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External Monitor for Still Shooting

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Returned from Little Cayman aboard the Aggressor V, two photographers had external monitors. On for video, no surprise but the other was mainly doing stills. Never thought much about it but does seem like a great idea.

 

For framing difficult shots, framing in general, critical focusing and as a big bonus, easier for keeping away from delicate structures. Seems like a good idea all around. Interested in thoughts. I have seen threads on this topic but they are from three years ago and lots has changed. Nauticam 502 and housing having both moisture detector & vacuum.... monitors are not cheap and is a good insurance.

 

Will be checking on this set up Monday at Reef Photo. Any interesting information will add to this thread.

 

Thanks for any thoughts.

al

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I was wondering what you learned while at Reef Photo.

This sounds like an interesting addition for still photography and might solve some of the issues I have using the back LCD.

 

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Yes Wolf, got great information from Reef as usual All positive !

 

I guess we are all in the same page, big advantage for still will be super macro and macro in general. Looking at some of my macros from Little Cayman, noticed other things in the frame I could have gone after. Using a 45 degree finder, can see well but not comfortable in low angles.

 

Placed my order for. a SmallHD Bright 502 and Nautical Housing. They did not have a demo unit but got to see some extra images. The monitor will be in this week and the housing got my fingers crossed. Leaving for Little Cayman Aug 18, got it gets in before. They will be getting some in soon and I'm third on the waiting list.

 

Will post after receiving, hopefully be able to do a review from my time in Cayman.

al

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I will be very interested to read your review.

 

I find my 45degree to be fine for the ttl view/ composition. What I would like the external monitor for is for the information I cannot see well on the small back camera LCD (strobe positioning & power/ exposure adjustments/ histograms/ etc).

 

Are you planning on using "live view" or equivalent for composition/ focus?

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Do you plan to use this monitor underwater? If so, how will it be housed and connected to the camera?

Photos and details of your new arrangement will be welcome.

 

Best of luck!

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Hi Kraken

 

The monitor will be used in Nauticam Housing with moisture detecting and vacuum. Connected to the camera via HDMI cable through a port in housing. Simply unscrewing the plug and replacing with the proper connector.

 

Will be used as the primary focusing/framing device. Have found difficult looking through the 45 degree finder at times, particularly low angles and times when staying off the coral difficult due to conditions. Reviewing my images from last week at Little Cayman, I'm able to see many instances how it would have been useful.

 

The units have been traditionally used for video but getting more popular for still shooters.

 

al

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Hi Al,

 

What camera are you pairing this with? About how much does the package cost? I've seen similar set-ups but haven't talked with anyone that has used it.

 

Audrey

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With a DSLR aren't you going to lose auto focus accuracy with this kind of setup? At least in my Nikon D750 the internal autofocus sensor only works if the mirror is in the down position. As soon as you switch to live view, it's using the internal CPU to do the autofocus work, which I often find to be less accurate an very tiresome when it comes to selecting focus areas. With a mirrorless camera or if you're focusing manually this is not an issue of course.

Edited by DanielD

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Hi Audrey

 

With the extra batteries and cables (both internal and external) will be around $3700. There is an option of an all inclusive unit, sealed and can't open, but the screen resolution is not nearly as good.

 

Hi Daniel

 

I'm using it with an Olympus OMD 1 Mk2. As you mentioned it is a mirrorless and makes no difference. btw Reef Photo is waiting on the batteries to ship the order. I should be using next Thursday to try it out before heading for Little Cayman.

 

al

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Monitor/housing were both shipped by Reef Photo today and will be arriving Monday !! Will take some pictures and post, Thursday will dive.

al

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Received monitor/housing from Reef Photo, got to check it out in Molasses Reef Key Largo

 

It is a lot of bulk as expected, weight not all that bad. In the water got it neutral after the first dive, just hovers in front of me. Only had to use two large Nauticam Carbon floats (1.3 lb flotation each) Handling is easy and no trouble, did not have any current to deal with.

 

Used a macro lens for both dives, thought it would be the better way to test it. All shooting was still, no videos. Observations were mostly as expected. The monitor was not needed for the majority of images, just makes shooting much easier and somewhat more accurate. For a small number of images made the images possible, do not think I could have done without. For other slightly higher percentage, say 20%, made obtaining a keeper more of a certainty.

 

The bottom line, not a necessity by any means but sure nice to have, a keeper in my book. Heading for Little Cayman aboard the Aggressor next Saturday for a week of diving. Any unusual finds will post.

 

al

 

al

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Hi all
​Interesting discussion.... :)
I am waiting for one of the "heavy cannon brands" ...or maybe the small/unknown ones...to launch "the solution " that should be already born in my opinion>>>> for all the DSLR/Reflex underwater housings/cameras :
1. Monitor >> that is connected to a micro camera >> that is placed on the camera view finder! yes yes....
instead of the optical "old "wet /external viewfinder.
if you try to put your smartphone camera directly on your camera viewfinder, you will understand the potential
so simple and so obvious!
2. light weight! thin monitor....the technology exists already!
3. THE MOST SIMPEL WAY FOR MONITOR ....SMARTPHONE MONITOR! in an universal minimal housing
that you buy once...and you can place any smartphone .
and control only the screen or more via an APP
Edited by Eitan Ben Tsvi

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Hi all
​Interesting discussion.... :)
I am waiting for one of the "heavy cannon brands" ...or maybe the small/unknown ones...to launch "the solution " that should be already born in my opinion>>>> for all the DSLR/Reflex underwater housings/cameras :
1. Monitor >> that is connected to a micro camera >> that is placed on the camera view finder! yes yes....

instead of the optical "old "wet /external viewfinder.

if you try to put your smartphone camera directly on your camera viewfinder, you will understand the potential
so simple and so obvious!
2. light weight! thin monitor....the technology exists already!
3. THE MOST SIMPEL WAY FOR MONITOR ....SMARTPHONE MONITOR! in an universal minimal housing

that you buy once...and you can place any smartphone .

and control only the screen or more via an APP

 

 

 

Thanks Lionfish, let me try this using the camera of my smart phone on the view finder, if this is the case, probably the least expensive way with best result! Such a good suggestion and idea!

 

Cheers!

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Back from Gran Cayman after diving one week aboard Aggressor V, most in Little Cayman.

 

Have a better feel for the monitor, advantages, disadvantages etc. Will not take into consideration the price since it could be a factor without taking anything else into consideration, its is an expensive proposition.

 

For wide angle its a nice addition but not something you need or have to have in any way. Wide angle being the only application, I would not bother with the monitor at all, having a 45 degree or 180 degree finder makes shooting easy and accurate. Again it is a nice addition to have.

 

For macro does make a difference in many ways, listing in no particular order. First thing I noticed is being able to shoot comfortably & accurately while being safely off the reef. Hover a a few inches off, one finger bracing and one hand camera operation, easy. Love being able to see the subject clearly. On my camera (OMD 1 Mk2) use the continuous tracking, release priority and back button activation. Being able to see when the subject is in sharp focus is a premium, no problem. Working for exerted time on one subject, easy without tiring. Being able to shoot at the correct angle comfortable without tiring, a new experience. Could go on and on, I guess you figure I like it !!

 

The down side has to be weight and bulk. Can see how it would be a factor on a crowded dive boat, on the Aggressor was no problem. Swimming with a current becomes more of a challenge and need to find a way to hold for best efficiency. Found holding by the lanyard, left hand and trailing/overlapping my left leg seem to be the easiest. Diving in a strong current needing to make your way to the anchor line pulling yourself would not be a pleasant. Still will give a try next time I go to the Keys, plenty of current on some of the wrecks.

 

Do almost all still photography but since I had the monitor tried some video. After my first all video dive, like it so much that decided to do a couple of more. Can see myself doing a little more video, particularly macro using a tripod.

 

Hope this gives you a idea for the monitor. btw agree totally on the suggestion above for the iPhone as a monitor. Would not mind if a housing had on incorporated (inside) at a 45 degree angle. Would not have the versatility of the articulating external monitor but the convenience would make it a much better set up.

 

al

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Swimming with a current becomes more of a challenge and need to find a way to hold for best efficiency. Found holding by the lanyard, left hand and trailing/overlapping my left leg seem to be the easiest. Diving in a strong current needing to make your way to the anchor line pulling yourself would not be a pleasant.

 

Are you talking about the whole housing or just the monitor here? Are you using it detached from the housing??

 

Great report, thanks.

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Monitor sits on top of the Nauticam housing. It is enclosed in a Nauticam housing for the monitor, has both vacuum and moisture detector like the camera housing. The monitor is connected to the camera with a HDMI cable.

al

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Eitan's suggestion (see Lionfish's message, above) of using a cell phone as an easy to see camera monitor approaches reality now or very soon with the Huawei cell phone and Weefine smart housing package (1,2). I suspect the Huawei housed cell phone could be used as a camera monitor if connected via HDMI cable to a housed camera.

Apps provide the cell phone with a dive computer, and allow control of the touch screen via buttons in the side of the housing​; a built-in vacuum leak detector completes the Huawei/Weefine package.

Edited by Kraken de Mabini

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Eitan - sounds like a good idea, however I'd be concerned that the bulk of a device on the back of a DSLR would then make it difficult to use a viewfinder/ eyepiece.

That said, as mentioned I'd really like a larger view of the back LCD on my camera!

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