First experience with the full underwater camera setup: Canon G9, Ikelite housing, Inon Z240 strobe

After my recent first experience with the Canon G9 in the Ikelite underwater housing I also obtained the last part of my underwater setup, the Inon strobe Z-240. I will describe the camera setup in detail on a separate page, it is all bought from the shelf though.
(Edit: I put together a sample picture gallery)
Last weekend i had taken the Canon G9 with the Ikelite housing for some dives and collected my first experiences. The main outcome was that I needed more light to shoot in the settings I wanted to and that there was a shadow from the lens port in macro shots. I can clearly state that these two points have changed with inclusion of the strobe.
I have never used a strobe before and I therefore decided to use it in a fully automatic setting, that is in S-TTL mode where the strobe is triggered by the integrated camera flash via an optical fiber. The Inon Z-240 offers two modes in S-TTL, the one labeled S-TTL-low reduces the power of the strobe slightly. I used the -0.5 EV diffuser for all shots. As a beginner the built-in focus light was very convenient to get a feeling of what the strobe is aiming at.
I programmed two settings in the custom slots of the G9 – they are very conveniently accessible by just turning the mode dial. Setting C1 is for macro photography, C2 for scenery shots.
C1: Aperture priority, Aperture f/8.0, macro function on, flash forced, automatic white balance, -1.0 exposure compensation, center focus, center weighed metering.
C2: same as above, but f/4.0, flash forced and using slow synchro.

The results I got from the first shots were quite encouraging. Macro shots turned out to be overexposed when using the standard S-TTL setting, but with S-TTL-low things were much better. It seems that the G9 has a favourite shutter speed of 1/60s as all of the macro shots ended up with this parameter and many of the scenery shots too. Only with more reflective subjects in scenery shots the camera decided on faster shutter speeds.
Two sample pictures are given in my description of the bare island dives. One shows a macro shot of a biscuit star, and the shadow of the lens port is gone, as expected. I will place some shots of nudibranchs on my flickr page soon. The second shot features one of the friendly blue gropers present at many of the dive sites around Sydney. There is still some backscattering visible at the edges of the picture, but in general I think this is a nice picture with the main subject nicely lit and the shutter speed of 1/100s still allowed enough ambient light to enter the lens in order to have a bright background.
I am looking forward to jump in again and improve my technique, especially in terms of strobe placement and manual use of the new toy. All in all I am very happy with the first results though, and for the scenarios I encountered the S-TTL-low setting of the strobe did a very good job.


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