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FAQs about Underwater Photography Gear

Related Articles: Underwater Photography

FAQs on: UW Photography, UW Photography 2
FAQs on: Technique/s, Selling, Photo Sites, Trips, UW Photography References,
Above-water Photography, Digital Photography, Aquatic Videography,

Bob showing off his new underwater rig <Big Wave Dave pic out in HI>  7/31/06 <Heeeee! B>

digital Nikons   9/16/14
> So... what you shooting with these days?
<The ten year olde or so d700 (Nikon) and nice, but many buttons non-functional Aquatica hsg. Am out in Bali at the UWMP, and folks have INSANE amounts of money in their rigs... swing over diopters (mine kind of threads onto the outside of the port...>
I've already got my eyes on the 4k gopro...
<Oh! I did finally get one of these... the black something... shot some minute or so of Jack in Coz earlier this year... there's an old clip/snap it bead on the Aquatica hsg. to take it along with>
you still able to get good shots with the old 105?
<The lens? Sort of. Am given to understand that there's some sort of "tuning" one can have done to match lenses to cameras nowayears... but am fine w/ what I have currently. Like you and I chatted re years back... there're folks who chase the later/greater computer gear et al... am still not one of these>
What digital bodies you using these days? I realize it's like chasing a wild goose.
<I did buy/have a Sony RX 100 (mark II)... and sigh, two new (the olde 220s wouldn't work) 240s, optical syncs to link... and a neat Nauticam hsg. for it... Tiff is using this; tolerating the rather steep learning curve.
> Cheers,
> J --
<Am enclosing a yellow-ish Hapalochalaena pic from ayer here in Tulamben... too deep for too long. B>

Underwater Camera poss.   4/12/11
Hi Bob/Crew,
This looks like it may be a nice outfit for those who want something compact and ready to go diving with. James
<And at a mere $229... also shoots video, and has options for added flash and external lenses! BobF>
re: Underwater Camera   4/12/11
All a bunch of crap! Please, no emails telling those that have spent thousands do this stuff that technology has caught up and it can be had for peanuts!
Scott V.
<Heeee! Plus free travel! B>
Re the SeaLife Camera  04/21/11

Hello WWM,
I noticed, a few days back, Scott V reacting a bit harshly to the person who recommended the little SeaLife underwater camera.
<Oh, I took it as a (petulant) joke on his part>
Though, I know that in order to take "real" quality photos of underwater life, you do need to invest a couple grand into equipment. However, regardless, I did get a lot of fun and joy out of my little SeaLife camera (not the one linked to, but a predecessor, cheapy underwater housing/camera set for about $500).
<I consider these units, their products as excellent, and very reasonable in cost>
It was especially fun to use for in-aquarium pictures (and functioned quite well for this). The Nikon D90, housing, flashes and all, units that BobF and ScottV use will hardly even fit inside the average home aquarium, much less be maneuverable inside. But the little SeaLife camera could get a shots of the back side of my liverock from inside a 65g tank. It was also decent at taking shots of fellow snorkelers in shallow, sunny water.
<Good points>
And considering that most marine aquarists don't get out scuba diving much (few people do), and considering that it's quite likely that the only underwater photos they will be taking are of the critters inside their own aquariums or of their kids in the pool, I wouldn't unilaterally dissuade people from getting one of these little SeaLife cameras.
Sara M/L
<Again, I'd thought, and still think, that ScottV was "having a go", protesting that some of us have spent so much money on our older rigs... but tech. marches/leaps on! Moore's law applies to camera tech... I can remember buying RAM by the Kbyte... Cheers, BobF>
Re the SeaLife Camera  04/21/11
<Oh, I took it as a (petulant) joke on his part>
<Again, I'd thought, and still think, that ScottV was "having a go", protesting that some of us have spent so much money on our older rigs... but tech. marches/leaps on! Moore's law applies to camera tech... I can
remember buying RAM by the Kbyte... Cheers, BobF>
<<Ooohh, yes, I can see that... I do recall ScottV frequently griping about the outrageous cost of such things. -Sara M/L>>
<Heeeee! Part of "the human condition!" B>

Neat link re Aquatica... UW camera hsg.s  - 2/9/11
And Ohhh, all that money sitting there!
<Very nice millings eh?>
Scott V.
<With a glam review to the D700 linked at the bottom. B>

Unda wata? UW photography: Nikon cameras, Aquatica Hsg.s    9/18/10
Hello Bob!
Hey, Nikon has started rolling out their new line of cameras the last few weeks. The D700 replacement is rumored to be out soon
<Ding dang! I've barely used mine!>
and I think I'm going to snatch one. My question to you is are you happy with the Aquatica housing?
<Mmm, sort of... I would get (if you're using Ikelite's strobes) the Ikelite adaptors... and their iTTL doesn't really work... at all. I've learned, am learning still to shoot manual settings on the strobes. The
rest of the unit is mighty fine... I like the positive setting of the camera in the housing, the locking mech. of the ports... most all of the functionality of the buttons et al.>
There of course is always the Ikelite, but I really liked the build quality on your housing. How about the TTL, what did you end up doing there?
<... a long story/relating. I talked via the internet with some very nice folks in Canada re... got two sets of cables, converter/intermediate... and gave up. The settings just don't yield TTL period. You can just go w/ one TTL strobe, or do as I most often do, shoot on manual strobe settings>
Thanks, lets get out together soon and use these beasts! I think our friend Timko is getting dive cert. soon,
<'Bout dang time!>
won't be hard to push her into UW photog!
Scott V.
<Oh, she's a photo-natural... When can you finally get out dive-traveling?
Some time in 2011? Am going to start including you in the May/Sipadan/Aquarama mails. BobF>
Re: Unda wata?
Ah, yes. Please do include me in those emails.
I would love to make that trip.
<Plan on it>
My only issue is it may collide with my annual trek to Guat, but we will see. I do not have the dates for that yet.
Scott V.

More Ikelite strobe issues -- 11/03/09
Remember the battery pack tabs breaking off in my strobe the day before we went to Cozumel? Well, Ikelite repaired that, but now it happened again. Now they acknowledge the problem and are sending out
free retro kits. So basically if you have bought a strobe or more specifically a battery pack for/with them in the last 2 years or so you should check out this: http://ikelite.com/faq/ 
faq_curstrobes.html 5th question down. Just a heads up, hope all is well in Bland!
Scott V.
<Thank you for this Scott... I think I'll post on WWM. BobF>

May I ask? UW camera lens use   7/15/2009
I now have both the 60 and 105 lenses. I have tried the 105 here in Cali a few times with poor results (I assume to gloomy days, I couldn't see anything in that light with the lens). Now I am at LAX waiting for my flight to KOA wondering what standards/criteria make you swap to the 105 on a particular dive?
Scott V.
<Good question... I REALLY like the 105... for macro on up... to med. shots at med. distances... I WOULD take this lens with you... Though, and this is one of my fave comparative statements to make, it's best to start wider (with shorter focal length lenses), akin to drinking drier wines ahead of sweeter... so that you end up with "other", wider view images... Lest you just shoot with one/the longer (105 mm) lens... Both the 60 and 105 have as their smallest aperture 2.8 correct? So... they really do have the same "capacity" for taking up light (provided and not) at about the same rate... Do try setting your exposure to no more than 100th second, the film speed to 200, no higher... if your images seem to be lacking in acuity or color richness. BobF>
Re: May I ask? Camera lenses    7/16/09

Oh yes, they are both F2.8 lenses. The light let in is all in my perception I do realize. The one day I have had a chance to dive the lens was in the Channels on an overcast day. Finding that bright gem among all the dark spots I wanted to photo was next to impossible, there is just so much more of "the big picture" with the 60mm. Kona is probably a far better place to cut my teeth on the 105mm. Thanks, Scott V.
<Thank you, BobF>

More stuff, UW Port Choices 4/23/09
Despite the big gov hands in my shallow pockets, I have been procuring some new lenses. I do have a 60mm and it does appear a 105 is on its way. The question is which port do you think is best from your experience. The standard port for this lens:
<Mmm, this just brings up B & H's homepage for me... See here for Ikelite's ports:
I have "just" used their 5505.45 for both the 60 and 105 mm... and their dome port, 5503.15 or a few wide angle lenses (12-24, and 20 mm part.)>
Now, I was also looking at the one below. I have had issues focusing of course in darker spots and with solid colored fish, such as the Garibaldi (not that this is the best lens to shoot this fish with). With this port I
can swap to manual focus and just do it myself. Do you see any issues with this port/idea?
<I do... and I should re-emphasize that I'm not likely a good source of input... being too ding dang lazy, set in my ways... I very infrequently will buy, and therefore don't use manual focus-able ports... I will/DO use
the AE/AF lock button/lever and move the camera about... but don't have the patience, nor the perceived need to manually focus lenses in the vast majority of UW scenarios (I will manual focus at times above water...)...>
Am I missing a better solution?
Thanks as always,
Scott V. Sorry if you end up with this twice. My email makes it into the Hostmysite Quarantine about 50% of the time, so I just resent it from the Crewmail.
<Real good... Do call me if we can better communicate over the phone. BobF, who has been doing quite a bit of photography reading (and gear purchasing) the last couple weeks.>
<Oh! And I should offer (as all Ikelite ports are interchangeable on their housings) for you to use any of my ports... for the couple of extant D70 rigs I have the ones mentioned and an eight inch wide angle... B>
More stuff, UW Port Choices 4/23/09

Ah, yes. I find myself shooting manual focus above water quite often. I think I am going to give the focus port a try, the only real downside I see is another point the thing may possibly leak, but dang, there are plenty of opportunities for that already!
<Oh yeah!>
And hell yeah man, you told me it was expensive. I thought once I shelled out several grand for it all I would just go take pics. But everywhere you turn in the hobby there is something new to buy, the spotting light is a comin' too.
<Just like taxes (and women...) you just keep paying and paying... till you die... well then a bit then as well>
You did mention to me in Coz. that it is deceptively easier there with the clear water and intense sunlight. I did see very quickly what you were talking about first hand the minute I jumped into the kelp forest.
<Mmm, yes... perceptions can be deceiving... our vision, the 20 some F-stops we can "see", vs. what is "really going on">
But hey, California diving is cheap practice. Thank you for the offer on borrowing the ports. And oh, if you ever want to sell off a D70 rig do let me know, I have a likely buyer if you do.
<Oh, please do tell... I'd like to sell both camera bodies (no lenses), the two housings, three ports (no arms, strobes...)>
On another note I wanted to let you know I do leave for Guatemala next week, on the second, so no net access for me for a few weeks. You do know how much that troubles me!
<Dang... what will WWM do w/o you!?>
Thanks for your input,
Scott V.
<Glad to co-conspire with you. BobF>
Re: More stuff, UW Port Choices 4/23/09

Well if you do want to sell my brother is a new diver interested in the setup. I will CC him here. His # if you wish to chat over it is Nick @ 661-340-XXXX.
Scott V.
<Mmm, we (you and I) should talk re... I really feel ill at ease encouraging someone new to use "outdated" gear... He (anyone) would be better off using a simple housed non D-SLR for ten-twenty dives... with a cheapy but durable housing (likely five hundred dollars for both or so), with an expensive strobe, tray and sync cord (another k or so as you know)... and if still interested, graduating up to a more current DSLR... I will gladly lend him/you the D 70s, but/and even though they're only a couple years out of date (and production), it's better to move ahead. Agree? BobF>
Re: More stuff, UW Port Choices 4/23/09

I do agree, good point. It is better for him to see more of what he is getting into first. I will take him out next month with my rig...I am sure he will end up with a D3 or something!
Scott V.
<Dang! Maybe he can sell us his old rigs as time goes by! Cheers, BobF>

Any advice on using a Nikon Nikonos?   3/31/2009
Anthony Calfo forwarded me your email, hopefully you do not mind?
<Not at all>
He said that you may know more about the Nikon Nikonos V than he does.
<Oh to have back all the time, brain cells devoted to this series of dedicated (almost) UW point and shoots>
I installed an aquarium system into someone's home theater room recently and they were so pleased that they also gave me their old (guessing mid 90's) Nikonos V along with an arsenal of lenses and speedlight. I am proficient with digital SLR's however, I have 0 experience with film cameras.
<Mmm... okay...>
I would really like to learn how to use this camera before a Bahamas trip at the end of may because assuming I can capture good quality material, Anthony has agreed to let me write an article about the northern Caribbean for C the Journal.
<I see>
Do you have any tips or tricks with this camera?
<A bunch... would encourage you (if they weren't gifted to you along with all else) to just get/use a set of fixed focal length framers here... And use a digital else wise for non-macro shots... Really, the learning curve for Nikonos, point and shoot film cameras used underwater is so steep, you are not likely to enjoy the results in the short/er term... setting distances, aperture, perhaps exposure... per the guide number/s, ISO/s of films you employ...>
What about a recommended film to use?
<Mmm, Velvia (50 ISO, guide number 22 if memory serves, sigh...) and Provia... Slide films by Fuji...>
What are my post processing options for magazine print quality, or digital conversion?
<Best to shoot slides, have digitized what you think came out...>
Will airport x-ray ruin the film?
<Can... best to always have hand-checked...>
All I really do know about these cameras is to keep them squeaky clean. All of the O-rings are brand new and installed by a Nikon facility.
<Mmm, when? If more than a few years old... could still be trouble>
And thank you for The Conscientious Marine Aquarist! Its like a bible in our home.--
Thank you very much for your time!
Sean Hawkins
<And please peruse these files: http://wetwebmedia.com/uwfotography.htm
and the linked files above... Oh, and feel free to write back if you have questions, problems or suggestions. Bob Fenner, who STILL has a huge Nikonos collection>

Re: regarding the site/ improvements/ inputs etc., now photography  2/27/08 Thanks Bob, also quite humbling to be called friend, <Indeed you are Forrest> quite an honor. I am reading up on the digital photography aspect of underwater now, I think I am putting together a decent plan of action/ business plan but is not finished yet, the camera I am considering is the Nikon D70s with 18-70mm lens. <Ahh! I own/use two of these camera bodies... They are more than suitable... though, if money is not too dear... the 200, 300... The lens... Mmmm, do you already own some Nikon lenses? Do you have any Canon?> Is this a good choice? I see preferred lenses seem to be the 69 <60) and the 105, would like to be able to step into this endeavor rather than dive checkbook first :) <Oh, believe me... I understand> if this set up can/will allow me to take some good pictures for my article on the Cenotes then I consider it a good way to go. <I do think this is a good start...> I will also be doing some purely salty snorkeling, we are headed to Akumal, my parents have been I think twice maybe as many as five times, its hard to keep track of them :). <Have driven past... from Cancun towards out to Cozumel...> I know the one time they went down to Xcalack but not sure if we will make the trip this time, I know they were sort of unimpressed, both big time snorks, but I think they were bothered by the accommodations enough that they won't return for now. We'll also be venturing out to some Maya ruins as my fiancé hasn't been to such yet. <Ahhh! Worthwhile> Any way to make a long story short(er) :), I would like to be able to take both land, surface and subsurface pictures, with a minimum of expense, not being cheap mind you just a minimum expense necessary. <Mmm, in this case, let's back-track on the D70... consider a more simple non-SLR digital, and inexpensive housing for same... w/o ext. strobe... there are some that take great pix above and below water... and the total cost can be 4-6 hundred dollars... Whereas the housing for the D70 will be at least a k... (Ikelite)...> I only wish I had such equipment about 10 years ago when I certified, just off the resort was this bog school of fish, sadly my memory is too bad to try and ID em now but there was a giant, would estimate 5-6 foot barracuda swimming along with them which would on occasion snap up a slow moving fish. Or the time in St. kits when I got inked by a school of squid, or the time.... well you get the picture. A lifetime of learning and fun indeed. I can hardly wait but I am an impetuous youth, is my curse and my blessing. <Yes my friend... keep this knowledge close, alive> Thank you again for all the help, encouragement, compliments, and above all considering me a friend. If I can make it to MACNA this year, I hope to, last year was easier as I am from Pittsburgh, no longer live there, fiancé still does, so I am there every other weekend, but the nonissue of accommodations made things much easier. If I can make it hope to see you there. Forrest <Indeed. And do please respond to ClayJ. BobF>
Re: regarding the site/ improvements/ inputs etc.. Now UW photography  2/28/08
Have responded to Clay with my contact info, will send him thumbs of what I have, upon his reply, wanted to get the formalities out of the way first, also am looking at some of the sidebars now, though waiting to hear what exactly he wants in it first. Also must learn to do the thumbnail thing, <Can be done "automatically" in many programs... including MSN mail...> will look into upon complete of this email. Money is not too dear , so far my camera equipment consists of a Nikon Coolpix camera, I have seen some housings that are not too expensive. <These are good cameras. What model? Do take a wider look on the Net... Most popular makes/models have very reasonable secondary market housings... a few hundred dollars> The SLR won't stretch the budget too bad, esp., now that being in a magazine is one step closer. Thanks so much for this. What I may do, is to invest in the SLR and housing, and potentially get a housing for the point and shoot, a backup seems a good idea. <Mmm, yes> I suppose that at this point I am trying to figure out what I need for a first run with the SLR, will have to wait on the external strobe and possibly additional lenses, just get the camera and underwater housing themselves at this point. <Mmm, yes... though I must tell you (feel self-compelled) that the tele-macro mentioned, and most all... have "troubles" with short distance focal length (you can't get close enough to the subject... VERY important underwater) and akin to combination (dirt/road) bicycles, these lenses are neither dirt/short or road/long focal length as sharp as fixed (single) focal length lenses... So, like life, their use presents a series of compromises> Only other consideration would be to not get something that would get outdated too quickly, but it seems the SLRs have good staying power. <Oh yes... though, not to confuse you (over much), if you are as young as you seem... and we were standing next to each other... I'd likely be trying to convince you to go video... This will happen... but first steps/things first...> Thanks again, look forward to discussing this further. Oh and have seen some "cases" for the Coolpix that are only rated to a few meters, they claim to be ok for snorkeling, do you have any experience with such things? would rather spend $100 on something that works than $10 on something that doesn't Thanks Bob, Forrest <Mmm, don't get/use these... Do send along the model, or go back to the Net and search... Is the CoolPix very old? BobF>
Re: regarding the site/ improvements/ inputs etc., photo...  2/29/08
In order ok I think I may have figured out the thumbnail thing, will practice first before sending to Clay, I emailed him directly, thought this would have more professionalism about it, not to slight you in anyway. <No, no worries> Cool Pix L1 not super old but a bit I find it good for "everyday" type shooting, though have the competing thoughts running through my head of risking money in investing in new gear versus risking time in using existing and not getting good enough shots, ah economics how I loath thee at times. <Here's Ikelites: http://cameras.pricegrabber.com/underwater-housings/m/21546628/> Your statement of Single focal length lens lit the light bulb in my head, I was wondering why so often I had seen single numbers listed versus a range, shame on me for not thinking about it more, but a you can see I am new to this whole photography thing. Ikelite has a housing for about $300 give or take depending on source for a housing for my camera, which is a ten fold increase over the "snorkeling ones" I kinda figured $35 is not worth the risk present. <Correct> As fast as am I as young as I seem to be, well this can go either way huh? haha I either seem younger or older than I am but to let the cat out of the bag, I will be 25 this coming Sunday, 3/2. <Ahh, happy bday to you> Here's to hoping I didn't seem to be 15 :) <With a fianc?!> (just kidding of course) The video angle seems a neat idea, but again, one step at a time. I can take vids with my cool pix, though I would have to see the housing on the camera to know if I can switch back and forth. I am heavily considering getting an SLR and a housing for this camera, as this will be the first time Lonnie, my beloved, will be 1) out of the country, 2) in the ocean where it is actually BLUE (caps intentional, you and I know what it looks like, she has only seen pictures) 3) snorkeling. Also as she is trained in conservation biology I think having a camera in her hands would be a good idea, if only for a "My first time snorkeling" type of thing. Maybe I'll encourage her to write such a piece. So anyway sorry about the digression just trying to give you a better perspective on what's going on in my head. :) So ok If I understand this whole situation, a camera body is basically everything you need to record images except a lens. <Mmm... a bit of clarification. For cameras, sometimes ext. lenses, filters can be fitted onto the housing itself... magnifiers, polarizers...> The housing will be needed for any water work, and one or more lenses to make this a "camera" As previously stated money is not too dear, use of that term brings back memories, <Certainly not the Beatles line from the song "When I'm Sixty Four"... you weren't born! Heeeeeee!> but that is a story in its own right. Though time to learn is getting more so, as the trip will be in may and it will be at least March when I have the camera in my hand. So Lets say I am taking pics only snorkeling, no deep water stuff, do I need an external strobe? <Mmm, not so much> If not, shoot with available light or use the in camera flash? <Mmm, yes> Well Bob my friend I know this is a large number of questions but you have made friends with a quite inquisitive youngster :) Your ever grateful friend, Forrest <Your willing accomplice. BobF>
Re: regarding the site/ improvements/ inputs etc. 2/29/08
OK so I have reached a verdict. (also some other info I didn't include in original discussion). Am gonna get both the housing for my existing camera, and have that bad boy shipped to me express, maybe have it in time to get in some pool work playing with it before I get the SLR. Am going to get the D200, Ikelite housing and the Nikon 60mm lens and accessory kit, comes with some filters cleaners etc. Albeit this will all cost more than my first car haha, and the reason I have decided this is the fact that I am not paying for the airfare or hotel for this trip. As these expenses, thanks Mom and Dad, can be so much I have decided the opportunity cost to be high enough to warrant the additional expense. Will the 60 be ok for above water also? <Yes... is a very fine lens for both> maybe non aquatic "nature" type shots or should I try to get a camera body and lens kit for above water? <Mmm, not IMO> That being said would like to maximize my writing/ photography income from this excursion, again travel paid for don't want to miss out. Planning to do a travelogue but can also do on site specific caves, the shore etc. Any recommendations on this is greatly appreciated. <See what you can, write re what interests you> Oh and do people use tripods underwater? <Mmm, very few... the exposure (usually 100-125th of a second) is sufficient to "stop" most motion, and there is precious little time to futz about... the subject leaving, your drifting by...> Neutral buoyancy is not a huge problem using a BCD but snorkeling has got me concerned. Thanks again, Forrest <Enjoy. B>
Re: regarding the site/ improvements/ inputs etc. photo and content prov.
Thanks again, also I believe I figured out the thumbnail thing, using a Gmail account with it made it pretty simple, thank goodness. OK then the 60mm it will be whoo, this stuff is expensive but as this is the last family trip I won't have to pay for got to take advantage. Am ordering the housing for the Cool pix now, literally, do hope this all pays off in both enjoyment and financially. Learning is always good in and of itself of course but when put to use I feel is even better. OK so no big deal on motion that's a relief, am anything but steady even on land. I can't thank you enough, probably good on questions for the time being, still wrapping it up in my head. Be chatting in other regards though. Can't thank you enough. Your friend, Forrest Oh one other thing should I mention this to Clay? Or should I wait until I have it written up and the Cardinal thing all hammered out first? Thanks <?... You should proof your email before sending... Mention what? B>
Re: regarding the site/ improvements/ inputs etc., photog.  3/1/08
Bob, Thank you again for the advice and clarification. As I am new to this, having a mentor/friend is invaluable. The camera is coming in this weekend or early next week, so I will be out shooting on land, I figure deer and birds are good terrestrial analogs of fish. Housing to arrive later, I will be getting the Ikelite housing, and it is my understanding I need a port. Which would you suggest. It is a Nikon Lens. <... As you will see by looking on Ikelite's site, there are many. I happen to use (because I am cheap, and it works w/o much in the way of discernible vignetting) the same one either for the 105 or the 28-85 tele> I have mentioned the trip and plans to Clay, though that was late yesterday so I imagine/hope for his sake, he has the weekend off, but will take your advice of writing it up no matter what and going from there. On a related note, when I sent him the thumbnails of your images he said they were dark and blurry. Following the same procedure I had mailed them to myself and had no such issues. This suggests to me I have either, 1) a different perspective on dark and blurry, or 2) have erred in same way in sending the pictures. Since you know what the images look like in full versions would it be possible to send you the thumbnails, using the same procedure I used to myself and Clay? if so to crew or to you personally? Thanks again. Your ever grateful and always learning friend, Forrest <Mmm, can be sent to me at fennerrobert@hotmail.com... There are a few possibilities re the change... B>

Re: I blame you... "You've only just begun"... Karen Carpenter... Blecccchhhhh! PhilS' continuing saga, sinking into the black-hole of UW photography...   2-14-08 Hi there, Last month I bought my Canon 40D, a 60mm macro and a 10-17 wide > angle. Yesterday, I put a deposit down on a Subal housing, two ports and two Ikelite strobes. Just what I need - a frustrating and ridiculously expensive hobby! I  blame you... Phil <Heeeee! What? Trade in those cheapy Ikelite arms for some expensivo Ultra lites! And how about some extra battery, storage media... and of course, the fancy faster reader... You really need that 100, 0r 105 mm lens (maybe you already had...) and... now to pay for the travel, the time to id, edit... some fun now! B> Gonna wait on that 100mm until the credit card quits smoking! Actually thinking of trying these new "Stix" arms I've been reading about on wetpixel. Check 'em out and let me know what you think. www.4gdphoto.com <Mmm, nah! For the most part you'll want to not move your strobes more than "here or there"... As you'll see... for macro or further out... Some folks use just one strobe even (Roger Steene usually, mounted just atop the housing)... and don't move at all, unless shooting macro... and then, with a fixed focal length lens... this/these are rarely moved also... best to situate your arms where they're about always exactly where you'll want them (if at all) rotated in a plane... to point in the direction/intersection of the apparent subject... Am looking fwd. to showing you this underwater. BobF>

Underwater housings.... pix, video gear   4/4/07 Hey Bob, <Pullz/Chris> Several questions regarding UW stuff. <Hotay> First: - I'm trying to put together a kit for work (FBI, for recollections).  The HazMat team has asked to put something together that can be taken down range into unknown contaminations.  My belief is that video would suit their need the best and keep things simple for the guys using the setup. <Mmm... if cost, size/weight of this rig is an issue... there are some acceptable MP3 possibilities as part of some nice small digital cameras/housings...> I also was thinking that one of the "baggies" for the camera would work well as well as being easy to decon. <Mmm, nah... And I mean NAH! These are of no real use... easily torn, easy to damage the camera inside... no real advantage over a hard case... many of which nowadays have a small profile... not much dead space around the gear within>   Do you have any recommendations as to video cameras that work well in a housing/baggie?  Any web site or retailer that you'd recommend. <Mmm... let's see... well... am a big fan of Sony's products... Are what I use... Something small, Hi-8 will do (no need likely for high-def)... and an Ikelite housing... no need for lighting...> Secondly... on a personal side... - I'm looking at putting together an UW digital still kit.  I'm most familiar with Nikon equipment and have not heard anything negative regarding the D200 but unsure how it would respond in an UW situation.  Again, what housings would you recommend? <I am an almost life-time user of Nikon... and have a couple of D70 rigs... but am a HUGE fan of the D200... is a wonderful piece of equipment... And... if... you have Nikon lenses already... Score!> Hope all is well with you and your diving.  Work is sending me to Prodive in Lauderdale this week to get certified as an instructor. <Nice> Back in '04, my office put together an underwater search and evidence recovery team and I'm one of the senior guys on the team.  It's nice that work is finally picking up some of the tab for my expensive hobbies... cheers, C <Do stay in touch... the HHH... coming out to HI, going out elsewhere with us/friends for dive/travel adventures... I find this is the absolute best way to learn pix work, editing... Cheers, Bob/Dogfish>

Need your advice on macro lens   11/25/06 Dear Bob,    <Abhijit!>   How is it going ? <Fine my friend. Am out in HI diving...> I was able to find your DVD on the red sea and enjoyed it again.   I have a question which I wanted to ask you. I am planning to buy a lens for digital camera (Nikon D80) <A very nice camera... we use the D70's currently> and wanted your advice. I want this lens to work for both underwater and aquarium photography. I basically want to use this lens for photographing small fish like one inch in size close-up both underwater (during scuba) as well as in aquariums. A lot of people are advising me to go for a 60 mm fixed focus Nikon macro lens <An excellent "tack sharp" lens... I use this quite often> whereas a lot of others are telling to go for 105 mm fixed focus Nikon macro lens. Which one do you think I should go for. <If only one, for the purpose you state... the 105... What I was using today!> Which camera and lens do you use for this kind of objects ? <The longer focal length/s for smaller subjects a bit further away possibly> Also I have an SB800 Nikon Flash but friends are telling me to buy a cord SC-29 so that the flash can be off-body and the reflection can be avoided. <This is a very good suggestion... hard to avoid parallax problems with hot-shoe mounted flashes as well> What is your advice in this area.   Thanks and happy thanksgiving,   Abhijit Mitra    <And to you and yours. Bob Fenner>

Nikon Camera Question 10/26/05 Hi Bob, I hope all is well.  What model was the new Nikon body and lens you got? <My analog rigs are N90's... no longer in production... my digital is a D70... and I use the Micro-Nikkor 60, 105 and tele-macro 20-35mm lenses mostly underwater... though I have a poop-load of other Nikon lenses> Are you so far happy with that setup? <Mmm, mostly... am almost afraid to start this dialogue... as there are a bunch of things (important) I'd like to state... Is this for above water use?> I am an old Nikon film guy and have several old lenses for their SLR's. I assume these can also be used on the new digital bodies but without AF function of course. Tapio <The few new digital SLR lenses are really worthwhile. I only have the 18-70 mm... would like to have the 10-20... but a good camera (this of the Canon D20) for above water... BobF> 
Re: Nikon Question - Let Me Take Your Picture! 10/27/05
This will not be for diving.  My question was prompted by problems I have producing good quality underwater photos of aquarium specimens, coral mostly through the glass. My Canon G2 is simply too automatic and it has problems both focusing and reproducing good colors in water. I miss the old manual focusing and a good lens. I have looked at the D50. It has pretty much the same stuff as the D70 and is newer and slightly "cheaper". <Yes... a lady had one on the boat today... liked it very much> Was that the 18-70 you brought to LA? <Was through the Net...> Or is there a tele-macro you would recommend for my purposes? I have the non AF Micro Nikkor 60 mm too and like it.  <Would get/use the 105... for a year or two with the 60... unless you tell me you have a need/use for a wide angle...> Could I get the digital body and rely on this lens to start with or is a AF lens worth it? <Is worth it... the "D" designated Nikon lenses are all I use> Thanks for your time again. I wish I could help YOU with something;-). <You do my friend. BobF>
Re: Nikon - Cameras, Lenses, Photogs Get it On 10/28/05
One more round of questions. Then I am done:-)  My sights are set for the D50, but the lens.... You wrote: <Would get/use the 105... for a year or two with the 60... unless you tell me you have a need/use for a wide angle...> We must have confused something here. What 105? I don't have a 105 lens. I have the 60 macro. <Yes... understood... I would get/use a 105 mm as well...> How close are you able to take pictures with that 18-70? Like when you took pictures of that hybrid tang in LA. Did the tang almost fill the viewfinder and how did the pictures turn out? <The minimum focus distance is about a foot and a half...> The max repro for that lens is 1:6.2 and min focus 0.38 meter, so you must have been close to the min focus range there, right? <Or the pic was cropped...> <<Shoot wide, crop tight?>> There appear not to be a true macro lens in the DX series yet, so I guess the best option then is your 18-70 or a new 18-55 with min max repro 1:3.2. <Or one of the other more macro lenses... or (in the case of underwater, you can use a diopter... suggested is a 4X... but lose about a whole f-stop, some acuity and color depth...> Your thoughts? <Mmm, where to go, end? BobF> 

Nikonos Extension Tube ?s 4/6/04  Hi folks!  <Hi, Pufferpunk here>  After reading the Church's information on using the extension tubes with my Nikonos, I'm left feeling somewhat fuzzy.  <Jim Church is great. Learned most of what I know from his books. Even got a photo critique from him, when he was teaching a photo workshop, here in Chicago, at Our World Underwater!>  One, is it ok to use the 28mm lens rather than the 35mm, and will this this increase my depth of field?  <Yes, you can use the 28mm, but there are different framers for that lens & the 35mm.>  Two, should I really set the f-stop in the 11 range or max it out at 22 for a greater depth of field? Did I mention I'd really like a lot of depth of field...  <With extension tubes & framers I always start at 22 & bracket at 16 & 11. You can also experiment with 1/2 or 1/3 f-stops between the 3, if you have plenty of time, film & a cooperative subject. Try it out in a pool & see what works for you.>  Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!  Woody Veach  <Have fun shooting! I get to use mine in about a month in the Red Sea!!! ~PP>
Nikonos Extension Tubes ? 4/7/04PP, 
Thanks for the helpful info! I'm off to Dominica in 2 weeks... Have a wonderful time in the Red Sea, YES, I am jealous!!!!!!!!!  <You bet I will! I forgot to answer one of your Qs about adding depth of field using a 28mm rather than a 35mm lens with the tubes. Yes, DoF will increase, but only very slightly. ~PP> 

Motomarine parts/service for Sri Lanka 7/15/03 I'm battling to find any places that sell parts for the Motomarine Sea&Sea II camera. Can you help? Thanks, Derek <I did a keyword search for this company on www.google.com and found their main website and many others to consult. Let me suggest that you contact the manufacturer directly and ask them to direct you to the closest dealer to help you in Sri Lanka. Best of luck, Anthony>
Motomarine parts/service 7/16/03
Thanks Anthony, Please pass along the info as I couldn't find it (and I just tried again now!) <Derek... simply go to www.google.com and type in "Motomarine". There you will get websites like the main: www.motomarine.it On Google, however, there is a feature to translate the Italian for you. There may be other sites more appealing though or closer to you (Australian distributors perhaps). Best regards, Anthony>

Vamos a Fiji, Tonga (U/W Photography) Bob, Paul Witt here from the SDMAS.  We spoke extensively on the phone about media acquisition.  I have decided to take the plunge and am going to go to Tonga and then on to Fiji on my friends boat..  I have quite a few questions.  I am wondering if you could allow me to give you a call sometime to ask questions when I have a more complete list.   I prefer person to person.  I am a lousy typist and my two fingers cramp often.  A preliminary list is as follows. <Okay. 858-549-XXXX> What is the best slide film to capture UW images in your opinion. <I use Velvia and Provia (Fuji... 50, 100 ISO), but do also use and have many friends who prefer Kodak...>   I have a Nikonos III and will be buying a V soon and was wondering what you think I should get as far as a strobe set up and cords, sync, Slave, TTL, lenses. In your opinion.  Thanks, <Oh... let's talk on the phone. Much to say. We do use Nikonos cameras for macro (fixed frame)... but would rather discuss housed SLR's... even digital over Nikonos point and shoot technology. Bob Fenner> Paul
So now that I've got it... (Nikonos questions)
Did I mention that this OEM Nikonos bag makes it all worth it? I could be sachet-ing down the avenue with this bag back in the 60s and I'd be in high style. <If you were in Haight Ashbury perhaps, Mr. Sashay> My big question is this - the camera came with two sets of extra o-rings. Which ones are the key ones - or say more important or like to fail, and are there any, more than others that wear quickly or should be replaced often. <All four of the user friendly O-rings are key/crucially important... and... Oh boy! There are 19 (nineteen) non-user-friendly ones, like Intel, inside... if you don't have absolute confidence that the camera has been serviced in the last couple years... it's time to spend a couple hundred dollars more and send it in! Southern Nikonos (TX) my choice if there's no one about there> Everything on the camera is in good shape, and I'll give it some good luvin' before I take it in the water. I just want to make sure I don't wreck it on the first outing. <Been there, destroyed that. Bob> Cheers, J --

16mm lens - Equipment Vendor Problems - Alert! Hey, Wanted to ask you guys for some advice.  My 16mm lens developed some dirt inside of it and I sent it for repairs to the authorized dealer in Singapore.  He had it repaired by 19dec and supposedly sent it to me by speed post on 21dec.after waiting for 10days (it should usually just take 4) I contacted him and he gave me the receipt number and I tracked it in Mumbai, but a package by that number had never reached here.  When I got back to him he said he checked too and it's left Singapore. I feel he's giving me the run around coz I asked him to fax me a copy of the receipt and he's not doing that, I had already paid him for the repairs and cost of mailing it by credit card.  Now I'm wondering what to do coz he's giving me the run around by saying he's trying to follow it up.  What do I do in this situation, any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks.  Parvin <I do know what to do: Contact your credit card company... very good that you paid this way... call AND write them with all specifics, THEY will contact the vendor and either straighten this mess out, or at least deny them payment. If you do not receive satisfaction from this agent in Singapore, I would further post the circumstances on BB's having to do with photography, rating services on the Internet... Bob Fenner> 

Camera preference Crew members, Looking for help with a camera question... Would you rather have an underwater camera housing for your nice SLR 35mm film camera, or would you rather have an underwater camera housing for your small digital camera? Adam <This is a tough question... I have cameras and housings of/for both... Not to be disingenuous, I would say "neither"... and encourage you as I have done others the last several years to "jump ahead" and get into video, digital, three chip/CCD if you can. The costs for outfitting are more, but "nominal" as the saying goes when you factor in the much higher expense of trips... Bob F, who travels with at least one analog and one digital rig every dive trip... and will chat with you interminably re while we're in HI>

UW Camera rig input Hey Bob, <Hello Tim!> Tim here from Fiji... I'm guessing you are at Interzoo at the moment? If so- have a cold wheat one for me. Walt is around, however the rest of us remained in the mines this year. Too bad- but will be in St. Louis in a couple of weeks which will be a blast. <Ah, yes... we have been at Interzoo, then Egypt and back to Germany to pick up some Knop product for Di... back in S. Cal. now> I want to purchase a decent camera I can put a housing around and attach strobes at a later date. <Okay> I also want to be able to fit lenses. <Externally I'll assume... as in as thread on's underwater. Only point and shoot cameras in the Motomarine/Sea N' Sea line can do this for analogs... many good digital rigs have this capability. I have an Olympus set-up (a 4040) with Inon close-up and macro lenses that can be mounted externally, and a friend had his new 5060 get-up with us in the Red Sea this last week with the same lenses... very nice.> Can you recommend something please. I'm guessing I will spend around US$800 for the camera. <Look on the net for reviews on the Olympus 5050 or 5060... Sony is "dumping" their "10" camera and it has a housing available... but the ext. lens addn. is problematical. Ikelite's strobes (the 50 is fine) are highly recommended... am cc'ing Dave.S here re info. on who he bought his gear from (on the Net... good deals). Cheers, Bob Fenner> Much appreciated All the best Tim <Will hope to dive with you possibly later this year in FJ>

D-rated lens? Was that the magic code word?  <Maybe... the letter "D" as in designation on Nikon lenses for infra-red autofocus capacity?> I'm looking at the lens I have which I do believe now must have come from the bargain bin. It was wishful thinking that the f-stop was 1.4 - try 4... oh well. <Oh... yes> It's a 35-80mm something-something [don't think it would qualify as a tele-macro] and has another set of numbers on it - 1:4-5.6 D - Is that the D I'm looking for. <Yep!> If not... what's a good second lens to get for this body that will work for the UW auto-focus. <The workhorse lenses I have, can share (at least on trips we're on together!), 60, 105... I have a 24 (and the port for it, yay) wide-angle... and the 70-180mm with the rest of the gear to go with it coming together... and a few other above water lenses. B> Cheers, J --

Repair Order # R 13337 Repair of 1 - 4046 Ai, Ser No 5607 Replacing water damaged as needed Cost $ 150.00 Please forward check, money order or Phone 317-923-4523 with a credit card number. Visa & Master Card accepted. Fax # 317-924-7988 PO Box 88100, Indianapolis, IN 46208 <Will do, thanks. Bob Fenner> Thank You Ikelite Repair Dept.

4040... first digital Bob, I'm getting the hang of the U/W housing and the 4040 camera and I noticed the lens on the housing has a couple of scratches on it. Is there any way to get those out? I can't wait to take pictures with this camera. <Think probably not... it's glass... does the port look like it's removable? Perhaps look over Olympus' website, or contact Marine Camera Distributors (.com) w/ this question. Bob Fenner> Mike

Tahiti trip....  Bob, <Howdy> Greetings, my name is Chris Rollison and I'm a member of SCMAS here in Orange County. I was at the Christmas party with the LA club and enjoyed your pictures from your recent Fiji trip. Since then I've been dreaming about making my first trip to the South Pacific. After looking around, the prices to Tahiti right now look killer so that's where the family is headed in early June. <Sounds good, very> The reason for my e-mail is several reasons. First, you jokingly (I think...) mentioned about helping an exporter collect specimens or perhaps that they would export stuff for you. Well Tahiti's not Fiji but I was wondering if you know any exporters in Tahiti that I could contact in case there is a chance I could use them to get coral back to the States.  <I don't... but will cc our msg. here to friends in the trade and ask if there are any. Unfortunately, though many of the islands that make up French Polynesia are not that far from U.S. markets, the costs of operating there are high, limiting> Tahiti could be a marine preserve for all I know as I've not done my homework yet but thought I would ask you first. Most likely I'll be on Moorea and not Tahiti, considering Rangiroa and Manihi also. Your experience with any "must do" dives in any of these locations would be great too. <Are you actually going over to Moorea? Have never dived on the neighboring Tahiti... got to go to the Gauguin house/museum, drink liquers made from pineapple... dive and snorkel as much as you can, for sure> Second, and more importantly, I'm in the market to replace my flooded Nikonos V and also recall your comments about your digital camera. I wanted to get your recommendation on a digital I should consider.  <I would definitely not replace the Nikonos (Nikon even stopped making them a few months back!). See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/digitalpixinput.htm re the Olympus 4040 rig and gear to make it a complete kit> The pictures are just for my own use, no submissions to National Geographic or anything, but would like to be able to make an 8 x 10 if something looks good. With my Nikonos it never fails that when I've got the macro set up on there's a great 35 mm shot and vice versa. Am I correct to assume that digitals can be adjusted underwater between the two settings? <Yes... and this get-up even has the Motomarine Sea & Sea capacity to stick on external lenses (macro, close-up) "wet" (while underwater)> What pixel count should I use to maximize the number of pictures?  <I use 2.15 mega... but the camera will do 4 mega pixels. I store as tiffs...> As I have no laptop, how do I take enough "digital film" with me to last the whole 7 days? <They have storage devices... but do encourage you to bring a laptop... to label, optimize (alter, better) pix topside... borrow one if need be> I know you can edit out the losers but with my Nikonos I'm shooting about 36 pictures per dive to be sure I'm getting something "good". Also, I'm hoping that I can save some money by not getting the latest generation of camera hardware but perhaps a previous generation camera that has what I need but not bleeding edge cost. Obviously the camera requires a housing, what do you use? Are the housings generic or customer specific? <The 3040 fits in the same housing, uses same batteries, storage media... only has a couple of features that I use different than the 4040... sells for a few hundred dollars less.> Sorry for all the questions but I've got a lot of ground to cover and my June departure is only weeks away. I know this isn't aquarium specific but I know you have a lot of good experience in this area and your experience will help me get up to speed faster. Thanks for your response.... <No worries. Let's chat up any "loose ends", questions, concerns you may have. Lots to enjoy here. Bob Fenner> Chris Rollison
Re: Tahiti trip.... (Now Fiji, photography) Bob, What a difference a week makes! After looking more closely at pricing of food, lodging, and diving we've shifted our plans from Moorea to Fiji.  <I understand> We've looked at all the options available and our choice is a small island resort called Treasure Island in the Ammoniac Islands to the West of Vita Levu, an hour north of Nadi by ferry.  <Have been there... a very small, but nice island> It looks like a great place for my non-divers to snorkel and for my freshly certified son to ease into the underwater world. Some of the strong current and deep water dives I read about in other parts of the islands seemed a bit too aggressive for a newbie diver. Have you spent any time in the Mamanuca Islands?  <Yes... some friends have businesses in Latouka (to the north of Nadi), and do stay often with them, dive and collect by day trips from there. Have visited most of the islands in the group, on out to the Yasawa chain> I'm sure the diving there is wonderful, and quite honestly with the new digital camera I'd need only 30' of water and an abundant thriving reef and I'll shoot macros all day. Where were the exporters you mention at the Christmas party located? I thought I recalled them being in "The North".  <Almost all are on the principal island in the south... to be near Air Pacific for air transport...> Anything in Nadi we should visit on our first or last day there? <Yes, "Jack's Souvenirs" in Nadi town, and "First Landing" (a hotel, restaurant in Latouka... Maybe Walt Smith's facility there as well...> Our flight leaves Fiji at 10 PM and the ferry drops us off in the morning I'm sure. Turning now to the digital photography, I'm zeroing in on either the Olympus 3040 or 4040, probably the former, but had a couple questions regarding these. Batteries, what type do you use and what are your techniques for keeping them fresh?  <Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/uwpixfaqs.htm in an area where this rig is described. Both cameras and the Ikelite strobe use four AA batteries. I only utilize NiMH, Nickel Metal Hydrides... at least 1,600AH... rechargeables... get a "smart" fast recharger...> Meaning, some rechargeable have a memory and unless they're fully discharged they don't fully re-charge. <Not modern technology> Obviously the picture taking is done when batteries run out at 60 feet. Also, the media cards, you mentioned shooting at 2.15 mega pixels, assuming you use a 128 meg card, how many shots can you store? <54 per 128 meg card> I assume the camera tells you in some way how many shots are left on the memory card right?  <Yes... is counted down... you can preview and erase at depth if you get that far... 54 is a lot of images per dive> I've also stumbled across the housing from Olympus that is imported to the USA from Japan by a few sources, it's half the price of the Ikelite which was half the price of the Tetra. Heard anything regarding this housing? <Yes, it is the one I use... the newer "Purple" one is better than the older "Red"> Finally, in 25 words or less, which non-automatic features do you find yourself using most on your 4040 to improve the shots underwater. That's a big question I know but at the heart of it is my experience with my Nikonos over the years. Seems that whenever I took the camera out of auto-mode and tried to adjust for something or another the shot was not what I expected more times than not. Clearly with the digital image immediately available the feedback loop is infinitely shorter to help understand what the parameter changes did to the shot. <Mmm, yes... the zoom (just the 3X optical, not the 7X digital), the preview to compose the image, the Programmed settings to check against the Shutter Priority (which is generally what I use)... am out of my 25 words...> In any case, that's what I'd like to know from you, do you keep the camera on auto 95% of the time, but switch it manually when and how for what typically?  <Generally only switch to automatic to check against other options/results... typically shoot at the equivalent of 125th of a second...> Any tips on macros?  <A book full... for now, just practice, reflect on what you see...> Know any good underwater photo sites w/ tips for the new digital photographer?  <There are quite a few. Read the two hundred pages of the CD-ROM Camedia manual... and use your search engines to read about these cameras, models... For now, initial experience, familiarity is what you really need... walk, swim, before you run, dive...> Thanks for your responses, hope I'm not picking on your brain too much.... <A pleasure to share my friend. Bob Fenner> Chris
Re: Tahiti trip.... (U/W Photography)
Bob, thanks for the quick reply, Sundays must be a good day to e-mail you. <Mmm, actually, I treat myself (like eating your Lima Beans before pudding) most anytime by answering queries amongst other less-enjoyable tasks> I've checked out the links you gave me and looked around at the sites that sell the gear....OUCH, I thought Nikonos was expensive!! I'm considering an Ikelite housing instead as they're half the price of the Tetra. <Yes... a bit "clunky", but nice, mechanical controls, easy to see if flooding through the clear Plexi...> I think that a strobe might be out of the budget initially unless I can use my Nikonos strobe somehow, ideas? <Can be adapted to other makes, models... either with a slave or maybe a Nikonos fitting/adapter. Do check with Ikelite here. I've been a fan/customer of theirs for decades. They know their stuff> Couple of things I don't understand, first the filter. Apparently in order to get true colors underwater a red filter is used?  <Mmm, not with still cameras generally... you lose a part of all of an f-stop... and can be tricky to "get the pink out"... in white situations... I don't use red-filters except in video (and the old days of underwater movie filming... yikes, am ancient> This just screws onto the front of the housing? And the underwater lens changing thing is completely baffling, it's a Tetra feature, Olympus feature, what?? <Should only be offered by/for video... you can practice and convince yourself> Are these lenses essentially filters that magnify or curve the view for macro or wide angle shots? do you know a link where I can read more about the lens changing. thanks again for your help..... <Which lenses? The filters are selective optical density plastics. There are some cameras that have underwater capability to change lenses other than top-side... not the same thing. Sea and Sea is one of the former and has a site: http://www.seaandsea.com/ Bob Fenner> Chris

Camera information Dogfish, SpinalTap here. I' like to pick your brain, or at least the half of it that you use on a regular basis, instead of on Hashing. <It's about pickled this AM, but go ahead> After experimenting with a cheap ($50) housing that uses disposable cameras, I've decided that my diving 'skills' are adequate for doing some photography under the water. I.e., I can sort of control my buoyancy and hold a position, and other stuff you need to do to take pictures. <Great! More and more choices are now available... have recently invested in a new "cheap" digital rig... an Olympus 4040 and housing, Ikelite strobe/arm set... very nice pix, no film cost...> Unfortunately, I think I've outgrown the starter outfit I now have, plus it doesn't work all that well, i.e., shutter button doesn't line up, film advances sometimes (but not always), inadequate flash, etc. <Le boot... no one needs that frustration. Trips are costly enough> I want to move up a little, maybe up to a $150-200 unit. I realize that I'm still not going to be able to get a very fancy outfit for that kind of money, but maybe you could give me a hint or two. I'd like a reloadable camera, that has a decent flash and viewfinder. And being able to add a more powerful light (and possibly other goodies) at some time in the future would be nice. Can you give me any hints about what brand(s) I should consider?  <Likely either a pretty used Motomarine Sea and Sea unit (with as much still working on it (strobe, other lenses...) or Nikon (II, III rather than a IV... maybe a V if someone is giving away... for point and shoot types... But to heck with this. Go in for a digital set-up... for you and Suze's above and below water use... there are a few... You can get an Olympus (last model, but about the same features, functionality) as the 4040... for about five hundred dollars... and save up the big $250-300 or so for their housing (still need batteries... rechargeable NiMHs, memory (Costco)... but this is about it... Oh, this is about the same rig as the young fellow on last Black Beard cruise had... You can add the slave-activated strobe later. Here's a place on our sites that lists the gear: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/uwpixfaqs.htm and where you might get it (where I got mine)> Or what brand(s) to stay away from? And maybe the best source for information and/or purchasing? <Best source are actual users, hobbyists and pros... so the listservs, their posted input is golden... Prices vary, the etailers are sometimes my first choice for comestibles like batteries, film, used analog gear (Adorama, KEH, Helix...), but Marine Camera Distributors really has the stock on hand... Do check around your vicinity geographically for a "relationship" with a good dealer as well> I've done some research on the Internet, but so far it's been mostly promotional information, as opposed to Consumer Reports type evaluations. Got any used stuff lying around that you've been waiting to dump on to some unsuspecting Hasher? <My two cycles back video... Sony TR 700 and their housing... and even lights... the whole thing weighs about thirty some pounds... No, I can't dump that on anyone... Get new gear if you can, otherwise do have factory inspection, fixing before using any purchased used... Skip all this and get new... believe me> No rush on this, since we don't have any trips planned for the next few months, but any info you could pass along will be appreciated. Oh - please use XXXX for the reply. <Done my friend. Be seeing, hopefully diving with you soon. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Spinal Tap

More Q's (batteries on the run, copper-electrical removal) Reminded by recent queries: What do you use to recharge your American electronics (rechargeable pc, camera batteries, travel iron, etc) when overseas? <Almost always (nowadays), rechargeable Nickel Metal Hydrides (NiMH), and adaptors to the electrical outlets to fit with step-down transformers (for 220 v, 50 hz)... with small, light-weight "smart" rechargers that condition the batteries, shut themselves off... I rarely use gear with any "throw away" type, size batteries these days. Mainly AAs (all my Nikon gear), D's for u/w lights, strobes...> And do you recall the chemical cocktail (years since I can remember) for breaking the bond of copper with calcareous media? I'm thinking I read it in a Spotte book somewhere. I'll dig for it unless it is fresh in your memory. <Mmm, danger here, Will Robinson... I would not do this, definitely not relate same over the Net. Such cupric ions can be easily scavenged by commercial products like PolyFilter... Bob Fenner> Thanks...Antoine

Cameras HI - I came across your web page & was wondering if you can tell me where I can get a throw away underwater camera that goes to 20-25 ft? Thanks <Check on the net under underwater cameras... or a local dive shop of size. Bob Fenner>
Re: cameras
thanks for the suggestion, but I didn't find anything! only 17 ft for the throw-aways. <Really? Mmm, you can use even these down a good twenty five feet... at some point the lens actuator won't fire... but will when you get more shallow. Bob Fenner>
Re: cameras
Well if I can use it to 25 ft. then great. Good to know & once again thanks for the advice! <Hope to hear of, see some of your photographic efforts! Bob Fenner>

Repair Order # R 11565 Repair of 1 - 4104.5 General maintenance, broken wire. Cost $ 18.75 Please forward check, money order or Phone 317-923-4523 with a credit card number. Visa & Master Card accepted. Fax # 317-924-7988 PO Box 88100, Indianapolis, IN 46208 <Will call today with info. Bob Fenner> Thank You Ikelite Repair Dept.

Olympus 4040 Digital U/W Photo Rig Jack et al. This is a list of components, options, prices... for the underwater photo rig Laura used in Fiji. Camera: Olympus 4040. I got from Camera Zone (.com) over the net for $759 plus shipping. Can be had from elsewhere on the web, maybe Fry's... Do make sure and get US Warranty model (not gray market import)... and I did not buy bait/switch other gear ploy... Ask if camera only is really in stock, will ship... Housing (Olympus PT-010), Strobe, slave switch, arm (Ikelite 50 DS Kit), tray Base Tray)... I got from Marine Camera Distributors: http://www.marinecamera.com/  Tom and Lee are friends. Call to make sure have in stock, have put together for pick up... check with them to make sure someone will be there (Sorrento Vly) for p/u. They also have the ext. thread-on lenses... I'm going to get the close-up... About $800 for all but the ext. lenses.  Storage Media (Smart): Get from Costco (or try Fry's)... 128 megs for about $60... get two or have Tom at MCD show you their spiffy small storage device... or both knowing you. Batteries: Time to get out all of the battery-operated gear you have, send away for NiMH rechargeables and a fast charger (or two). I get mine from SmallPower.com on the net... shoot for the larger milliamperehour rated AA's... at least 1,600 rated... Laptop computer... I'm a big fan of Sony's Vaio line as you know... Whatever model you get, do have at least 128 megs of RAM (I have 256), an extra battery (about $275 ouch!), and 20 gigs of HD... for editing video, manipulating all your stills... viewing DVD's when you want to... even playing music.  Questions, problems, suggestions, call, write/email me. Or, we'll go shopping as I said I would. Bob F
Re: Olympus 4040 Digital U/W Photo Rig
Thanks for the info. That sounds like a trick set-up. I will definitely have to get the good housing and light, thanks again and have a wonderful Christmas. <You as well my friend. Bob Fenner> Thank you, Todd Gabriel

The test is positive Bob, Got it. Nice shot. Can't wait to start taking some more underwater shots. <The thing is... amazing. Laura.L was able... though she says she's not a great diver... to make some very nice images... she says she has a strong backgd. in terrestrial SLR photography... I believe it> Would it be possible to borrow the digital underwater camera for some local dives?  <Absolutely. I'll gladly walk you through what little I know (quick before I forget) about "all those buttons"... according to the Net reviews, there is little diff. twixt the 3040 you have and the 4040 Olympus. The housing accesses almost all features.> I plan to start going out local again after the new year. I want to do some lobster hunting and picture taking on clear (not to many of those around here) visibility days. Time to break out the 7MM wetsuits and get diving. See you soon. <A very good idea... and I/we badly need MANY local images. Am making a turkey enchilada pie... are you up to Croce/Croaky/Karee/Scariokee this eve? Or just eating, chatting and drinking? Bob> Mike
Re: The test is positive
Bob, I am going to do the Harriettes run tonight, probably my last one for another week because they are all so far away. This run is in PB and Dork and Strap on tools promise us some good food and beer. Come on out (but wear your wooly knickers) brrrrrr. The trail should be dog friendly too.  <Hmm, will consider it for sure> I know how to use the camera, it's just a matter of memorizing the functions since they didn't put the icons on the case. <And you can't hope to see them underwater in any case> I look forward to talking with you some more on which particular organisms we need pictures of and I'll hunt them down and shoot them with a camera. <'Bout time! See you soon. Bob F> Mike

Re: Daily Email image from WWM (U/W photography) Hey Bob, Thanks for sending me all the images - they're great. I just paid $90.00 for what my wife calls a Ziploc bag to put my Kodak DC280 digital camera in when I go to Maui - its an EwaMarine "baggie" style housing. <I've used their products. They work> It's advertised for depths of up to 30 feet so I'll have to stay shallow, but I'll probably be doing mostly shore diving anyways. Leaving on the 19th, back on the 1st. Oh, and if I suddenly have enough cash for Bali, count me in if you think there will be scuba diving involved. -Dave <Will do so. Bob Fenner> http://www.ewamarine.de/English/e-start-photo.htm And by the way I hope you saw this: <Ah!>

Nikon housing I noticed you mentioned you have an N-90 in a housing you use as a standby rig. I also have an N-90... curious to know more about the underwater ramifications of that. <I REALLY like this Nikon model (have an -X foreign body as well, as a back up, dual rig... the same camera, but a different designation). Where to continue here... Unlike the F-5 (had a "F"... yes, no number... great action finder, autowinder... in a bicep-building Ocean Eye housing set-up for years...), which is a great camera body as well, the N-90 S/X fits in a carry-on case with a Nexus housing (http://www.marinecamera.com/nexmast.html) under ones seat, in the overhead bin on most aircraft... I prefer to keep my lenses, bodies, housings, strobes, cords, arms, batteries, chargers... altogether as such and within my reach (unfortunately, have had gear stolen while in process/enroute on planes...).  Possibly more to your point, the N-90 has almost all the features (wish the "night light" would just stay on till "turned off" purposely... and a few other requests sent to Nikon) I need/want/am looking for... Do shoot autofocus (and use "D" designated lenses, though the IR does not work u/w of course)... TTL very often (most of the time)... really use the change of exposure, auto-focus lock buttons a great deal and these are very "ergonomically placed... I don't use the "program modes" underwater at all... As with all Nikon analog cameras the interchangeability of lenses, strobes et al. is a tremendous asset. The fact that the cameras run on regular AA batteries (do get/use the rechargeable NiMH's) is a real plus... If you'd like we can chat re cameras.> Still looking for a learn-to-dive-somewhere-warm special. J -- <If you're not quite sure if you'll like diving... do consider a "resort course", perhaps somewhere in the Caribbean. Only a day or two, not much expense. If you're pretty sure you'll become a diver, do so, even come with us, learn while out for a week or so. Some trips very reasonable. Jack and I (Pete and Di et al. can't make it) are off to Taveuni (Fiji) 11/27-12/6, about 2k US total (air, accommodation, meals, seven days shore-based diving) from the west coast if you'd like to join us. Do "keep your health up", maybe have a physician give you a check-up for anything that might interfere with your being a scuba-type, and dreaming of warm, clear water. Ahh. Bob Fenner>

Batteries? For Cameras, various types, degrees of users http://home.att.net/~mikemelni1/battery.html Very worthwhile comparison of battery types, models and their utility for loads, including flash units on cameras.  Bob Fenner

Re: Question re Aquatica Aqualens for the Nikonos? Have you heard about any issues with the Aquatica Aqualens for the Nikonos? <Gosh, is this product still about? A bunch of years back there was the usual "scuttlebutt" (as with the RS-1) that they "flooded easily"...  I never encountered one that had. Aquatica is one of those companies that has had very consistent good engineering/products.  Now, my real statement re Nikonos, et al. point and shoot cameras. Mike, do check out the newer digital rigs. So much better than what has "come before". Have recently upgraded my Olympus kit to their 4040  model (4.1 megapixels if you want), 7.5X zoom, WSIWYG screen viewing of the images, instant downloads via very simple USB connection... and the use of some new "digital strobes" by Ikelite... and a very nice (even fashionable if that's important), relatively inexpensive plastic housing... There's more... and yes, am such an old fossil, am keeping my Nexus rigs, Nikon N90 rigs with analog film... But the digital...  no twelve dollars a roll for film/processing... many, many "keeper" shots per dive... good for macro... even, like Motomarine, interchangeable lenses underwater... Marine Camera Distributors (.com) have most all the u/w part of these for sale... the rest is easy to shop about (Costco has 128 meg smartmedia for under sixty dollars U.S.)... NiMH batteries are about two dollars for 1600-1800 mA varieties... For the cost of trips, film, making worthwhile images, it is past time to relegate your Nikonos gear to "a BC pocket with ISO400 film, a 15 up to 28 mm lens" or "close-up kit" for your dive buddies to make great macro shots", or "for the dive guide to tool around with for alls benefit while you're diving together"... this is what I've done. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Regards. Mike Kirda
Re: Question
Thanks for the reply, Bob. While I'd love to go digital, I cannot afford it at this point. I can, however, afford the Aqualens (new) with all the parts for $200... Already have the 20mm Nikon lens... <A tough, costly decision to switch whole rigs... don't I know... and you do have the most expensive component (the lens...). Do keep in mind, time going forward, the "cost of the trips" to make pix, the film/processing savings (I spend a few thousand dollars a year here), and the opportunity costs of not having more, better images... Though the Nikonos lenses are excellent, it's too "chancy" getting sharp images with them... just a matter of point and shoot limitations. Bob Fenner.> Regards. Mike Kirda
Re: Question
Bob, I remember seeing before a couple of my questions posted to your web site. If you happen to post these, please remove this e-mail address from it. So far (knock on wood) it is unknown to spammers. <Yikes. Rest assured I take out all such addresses when moving contents to elsewhere... Am very concerned about these matters... and never give out others' (though will bcc notes to people trying to find people. Have added your addie to send you along pix that I think you might enjoy though. Let me know if these become bothersome. Bob Fenner>> Thanks. Mike Kirda
Question (UW photography)
Bob, Have you heard about any issues with the Aquatica Aqualens for the Nikonos? <Gosh, is this product still about? A bunch of years back there was the usual "scuttlebutt" (as with the RS-1) that they "flooded easily"... I never encountered one that had. Aquatica is one of those companies that has had very consistent good engineering/products.  Now, my real statement re Nikonos, et al. point and shoot cameras. Mike, do check out the newer digital rigs. So much better than what has "come before". Have recently upgraded my Olympus kit to their 4040 model (4.1 megapixels if you want), 7.5X zoom, WSIWYG screen viewing of the images, instant downloads via very simple USB connection... and the use of some new "digital strobes" by Ikelite... and a very nice (even fashionable if that's important), relatively inexpensive plastic housing... There's more... and yes, am such an old fossil, am keeping my Nexus rigs, Nikon N90 rigs with analog film... But the digital... no twelve dollars a roll for film/processing... many, many "keeper" shots per dive... good for macro... even, like Motomarine, interchangeable lenses underwater... Marine Camera Distributors (.com) have most all the u/w part of these for sale... the rest is easy to shop about (Costco has 128 meg smartmedia for under sixty dollars U.S.)... NiMH batteries are about two dollars for 1600-1800 mA varieties... For the cost of trips, film, making worthwhile images, it is past time to relegate your Nikonos gear to "a BC pocket with ISO400 film, a 15 up to 28 mm lens" or "close-up kit" for your dive buddies to make great macro shots", or "for the dive guide to tool around with for alls benefit while you're diving together"... this is what I've done. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Regards. Mike Kirda

Underwater photography  I just found the Sea & Sea MX-10 with strobe  ( reviewed at <" http://www.popularmechanics.com/popmech/elect/9809EFPHP.html"> http://www.popularmechanics.com/popmech/elect/9809EFPHP.html >  )  for $450 at Leisure Pro online, with the strobe. Something to consider? <Yes, an even better camera rig than the "Yellow" one...> The article also mentioned that while you can get a Nikonos V for $700 or so, <This is "just" the body... w/o even the 35mm lens... You will need, want astrobe, a tray, arm, sync cord....> costs a whole bunch more for the lenses and accessories. Maybe that's out of the question....... Again, look forward to hearing your response.  Aaron <Much more to discuss and enjoy my friend. Bob Fenner>

More photo questions... Hi Bob, Thanks for the photo tips... believe it or not I actually went to your site and checked out the photo section before I asked all those questions and you suggested I go there! <Yes, and I must need hustle and write up a presentation/article on above water image making for pet-fish types... to give at the upcoming WMC in Monterey... Yikes, and will post on WWM> Now I'm thinking digital... maybe. I have an Olympus D-340R (1.3 megapixels) that takes great pictures of aquariums. If I buy one of those "Ewa-marine $100 zip-lock bags with a window" it seems to me it would work pretty good for very shallow snorkeling in bright sunlit water. <Yes... with a few personal impressions here... Thus far, with my limited (have a Sony PC-100 and Mako Video Housing) and second hand experience, I haven't been impressed with digital u/w stills at all... the mechanisms used for capturing light require too much anticipation of when to "depress the shutter" and the image quality (resolution, color-richness) has not "been there" compared with analog picture making> Wouldn't it be the same as taking a picture of a reef tank from the inside looking out? <Ideally, yes> Do you know anybody that has tried one of those Ewa-marine bag things as an enclosure? <Yes, have used them myself even... do work for shallow water use... and the price can't be beat>  Now for part 2... What do you know about doing a presentation (like for our club) with one of those overhead type projectors and a PC? <Wish I did know about such... we're about in the "same boat" here... Need to get into this millennium with Power Point presentations myself... Am determined to give my talks via this tool this year (tired of friends snickering about "ole Bob" and his slide projector...> Can you rent one somewhere? <Yes, most everywhere... and worth asking about at various groups, businesses to see if folks have one to borrow... lots of them about> Oh yeah... and one more thing... do you know if you need to shoot in the highest resolution (meaning larger file size and much fewer shots per memory card)... or would the lower res work fine as the pictures look great on my monitor. <The lower, less fine resolution works... Have 64meg card... can shoot on 1.3 meg but generally do 100kb... and most images on our site, 4,5 kb... But scans of 35mm slides I have default at 300dpi, 2.3 megs each, TIFF format... for sale, use to the print world> Thanks a bunch... Doug Nadasdy PS... I would love to tag along on one of your trips sometime!  <Do so.> How far in advance do you plan those excursions?  <Most a few months... some a few weeks... will add you to the local party/adventure  travel/underwater/photography list if you'd like. We get together informally about once a month, show slides, video, chat up upcoming trips... Here in San Diego.> Or do you just wake up one morning and say "Hey... it feels like a good day for the Red Sea" or something like that?? <There are occasional deals that work out like that... some local and not friends have dive, travel services with cancellations/fill-ins for cheap, people in the trade want/need my help schnell... but generally planned out in advance. Bob Fenner>
Re: More photo questions...
OK... only one more day and I'm outta here! Only one more question too. Is there any danger of the film (exposed or fresh) getting wrecked by going through airport x-ray machines? Thanks again, Doug Nadasdy <I am on the side of "some fogging" by x-rays of any ISO rather than the absolute stance of airlines, security that there is NONE by x-rays... so I use the following means: 1) Lead lined bags to move my film (mine hold about forty rolls in their canisters each... and fit in back-packs, luggage well... other sizes are available) 2) Put in one, two gallon zip-loc bags (genius who invented these... should get Nobel if not Heaven) on my person (large, light weight jackets). 3) Both the above and happily hand over to personnel, asking for hand inspection... generally no problem... Bob Fenner

U/W Photography, Photo Gear  Hi Bob,  I wanted to thank you for taking the time to come to our club meeting last night.  <A pleasure> I really enjoyed your slides and all your stories! You are a really funny guy. My wife, Jenny always brings a magazine to the meeting when we have a speaker but she never even opened it up last night. If that's not a true compliment, I don't know what is!  <Agreed> I wanted to talk a little more about cameras but didn't get the chance.  I'm so confused. I suppose I will take slides when we're in Tahiti to share with the club when we get back.  Here's a list of questions:  <Yes, this is best... transparencies can be easily made into prints (the transfer is almost the same as from a print-negative in terms of quality)... and much better for scanning, sharing...> 1. How difficult / expensive is it to make prints from slides to put in a photo album later?  <Oh, here's that question... easy. Your service/processor can do this for you> 2. What slide film do you recommend? We'll be in 2' to 20' water depth.  <Hmm, please take a look at the "photographing underwater" piece posted on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com ... these issues are surveyed there> 3. Is there a decent low price (200-300 clams) camera I should consider?  <Again, see the piece mentioned above... Really, some decent point and shoots, and housings for "throwaway cameras" do dip down into this range... and well worth it... Humans are visually oriented... having pix from travel... priceless...>  Already have a 10yr old Minolta Weathermatic and the picture quality is not too swell.  <Optics haven't changed that much... these are okay cameras> 4. Should I rent a good setup before we go?  <This is a tough question... if you're going to use such gear ten or more times in the next few years, better to purchase (renting is expensive and nerve-wracking)...> 5. Can I rent a housing and strobe for my Canon A1?  <Pretty sure, yes. Take a look on Light and Motion's site> 6. What did you use for those slides of the Cooks?  <A Nikon N-90 body, their lenses... mainly 60 and 100mm micro-Nikkor lenses... a Nexus housing, two Ikelite strobes with their cord/connectors... Chet Tussey's arms (he's here in San Diego), mainly Velvia 50 and Provia 100 film... Have a bunch of digital, but we had no projector...> 7. Do you have anything you could rent to me?  <Not really... use my camera, lenses about every week... Calling, visiting Maurice Bullock tomorrow and making images at his house for instance... But very willing to have you go on a trip with, accompany us (a host of friends, pet fish, diving, just travel adventurer types) on under and above water photo trips... go about every month... so let me know if, where you're interested... And we cart along enough total gear for you to have a go at u/w video, stills, macro... the whole gamut> Any suggestions you may have will be very much appreciated!  Thanks again,  Doug Nadasdy <Where to start? Also please see the two reviews of photo books by Norbert Wu on the WWM site, and order these works and read them if you have time ahead of this, next trip. Bob Fenner>

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