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jamiejo
10-09-2008, 10:04
I am new to UW photography, I have a sony cybershot dig camera with a ikelite housing and using a friends external strobe. I am going to Bonaire end of January and need some tips.

If I'm only around 20-40 ft what is the importance of using the strobe besides eliminating backscatter? Will it be that dramatic of a difference if I don't use the external strobe since it will be fairly lit up already?

Night diving, the strobe is suppose to be set on a lower setting correct? Can you believe that I actually took a underwater digital tests and still can't get it right.

I will be playing around with settings while I am there, but would really like all the advice I can get ahead of time so I don't waste too much time doing everything the wrong way.

RoyN
10-09-2008, 15:14
You could end up in waters not having good visibility so thats where the strobe comes in handy. Otherwise, it is very handy to have to put the color lost back into the picture.

DevilDiver
10-09-2008, 17:41
Will it be that dramatic of a difference if I don't use the external strobe since it will be fairly lit up already?

Yes, there will be a dramatic difference. Take a close look at the clown fish photos below.

http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/page/index/ph_00_01_big.jpg (http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/index.html#)


http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/page/index/ph_00_02_big.jpg (http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/index.html#)

Both were shot while snorkeling in shallow water, around three feet (one meter) deep. The light is dim-the sky might be overcast or the sun close to setting. We shot the photo on the left using the camera's built-in strobe; we shot the photo on the right using an external strobe added to the housing. All other conditions were the same.

The external strobe, built specifically for underwater use, is much better at bringing out the natural colors of the subjects. You can aim its stronger light to fill in the colors that water removes when it filters sunlight.

http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/page/index/ph_00_03_big.jpg (http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/index.html#)


http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/page/index/ph_00_04_big.jpg (http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/index.html#)

The photos above were taken deeper, at roughly 50 to 65 feet (15 to 20 meters). The difference here is much more obvious, because deeper water filters out much more light and many more colors.

If I'm only around 20-40 ft what is the importance of using the strobe besides eliminating backscatter?

When you use a compact digital camera's built-in flash underwater, you'll see a lot of backscatter in your images. Backscatter looks like falling snow, and is caused by particles in the water such as plankton or kicked-up sediment that reflect the light of the built-in flash.

Because a built-in flash is right next to the lens, its light reflects directly back to the lens, exaggerating the backscatter. In situations with backscatter it's often better to turn the built-in flash off (suppressed flash mode) before you shoot. Natural light alone, though, saturates your photo with blue or green (whichever color the water is around you).
An external strobe lets you avoid backscatter and fill your subject with light, bringing out true colors even in distant or wide subjects.

Night diving, the strobe is suppose to be set on a lower setting correct?

No. The setting for your strobe has more to do with distance from the subject, the position of the strobe and how dark or reflective the subject and it's background could be.

** Photos and text taken from Sea & Sea Underwater Photo Guide to Compact Digital Cameras Introduction (http://www.seaandsea.jp/compact/index.html)#

jamiejo
10-10-2008, 07:34
Thank you for your help, my friend only tells me trial and error and I just need to mess with it, but actual advice is always better. Thanks

Lj82
10-10-2008, 12:02
Hmmm....looking at the contrast between your pictures taken with and without strobe made me seriously consider making the investment on a strobe. But frankly I don't even know if my camera housing can fit one. I know nuts about strobes and have only just started out on underwater photography.

RoyN
10-10-2008, 14:44
All you need is a tray, handle, and arm to connect your strobe and the strobe can either be TTL or manual.

CompuDude
10-10-2008, 15:30
Strobes don't eliminate backscatter by any means. They do make it easier to minimize it, however, and make it possible to carefully position them to take some shots with no backscatter in some conditions. It's no panacea, though... just don't think you're going to add one strobe and never have backscatter again!

An external strobe can be added to any camera. The question is how easily and how much (if any) interaction there is between the camera and the strobe.

dbh
10-11-2008, 06:43
Good strobes are expensive.....but worth it IMHO. I am on my 3rd Camera / Houisng.....but am still using the same Inon strobes.

Dave

(I am actually on my 5th camera / housing but I did not use the Inon's w/ the first 2).

Lj82
10-11-2008, 07:42
One question.
If I get something like this:
Used Reefmaster External Strobe reviews and discounts, SeaLife (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=SL960)

Can I keep the tray and change the strobe itself later (ala upgrade)?

DevilDiver
10-11-2008, 09:32
One question.
If I get something like this:
Used Reefmaster External Strobe reviews and discounts, SeaLife (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=SL960)

Can I keep the tray and change the strobe itself later (ala upgrade)?

The Reefmaster tray is a cheaper plastic and not one of the best options. (I have owned 2 Sealife camera systems) If you are looking for a inexpensive option check this out. Bonica makes the Sealife strobes, the arm and tray that they offer for their system is a lot more substantial.
http://www.scubatoys.com/store/cameras/pics/Bonica_Neon_Strobe.jpg (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?product_id=Bonica_Neon_Strobe)
Bonica Neon Strobe Digital (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?product_id=Bonica_Neon_Strobe)

$265.00 $165.00
This is not a bad strobe** but I would suggest spending more now (If you can) for higher end product that will grow with your system.
** Short battery life and slow recycle time but inexpensive and easy to use

As far as keeping the tray, I wouldn't. If you purchase this now and upgrade later you will want a new tray and arm system.

Wetnurse28
11-12-2008, 06:23
Devil,

So what camera (just in general) and strobe do you recommend.

No need to get into detail as to what/need.


I just want your opinion on what camera and strobe you would buy.

SCUBATOYS HAS PACKAGE.... Would you recommend any of those?

DevilDiver
11-12-2008, 08:39
[quote=Wetnurse28;244190]Devil,

So what camera (just in general) and strobe do you recommend.

No need to get into detail as to what/need.

I just want your opinion on what camera and strobe you would buy.


Well that is the question.:smiley5: There are alot of good cameras on the market. If you are "new" to U/W photography you have lots of choices now days. You need to ask a few questions of yourself first.....

1. What do I want out of this?
Snapshots to show buddies, good photos for memories, semi-pro photographs or I got tallent and have contest to win.

2. How much do I want to spend?
You can get a basic setup for cheap or spend big $$ on serious equipment.

3. What skill level am I at with photography?
If all you do is point the camera and push the button you don't need much. If you understand compisition, lighting, shutter speeds and are always going over the details of your photos you will not be happy with basic equipment.

4. Do I want to add to the camera system?
Most likley you will want to add a strobe(s), wide angle lens, close-up lens, focus light, ect........
Make sure you purchase something (housing) that you can add to easy and at at a descent cost. There are lots of options now but some are not as good as others...
:smiley11: I can't stand the velcro conection for the F/O for the stobes... PITA.

You can pickup a good camera and housing for cheap if you just want to take snapshots and this might be the best way to start to see how you like it. Most likley you will replace a P/S camera after 3 years or so and if it is something you enjoy you can upgrade.

It's hard to say this is the best camera or housing not having the oppertunity to try them all. I have used Cannon, Sealife, Sea & Sea equipment and all were great for me at the time. I believe Fuji and Olympus make some great cameras as well.

After all of this, right now I believe if you look at the Coolpix package fron ST it is a good deal if this is the level you belive you are at. The Sealife DC800 worth checking into if you want a system that is a package deal.

Next step I like the Cannon G9 and the Sea & Sea 1G (The 2G will be released early next year) I know there are more good cameras but these are ones I have used and feel I can recomend.

Next you get to DSLR territory...$:smiley5:$
If you have questions in this area best to ask one of the others here questions. I have less experience in this.........

Any way you go buy some books and read/learn all you can and practice and you will get what you are looking for.:smiley20:

Lj82
11-12-2008, 21:44
Thanks!
The information was useful. I was thinking that maybe I could buy a cheaper one to use now and upgrade it. Looks like it would be wiser in the long run to invest in a good strobe.
Shall wait til I have the resources then.



One question.
If I get something like this:
Used Reefmaster External Strobe reviews and discounts, SeaLife (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=SL960)

Can I keep the tray and change the strobe itself later (ala upgrade)?

The Reefmaster tray is a cheaper plastic and not one of the best options. (I have owned 2 Sealife camera systems) If you are looking for a inexpensive option check this out. Bonica makes the Sealife strobes, the arm and tray that they offer for their system is a lot more substantial.
http://www.scubatoys.com/store/cameras/pics/Bonica_Neon_Strobe.jpg (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?product_id=Bonica_Neon_Strobe)
Bonica Neon Strobe Digital (http://www.scubatoys.com/store/detail.asp?product_id=Bonica_Neon_Strobe)

$265.00 $165.00
This is not a bad strobe** but I would suggest spending more now (If you can) for higher end product that will grow with your system.
** Short battery life and slow recycle time but inexpensive and easy to use

As far as keeping the tray, I wouldn't. If you purchase this now and upgrade later you will want a new tray and arm system.

teerlkay
11-22-2008, 11:10
There is another option

Heinrichs-Weikamp Optical Digital Adapter for Nikonos Sync Cords [hw.da.o.n] - $159.00 : Reef Photo & Video!, The Underwater Photo Pros (http://reefphoto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=135_74&products_id=900)

I don't think ST sells it but it couldn't hurt to ask.

You can then e-bay an oldish non-digital flash (I've personnally used it with a S&S YS-60) and use it with pretty much any digital point & Shoot

at +150USD its almost pricing itself out of the market though

and yes there is one for Nikonos and S&S standards

tbg0519
12-05-2008, 21:52
Question about strobes: Is it worth it to get a diffuser? Got a Sea Life strobe right now, with a Canon SD 750.

DevilDiver
12-11-2008, 22:38
Question about strobes: Is it worth it to get a diffuser? Got a Sea Life strobe right now, with a Canon SD 750.

IMO - Yes. I use a diffuser on about 70% of my shots. Especially helpful with close up work.

A diffuser for a Sealife strobe should only run you around $20.

CompuDude
01-09-2009, 14:56
Question about strobes: Is it worth it to get a diffuser? Got a Sea Life strobe right now, with a Canon SD 750.

IMO - Yes. I use a diffuser on about 70% of my shots. Especially helpful with close up work.

A diffuser for a Sealife strobe should only run you around $20.

Or you can DIY one from a transparent coffee can lid and some bungee under a buck. :) (assuming you drink coffee!)

Nemrod
02-05-2009, 23:05
Actually strobes CAUSE back scatter but mounting a strobe(s) off axis to the lens on an extension arm minimizes it.

N