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strandbygaard

Diving with a camera - what to do with primary light?

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I usually dive with a canister light.

I'm looking to get into uw photography, and a fairly noob question arises. What do I do with my primary light?

I can't see myself diving with both canister light, and a large camera rig - but I will need some kind of light for penetrating wrecks, night diving, and general dark conditions (I dive mostly low viz, cold waters).

I could mount a light on the rig itself, but it seems to me, that this beam will affect the photos. I have seen focus lights with automatic shut off, but the selection is fairly limited.

What is everybody else doing in this regards?

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Actually, that's exactly what u/w photographers do - they attach their primary light to their rig, and use that light to help with spotting subjects. The light is also useful to help the camera with autofocus in low light situations (many modern DSLR's no longer need much help, but still useful). Every photographer has their favorite type of light, but many use the Sola series of lights mounted either on one of their rig's arms, or mounted on a ball centered on top of the housing or the port being used.

If you are using modern strobes they are so much more powerful (in most situations) than the spotting light it won't impact your images, unless you are shooting with a particularly slow shutter speed, etc. Several folks have mentioned that occasionally a spotting light might impact aTTL reading of the camera, but most advanced shooters are shooting manual anyway so no impact. 

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Weefine/Kraken have a nice selection of lights with automatic shutoff. 

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@hyp Yes, I was looking an the Kraken Hydra 1200+ WSR - but I have been unable to find a reseller in EU. Same issue with Weefine 1000FR (and the Fantasea Nano). If you know of resellers within EU, I'm very interested. Importing from the US is so expensive, I'd rather just use a dimmed light.

@oneyellowtang Great info. Any idea how much I need to dial down the focus light for it to not show up? My normal light is around 3k lumen, and that typically shows up in strobe-lit photos. For the camera to focus, I probably only need a 300lm spot, but for myself, I think at least 1000lm to enjoy the dive.

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I use an Archon D15VP for focus assist; haven't had any issues with it showing up in photos. On night dives, I also usually carry an Archon D11V on a wrist mount that leaves my hands free to operate the camera.

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16 minutes ago, strandbygaard said:

@Barmaglot thx, I'll try my luck with a Sola spot/flood and see how that works out.

Good call. I use the Sola and never see the impact of that light on the image when shooting with strobes.

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7 hours ago, strandbygaard said:

I usually dive with a canister light.

I'm looking to get into uw photography, and a fairly noob question arises. What do I do with my primary light?

I can't see myself diving with both canister light, and a large camera rig - but I will need some kind of light for penetrating wrecks, night diving, and general dark conditions (I dive mostly low viz, cold waters).

I could mount a light on the rig itself, but it seems to me, that this beam will affect the photos. I have seen focus lights with automatic shut off, but the selection is fairly limited.

What is everybody else doing in this regards?

Hi strandbygaard,

Here a WeeFine (=Kraken) retailer from within EU (Vienna): https://www.unterwasserkamera.at/shop/catalog/en/product_info.php?info=p6960_weefine-wf057-3000-smart-fokus-lampe-mit-strobe-und-strobe-off-funktion.html

I have the WeeFine 2300 Smartfocus lamp and it is enough as main light for day and night. Good for approx. 45' to 1h of diving and much longer, when switched to less power and 100% only when needed...

Unless you are a cavediver, who needs strong light for many hours, you do not need accu canisters in these days...

Wolfgang

 

Edited by Architeuthis

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Another vote for the SF2300. Don’t get the newer ones with more functions. They are not needed and make operation more complicated then normal. I think in Germany Hydronalin sells Weefine and in the Netherlands there is another online store. 

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I'm perfectly happy diving with a 700 lumen dive torch with a 60° beam, mounted on the cold shoe of my housing - at low power it has 2-3 hours burn time and uses the same batteries as my flashes.   With my normal exposures of around 1/125 @ f8 ISO250 it does not show up in my shots.  A nice low tech solution.  This is the torch:

http://www.inon.jp/products/le_light/lf1400s.html

you can get a YS adapter to attach to a YS cold shoe mount.  The design of the o-ring seal is particularly good, I never get any water or grit on the o-ring due to the outside o-ring on the body of the torch - unscrew - inspect o-ring - change battery - rescrew.  I generally use the supplied diffuser to soften and spread the beam.  If you can't find a European retailer this guy in Japan is very good:

https://www.uwdigitalcamera.com/store/

and I can recommend dealing with him.

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On 2/16/2020 at 9:56 AM, strandbygaard said:

@hyp Yes, I was looking an the Kraken Hydra 1200+ WSR - but I have been unable to find a reseller in EU. Same issue with Weefine 1000FR (and the Fantasea Nano). If you know of resellers within EU, I'm very interested. Importing from the US is so expensive, I'd rather just use a dimmed light.

@oneyellowtang Great info. Any idea how much I need to dial down the focus light for it to not show up? My normal light is around 3k lumen, and that typically shows up in strobe-lit photos. For the camera to focus, I probably only need a 300lm spot, but for myself, I think at least 1000lm to enjoy the dive.

Hydronalin, a German on-line shope sells weefine products:

https://www.hydronalin.eu/weefine-smart-snoot-1000-wf069-fokuslicht-fuer-unterwasserfotografie/a-696372/

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I dive a 35W HID canister due to our very dark waters off Vancouver Island. It died a while back (12yr old battery) and I used other lights while waiting for the new battery. I definitely LOVE the powerful HID.

So I always carry that light. I also dive with a TG-6 rig (my 'scootering' camera) that has strobe and a Big Blue video light. I also dive with a DLSR with bigger strobe in Nauticam housing with Kraken ring light as focus lamp.

The Nauticam is heavy, but I'm used to holding the canister light via goodman handle in my left hand at all times. The TG6 is much lighter. I can hold and shoot either camera one handed, but prefer to use both handles.

I just point the light away from the shot so it doesn't interfere with the other 'camera' lights. Once you get used to doing it a certain way, it starts to come naturally.

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I dive with a 16W Hollis/Light Monkey LED can light with a hard Goodman handle.  I keep the light on and on my left hand.  While my left hand is holding the camera tray, I can roll my wrist and flex my hand to bring the light in front of the lens, if I need to see better frame the shot or engage the autofocus.  Otherwise, I let my hand go a bit limp and the light beam moves off to the left out of the shot.

 

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Posted (edited)

I dive with a DSLR rig that is fitted with a Sola 600 focus light which I use as a focus light - obviously, but also a bit of a dive light. My can light is draped around my neck with the light-head hanging over my left shoulder - pointing straight down when not 'in use', and handy when I need it. I leave the can light turned on - of course. I can then take my left hand off the photo rig between shots and look around with the can light - without having to unclip or flex my hand funny ways as I used to do while shooting in caves with it on my hand (Goodman handle). This way I can still function as a good teammate with prompt and 'readable' light signals with the can light, as well as take photos unencumbered.

Edited by newmanl

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What did you end up buying?

Just a thought on "dim" primary lights. If you are shooting ambient light wide angle shots, even a dim primary light will need to be moved out of shot if you want to expose for any background sunlight. If you are shooting macro, in caves, or don't need any sunlight/greenwater in your shot, dim primary lights work great. I used a 750 lumen Dive Rite LED canister for ages and at shutter speeds of 1/160 or 1/200 it didn't show up.

When I had a canister light I would clip the head to my chest d-ring and let it hang straight down. Now I have an all-in-one primary and I clip it to the handle of the housing so it hangs straight down. I can grab it for use as a focus light, or drop it to get it out of the shot. Plus enough scatter from it to illuminate approximately what's going on around me, and for my buddies to see where I am.

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