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"Cheap" solution for splits (Sony)?


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Owning the WACP-C and happy.

 

At least there is the possibility to do splitshots with the WACP-C but very limited (see below).

 

"Thinking about" (GAS) a not-so-expensive solution to do splits. 

 

230 dome? Acrylic? which lens? I won't use it very often. Currently owning A7IV with Nauticam N100.

DSC04999.JPEG

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, fruehaufsteher2 said:

At least there is the possibility to do splitshots with the WACP-C but very limited (see below).


Nice split!  Terrific shark detail with the split creating a unique angle.  I too own a WACP-C and have done a similar image with manatees.  It’s a fun perspective.
 

The issue is cost vs usable dome size for splits.  That does not really fall into the cheap category once everything needed is added up.  There will be those that will chime in with lots of math, but here are my findings from a practical perspective.

 

A wider dome is needed to more evenly disperse the water along the dome face.  While a small 140 dome can do splits, it must be in similarly flat conditions as the one in your image.  Obviously this is relatively rare.

 

A 230 dome is the common go-to due to its wide surface.  It is also compatible with almost any lens, Canon 8-15 fisheye or rectilinear.  The down side is the cost and size issue.  If you have an occasional interest in doing them,  this may not be the best solution, unless you are able to rent one.

 

A 180 dome can do some decent splits, but again this is a smaller surface than the 230 which is not as forgiving in real-world conditions, but larger than the 140.
 

The Nauticam 8.5” acrylic dome is both relatively cost effective and compatible with a wide range of lenses.  At 216mm, it is similar to the 230 size.  As it is light weight acrylic, it will be much more “floaty” than your WACP-C and will pull the front of your rig nose up much more easily.  The fact that it is made from acrylic keeps the cost down, but also is susceptible to scratches much easier than glass.  On the positive, the scratches can be buffed out if needed.  
 

Lastly, if you want perhaps the best for splits, but is only for splits, not diving, Marty Smith makes a massive 12” dome that is fantastic.  The large front disperses the water quite evenly and allows for a very user friendly experience.  The down side is it is only depth rated to perhaps 15’, meaning it is intended for only splits.  The acrylic build is also quite floaty.

 

Be sure to factor in that basically all these options are made for the N120 port system.  You will need to start with the N100 to N120 adapter which adds to the cost, as well as the appropriate extension depending on your choice.

 

As for lenses, the Canon 8-15 with adapter (Metabones or Sigma MC-11) is the standard for Sony users.  This would give the ultra wide perspective, with ultra close focus capabilities.  Rectilinear lenses can include the Sony 16-35 (the 16-35 f/4 PZ is very small and light), Tamron 17-28, etc.  Phil Rudin really likes the Sony 20-70 as an all around option.  

 

I hope this gives some insight into your options and at least a starting point to compare.  Good luck and let us know where you end up.  -Chip

 

 

Edited by ChipBPhoto
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Hi Chip,

 

thank you so much for your perfect answer. The acrylic dome seems to be a good option.

Calculated roughly that adds up to at least 2,5k... but nevertheless much cheaper than the FCP.

8-15 (used) 600-650

Metabones 300

Dome 800

n100 - N120 675 (!)

Focus gear 300

 

At least I knew why I put the "cheap" into quotes.

 

So first thing will be to see what the WACP-C alone can deliver. Otherwise I now have a plan.

 

What about the boyancy of the acrylic dome? Does it have upward drag?

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I'd be slightly wary of using an 8-15 unless for splits unless you are happy with that curved look.

 

The limited experience I've had of split shots is, as Chip says, to use the biggest dome possible - I'd  say minimum 8"/200mm -  but preferably with a rectilinear lens.

 

Messing around to try a project with an aircraft landing in Sint Maarten (I never managed to get the mermaid in the bottom half, dammit), this was shot with the Tokina 10-17. Getting a straight sea line was the devil's own job.

 

 

DSC_3959.jpg

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, TimG said:

Messing around to try a project with an aircraft landing in Sint Maarten (I never managed to get the mermaid in the bottom half, dammit), this was shot with the Tokina 10-17. Getting a straight sea line was the devil's own job.


Cool pic Tim!  I hate it when the mermaids didn’t get the memo! 😂

I completely agree that a rectilinear lens is by far the best choice for splits.  Just be sure that it has a close focus capability, or you will not be able to capture the scenes you want.  
 

3 hours ago, fruehaufsteher2 said:

Hi Chip,

 

thank you so much for your perfect answer. The acrylic dome seems to be a good option.

Calculated roughly that adds up to at least 2,5k... but nevertheless much cheaper than the FCP.

8-15 (used) 600-650

Metabones 300

Dome 800

n100 - N120 675 (!)

Focus gear 300

 

At least I knew why I put the "cheap" into quotes.

 

So first thing will be to see what the WACP-C alone can deliver. Otherwise I now have a plan.

 

What about the boyancy of the acrylic dome? Does it have upward drag?

 

So glad the info was helpful.  I had an entire response written…and then it didn’t send correctly.  Uugh!!  
 

Short answer is the image I shared was with the WACP-C, Sony 28-60 @ f/22.  I tried different settings and this had the sharpest above water elements.  The FCP will have similar results.  Bottom line, if you want sharp splits you will need a dome of some sort.

 

Edited by ChipBPhoto
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6 hours ago, TimG said:

Messing around to try a project with an aircraft landing in Sint Maarten (I never managed to get the mermaid in the bottom half, dammit), this was shot with the Tokina 10-17. Getting a straight sea line was the devil's own job.

 

 

with that airline, you might have had more luck trying to shoot a sirène rather than a mermaid? 😉

I have not used my fisheye a lot for splits yet, but wouldn‘t in silico de-fishing be a reasonable option? I understand that this will not replace the effect of a larger dome on the water line, but at least getting the other lines straight might be possible?

 

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Chip, I really, really like that manatee shot - because the manatee is crisp and the trees are blurred. That is a unique look and it immediately focused my eyes on the manatee. With the trees in focus, it would not be as strong because the manatee does not have too much contrast with its surrounding. The focused trees might have been a distraction. So, perhaps the WACAP is what made this shot so nice?

 

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5 hours ago, ChipBPhoto said:

Short answer is the image I shared was with the WACP-C, Sony 28-60 @ f/22. 

OK, f/22 - understood. But the pic is fine. It’s only not possible to have everything sharp. But that brings me closer to understand the pure technical explanations of @Interceptor121

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Klaus said:

Chip, I really, really like that manatee shot - because the manatee is crisp and the trees are blurred. That is a unique look and it immediately focused my eyes on the manatee. With the trees in focus, it would not be as strong because the manatee does not have too much contrast with its surrounding. The focused trees might have been a distraction. So, perhaps the WACAP is what made this shot so nice?

 


Thanks so much Klaus!  I agree, the soft focus works for this scene.  I did the same with a nearby boat above the water line, but unfortunately it just looked out of focus due to it being a man-made object.  For serious split work a larger dome is the answer.  A soft focus above could still be achieved by using a wider aperture while focusing on the uw subject.  One would have options.  Thanks again for the kind words.

 

3 hours ago, fruehaufsteher2 said:

OK, f/22 - understood. But the pic is fine. It’s only not possible to have everything sharp


Thanks so much fruehaufsteher2!  I really appreciate it.

 

It all gets back to how important splits are overall to you personally.  They are def fun and can be quite impressive for sure.  There are some close ups of corals uw and a nice sunset above I want to do.  I’d like to do the same with stingrays and a nice sky above.  
 

Edited by ChipBPhoto
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Posted (edited)

I did not know it is possible to make split photos with WACP-C (I own one since beginning this year, but did not use it for split photos, as Nauticam says it is not possible). The photo by Chip shows, what Nauticam says, i.e. that it is not possible to get both UW and over the water (OW) sharp, even at f/22 (when I have a closer look at fruehaufsteher2's photo, I now see that also the (close and hence easier to get sharp) OW fin of the shark is blurry). I think unless a blurry OW is desired, for creative reasons, the WACP-C is not a good choice...

 

I have a Canon 8-15mm/Metabones V with Nauticam 140mm domeport and use it with Sony A7R5 for split shots (most of the time I use it just for extreme WA UW). Far from an ideal solution, as (i) the virtual image produced by the small dome is close and hence it is more difficult to get both UW and OW sharp and (ii) it is more difficult to get a straight waterline, especially when the sea is not calm, with the small dome. Since I have this combo with me, it is, nevertheless, my choice for split photos when I am abroad. I mostly use the 8mm circular fisheye mode. Here are two example images:

 

Canon 8-15mm @8mm, 1/125s, ISO 800, f/22, 2*Z330:

DSC04381-Enhanced-NR.jpg

 

Canon 8-15mm @8mm, 1/125s, ISO 800, f/22, 2*Z330:

DSC04372-Enhanced-NR-Edit.jpg

 

Lisi uses the Zen DP170 with Tokina 10-17mm (seen on the second photo) or the rectilinear Zuiko 8-25mm for split photos (Olympus EM1II). The bigger dome works better for splits than the 140mm domeport...

I have seen even an UW photographer making split photos with the Zen 100mm dome and Tokina 10-17mm (Nikon D500) and the results were nice (of course it is the most difficult combination). The reason he used this combo was just that he had it along with him and no other choice...

 

For the future I am considering of acquiring a 200mm domeport that I think is ideal for rectilinear WA lenses on A7R5, as well as for split shots. The DP200 with rectilinear WA lens(es) would replace then the WACP-C, when travelling on air (both WACP-C and a DP200 is too much to carry...). In addition to providing WA, less extreme than the fisheye, the DP200 would provide very good split photo possibility. Unfortunately the Zen DP200 is not available at present. There is a 200mm domeport available from Athena, but I am not sure this is the same type of port, I have to do more recherches...

 

Very tempting is the 12" Matty Smith acryl domeport, but I cannot see me carrying this domeport along for diving holidays an an aeroplane. It is just specialized for split photos (I even do not make split photos on every diving vacation, it depends on circumstances and motifs). This would be a special domeport, just for using it at home, but I guess I will not be able to resist acquiring one sooner or later...:classic_laugh:

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis
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Interesting thread especially with many WACP-C owners experiences which I am still weighing pros and cons to replace my WWL-1B with 🤷‍♂️ when Nauticam themselves answered me they would like me to buy at least WACP-1 🤑 where I don't like the weight...🤷‍♂️

 

I wanted to chime in re:acrylic for splits as it is tempting for costs and weight but wouldn't it be prohibitive when you decide to do sunsets? Couple weeks ago I briefly tested used Oly setup I got for a friend no flash no nothing and this came up as split with 140mm fish eye acrylic dome. Granted it was used but in pristine conditions and judging my own Aquatica acrylic I have with GH5S it seems to me that micro scratches are unavoidable with acrylic. Invisible for regular shots but may show with sunsets based on subject...🤷‍♂️

 

Screenshot 2024-05-26 at 9.44.13 AM.jpg

 

And second picture just to add to samples - 180mm dome with A1 and aperture 5.6. Seeing samples above I'd say WACP-C is going to be similar?

 

Screenshot 2024-05-26 at 9.42.30 AM.jpg

 

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8 minutes ago, RomiK said:

Granted it was used but in pristine conditions and judging my own Aquatica acrylic I have with GH5S it seems to me that micro scratches are unavoidable with acrylic. Invisible for regular shots but may show with sunsets based on subject...🤷‍♂️

 

That's a really interesting insight, RomiK, Thanks.

 

Those big Matty Smith ports sound brilliant for splits but, yeah, for traveling, nightmare! I did think of one when I was living in Sint Maarten. But then reality kicked in.....

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Posted (edited)

"I wanted to chime in re:acrylic for splits as it is tempting for costs and weight but wouldn't it be prohibitive when you decide to do sunsets? Couple weeks ago I briefly tested used Oly setup I got for a friend no flash no nothing and this came up as split with 140mm fish eye acrylic dome. Granted it was used but in pristine conditions and judging my own Aquatica acrylic I have with GH5S it seems to me that micro scratches are unavoidable with acrylic. Invisible for regular shots but may show with sunsets based on subject...🤷‍♂️"...

 

=> A really important point, I did not think about it (I have only glas domeports so far, no plastic). Would be interesting to know what people, who use both glass and acryl regularily for split shots, say about this problem...

 

 

"And second picture just to add to samples - 180mm dome with A1 and aperture 5.6. Seeing samples above I'd say WACP-C is going to be similar? "...

 

=> The outcome looks similar, but in case of the WACP-C sample photos, f/22, an aperture that should give reasonably sharp distant objects in the OW part with FF, was used, not f/5.0 (that gives certainly blurry OW parts)...

Edited by Architeuthis
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3 hours ago, RomiK said:

I wanted to chime in re:acrylic for splits as it is tempting for costs and weight but wouldn't it be prohibitive when you decide to do sunsets? 

 This would add another 1,8k€ and 1,8kg … is it really that bad? 

 

But in fact I see the point. 

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Another question: 

 

Is it possible to calculate the range of sharpness with aperture closed to f/22, starting at infinity (or what over water the most distance that can be sharp) with the WACP-C …. Ok just got that I can try myself. I‘ll respond to myself later

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Water contact optics do not bear the same field of view in water and topside and it is unclear how the focus mechanism works topside

ergonomically they are heavy and relatively small so not ideal from any point of view

if you are looking at glass solution the zen dp230 is interesting acrylic you are looking at matty smith custom solution the nauticam 8.5” is pretty useless

acrylic floats so from that point of view is the best solution 

in terms of keeping drops off there are various options and all work pretty well 

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You may want to consider the Matty Smith 12 inch dome (305mm) with your desired lens. This port cost half as much as the 230mm glass domes and weights 1.75K(3.4lb) with neoprene cover compared to around 2.67K (5.89lb) for glass. The dome is rated to 2 meters which makes it very useful for things like Sharks, Whalesharks, Sailfish and other subjects near the surface. It also pairs nicely with the new Laowa 10mm F/2.8 AF lens ($799.00US) which has a max aperture of F/22.

 

I have reviewed both.

 

LargeDomes_UwP130.jpg

Laowa10mm:UwP138.jpg

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Key for Split-Shots is finding an interesting subject above and (!) below the surface. You can only get both sharp by increasing depth of field as much as possible. Focus point needs to be set on the underwater part and the part above water needs to get sharp with depth of field. That is where the wet lenses might struggle and a fisheye makes things easier, as the depth of field should be much greater. But even with fisheye lenses it is most of the time necessary to close the aperture as much as possible (f18 and smaller on full frame sensor).

 

A big dome helps a lot. If used only for split shots, I think a large acrylic dome could work, but I would not use it as a main dome port underwater because of their buoyancy and the constant need to "fight" it underwater.

 

A big glass dome port is in my opinion the most versatile solution: it can handle fisheye, rectilinear lenses, split shots and the 8-15mm fisheye can be made more versatile with a 1.4 TC. A big dome is not easy to travel with, but it is all I need for almost all use-cases and thus the only big item I need to bring. Add one macro-port and two or three extension rings and you are set for almost everything.  

 

The picture below was shot with a Fisheye lens and a small 6" Dome port. The small dome port made it much more difficult, but it can work.

DSC_8931.jpg

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15 hours ago, fruehaufsteher2 said:

Mattys Pics are beautiful.

https://www.mattysmithphoto.com/custom-dome-ports/

 

But there's a discrepancy between portability and desired size. 18" are roughly 45cm, not easy to transport.

 

For me that doesn't mean nauticam 8,5" is useless

 

Some of the example split-photos from the Matty Smith homepage are against low sun. I cannot see problems with microscratches there. Maybe the borrowed domeport of RomiK is in an especially bad condition (or are these carefully selected example photos)?

 

 

Regarding the domeport selection for split photos, when travelling with aeroplane, I have observed that (most) UW-photographers just take the domeport for split photos that they have taken with them (sometimes even 100mm; I remember few years ago there was an award winning split photos of Carribean reefsharks at sunset, that was taken with a 100mm minidome). It is just a problem of logistics: split photos are normally not taken on every day, so that it would be worth to carry a dedicated domeport for split photos in the luggage.

Some take a 230mm domeport, as default, and use it for everything, from fisheye, normal zoom range to WA and, of course, also for split photos....

 

Maybe a 230mm domeport that is used for everything is the "cheap" (and most convenient compromise) solution that fruehaufsteher2 is looking for (but then no WACP for WA in the luggage and, instead, fisheye and rectilinear lenses). WACP&Co obviously do not work for split photos (except WACP2 and FCP, but these may be far away from optimum for splits)...

 

=> When diving "at home" (i.e. from the car) it is of course a different story and a dedicated port for split photos, e.g. Matty Smith, may be a lot of fun...

 

 

Wolfgang

 

P.S.: Today I got an EMail from FUN-IN Underwater Photo Equipment Co., the company that distribute Athena from far east. They write that Athena does not exist anymore, so no chance for a 200mm glass port at present... ☹️

 

 

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12 hours ago, ChrisH said:

Key for Split-Shots is finding an interesting subject above and (!) below the surface. You can only get both sharp by increasing depth of field as much as possible. Focus point needs to be set on the underwater part and the part above water needs to get sharp with depth of field. That is where the wet lenses might struggle and a fisheye makes things easier, as the depth of field should be much greater. But even with fisheye lenses it is most of the time necessary to close the aperture as much as possible (f18 and smaller on full frame sensor).

 

A big dome helps a lot. If used only for split shots, I think a large acrylic dome could work, but I would not use it as a main dome port underwater because of their buoyancy and the constant need to "fight" it underwater.

 

A big glass dome port is in my opinion the most versatile solution: it can handle fisheye, rectilinear lenses, split shots and the 8-15mm fisheye can be made more versatile with a 1.4 TC. A big dome is not easy to travel with, but it is all I need for almost all use-cases and thus the only big item I need to bring. Add one macro-port and two or three extension rings and you are set for almost everything.  

 

The picture below was shot with a Fisheye lens and a small 6" Dome port. The small dome port made it much more difficult, but it can work.

DSC_8931.jpg

Beautiful Brother! 👏 To me it's even more interesting with sloping water line.

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1 hour ago, Architeuthis said:

Maybe a 230mm domeport that is used for everything is the "cheap" (and most convenient compromise) solution that fruehaufsteher2 is looking for (but then no WACP for WA in the luggage and, instead, fisheye and rectilinear lenses). WACP&Co obviously do not work for split photos (except WACP2 and FCP, but these may be far away from optimum for splits)...

 

 

 

That is exactly to the point what I was trying to say! Why buy and bring a lot of different tools, if you can have one that does almost everything?

For special use-cases there is always a way to spend extra money 😉 (CFWA -> Mini-Domeport, etc)

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