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thesmoothdome
01-12-2008, 19:24
Finally decided to get back into UW photography. The last time I shot pictures the Nikonos V was the camera of choice and slide film cost a fortune for each dive trip. To top it off, the only time I shot pictures was when I was underwater, so naturally, I had very limited knowledge of photography in general.

Anyway, I decided to try my hand at the new generation of photography. I already purchased a Canon Rebel Xti and plan on purchasing an Ikelite housing, an Ikelite DS51 strobe, a 60mm macro lens, a 10-24 wide angle lens, a flat port for the macro lens, and a superwide dome port for the WA lens.

Will I want/need anything else? Would you recommend something else? How will this kit + a couple of land lenses travel?

Puffer Fish
01-13-2008, 00:25
Well, it is an excellent camera, and a great case...and it is big and it takes some knowledge to use.. and can take great pictures.. Traveling with it requires a case to protect the UW case...and it is a bit bulky. You might want to consider a lens like the 17 - 40 (which would be a 27 mm - 64mm equa. on that camera. It focuses down to around an inch, and would cover a fairly wide angle. There my be other, similar lens, but the point would be to just use one.

Different camera? Well, the Nikon series is great. so any consideration has to include them.

The Oly and Sony are also nice DSLR's But any 10 meg or larger DSLR is going to be nice, it comes down to the case and how easy the case is to use.

Oh, and don't forget a giant memory card.


Finally decided to get back into UW photography. The last time I shot pictures the Nikonos V was the camera of choice and slide film cost a fortune for each dive trip. To top it off, the only time I shot pictures was when I was underwater, so naturally, I had very limited knowledge of photography in general.

Anyway, I decided to try my hand at the new generation of photography. I already purchased a Canon Rebel Xti and plan on purchasing an Ikelite housing, an Ikelite DS51 strobe, a 60mm macro lens, a 10-24 wide angle lens, a flat port for the macro lens, and a superwide dome port for the WA lens.

Will I want/need anything else? Would you recommend something else? How will this kit + a couple of land lenses travel?

Aussie
01-13-2008, 03:51
Anyway, I decided to try my hand at the new generation of photography. I already purchased a Canon Rebel Xti and plan on purchasing an Ikelite housing, an Ikelite DS51 strobe, a 60mm macro lens, a 10-24 wide angle lens, a flat port for the macro lens, and a superwide dome port for the WA lens.

Will I want/need anything else? Would you recommend something else? How will this kit + a couple of land lenses travel?

Congratulations on entering the wonderful world of dSLR.

Firstly I have a similar setup but in with a Nikon d80 as my camera of choice instead of your Canon.

60mm macro lens with flat port is an excellent choice and is my Favourite. You can great shots in any condition (low or high vis). Its a easy lens to use once you get your head around the settings. I start with ISO100, 1/80th, f20. This gives a nice depth of field and black background with crisp clear marco shots.

I also use the 8 inch ikelite dome port. Behind this port I use the Tokina 10-17mm lens and the Sigma 17-70mm lens. I believe the 10-24mm lens are normally very expensive (Nikon ones are anyway). The tokina lens is a awesome lens and is priced very well (aproxi $400). I have some examples in my pictures. My wreck and Grey Nurse sharks shots are taken with the 10-17mm Tokina. The 8inch dome port is the only real choice when using the 10-17mm lens and you even have to take the shades off the port as they show up in shots.
The 17-70mm Sigma lens is also and excellent lens at a great price. I havnt had much time to have a good play with it. Its a general purpose and jack of all trades. You can shot from WA and then change to macro. I have it behind the 8 inch dome so it can be a pain when taking close ups.

I would not recommend the DS51 strobe as it is underpowered and has not got a wide spread which is required in the wide angle lens. It will work well with macro but you be looking for more with wide angle.
I strongly recommend the DS125 strobe and further more getting two of them. Having two large strobes will give you the cover required with wide angle shots and also helps alot with shadow with macro they also provide the grunt you need.
If you can not afford two ds125's to start with I would at least buy one and also the dual strobe sync cord to use when you do buy the second strobe. I use the ikelite 1.25inch ball arms which they use for the larger ds200 strobes. They are a little bit more in price but they are nice and long when you need to go wide for wide angle and fold up well when using in macro when compared with the standard 1inch ball arms. Of course there are other arm setups worth looking at like ultralite etc etc.

Other recommendation is extra batteries for the ds125 strobes. You roughly get 250 shots out of them which can be done on a single dive. If your doing a double dive for example you need to have a spare battery for each strobe. On a liveaboard I have fuly charged batteries on the strobes and the other two on charge. They take about 45minutes to an hour to charge from dead. The ikelite ds125 battery charger is great as it comes with different sockets for different countries and is multi wattage for different power supply.

In the case of memory cards just buy the large capcity ones like 8gig or more. Its alot easier that having heaps of smaller ones. You can get a whole days diving on one card with a 8 gig card.

I also have a cooler bag which I put my setup in when I am on a boat. I fold everything up and its in a nice padded bag which only costs $10-15 from k-mart.

I pack the whole setup in a Pelican 1620 case which will hold everything. its a larger case but you know its protected well when travelling. Can be a pain when flying as it will weight about 25kg loaded. Expect excess baggage on international flights.

Any more questions send me a pm.

Aussie

cummings66
01-13-2008, 08:49
My Xti will only store about 50 raw photo's on a 1 gig card so you can see that the largest card you can buy will be best. I would say nothing smaller than 4 gigs would be acceptable unless you shoot jpg's which I wouldn't suggest.

Puffer Fish
01-13-2008, 11:04
I like Aussie's suggestion on the sigma lens. It would give you macro, and reasonable wide angle.

And actually, I really like spending someone else's money...

But consider this - you stick a couple of DS125's and an 8 inch doom and you have one major big, heavy unit.

Now add it some lens, some ports, a bunch of other stuff... if you are going to do that, then don't get a rebel... get yourself a 5D. (I would suggest the latest Mark III, but could not find a housing for it).

If it were me, I would not get Ike strobes... don't like the weight issue, or the narrow beam some of them have. I actually think you can save some money, get better strobs and have a smaller package.

If it were me, I would would not initially get a 8 inch dome. As a note, don't do macro with that item, as touching coral or rocks is really bad for it.

Note: it is true, that were you live, if the water is clear, the sun shining and you are in kelp, you can take some amazing wide angle shots, but you will also miss being able to take a lot more other images.

I would get that sigma lens, and configure the system first to learn all the technology and then, if I wanted to get the other items, I would.

Puffer Fish
01-13-2008, 11:07
My Xti will only store about 50 raw photo's on a 1 gig card so you can see that the largest card you can buy will be best. I would say nothing smaller than 4 gigs would be acceptable unless you shoot jpg's which I wouldn't suggest.
Yea, major issue. And one should note that memory cards, are for the most part really reliable, but around 10% seem to fail shortly after being used the first few times. So getting one and then going on a trip is not advised.

I have an 8gig on my P&S...and 2 backup cards.

I would recommend something in the 16 gig or so size (or several 8 gig) as a minimum

thesmoothdome
01-13-2008, 15:24
I've got a 2 gig that came with the kit and planned to pick up at least a couple of 8 gigs before leaving the country.

In regards to the strobe issue, weight is definately a factor. I think my bags are restricted to 20kg for the PNG trip. I don't mind paying a baggage fee, but obviously, I'd prefer not to. Not to mention, I'm pretty much a lazy bastard and traveling light makes me happy. What strobes would you suggest? Will they sync with the Canon and Ikelite housing or should I consider a different housing.

I've been reading a lot of good things about the Tokina 10-17mm and was leaning towards that for the WA side of things. Any idea how much the whole rig would weigh with the 8"inch dome and any of the strobes you'd recommend?

Thanks for the help guys. I'd like to get everything together by April so I have some time to learn with the rig before I leave for PNG. Your information has been invaluable.

Puffer Fish
01-13-2008, 19:00
I've got a 2 gig that came with the kit and planned to pick up at least a couple of 8 gigs before leaving the country.

In regards to the strobe issue, weight is definately a factor. I think my bags are restricted to 20kg for the PNG trip. I don't mind paying a baggage fee, but obviously, I'd prefer not to. Not to mention, I'm pretty much a lazy bastard and traveling light makes me happy. What strobes would you suggest? Will they sync with the Canon and Ikelite housing or should I consider a different housing.

I've been reading a lot of good things about the Tokina 10-17mm and was leaning towards that for the WA side of things. Any idea how much the whole rig would weigh with the 8"inch dome and any of the strobes you'd recommend?

Thanks for the help guys. I'd like to get everything together by April so I have some time to learn with the rig before I leave for PNG. Your information has been invaluable.

Well, I like S&S, mostly because scubatoys sells them, and Inon. After buying one YS110, I am getting another, but you could go with one of their other strobes and save a few dollars. You need some sort of TTL, but I don't think you will have any problems. One of the advantages of S&S strobes, besides having a wider flash, with roughtly the same power as the 125, is that they weigh around 2 lbs less (each) (there seems to be some issue as to whether or not the posted weight includes batteries).

The 125 shows a shorter recycle time, but we are talking at maximum power, and test I have done so far with the 110, would indicate it is less than half the rated time.

Aussie
01-14-2008, 04:14
I've got a 2 gig that came with the kit and planned to pick up at least a couple of 8 gigs before leaving the country.

In regards to the strobe issue, weight is definately a factor. I think my bags are restricted to 20kg for the PNG trip. I don't mind paying a baggage fee, but obviously, I'd prefer not to. Not to mention, I'm pretty much a lazy bastard and traveling light makes me happy. What strobes would you suggest? Will they sync with the Canon and Ikelite housing or should I consider a different housing.

I've been reading a lot of good things about the Tokina 10-17mm and was leaning towards that for the WA side of things. Any idea how much the whole rig would weigh with the 8"inch dome and any of the strobes you'd recommend?

Thanks for the help guys. I'd like to get everything together by April so I have some time to learn with the rig before I leave for PNG. Your information has been invaluable.

Well, I like S&S, mostly because scubatoys sells them, and Inon. After buying one YS110, I am getting another, but you could go with one of their other strobes and save a few dollars. You need some sort of TTL, but I don't think you will have any problems. One of the advantages of S&S strobes, besides having a wider flash, with roughtly the same power as the 125, is that they weigh around 2 lbs less (each) (there seems to be some issue as to whether or not the posted weight includes batteries).

The 125 shows a shorter recycle time, but we are talking at maximum power, and test I have done so far with the 110, would indicate it is less than half the rated time.

You will have no problems with an ikelite housing and ikelite DS125 strobes as they offer true TTL (Both Canon & Nikon) when used with a digital sync cord.
Yes coverage is more with Sea & Sea 105 degrees compared to 100 degrees with Ikelite. But with the use of dual strobes this isnt an issue.

I believe that St also sells ikelite gear but you have to email them for a price.

I weighed my setup: Ikelite housing, 2x Ikelite DS125 strobes, 2x 1.25inch ball arms and dual sync cord, 8 inch dome port without the camer in it and it was around the 9kg mark. Please note I weighed the setup on the bathroom scales so its not that accurate.

Yes Ikelite DS125 has a 1 second recycle rate which is one of the fastest around when compared to the YS-110 with its 3-6 second recycle rate (6 second with Alkaline batteries). This fast recycle rate at full dump is good for 250 shots. But using TTL you strobe isnt performing full dump with every shot. I change my batteries anyway after every dive.

Yes the Ikelite with dual ikelite ds125 strobes is a larger and heavy setup but thats what you expect when you start shooting dSLR. There are heavier setups out there also. In the water the setup is slightly negatitive. Adding some foam to try and get a neutral bouyancy is a great idea. You can get away with one strobe if your just doing macro work but you need two with wide angle.

Flying into PNG with extra dive and camera gear isnt as bad as everyone says it is. They give you more allowance with dive gear and camera gear. I have friends that work up there (PNG) and they bring back alot of gear without any issues. They just ask at the airport "Divegear" and you nod you head "Yes, dive gear".

The 8 inch dome is expensive but when you compare to buying different 6 inch ports for each different lens isnt that bad. Its the only port that gives a wide angle lens like 10mm justice.

You better off buying a serious strobe/s first out as you wont be looking to upgrade down the line. I used the Ds50 with my Olympus 7070 and it was soon replaced with the ds125 as it much more power and angle of coverage. Looking back I wish is just had of bought the DS125 first. These strobe will not be updated very often and you will most likely be replacing your camera and housing 3-4 times before you need to update your dome ports and strobes.


Check out some of my pictures as there is a fair few taken on the 60mm macro (nikon of course) and the 10-17mm Tokina.

Aussie

Puffer Fish
01-14-2008, 08:20
Aussie, to a person starting with Dslr, 19 -20 lbs is a lot.

Also, there are a couple of issues with the D125 and TTL, ones you may not have incountered (more on this in another thread).

My testing so far on the 110 (which I would not necessarly recommend for him) is around 1.5 second recycle time (does anyone really use regular batteries). with 2900 rechargables. I stopped testing at 200 flashes.

If you are going to use the 10mm lens, then the dome is needed... but that is a lens that requires very specific conditions, and I don't know if he has them.

You reference PNG rules (and yea, I have not had any issues there either) is valid, but that is not the case everywhere. Does not work like that in the Cayman's, for example.

I would still suggest getting a short range zoom, with macro, and learn the equipment, before investing in a lot of stuff they may or may not use.

Looking at your images, you have some excellent ones, you tend to over use strobes (really common dual strobe, DSLR issue). For the most part, you need less flash, not more. I would be turning down your strobes by around 2 f stops worth of light.

The which is a better strobe issue, by the way, is sort of like the split fin or BP/W issues... subject to endless debate.

I like strobes that are light in the water, so that I have to put a small amount of weight on the camera... that way, the whole unit wants to be upright. You can shoot with one hand then... which allows for moving the strobes around if you need to. Heavy strobes and foam on the camera will result in a unit that wants to be upside down.

To learn the system and his own skills, nothing works as well as using one setup for a while, until they decide they need something else. Just, as you point out, don't buy equipment that you will be throwing away later.

Aussie
01-14-2008, 18:03
Aussie, to a person starting with Dslr, 19 -20 lbs is a lot.

Also, there are a couple of issues with the D125 and TTL, ones you may not have incountered (more on this in another thread).

My testing so far on the 110 (which I would not necessarly recommend for him) is around 1.5 second recycle time (does anyone really use regular batteries). with 2900 rechargables. I stopped testing at 200 flashes.

If you are going to use the 10mm lens, then the dome is needed... but that is a lens that requires very specific conditions, and I don't know if he has them.

You reference PNG rules (and yea, I have not had any issues there either) is valid, but that is not the case everywhere. Does not work like that in the Cayman's, for example.

I would still suggest getting a short range zoom, with macro, and learn the equipment, before investing in a lot of stuff they may or may not use.

Looking at your images, you have some excellent ones, you tend to over use strobes (really common dual strobe, DSLR issue). For the most part, you need less flash, not more. I would be turning down your strobes by around 2 f stops worth of light.

The which is a better strobe issue, by the way, is sort of like the split fin or BP/W issues... subject to endless debate.

I like strobes that are light in the water, so that I have to put a small amount of weight on the camera... that way, the whole unit wants to be upright. You can shoot with one hand then... which allows for moving the strobes around if you need to. Heavy strobes and foam on the camera will result in a unit that wants to be upside down.

To learn the system and his own skills, nothing works as well as using one setup for a while, until they decide they need something else. Just, as you point out, don't buy equipment that you will be throwing away later.

Yes 18-20lbs is alot when your holding it in your hand on dry land. Its not a real issue underwater. The reason why I added foam is that my arm gets tired after a days worth of diving. I shoot with one hand with my setup also. My setup up doesnt go upside down either.

So if your not recommending the Sea & Sea ys110 strobe what are you recommending? The Sea & Sea YS250pro which is heavier, slower, less shots, and costs $200 more than the Ikelite DS125. As to the 3 second recycle speed of the Ys110 thats from the Sea and Sea website and also refers to full dump.

10mm needs very specific conditions??? Well clear water helps alot and PNG has alot of very clear water out there. Have you used the 10-17mm lens yet?

The split fin vs blade fin debate is alot different than with which strobe is the better choice. The proof in this example is the actual work done and the quality of the image.

Puffer I can not comment on your photo's as you only have one on this forum (batfish taken with a point and shoot camera which isnt framed).
For someone that might be a hypocritical critic and has inputted alot (if not most) of information in this section of the Forum you have provided none except for one example of your own work. Seeing is believing and leading by example goes a long way in my book.

Aussie

Puffer Fish
01-14-2008, 19:20
Aussie, to a person starting with Dslr, 19 -20 lbs is a lot.

Also, there are a couple of issues with the D125 and TTL, ones you may not have incountered (more on this in another thread).

My testing so far on the 110 (which I would not necessarly recommend for him) is around 1.5 second recycle time (does anyone really use regular batteries). with 2900 rechargables. I stopped testing at 200 flashes.

If you are going to use the 10mm lens, then the dome is needed... but that is a lens that requires very specific conditions, and I don't know if he has them.

You reference PNG rules (and yea, I have not had any issues there either) is valid, but that is not the case everywhere. Does not work like that in the Cayman's, for example.

I would still suggest getting a short range zoom, with macro, and learn the equipment, before investing in a lot of stuff they may or may not use.

Looking at your images, you have some excellent ones, you tend to over use strobes (really common dual strobe, DSLR issue). For the most part, you need less flash, not more. I would be turning down your strobes by around 2 f stops worth of light.

The which is a better strobe issue, by the way, is sort of like the split fin or BP/W issues... subject to endless debate.

I like strobes that are light in the water, so that I have to put a small amount of weight on the camera... that way, the whole unit wants to be upright. You can shoot with one hand then... which allows for moving the strobes around if you need to. Heavy strobes and foam on the camera will result in a unit that wants to be upside down.

To learn the system and his own skills, nothing works as well as using one setup for a while, until they decide they need something else. Just, as you point out, don't buy equipment that you will be throwing away later.

Yes 18-20lbs is alot when your holding it in your hand on dry land. Its not a real issue underwater. The reason why I added foam is that my arm gets tired after a days worth of diving. I shoot with one hand with my setup also. My setup up doesnt go upside down either.

So if your not recommending the Sea & Sea ys110 strobe what are you recommending? The Sea & Sea YS250pro which is heavier, slower, less shots, and costs $200 more than the Ikelite DS125. As to the 3 second recycle speed of the Ys110 thats from the Sea and Sea website and also refers to full dump.

10mm needs very specific conditions??? Well clear water helps alot and PNG has alot of very clear water out there. Have you used the 10-17mm lens yet?

The split fin vs blade fin debate is alot different than with which strobe is the better choice. The proof in this example is the actual work done and the quality of the image.

Puffer I can not comment on your photo's as you only have one on this forum (batfish taken with a point and shoot camera which isnt framed).
For someone that might be a hypocritical critic and has inputted alot (if not most) of information in this section of the Forum you have provided none except for one example of your own work. Seeing is believing and leading by example goes a long way in my book.

Aussie
Ouch, that hurt. the bat fish was a post in answer to the question: What does a bat fish look like? Sorry, it was the only one I have ever taken...

Actually, there are several times more of my pictures posted in ST's forums than you have in the picture section. But that is neither important nor valid. Whether I have taken 10,000 images, or none is also not the point.

Actually, I don't think I am that good as a photographer...technically I am, artistically, I am not. It is why, after working as a professional for several years, I left the field. I have had the chance to meet some the historical greats in photograph, and to tell you the truth... I don't measure up. I console myself with the thought that I am a better engineer than they would ever be, and thankfully that comparison will never happen.

What I do know is good work and I know how it technically can be done. I suppose that you only comment about things you are expert yourself...

That was the reason that I used a couple of Bob's images, as while it took him years and years to learn, he finally has it right. Just looking at his S5 images is proof that people can still do great work:

Bob Whorton Fuji S5 Photos (http://www.ikelite.com/web_two/whorton_s5.html)

Have I ever used a 10 -17mm lens - nope. Have I used a nikonos 15mm - yup. for hundreds of images. Have you used a nikonos 15mm? But I have never seen a good super wide angle shot that was done in 20 ft of vis.. please prove me wrong.

But the issue here was what should a new DSLR owner get? I still suggest getting a good macro wide angle zoom, and learn to do that well before buying equipment you may never use.

If you would like to know why I don't like the 125... just start a thread and I will be happy to present the facts on it (and there is a lot of both positive and negative.).

Aussie
01-14-2008, 21:28
Ouch, that hurt. the bat fish was a post in answer to the question: What does a bat fish look like? Sorry, it was the only one I have ever taken...

Actually, there are several times more of my pictures posted in ST's forums than you have in the picture section. But that is neither important nor valid. Whether I have taken 10,000 images, or none is also not the point.

Actually, I don't think I am that good as a photographer...technically I am, artistically, I am not. It is why, after working as a professional for several years, I left the field. I have had the chance to meet some the historical greats in photograph, and to tell you the truth... I don't measure up. I console myself with the thought that I am a better engineer than they would ever be, and thankfully that comparison will never happen.

What I do know is good work and I know how it technically can be done. I suppose that you only comment about things you are expert yourself...

That was the reason that I used a couple of Bob's images, as while it took him years and years to learn, he finally has it right. Just looking at his S5 images is proof that people can still do great work:

Bob Whorton Fuji S5 Photos (http://www.ikelite.com/web_two/whorton_s5.html)

Have I ever used a 10 -17mm lens - nope. Have I used a nikonos 15mm - yup. for hundreds of images. Have you used a nikonos 15mm? But I have never seen a good super wide angle shot that was done in 20 ft of vis.. please prove me wrong.

But the issue here was what should a new DSLR owner get? I still suggest getting a good macro wide angle zoom, and learn to do that well before buying equipment you may never use.

If you would like to know why I don't like the 125... just start a thread and I will be happy to present the facts on it (and there is a lot of both positive and negative.).


Puffer how about you post a collection of your "own" photos in the ST photo Gallery. Well since you have been a professional for years you would have a huge collection of keepers which would display your Technical expertise. This would display to all the forum readers that all your expert technical information that you have provided actually works and that you have shown it works for you. Displaying your keepers would encourage others like myself to strive to do better and further the quality of images produced.

Dropping names does nothing for me. Sure there are professional out there that make it look so easy and capture beautiful shots which we see in magazines and winning awards. They also have a larger budgets and can stay on a liveaboard for weeks on end waiting for that perfect shot and have assistants who hold extra cameras and gear underwater so that the professional has all the bases cover.

Are you actually shooting with a dSLR? I havnt seen any reference to you using a dSLR, mainly P&S Fuji's. As for the use of a 15mm Nikonos, no sorry never used it. But in reference we are taking about digital and dSLR and not a lens which was released 30 or so years ago for film cameras.

You recommend the Sea & Sea strobes but for smoothdome's situation what model Sea & Sea do you recommend???

I am the first to admit that I am no expert. I can comment on the this topic as I "have" been in the same situation as Smoothdome. I "am" currently using the same (but nikon verison) type of lenses and ports which he is looking at.

Super wide angle in low Vis. Well see what i can do for you hopefully sometime this week.

Aussie

Aussie
01-15-2008, 06:58
Have a look at another Aussie's website which has some excellent information. The Underwater Photo Gallery - Dave Harasti (http://www.daveharasti.com/)

I believe Dave also test piloted the Ikelite D80 housing for Ikelite in PNG.

He also provides some excellent examples of his own work too.

Aussie

BTW I dont know the guy so I am not dropping any names.

Puffer Fish
01-15-2008, 07:53
Have a look at another Aussie's website which has some excellent information. The Underwater Photo Gallery - Dave Harasti (http://www.daveharasti.com/)

I believe Dave also test piloted the Ikelite D80 housing for Ikelite in PNG.

He also provides some excellent examples of his own work too.

Aussie

BTW I dont know the guy so I am not dropping any names.
Really excellent work. Some textbook examples of great lighting.

You do know that over half of those pictures are point and shoot, right? He does have several pages of pictures with the D80 (great camera), but seems to have used the 5000 to learn the necessary skills.

It shows exactly why someone should have two strobes...it does not hurt that he has great things to take pictures of... I particularly like that bright red fish (have no clue what that is, by the way).

Aussie
01-15-2008, 08:29
Its nice to see that you have added some of your pictures to your gallery.

You have touched of the subject of having dual strobes and your preference to Sea & Sea over Ikelite. In smoothdomes situation what Sea & Sea do you recommend? Especially if the 10-17mm ToKina lens might be used behind the 8 inch dome port?

Are you using dual Ys110 with your setup?

The big Red Fish might be the Red Indian Fish which is rarely seen over here.

Aussie

bversteegh
01-17-2008, 00:23
Aussie, to a person starting with Dslr, 19 -20 lbs is a lot.

Also, there are a couple of issues with the D125 and TTL, ones you may not have incountered (more on this in another thread).

My testing so far on the 110 (which I would not necessarly recommend for him) is around 1.5 second recycle time (does anyone really use regular batteries). with 2900 rechargables. I stopped testing at 200 flashes.

If you are going to use the 10mm lens, then the dome is needed... but that is a lens that requires very specific conditions, and I don't know if he has them.

You reference PNG rules (and yea, I have not had any issues there either) is valid, but that is not the case everywhere. Does not work like that in the Cayman's, for example.

I would still suggest getting a short range zoom, with macro, and learn the equipment, before investing in a lot of stuff they may or may not use.

Looking at your images, you have some excellent ones, you tend to over use strobes (really common dual strobe, DSLR issue). For the most part, you need less flash, not more. I would be turning down your strobes by around 2 f stops worth of light.

The which is a better strobe issue, by the way, is sort of like the split fin or BP/W issues... subject to endless debate.

I like strobes that are light in the water, so that I have to put a small amount of weight on the camera... that way, the whole unit wants to be upright. You can shoot with one hand then... which allows for moving the strobes around if you need to. Heavy strobes and foam on the camera will result in a unit that wants to be upside down.

To learn the system and his own skills, nothing works as well as using one setup for a while, until they decide they need something else. Just, as you point out, don't buy equipment that you will be throwing away later.

If you want to shoot TTL with the Ikelite housing, the Ikelite strobes are the best way to go. If you plan to shoot much wide angle, the DS 125 is probably your best bet (I have 2 on order for my trip to Indonesia this April). I have shot thousands of photographs with Ike housings/strobes; they are very reliable strobes - and the TTL works flawlessly. Ike has service after the sale unmatched (try and get Inon or Sea and Sea to stand behind a flooded strobe) - Ike stands behind products, and routinely fixes flooded strobes at their expense if any possibility of a defect (including one of mine).

I still use the Ike DS 50s as my primary strobes because my passion is supermacro, and the small size makes them easier to position in tight places without damaging the coral. While I agree with Aussie they are not a great wide angle strobe, with two DS50 strobes positioned properly you can properly light a 15mm fisheye lens (about 120 deg FOV on my camera) - here is an example:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/134/349135010_03643d104f_o.jpg

If weight is the issue and you are willing to shoot manual, then the Inon 240's are the best lightweight strobe on the market right now (but let's be real - the Ike 125's are 3 lbs, and the Inons 1.5 lbs - is 3 lbs for the 2 strobes really a big deal?) And the underwater weight of the Ike's is almost identical to the Inon's. My main issue with the DS125 is the proprietary battery - big and expensive, I'd prefer AA's so less cost and chargers to carry - but after much consternation, went with the DS125's over the Inon's for the compatibility with the built in TTL/manual controller.

I shoot the Canon 20D in an Ikelite housing. I have the 60 and 100 mm macro lens with an external diopter, a 17-85 mm zoom for "fish" dives, and the 15mm Sigma Fisheye lens. Check out my Flickr site (link in the signature) - EXIF data is available so you can tell what camera/lens was used. I use the 6" dome with the 15mm lens with no issues; but the wider FOV of the 10-17 Tokina fisheye you would really want the 8" dome if you go that way (and it is a sweet lens, wasn't available when I bought my setup or would probably have bought it).

As far as travelling with a DSLR rig, I am not a fan of hard cases. 1, they are heavy, and 2) they say steal me if checked. I prefer a photo-backpack (holds my laptop, camera bodies, lenses, strobes, and chargers) and a standard roller carryon (camera housing, 1 port, 1 strobe arm, sync cord, reg, dive computers, mask, and swimsuits/tshirts for packing) - so if my checked baggage gets lost, I am still mission capable). I have travelled all over Indonesia 4 times plus multiple domestic/Caribbean trips, and never got busted for overweight carryons. I can get everything else in one large or two medium rolling duffles.

The bottom line on a DSLR vs a P&S - you'll get more keepers with the DSLR - better autofocus and less shutter lag is primary reason. But a better camera won't necessarily make you a better photographer - that takes practice and a willingness to learn. Some of my best shots were with my first camera; an Oly 5060 - but just had a lot less keepers. I am very active with a couple UW photography clubs - and I see stunning pictures from all types of cameras - but don't know of anyone who has regretted going DSLR once they get used to the additional size.

As far as memory cards - my camera is only an 8 megapixel, but I have never had a problem shooting 2 gig cards (they hold around 190 RAW files for my camera), as the larger cards were unaffordable 3 years ago when I bought the camera (although I recently switched to 4 GB cards when I caught a special for 55 ea for Ultra 3's). I have never taken more than 130 shots on a dive - and that was a 90 minute dive in a target rich macro environment). Call me paranoid (and I have never flooded a camera, knock on wood) - but I always download between dives just in case Murphy visits - I don't want to loose a whole dives worth of pictures.

Feel free to PM me if any questions.

thesmoothdome
01-22-2008, 08:11
Thanks for getting this thread back on track bversteegh. I appreciate all the responses and can't thank you all enough for helping me understand all of what I need to learn before I leave for PNG this June. Right now, I'm still learning the Rebel XTi above water. I'm fortunate enough to coach wrestling at the high school where I work, so this is providing a lot of opportunities for me to shoot some pics. Of course, it's completely different from shooting slow moving or non-moving objects underwater, but I'm learning what to expect from the camera and the kids are loving the fact that they're the stars. I'm shooting everything on manual and in RAW format, so I'm able to play around with everything on Photoshop elements as well. I've also bought a few books to brush up on everything. The Digital Field Guide for the XTi by Charlotte Lowrie has been invaluable and even though I haven't had a chance to spend a lot of time with it, the Essential Underwater Photography Manual by Denise and Larry Tackett appears very helpful.

Anyway, thanks for the insight guys.

thesmoothdome
03-17-2008, 13:37
I finally pulled the trigger and after taking in a lot of opinions and reading everything I could find, settled on the following:

Ikelite housing
2 DS 125 strobe packages
dual sync cord
8" dome port and body
6" flat port with man. focus
Tokina 10-17mm lens
Canon 100mm macro lens
Pelican 1610 case to hold it all

Should be ton of fun to shoot with. With PNG and Fiji just over the horizon, I'm starting to get excited. Hopefully, it'll all arrive soon so I can start learning to use it in the pool.

Thanks for all the help!

CompuDude
03-17-2008, 17:55
I look forward to seeing the results!

What was the final bill for all of that? I suspect it's pretty wince-worthy.

I just can't believe there's no way to use TTL with the Inon's... just blows my mind. I'll have investigate this. I love my Inon strobes. Never a fan of the Ike's.

I think sometime in the next year I'm going to need to go DSLR, too...

Aussie
03-17-2008, 20:19
I finally pulled the trigger and after taking in a lot of opinions and reading everything I could find, settled on the following:

Ikelite housing
2 DS 125 strobe packages
dual sync cord
8" dome port and body
6" flat port with man. focus
Tokina 10-17mm lens
Canon 100mm macro lens
Pelican 1610 case to hold it all

Should be ton of fun to shoot with. With PNG and Fiji just over the horizon, I'm starting to get excited. Hopefully, it'll all arrive soon so I can start learning to use it in the pool.

Thanks for all the help!

Sounds like my setup but in Canon. You wont be disappointed.

Did you buy the flat port for the 100mm Macro or did you go with the new port setup that Ikelites has out? New port setup is similar to the dome port extensions but instead of the dome port on the end you have a flat port (its on the ikelite website anyway).

Remember to take the shade off the 8 inch dome as the 10-17 Tokina is so wide that the shade will been seen if it is left on. It only takes a couple of little allen screws to undo to get it off.

The big pelican cases can be a pain to carry around but at least you know its protected well. I have the 1620 for my gear. Also I use a cooler bag which I bought for $15 to carry my kit in when travelling to and from dive sites. It holds my whole setup when I fold up my arms and strobes.

Another suggestion is to buy spare o-rings for housing and ports and also a spare dual sync cord. I recently had an issue with my sync cord and strongly recommend that you get a spare one. This is important when travelling to remote places like PNG were there isnt a ikelite dealer within 1000 miles.

Have you looked at a 60mm Macro lens? It is easier to use than the 100mm and I would buy the 60mm first before the 100mm.

Aussie

thesmoothdome
03-18-2008, 09:50
[quote=Aussie;146403]
Sounds like my setup but in Canon. You wont be disappointed.

Did you buy the flat port for the 100mm Macro or did you go with the new port setup that Ikelites has out? New port setup is similar to the dome port extensions but instead of the dome port on the end you have a flat port (its on the ikelite website anyway).

I bought the 5508.45, which is the 6" flat port with the manual focus. Even though I bought the modular set up for the 8" dome (it's the only way it's offered), I didn't do so with the 6". Even though modular sounds like it'd be interchangable, you have to purchase seperate bodies for each port, so in essence, you're buying seperate ports anyway and they're costing more money.

Remember to take the shade off the 8 inch dome as the 10-17 Tokina is so wide that the shade will been seen if it is left on. It only takes a couple of little allen screws to undo to get it off.

Good to know and I'm glad it's easy to remove. I plan on testing everything extensively in the pool, so I'll get some pics of the shade on and off for comparison.

The big pelican cases can be a pain to carry around but at least you know its protected well. I have the 1620 for my gear. Also I use a cooler bag which I bought for $15 to carry my kit in when travelling to and from dive sites. It holds my whole setup when I fold up my arms and strobes.

I'm not a big fan of traveling heavy, but I don't think I have a choice in this case. Not sure about the 1620, but the 1610 weights nearly 20lbs empty. At least it has wheels and a retractable handle.

Another suggestion is to buy spare o-rings for housing and ports and also a spare dual sync cord. I recently had an issue with my sync cord and strongly recommend that you get a spare one. This is important when travelling to remote places like PNG were there isnt a ikelite dealer within 1000 miles.

Already thought about spare o-rings. Never would have thought about a spare dual sync cord though. Definately a smart call, especially since I had the single sync cords swapped out of the package for the dual cord.

Have you looked at a 60mm Macro lens? It is easier to use than the 100mm and I would buy the 60mm first before the 100mm.

I was vacillating between the two, and without real world experience with the lens or D-slr U/W photography in general, this was a bit of a leap of faith. I was sold on the fact that I would be able to keep a bit more distance between myself and my subject. Hopefully I'll spend enough time in the next few months playing with it to be able to become proficient with it.

thesmoothdome
03-18-2008, 12:48
I look forward to seeing the results!

What was the final bill for all of that? I suspect it's pretty wince-worthy.



About $3600.00 w/o the lenses. If it weren't for the fact that I'm going to be in PNG and Fiji for a month, there's no way I could justify this, but since this is one of those once in a lifetime trips, I want to be set up as well as possible.

Aussie
03-18-2008, 17:51
I look forward to seeing the results!

What was the final bill for all of that? I suspect it's pretty wince-worthy.



About $3600.00 w/o the lenses. If it weren't for the fact that I'm going to be in PNG and Fiji for a month, there's no way I could justify this, but since this is one of those once in a lifetime trips, I want to be set up as well as possible.

It is alot of money but you have a great setup which you can trade-in and upgrade every 3-4 years.

If you have any questions about the setup just pm me.

Aussie

bversteegh
03-18-2008, 23:23
I look forward to seeing the results!

What was the final bill for all of that? I suspect it's pretty wince-worthy.

I just can't believe there's no way to use TTL with the Inon's... just blows my mind. I'll have investigate this. I love my Inon strobes. Never a fan of the Ike's.

I think sometime in the next year I'm going to need to go DSLR, too...


Actually - there are several ways you can go TTL with your Inons (just finished a bunch of research updating my system).

Several housings allow you to do optical coupling (Ike and Fantasea are clear, and the SeaTool and Nexus housings have optical ports), so you just use the optical TTL in the strobe.

Or the Sea and Sea TTL converter works with the Inon strobes (around 500 bucks though). And there is also the Heinrich TTL converters - internal is around 300 (you have to solder 5 wires to install), or an external Heinrich converter is around $ 500.

bversteegh
03-18-2008, 23:46
Good suggestions from Aussie - here are a couple more ideas:

--------------------------------------------------------------

Remember to take the shade off the 8 inch dome as the 10-17 Tokina is so wide that the shade will been seen if it is left on. It only takes a couple of little allen screws to undo to get it off.

Good to know and I'm glad it's easy to remove. I plan on testing everything extensively in the pool, so I'll get some pics of the shade on and off for comparison.

I have read that if you are careful positioning the shade, you won't see it with the 1.6 crop Canon cameras. I always shot with the 6" dome, so don't know for sure - but worth a quick try before you take it off.

You might also consider reworking the shade a little bit if it does show in the corners - the plastic they make the shades from cuts easily with a saber saw. I would at least try and have a shade on the top and bottom - even if the sides are cut way back - to protect the dome (especially in the rinse tank). Also - just a short shade on the sides will help prevent lens flare from the strobes - just a thought.


Another suggestion is to buy spare o-rings for housing and ports and also a spare dual sync cord. I recently had an issue with my sync cord and strongly recommend that you get a spare one. This is important when travelling to remote places like PNG were there isnt a ikelite dealer within 1000 miles.

Already thought about spare o-rings. Never would have thought about a spare dual sync cord though. Definately a smart call, especially since I had the single sync cords swapped out of the package for the dual cord.

Sync cords are definitely a weak spot - you want at least a single as a spare. Also, do you have at least one spare DS125 battery? I hate to use the flood word - but the DS125 does have some history of battery floods (but the strobe is separately sealed, so doesn't ruin the strobe). So a spare battery is a good insurance policy.

Have you looked at a 60mm Macro lens? It is easier to use than the 100mm and I would buy the 60mm first before the 100mm.

I was vacillating between the two, and without real world experience with the lens or D-slr U/W photography in general, this was a bit of a leap of faith. I was sold on the fact that I would be able to keep a bit more distance between myself and my subject. Hopefully I'll spend enough time in the next few months playing with it to be able to become proficient with it.

My first DSLR dive trip was with a 100 mm Canon only, same rationale as yours (added stand off). Since depth of field is constant for a given magnification (regardless of focal length), either lens can be a bit challenging at 1:1 magnification. Since I was diving Lembeh, I was really concentrating on the little stuff. However, the larger field of view of the 60 mm does make it an easier lens to shoot, and you don't have to back off so far to get a full frame profile of a nice fish, so it does have advantages.

As far as using the 100 mm, try putting your autofocus in AI Servo, that will usually get you close to sharp focus (without losing focus lock and driving the lens to infinity focus like one shot has a tendency to do) - and achieve fine focus by rocking the camera in and out to achieve fine focus.

Aussie
03-19-2008, 04:16
Good suggestions from Aussie - here are a couple more ideas:

--------------------------------------------------------------

Remember to take the shade off the 8 inch dome as the 10-17 Tokina is so wide that the shade will been seen if it is left on. It only takes a couple of little allen screws to undo to get it off.

Good to know and I'm glad it's easy to remove. I plan on testing everything extensively in the pool, so I'll get some pics of the shade on and off for comparison.

I have read that if you are careful positioning the shade, you won't see it with the 1.6 crop Canon cameras. I always shot with the 6" dome, so don't know for sure - but worth a quick try before you take it off.

You might also consider reworking the shade a little bit if it does show in the corners - the plastic they make the shades from cuts easily with a saber saw. I would at least try and have a shade on the top and bottom - even if the sides are cut way back - to protect the dome (especially in the rinse tank). Also - just a short shade on the sides will help prevent lens flare from the strobes - just a thought.


Another suggestion is to buy spare o-rings for housing and ports and also a spare dual sync cord. I recently had an issue with my sync cord and strongly recommend that you get a spare one. This is important when travelling to remote places like PNG were there isnt a ikelite dealer within 1000 miles.

Already thought about spare o-rings. Never would have thought about a spare dual sync cord though. Definately a smart call, especially since I had the single sync cords swapped out of the package for the dual cord.

Sync cords are definitely a weak spot - you want at least a single as a spare. Also, do you have at least one spare DS125 battery? I hate to use the flood word - but the DS125 does have some history of battery floods (but the strobe is separately sealed, so doesn't ruin the strobe). So a spare battery is a good insurance policy.

Have you looked at a 60mm Macro lens? It is easier to use than the 100mm and I would buy the 60mm first before the 100mm.

I was vacillating between the two, and without real world experience with the lens or D-slr U/W photography in general, this was a bit of a leap of faith. I was sold on the fact that I would be able to keep a bit more distance between myself and my subject. Hopefully I'll spend enough time in the next few months playing with it to be able to become proficient with it.

My first DSLR dive trip was with a 100 mm Canon only, same rationale as yours (added stand off). Since depth of field is constant for a given magnification (regardless of focal length), either lens can be a bit challenging at 1:1 magnification. Since I was diving Lembeh, I was really concentrating on the little stuff. However, the larger field of view of the 60 mm does make it an easier lens to shoot, and you don't have to back off so far to get a full frame profile of a nice fish, so it does have advantages.

As far as using the 100 mm, try putting your autofocus in AI Servo, that will usually get you close to sharp focus (without losing focus lock and driving the lens to infinity focus like one shot has a tendency to do) - and achieve fine focus by rocking the camera in and out to achieve fine focus.

Sorry I just presume that you would have 4x ds125 batteries. Especially in PNG where you normally do a double boat dive each day. No place to charge your batteries and or have enough time to charge them. If the action is on you will be coming up with dead flat strobe batteries everytime.

Start with fully charged batteries on your strobes and have two fully charged ready to change over. Remember to get NimH and not the Nicads. I wish they made Li-Ion ds125 batteries (maybe soon).

Aussie

CompuDude
03-19-2008, 10:02
Sorry I just presume that you would have 4x ds125 batteries. Especially in PNG where you normally do a double boat dive each day. No place to charge your batteries and or have enough time to charge them. If the action is on you will be coming up with dead flat strobe batteries everytime.

Start with fully charged batteries on your strobes and have two fully charged ready to change over. Remember to get NimH and not the Nicads. I wish they made Li-Ion ds125 batteries (maybe soon).

Aussie

Ugh. Yet another reason I prefer the Inons to the Ikelite strobes. 4x NiMH AA's give me over 400 full-strength fires. Very easy to bring handfuls of them if I want to change them out, but honestly, one set gets me through a weekend in most cases, since I rarely fire at full power.

I readily admit this makes me a bit hypocritical since I do like the custom battery packs of the P&S Canons over the AAs of the A series, but that's a separate issue to me.

Aussie
03-19-2008, 12:04
Sorry I just presume that you would have 4x ds125 batteries. Especially in PNG where you normally do a double boat dive each day. No place to charge your batteries and or have enough time to charge them. If the action is on you will be coming up with dead flat strobe batteries everytime.

Start with fully charged batteries on your strobes and have two fully charged ready to change over. Remember to get NimH and not the Nicads. I wish they made Li-Ion ds125 batteries (maybe soon).

Aussie

Ugh. Yet another reason I prefer the Inons to the Ikelite strobes. 4x NiMH AA's give me over 400 full-strength fires. Very easy to bring handfuls of them if I want to change them out, but honestly, one set gets me through a weekend in most cases, since I rarely fire at full power.

I readily admit this makes me a bit hypocritical since I do like the custom battery packs of the P&S Canons over the AAs of the A series, but that's a separate issue to me.


But do you get true TTL with Inons like you do with the Ikelite housing with Ikelite digital strobes?

The DS125 strobe battery is good for 250+ full dumps. So when your in TTL mode you will get alot more than that. Sometimes you might get a nice long dive in and rip off 200-300 shots and only really end your dive as the strobes are getting low.

Its something Ikelite should look into is the advancement of batteries in recent times. You now see smaller and smaller battery packs for HID using Li-Ion. Maybe soon they (ikelite) make a much better battery pack for the DS125

The last thing you want to think about in either case is when something really special turns up is that you have to worry about battery life. Carry spares.

Aussie

thesmoothdome
03-28-2008, 20:01
I just received my housing et. al. from Marine Visions. Joe was great to deal with. Sure, the housing was backordered, but to make up for that, Joe had my shipping upgraded to 2nd Day Air. If I had needed it Next Day, he was glad to do that. Hard to complain when shipping is free. Throw in the free Pelican 1610 case already packed with all the gear, and I'm thrilled with the purchase.

Later, when I called to inquire about spare batteries, dual sync cords, and spare O-rings, he discounted the batteries and sync cord and told me not to worry about the O-rings. He always sends out extra sets with all his orders.

My only concern now is the fact that it's a hell of a lot more intricate than anything I've dealt with before. My Nikonos V was load film, grease a few o-rings, change flash batteries and shoot. Now I have all that (minus the film), ports, rings, extenders, and knobs and buttons to operate all the controls. The 8" dome port is HUGE! Sure, I should have known it would be 8", but wow!

I'm sure it's going to be fun to learn to use all this, but DAMN it's going to take some getting used to.

bversteegh
03-28-2008, 23:11
Congrats on your new toy! I received half of my new Canon 40D Sea and Sea Package this week (housing, ports, and sync cords), but my strobes and arm adapters aren't in yet:smiley13: