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Nauticam WWL-1 on different setups

WWL-1 Olympus E-M1 Mk II Sony A6400

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#1 horvendile

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 02:21 AM

Hi all! I was quite active as a beginner here a few months ago, asking lots and lots of questions mostly about Nikon FX and the Nauticam WACP. I reached the conclusion that the D850 I already own with a WACP should be my best bet for optimum quality, but held off purchasing simply because of cost.

 

Since then I’ve been thinking, and I’m now investigating other alternatives. Reasons for doing so include

* size and weight (topside) of WACP solution, especially when travelling.

* yes, cost.

* not being sure I’ll be happy with having 25 mm (70 mm x 0.36) as my longest focal length.

 

The alternatives I’m now looking at all include the WWL-1, which I gather is in many respects the equivalent of the WACP (albeit a removable wetlens) for smaller sensors. My plan with this post is to ask you whether I seem to have understood things correctly.

 

I’ve been looking at two camera and three lenses. The Sony A6400 with 16-50, and the Olympus E-M1 MkII with either 14-42 or 12-50.

Camera-wise the A6400 would give me about an extra stop of sensor performance. In fact, make that two stops at base ISO since A6400 goes to ISO 100, E-M1 to 200. (DxOMark and photonstophotos don’t quite agree though, I don’t quite know what to make of that.) I should also get a significantly better AF with A6400.

The E-M1 on the other hand would give me IBIS and 2/3 stops better flash sync (1/250 s I believe, 1/160 s on the Sony). In fact, the Sony would lock me at 1/160 s or slower even if I turned off my strobes, since that’s what it does when the popup flash is raised.

 

(The slow sync speed of the Sony should, in scenarios with sunlit backgrounds, be offset by the sensor’s theoretically better dynamic range at base ISO, but being locked at 1/160 s is still a bummer.)

 

As for lenses, the 14-42 allows full zoom-through, giving full-frame equivalent of 10-30 mm with the WWL-1. This is better than the WACP. Using the 12-50 it vignettes until at 16 mm, giving maybe 12-36 mm equiv with WWL-1 assuming full zoom-through, which is still highly respectable by my standards. On the Sony side the 16-50 vignettes until 20 mm, giving 11-27 mm equiv.

 

HOWEVER, if I use the bayonet mount the WWL-1 is easily removed, quickly opening up mid-range focal lengths should I need them. This is not possible with the WACP. Being behind a flat port I guess I need to go to maybe 40 mm (equiv) or so before getting rid of the most horrible corner issues, so there will be a gap in usable FOV:s but I think that will be ok.

Also, I’m not sure but I think I should be able to use e.g. the SMC-1 with all of these lenses. I’m not sure how that would compare to a dedicated macro lens, but it should give me wide-angle, mid-range and macro on the same dive, which again would not be possible with the WACP. Of course I would be sacrificing resolution and dynamic range if I’m not using my D850.

 

I have a couple of follow-up questions. But as a start – does this sound about accurate?



#2 ChrisRoss

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:50 AM

The EM-1 MkII is a great little camera and has a huge range of lens options, AF is quite snappy, I use C-AF plus tracking as my default for both wide angle and macro.  Battery is good for at least 3 dives with some juice still left.   I had a look at the plots compared to the Sony and the differences really are quite small, I note that the EM-1 MkII can also use ISO Low which is about ISO64, they show this on the noise performance plot but not the dynamic range plot.   I'm not sure what benefit you see from the Sony going to ISO 100.

 

I use the EM-1 II with the 30 & 60mm macros, the 12-40mm f2.8 and the 8mm fisheye.  The 12-40 in particular is a nice lens getting down to 0.3x magnification, I use it for temperate water diving around Sydney.  I also have the little panasonic fisheye and ZEN 100mm port for it and it produces nice results from a compact package.

 

The 14-42 while giving 80mm equivalent focal length without the WWL gives a max magnification of 0.23x so would probably benefit from a wet lens for smaller stuff.  In theory the 12-50 is better in this regard but without the special dedicated port to allowing throwing the macro switch it only gets similar magnification to the 14-42. 

 

The other issue you come up against is what to do with the WWL if you take it off, even with the flotation collar it weights 160gr UW, so ideally you want to place it on an arm in a dock , but it's sizable (130mm dia) and could limit your ability to put your strobes in your preferred position.      I don't know what type of diver you are, me I would take the capability UW but could easily see not using it with the need to remove it, not drop it and dock it.    An alternative might be the MWL-1 lens which provides a 150° field with a 30mm macro lens on the olympus.  The little Panasonic 30mm f2.8 macro lens is very snappy and great for fish portraits and small stuff down to about 0.5x or maybe 20-30mm long - you wouldn't need (and can't use) a wet macro lens with it and Nauticam have flip holder making it much more convenient to flip in and out. 

 

This fish is about 200mm long and shot with 30mm macro - total grab shot as they normally hide in kelp:  http://www.aus-natur...r Wrasse 3.html

This is about a 90mm long nudi shot with the 30mm: 


Edited by ChrisRoss, 25 June 2019 - 05:51 AM.


#3 hyp

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:19 AM

Is there actually anyone who has tried the WWL1 with the 12-50mm. I own the dedicated port and gear (got lucky on a used deal) and love that lens, but the fact that the port is 77mm threaded and adapters automatically introduce vignetting seems to make it a bit difficult to use.



#4 tursiops

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 06:38 AM

Is there actually anyone who has tried the WWL1 with the 12-50mm. I own the dedicated port and gear (got lucky on a used deal) and love that lens, but the fact that the port is 77mm threaded and adapters automatically introduce vignetting seems to make it a bit difficult to use.

Yes, I used that combo...12-50mm plus WWL-1. I used the bayonet mount for the 12-50mm which accepts the WWL-1 directly, with no additional vignetting beyond what you get with the 12-50mm/port anyway. I no longer use the 12-50mm (moved to the 14-42mm and dedicated 30mm and 60mm) but still have the bayonet mount for the 12-50 if you are interested.



#5 horvendile

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:48 AM

I note that the EM-1 MkII can also use ISO Low which is about ISO64, they show this on the noise performance plot but not the dynamic range plot.   I'm not sure what benefit you see from the Sony going to ISO 100.

 

(...)

 

The other issue you come up against is what to do with the WWL if you take it off, even with the flotation collar it weights 160gr UW, so ideally you want to place it on an arm in a dock , but it's sizable (130mm dia) and could limit your ability to put your strobes in your preferred position.      

 

ISO:

I see the base ISO as the important number. Extended low ISO really only overexposes the image and then lowers exposure in camera software, meaning that you clip highlights and with absolutely no dynamic range gain. For most scenarios extended low ISO is mostly useless, the sole exception I can come to think of being that you absolutely need a longer exposure and refuse doing post processing. Therefore base ISO is much more interesting from a sensor performance standpoint. 

 

Furthermore modern sensors, at least those used by Sony and Olympus, tend to be more or less equally effective per unit surface. Some differences can remain, but they tend to be minor. I admit that the graphs at DxO and photonstophotos contradict this for the E-M1 Mk II, and they are usually pretty reliable sources. I'll see if I can find some more information about that.

 

So, all in all, if nothing really strange is going on, the A6400 should have a base ISO dynamic range notably higher than that of the E-M1 Mk II, both because of lower base ISO and larger sensor area. That is not intended to mean that the E-M1 is not capable of excellent images. As you have demonstrated.

 

WWL-1 storage:

Actually I was under the impression that this was a solved problem. A flip-away arm or so. But I may confuse that with the MWL-1. If it's not solved, well, that would indeed be a drawback. It should be possible for me to get another leg pocket, but I'd have to make sure it fits. With 130 mm diamater it could be too big.



#6 horvendile

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:52 AM

A couple of follow-up questions:

 

14-42: Which 14-42 lens are we ideally talking about for the E-M1 Mk II? There are a bunch of them. I'm guessing the Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R, but I'm not quite sure why.

 

12-50: Is this the port which allows macro mode?

https://www.nauticam...0mm-f3-5-6-3-ez

The marking seems to indicate so.



#7 tursiops

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:10 AM

A couple of follow-up questions:

 

14-42: Which 14-42 lens are we ideally talking about for the E-M1 Mk II? There are a bunch of them. I'm guessing the Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R, but I'm not quite sure why.

 

12-50: Is this the port which allows macro mode?

https://www.nauticam...0mm-f3-5-6-3-ez

The marking seems to indicate so.

I'm talking about the Olympus M.Zuiko digital ED 14-42mm EZ, not the older kit-lens IIR. https://reefphoto.co...-3-5-5-6-ez-iii

 

Yes, that's the port. You also need the zoom gear. As a package, it is $800. https://reefphoto.co...0mm-f3-5-6-3-ez



#8 tursiops

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:16 AM

 

WWL-1 storage:

Actually I was under the impression that this was a solved problem. A flip-away arm or so. But I may confuse that with the MWL-1. If it's not solved, well, that would indeed be a drawback. It should be possible for me to get another leg pocket, but I'd have to make sure it fits. With 130 mm diamater it could be too big.

I would not want to handle the WWL-1 underwater, one-handed, without its float collar. With the collar, the diameter is 170mm or a bit more. A pocket probably isn't going to work, unless you are a kangaroo. 



#9 horvendile

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 11:36 AM

I'm talking about the Olympus M.Zuiko digital ED 14-42mm EZ, not the older kit-lens IIR. https://reefphoto.co...-3-5-5-6-ez-iii

 

Yes, that's the port. You also need the zoom gear. As a package, it is $800. https://reefphoto.co...0mm-f3-5-6-3-ez

 

EZ. Check.
Yes I know, the 12-50 has a rather expensive port + zoom gear. I haven't started adding prices yet, but of course it matters.

 

I would not want to handle the WWL-1 underwater, one-handed, without its float collar. With the collar, the diameter is 170mm or a bit more. A pocket probably isn't going to work, unless you are a kangaroo. 

 

No, I would definitely want the float collar. I'll check the pockets I have, but I suspect you're right. They are quite roomy (Hollis thigh pocket, https://www.hollis.c...n-thigh-pocket/) but the whole WWL-1 with collar sounds optimistic.



#10 hyp

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 12:14 PM

Yes, I used that combo...12-50mm plus WWL-1. I used the bayonet mount for the 12-50mm which accepts the WWL-1 directly, with no additional vignetting beyond what you get with the 12-50mm/port anyway. I no longer use the 12-50mm (moved to the 14-42mm and dedicated 30mm and 60mm) but still have the bayonet mount for the 12-50 if you are interested.

 

Thanks for the info. I was just curious. At the moment I'm not in any position financially to buy the WWL-1. Still it's good to know this option is there and could possibly replace my 8-18mm in 7inch port, which is very bulky when moving it about...



#11 ChrisRoss

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 05:37 PM

 

EZ. Check.
Yes I know, the 12-50 has a rather expensive port + zoom gear. I haven't started adding prices yet, but of course it matters.

 

 

No, I would definitely want the float collar. I'll check the pockets I have, but I suspect you're right. They are quite roomy (Hollis thigh pocket, https://www.hollis.c...n-thigh-pocket/) but the whole WWL-1 with collar sounds optimistic.

The WWL is definitely a great option for wide angle stuff, no question about optical quality, I think the idea of taking it off mid dive and playing macro is where the questions lie, it weighs 160gr underwater with buoyancy collar, so your rig is suddenly 160 gr lighter when you remove it - if you put it on an arm on the rig that problem goes away, but if you put it in a pocket, then your rig is suddenly lighter which means you need to have the rig at least 160 gr negative if you want to remove it.   A slightly positive rig can be painful particularly for macro, I dived with a rig that I would guess was <100gr positive once and it was difficult to use for close work.  There's a whole thread on what to do with a WWL on the video forum here on wetpixel right now.

 

On the topic of Low ISO, in theory yes you lose some range when using the low ISO option, but is that something you really need underwater?  Maybe for sun balls but the differences as measured by DXO are almost trivial.  By way of example I found this post:  http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=64240#entry407528 with photos taken with a Canon D80 which is about average between the Sony and the Olympus in performance:  https://www.dxomark.com/Cameras/Compare/Side-by-side/Canon-EOS-80D-versus-Olympus-OM-D-E-M1-Mark-II-versus-Sony-A6400___1076_1136_1281  to me the performance on the sun balls is pretty damn good and I believe the Olympus should be able to do something quite similar.  T

 

For me at any rate I would use other criteria than sensor performance as a selection criteria for example the Olympus has a 1720 mAhr battery while the Sony has a 1080 mAhr battery they may consume at different rates of course, the CIPA ratings are 360 shots for the A6400 and 440 for the Olympus.  The A6400 is reported to be much improved over the A6300/6500 but looks like it still falls well short of the olympus performance for number of shots. The lens selection from Panasonic and Olympus is also much better, including two native fisheyes to choose from.  As you mention flash sync is limited to 1/160 and also no manual option.  The little accessory flash that comes with olympus can be set at 1/64 power on manual to trigger strobes preserving battery power and it reliably triggers my INON Z-240s.


Edited by ChrisRoss, 25 June 2019 - 05:50 PM.


#12 horvendile

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 10:55 PM

Chris, thanks again for valuable feedback.

 

What would be the best way to fasten the WWL-1 on the rig? Something on the coldshoe of the housing itself perhaps? It's a good thing that I'm not about to make an immediate purchase. Now I will have time to think things through.

 

I agree that sensor performance should not be the sole deciding factor. For me it's nevertheless ​factor. With my current setup (Panasonic LX-100) dynamic range is often a limiting factor in post. There's a very big difference in how malleable the raw files are from my LX-100 and my D850. Precisely as you point out though the E-M1 II has several other advantages over the A6400. One of them is that I could see the E-M1 II having a fun role to play in my topside shooting. The A6400 is not as compelling as a camera. And I like the wide selection of m4/3 lenses.


Edited by horvendile, 25 June 2019 - 11:03 PM.


#13 ChrisRoss

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 05:20 AM

No,  the way Nauticam provides is a bayonet dock -   there's a Bayonet adapter on your port and you screw another dock to one of your flash arms.  The WWL lens is 130mm dia and the flotation collar makes it a lot bigger, takes up most of an arm.  Also note the thread I mentioned - that was also about air bubbles sticking to the WWL they recommend removing it in the water and shaking to get bubbles to dislodge.

 

I agree about topside, it has heaps of cool features like built in focus stacking for macro - it will either assemble and stack the images to a single file or output the individual raw files for stacking externally or both and the pro-capture where you hold the button half way and it starts recording images at a very high frame rate - when you press to take the images it keeps a certain number from before the moment.    And handheld the onboard stabilisation is crazy good this image is 1/13 sec with the Oly 300mm lens ISO800:  http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~chrisx2/images/EasternYellowRobin5.jpg 

 

On the image quality thing the LX-100 is a 1" sensor it's only got 1/2 the area of the m43 sensor and the Sony is 50% bigger than the the Olympus sensor but matches it quite closely.  The image quality is a combination of all of the factors, assume you've compared the LX-100 on DXO mark, it's down by 2 stops on noise and nearly 1 EV on dynamic range at ISO200, admittedly less at base ISO, down 1 bit on colour sensitivity and 1/2  a bit on tonal range.  The raw conversion engine will also have some play in the outcome. 



#14 horvendile

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 05:27 AM

On the image quality thing the LX-100 is a 1" sensor it's only got 1/2 the area of the m43 sensor


I'm on the move (sort of) so just quickly about this: no, the LX-100 is a m4/3 sensor, but it only uses about 80 % of the sensor area. So effectively between a 1" sensor and a full m4/3 sensor. But it's also a slightly older sensor generation than the 20 Mpixel sensor in the Olympus.



#15 ChrisRoss

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 05:06 PM

right, missed that, but it's still a clear gap from the LX-100 to the oly/Sony and also the Canon D80 I looked at before.   Just for fun I added the D500 to the DXO comparison, they are very tightly grouped between the olympus/sony and Nikon.  I think a lot of it comes down to the sensor surface area.  m43 is just enough to get over that hump and gather enough light to largely overcome the noise so a 50% increase in light gathered in APS-C is not really enough to make a big improvement.  You need the huge jump from 370mm2 surface area of APS-C  to 860 mm2 of full frame to get significant improvement over APS-C.

 

I compared the LX-100 to a few other cameras as well, it seems to be trailing the pack from the likes of similar vintage EM-5 II etc.  perhaps the raw conversions are not as good..... if I remember correctly DXO bypasses raw conversion to measure the sensor directly.   Also for compared the Oly to GH5, GXand the Oly PenF and the EM-1 MkII has a clear gap to all of them.


Edited by ChrisRoss, 27 June 2019 - 03:51 AM.


#16 Xberges

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 08:03 PM

I would recommend m43. Sony apsc has far worse lens options outside of the wwl-1 combo. Sony apsc has no native macro lens, a non optimal fisheye and only one rectilinear zoom option. And m43 has various kit lenses with a pro solution for the same zoom range.

Macro: The 90 and 50mm are designed for full frame. They mount natively to the a6400, but the focus is slow and the size of the lens is disproportionate to the camera. Plus you'll have to buy a n85 to n120 adapter. On m43 you have 30mm, 45mm and 60mm and they all mount natively on n85.

On fisheye Sony doesn't have a native fisheye solution so you'll have to use the pancake addon which is significantly less sharp. You do have the Sony 10-18 f4 as a native rectilinear lens. M43 has about 3 options, all of which have the same f or lower.

You can have a larger sensor, but lens options (and their practicality/focus speed) is way more important IMO. You add better battery, generally cheaper lens/port, higher sync speed and I think m43 is better.

I have a Sony a6000, and the lens choice is driving me to m43. Your photo starts with the lens first and sensor after. Hope it helps, as you can see I had some experience...

#17 horvendile

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 11:08 PM

I dropped the ball re this thread - sorry. 

So, if I understand ChrissRoss correctly, you can mount the WWL-1 on a strobe arm. And with the float collar, that shouldn't become too unbalanced? I hope. Would this be a solution to be recommended?

 

I don't think I'm in a hurry, but I have a trip in November and I don't totally rule out upgrading before that. It would be fun, for sure.

 

And thanks Xberges for chipping in. Yeah, I agree that m4/3 probably makes more sense than the A6400, despite the latter's larger sensor and AF.

 

Definitely not your problem, but I also have to fit all this with possibly starting to migrate from Nikon F to Nikon Z for topside shooting. But I just won SEK 30 (about $3) on the lottery, so I should be fine.



#18 ChrisRoss

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Posted 01 July 2019 - 11:53 PM

Yes I believe you can and others seem to be doing so - refer to that thread in video forum.  Don't know if it's a good option or not though, you would have to think it could interfere with easy operation of strobe arms with that large lump on there and also balance issue weighting 160 gr and potential for strobe arm creep as well.



#19 horvendile

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 02:24 AM

I found the thread now. Thanks for the tip.

 

If - I write if - I find that the WWL-1 is more trouble than it's worth, there's always e.g. the 8-18 and a regular dome port. (Yes, I'm now departing the WWL-1 track for a bit.) But then I will have edge quality problems, right? Except at very small apertures. On Nikon FX and a 16-35 lens I could add the Sea & Sea correction lens, but I haven't seen anything like that for m4/3.

 

Damn this is complicated. Makes my topside camera gear optimization seem really simple.



#20 hyp

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Posted 02 July 2019 - 03:30 AM

There are definitely some soft corner issues with the 8-18. At f8 it becomes fairly decent though. Having a proper dome adds the benefit of being able to do splits, but they are also quite a bit larger than the WWL-1. I would also recommend getting a glas port. My 7" Nauticam dome is so floaty I carry a custom made lead weight that fits around the port. Definitely one kg of weight I wouldn't mind losing...







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