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bubffm

Raja Ampat on Sony AX100 4k Camcorder

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First time of playing with my Sony AX100 in a Gates housing. We were there im mid February during full moon with some VERY strong currents and surge and often less than perfect visibility. At some dive spots like Cap Kri all you could do is just get down quickly, get yourself on a reef-hook and watch the world pass bye...

 

It's still been great fun. Attached some impressions. The setup was fun to use

 

bubffm

 

 

 

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bubffm,

 

Very nice.

 

What did you do for white balance, lighting and color correction in post?

 

Tom

Edited by wydeangle

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bubffm,

 

Very nice.

 

What did you do for white balance, lighting and color correction in post?

 

Tom

 

Hi Tom,

 

thanks for your comment. I was trying out various modes and techniques as it was the first time using the AX100 underwater and I guess sometimes you can tell as the color balance isn't always perfectly matched.

 

I tried MWB on a few dives with a white lens cap and the results were ok although not really so much better than the AWB of the cam, so I ended up using AWB most of the time . I think the cam is performing pretty well here. I also played around with using the red filter and not using it. Pete suggests to use a Mangenta filterinstead of red with the AX100 as this gets rid of the slight greencast-tendency you have in less than perfect visibility. But Pete's findings came too late for me to still get hold of a mangenta filter in time for the trip. I got one now and will play with it on the next trip later in April.

 

I also played with "Normal" picture profile and what Sony calls "SoftHighkey" - a sort of Log2 that results in a more flat, 'overexposed' image. Some of the reef scenes in the beginning of my clip and the Wobbegong were filmed using this profile. This mode does not really work in auto-mode so you need to drive the cam manually and its hard to judge whether you got exposure right. But if you get it (sort of) right, it works really great for grading and correction in post. Many of the other Wobbegongs (we saw a lot of them!) that I filmed in "Normal" picture profile were not coming across that well.

 

As I could not really review my 4k footage on my Macbook Air that I carried with me and I was unsure how this "Softkey" stuff would turn out in grading, so to be on the safe side I recorded most on "normal" mode, which also results in great results in most situations. But next trip, I'll definitely play more with the flat profile now that a feel a bit more secure about it.

 

I had 2 FixNeo DX3000 video lights. I did not need their full power very often. The great thing is you can dim them in 1%-steps exactly to the level you want.

 

Color correction was done in FCPX, mostly exposure and saturation fine tuning and changing the green/blue balance. In the process I invested in the Color Finale plugin for FCPX from Denver Riddle which served me well in some of the trickier clips. Well worth the 99$ investment - I just still need to learn all the ins and outs this plugin offers.

 

I know I've taken a kind of "weirdo" route moving to a camcorder setup but so far I'm very happy with it. Added benefit: You can put a Flip-adapter for macro-diopters (I used the SAGA +5) straight on to the Gates wide angle Dome, so you can film Mantas and nudis on the same dive whithout having to find someone to carry your 1.5kg WWL-1 (or similar) when you want to film a goby....

 

Sorry, got a bit longish.

 

bubffm

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...You can put a Flip-adapter for macro-diopters (I used the SAGA +5) straight on to the Gates wide angle Dome...

Interesting. Could you please give us some info about the flip adapter?

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Interesting. Could you please give us some info about the flip adapter?

 

Hi Nick, the Adapter is also made by SAGA, Description here. The english description reads a bit funny (probably Google translate) and the pic seems to show it on the flat port but the adapter works on the GP34 as well. Would post a picture but cant figure out how...

 

Burkhard

Edited by bubffm
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I use the ReefNet 3D printed adapter for the Gates FP34A flat port.

 

I was surprised to learn it also physically fits the GP34A wide port! Thank you Burkhard!

 

I hadn't even thought to try that.

 

I must admit I'd prefer the aluminum version from SAGA if I didn't already have the ReefNet one which is 3D printed (nylon?) and not as strong as a properly made aluminum holder. I've already broken one - perhaps my fault?

 

I'll try this combo with a +5 and maybe the +10 since I have both. I know the +10 works amazingly with the flat port. I've put up a still from the AX100/flat port/+10 of Flabellina Dushia eggs somewhere on this site and you can easily count the eggs which were not really visible underwater.

 

Going to Fiji in May, so my bag will have those diopters in it, thanks.

 

Tom

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On the GP34 you just don't put the Adapter right down to the end of the hood, it still holds firmly in place. In case you're worried about scratching the lens (I was initially) - the SAGA adapter doesn't bend inside at all, so if you keep a few mm distance to the lens, you're good. Gates has even posted the SAGA adapter as an 'official' solution on their Facebook page. Not sure about the 'bendability' of the 3d printed version, but I guess you can always put some felt on the inside of the adapter ring to avoid scratches.

 

I have a SAGA +10 Diopter as well - unfortunately the currents didn't really allow to use it on the last trip.

 

Fiji sounds great. We'll be in South Sulawesi (Wakatobi) later in April.

 

Burkhard

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I too shoot the AX100 and was in the Philippines that same full moon cycle you were. I do all manual WB as I have sound other sony cameras failed me in the auto format. Wad that manta shot in auto? Your WB looks really good and I have a problem adding light when I am WB already, kind of counter intuitive. I would like the camera to do it for me so i can balance light and exposure versus color. As I see it, is this a good gauge to move forward in auto mode? Also, do you know if you can switch between manual and auto WB while in the housing or do you have to commit before the dive? Nice video!

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I guess I'm too hard on equipment - the ReefNet 3D printed diopter adapter broke before I got into the water; I was tightening it and before it got completely tight on the lens shade, it snapped.

 

So no macro from Fiji. Ugh...

 

Now I have the machined aluminum Saga adapter installed on the GP34A. Headed for "the bridge" (Phil Foster State Park, Riviera Beach Florida) next week for a photo course with Reef Photo.

 

The Saga is an interesting piece - it doesn't clamp on. It uses an O-ring to slide over the lens's sunshade. No instructions came with it. It was so tight I had to put it on from the rear. I'll hope it lasts (grin) long enough for me to get some video with it and report back later. Fingers crossed.

 

BTW, just got the AX100 housing back from Gates. Guess what was broken? The 3D printed ND filter switch, along with one other similar piece whose function I can't recall.

 

So far, 3D printed parts -3, Tom 0. Not ready for my hands, anyway.

 

Tom

Edited by wydeangle

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BTW, just got the AX100 housing back from Gates. Guess what was broken? The 3D printed ND filter switch, along with one other similar piece whose function I can't recall.

Gates have 3D printed parts in their housings now? Really?

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Now I have the machined aluminum Saga adapter installed on the GP34A. Headed for "the bridge" (Phil Foster State Park, Riviera Beach Florida) next week for a photo course with Reef Photo.

 

The Saga is an interesting piece - it doesn't clamp on. It uses an O-ring to slide over the lens's sunshade. No instructions came with it. It was so tight I had to put it on from the rear. I'll hope it lasts (grin) long enough for me to get some video with it and report back later. Fingers crossed.

 

 

Tom

 

 

Tom,

 

you seem to be a bit out f luck with your equipment. however, i also had one of the buttons come out of my Gates housing after only a handful of dives - no flooding thanks god. Gates fixed it without hesitation - I guess these things just happen...

 

On the Saga-Adapter: You should just put a bit of o-ring grease on the inside of the adapter (where the o-ring sits) and it will slide over the lens-hood with total ease- well, still solid enough to stay firmly in place :-)

 

Good luck

Edited by bubffm

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I too shoot the AX100 and was in the Philippines that same full moon cycle you were. I do all manual WB as I have sound other sony cameras failed me in the auto format. Wad that manta shot in auto? Your WB looks really good and I have a problem adding light when I am WB already, kind of counter intuitive. I would like the camera to do it for me so i can balance light and exposure versus color. As I see it, is this a good gauge to move forward in auto mode? Also, do you know if you can switch between manual and auto WB while in the housing or do you have to commit before the dive? Nice video!

 

Thanks for your kind comment Dbuky.

 

I already posted on my general approach to WB on the other thread. This was pretty much all shot in auto WB. On this clip I was still using the red fiter. With magenta the WB is sligthly better and easier to fix in post as the green-cast is not as bad which you will find in some of those mentioned manta shots and some other bits as well.

 

If you use the Gates housing for the AX100, you can switch between auto WB and manual easily during the dive. You have to place the WB-button to a certain location on the touch screen of the AX100, so it can be reached with one of the buttons on the Gates. Its all pretty well explained in the manual for the housing.

 

One word on post: I was using FCPX with Color Finale plugin so far but have now started playing a bit with Davinci Resolve 12.5, which has grown into an (almost) full-fledged editing suite by now and not just a color correction tool. Really nice but quite a steep learning curve...

Edited by bubffm

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Gates have 3D printed parts in their housings now? Really?

 

Nick, I just looked inside my housing. I dont think these levers are 3d printed. They look machine tooled. I would not expect anything else from Gates :-)

Edited by bubffm
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Wow. Just what I was looking for! My girlfriend and I are going to Raja in October, to an ecoresort named Misool, and I will be trying my hand at some 4K filming with the newish Sony a7s II. Love your film.

 

My first efforts with the a7s II revealed a strong magenta cast at what I assumed was my proper manual white balance.

 

Sony has quite a few picture profiles for the a7s II. I need to determine which to experiment with, and how to then grade and color correct them. Any advice here?

 

I enjoyed your film. Anything you can warn or tell me about Raja would be appreciated. How bad are the currents?

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Thanks for your kind comment. Misool is great for incredibly beautiful soft corals - and lots of Mantas :-) We spend 5 days of our trip in that area (on a liveaboard). The Misool Eco resort has a good reputation! Currents: Always depends, they can be very strong during full moon.

 

Sorry- can't really help on the A7sII but I know there are some users of this cam out here who should be able to help.

 

bubffm

Edited by bubffm

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bubffm,

 

Maybe you and I have different models of the Gates AX100 housing :pardon:

 

I just looked again - the housing was just returned after a rehab by Gates, and it definitely has 3D printed levers for the Record, zoom and ND controls. Also if you look carefully at my screen "finger" it too is clearly plastic.

 

If you have machined metal levers and finger, I'll go back to Gates and ask for some too!

 

Diving starting Saturday so I can try the SAGA/+10 combination among other things - looking forward to that!

 

Tom

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Tom,

 

sorry, I think you are right, the levers are plastic. Just looked a bit more carefully again!

 

Enjoy your dive trip!

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