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Gear advice for a starter


Jallie

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Good day,

 

I’m looking to buy my first underwater photography gear after using a GoPro for years.

currently shooting on a A6300 and that’s also the camera i want to take underwater.

 

This is what i have in my shopping list

 

Seafrogs salted line housing + 6’’ dome port

vacuum pump

 

no strobes yet as I’m first planning on using it at depths to 5m + wide angle (no macro) so should be enough lighting no?

 

thing I’m struggling with is the best (budget) lens option for this setup.

I’m thinking about getting a Samyang AF 12mm lens. Will this be any good for the type of photography I’m planning on using it for and no strobes?

 

thanks for your suggestions

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It really depends on your subjects, expectations and to some extent what type of waters.  Strobes really can make a big difference to the type of photos you can take.  Certainly you should be able to white balance photos from clear tropical waters, very green temperate waters might be more of a challenge.

 

The 12mm lens I've not heard much about but it is not particularly wide in UW terms.  The use of wide angle lenses is less to get a wide angle of view and more to allow you to get closer to your subject.  The less water between you and your subject the better.  You may be thinking of no strobes initially but I would think you might be better served with a zoom lens like the 10-18 or similar which I would think would be more adaptable in the long run.

 

On the vacuum pump don't get the Seafrogs vacuum valve as it is not water proof, many people use the Vivid leak sentinel you can contact them to get a valve with the right thread to use on Seafrogs.

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If you're interested, I'm selling a Fantasea housing for the a6300. As far as I know, it's the original housing that SeaFrogs copied the design from.

Housing, A6 dome port (for sigma 16 or sony 10-18), flat port (sony 16-50, sony 50 macro) and Sea&Sea port (sony 90mm).

Edited by Sarthur1
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20 hours ago, Jallie said:

Good day,

 

I’m looking to buy my first underwater photography gear after using a GoPro for years.

currently shooting on a A6300 and that’s also the camera i want to take underwater.

 

This is what i have in my shopping list

 

Seafrogs salted line housing + 6’’ dome port

vacuum pump

 

no strobes yet as I’m first planning on using it at depths to 5m + wide angle (no macro) so should be enough lighting no?

 

thing I’m struggling with is the best (budget) lens option for this setup.

I’m thinking about getting a Samyang AF 12mm lens. Will this be any good for the type of photography I’m planning on using it for and no strobes?

 

thanks for your suggestions

Hi Jallie,

 

Feel free to send me a personal message. I am in The Netherlands and selling a full set of Salted line housing + ports and have some lenses available as well.

 

As for lenses, what are you planning to photograph?  I have used the Samyang 12mm AF and it works great in the 6" dome but I would not like that one to be my only wide angle lens. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Robin.snapshots said:

Hi Jallie,

 

Feel free to send me a personal message. I am in The Netherlands and selling a full set of Salted line housing + ports and have some lenses available as well.

 

As for lenses, what are you planning to photograph?  I have used the Samyang 12mm AF and it works great in the 6" dome but I would not like that one to be my only wide angle lens. 

 

 

 

Hi Robin, 

 

thanks for your reply, ill send you a PM.

 

I want to start with larger subjects (sharks,dolphins, whale sharks) and reefscapes while snorkeling to get the hang of things. once i feel comfortable enough ill take it on dive trips and buy a strobe or two.

 

what subjects did you photograph with the Samyang and do you have some pics you can share ? 🙂

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22 hours ago, Jallie said:

Good day,

 

I’m looking to buy my first underwater photography gear after using a GoPro for years.

currently shooting on a A6300 and that’s also the camera i want to take underwater.

 

This is what i have in my shopping list

 

Seafrogs salted line housing + 6’’ dome port

vacuum pump

 

no strobes yet as I’m first planning on using it at depths to 5m + wide angle (no macro) so should be enough lighting no?

 

thing I’m struggling with is the best (budget) lens option for this setup.

I’m thinking about getting a Samyang AF 12mm lens. Will this be any good for the type of photography I’m planning on using it for and no strobes?

 

thanks for your suggestions

 I think it's a good strategy. I use a A6400 with SeaFrogs I gen. housing (started with A6000). For wide angle I use E1.8 11mm lens or the E10-18mm f4 OSS lenses. Both work well with the 6’’ dome port. I have no idea about the samyang but I went for the sony 11mm lens. I usually make videos but recently I took some photos (freshwater):

DSC06901_r.jpg

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23 hours ago, Jallie said:

Seafrogs salted line housing + 6’’ dome port

vacuum pump

Do not get the SeaFrogs VPS-100 - it is not meant to be used underwater (its seals degrade and it starts leaking after 70-80 dives or so). Contact Miso at info@vividhousings.com for a SeaFrogs-specific version of Leak Sentinel; it's more expensive than a VPS-100 but it is built properly and will last you longer than your housing.

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3 hours ago, Jallie said:

 

Hi Robin, 

 

thanks for your reply, ill send you a PM.

 

I want to start with larger subjects (sharks,dolphins, whale sharks) and reefscapes while snorkeling to get the hang of things. once i feel comfortable enough ill take it on dive trips and buy a strobe or two.

 

what subjects did you photograph with the Samyang and do you have some pics you can share ? 🙂

A general rule of thumb underwater is to get as close as possible to the subject.  Less water in-between means more contrast and overall better image quality.   Getting closer will also mean more strobe light on the subject, but as you want to start with natural light, this is not a consideration yet.  

 

Fisheye lenses are quite common for underwater photography as they tend to give a wider field of view (getting you closer) and sharper corners in the smaller domes like the 6" seafrogs one.   For reefscapes I would consider the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens first.  This lens is not a native Sony lens so will need an adapter for a Canon or Nikon mount depending on the one you get. This is an excellent wide angle lens for underwater use and a versatile option because of the zoom range.

 

 

For larger animals like sharks, getting close is not always an option. So a slightly tighter lens like the Samyang 12mm will get a bit more of them in the frame. There is also the Sony 11mm option mentioned before, I haven't tried that one but I guess that falls in the same category.   Another lens to consider here is the Sigma 16mm f1.4 dg dn. This lens is not as wide as the other options but performs well underwater for natural light shooting and is an excellent lens for land photography.  Being rectilinear lenses in a 6" dome, these options will all suffer from a lack of corner sharpness. This is not really a problem for things like sharks as the corners are usually blue in these situations. 

 

 

I personally preferred the Samyang for photographing people and things with straight lines like wrecks. Being rectilinear it doesn't have as much distortion a fisheye would have.  Here's an example of a model shot in a pool with the samyang:

 

image.jpeg
null

 

To illustrate what I mean for reefscapes. Here is a shallow reef shot with natural light on the Samyang: Samyang 2.jpg

 

Notice the big drop in corner sharpness with this combination. A fisheye would handle this a lot better. 

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18 hours ago, Robin.snapshots said:

A general rule of thumb underwater is to get as close as possible to the subject.  Less water in-between means more contrast and overall better image quality.   Getting closer will also mean more strobe light on the subject, but as you want to start with natural light, this is not a consideration yet.  

 

Fisheye lenses are quite common for underwater photography as they tend to give a wider field of view (getting you closer) and sharper corners in the smaller domes like the 6" seafrogs one.   For reefscapes I would consider the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens first.  This lens is not a native Sony lens so will need an adapter for a Canon or Nikon mount depending on the one you get. This is an excellent wide angle lens for underwater use and a versatile option because of the zoom range.

 

A fisheye zoom like the Tokina is quite a good option, though on a Sony camera you want to adapt a Canon lens not Nikon.  The Nikon mount lens is  screw drive AF and won't work on anything but a Nikon F mount camera.  There is an adapter that supports screw drive now I believe but I wouldn't go this way if you can use electronic AF with the Canon.  you may well be on your own if want a zoom gear with the Seafrogs housing though.  Whichever lens you choose - a zoom is going to be a better option for flexibility.

 

Also with regards to natural light photography, even then you benefit from being closer to your subject, you can see in the example file that the colours start to fade out further from the lens, this being due to having to travel through more water to reach you than that from closer objects.  Not as dramatic as strobe light , but still there and you also have less water between you and the subject so less particles and distortion from the water.  Plus it's a good habit to get into.

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