Taking the X-T3 where few dare to take it..... Underwater! (Part I)

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DivineMadcat Forum Member • Posts: 86
Taking the X-T3 where few dare to take it..... Underwater! (Part I)
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Intro: I haven't really done this before, but i wanted to do a bit of a photo exposition while taking about the associated gear.  Feel free to ignore the text and enjoy the pictures, and know.. I'm just starting out on this...

Like so many others here, i am really passionate about my gear, and Fuji really reinvigorated my love of the profession.  And like so many others, photography is not my ONLY enjoyment in life; but unlike others, my other hobbies aren't really camera friendly.

Behold, a very annoyed blue crab...

I have ALWAYS loved the water, which is one reason i moved to FL.  When i met my girlfriend, she introduced me to a whole new aspect to life out here; the crystal clear springs. I quickly fell in love with not only her, but her love of freediving as well. But every time we went, the itch to be able to capture the beauty under the water drove me crazy. We have a GoPro, but it just doesn't compare to what i know professional gear will do.

... And an equally annoyed turtle...

So, for my birthday, i set out to do what i don't see often with Fuji gear - get it dive ready! In terms of gear, i did all the research I could, and found a setup that would work for me (and found a killer deal on it too); the case houses my X-T3 and 10-24mm, which should be a very versatile setup.

Playing with the water reflections is truly alot of fun..

Of course, since i started off with the basic kit, I have some limitations. The system i bought ships with a flat glass port, which has two immediate limitations:
1: The apparent focal length is magnified by 25% (so even wide loses its punch)
2: The flat port creates distortion, especially at wide angles.
So, when you dive with the system like that, you have to plan accordingly. Be ready to be wider than you expected... and don't put anything too important on the corners.

My daughter, ready to be a mermaid..

The other problem is, the system (Sea Frogs btw) introduced then discontinued the zoom gear for the 10-24, meaning i had to (for this dive...) preset the focal length.  Having played with my 23mm already in the water, i knew i would need to go much wider, so i set my lens to ~13mm. This yielded a good FOV, without darkening the corners; though they were too distorted to actually use.

Here i am pretending to be a merman...

My next lesson came with regards to focus.  I quickly learned that (for me) AF-C and focus tracking would be the ONLY way to reliably get shots. Sadly, the joystick for focus is unavailable in this housing, but being able to focus on a spot, then recompose with the tracking (mostly) locked on really made the shots possible. Of course, was always helpful for moving targets, which most things in the water are

Huh, and there is a real mermaid....

But at the end of the day, I had the opportunity to take shots i never had a chance to before. And the sharpness of the 10-24, even underwater blew me away, despite ALL of the limitations presented (no zoom, distortion, focus selection). Rather than gripe about the problems, i really enjoyed learning to adapt and make my shooting better.

My GF starting her dive

Having learned what i did from this dive, i already have done a few things to improve the setup for the next dive.
- I have an 8" dome arriving Sat, which should drastically help with the wide angles, especially distortion. I am really excited to see how it changes things.
- Using a zoom gear for a lens i don't have, I was able to DIY a safe, functioning gear for the 10-24. Next time i go out, i will be able to zoom on the fly, which will also open up new shots for me.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

If you made it this far, i really appreciate you taking the time to read this all! I can't wait to bring a part II in the near future with the upgrades, and share even more of this hidden world in my backyard..

 DivineMadcat's gear list:DivineMadcat's gear list
Fujifilm X-E3 Fujifilm X-T3 Fujifilm XF 23mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS Fujifilm XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR +1 more
Comment & critique:
Please provide me constructive critique and criticism.
Fujifilm X-T3
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