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Currently my underwater photography equipments are: Olympus XZ-1, PT-050, Inon Strobe D2000 and focus light Inon LE550W. My fave is taking macro photos but not limit myself to wide angle photos.
For macro I use external lens Subsee+10 diopter. But in practise underwater it was so difficult to focus on the subject sharply using this external lens - although with the help of Inon focus light from the strobe and Inon LE550W.
I was advised that I need more light in order to get a sharp and faster focus.
I also want to buy second strobe and since I have limited budget, I am wondering if focus light from the strobe would be enough to help focusing...
Could you please advise me - which one is better to buy in order to help the focus issue: Strobe with focus light (like INON D2000) or Focus light only (I am thinking of Sola 600)?
If you have any other advise, please feel free to let me know..I really want to use my subsee lens properly..such as shame I can not get it focus properly...
I don't think your problems are with the focus light. The Inon light is 550 lumens, the Sola is 600 and the difference in terms of macro focusing is minimal. The problem is that with the +10 subsee you have a very very very very shallow depth of field. Try a slightly less strong add on lens (like the +5) and you will be able to see the difference. You should be able to use manual focus and you have to be really patient to shoot with a +10 since the DOF is so small.
President LAUPS www.blueviews.net
Canon, Nauticam, Subal Ports, Inon Strobes, Athena RingFlash, InonRingflash, Lots of glass
The main problem with using the built-in focus light is that it has a narrow beam, and you have to aim the strobe directly at the subject to use the light at close range, but this is not how you want to position your strobe. I'd go with the Sola 600 or 1200 (1200 would be my preference, and I just replaced my FIX LED1000 with this light).
I am not really sure to what extent it is an issue with the lighting. You already have 550 lumens that is quite a lot definitely enough to focus on a little spot where your diopter is going. However with 10+ diopter the depth of field is so shallow that probably your camera struggles due to the quality of the autofocus built in.
What kind of metering do you use? With the diopter you can't shoot in macro but you can still use spot metering. I also see that your camera only goes down to 100 ISO which is a bit high. Do you shoot in manual? Can you trigger the flash at 1/1000 sec? Do you have manual focus with a magnified window on the view finder?
I would try to push to the limits the manual settings as I believe your equipment should be good enough.
As noted by most posters your problem is DOF and I would try, on non moving macro subjects setting the focus near to where it should be and move the camera backwards and forwards slightly to get into focus. I do a lot of macro stuff and focus is only an issue in terms of getting the critical bit in ie eyes or rhinophores. Never had the problems you are having except on night dives but there again I only do 1:1.
Get yourself up to speed with the one flash and the +10 then buy a second flash and a lesser diopter as suggested. I have focus lights but I rarely use them as it is just another delay in getting a photo if you mess around setting the focus light them the flashes. I find my auto focus works pretty well in reasonable light, don't know anything about your cameras AF.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means, time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea. - Dylan Thomas
The XZ-1 auto focus is quite good for a compact camera. I do agree with the other posters, the problem is not about sufficient lighting but more on very shallow DOF.
very small movement will OOF. I don't use +10 diopter, instead occasioanly use stacked ULC-165-M67 which is also very difficult.
Hv to set manual focus and get your luck.
You can set 1/1000 without problem but I personally prefer 1/500 or 1/250.
Change the green rectangular AF to small one for AF or zoom view for MF.