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Lens options for apsc?


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Hello,

 

at the moment i'm using a Sony A6300 in a Seafrogs housing but i'm thinking about upgrading to a A6700 in a Nauticam housing and am now looking for lens options.

 

These are the options i have so far:

 

- Tookina 10-17mm fisheye with a small dome like the Zen 100

- The 16-50mm kit lense with a WWL-1b or WWL-C

 

As alternatives to the kitlense i'm looking at the Sigma 18-50 F2.8 or the Tamron 11-20 F2.8 but i'm not sure if these are goot lenses for underwater shots?

 

Thanks for help in advance,

  Kalle

 

 

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Hello Kalle!

 

I am not much into the Sony eco-system and APSC so I am afraid I will be of little help here answering your question.

 

But regarding lens choice, I think it will depend on what you want to shoot? So maybe you could give some more details about what (pelagics, wrecks, coral reefs, caves) you want to shoot? Or should it be the most versatile option?

 

Then I am sure the others will have it easier to make an educated recommendation!

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6 minutes ago, ChrisH said:

So maybe you could give some more details about what (pelagics, wrecks, coral reefs, caves) you want to shoot? Or should it be the most versatile option?

 

Ideally the most versatily option. But i know that some compromises have to be made, so i think i'm mostly into pelagics and reefs. 

 

As a future outlook, i'm planing to go to galapagos in late 2025

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I've not used any of the Sony family. However for APS-C sensors, the Tokina 10-17 is for sure the go-to lens for wide-angle shooting. It works for shots of divers on the reef, wrecks (assuming straight lines are not important) and large critters close-in. As you suggest, the Zen 100 works really well and is a very neat package. Add a Kenko 1.4TC and you're good for CFWA.

 

Pelagics might be a bit trickier (although with the 1.4TC that can work). That said, shooting pelagics with a zoom from a distance isn't great either! I bought a 10-24 for those but can't say it made much difference over the Tokina.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, kallebumba said:

These are the options i have so far:

 

- Tookina 10-17mm fisheye with a small dome like the Zen 100

- The 16-50mm kit lense with a WWL-1b or WWL-C

 

As alternatives to the kitlense i'm looking at the Sigma 18-50 F2.8 or the Tamron 11-20 F2.8 but i'm not sure if these are goot lenses for underwater shots?


Hi Kalle,

 

Congrats on the new a6700!  It’s a great camera and nice upgrade.

 

I’ve used the various options you are considering.  Here are a few thoughts from a practice standpoint that may help.

 

Tokina 10-17:  This has been the absolute go-to for most APS-C users for wide and close focus wide angle (CFWA).  This gives you a true 180 fisheye with a little zoom.  It works perfectly behind a Zen 100 mini dome and allows ultra-close focus.  You can literally put the dome right next to a starfish leg and it will focus on it.  This is a great choice for very large objects such as wrecks and massive schools of fish.  You will need either a Metabones or Sigma MC-11 adapter with the Canon version of the lens.
 

WWL-C:  The new water contact lenses are a game changer!  They work like contact lenses to make an average kit lens perform well underwater with great sharpness, especially for an APS-C resolution.  When paired with the Sony 16-50 lens it provides a terrific blending of wide angle, CFWA, and tighter zoom in a single solution.  The  “C” version has a wide field of view starting at 124 degrees, which is less than the 180 of the fisheye, but does have a great deal more flexibility with sharpness throughout.  It is also a very small design which is great for travel and ease on the boat.  The zoom capabilities also make it a good solution for pelagics to capture the entire creature and details.  

 

WWL-1B:  All the same characteristics as the “C” with a slightly wider FoV starting at 130 degrees.  This is helpful for large objects such as wrecks.  **Nauticam considers this to be slightly sharper than the “C” version.  This is also transferable should you decide to use it with a Sony FF body and the Sony 28-60 lens in the future.  It is just slightly bigger than the “C”, but still super easy for travel and usage.  Personally, this is my go-to for all around use.  

 

Regarding the other lenses, higher quality lens work well behind normal domes, assuming they can focus close.  Corner sharpness becomes a greater concern and the dome size can become much larger depending on the specific lens used, especially for wider lenses.  They will not, however, have as wide of a FoV as either the 180 degree fisheye or 130 degree WWL-1B.  Normally, we favor a wider option underwater so we can get our lighting closer to the subject and reduce particulates in the water between the camera and subject.
 

Ironically, water contact lenses actually work better with more simple and affordable “kit lenses” such as the 16-50 as they are designed to improve both image quality and sharpness for underwater usage specifically.  Thus, an average lens above water becomes a terrific option below. 

 

Summary, in my opinion:

 - Tokina 10-17: Widest field of view with minimal zoom.  Best for very large scenes such as wreckscapes. 
 - Sony 16-50 + WWL-1B: Greatest versatility and sharpness for wide, CFWA, and tight.

 

I hope this offers some insight. 

chip

 

Edited by ChipBPhoto
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Hello Chip,

 

your info helps a lot, especially the info about using a kit lense with a wet lense. This makes choosing the right port, zoom gear etc. so much easier for me (and propably a bit less expensive).

 

 

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, kallebumba said:

Hello Chip,

 

your info helps a lot, especially the info about using a kit lense with a wet lense. This makes choosing the right port, zoom gear etc. so much easier for me (and propably a bit less expensive).

 

 


Happy to help!  You may be able to find a nice used WWL-1B at a good price.  
 

FYI - The WWL-1 and WWL-1B are the same lens.  The “1B” is the newer version and has the buoyancy collar built in.
 

If you decide to get either the WWL-C or WWL-1B, be sure to get the current version 2 of the mount (M67 to Bayonet Mount Converter II).  It has a better release than the version 1.

 

Good luck!

chip

Edited by ChipBPhoto
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On my Fuji APSI use the Laowa 9mm cine lens/manual focus.  I works great in a Seafrog housing with the 6 inch dome. A very minor vignette.  Have not tried with the 8 inch dome, but I am sure the vignette would be gone. Generally zone focus, at f8 it works on most subjects. I also use the 15-45 with the WWL-C.

 

Link to photos :  

Pez Vela Isla 2021

 

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I shoot an A6100 in a Nauticam A6400 housing. 

 

I use the Tokina 10-17 with a Sigma MC-11 and Zen mini dome for WA. 

 

I shoo the Zeiss Touit 50mm for macro. 

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The sharpest lens in APS-C Sony is the Sigma 16mm.

It can be utilized behind a dome. The maximum f-stop is F16 but that's not a big issue.

In fact not raping your aperture will improve IQ substantially.

 

In your country Hydronalin has published extensive videos on A6000 A6300 A6500 A6400 with Fantasea Housings.

Most stuff from the videos can be applied to Seafrogs and Nauticam housings as well.

You will find the videos on their facebook page, not on youtube.

The videos can be found and watched without having a facebook account.

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I can confirm that the Samyang 12mm AF f2.0 lens works flawlessly behind the seafrogs 6" dome port designed for the Sony 10-18mm with any of the a6xxx cameras. Especially with the glass dome port option, the corner sharpness is really excellent, and the whole package is quite inexpensive. It's awesome for reefscapes but definitely not the most versatile system out there in terms of focal lengths available. The 100º FOV is great IMO though.

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The Tokina 10-17 would be a fine option for wide angle work and  with the zoom will adapt for pelagics quite well.   Going for the widest option will also encourage you to get closer and this is probably the No.1 thing you can do improve your photos.  at 17mm the field of view is equivalent to about a 21mm lens (FF equiv) or 14mm or so lens on an APS-C.  SO it covers a full frame fisheye, the WWL max view which is about a 14mm full frame  equivalent and about half of the range available with the 10-18 zoom.  All in the one lens.

 

Fisheye zooms cover more range of field of view than their zoom ratio suggests as the barrel distortion means the centre of field is magnified so when zooming the area covered on the horizontal axis decreases more as you zoom in.  This table shows it:

 

APS-C coverage horizontal vertical diagonal
10mm fisheye 144 92 180
17mm fisheye 81 53 98
WWL max 122 100 130
10mm rectilinear 99 76 109
18mm rectilinear 66 47 76

 

The advantage of the fisheye over the other options is it will work in a 4"dome, making CFWA easier and can Replace about 2 1/2 lenses.  You can add a 1.4x to it and you have a complete coverage for everything bar macro work in one very small package and it very light for travel and manoeuvrable in the water.

 

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5 hours ago, Chris Ross said:

The advantage of the fisheye over the other options is it will work in a 4"dome, making CFWA easier and can Replace about 2 1/2 lenses.  You can add a 1.4x to it and you have a complete coverage for everything bar macro work in one very small package and it very light for travel and manoeuvrable in the water.

 

 

This is my standard WA travel package: the Tokina 10-17, a TC1.4, 4"/100mm dome and a 20mm extension ring to handle the TC. As Chris says, neat, travel-friendly and very versatile. Image quality is excellent without the TC and very good with it.

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4 hours ago, TimG said:

 

This is my standard WA travel package: the Tokina 10-17, a TC1.4, 4"/100mm dome and a 20mm extension ring to handle the TC. As Cheis says, neat, travel-friendly and very versatile. Image quality is excellent without the TC and very good with it.

 

What do you gain from the TC on the Tokina? 

 

It's my go to lens on my a6100 Nauticam setup, but wondering if I should consider adding a TC and another port extension?

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6 minutes ago, Lewis88 said:

 

What do you gain from the TC on the Tokina? 

 

It's my go to lens on my a6100 Nauticam setup, but wondering if I should consider adding a TC and another port extension?


Adding the TC gives you effectively a 14-25mm lens whilst retaining the ultra close-focusing of the Tokina.
 

This makes it easier to fill the screen with middle size subjects (eg typical reef fish) while showing them in their habitat. This is Close Focus Wide-Angle (CFWA). This combination produces a very different look to the usual Tokina 10-17 image. 

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Interesting. I don't even carry my kit 16-50 lens anymore for that mid-range FOV, and I either shoot my Tokina or Zeiss Touit macro. 

 

I can already do CFWA with the stock tokina since it will focus on the dome. Sounds like this tightens up the field of view.

 

Still might be worth pricing out an N85 20mm extension and a TC. 

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1 hour ago, Lewis88 said:

Still might be worth pricing out an N85 20mm extension and a TC. 

 

Yeah, by underwater equipment standards, it's a fairly inexpensive way of creating greater capability and variety.

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11 minutes ago, TimG said:

 

Yeah, by underwater equipment standards, it's a fairly inexpensive way of creating greater capability and variety.

 

Mostly just trying to visualize when I would use this vs just the native setup without the TC.

 

Vacation diver, so I don't get to spend as much time shooting as I wish I could.

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I know the feeling!

 

If you are using the 10-17 on its own the image stand to be broad reef/werck shots with a wide panorama.

 

Add the TC and the shots become narrower. Get the subject immediately in front of the lens/dome so it fills, say, 1/3rd of the screen. This will give a real close-up of the subject but because of the wider-angle will show a lot of the background too. 

 

Here's an example

TG52109.jpg

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1 hour ago, TimG said:

I know the feeling!

 

If you are using the 10-17 on its own the image stand to be broad reef/werck shots with a wide panorama.

 

Add the TC and the shots become narrower. Get the subject immediately in front of the lens/dome so it fills, say, 1/3rd of the screen. This will give a real close-up of the subject but because of the wider-angle will show a lot of the background too. 

 

Here's an example

TG52109.jpg

It's nice seeing the animal peering from its shell! An excellent example.

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2 hours ago, TimG said:

I know the feeling!

 

If you are using the 10-17 on its own the image stand to be broad reef/werck shots with a wide panorama.

 

Add the TC and the shots become narrower. Get the subject immediately in front of the lens/dome so it fills, say, 1/3rd of the screen. This will give a real close-up of the subject but because of the wider-angle will show a lot of the background too. 

 

Here's an example

TG52109.jpg

 

Excellent picture! Which TC are you using? Can I get away with the base kenko teleplus hd dgx?

 

I'm assuming I'd put the TC between my Sigma MC-11 adapter and my Tokina, and then use an N85 extension to push the whole N120 section of the setup further out to preserve my zoom gear functionality.

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1 hour ago, Lewis88 said:

 

Excellent picture! Which TC are you using? Can I get away with the base kenko teleplus hd dgx?

 

I'm assuming I'd put the TC between my Sigma MC-11 adapter and my Tokina, and then use an N85 extension to push the whole N120 section of the setup further out to preserve my zoom gear functionality.


Thanks!

 

Thats the Kenko 1.4 DGX. 

 

Yep, the order would be camera, adapter, TC then Tokina.

 

And, yes, you’ll need an extension to create sufficient space between the port and the housing. I’m sure someone will chip in with the required length. 

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I think the simplest way to consider it is that you can frame up smaller subjects in your CFWA shots.  For example a 70mm subject would be the same size in frame as 100mm subject without the TC.

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