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Wet lenses for Olympus 30MM macro


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Folks, i havent really upgraded or touched my camera setup since 2018 and am gobsmacked by all the various wet lenses, etc that are out there now.   While i did use a Macromate wet lens adapter for my Aquatica setup for ages, these wide angle adapters are new to me.

 

I currently shoot with 3 lenses - 8mm fish eye, which is my go-to, a 60mm macro (which is for specialized subjects and dives) and a 30mm macro as a versatile lens for shooting a wide range of subjects.     

 

I was recently looking through the Nauticam website and their MWL-1 adapter caught my eye - the ability to convert my 30mm lens into a 150 degree FOV makes it super versatile option, and it would be an ideal lens for a lot of dives (eg, the Egypt liveaboard trip i am leading in late August).      Then i saw the price and wept (I dont know what hurt more - the $21xx for the lens or the $329 for the adapter).

 

All of that is a lengthy preamble to asking - are there other, less expensive options i can consider as well?      I really dont want to sink $2000-plus on the Nauticam, as i likely am going to change my setup to a Canon MLC in a year or two.       

 

TIA!

 

 

 

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Hi Vkalia

I am a user of all three set ups too, and a frequent Egypt visitor.  If it were me and I was thinking about upgrading, then I'd save the cash for that. 

The 30mm is a cheap lens for a reason - on its own (in my opinion) it doesn't have the IQ of some of Olympus others  and suffers from chromatic aberration much more, so I suspect if you already have the 8mm, you're not going to get as good IQ, even if you do get a bit of extra versatility.  

You might be better off planning what you want to shoot (drawing on guide's knowledge of what's there) and stick with the gear you have. But it does depend what you are shooting... I suspect in August you might be looking for sharks, in which case the 8mm isn't the best option to fill the frame. 

A cheaper alternative could be to try and pick up a second hand 14-42mm pancake lens plus port and WWL 1?  That set up works well- but is heavy! Anyone on the trip got anything you can borrow? 

 

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There's a few options you could look at perhaps a Tokina 10-17 and Metabones 0.7x behind a small dome.  If I recall correctly you would need an N85-N120 adapter and a 140mm or 4.33"N120 dome.   You aren't specific about which Canon MIL you are looking at but the Tokina could cross over to an APS-C MIL camera and the N120 domes could move across as well.  Potentially little loss on an upgrade path. 

 

I would also suggest don't assume you need full frame.  If you are worried about the expense of an MWL, then the costs for full frame may be an issue as well.  The Canon 8-15  Tokina 10-17 on m43 or 10-17 on APS-C is a really versatile setup which just isn't available of full frame unless you fork over the big $$ for a fisheye conversion port.  The smaller formats are easier to travel with, cheaper and good enough for a great many people.

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2 hours ago, vkalia said:

All of that is a lengthy preamble to asking - are there other, less expensive options i can consider as well?

You can use a Weefine WFL09S/Kraken KRL09S; it's very similar to MWL-1 but costs half as much.

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I couldn't agree more with Chris regarding not going to FF. I shoot APS-C, with a Tokina 10-17 in a Zen 100mm mini dome. It's a very small package to travel with (albeit heavy), and I don't need to worry about traveling with a big dome.

 

This combined with a 50mm macro lens and port all fits in a small carry on pelican, with strobes, lights, computer, batteries, etc. Only thing in my checked bag is the arms and clamps.

 

 

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Thank for the suggestions, folks.    Some comments/answers:

 

1).   FF - I agree with @Chris Ross.   I have been shooting wildlife, nature, etc for 20+ year with everything from an 1D2 (all 8MP of it) to an 5D4 to crop-sensor X/XX-D bodies, and i dont really see “full frame” as any kind of holy grail or APS-C as something one has “settle for” as a lesser alternative.      I get that people feel differently and that’s fine - APS-C is more than good enough IQ for real world use (prints, online) and the appropriate FOV, i prefer to get the smallest/easiest-to-travel kit i can get away with.      Let me put it another way - no one ever looked at a well-composed, properly-processed image and went “oh, this is nice but it would have been even better if shot on FF” and back when i used to sell my images, no one cared what 

 

Underwater, I actually switched from a Canon DSLR to MFT as the latter met my needs better, but they seem to have plateaued as a platform and are being left behind by the newest sensors from Canon/Sony, which is what is driving the change (first i need to migrate my wildlife stuff over to newer RF lenses though for their much better IS).  But i am no tearing rush, as my current rig is still doing the job.

 

2). As you can guess from the above,  i dont have Gear Acquisition Syndrome when it comes to camera stuff.    I dont pixel peep at 100% and if i can find a less expensive alternative that meets my needs, then i am perfectly happy going that route.        In this particular case, i that intermedia WA range isnt something i use too often:  my first WA lens was a Sigma 10-20 but once i got my Tokina 10-17FE, i never once put it back on the camera again.  

 

Plus, if i do like it, i will likely think of a way of incorporating a more long-term solution into the next housing, whenever i get around to upgrading.    It likely will not be a N85-based Nauticam system, which will render this lens pretty much useless.

 

So i dont want to spend that sum if there are less expensive wet lens alternatives available - hence my question.    If there is an option that gives me pretty good results, i will go with that.     If this is the only alternative, i will likely not bother - as @JustinO said, that makes more sense than spending $2.5k for a lens that i will only use for a year or so.   

 

3). As it turns out, i actually have a Tokina 10-17 FE left over from my Canon housing days - that was my favorite lens and is one of the reasons why i am leaning towards going back to Canon.       

 

4). Yeah, a 14-42 plus port plus WWL is another option,, as is the 10-17 with the adapter and other port suggested by Chris - i had in fact considered the former a year or so ago.   But that means traveling with 3 ports, and giving up on macro opportunities, and again, generally, the idea of adding more adapters, ports, domes, etc just messes with my photography zen.      I find myself moving to a more minimalist approach to all my photography - for travel/street, i have gone from going with 3-4 L lenses and 2 DSLRs to a Fuji body, 2 primes and a small zoom.      So the idea of a 50-60mm (in FF terms) lens and a wet adapter for WA really appeals to me from a simplicity of travel and setup POV.     

 

5). @Barmaglot yes, i did find the Weefine and Kraken lenses.      Would you, or anyone here, have any experience with their IQ?       Given that the sharkies are likely atleast 2-3m away (else i will be regretting not attaching my FE!), the water column will likely be the limiting factor in resolution anyway.

 

Thank you everyone for the suggestions.   My apologies for seeming to push back on some of them - it isnt so much that, but at this point, i have fairly well-developed preferences on how i like to shoot and with what, and so am trying to see if there are options that fit that.   If there arent any, then i will certainly have to check alternatives.     So i am making a note of all the suggestions here and i do appreciate people taking the time to post them..

 

Some of my photos, in case anyone is interested:

https://vanditkalia.com/?page_id=13

(And other stuff one level up - the website is a perennial WIP.   I like taking photos.   Setting up/updating websites, not so much)

 

 

 

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I haven't used Weefine but have used AOI wet lenses. I have found the quality absolutely fine - but I now would avoid lower cost wet lenses that have a polycarbonate front element. Whereas it is possible to polish a dome port, to my knowledge the coatings on the polycarbonate front elements on wet lenses mean they can't really be polished, say if they get a scratch from a slight misjudgement when doing CFWA  Getting a front element replaced then costs quite close to a replacement wet lens.

 

Edited by John E
clarifying
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Just to clarify on the option of the 10-17 adapted with a metabones 0,7x speed booster this replaces the 8mm fisheye and it's port and this port could carry over eventually to an APS-C setup and be used there so you would have a 4.33"/140mm dome and a macro port on your travels only.  The items that would not carry over would be the metabones speed booster and the n85-n120 adapter which you could probably sell quite easily.

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5 hours ago, Chris Ross said:

Just to clarify on the option of the 10-17 adapted with a metabones 0,7x speed booster this replaces the 8mm fisheye and it's port and this port could carry over eventually to an APS-C setup and be used there so you would have a 4.33"/140mm dome and a macro port on your travels only.  The items that would not carry over would be the metabones speed booster and the n85-n120 adapter which you could probably sell quite easily.

 

Ah, i didnt think of it that way.   Hmm, that does change things.         Let me look into this is more detail.    Thanks again!

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, John E said:

I haven't used Weefine but have used AOI wet lenses. I have found the quality absolutely fine - but I now would avoid lower cost wet lenses that have a polycarbonate front element. Whereas it is possible to polish a dome port, to my knowledge the coatings on the polycarbonate front elements on wet lenses mean they can't really be polished, say if they get a scratch from a slight misjudgement when doing CFWA  Getting a front element replaced then costs quite close to a replacement wet lens.

 

 

Hmm, that’s certainly one more thing to think about.    I’ve been lucky enough to not get my port dinged so far, so its probably a risk i am willing to take for now, though.    

 

The weight penalty of glass ports is so massive, however - going from my 10” Aquatica superdome to the 4.33” Nauticam dome was an absolute blessing and the single biggest thing that made me switch to MFT.     🙂

Edited by vkalia
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