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Wide-angle lens for TG-5: Backscatter vs AOI


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#1 anchochile

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 03:23 PM

I'm looking for a wide-angle lens for the TG-5, and the top contenders seem to be the Backscatter M52 Wide Angle Lens and the AOI UWL-04.

 

The AOI lens seems to have a wider field of view, so I'm leaning towards that one. Other than the slightly higher price, would there be any downside to picking this lens over the Backscatter one? Would the overall image quality and ease of use be comparable?

 

 



#2 anchochile

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Posted 10 June 2019 - 09:17 AM

Bumping this with some additional information - I spoke with Backscatter and they said they recommend their own M52 wide-angle lens over the AOI UWL-04 because:

  • It rides closer to the housing
  • Has zoom through
  • Has better shade arrangement

Can anyone help me understand what this means, and how important these benefits are? Thanks!



#3 Larry C

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 06:47 AM

Closer to the housing means more compact, better for getting closer to subjects for CFWA shots.

Zoom through I would assume means that you can use the cameras zoom effectively at all zoom levels through the dome.  Domes are sensitive to distance from focal point of lens to port.

Better shade arrangement means the lens will be better shielded from glare from ambient light in bright sun, above and to the sides of the port.


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#4 anchochile

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Posted 14 June 2019 - 09:00 AM

Closer to the housing means more compact, better for getting closer to subjects for CFWA shots.

Zoom through I would assume means that you can use the cameras zoom effectively at all zoom levels through the dome.  Domes are sensitive to distance from focal point of lens to port.

Better shade arrangement means the lens will be better shielded from glare from ambient light in bright sun, above and to the sides of the port.

 

Thank you - this is very helpful. Based on further research, it sounds like the UWL-04 needs to be zoomed in just a tiny bit on the TG-5 to avoid vignetting, but still offers a wider field of view than the Backscatter lens. Based on this, I'm inclined to get the UWL-04 as I'd rather be able to take wider reef shots, and the downsides seem not too bad. But would be curious if others disagree on this.



#5 mwalker_mw

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Posted Today, 01:42 PM

I can't compare them, however I have used the backscatter one a bit.  Couple notes:

 

It has 'Optics by AOI' stamped all over it so, very possibly coming out of the same factory... (if considering build quality)

 

With the Olympus housing there is a bit of an issue with flooding the space between the lens and the housing.  The thread is so deep that it would create a sealed air bubble against the lens by blocking the vent holes in the mounting ring.  I found that when I'd installed it on the boat I needed to unscrew it several turns and then flip it around to get the bubble out (or just take it off all the way if it was a calm dive).  It was also possible to do this in the rinse tank ahead of time but it did prove to be a bit annoying at times.

 

I found the 'zoom through' to be less useful than it would seem to be in theory.