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Timz

Thresher shark at Malapascua with M43

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Hi, I will be going to Malapascua, Philippines to shoot Thresher shark. My set up is as following:-

Olympus E-M5 mark ii
Olympus PT-EP13 housing
AOI DLP-06 (Dome port)
AOI FLP-04 (Short flat port)
AOI 24mm port extension

Olympus 9-18mm F4-5.6
Olympus 8mm F1.8
Olympus 12-50mm F3.5-5.6

With the port extension, I can fit the 9-18mm into my AOI Dome port. Same as the 12-50mm 

Please advise which one would be the most suitable lens to shoot Thresher shark at Malapascua..? 

Thank you in advance for everyone's input. FF or APS-C user are also welcome to comment.. THanks

Timz

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Sometimes the sharks come really close, sometimes not. So I suggest a zoom. 
 

I took the same 12-50 lens there. The sharks were shy, but at the long end the lens really struggled to focus in the low light conditions. I got some good shots in the short to middle of that range. For that reason I would take the 9-18.  But there’s no harm in taking both  

You know that strobes are not allowed, right?

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Thanks... I am aware that strobe aren't allow. My trip also involves Moalboal for the Sardines. Hopefully thresher sharks decides to swim across to hunt there...

 

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you will be struggling for light by all accounts I've seen, both for AF and for the image itself.  If your BG is going to be water you will probably be able to open up the aperture a little,   I'm guessing the 9-18 would focus a little better and you might try shooting that at f5.6 or maybe a little wider if things are close.   Normally you would stop down for corner quality but the corners are likely to be water so not so critical for sharpness there and of course ISO needed for reasonable shutter speeds.

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I would recommend one of Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 or Pana Leica 12-60 f/2.8 with acrylic port 7”
The field of view is 84 degree which for the size of the dome means you can shoot wide and zoom if you need


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Hi,
i was using the same camera and the Olympus 12mm f2 with iso 800....
And still motion blurr....
Mostly passing by in some distance, water green and not very clear...
We had only one time the shark was realy filling the frame....
The dives start very early, and deep, so not a lot of light....

Make sure you do more than one, even then that one was not good....
We did 5 in two weeks, two were bad, ontwo were ok, the last was great ;-)))

Had the 8mm Pana and the 12-50mm Oly and the 60mm Oly with me.
There was some nice tiny stuff as well.


For me the reason to go back to a Nikon DX camera afterwards....

Regards,
Wolfgang

PS: here you can find some pics from that combi...
http://reefdesign.eu/malapascua-2016.html

Edited by trimix125
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Hi,
i was using the same camera and the Olympus 12mm f2 with iso 800....
And still motion blurr....
Mostly passing by in some distance, water green and not very clear...
We had only one time the shark was realy filling the frame....
The dives start very early, and deep, so not a lot of light....

Make sure you do more than one, even then that one was not good....
We did 5 in two weeks, two were bad, ontwo were ok, the last was great ;-)))

Had the 8mm Pana and the 12-50mm Oly and the 60mm Oly with me.
There was some nice tiny stuff as well.


For me the reason to go back to a Nikon DX camera afterwards....

Regards,
Wolfgang

PS: here you can find some pics from that combi...
http://reefdesign.eu/malapascua-2016.html


The low light performance of the OMD EM1 MKII is pretty much identical to a DX camera. However the Olympus ISO is well known to be inaccurate when it says 3200 is around 1300
800 is less than 400
It is a marketing trick that creates issus to many. If you shoot at nominal ISO 3200 is like a nikon at 1600 which is also inflated but only a few hundreds


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Hi Interceptor,
he uses a Omd 5 MkII !!!
And that camera is not better than the Mk I....

And i know the difference, because i had both at the same time....
Used the Nikon above water, and the Oly under water.
And the difference is big! Had both used for concert pics, that cant be compaired.

You allways go for the Omd 1 Mk II, and i had no chance to compair that one,
but i prefer the Nikon Dx over the 16mp mft sensor from the other Oly cams.

And sorry,
why or how should a iso 3200 from a mft sensor be better than a iso 1600 from an aps sensor?
Physically thats not possible....

Regards,
Wolfgang

PS:
https://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Olympus-OM-D-E-M5-Mark-II-versus-Nikon-D500-versus-Olympus-OM-D-E-M1-Mark-II___1006_1061_1136

There is 369mm² against 226mm².....
Thats a factor of 1,63.....

Edited by trimix125

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Hey trimix
Your pictures are pretty good
I fully agree that the 16 mpix older sensor is not on par but the EM1 GH5 and EM5 III have a 20 mpix sensor
And no am not saying that at the same ISO the EM1 performs like a DX
What am saying is that when the Nikon says it is at ISO 1600 it really is 1250 when the Olympus says 3200 it really is 1250 too.
DX and the MFT sensor differ more on dynamic range and to some extent colors
You then have to consider that you need to close the aperture one stop between DX and MFT so at the end is similar
With FX equally there are two stops but you loose them with dome sizes
What is true is that a raw file from a sony a7 3 or a nikon d850 will recover much more shadows highlights etc as it is more iso invariant
Anyway this is way to technical!



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I was there last month; did two dives at Monad Shoal off the Philippine Siren, but the threshers only showed up for one, and then only for a few minutes. I was using a Sony A6300 with 16-50mm kit lens in a dome - I was afraid they wouldn't come close enough for my 10-18mm and I was right; the only shots I ended up keeping were at 35mm. You may get lucky and have the sharks come closer, or you might not. Since it was a no-strobe dive, I had the camera set to 1/320s, wide open and auto ISO, which ended up f/5.6 and ISO 3200, producing noticeable grain. Second dive I took my 90mm f/2.8 macro and put it in a dome, intending to use it as a short but fast telephoto, but the sharks didn't show.

If I go there again, I'll probably use 10-18mm f/4 in the hope of the sharks coming closer, and drop the shutter speed to 1/160-1/250 - this should get the ISO down to around 800-1000.

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I was there last month; did two dives at Monad Shoal off the Philippine Siren, but the threshers only showed up for one, and then only for a few minutes. I was using a Sony A6300 with 16-50mm kit lens in a dome - I was afraid they wouldn't come close enough for my 10-18mm and I was right; the only shots I ended up keeping were at 35mm. You may get lucky and have the sharks come closer, or you might not. Since it was a no-strobe dive, I had the camera set to 1/320s, wide open and auto ISO, which ended up f/5.6 and ISO 3200, producing noticeable grain. Second dive I took my 90mm f/2.8 macro and put it in a dome, intending to use it as a short but fast telephoto, but the sharks didn't show.
If I go there again, I'll probably use 10-18mm f/4 in the hope of the sharks coming closer, and drop the shutter speed to 1/160-1/250 - this should get the ISO down to around 800-1000.

I would keep the 16-50 if you have a dome well designed and placed you can shoot even wider
Obviously that may not be the case but I can go all the way down to f/2.8 in a 180mm dome with a MFT so f/4 would be a possibility for sure
I have been looking at malapascua for the last 10 years and so far i have not taken the plunge
It is fairly blue so maybe a good one for black and white


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3 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:

I would keep the 16-50 if you have a dome well designed and placed you can shoot even wider

The Sony 16-50mm kit lens that I have can go as wide as f/3.5, but only when fully zoomed out. At 35mm, f/5.6 is as wide as it will go. Sony recently released a 16-55 f/2.8, which is by all accounts awesome, but it costs $1400, extends quite a bit to zoom, and there are no zoom gears yet.

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The Sony 16-50mm kit lens that I have can go as wide as f/3.5, but only when fully zoomed out. At 35mm, f/5.6 is as wide as it will go. Sony recently released a 16-55 f/2.8, which is by all accounts awesome, but it costs $1400, extends quite a bit to zoom, and there are no zoom gears yet.

Ah. The 10-18 mm is constant aperture? How big is your dome?


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Hi Interceptor,

the problem is that iso 800 looks shi.... on the Oly Omd 5 mk I....
And the thread opener has "only" a mk II....

There is allways a good and a bad side ;-))

For macro, i loved it!
No visible difference, but more dof....
Special for supermacro great!!!

Still waiting for the Nauticam Nikon Z50 solution...
Then we will see what is my next setup....

Second trip to the threshers i took the Nikon D500 with the Sigma 18 - 35mm f 1,8....
Extrem sharp and fast,
but only two dives and the first was crowded and a lot of divers not paying attention to the rules and lines....

If you wait there, and suddenly some divers come up in front of you ( kneeing on the edge of the lines ) something is going wrong....
For the second i had luck and the guide from the year before gave me a solo dive with her, but bad vis....

And, the water is green not blue ;-)))

Regards,
Wolfgang
 

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Hi Interceptor,

the problem is that iso 800 looks shi.... on the Oly Omd 5 mk I....
And the thread opener has "only" a mk II....

There is allways a good and a bad side ;-))

For macro, i loved it!
No visible difference, but more dof....
Special for supermacro great!!!

Still waiting for the Nauticam Nikon Z50 solution...
Then we will see what is my next setup....

Second trip to the threshers i took the Nikon D500 with the Sigma 18 - 35mm f 1,8....
Extrem sharp and fast,
but only two dives and the first was crowded and a lot of divers not paying attention to the rules and lines....

If you wait there, and suddenly some divers come up in front of you ( kneeing on the edge of the lines ) something is going wrong....
For the second i had luck and the guide from the year before gave me a solo dive with her, but bad vis....

And, the water is green not blue ;-)))

Regards,
Wolfgang
 

Blue green whatever basically not good conditions to shoot without strobes and too deep...
Which is the reason why haven’t bothered yet


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Hi TimZ,

I know Malapascua and thresher sharks, but did not have yet a camera when I was there. Now I have EM1II, before it was EM5II. EM1II "low light performance" is slightly better than EM5, but difference is not dramatic and both cameras are not famous in this respect. Based on my experience with hammerheads at Deadalus (30m-40m, early morning), I would take the following (maybe there is even better light in Malapascua since it is shallower and thresher sharks may come closer than hammerheads, but vis is likely lower):

#1.: 12-50mm in the biggest domeport you have (You will not want CFWA there; do not take the planport!). Use 12mm as standard and zoom in just as much as the situation requires. The WA is  likely too wide and the sharks, usually, too far (but of course, one never knows, do'nt blame me afterwards!).

#2.: ISO400 (when needed 800) or even more, when required (If you have to choose at the end whether to increase shutter speed or ISO, take ISO, do'nt reduce the noise at the cost of motion blurr; noise is repairable). Aperture wider as you would use normally (f 5.6, maybe even wider, if dome/extension combination allows (I do not know the AOI dome performance with 12-50mm; corners are not important for thresher sharks in Malapascua)). Shutter speed 1/200 and (if possible) faster.

#3.: While waiting for the sharks to appear, you can test out shutter automatic mode whether it works with shutter speed 1/200 - 1/400. When apertures at ISO400(or 800) are reasonable under the given light conditions, use shutter automatic mode (set to -0.7 EV by default to avoid overexposure).

#4.: Use continuos shooting at 3-4 frames/s when the sharks pass by. No need to wait for the flashes to charge. Fast enough not to miss a nice posing and not so fast that you get thousands of images that you have to sort out later (only hundreds :) with 3-4 f/s).

#5.: Afterprocessing in LR using (even heavy if required, do'nt be afraid of high ISO) noise reduction, followed by dehaze in Photoshop. No fear that you loose detail, there is not much detail existing in the image from the beginning...

 

Waiting for your images...

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis
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I have an addition on the highest ISO values that make sense on MFT camera:

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4406250

In the link above I made a test where the "isoless" range starts on the EM1II. The background is that digital cameras allow insane high possible ISO settings. These high ISO settings are only important for people that use JPEGs that come out of the camera, but not useful for people that do post-processing on raws (= UW photographers), since within the "isoless" range the dynamic range becomes smaller when increasing ISO, but SNR, after postprocessing and exposure correction, is more or less the same...

The empirical finding for EM1II (I guess for EM5II it is similar) was, that ISO800 seems to be a kind of "sweet spot" for this camera (real live improvement of SNR after postprocessing (albeit at the cost of DR), compared to lower ISO settings). Above about ISO1600 the "isoless" range starts, meaning that SNR on postprocessed raws does not improve compared to lower ISO settings and one just looses DR at higher ISOs.

Based on this, I use ISO1600 at the maximum with my MFT camera, even when the photo is underexposed at the end, and correct exposure afterwards in LR (as "Trimix"-Wolfgang already stated the noise looks disastrous then (especially at 100% magnification). This is the limitation of small sensors (I guess ISO1600 is no challenge for FF), but it can be fixed in postprocessing at the cost of (surpisingly little) detail). But of course, at some point the borders are reached and a physically larger sensor extends these borders (what I read in numerous reviews/tests, these borders are extended by approx. 1 EV (APS-C/DX) to up to approx. 2 EV (FF), but I cannot compare from my own experience)...

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis
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Hi,
something to add to Wolfgangs point with continous shutter,
the sharks are a bit nosy, it looked to me that they were searching for the noise and came sometimes direct in my direction.....
Try to be on one side of the line, so you have not too much other divers on both sides,...
Have a look in which direction the current goes, there is a lot of kicking people, means o lot of drifting silt and bubbles.
Use nitrox, otherwise your stay down there is short and not worth it.

Good luck,
Wolfgang

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Thanks for all the tips...
Appreciete every shared experience...

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