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Full Frame Bubble Burst


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Posted (edited)

I am now 1 years and 8 months owner of a Sony full frame system and since 1 years 4 months also owner of an underwater system

 

I have managed to complete pool tests and take my camera to several wide angle destinations (I am not a macro guy) and my conclusion is that I could have saved myself some money from underwater point of view and continue shooting my GH5M2

 

While full frame cameras have more resolution and topside the use case is very strong, with exception of long lenses that are a bit heavy to take around when you look to underwater use the situation is not as straightforward due to the following reasons

 

1. You need small apertures. No matter what you think most people shoot f/14 with a fisheye and with rectilinear lenses edges are not great even at f/16 with typical reef subjects. Here there is a gap of 2 stops. Lens resolution drops dramatically past f/8 and the same lens looses so much resolution going to f/16 that barely is compensated by more than double megapixels

2. Small apertures means you shoot wide angle at higher ISO start at 400 so you are using one stop higher ISO and loosing dynamic range advantage

3. Net of aperture and ISO you are still one full stop strobe power behind which means you need bigger more expensive and bulky strobes

 

The main plus points of my system are the autofocus (but I never had issues before) and the resolution (but it is not true you can crop a lot wide angle scenes)

 

If we add the various WACP-1 to the cost of the strobes you end up with a rig that is

1. More expensive

2. More bulky due to heavier strobes and dome or WACPs

3. From IQ point of view not better performing

4. Able to take shots in more situations due to the autofocus but not always really

5. you need a custom solution for split shots that before you could take with a 180mm dome or even 7" acrylic

 

And then of course video is for most cases APSC crop so zero benefit from my past rig

 

I have now sold all my MFT lenses except those that I use underwater and I still have my wide angle set up.

 

For illustration a decent wide angle image taken with my A1 and Canon 8-15mm at f/16

20240527_mf107016_swarm_.jpg

 

Red Sea shot with GH5M2 at f/8

explosion-20220731.jpg

 

 

Edited by Interceptor121
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Resolution is pretty much the only reason I would want to switch to FF.  24MP can be limiting sometimes. 
 

Topside low light performance would be another but that doesn’t help me underwater. 
 

 

but it would cost me 10’s of thousands of dollars to upgrade so I’ll stick with my APSC setup for a long time. 

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18 minutes ago, Lewis88 said:

Resolution is pretty much the only reason I would want to switch to FF.  24MP can be limiting sometimes. 
 

Topside low light performance would be another but that doesn’t help me underwater. 
 

 

but it would cost me 10’s of thousands of dollars to upgrade so I’ll stick with my APSC setup for a long time. 

Resolution is limited by pixel but not massively improved by more pixels. To be clear if the megapixels double the resolution does not double as it goes with the square root

I have compared shos with the same canon 8-15mm lens f/8  20 megapixels vs f/16 50 megapixels.

The lens drops in sharpness at f/16 to the point that even if you have more pixels you do not necessarily see a lot more detail in some cases none in fact.

People make the mistake to think that because of more pixels they will double the resolution of the image whilst in reality they are only increasing the upper limit. Resolution itself is a combination of sensor and lens and depends strongly on the aperture used and also the ISO

New lenses perform best around f/4 f/5.6 till f/8 already at f/11 they drop a lot and at f/16 they might have lost 40% of the full resolution.

With cropped formats you tend to use lenses closer to the apertures they work best and this compensates for the lack of pixels.

 

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I'm 7 years into a Nikon D500-based system (so APSC) underwater having downgraded from an FF-based system (Nikon D800).

 

No regrets at all. I just can't see that the FF advantages outweigh the disadvantage underwater.

 

Topside it's a completely different matter and I use FF.

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1 minute ago, TimG said:

I'm 7 years into a Nikon D500-based system (so APSC) underwater having downgraded from an FF-based system (Nikon D800).

 

No regrets at all. I just can't see that the FF advantages outweigh the disadvantage underwater.

 

Topside it's a completely different matter and I use FF.

Sadly the lens selection and new APSC mirrorless camera are really not great really no point to use adapted lenses with a new body

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30 minutes ago, Interceptor121 said:

Sadly the lens selection and new APSC mirrorless camera are really not great really no point to use adapted lenses with a new body

 

Yeah, very unlikely I'd go down the mirrorless route underwater.

 

I really like the idea of the in-viewfinder review capability but the cost of that upgrade (new body, new housing) would be in the region of, say, $5500 - and frankly, it's just not worth it.  And then, as you say, all sorts of problems getting old lenses to work on a new mirrorless body (the Tokina 10-17 especially); plus, I have never yet found my image-taking limited by the capabilities of a D500/Subal/Retra combination.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

This once again demonstrates the “right system” is a personal opinion and choice to that person.  That’s why I used my Canon T2i APS-C underwater for 11 years.  It did all I wanted it to do, and I was quite happy with the results, travel size, etc.  I used compact flash, film, and SVHS-C with tape-to-tape editing for video underwater prior to that, and enjoyed those experiences as well.

 

In 2020 I upgraded to my first Sony FF with a Nauticam water contact lens and have enjoyed the experience even more.  I have made several other upgrades since then, but does that mean what I chose is for everyone or everyone “should” or “should not” buy what I did?  Absolutely not.  It simply means it has been a success and enjoyment for me and how I dive.  With that said, there are certainly days I miss the smaller and cheaper APS-C format.  

 

I, like us all, am always happy to share my experiences, good and bad, with others that ask in their personal decision process.  Personal experiences are not, however, “facts” that others should follow.  They are simply personal opinions based on that user’s subjective results and/or methodology.  All the numbers in the world do not prove or disprove what someone should buy.  The questions around FF/APS-C/m43, best brand, lens, strobes, etc. are all subjective to what best fits an individual’s needs, budget, etc.  When I’m on a boat I often encourage those with GoPros, TG-6s, etc. that they can do so much with what they have, and to enjoy the experience.  

 

I enjoy hearing the experiences from others.  If the system someone uses and enjoys works for them, that is their right system for that moment.  It is good that we have such a forum to share information surrounding such a subjective subject. 

Edited by ChipBPhoto
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IMHO 121 is disappointed because with his setup and his style of taking pictures he closes the aperture nearly completely and by that loses all the advantages of the big camera. 
 

I usually have the aperture on f/7.1 - I am not a landscape photographer. The focused object has to be sharp and the background is slightly blurry. That allows to shoot in available light while freediving or using only a limited amount of flash. This wouldn’t be possible with smaller sensors. 
 

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37 minutes ago, fruehaufsteher2 said:

IMHO 121 is disappointed because with his setup and his style of taking pictures he closes the aperture nearly completely and by that loses all the advantages of the big camera. 
 

I usually have the aperture on f/7.1 - I am not a landscape photographer. The focused object has to be sharp and the background is slightly blurry. That allows to shoot in available light while freediving or using only a limited amount of flash. This wouldn’t be possible with smaller sensors. 
 

The background slightly blurry does not feature underwater up to any standard

Some people though have lower standards

1 hour ago, ChipBPhoto said:

This once again demonstrates the “right system” is a personal opinion and choice to that person.  That’s why I used my Canon T2i APS-C underwater for 11 years.  It did all I wanted it to do, and I was quite happy with the results, travel size, etc.  I used compact flash, film, and SVHS-C with tape-to-tape editing for video underwater prior to that, and enjoyed those experiences as well.

 

In 2020 I upgraded to my first Sony FF with a Nauticam water contact lens and have enjoyed the experience even more.  I have made several other upgrades since then, but does that mean what I chose is for everyone or everyone “should” or “should not” buy what I did?  Absolutely not.  It simply means it has been a success and enjoyment for me and how I dive.  With that said, there are certainly days I miss the smaller and cheaper APS-C format.  

 

I, like us all, am always happy to share my experiences, good and bad, with others that ask in their personal decision process.  Personal experiences are not, however, “facts” that others should follow.  They are simply personal opinions based on that user’s subjective results and/or methodology.  All the numbers in the world do not prove or disprove what someone should buy.  The questions around FF/APS-C/m43, best brand, lens, strobes, etc. are all subjective to what best fits an individual’s needs, budget, etc.  When I’m on a boat I often encourage those with GoPros, TG-6s, etc. that they can do so much with what they have, and to enjoy the experience.  

 

I enjoy hearing the experiences from others.  If the system someone uses and enjoys works for them, that is their right system for that moment.  It is good that we have such a forum to share information surrounding such a subjective subject. 

Different from me you have no comparison basis because you went from dark ages into a mirrorless without steps

I shoot mirrorless since 10 years

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I have an A1 and think its fantastic - as do a lot of other people. 

 

Doing super macro is far easier than with my old D500 with the noticeable improvements in the AF capabilities

 

The files are easier to work with. 

 

There are numerous reported issues using the EMWL on DSLRs with regards to the focussing - not on the A1. 

 

Size wise there is very little in it. 

 

Yes, there is a real gap for a true reasonably priced fisheye, but I can adapt my old dogma 15mm if I want, and the WWL-1 covers the rest of the area I need. If I had more money I could go with further water contact optics. 

 

The D500 was great, and I wouldn't cry if I had to go back to it again, but the A1 is just superior in the field. Can't argue with the finances side of things either. 

 

Now, if you think photography is studying test graphs, examining the extreme corners of frames ad infinitum and  shooting pool walls, then good for you, but I'm a big fan of seeing real world results, and maybe just ask yourself why the majority of top level pro's who do this thing to put food in the table use full frame. 

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Just now, Pooley said:

I have an A1 and think its fantastic - as do a lot of other people. 

 

Doing super macro is far easier than with my old D500 with the noticeable improvements in the AF capabilities

 

The files are easier to work with. 

 

There are numerous reported issues using the EMWL on DSLRs with regards to the focussing - not on the A1. 

 

Size wise there is very little in it. 

 

Yes, there is a real gap for a true reasonably priced fisheye, but I can adapt my old dogma 15mm if I want, and the WWL-1 covers the rest of the area I need. If I had more money I could go with further water contact optics. 

 

The D500 was great, and I wouldn't cry if I had to go back to it again, but the A1 is just superior in the field. Can't argue with the finances side of things either. 

 

Now, if you think photography is studying test graphs, examining the extreme corners of frames ad infinitum and  shooting pool walls, then good for you, but I'm a big fan of seeing real world results, and maybe just ask yourself why the majority of top level pro's who do this thing to put food in the table use full frame. 

 I have two A1 and 1 A7CII topside there is no comparison

However underwater the gap is marginal, in effect in the pool is smaller is open water that the full frame equation crashes especially with rectilinear lenses

The very tiny improvement for wide angle comes at phenomenal delta cost (though in my case other than the housing and gear I have bought only three small ports)

I do not put food on the table using a camera but I am pretty able to analyse facts and now after this time I can confidently say that due to use case the benefit is eroded. Obviously many people do not shoot the same optics that I do so the gap is wider but in my case for fisheye I shoot the same identical lens. On rectilinear the situation is unfortunate and due to sensor size.

I do not have a 24 megapixel camera but I would think that in that case with the same optic the table eventually even turns

There are two use cases that do not work too well one is underwater where there is an IQ vs benefit issue and the other is long lenses where holding the lens is tough but the results at least arrive

The rest of topside I am very happy of what I get however comparing the performance of my same camera topside to what I get underwater there is a very significant gap

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If you're happy then great. 

 

There is an undeniable cost issue that is a personal matter as to whether its worth it for the individual. 

 

However, there are enough real world reviews with open water examples by top underwater shooters around to visibly display that there is significant improvements with the latest kit. I really don't think the likes of Alex Mustard would choose to use sub-standard kit. 

 

I don't expect for one moment you to alter your opinion on this - I think there are enough posts here to know you will argue your point to the death - but the fact of the matter is full frame mirrorless is better than previous kit, be it D500, D850 or earlier mirrorless incarnations. 

 

The only deciding factor really for amateurs in the finances

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Just now, Pooley said:

If you're happy then great. 

 

There is an undeniable cost issue that is a personal matter as to whether its worth it for the individual. 

 

However, there are enough real world reviews with open water examples by top underwater shooters around to visibly display that there is significant improvements with the latest kit. I really don't think the likes of Alex Mustard would choose to use sub-standard kit. 

 

I don't expect for one moment you to alter your opinion on this - I think there are enough posts here to know you will argue your point to the death - but the fact of the matter is full frame mirrorless is better than previous kit, be it D500, D850 or earlier mirrorless incarnations. 

 

The only deciding factor really for amateurs in the finances

Alex came to see my set up before he even bought his and just recently I sold him my Tamron 17-28 he knows I have very good competence when it comes to lenses and ports otherwise he would not asked me an opinion I guess

 

MFT is not better than full frame. However underwater shooting at very small aperture the gap is almost zero. In some cases the IQ is not even matching (rectilinear lenses of which I know a lot). I do not have a 24 megapixel camera but I would think that in that case I would not see any gap at all

I have taken enough photos to be able to compare them. I need to be in a really specific situation to see a material gap. Even with lots more pixels the detail resolve is not necessarily more

 

Topside instead I can see a significant gap however I am shooting at aperture ranges that are not small and I rarely even hit f/11 so the camera is performing in the best situation possible. Even for wildlife the autofocus of the A1 is supreme and I can easily take photo I would get a very low hit rate before. 

 

Contrary to other people I still have the two systems I know them well and I have been reviewing my own images so this is not just theory is empirical evidence backed up by data and facts

 

I need to decide now if I keep my A1 underwater or not, topside am really satisfied but underwater is not really that much better and now I need to decide to get a 12" dome for split shots that frankly am not that excited about considering how easily I was pulling those shots before

 

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I forgot one part

There is one scenario where my A1 is clearly better than my old MFT rig this is the wet lens WWL-1

This is because the water optic is the same and the master lens of the A1 vs the one on the MFT is much sharper

however I can use the canon 8-15 on my MFT rig that outclasses the wet lens

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5 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:

Sadly the lens selection and new APSC mirrorless camera are really not great really no point to use adapted lenses with a new body

I wouldn't be so categorical. Take, for instance, the Sony a6700 (I might be biased as I own one, but still). You can shoot it underwater with the Sony 10-18mm or the new 10-20mm or Samyang 12mm, or Sony 16-50mm and wet optics, or Tokina 10-17mm on Metabones, plus 50mm and 90mm macro options. Topside, there's a great selection of lenses such as the Sigma f/1.4 prime set, Sigma 18-50mm f/28 and Sony 16-55mm f/2.8 zooms, the Sony 70-350mm telephoto, etc. There's also access to the old Minolta A-mount lenses via LA-EA5 adapter, which includes some unique offerings such as the 500mm AF reflex lens. All this comes with AF that, by many accounts, is quite similar to that of A1 (I haven't tried the A1, so I can't compare), but at a small fraction of the cost. Even comparing it to, say, A7CII, it's still considerably less expensive, and so are the lenses.

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What about all the significant improvements with regards to super macro and using the EMWL?

 

AF is far superior,I used to need to lock focus and rock the camera with my SMC-1 on the D500, where I get a superb hit rate just simply using AF now on the A1. 

 

Likewise there are very well noted AF issues with the EMWL that are not present on the A1. 

 

It seems more than a little hasty to try and go for a sensational headline when you're not considering both sides of the argument for a huge portion of underwater shooting

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42 minutes ago, Pooley said:

What about all the significant improvements with regards to super macro and using the EMWL?

 

AF is far superior,I used to need to lock focus and rock the camera with my SMC-1 on the D500, where I get a superb hit rate just simply using AF now on the A1. 

 

Likewise there are very well noted AF issues with the EMWL that are not present on the A1. 

 

It seems more than a little hasty to try and go for a sensational headline when you're not considering both sides of the argument for a huge portion of underwater shooting

Those systems are in excess of $5,000 and very niche To add on the 10K of the camera and housing i hope they work well

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Super macro isn't niche, and certainly not 5 grand. EMWL,  undoubtedly so, 

 

Like I said above, you're trying to be sensationalist but unfortunately only talking about a select area of the genre doesn't cut it in the real world. 

 

Its not a sign of weakness to acknowledge other peoples opinions and realise there may be more to the discussion than the initial headline

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Pooley said:

Super macro isn't niche, and certainly not 5 grand. EMWL,  undoubtedly so, 

 

Like I said above, you're trying to be sensationalist but unfortunately only talking about a select area of the genre doesn't cut it in the real world. 

 

Its not a sign of weakness to acknowledge other peoples opinions and realise there may be more to the discussion than the initial headline

https://www.nauticam.com/collections/water-contact-optics-for-nav/products/emwl-set-3-incl-focusing-unit-sony-150mm-relay-lens-and-3-objective-lenses

$8,786 fo the set $5.500 starter kit avaialble also for other formats is not full frame only

This is a super niche use case and it is expensive. Some of the shots remind me of Mimmo Roscigno with seacam super dome and fisheye lense that costs much less

 

I am not sure how many they sell of those but this is a specialist solution that I have never seen on a boat so far but I know few people that have it

I was not aware that it was not even working properly imagine the frustration

 

I have mentioned the A1 autofocus however there are many situations where you don't actually need it to take the shot 

And there are many full frame cameras that have much weaker autofocus

The point is that the A1 is one of the best and has not been night and day imagine a bog standard 24 megapixel camera with average AF

 

Edited by Interceptor121
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Massimo, 

 

Once again you're trying to use selective points to justify your sensationalism. 

 

I use the A1 with WWL-1, EMWL and SMC. AF is better than the D500 for all 3 scenarios, albeit the closest run in for the wide angle. It doesn't matter how much resolution you have if your shot is not in focus. Ansel Adams was spot on in regards of that point. 

 

Just to dismiss FF and to keep trying to argue the point to support the thread title is plain silly and when the overall situation is taken into consideration - wildly inaccurate 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Pooley said:

Massimo, 

 

Once again you're trying to use selective points to justify your sensationalism. 

 

I use the A1 with WWL-1, EMWL and SMC. AF is better than the D500 for all 3 scenarios, albeit the closest run in for the wide angle. It doesn't matter how much resolution you have if your shot is not in focus. Ansel Adams was spot on in regards of that point. 

 

Just to dismiss FF and to keep trying to argue the point to support the thread title is plain silly and when the overall situation is taken into consideration - wildly inaccurate 

You are not reading this correctly maybe because you bought the camera and are getting all annoyed

I bought of those and yes the autofocus is better however many other things are not much better or not better at all

Considering the A1 is a fairly specific camera the title full frame bubble burst holds

Try with another full frame and see if it focuses besides people on DSLR have been saying their camera were amazing until they bought something else then it was no longer amazing

My shots are in focus and I cannot care less of macro in general I do not really like to shoot fish that much either which is you would say quite interesting

Edited by Interceptor121
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Last bit of advice - 

 

You clearly want to establish yourself as a knowledgeable person with respect to underwater photography. You are trying on a regular basis to use science to back up your theories. Show us beautiful photos instead. 

 

You really, really, need to look and think about how you came across on the internet if you want an audience to respect your thoughts. 

 

Just once in a while, try listening to and understanding other peoples opinions and experiences - chances are you will learn something yourself. 

 

Look at both sides of a debate without being confrontational, you're sounding like a football fan who cannot see past his own team. 

 

The title here is Full Frame bubble Burst. It hasn't, and it likely never will. 

 

Maybe you don't feel the need to use it, and that's great- people get fantastic shots with compact cameras - but to not consider a huge portion of the genre and still try and defend your point really doesn't do you any favours. 

 

On that point, I think I'm done with this thread, 

 

Mike

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Obviously camera systems suit different people's use requirement so the title of this thread is silly. But the point that crop sensor lenses and suitability for reasonable size domes often work better for a particular person or underwater use is correct. That is not news, and all the advice I've seen given on this forum when people ask questions about new gear reflect that.

 

Pooley hit it spot on when saying the photography is not about test graphs. Striving for technical perfection in a picture but not putting the same attention into creativity easily ends up with photos that are fairly boring other than a personal connection for the actual photographer. This is more true now than ever with the development of AI.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Pooley said:

Last bit of advice - 

 

You clearly want to establish yourself as a knowledgeable person with respect to underwater photography. You are trying on a regular basis to use science to back up your theories. Show us beautiful photos instead. 

 

You really, really, need to look and think about how you came across on the internet if you want an audience to respect your thoughts. 

 

Just once in a while, try listening to and understanding other peoples opinions and experiences - chances are you will learn something yourself. 

 

Look at both sides of a debate without being confrontational, you're sounding like a football fan who cannot see past his own team. 

 

The title here is Full Frame bubble Burst. It hasn't, and it likely never will. 

 

Maybe you don't feel the need to use it, and that's great- people get fantastic shots with compact cameras - but to not consider a huge portion of the genre and still try and defend your point really doesn't do you any favours. 

 

On that point, I think I'm done with this thread, 

 

Mike

which point exactly have you countered? None that I can read just offered other unsubstantiated point of view and besides you have no idea of the photos I take 

The whole point about focus on the artistic is a mere way to divert the discussion which is not about eastatic and just get some easy likes

It is lazy and poor and shows lack of depth, just stereotype and reboiled old soup which happens when you stir something that is uneasy to hear

Edited by Interceptor121
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I also made the switch from MFT to Full Frame some years ago and have never looked back.

 

My reasons for the switch were:

- the 4:3 ratio of the MFT System didn't appeal to me, I like the 3:2 better

- back then the optical viewfinder was far superior to the EVF (different story today!)

- the files of my Olympus always had a blue water color that I did not really like and it was kind of hard to get a pleasing color (for me) in post processing; the colors from the Nikon FF were much more to my taste

 

Image quality in a sense of pure resolution or details was not on that list. I still think that the pure details and resolution is mostly limited because of the medium we are dealing with - water. The shot taken through less water will almost always have a better resolution/more details than the shot taken from a bigger distance. If shot from the same distance, there will be an advantage for FF, but I too found it to be less than expected and it might be not enough for some people to justify the additional cost and weight.

 

But there is one point where the FF sensor really can shine underwater: shooting wrecks or caves. There is a significant ISO advantage and you can get much more clarity out of the FF files, when shooting without strobes. If you use lights inside caves or wrecks, the lighting situation can become tricky and the FF sensor will give you better dynamic range at higher ISO settings, giving you better image quality, and much more headroom for post processing. 

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