Friday, 30 March 2007

Luxfer Stage Bottle

Luxfer Stage Bottle, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

I just got a Luxfer 40cft aluminum stage bottle. I will be using this for my Advanced Nitrox / Deco Procedures course.

Sea&Sea DX400D Review

I have been experiencing some problems with my TTL connector in my housing. The Dutch distributor kindly offered to change the housing for either a new DX350D or for the DX400D.

I went to check the DX400D and see whether it was worthwhile to swap the DX350 for this new model.

In my opinion, the main new features of this model are:

- built-in TTL converter

- optional magnifying .8 viewfinder

Built-in TTL converter

The built-in TTL converter saves some space outside the housing and the slight additional weight that the external TTL converter puts on the left side of the housing.

There is a button inside the housing to switch between Manual and TTL. This can only be chosen before the dive. The other drawback of the internal converter is that you are not able to choose flash compensation as with the external TTL converter.

This TTL converter uses a flat battery which will be in stand-by when the strobes are off (will still consume energy even while you are not using the camera). I called Sea&Sea Japan and they informed me that under "normal" use conditions, the battery should last approximately 1 year.

The DX400D only has one strobe connector on top of the housing

Optional magnifying .8 viewfinder

The DX-400D uses a different viewfinder which allows you to upgrade to a .8 maginifying viewfinder instead of the .66. I assume that in the future there might be a 45 degree viewfinder for this model (just an assumption).

Buttons on the back of the housing

Until so far, I was more or less convinced on changing from the DX350 to the DX400D. The problem arose when I checked the buttons in the back of the housing.

To my surprise (shock?) a couple of buttons just disappeared in this new "improved" housing. Namely, the menu button and the delete is gone. Also the display button is gone.

This took away all the doubts I had whether to change to the DX400D housing. As an example of a big disadvantage, without the menu button you are not able in the 400D to select a picture to do custom WB. With a small adaptation of the DX350D housing you can use the 400D camera with all its features.


I cannot understand what made Sea&Sea develop a new housing where they take out such important buttons (they were there in the DX350, you just needed to put them to the side!!!)

The TTL inside the camera makes the camera more streamlined (also with less air inside the camera, meaning more negative) but gives you less flexibility in using the TTL.

IMHO, this housing is a no go, at least until the other buttons are added to the housing.

Any comments, please email me.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Diving with the Great White

This one is worthwhile watching... This guy is freediving with the Great White. He is actually more than just diving with the Great White. Double click the image to watch it. Music is also interesting...

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Wreck (Oostvoornse Meer)

Wreck (Oostvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Diver exploring wreck (Oosvoornse Meer)

Diver exploring wreck (Oosvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Beetle and diver (Oosvoornse Meer)

Beetle and diver (Oosvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver exploring Beetle (Oostvoornse Meer)

Diver exploring Beetle (Oostvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Fisheye FIX LED 48DX

Last post of the day. I am posting some pictures of my new focus / dive light for using in my housing. This light is great having a battery life of 4-8 hours and a knob to adjust light intensity.

I put some semi-transparent tape in the front of the light to act as a diffuser and get a more even light beam.

Canon EOS 400D on Sea&Sea DX350D Housing

Sea&Sea has announced some time ago their new housing for the Canon EOS 400D. Meanwhile, Wetpixel member Pakman has found a way to use the Canon 400D in the DX350D housing without any major changes. Indeed, only the buttons on the left of the LCD are in the different place than in the 350D. The solution is the use of wall anchors (specifically, wall anchors nylon size #4 worked great for me) in the place of the rubber buttons originally in place.

This solution is great because the housing can be retrofit to the 350D anytime, just changing the wall anchors for the original rubber buttons.

Also you can see completely the new 2.5 LCD in the housing. This nice bright LCD shows you all the camera settings without needing to put your eye on the viewfinder or on the old display.

Tokina 10-17mm FishEye DX - Adaptation to use S&S Canon EF-S Ring system

As I mentioned previously, I got myself the Tokina 10-17 Fisheye DX lens for my Canon. The main advantages of this lens are, additionally to the obvious wide-angle produced, the sharpness of the corners underwater and the close focus capability.

Unfortunately, there is no ring system for this lens, at least for my housing (Sea & Sea). Thus, I tried several alternatives to use the zoom of this lens underwater.

My first test was using some kind of foam tape around the zoom in the lens and then put my S&S 60mm focus ring system on top. This seemed to work since the Tokina lens is only slightly thinner than the Canon EF-S 60. This system not only looked bad but also was not very stable. The zoom ring would tend to get out of the place and eventually fall out of the lens to the Dome port - Not such a good idea.

For my second test I used elastic bands (the ones you get for adjusting your clothes) and put it around the zoom. This seemed to work pretty well at the beginning - looks good and it is easily removable from the lens. For this one, I had the help of Rita, my mother-in-law, who generoulsy offered herself to teach me in the art of using an electric sewing machine (cool stuff, let me tell you guys!!!). The problem was that the zoom ring would still tend to fall out of the lens. The problem is that the o-ring inside the zoom ring is in the front of the ring and therefore it would not touch the elastic band.

Third test - final solution: I bought some velcro tape and "glued" it inside the zoom ring (in the oposite side of the existing o-rings). This mad the velcro tape "grab" the elastic band and the zoom ring feels now snug in the lens. I tried already several times and it works perfectly. Just be carefully to check whether the AF is still chosen since the elastic band might put it in MF when putting the zoom ring in the lens.

Since I glued the velcro tape in the lens I still had to make it work with the EF-S 60 lens when using this. For that, I slightly cut the velcro teeth so that they would not scratch in the 60mm lens.

Some pictures below of my solution:

Friday, 16 March 2007

New Camera, new Fisheye lens and new focus light

I got the new Canon EOS-400D, the Tokina 10-17 Fisheye lens as well as a new focus light Fisheye FIX LED 48DX.

For the Canon EOS-400D, I had to do a slight adaptation into my Sea&Sea housing. The fit is perfect and the large screen is a big advantage underwater. The adaptation does not have any impact on the camera which can be easily retrofit for the EOS-350D.

The Tokina fisheye lens has the advantage of focusing extremely close and of keeping the corners sharp underwater (Canon 10-22 does not provide such results). I was able to use the zoom ring for the Canon EF-S 60 with a small adaptation.

The Fisheye LIX LED 48DX has the advantage for providing a powerful light and at the same time has the flexibility of increasing or decreasing the light power with the twist of a simple knob.

While my latest pictures were already taken with the EOS-400D, the Fisheye LED is still to be tested.

I will post some pictures on the adaptations made soon.

Going skiing to Austria

I will be skiing for a couple of days in Sankt Anton, Tirol area in Austria. No diving for me this weekend. I will be back next week.

Dive safe !!!

Diver exploring a wreck (Oostvoornse Meer)

Diver exploring a wreck (Oostvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Divers in Oostvoornse Meer

Divers in Oostvoornse Meer, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver exploring the Beetle

Diver exploring the Beetle, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Beetle in Oostvoornse Meer

Beetle in Oostvoornse Meer, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver on wreck (Oostvoornse Meer)

Diver on wreck (Oostvoornse Meer), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

I went this weekend to Oostvoornse Meer with my buddy Fred and took a couple of pictures. I will post some now and much more when I find the time.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Diver Exploring

Diver Exploring, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver Swimming

Diver Swimming, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Sunken Bus in Vinkeveen

Sunken Bus in Vinkeveen, originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

Diver on top of bus (Vinkeveen)

Diver on top of bus (Vinkeveen), originally uploaded by Nuno Sanches e Silva.

This shot was taken in Vinkeveen on top of the bus. Frans is the diver in the picture.