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Guy Rayment

Nikon D7000 with Ikelite setup problems

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Hi all and any help would be appreciated :) I have been using for the last 4 months a D7000 with an Ikelite housing and single strobe, all excellent except:

  1. When I try to set the speed and aperture manually I am getting a red/pink overcast on my pictures. Switch back to auto and it disappears. Problem is I am shooting macro with 105 mm lens and auto settings make the aperture too large/depth of field to shallow.
  2. My built in flash pops up inside the housing when I use the TTL cable - is this normal? Can I stop it with out affecting the setup?

Look forward to any help and if anyone knows of an underwater workshop for the D7000 near KL it can only help.

 

Thank you Guy

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I'm a very new D7000 in Ikelite user and have not experienced your problem but it seems to be a white balance setting. I have started using white balance set at 5500 kelvin as that is is closest to the D51 strobe value. Before that I was using auto white balance, too early to say which I prefer. I have never tried the auto setting for speed and aperture as advice here has always been to go manual

 

I also found my flash popping up only sometimes but have not made the connection will check later to see if it happens before installing it. All my dives have been with TTL cord installed and used.

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Have just checked and normally flash popup button is disabled when the ttl is connected to the hotfoot. I have no idea why it sometimes pops in the housing.

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Let me address the pop-up flash issue first, because it is easier. The pop-up flash will only pop itself up automatically when the camera is in Full Auto, or some of the scene selections. If you use it in P, A, S or M (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or Manual) mode, it will never pop-up up unless you press the flash button. Further, if you have a iTTL flash connected via the hot shoe (including the Ikelite cable connected to an Ikelite strobe which is powered on), the pop-up button will not pop-up the flash.

 

You should be using M (Manual) mode for shooting underwater with a 105mm lens with a flash. I believe switching to M will solve your problems. You can test all this above water (and even without the housing).

 

As to the colour cast, you'll need to answer some questions...

 

* Are you shooting raw or JPEG?

* What setting do you have for White Balance?

* What mode are you using?

 

Ideally and as above, you should be using M and setting the White Balance to something close to what you want.

 

I always shoot raw and use Lightroom for my processing and raw conversion. I always shoot manual (M) and have white balance set to Auto (mostly because I don't care that much for white balance as I shoot raw). I have a preset in Lightroom set for shooting with the D7000 and 2x DS161 strobes which I created by shooting a gray card with the D7000 + 2x DS161 strobes.

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Hi ATJ and thanks for the input.

 

To answer your questions, shooting RAW and copy Jpeg, white balance manually adjusting up to +6, using aperture priority setting F8 or higher in conjunction with 1 x DS161 flash, however the red hue appears, so switching to auto mode (explains flash popping up).

 

At the moment auto is giving me very good macro results but very narrow depth of field, ghost pipefish side on, head in focus but body where bent badly blurred. I seem to get F4/5 on auto being the problem. I will try fully manual and setting white balance against my hand.

 

I too have Adobe but this is all new and so do not yet know how to lift the blue cast using the editing suite.

 

I would prefer to shoot as near perfect pics though, especially as I bought the camera to get good blue water shots especially of sharks, mantas, reefs etc. I have just moved up from a Fuji F30 which I've used for 7 years but am experienced SLR user on land, but this help is great as all very challenging underwater in a housing!

 

Thanks Guy

 

 

 

Let me address the pop-up flash issue first, because it is easier. The pop-up flash will only pop itself up automatically when the camera is in Full Auto, or some of the scene selections. If you use it in P, A, S or M (Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or Manual) mode, it will never pop-up up unless you press the flash button. Further, if you have a iTTL flash connected via the hot shoe (including the Ikelite cable connected to an Ikelite strobe which is powered on), the pop-up button will not pop-up the flash.

 

You should be using M (Manual) mode for shooting underwater with a 105mm lens with a flash. I believe switching to M will solve your problems. You can test all this above water (and even without the housing).

 

As to the colour cast, you'll need to answer some questions...

 

* Are you shooting raw or JPEG?

* What setting do you have for White Balance?

* What mode are you using?

 

Ideally and as above, you should be using M and setting the White Balance to something close to what you want.

 

I always shoot raw and use Lightroom for my processing and raw conversion. I always shoot manual (M) and have white balance set to Auto (mostly because I don't care that much for white balance as I shoot raw). I have a preset in Lightroom set for shooting with the D7000 and 2x DS161 strobes which I created by shooting a gray card with the D7000 + 2x DS161 strobes.

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Hi David and thank you too for your input. ATJ is posting some good responses so with both your comments hopefully getting nearer. Guy

 

 

Have just checked and normally flash popup button is disabled when the ttl is connected to the hotfoot. I have no idea why it sometimes pops in the housing.

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To answer your questions, shooting RAW and copy Jpeg, white balance manually adjusting up to +6, using aperture priority setting F8 or higher in conjunction with 1 x DS161 flash, however the red hue appears, so switching to auto mode (explains flash popping up).

I suspect what is happening here is that when you are in full auto mode (and I assume you mean one of the scene settings) that it is also setting the white balance for you, perhaps Auto White Balance. I really don't understand how it does it but I have found with both my D7000 and D300 that Auto White Balance is pretty damn close to what it should be (using a gray card) (It doesn't make sense it would get it right, especially when using a flash but it does.)

 

So... when you are on full auto, you get a pretty good white balance and so things look right. When you switch to aperture priority, it is using your manual white balance which is off, giving you the red cast. Just try putting it on auto WB and see what happens. Also, as you are shooting raw, you can always adjust the white balance after the shot has been taken with no loss.

 

At the moment auto is giving me very good macro results but very narrow depth of field, ghost pipefish side on, head in focus but body where bent badly blurred. I seem to get F4/5 on auto being the problem. I will try fully manual and setting white balance against my hand.

For macro you really want at f/11 or smaller (as in the aperture is smaller, the f/number is larger). Most of my macro shots are done at f/16 or f/22.

 

You also want fully manual so you can set both the aperture and the shutter speed. Ideally, you set the aperture to get the depth of field you want and then set the shutter speed to get the desired balance between foreground lighting (with the flash) and the background (ambient light). If you want black or dark backgrounds, go with 1/250s (as you can't go any faster). Use a longer shutter speed to lighten the background. Use the exposure indicator in the viewfinder to determine the impact of the background lighting and adjust the shutter speed accordingly. For example, about 1 f/stop under exposed gives a nice amount of background lighting.

 

I too have Adobe but this is all new and so do not yet know how to lift the blue cast using the editing suite.

Just try changing the white balance to one of the preset ones. e.g. try "Flash" and see if that helps.

 

I would prefer to shoot as near perfect pics though, especially as I bought the camera to get good blue water shots especially of sharks, mantas, reefs etc. I have just moved up from a Fuji F30 which I've used for 7 years but am experienced SLR user on land, but this help is great as all very challenging underwater in a housing!

If you know your DSLR well on land, you should be fine underwater. The principles are the same, just that you have to factor in the effect the water has on the light and so you need to get as close to your subject as possible.

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ATJ - Thanks for all the advice and now have a clearer idea of what may be happening. Off to Sipadan next week so fingers crossed :B):

 

I suspect what is happening here is that when you are in full auto mode (and I assume you mean one of the scene settings) that it is also setting the white balance for you, perhaps Auto White Balance. I really don't understand how it does it but I have found with both my D7000 and D300 that Auto White Balance is pretty damn close to what it should be (using a gray card) (It doesn't make sense it would get it right, especially when using a flash but it does.)

 

So... when you are on full auto, you get a pretty good white balance and so things look right. When you switch to aperture priority, it is using your manual white balance which is off, giving you the red cast. Just try putting it on auto WB and see what happens. Also, as you are shooting raw, you can always adjust the white balance after the shot has been taken with no loss.

 

 

For macro you really want at f/11 or smaller (as in the aperture is smaller, the f/number is larger). Most of my macro shots are done at f/16 or f/22.

 

You also want fully manual so you can set both the aperture and the shutter speed. Ideally, you set the aperture to get the depth of field you want and then set the shutter speed to get the desired balance between foreground lighting (with the flash) and the background (ambient light). If you want black or dark backgrounds, go with 1/250s (as you can't go any faster). Use a longer shutter speed to lighten the background. Use the exposure indicator in the viewfinder to determine the impact of the background lighting and adjust the shutter speed accordingly. For example, about 1 f/stop under exposed gives a nice amount of background lighting.

 

 

Just try changing the white balance to one of the preset ones. e.g. try "Flash" and see if that helps.

 

 

If you know your DSLR well on land, you should be fine underwater. The principles are the same, just that you have to factor in the effect the water has on the light and so you need to get as close to your subject as possible.

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Off to Sipadan next week so fingers crossed :B):

I did 10 dives off Sipadan last October and it was fantastic. I can highly recommend it. So much to photograph! I was shooting with my D300 at the time (see the photos in my dive log) and only housed my D7000 after returning.

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We just missed each other, I was there 8th November.

 

Great pictures with some stunning macros, the ribbon eel came out a treat to name but one. Have yet to see Mandarin fish but hopefully this time. Can you please advise on the macro photos shooting with the 60 mm lens, generally did you use auto or manual white balance to produce the crystal clear water or did you lightroom it after?

 

Didn't realise there were so many colourful critters in NSW either :B):

 

I did 10 dives off Sipadan last October and it was fantastic. I can highly recommend it. So much to photograph! I was shooting with my D300 at the time (see the photos in my dive log) and only housed my D7000 after returning.

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Can you please advise on the macro photos shooting with the 60 mm lens, generally did you use auto or manual white balance to produce the crystal clear water or did you lightroom it after?

All the images have exif data included so you can get the shutter speed and f/stop for all of them. I always shoot manual and set the shutter speed and f/stop as desired for background lighting and depth of field.

 

I shoot raw with auto white balance but I change the white balance in Lightroom with a preset I created by shooting a gray card with the set up. i.e. the white balance I use at the time of shooting is largely irrelevant as I will always override it. I mainly go with auto white balance of when I'm using the camera in other situations and forget to set the white balance.

 

I always get as close as possible to the subject to minimize backscatter, as well as pointing my strobes to minimize backscatter in front of the subject. If necessary, I clean up backscatter in Lightroom.

 

Didn't realise there were so many colourful critters in NSW either :B):

We have some really stunning organisms down under down under, especially seadragons, seahorses and nudibranchs. We get some really cool cephalopods, too.

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When using Ikelite strobes with my underwater cameras and housings, I routinely set my white balance to the "K" or Kelvin setting and specify a colour temperature of 4800 degrees.

 

I shot my Nikon D2x with DS200 strobes for years and got very close to perfect white balance every time, especially with macro.

 

It is important to remember the Ikelite brand of strobes were originally designed for film and were intentionally set to a warmer (more red) colour temperature than the "daylight" or "flash" white balance settings we now work with.

 

Daylight and Flash white balances are set around 5500 to 6000 degrees kelvin which is a lot colder (or more blue) than your strobes. End result with your camera set to flash or daylight will give your images a very red look.

 

On the D7000:

 

Press "Menu"

 

Go to "Shooting" menu

 

Scroll down to "White Balance" and press "OK"

 

Highlight "K Choose Color Temp." and press "OK"

 

Scroll to "4760" This will closely match your strobes to the camera white balance and give you a more neutral tone to your image.

 

Press "OK"

 

Press "OK" on the next screen with the colour grid or fine tune your colour balance by introducing a slight colour bias to the white balance. I dive in green water most of the time so I usually fine tune the colour balance by moving the cursor in the colour grid down into the magenta area to reduce some of the green in my images.

 

Hope this helps.

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When using Ikelite strobes with my underwater cameras and housings, I routinely set my white balance to the "K" or Kelvin setting and specify a colour temperature of 4800 degrees.

Unfortunately, that assumes that Ikelite have correctly measured and reported the colour temperature of their strobes and that there is no variation between the strobes themselves. My results below, suggest that while the DS161 is rated at 4800K, it has a somewhat higher colour temperature.

 

I shot my Nikon D2x with DS200 strobes for years and got very close to perfect white balance every time, especially with macro.

How did you verify your white balance was "very close to perfect"?

 

 

 

An accurate way is with a 18% gray card. And an even more accurate way would be to use a colour checker, but that is very fiddly.

 

I regularly use a Kodak 18% gray card for setting and verifying my white balance settings.

 

As an experiment, I set up my D7000 using instructions you posted - so that the white balance would be set to 4760K. I then connected my D7000 to my 2 DS161 strobes and took a photograph of the gray card. Just for fun, I also took photos of the gray card with the camera set to "Daylight" and "Flash". I imported the photographs into Lightroom for analysis.

 

The development module in Lightroom provides both a histogram and point analysis of the photo. Additionally, there's a "dropper" which will set the white balance of the photograph so that red, green and blue are the same levels.

 

The photo shot with white balance set to 4760K had a distinct blue to it. Lightroom shows the colour temperature as 4750K with a Tint of +12. The histogram showed that blue was brighter and separate from the red and green channels. Using the point analysis, red and green are around 38% (with green being slightly higher than red). The blue channel was over 42%. If I use the white balance dropper, to set the white balance, it sets the Temp to between 5200 and 5250K with a tint of +3 to +5.

 

The "daylight" shot looks much more neutral. Lightroom also shows the Temp as 5200K and the Tint as +11. The histogram shows all three channels almost together, with blue slightly higher than red and red slightly higher than green. The dropper shows numbers like: R: 42.4 G: 41.8 B: 43.0%. Using the WB dropper makes little difference either leaving the Temp at 5200K or changing it to 5250K. The tint drops to +3 to +5 and this would be expected.

 

The "flash" shot was wrong and obviously so. Lightroom shows the Temp as 6600K and Tint as +10. The histogram show more separation than the other two with blue being the lowest and and red the highest. Point analysis is like R: 47.7 G: 44.9 B: 41.9.

 

So, at least for my D7000 and DS161 strobes, "daylight" was the closest.

 

If you want to set the white balance in the camera, a more accurate way would be to use Preset manual (Page 123 in the D7000 manual) with a gray card and using the strobes as a light source. However, if the camera is not used exclusively for underwater photography with the same strobes, it is far easy to just shoot raw and set the white balance in post processing. The problem if you use the camera for other photography is forgetting to set the white balance before underwater use and so it is wrong anyway.

 

I do a lot of different photography, but most of the time I'm using a strobe of one sort or another and with different soft boxes. I have a number of white balance presets in Lightroom created by photographing the gray card with each of the different combinations of strobes and diffusers I use. It is just a matter of selecting the correct preset on import (or even later if I forget). I even have the luxury of creating a preset after the fact (postset?).

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Now we are gettting technical, however very useful so thank you. I am printing out your comments for reference, however would hope to run on going for white balance auto setting, but I have 2 options Auto1 normal or Auto2 keep warm lighting colours.

 

Am I corrrect in assuming Auto2 would be best choice?

 

Any experience?

Edited by Guy Rayment

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I didn't even realise there were two settings. When I checked mine, I have been using Auto1 and get good results. Even though I always change the white balance to the appropriate preset in post processing (Lightroom), I notice the images look pretty good before the change.

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"Unfortunately, that assumes that Ikelite have correctly measured and reported the colour temperature of their strobes and that there is no variation between the strobes themselves. My results below, suggest that while the DS161 is rated at 4800K, it has a somewhat higher colour temperature."

Are you suggesting that Ikelite does not conduct any quality assurance audits to make sure they are indeed selling what they advertise? What methodology did you use to find the color temperature of your strobes?

 

White balance is a subjective quality which you measure with your eye. Yes, it can be quantified as you have done, but in most instances white balance will be set by what your eye will tell you. One of the reasons we use flash underwater is to not only illuminate the scene so we can record it, but also to re-introduce colours to the scene so we can create a subjective approximation of what we saw that is pleasing to our eyes and sensibilities.

 

Unless you are shooting for accurate colour for a company like Coca Cola where they have spent huge sums of money to protect the exact shade of red of the Coca Cola product, then I fear one's photography may suffer by paying so much attention to one aspect of the image making process at the expense of the others.

 

The last step in the process I described was to fine tuning the colour balance via the colour grid to provide a more pleasing approximation of the original scene. In your case, you could simply move the cursor in the grid over into the yellow part of the grid to remove the excess blue. An asterisk will show next to the white balance setting that you have modified so you will know that that setting has been modified from the camera default.

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Are you suggesting that Ikelite does not conduct any quality assurance audits to make sure they are indeed selling what they advertise?

I am suggesting that it is very unlikely that Ikelite will measure the "colour temperature" of each and every strobe when it comes off the production line and also that there is going to be some variation from unit to unit. It is far better to validate the effect it has on white balance in your particular setup (including the camera) than rely on the specifications - especially when it is actually easier to do the former.

 

It is also worth pointing out that electronic flash is NOT a black body and at best colour temperature is only going to be an approximation for the behaviour of the interaction of the light with a camera sensor. Again, it is far better to assess the impact on white balance that try to connect two approximations.

 

What methodology did you use to find the color temperature of your strobes?

I didn't find the colour temperature of my strobes and never claimed to. I also understand colour temperature and know it would be pretty meaningless to even try to measure it. As above, it makes more sense and is easier to assess the effect on white balance.

 

White balance is a subjective quality which you measure with your eye.

White balance MUST be objective to ensure consistent and repeatable results. It also has to be objective for the very reason that you can't reliably use your eyes to measure or assess it.

 

The human brain interprets what the eyes see and makes adjustments to fit in with what it expects. That's why if you walk into a room lit with incandescent lamps you still see the scene as you would expect to see it, even though the white balance is way out. Take a photograph of that scene without making the appropriate white balance adjustments and the resulting photograph will look terrible.

 

Underwater scenes are even more troublesome because you never actually see them with white light. There's no way you can know how something actually appears as you never see it that way. The only way to get the colours accurate is to set the white balance empirically, such as with a gray card.

 

Yes, it can be quantified as you have done, but in most instances white balance will be set by what your eye will tell you. One of the reasons we use flash underwater is to not only illuminate the scene so we can record it, but also to re-introduce colours to the scene so we can create a subjective approximation of what we saw that is pleasing to our eyes and sensibilities.

It is the need to "re-introduce colours" which mandates setting of white balance objectively because your eyes only ever see the scene without the missing colours. i.e. you never see the scene with white light.

 

Unless you are shooting for accurate colour for a company like Coca Cola where they have spent huge sums of money to protect the exact shade of red of the Coca Cola product, then I fear one's photography may suffer by paying so much attention to one aspect of the image making process at the expense of the others.

If photographers are not at least starting with accurate colours through appropriate use of white balance they are merely artists not capturing reality. Certainly, a photographer may choose to alter reality to tell the story they want to tell, but if they have no way of knowing what reality is in the first place, they are fooling themselves as well as everyone else.

 

Setting white balance objectively is very easy using a gray card and is actually much easier than setting it subjectively. There's no need to pour over images and adjust colours until they look right. You just set the white balance once so that it is right and use the same settings over and over again.

 

The last step in the process I described was to fine tuning the colour balance via the colour grid to provide a more pleasing approximation of the original scene. In your case, you could simply move the cursor in the grid over into the yellow part of the grid to remove the excess blue. An asterisk will show next to the white balance setting that you have modified so you will know that that setting has been modified from the camera default.

Again, this is far more work that simply taking a photograph of a gray card using the intended lighting.

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Firstly thankyou for you help. Got some great results from Sipadan and also visited Si Amile for some gr8 macro shots - will post soon!

 

Have a real problem, just got to the Similan Islands put the D7000 together with the DS161 and no flash when taking picture. The DS161 is working well under movie light and SOS battery rest. The camera has been reset on user settings, then white balance set to auto, flash is set to TTL with the lightening bolt showing on the viewer, flash sync speed 1/250 and shutter speed 1/60, mode is set to programmed/ aperture priority/ manual, metering set to spot, focus set to spot and focusing is set to AF-A. Any reason you can think of for the flash not syncing and firing?

 

I have exhausted the manual for an answer:(

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Does the strobe flash at all ? It is probably connection related. Is the strobe adapter properly put in the hotshoe of the camera : that is easy to miss, on my camera it needs an extra push. Is the sync cord allright. There are some test you can do by shortening two wires, but be carefull to choose the right ones. Details are on ikelites site.

 

Is the switch in the camera tray on DS125 / 160 / 161.

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I agree with Gerard. It is unlikely to be the camera settings and more likely to be an electrical contact issue, including a broken cable.

 

If the lighting bolt appears in the viewfinder, the ready signal is making it to the camera but that is a separate line from trigger. It is also possible the strobe itself is playing up.

 

Best test would be to attempt to fire the strobe on its own with a short. If that works, attach the cable and attempt to fire that. Finally, connect the cable to the bulkhead and fire the strobe by shorting the hotshoe adapter.

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Guy- did you ever figure out the problem? I'm in the Philippines right now and I am having the se problem. It very frustrating. It will fire once at a low power but then I get nothing else. Any suggestions since you've been through this before?

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I think you have to go through the motions and test strobe and connections

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