May 272011

My Beautiful Camera

Resist as I may, it is now time to retire my faithful Nikon F3, Aquatica housing and Ikelite strobes. My next cruise – 3 weeks on MV Golden Dawn cruising from Port Moresby to the remote regions of Milne Bay and ending in Alotau, will be its last.

But not mine. I now have to buy a digital camera. And Housing, and Strobes and, doubtless, other stuff. The worst part of all this is that all the Nikon/Aquatica/Ikelite gear works perfectly. As it has for 22years. I’m going to miss my (manual only) indestructible EO cords, the faultless and instant response and the great images. Damn, I’m going to cry. Well, almost.

THANK YOU to Nikon, Aquatica, Ikelite, whoever it is that makes EO cords – and while I am at it – Ultralight Strobe arms. You have done a superb job. This gear has made THOUSANDS of dives. I doubt that anything that I buy, or me for that matter, will be able to replicate that sterling effort over so many years.

WHY CHANGE you ask? I now have to get my film imported from the USA and send my exposed film to Brisbane to get processed. It is expensive and inconvenient but of itself not sufficient motivation. I’m mostly happy with 36 shots a dive as (a) I know how to use the camera so generally get results. (b) I aim to shoot just one perfect image per dive, not shoot 276 and hope one turns out. Having said this I have inevitably had the odd “Out of Film” emergency requiring a rapid ascent.

My main problem these days is WEIGHT. My rig weighs about 15Kg out of the water depending on what strobes and battery packs I am using, and although I can handle that , especially underwater, apparently AIRLINES cannot. Pathetic bunch. Or if they can they think they can charge me a fortune. Sorry to trouble you, I’m sure.

It even works upside down...

When I do buy my new digital rig it will be small, light, and have excellent wide angle optics and tiny strobes, all of which I will carry in my coat pocket (I’ll have to buy a coat of course). I am not going big, and to protect myself from marauding sharks and crocodiles I’ll just have to buy a large dive sword – rather like the old Scubapro “The Knife” – and forget about using my camera. The F3 rig would have stopped a submarine.

Instead of passing my camera to my (Ha!) buddy and watching him/her plummet into the sand, I will have to find alternate amusement. And I will have to stop trying to get those artistic “shoot into the sun” shots and remember, as we all did with our Box Brownies, to shoot with the sun behind me. It is going to be tough.

Now if any of you have a recommendation as to what I should buy, please let me know ( I shall be picking brains. And I know that, by the time I have made my mind up, another generation of cameras will be on the market and I’ll have to start over, so I will not be taking any 15Kg packages to the dump just yet. I’ll stock up on film and chemicals – same as I’m hoarding incandescent light bulbs – so if I decide again to give digital the finger, I’ll be just fine, and buy a coat with bigger pockets.

 Posted by at 7:48 am

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