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Nauticam WACP vs dome

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#1 horvendile



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Posted 04 March 2019 - 01:14 AM

So, in my quest for identifying my ideal underwater setup I'm currently thinking I should probably go with a Nauticam housing for my existing Nikon D850. Ignoring budgetary constraints, for wide angle (not fisheye) I could either get a wide angle lens - probably the Nikon 16-35/4, while muttering about it - and a dome port, OR I could locate an old 28-70 and go for the WACP.


I've read as much as I've found about the alternatives. It seems the WACP gives 2-3 extra stops of image edge sharpness compared to just wide-angle lens and dome, but on the other hand the Sea & Sea correction lens for the 16-35 gives about 2 stops also, and it seems possible to use that lens with a Nautical dome - at least the acrylic 8.5" and possibly also the 230 mm glass dome. If that's correct, the WACP has maybe one stop of edge sharpness, er, edge over the 16-35 with correction lens, which is no longer a huge difference (albeit possibly significant).


The WACP would give about 10-25 mm equiv focal length, which many would probably prefer to the 16-35 with a dome, perhaps unless skittish sharks are the subject. Agree?
The dome allows split shots, which the WACP doesn't. The WACP has a smaller front area than a large dome, which may allow it to get closer to certain subjects.
Compared to a system with acrylic dome, the WACP is both significantly heavier and more expensive. Compared to using a big glass dome the difference is not as stark.
I happen to own the Sigma 15 mm fisheye already. Getting a dome would allow me to use the fisheye as well, which is obviously not possible with the WACP. But with the WACP the need for a fisheye would also be lesser.
Have I missed any important considerations here, or is it just a matter of assessing the facts, making a decision and save up a ton of money?


#2 TimG


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Posted 04 March 2019 - 03:40 AM

A pretty good summing up, I reckon.


Really like your opening line: "identifying my ideal setup...." Good luck with that. I think my "ideal" changes after every trip.  :lol2:


I thought the Sigma 15mm with a dome (I used the 230 but smaller would have been fine) was terrific on my D800 setup. The advantage I reckon of the 230 is that you can then use the Nikkor 16-35 with a 90mm EXR (for Subal anyway). As you rightly say, the 230 is big, heavy and expensive. But then, again, as you say, so is the WACP.


You're right: make a decision. Then buy both. It's only another ton of money  :crazy:  and that way you  won't regret your decision.

(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

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#3 horvendile



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Posted 04 March 2019 - 06:00 AM


You're right: make a decision. Then buy both. 


Of course! Genius!


Regarding the short 25 mm of the WACP, if used with the D850 it could be cropped to e.g. the equivalent of 35 mm FOV, which would leave me with the equivalent of a 20 megapixel APS-C camera. If I want to convince myself that the WACP is the way to go even for said skittish sharks, that may be a good argument.

(While conveniently forgetting that @ 35 mm I could do the same crop to reach the equivalent of 50 mm.)

#4 Matt Sullivan

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 09:25 AM

in terms of versatility and IQ, it really is hard to beat the WACP. and it isn't just the fact that its better in the corners when shot more open, the entire image is ridiculously sharp, itll give you a better overall quality picture than just better corners. It also is really easy to dive with and isn't as unwieldy/unweildy (spelling?) in the water as it seems on land. Much easier to dive with than the big dome/extension/etc imo

Matthew Sullivan