Take a diver survey and win a trip to Indonesia Photo

Take a diver survey and win a trip to Indonesia

Win a trip to Indonesia aboard the Archipelago Adventurer I by filling out a quick survey!  This diver survey is being administered collaboratively by some of your favourite diving related websites, to help us better understand you needs and to better serve you.

You are not required to provide any personally identifiable information, however, to enter into the drawing for the prize, you must provide your email address. By taking the survey you are not giving the prize sponsor nor participating sites any permission to contact you. We respect your privacy.

*Update 12/04* The survey has closed - thanks for participating!

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Digital Film Tools EZ Mask 1.0 Photo

Digital Film Tools EZ Mask 1.0

Digital Film Tools offers a variety of downloads and plug-ins that might be useful for underwater photographers. One of their more recent titles is EZ Mask 1.0, an image masking tool capable of extracting almost any object in an image - even the fine details of fish fins, for example.

According to the press release, the extraction process creates what is known as a mask; once a mask is extracted, the foreground object can be seamlessly composed onto a new background in Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Users are then able to apply filter and image corrections only within the area defined by the mask. EZ Mask 1.0 is a downloadable application that costs $150.

In light of the recent art vs. reality discussion on Wetpixel, I wonder how popular this application will be for many underwater photographers. Moreover, a similar tool (i.e., the Magic Extractor) was already introduced in Photoshop Elements 4.0, which costs roughly half the price.

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Sony Malaysia introduces the new DSC-N2 Photo

Sony Malaysia introduces the new DSC-N2

Sony has introduced a new Cyber-shot camera to the Malaysian market. While the DSC-N2 may not be the ultimate choice for professional underwater photographers, the camera features a 10-megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom lens, enough battery life for 300 shots per charge, and a 3-inch LCD with a touch-screen interface that incorporates a nifty paint function that allows users to personalize their photos.

Happily, the N2 fits inside Sony’s MPK-NA housing, depth-rated to 120 feet. The camera retails in Malaysia for about $450, and the housing runs an additional $230.

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Olympus Evolt E-330 dSLR and 10Bar Housing Review Photo

Olympus Evolt E-330 dSLR and 10Bar Housing Review

Wetpixel member Jeff Mullins (reefwalker), of Tulamben’s Reef Wreck and Critter Dive Tours, has written a review of the Olympus Evolt E-330 digital SLR and the accompanying 10Bar housing:

When Olympus released their latest Evolt E-330 7.5 megapixel Live-View digital SLR earlier this year. I knew that this camera was for me. I converted to digital back in 2003, after a lot of years taking underwater photographs utilising film SLR’s…

10Bar produced my port and housing and had it delivered to me in Bali in only a couple of weeks. I was eager to get the camera wet (not) by the time it arrived. Manufactured from clear polycarbonate, the overall appearance of the housing was sturdy and well engineered… I really like the system and its simplicity.

Continue reading for the full review, which includes a number of colorful photos from the Bali area…

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Announcing the Winner of the Divester/Wetpixel T-Shirt Contest! Photo

Announcing the Winner of the Divester/Wetpixel T-Shirt Contest!

The voting for the Divester/Wetpixel t-shirt contest closed last night at midnight. After tallying the votes, we are pleased to announce that the design by Elijah Woolery was selected as the winner - by quite a large margin. Congratulations, Elijah! Apparently, people loved the whale shark design, the fact that Elijah included an underwater photographer, and the moving quote by Rachel Carson.

For the throngs interested in purchasing these killer shirts, information about that will be available soon. In the meantime, know that the design will be printed on black shirts. Thanks to those of you who submitted designs, as well as to those of you who took the time to vote!

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Do non-underwater photographers prefer ambient light? Photo

Do non-underwater photographers prefer ambient light?

There is a fantastic discussion going on in our forums about images lit only by ambient light.

Alex Mustard asks, “[do] non-underwater photographers prefer the look of underwater images taken in available light only?  Or whether it is merely a reflection that the sorts of subjects that tend to do well in wildlife photo competitions (marine mammals, turtles and sharks) are often photographed in ambient light?”

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Nikon 105mm VR Lens Review

Wetpixel co-admin Alex Mustard has written a review of Nikon’s new macro lens - the 105mm VR for underwater shooting. This lens introduces several innovative features most notably image stabilisation or vibration reduction in a popular focal length lens for underwater photography. But is it really worth the upgrade from Nikon’s existing 105mm? Read the review to see what Alex thinks. This review was actually written for the next issue of Underwater Photography Magazine, but given the current interest in this lens, Alex has agreed to publish it first on Wetpixel!

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Firmware update v2.0 for Nikon D200, D2X and D2Hs Photo

Firmware update v2.0 for Nikon D200, D2X and D2Hs

Nikon has released firmware version 2.0 for its D200, D2X and D2Hs digital SLRs.  New for the D200 is support for the WT-3 wireless transmitter and image authentication (optional), while the D2X and D2Hs each get over a dozen new enhancements.  DPReview has a full list of changes.

Unfortunately, it’s not straightforward to find download pages for the new firmware updates, but Nikon Imaging Download is probably the best place to start.

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Review of Sony’s new HVR-V1U HDV Compact Camcorder Photo

Review of Sony’s new HVR-V1U HDV Compact Camcorder

Last month, Sony announced its new HVR-V1U HDV compact camcorder. Providing “film-look” footage via 24p/30p progressive scan capture and 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor chips, this HD dream captures images at up to 240 fields per second (faster capture is at reduced resolution), allowing very fast movements (shark tails flicking and divers freaking out) to be recorded in extreme detail.

The professional-quality unit also features two XLR microphone inputs for independent sound recording, a 3.5-inch Clear Photo LCD plus viewing screen and a 20x optical zoom lens with F2.8 at the telephoto end.

Douglas Spotted Eagle managed to get his hands on a pre-production model of the new, drool-worthy HD jewel and has posted his review on UWDV. In short, he loves the unit - especially the lens, the sensors, and the unit’s button placement.

Although he’s dissatisfied with the dearth of assignable buttons on the HVR-V1U, as well as the apparent thoughtlessness behind the Power button, he still managed to provide a few short clips so you can see the fantastic-ness that this $4800 camera provides.

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Fact Sheet on Papuan Bird’s Head Seascape Photo

Fact Sheet on Papuan Bird’s Head Seascape

Conservation International has recently released a fact sheet on the Papuan Bird’s Head Seascape, which, located in Papua, Indonesia, covers an area of more than 180,000 square kilometers and is thought to have the “highest coral reef biodiversity recorded for an area of this size anywhere in the world.

Previously, Wetpixel announced the discovery of dozens of new species in the same area, and this report by Conservation International provides a short summary of current progress and defines clear goals geared towards protecting the marine ecosystem.

Wetpixel moderator Drew Wong (scubadru) has started a topic discussing the report in the Conservation and Environment forum - what are your thoughts on protecting this underwater eden?

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