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I am still trying to decipher some of the AF problems I had with my maiden voyage with my new D70 / Subal housing rig. It has been suggested that a modeling light would help. I am shooting with the 18-70mm lens through Subal's FE2 dome. Clearly some sort of focus assist light is necessary for night shooting, but what is the value in day time, high vis situations? For small sensored P&S digitals I can see the need, but will it buy me any better performance in a modern DLSR?

 

Also, some internet research has pointed me to units such as the Fisheye HG20DX. What am I missing here - is it me or does $600 seem kinda steep for a "flashlight"? I have never been one to shy away for paying for quality (hence, the Subal ND70) but clearly I am not getting it - just how much more does $600 buy than a decent $50 PrincetonTec or Ikelite LED torch?

 

I could use some help here. What has been the experience of the group here? Recommendations?

 

As always, thanks for your insights and help!

 

Brad

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I think focus light is always handy especially for macro even with D70.

Flashlight is generally enough but since the beam is quite tight, you will have to fiddle around quite a bit to get it to aim exactly where you want them. I find video light a bit easier, nice wide beam, especially those that you can control the output so it does not have to be too bright to spook the critters.

I recently bought Epoque EL-1225 for around $350 including charger, nice and compact with variable output from 1w-25w halogen bulb.

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Hi Brad

 

I use a Nikon D100 with Subal D10 housing. Until I bought an Inon with a built-in modelling and laser light, I found a focus light really useful: at night of course - but also for those in-your crevice type shots where the lens is struggling to pick-up the subject.

 

I agree with you on cost though and used a Pelican light with a bracket on the Subal housing; or a three-way Ultralight clamp which I then put a UK light on. A bit fiddly I admit - and I'm very pleased to have the Inon.

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Brad, I assume that you are using a +3 or +4 diopter with your 18-70.

 

That said, of all of my lenses, my 18-70 has the hardest time achieving focus. But I still don't need a focus light for the lens except on very dark days and inside wrecks etc.

 

And when I do use a light I either use the built in lights in my DS125s or a small light fastened to the tray with a heavy duty rubber band.

 

http://www.scuba.com/shop/product.asp?cate...ashvalue=026631

 

And lastly, to achieve focus, the sensor has to see an edge. For example, the camera can not focus on blank wall. But give the central sensor an edge to see and wham, it is focused.

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I have used the Inon Z-22s modeling lights, a Light and Motion Sunray MOD Light, and now the Fisheye FX light which is very similar to the Sunray MOD light. I LOVE the Fisheye. It has excellent burn time at over an hour and best of all, it adds fabulous color temperature to the pics I take at night with it. True, some of the inverts are very scittish around this halogen light, but when you can make it work, F32 and 1/180 of a second makes a great macro shot.

 

I find that with only the INon modeling light, I have to either open up aperature, or slow down the shutter. Neither of theses options are so great when using the 70-180 Nikon lens.

 

So in total, yes, $500 is a lot of money for a flash light, but the FIsheye light is more like a "studio" flash light in that it enhances the color saturation of your shot. So my two cents worth says, if you have spent the big bucks on a camera rig, go ahead and drop another 5 camera bucks ($500) into an additional focus light that will enhance your final product. Besides, it makes autofocus a snap on night dives.

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Thanks cmm1970 - don't tell my wife, but I think I am going to go for the Fisheye. Like I said I am a sucker for quality.

 

Thanks to all for the insights and opinions!

 

Brad

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Seems like some reliability issues are being reported with this light - similar to the sunray mod light. These high end mod lights are wonderful, but unfortunately you really need 2 for reliability reasons. I guess if your strobes have a built in mod-light it can serve as a backup.

 

The quick recharge time and informative LEDs look great. I have a pair of the sunrays and it seems that I have worked out the kinks- - after a fried battery and a couple bulb failures my pair has been flawless for 2 years and MANY dives. Last night dive I was getting the low batt indicator from 10min into the dive, but the charge lasted for another 70min - I guess the battery may be on its last leg.

 

Looking forward to seeing the new Sunray this summer.

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you dont say what kind of strobes you use but if your willing to spand the money why not buy a spare strobe that has a modeling lite function? that way u have a spare strobe if one goes down....redundancy is a good thing when salt water and electronics meet....

 

I am also looking for a night dive focus light...for occasional use ....I have two ds125's but I am shooting wide angle stuff (10.5mm FE) and need to light the center of the frame for focus only while the stobes take care of the rest....minimal expense is good without any hot spots in the picture............suggestions plz........

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Final note on the Fisheye light...I am not finding any hot spot when using this focus light at either the 70mm or the 180mm end of my macro photography.

 

The LED light is not going to have good color temperature and you may find the the LED solution does alter the appearence of the pics.

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I'm surprised to hear that a diffuse modeling light may change color temperature when shooting macro (with relatively high strobe intensity). I'd love to see some shots with and without the mod light to demonstrate this.

 

thx

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Kasey,

 

As a vet, you know about placebo effect. I may be suffering a little placebo effect. What I am certain of though is that with the Fisheye or Sunray MOD light, I am able to stop down and have evenly lit, nicely saturated pictures with the 70-180mm or 105mm. No hotspots. If there is any one take home in this thread, that should be it.

 

Using the z-220s strobes in a lab setting, there may be no appreciable/mearsureable difference in color temperature. In vivo, however, I very much feel like a high intensity mod light like the ones we are discussing are a tremendous asset in producing a well saturated macro photo. I think you would agree with your history and experience with your D100 and the Sunray.

 

My comments on the LED light stem from my observation that most LED lights have a rather bluc/cool cast to the light. The sunray and fisheye lights with their halogen bulbs are closer to "daylight" and therefore contribute to the nice color I mentioned in earlier posts. The LED that the link above references may be different. I don't know for a fact what type of color temperature the folks at Fantasea were able to produce with their light.

 

I am sorry if I have inadvertently started a light physics debate in this thread. I very much would like to stay with wet fingered, practical observations and reports.

 

Mike

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anyone ever seen or used these... 

 

https://www.fantasea.com/ssl/prod_det.asp?id=68

 

they have 44 leds...  :D

I uses these light and found it good to my needs, its easy to attach to the strobe's arm and don’t creates hotspots. I didn't realized for unpleasant light effects because of the LED light but I'll test it more carefully next time.

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Final note on the Fisheye light...I am not finding any hot spot when using this focus light at either the 70mm or the 180mm end of my macro photography. 

 

The LED light is not going to have good color temperature and you may find the the LED solution does alter the appearence of the pics.

 

Just got back from a trip and did 4 night dives witht the Fisheye light. Fantastic light capable of both modelling and being your primary light. Just what I have been looking for quite some time and worth the high price. The ability to vary the light intenisty was also valuable and I used it quite regularly.

 

The battery charger feels a little hokey in my opinion, but it has worked great so far.

 

I have mounted mine to the top of my housing using the standard screw in ball set up and ULCS connection to a Sea&Sea strobe.

 

M

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Just got back from a trip and did 4 night dives witht the Fisheye light. Fantastic light capable of both modelling and being your primary light. Just what I have been looking for quite some time and worth the high price. The ability to vary the light intenisty was also valuable and I used it quite regularly.

 

M

 

How far down can you turn the brightness?

 

I've always felt that less was more, when it comes to dive and focus lights.

 

Dimmer focus lights don't scare subjects as much.

 

Dimmer dive lights let me see more outside the cone of brilliance.

 

Adjustable output sounds great!

Don

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How far down can you turn the brightness?

Adjustable output sounds great!

Don

 

You can turn it down to basically nothing if you want. I generally ran it at about 1/2 power most of the dives which was more than enough for autofocusing for me. When I was scanning a large open ocean floor or area I sometimes turned it up to full to cover a greater scan area. It is a great feature.

 

M

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I used Subtronic strobes with build-in focus light before.

Great to have a focus light for macro and/or at night. You see where the strobe aims and set it very precise.

I always have a extra primary. A nightrider blackwater which sits on my left wrist with the battery tank in the bcd pocket. Small, powerful, never in the way when I handle the camera.

For wideangle, the build-in focus light is pretty much useles to me when it comes to AF. I aim the strobes away from the center/port, so the build in focus light doesn't help at all. I use a small and cheap Peli from time to time to help the AF and light the center.

 

In my experience a strong light, aimed at the subject often scares it away/wakes everything up.

 

Just my 2 centavos...

 

Cheers

Torben

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I've been doing a lot of dusk dives over the last few weeks (21) with my Canon 20D in an Aquatica A20 housing and struggle a little as the light fades. I have a large UK1200 on top of my housing, well until I dropped it an it broke, but using that light really helped. My friend using his D100 doesn't seem to have any trouble where I do. Anyway I replaced the light with a large lens $30 dive light, small light with a wide beam and it is just as good.

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