In part 2 I looked at the use of different lenses using the Nauticam and Canon G7x camera and housing duo, in combination with shooting with both wide, normal and macro lenses whilst on the same dive.

 

So I would like to look at a particular thing that I found particularly useful shooting with this camera, and that is shooting with your strobes at high synch speeds.

 

 

High speed flash synch

Aside from some specialised modes using dedicated flashguns, DSLR’s and Mirrorless cameras won’t let you get much beyond a 1/320 of a second to synchronise with the flash.
This is because most large censored cameras have to have both halves of the shutter planes out of view of the sensor when the flash fires. So as not to expose a partial image.
And this is why you are limited to a top end shutter speed of rarely higher than 1/320 second, and often a lot slower.

 

 

Capturing beams of light like these in the background of this clownfish shot, are much easier if you're able to pick a suitably high shutter speed like in this case of a 1/1600 of a second at f9. Impossible with current DSLR technology, unless you were to use huge strobes, making the whole setup ridiculously unwieldy.

Capturing beams of light like these in the background of this clownfish shot, are much easier if you’re able to pick a suitably high shutter speed like in this case of a 1/1600 of a second at f9. Impossible with current DSLR technology, unless you were to use huge strobes, making the whole setup ridiculously unwieldy.

 

 

Why is this a problem? Well when shooting in high ambient light levels you can often find yourself overexposing the background. If the flash is lighting the foreground, and you want a nice dark background, then this can very often be difficult to achieve.

 

 

 

Having the ability to get exactly the level of dark blue that you wish for is a big advantage shooting strobe with high shutter speeds. Shot on the anchor chain of the Thistlegorm looking upwards

Having the ability to get exactly the level of dark blue that you wish for is a big advantage shooting strobe with high shutter speeds. Shot on the anchor chain of the Thistlegorm looking upwards

 

 

 

If your strobes aren’t powerful enough to give you a small aperture in the foreground, you may well find that you overexpose the whole image, as the combined power of the available light and the strobes, even at your maximum allowable shutter speed won’t let you get the nice rich blues and strong tones you’d prefer in your backgrounds.
If you can pick a much higher shutter speed, then the background can be made progressively darker and darker, with no limit other than your fastest shutter speed.
I mentioned this previously in a review I did of one of the first in this class of camera the Sony RX100 a while back.

 

 

 

 

This lifeboat davit encrusted with corals, would have to be shot with the sun elsewhere in the frame if I hadn't been able to shoot at 1/2000 sec to get a sufficiently darkened back drop and sunball

This lifeboat davit encrusted with corals, would have to be shot with the sun elsewhere in the frame if I hadn’t been able to shoot at 1/2000 sec to get a sufficiently darkened back drop and sunball

 

 

I never thought how much I would appreciate this feature, but it allowed me great freedom in  fine tuning my exposures, particularly when I was shooting directly towards the sun.
It allowed me great options to get lovely sunbeams and starbursts in my shots.

 

 

Another example of shooting towards the sun enabling the sunbeams to be rendered how I wished for, whilst illuminating the foreground sufficiently. Oh and the diver on the left is wearing bunny ears in this picture. As it was Easter Monday !!!

Another example of shooting towards the sun enabling the sunbeams to be rendered how I wished for, whilst illuminating the foreground sufficiently. Oh and the diver on the left is wearing bunny ears in this picture. As it was Easter Monday !!!

 

Nothings perfect!

Whilst this particular facet of using this camera is undeniably useful, enabling you to get shots otherwise impossible in any other way really, unless you waited until when the sun was much lower, or you had really large and much more powerful strobes, not in keeping with such a small system.
I did find that as I was using the strobes rather a lot and at full power, the small Inon s2000’s i’d chosen for being small to go with the camera, ran out of juice quite quickly with my rechargeables meaning I had to swap them out and recharge between each dive. Previously I had got away with two dives a set.
Also the cameras own built in strobe was found a little lacking too. When using it to trigger external strobes, its preferable to reduce its power output to a minimum, thus making the camera battery last longer. Unfortunately there are only three settings, minimum, normal and maximum.
A lot of cameras these days allow you to reduce the output down to fractional power often as little as 1/128, which means that there is very little drain on the camera resources.
Only minor niggles of course.
It did make me wish that Nauticam would bring to bear their design and manufacturing might to strobe manufacture though.
Onland strobe technology is streets ahead of underwater strobes.
What I and am sure a lot of underwater photographers want, is a small strobe, like an Inon s2000 with the output of something much larger, and the recycling time of something much larger too. Surely its possible in this day and age.
Oh, and rechargeable batteries that don’t need removing from the strobe head would be nice too.

 

Here’s a link to the final blogpost about shooting video on the G7X here.

Why not come on one of my photo workshops and I can help you with all these techniques to get better photographs. Here is a link to my upcoming world wide workshops.

Thanks

Duxy