Digital Photography - D200 Camera & Housing Continued - Page 23
New for 2007

I am starting my new dive season this year with a trip aboard the Nekton Pilot to the northern Bahamas. It is one of my favorite dive trips and I am going to take advantage of the easy diving conditions by trying some new things with my D200 and Ikelite dual DS-125 strobes combination.

Earlier in the year, I sent two of my older DS-125 strobes to Ikelite to have them upgraded to be able to do ittl with the new Ikelite ittl adapter. The cost was $100 per strobe. I have a third Ikelite DS-125 that is newer and is ittl ready. The new adapter was not shipping until late May so I had to wait until just before my trip to purchase the adapter ($315). Over the winter, I read on about new strobe arms with high density polyethylene floats that would make my heavy setup closer to neutral underwater while adding little weight to the system. The arms are called Stix arms and are sold through 4th Generation Design. The arms cost $35 each and it doesn't matter what the length is. They come in 4", 6" , 9", 12" and 15" lengths. Each arm has a removable ball end on each end and with the ball removed you can add 1.5 oz or 3 oz floats to the arm. In the photo below, I have 3 1/2 of the 3 oz floats on the 9" arms (one on each side of the camera - connected to the strobes) and 2 of the 1.5 oz floats on each of the 6" arms. I tested this setup in a pool and found it still negative but better than my system without floats. I believe that I am going to try and replace either one or both of the 1.5 oz floats on the 6" arms with 3 oz floats to get a little less negative.

Subal D200 with dual Ikelite DS-125 Strobes

I am sure you are wondering why would I go to ittl when I can get great exposures using the histogram. I am a believer in using technology when its available. I use ittl when I shoot on land so I think that it will help be get photos that I might expose incorrectly when I am rushed, excited (it still happens all the time even after years of taking pictures) or when I get careless and don't check the histogram until its too late (that happens too).

Ikelite ittl adapter
My last purchase was to get an Ikelite dual strobe cord with Ikelite connectors on all three ends. The reason for the new cord is that the Ikelite ittl adapter only comes with a Nikonos V connector on one end and an Ikelite connector on the other or with Ikelite connectors on both ends. In either case, the ittl connector has an Ikelite connector on the end that connects to the single or dual cord that goes to the strobe(s).
Ikelite ittl adapter

The ittl adapter is easy to use. I tried it out in a pool and it seems to be working correctly although I am not getting the same reactions on my strobe that Ikelite states in their literature. When I take the shot, it seems that the secondary strobe led just above the ready light lights up green when there was sufficient light to expose the image correctly. When there isn't enough light, the led does not light up. I am going to contact Ikelite to get a clarification on this before I leave on my Bahamas trip.

You can click on either of the Ikelite images to go directly to the Ikelite ittl adapter page.

I did a crude test of the ittl system to see if it was working. I setup my Subal ND20 housing with my D200 and a Sigma 28-80mm macro lens. I used the manual mode, a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second, a lens opening of f4.5 and an ISO of 100. I put the Ikelite DS-125 directly in front of the housing port and aimed it directly at the port. It was about ten inched from the front of the port. I set the ittl setting on the adapter to TTL, set the strobe to TTL and then fired a shot. You can see the results in the photo below left. You can see the exterior of the strobe housing and you can see the generated histogram. All the setting in camera raw were zeroed out so that camera raw did not compensate for the exposure. For the secod shot, I turned the ittl adapter to the manual mode and repeated the shot. The result is seen in the right hand image below. The photo is totally blown out. After looking at the results it is easy to see that the ittl adapter is working. I repeated the test with the secondary strobe and had the same results. This looks very promising.

ittl Test One ittl Test Two

I have one other item that I am going to try this season (actually I am going to try two versions of the same item). It is called a Magic Filter. It comes in a blue water and a green water version. Rather than explain how it works, please click on the links aboveto read about it. I will be providing results as the season progresses. These filters are also available for compact digital cameras. The results look interesting. I am excited to try them out.

Next - Magic Filter & Panoramas