I managed to get version one phantom to test at weekend and big thanks from that goes to Markus

Phantom

Phantom

This is really impressive device and several other person noticed it also while I was flying with it.

I have aviation license also thus made me pretty easy to fly it, but I would say that it will be easy to learn anyway. Actually biggest problem that I had was that the controls was different than I used to fly when I was a kid and also the controlling is bit different than with the airplane. This actually made me making all the time corrections based on earlier experience. So if I would buy this, most likely would directly go to configuration software and hopefully be able to change it. In short when you tilt the plane, it also starts turning around, when you tilt Phantom, it just moves sideways. :)

So what did I try. First I went to our aviation hobby club airport that is pretty empty during winter times, and I would suggest you to go also some place where you have plenty of room to practice. This was Dji phantom version one so the flight time is officially 10-15 minutes, but I only got something like 10 minutes. Of course the winter time had something to do with it. So when you are practicing that it’s about one hour charging and 10 minutes flying. Dji phantom 2 specification says that flight time is 25 minutes so that makes big difference. So this would be my suggestion to go with version 2, only the flight time is reason enough.

Lumia 1020 with Phantom

Lumia 1020 with Phantom

First I wanted to test with my mobile phone that what happens and selected time lapse testing app to take pictures every second.

Dji Phantom with Lumia 1020

Dji Phantom with Lumia 1020

Most of the pictures were blurry and that is the only picture that is sharp at least somewhat. The reason is that those four motor was just shaking a lot the phone. Also the attachment was not that good. I did figure out a better way to attach it but it was still not enough as the camera grip screw position is to far from the lens. I have heard that there is nowdays something like Beast Grip, but I have not been able to test one.

How to attach 3/4 screw

How to attach 3/4 screw

So on went to Lumia and here comes to GoPro. The Phantom is clearly designed into GoPro as that works best. It still need the ZenMuse H3-2D stabilizer, as you can see from my video that it CLEARLY needs it.

Dji Phantom with GoPro

Dji Phantom with GoPro

I also managed to generate panorama from the timelapse pictures that I took. This is from the house I grew up.

Panorama from GoPro timelapse pics(3)

Panorama from GoPro timelapse pics(3)

For the video, I really tried to stabilize it in Premiere pro CS6 and After Effects CS6 but didn’t managed to fix it. This shows clearly to me that ZenMuse H3-2D is really a must for the Phantom even I haven’t have chance to test it. You can actually get pretty nice pictures with it still so if you are only into pictures, you might be good to go with only Phantom even I would still go with the version 2.

I tried to attach also my Olympus OM-D E-M1 and kit lens into Phantom but that was too heavy. Phantom only managed to lift of for about meter over the ground. Maybe with some lighter lens it would be still possible. I would still go with some sports camera or similar as you break the camera very easily. It only need one mistake.

Conclusion:
Dji Phantom is amazing device, as a pilot and photographer, this is just what I need when not been able to fly. Only wind makes more difficult but you can still fly in pretty bad weather. I still would go to version 2 and Zen Muse combination, but you can have lot of fun with the version 1 too. Just be careful with the children. Everyone want one, at least from my experience :)

Here is the video, music is inspired from La Donna Del Lago – Opera by The Royal Opera, that I was watching today. Please do note also that this was done in pretty windy environment so camera shake is can’t be avoided.

My DJi Phantom first flying – test from Juhani Väihkönen on Vimeo.


All four lights

All four lights

I managed to get 4 different video lights to my underwater testing with Nikon AW-1
Epogue EL-1000Video
Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite
Ikelite Vega
Light and Motion Sola Video 2000FS(Previous version)

This is not by any means official test nor technical one. Only my thought what I think about them. Please do consider also that Sola’s 2000FS is obsolite and 2100FS have replaced it.

All four ligths side by side

All four ligths side by side

First from the left
Light and Motion Sola Video 2000FS
Price: 979€
Max power: 2000 lumen

Second from the left
Ikelite Vega
Price: 495€
Max power: 2000 lumen

Third from the left
Epogue EL-1000Video
Price: 195€
Max power: 1000 lumen

Fourth from the left
Underwater Kinetics UK Aqualite
Price: 270€
Max power: 600 lumen

At least Epogue and Sola lights are currently on sale so the price is actually bit less, but the price category is the same still. In this test there is actually two kind of flash lights. Higher and lower. Around 200 euros you will get pretty nice light that has replaceable battery and attachment to use either flex mount or ball mount system.

My current main system is using ball mount but I have used flex mount also. The main difference with those systems are that flex mount can handle only limited weight and ball mount much more. My main flashers Ikelite DS-161 are just way too big to flex mount. Flex mount main benefit is speed, you can very easily change the light position.

Epogue EL-1000Video

Epogue EL-1000Video

Let’s start by Epogue EL-1000Video which is the cheapest of these, but not by far the weakest. You have to remember that you can get 4-6 of these lights for the price of one Light and Motion Sola Video Light. Giving you 4000 lumens all together and multiple ways of light your subject. So the price is just amazing. There is of course downsides as well. The shaft of beam is very sharp and the switch is not so well thought as it does not have any lock positions. It is just magnetic switch that turns 360 around the lamp.

Epoque underwater

Epoque underwater

In total darkens it’s very difficult to change the light into correct power output, there is no led lights telling what is the power and you easily turn of or turn off it just by accident. UK Aqualite has much better power switch, you can easily set the correct output power even with your eyes closed.

Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite

Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite

So in short for the cheaper dive ligts the main difference is power output and power switch implementation. I would say that you can live with either one, just have to know about them and prepare. These cheaper lights had still actually one advantange over the Vega and Sola, replaceable battery, 18650 battery that the use are coming as standard and you can by them for a cheap price and have several with you on your dive trip.

Ikelite Vega Controls

Ikelite Vega Controls

Ikelite Vega

Ikelite Vega

Ikelite Vega underwater with snorkels

Ikelite Vega underwater with snorkels

Ikelite Vega underwater

Ikelite Vega underwater

Sola Controls

Sola Controls

Sola Video 2000SF

Sola Video 2000SF

Sola underwater with snorkels

Sola underwater with snorkels

Sola underwater

Sola underwater

Lets then go to the more expensive lights Vega and Sola. Both of these lights has integrated battery so when the battery is out, it’s finish and you can’t do anything with the light until you have charged again. The battery life is good but if you do several dives in a day, it might be a problem. Ikelite Vega is pretty strait forward, it’s easy to learn hot to use and clear light indicating the power output and battery life. Sola has more funtions, it has software keylock and spotlight funtionality. Although it’s not that difficult to learn how to use but still much more complex that Ikelite’s Vega. Ikelite’s Vega is still missing the spotlight functionality that can be handy when photographing macro. Ikelite’s shaft of light is bit more narrower than Sola’s. The only case when this would be an issue is when photographing or shooting video with very wide angle lens, but some might say that you will get more power into subject if you can get light closer the subject.

One thing Sola 2000SF have clearly over Ikelite vega is to be able to use spotlight. The benefit is that you get intense beam into one area, and something like macro photography, it really matters.

Sola using spotlight

Sola using spotlight

Maro shot from ring

Maro shot from ring using 10 times makro filter

Conclusion:
There was benefits and cons in all the lights but the price point of Ikelite and Epogue is excellent. If you consider only quality, the Sola is winner but not much as the Ikelite comes close. As the price goes up you will get more power and more features, but are those important to you, I can’t tell. I probably will get at least one Ikelite light to myself, and switchable battery on Epogue is very nice but as I have already the UK Aqualite I’m not sure will I get one.

All the pictures in this post have been taken either Nikon 1 AW-1 or Nokia Lumia 1020

Strange fish at the pool

Strange fish at the pool

Small underwater light test from Juhani Väihkönen on Vimeo.


- Nikon 1 AW-1
- Nikon 1 NIKKOR AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6

When I first time heard about this camera, I thought that’s amazing, Nikon finally went back to the old nikonos world where we had waterproof SLR camera. I actually already ordered one but then canceled it and decided to go to Olympus OM-D E-M1 and housing for that. The simple reason was that Nikon AW-1 is still focused more to the traditional consumer side.

The camera is only waterproof for 15 meters that is actually quite a lot, as there is a lot just next to surface.

I finally still got Nikon AW-1 to testing as our camera hobby club decided to get one. This weekend I finally had time to take it underwater with some light testing at the same time. I also took it to Helsinki Boat Exhibition to take some surface pictures also.

Boys playing volleyball

Boys playing volleyball while I’m shooting behing the net.

The most of anything that I love in this camera is that it’s always waterproof, you can even in exhibition suddenly take picture from the diver that was doing introduction dives at the affair.

Scuba diver at exhibition

This underwater picture would have not been possible without camera that is always waterproof

When I left from boat exhibition, I stayed outside for a while to shoot some street lights that I likes so much. It was raining lot but it was very nice to be sure that your camera can handle it. I managed to get some decent picture from the lights.

Street lights in Helsinki

So it comes back to the idea of having a camera that can handle almost any weather and situation that you come across. So lets get into underwater then, where I was today. The camera feels very nice underwater. I rigged it into Ikelite GoPro rig, mainly because I had it and you can open the battery and memory card door even the camera is still attached. Normal strait rig you can’t do it. Also it’s very nice rig. :)

Nikon AW-1 with Ikelite rig

Nikon AW-1 with Ikelite rig

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I tried several different kind of lights but more about the lights in next posts.

I shooted this strange looking fish at the pool, still don’t know the species…

Strange fish at the pool

Strange fish at the pool

I also tried macro shooting with the ring that one of the divers found from the bottom of pool. I used +10 close up filter in front of the camera lens. You can use 40.5mm filters directly but most likely you want to use step up rings to go like 55mm filters and there you will find pretty nice collection already. Also it would be then possible to use those same filters with GoPro cameras using something like BlueFix

Macro shot from ring

Macro shot from ring using +10 close up filter

Yes, that is really underwater picture. Same as this

Snorkel kit underwater

Snorkel kit underwater

You can see that I was using two light in the picture from shadows.

Lets go into more weaker sides.
Mostly because of the sensor size the camera just can’t handle low light situation so when comparing this camera to my mobile phone(Nokia Lumia 1020), my mobile phone actually wins. So the use case would be only underwater and harsh conditions as mobile phone is always with me anyway and it’s lot smaller. Second thing is the lenses. There is currently only two lenses that are also waterproof and even our hobby club did bought the two lens system. We still haven’t received the second one. There are rumors that Nikon have some problems on delivering the 1 NIKKOR AW 10mm f/2.8 to the customers, but I never think so much about the rumors. I will test the lens when I will have it, but I know already the it will not be wide enough as 10mm angle of view is equivalent to 27mm in 35mm sensor. You need more wider. If there would come something like 7,5mm or more wider, it would be better. You still can’t get more wider pictures than you can get micro four thirds cameras and of course full frame cameras.

Conclusion:
Nikon 1 AW-1 is very nice camera, that you can take with you on your holiday and get some nice pictures, even pictures that would not have been possible in other cameras, but it’s still not quite there yet. Main problems are the sensor size and lens selection. Good underwater lights and strobes will help you a lot and next I will be writing about them.


Equipment test, I haven’t done those for a while.

2601.03 Steady Tray for GoPro
2531.3(left) and 9531.4(right) Release handles

Last weekend, I bought hand on the newest Ikelite tray from EW Dive and decided to test it with small video.
actual_rig

I decided to add these small Ultralight mounting balls to get some extra mounting points.

Ultralight_adds

So here is the final rig configuration. Big thanks to Kuva Järvinen from getting me a old GoPro hero 3 housing fast to still attach LCD to GoPro hero 3+, as you can’t currently get the LCD into 3+ orginal housing.

Final_Rig

I was anyway going to Turku to get one harddrive for study for repairing, so I decided to go scuba diving with scuba center called Fun Dive Oy that is located in Turku, Finland.

I had to add small things to the rig, like handles, ball joints arms and lights. I already had them so it was easy.
Only problem was that the handles that I had was the original Ikelite ones that did had different connection than
in Ikelite tray manual. Mine is with bolts and the tray needs ones that you use slotted screws. Otherwise it’s pretty same.

Here is the rig that I builded first.
GoProTeline

That would have worked but I dedided to go bit smaller thus I changed arms bit shorter and here is the final test configuration.

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So of I started diving. The tray is pretty nice. It’s sturdy and you can extend it pretty much. Of course I went all the way and
added two Ikelite video lights, UK Aqualite and Light&Motion Sola™ Nightsea light. So basically all the video lights that I own :)

Here are some pictures from the dive.
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So, what is the final verdict. I really like the tray. It’s small, cheap, and you can extend it a lot. I can see that if used with Light and motion sola lights or the new Ikelite’s Vega light it will be almost perfect. The battery that I added under the rig was working but the cables were bit too short. Yes you can use longer cables but as the batteries are coming to lithium time. Those lights that have the lithium battery embedded and still small. You really can’t compete with it. Only small problem that I see with the rig is that when used with video it’s pretty good, but when taking pictures at least my finger is not long enough to take pictures while still holding the handle. So maybe it’s not for that, of course you could take the second handle away and use it only with one light. Ikelite vega have 2000 lumen’s and you can do a lot with that, even take nice pictures.

So for the video it’s pretty nice, you need to add handles and some ball joints to get it working but for that price point it’s all good. For the pictures I would use some other rig. There is at least Ultralight that have direct connection to the gopro and ball joint from there.

Finally the video that I filmed and edited.

Ikelite GoPro rig test from Juhani Väihkönen on Vimeo.


I noticed that I haven’t done any longer exposure project for long time and specially star trails have been always amazed me so tonight I decided to do it.

I decided to use my Canon 5dmk3 camera for this one because full frame sensor gives me much better low light possibility than my Olympus, even it is also pretty good. Also one reason was that there is no so wide objective as I wanted in this picture. I selected Canon 8-15mm F4 lens for this one and wanted to use 8mm to go wide as possible. :)

So first I made some test shots with different exposure times using ISO 100 and F8. From those I selected that about 7 minutes would be good exposure time.

Here is the picture.

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Then I just decided to go one minute more and made 9 pictures, each 8 minutes exposure. I went those thru in Lightroom and then loaded them into Photoshop as separate layers. Then using layer mode Lighten I finally saw the final image.

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I had change to really test my new Camera Olympus OM-D E-M1 with long exposure shots and I have to say I am impressed.

 

 

 

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Happy Holidays and I wish Amazing New Year 2014 to you all.

 

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I finally got into land of rising sun and was traveling there for two weeks.

statue from firoshima

Statue from Hiroshima

Here you can find the pictures that I took during my two weeks.

 

In overall Japan was very nice place for travelling, specially when you had Train Pass that gives you unlimited travel during chosen period. I had this pass for 14 days and I have to say that it’s worth of every euro. Totally I traveled something like 2500 kilometers during my stay.

I started in Osake where my flights went. I had in plane change in Istanbul that made my total flight time about 18 hours. I know there is also direct flights but they are way more expensive that these. After Osaka I went to Kyoto, Tokio, Sendai, Hiroshima, Himeji and visited Kobe and Okayama for a day.

I have to admit taking my Canon 5dmk3 and several lenses are very tiring(heavy), specially when I was sick in some stomach flu  after the flights to Osaka. I’m pretty sure that I got it from airplane but there is no way to be sure. For that reason I didn’t get so many pictures from Osaka.

For those who are wondering to go there I have to say it’s pretty safe place. Of course anything can happen but at least for me luckily nothing bigger happened. Not so many people still don’t speak English there, some do but there is also several ones that don’t at all. Still Japanese people were very helpful and I did managed to solve all the problems and questions pretty easily.


I was shooting again with Maria at veikkola, Finland in a place called Sukellesareena.

Modelling: Maria Maunula
Assistants: Jenni Laurila and Johanna Nordblad

Jenni also did BTS pictures and posted them to her blog in Here (Only in Finnish)


I was scuba diving in Mauritius and edited this clip from the dives.
This film fully filmed with two GoPro Hero2 in 3D housing by Eye Of Mine

Music By Anssi Alhopuro – Just Some Water