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Exposing for underwater
Old 08-25-2016   #1
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Exposing for underwater

Just curious as I may be going snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef later this year (perfect time to obtain a Nikonos III). But as to guessing exposure underwater, I would assume I have to compensate instead of Sunny 16, maybe Sunny 8 or something but is there a hard and fast guide?
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Old 08-25-2016   #2
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There were several light meters available back in the Nikonos III days. Sekonic had a little one in a plastic case and there were others. They can often be found cheaply on e bay or, buy a Nikonos V and use it for a while first to get an idea. Also note your Nikonos might like a trip to Southern Nikonos before it takes a swim. I really like my Nikonos III but only use it as a beach and bad weather camera. I would not submerge it without a recent service. Joe
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Old 08-25-2016   #3
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I have a cheap plastic underwater film camera that only has one aperture and f.stop. I looked it up once a while back and think it's 1/125 f/8. I shot Tri-X and stand developed in Rodinal 1+100 to get exposures in all types of light. It works. With this combo, it almost does not matter what settings you use on your camera as long as you are within 3-4 stops.

I recommend shooting TX400+Rodinal1+100stand in your underwater camera for BW. Not sure how to manage with color...
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Old 08-25-2016   #4
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In full sun, I used in the 70s: sunny 16 (1/ASA at f16) for surface to 4+ feet. After 5 feet go to f11 until 10-12 feet then another notch. Use C-41 or B&W film so any weird light changes will be absorbed by latitude. With soft shadow bright, cloudy overcast, and heavy overcast or open shade; use f-11, f-8, f-5.6. This is if you don't go beyond 4 feet; if so then adjust as above.

Film fan has a good point about stand development but in most underwater cases contrast is diminished already so you will be lucky if you get into a high contrast scene but you possibly might where you are going.

If you do choose stand development, scan so you can correct contrast in your editing program.
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Old 08-25-2016   #5
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I have a Sekonic Marine Meter that I bought during my Nik V days. I bought it on Ebay and never got a chance to use it. I'd be willing to part with it if you need it to expose correctly when shooting underwater.

I also have a Nikonos V that I'd be willing to sell, but I wouldn't take it underwater diving or snorkeling before Bob Warkentin (at Southern Nikonos) looks at it to make sure the o-rings are in good shape.

When I was shooting underwater with film, I used Velvia. That was the choice of most underwater photographers in those days.


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Old 08-26-2016   #6
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50% of the light striking the water surface is lost within about 1m (reflection/absorption) so open up one stop immediately you go underwater. Red is most deficient so you can get 'correction' filters but these absorb more light too. Meter is useful but contrast is also low so be careful what you meter off.

Be warned however that the Nikonos 3 is now a very old camera and its seals may well have 'dried' out (i.e. lost lubricating 'O' ring grease) and/or have perished - same with the lens. I used one many years ago but now use housings (my experience is 35 years professional underwater photography). Personally, unless you get a Nikonos which has been recently serviced, I wouldn't use one underwater these days as they were never easy to use and you do risk a terminal flood with old cameras like these I'm afraid. Unlike above water cameras they do deteriorate on the shelf - their seals do so anyway. You may find my article here to be of interest: http://marinewildlife.co.uk/wp-conte...alypsophot.pdf
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Old 08-26-2016   #7
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My only advice, use flash if you can, there isn't much light once you get below the surface
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