Mar 14th   Monthly Competition - Crustaceans
                  Annual Competition - Prints
                  Update on remote camera work - Paul Colley
                  Update on conservation work - Paul Colley


Tuesday Mar 14th:    Monthly Meeting

The Meeting (start time 2000hrs) will be at our normal venue - The Casson Centre, Rodway Road, Patchway, BS34 5DQ (map)  It is  easiest to access it via Durban Road, off Highwood Road. The Casson Centre is the left hand part of the Patchway Community Centre, immediately next door to the Patchway Town Council Offices. There is off-road parking adjacent to the Centre and further spaces along  Rodway Road, near to the local Spa shop.

The monthly competition theme is 'Crustaceans'. If you are unsure about the theme then contact Arthur, otherwise send your digital files to Arthur by midnight on Sunday 12 March. Unsure about entering? Even if you don't feel you have any winners, send some in to benefit from the audience feedback - it's an ideal way to learn.

We also have our annual Print Competition. This is for A4 size prints and a total of two prints can be submitted. There are two categories - UK and Overseas. The full rules are on our Competition Rules page.

There will be two short presentations from Paul Colley who will update us on his remote camera work and also update us on conservation work in Cambodia.


Feb Meeting

Monthly Theme Competition - Black and White

There were 19 entries for this competition.

In Joint First Place, with 3 votes, was Trevor Rees with this image of a blue shark from The English Channel

Also in Joint First Place, with 3 votes, was Mark Drayton with this image of razor fish from Lembeh
In equal Third Place, with 2 votes, was another image from Mark Drayton - a sea horse from Lembeh

Also with 2 votes was Arthur Kingdon with this sea horse from Lembeh.

The Bailey family took the remaining slots with 1 vote apiece: A lizard fish from Bonaire by Paula Bailey ..
..and a secretary blenny, also  from Bonaire, by Rob Bailey.


Presentation - A Review of the Nikon D500 - Rick Ayrton, Rob Bailey, and Mark Drayton

Rick, Rob, and Mark, all contributed their thoughts on the how the Nikon D500 performs compared with their previous models of cameras. Rob and Mark also added some thoughts on their housings. 

Rick, who focuses primarily on deep wreck diving, thought an FX camera would've been the answer to low light performance but his views are that the D500 out performs his Nikon D610 even though it uses a smaller resolution (20 MB) and a smaller format (DX) sensor. Although it's not so easy to see fine image detail on a projector it did appear that the sample images Rick shared from the new D500 show more background details when compared with similar shots taken on his D610. Rick also commented that the auto-focus utilizes a higher number of cross sensors and he's noted significant improvement, especially in low light conditions. 

Rob recently upgraded from a much older camera, the D300, and is seeing a significant improvement in noise levels, autofocus performance and dynamic range, especially where highlights are concerned. Rob showed both wide angle and macro comparisons and there was no measurable improvement discernable in the images he showed that would say definitively that the pictures were produced on a D500, which was interesting. Rob also noted for super macro he thought the hit rate for images being in focus should go up with the new camera, as the processor on the new camera is extremely fast and more accurate.  However, he still needs more time with the camera to come to a final conclusion on that point. Rob talked through the differences between his new and old Sea & Sea housings. He mentioned a dive was lost due to problems with one of the internal controls - the camera was pressing on the af-on button which caused the camera to lock out. He also expressed concerns about the fiber optic trigger still not being released by Sea & Sea to work with the new D500.  Overall, Rob is pleased with ergonomics of the new housing and the fact it's much lighter underwater than the old housing but, ironically, it is heavier on land. 

Mark's talk centred around the D500 compared with previous D7000 series cameras and he showed cost comparisons and also some graphs on dynamic range gains. Mark advised there were only incremental gains with regard to dynamic range over the D7000 range but there were significant improvements over the D300 Rob used to use. Mark also discussed the Nauticam housing he uses and commented that it was very ergonomic and that a fiber optic trigger was included with the housing. He went on to say he'd also experienced some teething issues with his new housing but these were quickly resolved. Mark's thoughts were those folks using the D7000 series probably wouldn't benefit from the £1000+ increase in cost and the only significant improvement was the auto-focus.  For land use the high speed motor drive would benefit those interested in bird photography etc. and Mark is interested in improving his skills there. 

Fair to say that all three are in agreement that the autofocus on the D500 outperforms all previous models. Although the camera is not going to significantly increase your hit rate of award winning images, it was quite fun to work with the latest and greatest camera from Nikon in the DX range. 

Recent BUPG Successes

There was an excellent showing by BUPG members in the 2017 Underwater Photographer of the Year competition. The full results can be seen here 

Keep bubbling.