Focus light

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fraserpenny

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I am super new to photography and just dove in a mine for the first time. I found lighting was extremely difficult.. my setup is canon 60D in ikelite housing with 2 ikelite 160 strobes using a Tokina 10-17 lens. Just curious if focus lights are a good recommendation for times when there is very low ambient light? Does the use of focus lights increase the backscatter?
What is a good position for lights? Centered on the housing or using a triple ball clamp on both arms? I already have 2 sola dive 1200’s... would these lights be sufficient or are video lights the better option?
 

MaxBottomtime

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A single Sola 1200 is perfect for a focus light. I rarely use mine more than the lowest power and leave it on for two dives. Strobes give off more light than a focus light, so any backscatter will be caused by the strobes. I have my Sola 1200 mounted on top of my housing.
Phil_DSC9823.jpg
 

2ndjetty

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Great that you're thinking in depth about this! First step towards improving your photos!

1. Yes, a focus light will help the camera focus (it provides more contrast that the camera uses to achieve focus. 60D uses a Phase Detection AF system, so I don't get called out for incorrect info even if trying to simplify, lol. Focus lights are mostly used for macro, however in some dark close-focus wide-angle situations (like in the shadows), a focus light will help.

2. It will not increase backscatter, like Maxbottomtime said above.

3. Triple clamp on the arm/clamp works, but a popular spot is to mount the light using a cold-shoe ball mount on top of the housing. Pro is it's easier to move your strobe arms. Con is if you're trying to use strobes and video lights on the same dive, you'll be using those triple clamps regardless.

Good luck!
 

fraserpenny

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Great that you're thinking in depth about this! First step towards improving your photos!

1. Yes, a focus light will help the camera focus (it provides more contrast that the camera uses to achieve focus. 60D uses a Phase Detection AF system, so I don't get called out for incorrect info even if trying to simplify, lol. Focus lights are mostly used for macro, however in some dark close-focus wide-angle situations (like in the shadows), a focus light will help.

2. It will not increase backscatter, like Maxbottomtime said above.

3. Triple clamp on the arm/clamp works, but a popular spot is to mount the light using a cold-shoe ball mount on top of the housing. Pro is it's easier to move your strobe arms. Con is if you're trying to use strobes and video lights on the same dive, you'll be using those triple clamps regardless.

Good luck!

Thanks for the info! I was extremely disappointed that pictures didn’t turn out while on a dive trip, which made the actual dives rather frustrating and less enjoyable...
I was leaning towards the triple clamps and was also contemplating a GoPro mounted on the housing...
 

2ndjetty

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Don't be bummed - you're scuba diving! It's incredible ;- ). But taking photos takes a long time and a lot of practice. Scubaboard is a great learning resource, plus other tutorials, video tutorials, asking for image critiques, etc. This will all help improve for the next dive trip.

GoPro on the housing is great. In that case, the triple clamp for a focus light is the move. Honestly though, you can usually get the Tokina 10-17mm to focus for wide-angle by working it a little bit. Most don't use a focus light. Focus on areas of contrast. Only real exception is shooting close-focus into the sun in dark conditions. Check out this video on Autofocus to learn a bit more. Our cameras are really smart but still take a little "personal touch" to get maximum performance. I'm actually working on a 4-part video tutorial all about autofocus underwater, dropping next week, to address this issue some more.
 

fraserpenny

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I will definitely check out the video.. it’s a huge learning curve and continuing education is key..
trip to Portugal is happening next month, so I want to have everything squared away
 

fraserpenny

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Lol. Yes this is true... I certainly won’t be squared away.. but maybe the equipment will be.. ha
 
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