Monday, September 23, 2013

My New Camera

My wonderful wife bought me a new camera, housing, and associated accessories as part of her wedding gift to me.  So, I recently acquired a Nikon D7100, Nauticam NA-D7100 housing, Sea & Sea YS-D1 strobes, and Reefnet Subsee wet diopters.

I’ve had a chance to take the new system out on a couple of short trips to Tioman Island now, and I can say unequivocally that this is a huge upgrade from my previous system.  There are lots of improvements but the ones that I’ve found that made a real difference to my underwater photography are the improved autofocus system, internal motor for non-AF-S lenses, 1.3x crop mode, and U1 and U2 recall modes.

With this system, I now have several options for supermacro photography: 1.3x crop mode, teleconverters, and wet diopters (or some combination of this).  The best thing about it is that I can choose at any point in the dive whether to use 1.3x crop mode and/or the wet diopters.

The YS-D1 strobes are great.  They are tiny, powerful, and user friendly.

I am reserving my judgment on the Nauticam housing until I’ve spent more time with it.  In general, I love the ergonomics and smart design, but I’ve been having a few issues with the housing.  Nothing huge, but annoying enough to make a difference. 

Tioman Island 

I spent 2 weekends in Tioman using the new camera system.  Having not been there for a few years, I was pleasantly surprised by the vibrant marine life.  I saw lots of clownfish and anemonefish, a few interesting nudibranches, lots of gobies and blennies, and millions of marble shrimp (which are very rare except in Tioman, apparently!).  Definitely enough to keep a macro photographer busy.  Conditions were generally benign except for some surge, which made supermacro photography challenging at times.

I tried the 60 mm & 1.4x teleconverter combination for the first time and it was great.  I didn’t really notice any deterioration in autofocus capabilities, which is really a testament to the camera’s good autofocus.

The things I don’t like about Tioman are the accommodations and the journey.  The accommodations are very basic and I didn’t have any hot water on both trips.  The journey involves a long van ride, going through Singapore and Malaysian immigration, and a long ferry ride.  The part I like the least is the long waiting time in between stops and the unpredictability of the ferry.

Salang panorama.  iPhone 5

Pink anemonefish.  105 mm, 1/320s, f/10, ISO 200

Striped triplefin.  105mm, 1/320s, f/7.1, ISO 200

Triplespot blenny.  105mm, 1/320s, f/14, ISO 200
Tiny Flabellina Rubrolineata, about 1cm long!  105mm & Subsee +5 diopter, 1/320s, f/29, ISO 200

Yawning tomato anemonefish.  60mm & 1.4x teleconverter, 1/320s, f/18, ISO 200

Chromodoris Reticulata.  60mm & 1.4x teleconverter in 1.3x crop mode, 1/320s, f/16, ISO 200

False clown anemonefish in balled up anemone.  60mm & 1.4x teleconverter, 1/320s, f/16, ISO 400

Pink anemonefish.  60mm & 1.4x teleconverter, 1/320s, f/14, ISO 400