when my wife ran her hand down thru the channel she can feel that spring screw sticking out the other side where it would scratch the thicker diopter as it travels in and out.

Peter, how did you "shave off some of the black plastic frame around the flip macro lens"? I would like to do that.

 

As I've mentioned here a few times, with MWB, I don't see any value in using the red filter so I can not comment on that one. But I would be very careful of anything that touches the rear rim of the Fathom port because the rear lens is convex, so, if the filter is touching the rim, it may well be touching the glass and this would not be a good thing.

 

I certainly would not recommend using the flip macro when the Fathom port is mounted. With the Fathom on the housing, I would recommend that you have nothing in the flip mount - or at least never swing it up. Flip macro and the Fathom wont work together anyway.

 

I have taken a good look at my flip macro and the standard port - I was using it yesterday. In my case, I can not see how the glass in the flip macro could be rubbing across anything as it is slightly behind its black plastic frame ring. There are no scratches on the glass.

 

The "shaving" that I did was on the bottom of the round black frame of the flip macro at the forwards side, where it slides into the slot behind and below the port. I found that, a couple times underwater, the edge of the flip macro caught on the edge of the housing and would not easily slide down into its slot. The frame plastic is quite soft. So I took a sharp craft knife (box knife with snap off blades) and carefully whittled off the front lower edge about 1 mm, making it beveled and smooth. Now it slides down easily. Possibly the shaving that I did means that it does not push up against the spring-screw head in the slot.

 

By the way, I would not get too hung up about some minor scratches on the flip macro glass. If they are on the bottom part of the lens, they are out of frame. Even if in frame, anything that close to the camera lens is going to have almost zero impact on image quality - unless you are shooting a strongly backlit scene - which would be unusual with macro critter shot. If it is that spring screw that is doing the scratching, the scratch must be way below the camera's lens so it would be well-out of the image frame.

 

Regards

Peter

Edited by peterbkk

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As I've mentioned here a few times, with MWB, I don't see any value in using the red filter so I can not comment on that one. But I would be very careful of anything that touches the rear rim of the Fathom port because the rear lens is convex, so, if the filter is touching the rim, it may well be touching the glass and this would not be a good thing.

 

I certainly would not recommend using the flip macro when the Fathom port is mounted. With the Fathom on the housing, I would recommend that you have nothing in the flip mount - or at least never swing it up. Flip macro and the Fathom wont work together anyway.

 

I have taken a good look at my flip macro and the standard port - I was using it yesterday. In my case, I can not see how the glass in the flip macro could be rubbing across anything as it is slightly behind its black plastic frame ring. There are no scratches on the glass.

 

The "shaving" that I did was on the bottom of the round black frame of the flip macro at the forwards side, where it slides into the slot behind and below the port. I found that, a couple times underwater, the edge of the flip macro caught on the edge of the housing and would not easily slide down into its slot. The frame plastic is quite soft. So I took a sharp craft knife (box knife with snap off blades) and carefully whittled off the front lower edge about 1 mm, making it beveled and smooth. Now it slides down easily. Possibly the shaving that I did means that it does not push up against the spring-screw head in the slot.

 

By the way, I would not get too hung up about some minor scratches on the flip macro glass. If they are on the bottom part of the lens, they are out of frame. Even if in frame, anything that close to the camera lens is going to have almost zero impact on image quality - unless you are shooting a strongly backlit scene - which would be unusual with macro critter shot. If it is that spring screw that is doing the scratching, the scratch must be way below the camera's lens so it would be well-out of the image frame.

 

Regards

Peter

 

Peter-

Good information as usual.

To be clear, I've never tried the flip macro with anything but the standard port.

If you remove the standard port and look in and down from the front you can see the end of the spring screw extending out into the channel. It won't hit the red filter but (at least on mine) it does touch the diopter.

I'm sure its an easy fix but good to know if you haven't checked.

On a side note, I tried the WA lens yesterday and was surprised that occasionally after a manual white balance it would give me a crazy red effect where silver fish would have a weird red strobing across the bodies and the everything else was too red. It was very strange, also the background past the lights appeared very grainy.

Perhaps there is a setting for gain or exposure I have wrong, it had been set for auto shift AE -2 but I noticed later somehow it was in auto exposure. It may have gone back to default or I accidently changed it without noticing.

On a 60 ft dive (no red filter) I tried to WB on different things like a red brown sponge, sand or the sun and the effects were disappointing. Especially as that crazy red affect occurred several times and it was subtle enough that I didn't notice it till we got home.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you. John

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Hi all, fantastic thread, precisely what I was looking for. I have been running a underwater video business in Puerto galera and have finally decided to upgrade - well, my old trv900 has decided for me by dying, really - to the XR520. I have used Gates housings for the past 14 years and want to stay with them. Here's my questions, I have looked on line but without much succes:

 

I am based in the Philippines but a friend from South Australia is coming in about three weeks and could bring me the camera and housing. Do any of you know any place in Australia retailing the housings/cameras and their contact.

 

Any idea of prices in Oz?

 

Cheers,

Rob

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Thanks very much for feedback re this problem. I had a look at the retaining screw but this is not the problem. I watched the action of flipping the dioptre and it is clearly scratching against the rim of the camera. It is not a superficial scratch - footage taken is unusable as it has a smear right across the centre! Spoke to L&M UK today and they are going to have a look at the housing. I will keep you posted

 

John Dory

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I am based in the Philippines but a friend from South Australia is coming in about three weeks and could bring me the camera and housing. Do any of you know any place in Australia retailing the housings/cameras and their contact.

 

If your friend travels through Singapore on his way to the Philippines, it would only take 2 or 3 hours to visit David or Sanah at ScubaCam.

 

Great people, strong supporters of Wetpixel, experts on L&M and good prices. You should contact them to have it set up and ready when your friend passes through. If you asked nicely, might even bring it out to the airport to meet your friend on the way through.

 

Regards

Peter

 

ScubaCam

 

Tel: (65) 6336 6186

Fax: (65) 6336 6252

 

89 Short Street, #01-09 Golden Wall Centre, Singapore 188216

 

Website: www.scubacam.com.sg

Email: info@scubacam.com.sg

 

Mon to Fri: 11am-7pm

Sat: 11am-5pm

Sundays & Public Holidays: Closed

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On a side note, I tried the WA lens yesterday and was surprised that occasionally after a manual white balance it would give me a crazy red effect where silver fish would have a weird red strobing across the bodies and the everything else was too red. It was very strange, also the background past the lights appeared very grainy.

Perhaps there is a setting for gain or exposure I have wrong, it had been set for auto shift AE -2 but I noticed later somehow it was in auto exposure. It may have gone back to default or I accidently changed it without noticing.

On a 60 ft dive (no red filter) I tried to WB on different things like a red brown sponge, sand or the sun and the effects were disappointing. Especially as that crazy red affect occurred several times and it was subtle enough that I didn't notice it till we got home.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you. John

 

Hi John,

 

I have mentioned this issue earlier. This is one of the trickier features of this camcorder. Took me a few dives before I got it right. But worth it because the results are better than with no MWB.

 

It is the camcorder. Nothing to do with the Fathom or the Housing.

 

You need to get inside the camcorder's brain. Here is what it is thinking:

 

"My boss has asked me to do a MWB on the current light coming into my sensor.

Therefore he wants to make the current image white or neutral. (it does not know that it is underwater)

But I can not see any red.

Therefore I have to really boost the red as much as I can.

Good, now I can see some red."

 

That red shows up as the little fuzzy red dots that it somehow boosted out of the blue. You can not see them on the small monitor but, once you get used to the monitor, you can know when you have over-compensated for the UW lighting. Things look too red.

 

White or neutral is not possible underwater. So, you have to fool the camcorder to get close to where you want the WB to be by putting a lot of red into the image that you are using as the MWB input. Red / brown corals in sunlight are OK. The sunlight itself, maybe. Your hand, maybe. But, without video lights, these only work in good sunlight in shallow water (less than 15 meters). At 18 meters, unless the water is crystal clear and a lot of sunlight, there will probably not be enough red to do a successful MWB. Then you'd need a combination of ambiance and video lights on the MWB subject. The lights will add the red that will keep the MWB mechanism happy.

 

The only way to overcome this problem is to do the MWB before all the red is gone. Two ways:

 

- No lights: Do the MWB while shallow (e.g. 10 meters) and do not adjust it again as you get deeper (it'll be close, but not perfect - "perfect" does not exist underwater)

- With lights: Use a combination of lights and ambient to do the MWB (takes a bit of practice to aim the lights so that the MWB is optimal between the artificial and ambient light)

 

The AE-2 setting is only a "shift", not an absolute setting. You are telling the camera: "Make your own assessment of the right exposure and reduce it by 2 stops". The camera is still doing auto-exposure. Remember that the camera is once again trying to find some standard "normal" exposure programmed for surface lighting. Underwater, with less light, the auto-exposure will try to make things brighter than what they are. AE can help stop some overexposure in a dark situation. AE-1 works well for well-lit UW scenes, AE-2 or 3 for slightly darker situations, AE-4 for really dark (early morning, deep dive) situations. AE+1 or 2 can be used on the surface to help balance a strong backlit situation.

 

There is an "absolute" manual exposure setting (Exposure) that you can set on the manual wheel, but you would need to be manually adjusting it all the time. I have used it once or twice if I want to make a scene really dark.

 

The AE setting is not connected to the MWB setting. Two separate bits of logic in the camcorder's brain.

 

Remember, the camcorder does not know that it is underwater and does not know anything about underwater lighting. You have to fool it into doing the right thing.

 

Regards

Peter

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If your friend travels through Singapore on his way to the Philippines, it would only take 2 or 3 hours to visit David or Sanah at ScubaCam.

 

Great people, strong supporters of Wetpixel, experts on L&M and good prices. You should contact them to have it set up and ready when your friend passes through. If you asked nicely, might even bring it out to the airport to meet your friend on the way through.

 

Regards

Peter

 

ScubaCam

 

Tel: (65) 6336 6186

Fax: (65) 6336 6252

 

89 Short Street, #01-09 Golden Wall Centre, Singapore 188216

 

Website: www.scubacam.com.sg

Email: info@scubacam.com.sg

 

Mon to Fri: 11am-7pm

Sat: 11am-5pm

Sundays & Public Holidays: Closed

 

Thank you for the information Peter. I had in fact already emailed Scubacam 24 hours ago but, at this point, have not yet received any reply. I might have to call them.

 

I have been a Gates user for the last 14 years and, until recently, would never have considered changing brand as I have found it to be a next to zero maintenance workhorse (my Gates housing is 12 years old, has done close to 5000 dives - as deep as 120m in spite of being rated for 76 meters - and, due to my working conditions hardly ever gets in a freshwater rinse tank! The last time I took the main o ring out of its groove was 8 years ago...) However, given the speed cameras are getting obsolete these days, I'm considering switching to a housing that could accommodate camera upgrades, hence my interest in Light And Motion. I have some questions some of you may have answers to.

 

The housing I'm looking at is the Bluefin for Sony XR550, I initially was looking at the XR520 but it seems it's already discontinued.

 

Now, to my questions:

 

1. Does Light and Motion sell a lens similar to the Gates GP25 - wide angle (80-90'), suitable for shooting both above and underwater. If yes, at what price? Alternatively, would the Gates lens fit the Light and Motion housing?

 

2. I'm using Alpha lights mounted on flexi arms (http://www.alphadiving.com/main.asp?content=lighting.htm). Would these fit on the Bluefin handles?

 

3. In your experience how reliable is the electronics in a less than ideal environment - tropical heat and moisture, fresh rinse water sometimes not available for several hours after a dive, no dry air con camera room available? I must say reliability has been the main reason I have stuck with Gates for so long. My partner use to have Amphibico housing and had nothing but troubles with the electronics (that is after a couple of years of use).

 

In advance, thank you all for any answers,

 

Rob

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Thank you for the information Peter. I had in fact already emailed Scubacam 24 hours ago but, at this point, have not yet received any reply. I might have to call them.

 

I have been a Gates user for the last 14 years and, until recently, would never have considered changing brand as I have found it to be a next to zero maintenance workhorse (my Gates housing is 12 years old, has done close to 5000 dives - as deep as 120m in spite of being rated for 76 meters - and, due to my working conditions hardly ever gets in a freshwater rinse tank! The last time I took the main o ring out of its groove was 8 years ago...) However, given the speed cameras are getting obsolete these days, I'm considering switching to a housing that could accommodate camera upgrades, hence my interest in Light And Motion. I have some questions some of you may have answers to.

 

The housing I'm looking at is the Bluefin for Sony XR550, I initially was looking at the XR520 but it seems it's already discontinued.

 

Now, to my questions:

 

1. Does Light and Motion sell a lens similar to the Gates GP25 - wide angle (80-90'), suitable for shooting both above and underwater. If yes, at what price? Alternatively, would the Gates lens fit the Light and Motion housing?

 

2. I'm using Alpha lights mounted on flexi arms (http://www.alphadiving.com/main.asp?content=lighting.htm). Would these fit on the Bluefin handles?

 

3. In your experience how reliable is the electronics in a less than ideal environment - tropical heat and moisture, fresh rinse water sometimes not available for several hours after a dive, no dry air con camera room available? I must say reliability has been the main reason I have stuck with Gates for so long. My partner use to have Amphibico housing and had nothing but troubles with the electronics (that is after a couple of years of use).

 

In advance, thank you all for any answers,

 

Rob

 

 

Hi Rob

 

A PM is sent. As you have gathered the XR520 is discontinued and I have been calling some shops to find if there is one on the shelf. Sorry to keep you waiting. In fact the XR 550 series is fast becoming scarce as newer model such as the CX700 has been launched.

 

I hope in my humble opinion to answer some of your questions on mechanical verses electronic. As you have used Gates for so long you will know that it needs maintanance. It requires a regiment of cleaning and changing of the o-rings more so than a housing with two electronic grips. Electronic grips such as Light and Motions require only the battery changing once a year or six months for heavy usage. Very few penetrations of mechanical parts to the housing and would require less regimented examination and cleaning. It is definitely more convenient. Machanical is field repairable if you have the parts and yes one fault of the control does not mean total incapacity of the housing. For electronics I always bring a spare and in some housings the left and right grips could function as primary control by pressing some buttons together. I used both electronic and mechanical for over 12 years with various housings and I agree that for mission critical it is best to have mechanical housing and if you use electronic housing bring spare parts. Usually for professional end videocamera the housing is mostly mechanical simply because these are not mass produced.

 

I will PM on the rest of your questions.

 

Best regards

 

David Cheung

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Appreciate your info on the WB issue.

It is as trying as you had suggested earlier. I had been practicing mostly shallow and well lit sites or night dives on small to macro size subjects and it had been performing very well. The deeper wrecks and reef scenes definately were an eye opener.

I will keep at it to find the optimal solution.

My unit is currently being evaluated as well for what scratched the flip diopter. Hopefully it won't involve too much.

Peter, along the lines of what you said, I did WB once on the way down and the intial video looked pretty good.

It wasn't till I went to a different (darker) portion of the wreck that I re - WB'ed and things really went downhill.

That makes me think it was the problem as you describe.

I had read you prefered -4 for night dives, am I correct to assume you are manual WB'ing with your lights at night?

With my old A1U Bluefin I could get some decent night video with the lights on auto exposure and one touch (manual white balance).

All your information has been a great help. We are going to Bali soon and I anticipate lots of practice.

John

Edited by biminitwist

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Appreciate your info on the WB issue.

It is as trying as you had suggested earlier. I had been practicing mostly shallow and well lit sites or night dives on small to macro size subjects and it had been performing very well. The deeper wrecks and reef scenes definately were an eye opener.

I will keep at it to find the optimal solution.

My unit is currently being evaluated as well for what scratched the flip diopter. Hopefully it won't involve too much.

Peter, along the lines of what you said, I did WB once on the way down and the intial video looked pretty good.

It wasn't till I went to a different (darker) portion of the wreck that I re - WB'ed and things really went downhill.

That makes me think it was the problem as you describe.

I had read you prefered -4 for night dives, am I correct to assume you are manual WB'ing with your lights at night?

With my old A1U Bluefin I could get some decent night video with the lights on auto exposure and one touch (manual white balance).

All your information has been a great help. We are going to Bali soon and I anticipate lots of practice.

John

 

Hi John,

 

I found that, with the CX550, you have to look carefully and assess whether there will be enough red light for the camcorder to be able to do a MWB. In previous Sony cameras, the MWB simply would not function with low light. Since 2009/10, the algorithm changed. It will now do a MWB in low light. But underwater, low light means "no red" which messes up the MWB formula. It tries to boost the red too much - just doing what it has been programmed to do - would work fine on the surface. UW, you've got to make sure there is enough red (i.e. enough sunlight or enough video light) for the formula to work. Otherwise red fuzzies.

 

You can get rid of mild red fuzzes in editing but it is not great.

 

At night, with the video lights providing all the lighting and at quite close range, I find that an auto WB is fine. I also find that, at night, auto exposure is also fine. But I do like to turn the AE shift down a few notches so that night shots look a bit darker. I feel that it adds a bit more realism. Of course, that could just as easily be done in the editing stage.

 

Whereabouts in Bali? Nusa Penida? Mola Mola? See this: http://www.peterwalker.com/peterwalker.com/MolaMola.html

 

Regards

Peter

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Hi John,

 

I found that, with the CX550, you have to look carefully and assess whether there will be enough red light for the camcorder to be able to do a MWB. In previous Sony cameras, the MWB simply would not function with low light. Since 2009/10, the algorithm changed. It will now do a MWB in low light. But underwater, low light means "no red" which messes up the MWB formula. It tries to boost the red too much - just doing what it has been programmed to do - would work fine on the surface. UW, you've got to make sure there is enough red (i.e. enough sunlight or enough video light) for the formula to work. Otherwise red fuzzies.

 

You can get rid of mild red fuzzes in editing but it is not great.

 

At night, with the video lights providing all the lighting and at quite close range, I find that an auto WB is fine. I also find that, at night, auto exposure is also fine. But I do like to turn the AE shift down a few notches so that night shots look a bit darker. I feel that it adds a bit more realism. Of course, that could just as easily be done in the editing stage.

 

Whereabouts in Bali? Nusa Penida? Mola Mola? See this: http://www.peterwalker.com/peterwalker.com/MolaMola.html

 

Regards

Peter

 

Great video Peter, I especially liked the blues and depth of field in your focus.

We are doing a couple days in Ubud then 11 days in Tulamaben with Scuba Seraya starting April 25.

It will be our first time in Bali and hopefully lots of practice with novel subjects.

Our trip next year in Oct. will be with the Damai and hopefully better timed for the Molas.

Our local vis has been pretty bad here so it has been hard to judge the WA lens when I zoom in on say my partner then lock the focus.

I've seen some impressive video done with that lens so I have high hopes. It was an expense I couldn't afford on past housings.

Thanks.

John

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Hi all, fantastic thread, precisely what I was looking for. I have been running a underwater video business in Puerto galera and have finally decided to upgrade - well, my old trv900 has decided for me by dying, really - to the XR520. I have used Gates housings for the past 14 years and want to stay with them. Here's my questions, I have looked on line but without much succes:

 

I am based in the Philippines but a friend from South Australia is coming in about three weeks and could bring me the camera and housing. Do any of you know any place in Australia retailing the housings/cameras and their contact.

 

Any idea of prices in Oz?

 

Cheers,

Rob

 

Hi I got my L&M housing / fathom lens from Scubapix out of Cairns. They are very responsive, knowledgeable and helpful and prices are competitive as L&M prices go, especially if you get more than just the housing and if your friend gets the GST refund when leaving Australia. http://scubapix.com/. Email is info@scubapix.com Peter who is the owner is known to frequent the Wetpixel forums as well..... One thing you need to consider is where you will go for servicing of the camera if and when you require that... For the camera side - I think the best bet there is to find the best deal online and order that way - probably you will have more luck finding a deal (and the camera itself given recent limited supplies) in SE Asia.... I had a bear trying to find my camera, but I think the 520 isn't as bad....

 

Best

Rebecca

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Hi all,

 

So I'm back from my trip to Sudan and had a wonderful time!!! It was interesting playing with a new toy and trying to understand the workings, but I got some decent material and a ton of wonderful memories.

 

But coming out of the trip, I wanted to ask a few questions.

 

I had a real challenge - even in spectacular visibility - white balancing at depths of 20m or higher. I was frequently getting footage where the water looked purple and the substrate was green. This happened with and without the red filter. I didn't remember to toggle the XV Colour function (it was on the whole time), so I'll try that next time in case that is the problem (though I never had issues with the HC7) - but has anyone else come across this and have any thoughts? Because of the red / green issue, there was no hope of adjusting white balance in IMovie after the fact.

 

I was also having an issue with focussing. I'd do the normal, setting the focus to manual and then pressing the AF / MF button when I wanted to focus on a macro object and then refocus for wide angle. The camera just wasn't responsive but maybe I wasn't doing things right. First I tried pressing and holding the button and then trying to toggle on and off, but without much luck. Could someone walk me through how to do this???

 

And finally, I had hopes of editing my video with Final Cut Express but looks like it can't handle AVCHD? Any thoughts here?

 

Thx!

Rebecca

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Hi I got my L&M housing / fathom lens from Scubapix out of Cairns. They are very responsive, knowledgeable and helpful and prices are competitive as L&M prices go...

Rebecca

 

Thanks for the info Rebecca. I have been in touch with Pete who was indeed very responsive and helpful. However, couple of things changed - Ozzie friend no longer coming and Light And Motion not offering a mid price wide angle lens, putting the housing outside my budget range.

 

Back to the drawing board, I have ordered a Gates housing from Scubacam in Singapore and a Sony XR550 as it seems the 520 has pretty much already been discontinued.

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HI Rob, have upgraded to the Stingray G2+ housing with the Sony CX550v camera. Am very pleased with the results. If you can get the Sola lights, they are nice and compact. When I get around to it I will try to post videos from Fiji-shark dive, and Vanuatu-President Calvin Cooledge.

Will be back to Puerto Galera for new year.

David

Thank you for the information Peter. I had in fact already emailed Scubacam 24 hours ago but, at this point, have not yet received any reply. I might have to call them.

 

I have been a Gates user for the last 14 years and, until recently, would never have considered changing brand as I have found it to be a next to zero maintenance workhorse (my Gates housing is 12 years old, has done close to 5000 dives - as deep as 120m in spite of being rated for 76 meters - and, due to my working conditions hardly ever gets in a freshwater rinse tank! The last time I took the main o ring out of its groove was 8 years ago...) However, given the speed cameras are getting obsolete these days, I'm considering switching to a housing that could accommodate camera upgrades, hence my interest in Light And Motion. I have some questions some of you may have answers to.

 

The housing I'm looking at is the Bluefin for Sony XR550, I initially was looking at the XR520 but it seems it's already discontinued.

 

Now, to my questions:

 

1. Does Light and Motion sell a lens similar to the Gates GP25 - wide angle (80-90'), suitable for shooting both above and underwater. If yes, at what price? Alternatively, would the Gates lens fit the Light and Motion housing?

 

2. I'm using Alpha lights mounted on flexi arms (http://www.alphadiving.com/main.asp?content=lighting.htm). Would these fit on the Bluefin handles?

 

3. In your experience how reliable is the electronics in a less than ideal environment - tropical heat and moisture, fresh rinse water sometimes not available for several hours after a dive, no dry air con camera room available? I must say reliability has been the main reason I have stuck with Gates for so long. My partner use to have Amphibico housing and had nothing but troubles with the electronics (that is after a couple of years of use).

 

In advance, thank you all for any answers,

 

Rob

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Thanks for the info Rebecca. I have been in touch with Pete who was indeed very responsive and helpful. However, couple of things changed - Ozzie friend no longer coming and Light And Motion not offering a mid price wide angle lens, putting the housing outside my budget range.

 

Back to the drawing board, I have ordered a Gates housing from Scubacam in Singapore and a Sony XR550 as it seems the 520 has pretty much already been discontinued.

 

The 550 is also on its way out. You might want to wait a couple more months and get the new 700. Just waiting for the housing manufacturers to bring out their 700 models.

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Hi all,

 

So I'm back from my trip to Sudan and had a wonderful time!!! It was interesting playing with a new toy and trying to understand the workings, but I got some decent material and a ton of wonderful memories.

 

But coming out of the trip, I wanted to ask a few questions.

 

I had a real challenge - even in spectacular visibility - white balancing at depths of 20m or higher. I was frequently getting footage where the water looked purple and the substrate was green. This happened with and without the red filter. I didn't remember to toggle the XV Colour function (it was on the whole time), so I'll try that next time in case that is the problem (though I never had issues with the HC7) - but has anyone else come across this and have any thoughts? Because of the red / green issue, there was no hope of adjusting white balance in IMovie after the fact.

 

I was also having an issue with focussing. I'd do the normal, setting the focus to manual and then pressing the AF / MF button when I wanted to focus on a macro object and then refocus for wide angle. The camera just wasn't responsive but maybe I wasn't doing things right. First I tried pressing and holding the button and then trying to toggle on and off, but without much luck. Could someone walk me through how to do this???

 

And finally, I had hopes of editing my video with Final Cut Express but looks like it can't handle AVCHD? Any thoughts here?

 

Thx!

Rebecca

 

As I've mentioned here a couple of times, getting the MWB right on the 550 is a bit tricky. Once you know how to do it, no problems from then on. That's why I always recommend buying a new camera housing well before that "trip of a lifetime" and becoming familiar with its nuances before you leave home (and access to these forums...).

 

The secret to getting MWB right is to know how much red is available. Even in clear water, below 12 to 15 meters, there is not enough red. The WB mechanism tries too hard to boost the tiny amount of red, creating problems like red fuzzies and purple water. You must remember that the camcorder is programmed for normal sunlight, above-the-surface white balance. It knows nothing about underwater. If you try to apply its WB formula underwater, it will look weird. Water is naturally greenish / blue so you have to let that dominate.

 

Forget the red filter. It does not boost red. It just reduces green and blue, giving the WB mechanism even less light to work with. I never use a red filter at any depth. I leave it at home!

 

Below 12 to 15 meters, even in clear water, you have to fool the WB mechanism. I use the video lights. I turn on the lights and approach a brown coral bommie or sponge or bit of wreck, some brown sand or, if not available, my hand. With a bit of practice I can guess the right distance, usually about .7 to 1 meter, the first time. It depends on the subject - how much red does it naturally contain. Leave the camera in Standby (can not MWB while recording). Then press MWB. Look at the target subject. Is it too red? If so, move in closer and MWB again. Then swing the camera up and look at the open water. Is the water the right colour? If you see too much red or purple, go through the MWB process again, this time a bit closer to the target subject (more impact from the video lights). With practice, you'll get it right in one or two goes. The end result will a WB that looks natural - not too red and still contains the natural blue tones underwater.

 

Above 10 to 12 meters, you can do the above without the lights, but the MWB subject must contain a lot of red (brown coral, sand, hand) and must have sunlight on it.

 

Below 25 to 30 meters, there is no red so you need to shoot with video lights to bring out colour for CU and MS shots and accept that the background will be blueish / green. Any WA shots will be low contrast blueish / green - that's natural.

 

Not sure about the focusing question. If there is plenty of light and good subject contrast, auto focus works. Auto-focus is good for macro, CU and medium shots. For long shots, where things are not very contrasty, lock the focus with the AF button.

 

I use FCP for AVCHD, capturing it straight into ProRes format. Not sure if you can do that in FCE. In FCP it is an option in the setup section.

 

Regards

Peter

Edited by peterbkk

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Hi Peter, or anyone else that uses the Bluefin Pro OLED housing,

 

Just wondering how you're getting on with the Bluefin Pro OLED housing after using it for a while......are you still really pleased with it?

 

I'm toying with the idea of upgrading to the Bluefin Pro OLED housing from my current Aditech Mangrove housing. The one touch white-balance and focus are very tempting!!! wink.gif

 

I have a Sony XR520 that I'm really happy with, so don't think that I'd need to upgrade the camera....unless you can convince me otherwise.

 

Many thanks for your advice,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outlook 2010

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Microsoft Access 2010

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The 550 is also on its way out. You might want to wait a couple more months and get the new 700. Just waiting for the housing manufacturers to bring out their 700 models.

 

Unfortunately not an option for me as waiting longer would put me out of business. Thanks for the advice anyway, guess I'll just have to get a spare camera while they're still in stock.

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Hi guys,

 

Thanks for this intresting topic, i have also for a few weeks now the XR550 with a bluefin PRO housing including wide angle lens, i really like the setup and i am surprised with the quality!

 

But my problem is that the back scrreen on the housing gives totaly other colours etc then the recorded image, so that means finding the right white balance is really difficult if you are almost blind.

 

Do you have also this problem?

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Hi guys,

 

Thanks for this intresting topic, i have also for a few weeks now the XR550 with a bluefin PRO housing including wide angle lens, i really like the setup and i am surprised with the quality!

 

But my problem is that the back scrreen on the housing gives totaly other colours etc then the recorded image, so that means finding the right white balance is really difficult if you are almost blind.

 

Do you have also this problem?

 

Depends on what you mean by "totally other colours"?

 

Is the color balance somewhat different from the recorded image? Yes.

Does it effect the ability to judge color balance underwater? No.

 

On the surface, there is slight shift towards the red end of the spectrum.

Underwater, the slight shift is muted by the water column between the eye and the monitor.

 

If your monitor is showing "totally" other colours, then either it is faulty or the setting needs adjusting (try to use the buttons under the monitor to open the menu and adjust the color balance on the monitor).

 

Regards

Peter

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Depends on what you mean by "totally other colours"?

 

Is the color balance somewhat different from the recorded image? Yes.

Does it effect the ability to judge color balance underwater? No.

 

On the surface, there is slight shift towards the red end of the spectrum.

Underwater, the slight shift is muted by the water column between the eye and the monitor.

 

If your monitor is showing "totally" other colours, then either it is faulty or the setting needs adjusting (try to use the buttons under the monitor to open the menu and adjust the color balance on the monitor).

 

Regards

Peter

 

Peter,

 

Thanks for your answer!

It is completly out of colour and i have tried like crazy to adjust everthing in the menu!

So what do you mean with "faulty"? i am still in Indonesia traveling and i am going to be home like 10 houres before leaving to Maledives next week for 2 liveaboards in a row, and i was planning to just take the new 550 instead of the EX1 GATES combo, just because the housing is so handy to travel with etc, and i do not have like a important mission for filming, but now i do not know what to do.

 

Bruno

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Peter,

 

Thanks for your answer!

It is completly out of colour and i have tried like crazy to adjust everthing in the menu!

So what do you mean with "faulty"? i am still in Indonesia traveling and i am going to be home like 10 houres before leaving to Maledives next week for 2 liveaboards in a row, and i was planning to just take the new 550 instead of the EX1 GATES combo, just because the housing is so handy to travel with etc, and i do not have like a important mission for filming, but now i do not know what to do.

 

Bruno

[/]

 

Hi Bruno,

 

If you will pass through Singapore, contact David Cheung at ScubaCam info@scubacam.com.sg

 

If anyone in this part of the world can help you, David can.

 

Regards

Peter

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As I've mentioned here a couple of times, getting the MWB right on the 550 is a bit tricky. Once you know how to do it, no problems from then on. That's why I always recommend buying a new camera housing well before that "trip of a lifetime" and becoming familiar with its nuances before you leave home (and access to these forums...).

 

The secret to getting MWB right is to know how much red is available. Even in clear water, below 12 to 15 meters, there is not enough red. The WB mechanism tries too hard to boost the tiny amount of red, creating problems like red fuzzies and purple water. You must remember that the camcorder is programmed for normal sunlight, above-the-surface white balance. It knows nothing about underwater. If you try to apply its WB formula underwater, it will look weird. Water is naturally greenish / blue so you have to let that dominate.

 

Forget the red filter. It does not boost red. It just reduces green and blue, giving the WB mechanism even less light to work with. I never use a red filter at any depth. I leave it at home!

 

Below 12 to 15 meters, even in clear water, you have to fool the WB mechanism. I use the video lights. I turn on the lights and approach a brown coral bommie or sponge or bit of wreck, some brown sand or, if not available, my hand. With a bit of practice I can guess the right distance, usually about .7 to 1 meter, the first time. It depends on the subject - how much red does it naturally contain. Leave the camera in Standby (can not MWB while recording). Then press MWB. Look at the target subject. Is it too red? If so, move in closer and MWB again. Then swing the camera up and look at the open water. Is the water the right colour? If you see too much red or purple, go through the MWB process again, this time a bit closer to the target subject (more impact from the video lights). With practice, you'll get it right in one or two goes. The end result will a WB that looks natural - not too red and still contains the natural blue tones underwater.

 

Above 10 to 12 meters, you can do the above without the lights, but the MWB subject must contain a lot of red (brown coral, sand, hand) and must have sunlight on it.

 

Below 25 to 30 meters, there is no red so you need to shoot with video lights to bring out colour for CU and MS shots and accept that the background will be blueish / green. Any WA shots will be low contrast blueish / green - that's natural.

 

Not sure about the focusing question. If there is plenty of light and good subject contrast, auto focus works. Auto-focus is good for macro, CU and medium shots. For long shots, where things are not very contrasty, lock the focus with the AF button.

 

I use FCP for AVCHD, capturing it straight into ProRes format. Not sure if you can do that in FCE. In FCP it is an option in the setup section.

 

Regards

Peter

 

 

If you have any interest, here is a video I pulled together of the trip. In the end the challenge was trying to cut all the material down to a length that people could watch in one sitting.... It was an amazing trip..

 

-

 

Note that this was in a Bluefin base housing - I was mailed the wrong one the day we left so I used it on the trip when I returned but what it did do was make me realise how valuable the microphone, larger viewscreen and manual knob are - so many times I wanted that fine tune focus capability... Would welcome any comments. I plan to practice on this set up as much as possible.

 

Rebecca

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