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  • What's New News & More How to Order? Customer Photos Web Sale

    last updated: 01/28/09

    News & More


    Photo Competition!
    40th Annual San Diego Underwater Photographic Society Film Festival

    The San Diego Underwater Photographic Society (SDUPS) is proud to announce that its 40th Annual Film Festival will be held April 25, 2009 in San Diego, CA. This year's film festival will feature a "headliner" film from Steve Drogin as well as a worldwide contest. The winner of the film contest, as determined by the audience, will be awarded a cash prize of $500. Additionally, there will be a reception honoring many of San Diego scuba diving pioneers with a special emphasis for those that lead the way in underwater photography and cinematography. Lee Peterson of marine Camera Distributors is one of the diving pioneers that started the San Diego Underwater Photographic Society in 1961 with Ron Church, Chuck Nicklin, Mickey Church and others in the local dive community.

    Email: Peter Fowler--
    Deadline: February 19, 2009
    Categories: Video - Open
    Contest Open To: All
    Usage Rights: Winners only

    Nikon D90 Announced
    USA Today officially reported on the Nikon D90 and the new video mode. Nikon also released a new lens . See info here: Nikon D90

    New Canon 50D Review
    Canon also announced a succesor to the venerable 40D. The Canon 50D improves on many things. Most notable are the higher resolution chip, lower noise and higher resolution screen. Check it out here: Canon 50D

    Contact MCD for information regarding the availability date of this product

    The New SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s Edition
    SDHC Line Easily Supports Continuous Shooting Performance in Nikon’s New D90 Digital SLR Camera

    TOKYO, JAPAN, August 27, 2008 – SanDisk Corporation today set a new speed record of 30 megabytes per second1 for SD™ flash memory cards with the introduction of the SanDisk Extreme® III 30MB/s Edition line of SDHC™ Cards. The new cards, expected to be available worldwide in September in 4-gigabyte (GB)2, 8GB and 16GB capacities, are designed to deliver peak performance when used with the new digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, Nikon D90.

    The Nikon D90 is the industry’s first DSLR camera to support SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s Edition SDHC cards at increased performance. Featuring a 50-percent speed boost from previous 20MB/s cards, the new SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s Edition SDHC card makes it possible to record 39 images in continuous shooting mode at 4.5 frames per second with a file size of 6.0 MB JPEG L Fine per image.3 The Nikon D90 camera captures high-resolution, 12.3 megapixel still images, and it is Nikon’s first DSLR to offer movie recording capability.

    SanDisk Extreme III SDHC 30MB/s Edition cards are expected to be available worldwide in September. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is U.S. $64.99 for the 4GB card, US $109.99 for the 8GB card, and U.S. $179.99 for the 16GB card.

    Essential Guide to Digital Underwater Photography or
    An Advanced Guide to Digital Underwater Photography
    by Michael Aw

    These books are an absolute Essential Guide for those who want to shoot beautiful digital pictures underwater.
    Includes tutorials on photo editing, color correction and file management and much more.

    On Sale at MCD: $19.95

    Section one: Digital essentials that guide you through the understanding of digital underwater
    Section two: Shooting digital underwater. Light, lighting, for macro and wide angle.
    Section three: The Art of underwater photography. Composing, and rule to better images,hints to winning imagery.
    Section four: The digital darkroom. Takes you beyond the digital basics and introduces you to the maximum potential of your digital imagery.
    Section five: Beyond the basics. The fast track to success.

    Thoughts on TTL or Through The Lens Flash Metering for your strobe flash units.

    The original idea for TTL was to make flash exposure more consistent with a guarantee that most exposures would be close to right on. With the older film cameras TTL performed close to the theory. Then came the arrival of digital cameras and the whole concept turned up-side-down. The chips themselves respond to light differently and the camera companies had to start all over with new formulas to get their flash units to work properly. This is where the difficulties began for underwater photographers. Each manufacturer treated the problem with a different set of protocols and unless you use the manufactures own brand of flash you will not get very good TTL exposures. This means you have to house the Canon, or Nikon or Olympus flash units to get really accurate TTL exposures. Ikelite and other manufactures have tried to make their units compatible to fit all the different camera models but the result are limited and buggy.
    Even within each manufacturers selection of cameras there are flash units of their own that don't work with certain models. Inon with the D2000 unit has their fiber optic system that seems to work well with all the small point and shoot digital cameras. Matthias Heindrichs in Europe has developed his own circuitry to meet these demands but still has problems supporting all the different protocols required for each camera system. Sea & Sea has their external TTL Flash converter that works for their strobes but not necessarily for others. Total compatibility is a myth.
    TTL has its place in underwater photography and a lot of photographers became use to using it in their macro photography. Many of the more creative photographers went back to manual control so they could get two strobes to function differently and apply more studio modeling techniques in their images.
    Some of the other things we lost with the introduction of digital cameras was the higher flash sync speed on the camera. The D70 had a 500th sync speed but newer models now sync at 200th or 250th and if you test them with different strobes you will discover that those sync speeds are not accurate either. More like 180 of a second has to be used to keep the dark fading from appearing at the bottom of your image. Rear curtain sync is not available to most strobes or cameras although the manufactures are trying to add this to the newer cameras.
    My advice for you is if you are going to enter into the digital photography world and shoot underwater, then learn manual control of your camera and strobes. You will get better results, more creative lighting, and less frustration with with the weak promise of fully automatic exposures. You will be able to use a wider range of strobes. Even with the older film cameras the TTL sync connections were prone to fail due to low line voltage in the TTL circuit requirements. At that time you didn't know the TTL was not working even though the strobe was firing until you processed the film. That was a frustrating bummer. Now with digital systems you and instant replay on the LCD and you can see if every thing is working. The histogram is the most important tool you have to tell you what you are doing with exposure. So why do you need TTL?

    A lot of us have figured out that we can photograph very well with out TTL when using the new digital cameras.

    By Lee Peterson

    American Waters, by Alex Kirkbride

    In 2002, Alex Kirkbride set out on a three-year journey across the United States living in an Airstream trailer and traveling over 100,000 miles to photograph underwater images from every state.  Alex's unique travels inspired an imaginative collection of photographs. The result is his book, American Waters, Foreword by Jean-Michel Cousteau, available October, ISBN# 978-0-7153-2751-7 ( An exhibit of the work will be held at Hammer Galleries in New York, October 9th to November 1st.

    His images were captured by the Nexus F4 housing.

    You should know why the Orangutan will disappear.

    Increasing global demand for palm oil is big business for those countries that can provide it, such as Indonesia's Borneo, but the introduction of plantations on a large scale could have a devastating effect on the island's rich wildlife.
    Tanjung National Park, Borneo home to the Orangutan and
    Tanjung Puting sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Java Sea

    The Plantation plan
    Hundreds of orangutans will die as their habitat vanishes and the poachers and chainsaws move in

    Elaeis Guineensis (palm oil) the new oil of choice. The palm is an amazing plant: squat, spiky, and low-maintenance. All you have to do is chop off the big clumps of orange-brown, conker-sized fruit, squeeze the oil out of them, and you have one of the most versatile products imaginable. One which, in theory, has impeccably green credentials.
    Palm oil is already in one in 10 supermarket items, such as crisps, bread, and lipstick. Soon it will be in our petrol tanks too, as bio-diesel, a renewable, green alternative to fossil fuels. I think you can see where this is going.

    No wonder Indonesia is busy planting Elaeis Guineensis at breakneck speed. It wants to triple the size of its plantations in 15 years, which is where things start to get messy.

    Land distribution problem
    Palm oil is the second-most widely produced edible oil after soybean The Indonesian government has just announced that 30,000 hectares of the park are to be given over to logging and palm oil companies. That is 15% of the park's forests.
    Hundreds of orangutans will die as their habitat vanishes and the poachers and chainsaws move in. Do you think it will stop there?

    Selling to China
    Further inland, in an area known as the "heart of Borneo", much larger areas are being quietly handed over to developers. Ancient jungles are being carved up to make way for palm oil. So much for being environmentally friendly. Last year a monstrous scam was uncovered. The type of rainforests found in Borneo include rare peat swamp forests and heath forest. It involved creating the world's largest single plantation - the size of four million football fields - right in the middle of a rainforest that has survived many millions of years. Much of the land chosen turned out to be unsuitable for plantations. It was too steep and too elevated. But that was never the point of the exercise.

    The real plan was to chop down as much valuable hardwood as possible and sell it to China. After all, why put plantations on Borneo's vast swathes of empty land when you can carve up the forests and make a fortune before you have even started? And, in the process, destroy one of the world's last great biological treasure houses. The Indonesian government says it is now changing its plans to protect the rainforests and the indigenous communities living in them. But environmental campaigners are skeptical and so am I.

    This is a remote region, in a famously corrupt country, with fortunes at stake it does not hold much promise for keeping the natural environment safe. Say goodbye to the Orangutan. Say good bye the hardwoods and the forest. Say goodbye to the coral reefs as the run off from the exposed soil from clearing the forest covers the delicate underwater ecosystem with mud and tree sap.

    I thought you should know this. What can be done? Not much. Don’t buy Chinese made wood products. Don’t buy products with Palm oil in them.

    Andrew Harding BBC News, Borneo, 22 April 2006

    Sigma 18-50 mm F2.8 EX DC Macro lens

    Sigma has announced the interesting 18-50 mm F2.8 EX DC Macro lens. Like all other DC lenses this is designed specifically for digital SLR's with APS sized sensors. It offers a maximum aperture of F2.8 throughout the zoom range and a minimum focus distance of 20 cm (7.9 in) with a magnification of 1:3. This makes it an ideal lens behind a dome port without the use of a diopter for underwater use.

    The lens features a spherical and low dispersion elements. This is a better alternative to the kit lenses bundled with sub-$1000 digital SLRs. On a digital SLR with a 1.5x FOV multiplier this lens provides an equivalent field of view of 27-75 mm when used with a dome port. When used behind a flat macro port it is equal to a 37.5-112.5mm. With the use of the Nexus CL external diopter on a flat port the magnification would be almost 1:1.
    Special Low Dispersion (SLD) and Extraordinary Low Dispersion (ELD) glass elements provide excellent correction of color aberrations. The super multi-layer lens coating reduces flare and ghosting, a common problem with digital cameras. High image quality is assured throughout the entire zoom range. An inner focusing system eliminates front lens rotation, making the lens particularly suitable for using the petal-type lens hood (supplied) plus circular polarizing filters.

    New Carl Zeiss High-Performance Lenses with Nikon F Mount

    Carl Zeiss introduces a new wide-angle lenses with Nikon F mount. It covers a full 35mm frame and can be used on both analog and digital SLRs. They focus manually and can produce sharpness (200 lines per millimeter) well beyond the capabilities of the best color films available today and is ideal for the smaller pixel size digital chips. This lenses feature a long-life all-metal barrel of very high precision.

    The Distagon T* 2,8/25 is a lens with pronounced wide-angle characteristics. The minimum object distance of just two inches from the front element enables unique wide-angle close-ups. It will be a 37.5mm equivalent on a digital camera when used with a small dome port. No diopter will be needed with this lens in conjunction with a dome port.

    The new lens will be shipping as of: end of 2006

    List prices:
    Distagon T 2,8/25 ZF: 699,00 EUR (without VAT) / $824 USD

    Makro-Planar T 2/50 ZF and Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZF

    Two New Super Fast ZEISS ZF Macro Lenses with Nikon F Mount

    At f/2, the new ZEISS Makro-Planar T* 2/50 ZF and Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZF are the fastest macro lenses for 35mm full-frame photography today - whether for film or digital capture. The two new lenses focus manually from infinity to 1⁄2-life size, capturing an object field of approximately 50x70mm at the close-focus limit. All of the ZEISS ZF lenses feature precision metal mechanics, providing the photographer with a durable, reliable tool of lasting value.

    A ‘floating element’ optical system enables the Makro-Planar T* 2/50 ZF to deliver very high image quality over the entire focusing range.

    The Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZF goes several steps further by employing an optical design originally developed for the ARRI/ZEISS Master Prime T* 1.2/100. Thus, the Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZF lens offers an optical performance never before available for still photography, especially at wide-open apertures and in macro applications.

    The new Makro-Planar lenses are scheduled for shipment during Q1 2007 and join the ZEISS ZF family of manual focus, precision lenses for the Nikon F-mount and featuring full Nikon AI-S compatibility. The ZEISS ZF range now includes 6 different lens types with focal lengths ranging from 25mm to 100mm.

    The suggested list price will be:
    • Makro-Planar T* 2/50 ZF: $1,124 USD
    • Makro-Planar T* 2/100 ZF: $1,749 USD

    CONGRATULATIONS to San Diego Underwater Photographic Society (SDUPS) for winning the Smithsonian's Nature's Best Photography Award for 2005.
    Featured Book: 'An Ocean Odyssey', by Stephen Wong and Takako Uno.
    Orders are now being taken.
    Please visit
    An organization that helps by conserving underwater environments through education, advocacy and action.

    Sea Shepherd Crew Released from Isabela Island

    At 1300 Hours the crew of the Sea Shepherd, escorted by Naval marines, went to the dock to board a Galapagos National Park vessel. They were stopped by a crowd of about 50 fishermen who told them they could not leave. The marines and the crew retreated to the office of the Port Captain followed by the fishermen.
    The fishermen informed the Port Captain that they would let the Sea Shepherd crew depart if they would agree to sign a document stating that they had never been prevented from leaving and were never held on the island against their will. The crew refused to sign...please read more at


    Travel Tips for Papua Barat & Diving in Papua Barat (Irian Jaya)

    New Guinea, the second largest island of the world, is divided into two parts. While the eastern part of the island is the independent state of Papua New Guinea, the western part still belongs to the multiethnic state Indonesia. In 2001 the Indonesian Government introduced some regional representation for the Papuan people and changed the name of this part of the country from Irian Jaya to Papua Barat. Read full article.


    Marine diseases: Symptoms of an Unhealthy Earth by Environmental News Network, Global Warming and Climate Change: an in-depth report

    Emerging diseases in marine species are sentinels of the ongoing degradation of coastal habitat, and of global climate change, environmental experts told U.S. Senators and Representatives in a briefing. Harvard Medical School's Center for Health and the Global Environment, the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, the Wildlife Trust and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute sponsored the briefing on climate change and the marine ecosystems on Capitol Hill. The marine coastal environment is being subjected to increasing pressures from residential, recreational and commercial development. Spills, leaks and accidents associated with oil extraction and transport create additional disturbances. Read more at


    Shark Fin Awareness
    This is a message from my friend Stephen Wong and I felt it was important to pass along to you. Recent scientific studies published in Science news and several medical journals have shown that the highest concentration of mercury and other toxins are stored in the fin of the shark.  The Chinese reference to "health immune" benefit of the digestion of shark fin is gross misinformation. This fact should be pointed out to those who don't really know much about the pollution of the oceans and the effect is has had on marine life and the possible effects it could have on our own health.
    --Lee Peterson

    To all concerned,
    Some of you may have heard recently that the Hong Kong Tourism Board, through their web site is using SHARK FIN as a promotional  'Must Buy Item' and 'health immune' ingredient on their web site, through a  voting  form. In the last couple of days the international outcry has been simply over whelming. People have written in from all over the world  (Brazil, Polynesia, America, the Mediterranean etc.) expressing their serious concern.  This kind of thoughtless and unnecessary promotion is simply a bad reflection to the rest of the world.   What we have is the Hong Kong Tourist Board promoting SHARK FIN; ironic given the fact that the Hong Kong Tourist Board recently prepared a Sustainable Tourism Strategy for Hong Kong and that the HKSAR Government is supporting initiatives to further Hong Kong's sustainable development and its development as a world class city.   Please understand that the Global Community is not asking for a complete outright ban on the consumption of shark fin but a ban on the way the fin is procured (finning), and the wasteful discard of the remainder of the carcass.  I realize some of you may have written already.  If you have not done so, I am now encouraging you to spend 5 minutes writing an email. The raised objections from local Hong Kong Chinese foreign and regional residents will be much more effective.    Rebecca Lai, Commissioner for Tourism: Chief Executive Tung Chee Wah: and also CC it to the following: Miss Jacqueline Ann Willis, JP, Hong Kong Commissioner to the US:  Ask the HKTB to remove all references to the buying of shark fin and  to discourage consumers from buying it in the future.  Most of you are avid divers we all want to see sharks in the water and its all part of the Ocean Experience. Imagine an ocean without sharks, Sharks are endangered. Please write and tell your colleagues, friends  and family as well.  Regards,  ASIATIC MARINE LIMITED (the views expressed in this e-mail are the company's personal views only) If you want to respond to the Chinese officials you can use this information as a st rater in your email:

     I feel it is important to pass this along to you. Recent scientific studies Published in Science News and several medical journals such as Lancet have shown that the highest concentration of mercury and other toxins such as DNA altering contaminates such as PCB are stored in the fin of the shark.  The Chinese reference to "health immune" benefit of the digestion of shark fin is gross misinformation. This fact should be pointed out to those who don't really know much about the pollution of the oceans and the effect is has had on marine life and the possible effects it could have on our own health.
    By suggesting that your visitors eat shark fins is the same as offering them poison that in the long term could lead to cancer or birth defects. I think it would be wise if you don't get accused of this possibility and remove the offer from your advertisement and web site.  China has a lot more to offer than just shark fins to it's visitors.


    Do whales have rights and who represents them?

    Since whales don't pay taxes and don't write or speak for themselves someone has to defend them from government regulations that fail to protect them. Thanks to the warped politics of the IWC, (International Whaling Commission) who opened the door to more whaling for the Japanese. Under a ridiculous program already in use by the Japanese they can kill 400 whales every year under a phony research program. (That means kill and eat 2000 tons of whale meat every year and as research program) The IWC has now agreed to end the moratorium and remove the ban on commercial whaling. The ban has been in effect since 1989 and the Japanese have been maneuvering around it ever since and now have a favorable position with the IWC. Since February 5th of this year the IWC has given the blessing to the Japanese by vowing to end the moratorium. The next meeting for the IWC is in Shimonoseki, Japan on April 25th. This is where most of the whaling vessels depart from to go to the northwest whaling areas off Alaska, Canada and the West Coast of the USA. This meeting is very important to the whales and anyone who is interested in their survival and rights. It is at this meeting that the IWC has promised to lift the ban on commercial whaling. Does it matter to you? Think about this and do your research to see what you can do to support the whales and if you think it is necessary to send a message to the IWC that it is not just the Japanese who are involved in whaling issues.

    Oops! On another sour note the US doesn't have clean hands in the dirty work of harming whales. The U.S. Navy and the National Marine Fisheries Service admitted that sonar transmissions in the northern Bahamas caused the beaching of 16 whales when they experienced trauma from the pressure caused by intense acoustic impulses released by the Navy during a training exercise. The whales were killed when they beached themselves in an attempt to escape from the noise. Whales use acute sonar and hearing to locate food and give them bearings as well as communicate with each other. When the Navy released what was like a 150-decibel sound wave that was equivalent to a Van Halen concert, the whales lost their ability to orient themselves to their environment. They have to rely more on sound than eyesight to orient them. This is like losing all your senses except smell while you are driving on the freeway. This wasn't done on purpose like hunting them down and killing them, but out of ignorance and not knowing they were near by. Similar events are being recorded off the coast of California with the Underwater Acoustic Research Program that is using sound waves to map the ocean floor, record water temperature and track vessels. The 70-decibel sound is confusing to the whales that are close to the underwater cables. More data and studies are need to really understand the effects of these man-made sounds on the marine environment. Living organisms that inhabit the liquid world where visibility very limited have evolved to use sound waves as their visual awareness. What are we doing to all these animals when we began to invade this world with intense and strange sounds?
    by Lee Peterson, facts gathered from Science News Magazine.


    *No trips at this time*