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I have just bought one of the above. To be perfectly truthful I do not have a clue about underwater photies. Any hints or tips, no matter how obvious they seem to you, will be appreciated. I am also wondering if this wee lens thingy you can attach onto the front is worthwhile getting.
Thanks guys'n'gals.
Peter
 

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The Artist formerly known as 'Kirky'
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Hi Peter - welcome to the world of UW photography. Be prepared for some frustration to begin with while you get used to it.

The best hint/tip is practice, practice and more practice. Try it out in the pool first and prepare to waste a few rolls of film getting used to it, the environment and the settings.

The main skill you will need is buoyancy - get this right and the photos will improve dramatically. I would recommend a book on UW photography to get the basics of photography understood. I bought `the art & technique of underwater photography by Mark Webster` and found it simple to understand. - If you are local I could let you borrow it, no problem.

Next is be prepared for initial disappointment - you may get 5 or 7 shots that are good from a roll of film - this is normal and happens even with the so called experts.

Next - when you take the kit into open water the results will be OK but not great. UK water vis is crap compared to abroad so picture quality will suffer. This is normal. To combat this, some simple rules will greatly improve things:

1.  Get close to the subject
2.  Get low and aim high - this uses as much natural light
3.  Stay still when clicking

Does the camera have a strobe and is it detatchable ?? If it is then best results are when the flash is not head-on to the subject but above and at an angle - this will reduce backscatter.

Getting close also ensures that the light gets to the subject. Generally the strobe will not light up much beyond 2m. In clear water this is good as you can get those `blue shots` indicating the vastness of the ocean etc.

Also would advise getting the wee lens thingy. Basically you have 2 choices - Macro lens for really close up work, or wide angle lens for those panoramic shots. My advice would be go for the Wide angle lens for 2 reasons

1.  If you get within 2m of the subject the picture actually looks like you were miles away and so you get more then you see

2.  You wont have to fiddle with settings - I think the `infinity` setting will be used so you only set shutter speed and exposure time.

Overall - just play with the kit and note which settings give the best results.
 

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I have been using the MX5 for some time now and get perfectly acceptable results.   In a moment of weakness I Bought the close up attachment but don't get that much use out of it as it doesn't increase the range that much.   The camera will take acceptable pics way beyond the supposed limit of its focus range.   I normally use 400 film but have been trying 800 on a recent trip to Malta (results still awaited).   I have taken quite a few shots in the past with available light simply by covering the onboard flash with my finger.   I have got best results in Malta with the increased vis. not surprisingly.   To see some of the shots I have taken in the inland puddles in UK check out www.photoisland.com using the id - ericdv - and the password - scuba .   All those photos were taken without the close up lens.
 

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Hi,
   Thanks for your replies lads. I just put my first spool in for developing today, so I'll find out later in the week how good/bad they are. Eric, for some reason the site would not show me the photos. The titles were there but the actual photos were not. Shame, because it would have been nice to see them.
Peter
 

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Peter,
Photoisland seems to be having probs ATM - I can't even view using the master password.   If you drop me an address I will send you a self running CD with commentary I have prepared of all my photos including Malta which shows what can be done by pushing the camera a little.   Several group members have seen the CD and comments all positive thus far.
 

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Hi people,
         Got my first photies back today. I must remember to not breathe out as I am taking the shot. My torch light makes some difference to the colour quality as well, though it a bit of a fankle trying to deal with the two things at the same time. Out of them all there was only really one that I was reasonably happy with. It was one of a conger and loads of anenomies. I seemed to get the torch/camera bit right for this one. I was soloing when I was taking these so I didn't have the advantage of a buddies light, I think I have finally found a use for a buddy. I have been told to expect crap photos for a while so this has come as no surprise. It'll just be practice, practice and a bit more practice.
Thanks again for all the help as I was never even given an instruction book.
Peter
 

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See my reply to your other posting, Peter. Personally, I regret buying the MX V. I wish I'd paid a little more for a camera with a separate strobe. I took a couple of hundred pics in Indonesia and about the same number in the Philippines, with almost perfect visibility and lots of sunlight, but the only decent shots were close-ups taken on top of the reef , at a depth of less than 5 metres,  and shots taken with natural light at around 10-12 metres and shooting upwards. All the others were ruined by backscatter.
 

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Grumbler-chief in Residence
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For what it is worth, you can get strobes which are fired by the internal flash, thi is particually good for the cheeper cameras, and a lot of digital cameras. But, they are severley limited in there power and therefore usefulness. You can disable the flash, but this limits you to the more "arty" type of shot, usefull if like me you want that but not if you don't.

Andrew
 

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I'm considering getting a slave strobe of the kind you mention, Andrew. A friend of mine who is a very keen underwater photographer tells me you can in fact get quite powerful slave strobes at a reasonable price nowadays and it's relatively easy to make your own for about £20, using a cheap dive torch case and parts available from any underwater camera specialists. I imagine it's a bit of a handful manging the camera and slave (not enough hands!) but you can always get your buddy to hold the strobe.
 

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Peter I still have your address and will send you a copy of the instruction book which you should have as a base to start from but as you have seen in the CD you can certainly push the limits and get good/acceptable shots.   John if you drop me an address I will happily send you a copy of my photo CD (FOC) with commentary of shots taken in Malta and UK certainly in worse conditions than you describe.   I love the little beast mainly on account of the fact that it fits in the pocket of my BCD and I can take it on every dive.   All shots on the CD are without any external flash - many without flash at all and some at depth - and all aithout the additional close up lens.
I made myself a slave flash unit some time ago and whilst it worked perfectly every time on land it hardly ever worked underwater although when I have time I will experiment further.   I did experiment with 800 speed film but results were variable to say the least and I have now definitely settled on 400 speed film.
One of the best things about it as far as I am concerned is that it has a glass lens and not a plastic jobby as found in most cheap cameras.
 

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John, i could be interested in your MX5 if you're thinking of selling it... I'm off to Ibiza for a weeks diving in June and it looks like a good budget camera for clear waters and on the beach...? Let me know if you're ever gonna sell it...? Ta!
 
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