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Best wide angle lens for Nikon D850 in Nauticam housing


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#21 adamhanlon

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 02:00 AM

Hi Valerio,

 

Sorry, I'm going:  :offtopic:

 

I think you have hit the nail on the head with the corner sharpness of the 17-35mm. When discussing corner sharpness on land, the 14-24mm gives pretty sharp corners at f/2.8. Even the inexpensive 18-35 f/3.5-4.5 does pretty sharp corners at f/4.5! As do many other Nikon and Sigma primes. As you say, the 17-35mm does not,  unless you close down the aperture to f/8-f/11. 

 

The Sea & Sea correction lenses are a very interesting idea and something we haven't discussed here. I have found that they add around a stop to the 16-35mm, when used with a big dome. It will be interesting to find out whether the D850 will pick up the (deliberate) optical distortion caused by them. This definitely needs testing!

 

I tested the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 (http://wetpixel.com/...angle-lenses/P3) with the D800 and found it OK at f/11 or so. It was good for big animals in the blue, but I found the 16-35mm f/4 better. This is particularly true when the 16-35mm was used with the Sea &Sea correction lens.

 

The best performance that I have found is actually a legacy lens. The Tokina 17mm f/3.5 is, for some obtuse optical reason, a great performer. Here is an image taken with a 170mm dome at f/6.3:

 

150410-ahanlon-0606.jpg

(Nikon D800, Tokina 17mm f/3.5, Zen 170mm dome, two Seacam Seaflash 150 strobes. 1/200@f/6.3, ISO800)

 

Again, I have no idea how it will perform at 46MP. My gut instinct is that it will not be good as it is an old lens that simply was not designed to capture this level of detail. 

 

Minimum focus distance is an interesting statistic. Remember that the lens needs to be able to focus on the virtual image created in front of the dome. The virtual image extends from just outside the dome itself (for very close objects), to 3.03 times the radius of the dome (for objects at infinity). So for a wide angle scene with the subject at infinity and a 230mm dome, the lens need to be able to focus 348.45mm (1) in front of the lens. Obviously, if an object is closer than this distance, the lens will need to be able to focus on it.

 

Apologies for going "off the reservation!"

 

Adam

 

 


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#22 Rui_Guerra

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:38 AM

 

Consequentially, only zoom lenses that don't change its physical size significantly while zooming are suitable for photography with a dome port. Among the Nikon FX lenses, the 16-35mm f/4 is much more suitable than the "legendary" 14-24mm f/2.8, the latter changing the position of its front optical element strongly while zooming.    

 

 

 

Not entirely correct. I have here the Nikon 16-35 f4 and it changes the position of the from element, getting 9mm shorter when going from 16mm to 24mm. From 24 mm to 35 mm it moves out the front element for about 6mm. So there should be other things to consider and not just if it changes or not the front position element while zooming. It also moves a lot (around 30 to 40 mm) the position of the rear element while zooming in from 16 to 35 mm (maybe this compensates?).

 

 

In terms of the 16-35mm with Nauticam and 230mm dome, the correct extension seems to be between 60mm and 70mm, with most people opting for the latter. 

 

 

Nauticam recomends a 90 mm extension. Do you have any comparation test shots where you've based your decision about the extension length?

I use an 80mm extension, just because that's what I have here (although image quality is very good, with the normal limitations of FOF and dome ports - using a big 230cm).


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#23 adamhanlon

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 05:49 AM

Hey Rui

 

Nauticam actually recommends either a 70,80 or 90mm extension, depending on which (Nauticam) dome port it is used with...!

 

Seacam recommends a 70mm with their Superdome and a 65mm extension with their WP Wide Port.

 

The construction, shape and fitting of the port itself impact on the correct extension.

 

I have not done any testing with differing extensions with this lens, but have used the recommended ones. It would be interesting to experiment...

 

Adam


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#24 ChrisRoss

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 03:04 PM

I must say I am still a bit baffled as to why the high megapixels of the D850 is considered to be part of the problem when discussing soft corners.
Does the various dome port theories not deal with the curvature of the dome, the way the light rays bends through the dome glass and how wide the lens being used behind the dome are?

To the best of my knowledge, none of the theories state that the light will bend differently depending on the megapixels of the camera. 

Alternatively, if considering that the 14-24mm paired with the D850 delivers beautiful results topside, but not underwater surely we can agree that what has changed in the equation is not the megapixel count going from topside to underwater, but the fact that the 14-24mm is now behind a dome port.

This is ongoing issue in all photo forums above or below water, suddenly you have extra resolution and when you look at the corners at 100% in Photoshop you discover that the image does not look as sharp as the lower resolution older model, therefore the new camera causes poor corners.  In fact the corners are the same as they always were and the image will look the same if you downsample to 36 MP or whatever the resolution of the previous model was. 

 

The actual situation is you can't take advantage of that extra resolution in the corners because the lens does not resolve that well in the corners. 



#25 vbpress

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 04:20 PM

Hi Adam
Thank you for your precious off-topic, but I still puntualize that the wide angle lenses have a "natural" applications in all focus views, in other words closing the aperture. This is more true behind a dome in uw photography where we have the problem of the corner blur due to the dome out of focus aberrations; we have only two way to reduce the problem 1) increase the dome radius 2) closing the aperture to maximise the deep of field. Well, in my experience f/11 f/16 are abitual aperture in uw wide angle photo shooting.
I remember your experience with Tokina 17/3.5 (surpising experience!) also the Nikon 20/1.8 test. Last year I had problems of out of focus shootig toads just behind the 240 dome using Nikon AF-s 18-35/3.5-4.5 because the amphibians were too much close to the dome for mfd of the lens. This is the reason of my interest for Nikon AF-s 20/1.8 but you have reduced all my enthusiasm :(
In any case, staying on topic, I believe that the current best wide angle/dome combo for 36mp camera is also the current best combo for 45mp camera. :)

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#26 Geo Cloete

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:16 AM

This is ongoing issue in all photo forums above or below water, suddenly you have extra resolution and when you look at the corners at 100% in Photoshop you discover that the image does not look as sharp as the lower resolution older model, therefore the new camera causes poor corners.  In fact the corners are the same as they always were and the image will look the same if you downsample to 36 MP or whatever the resolution of the previous model was. 

 

The actual situation is you can't take advantage of that extra resolution in the corners because the lens does not resolve that well in the corners. 

Hi Chris, I am aware of some of these discussions and I am also aware of some debunking them.
We have to keep in mind, that even the old lenses available today were designed for film "resolution" A good quality film photo, still holds more data than the top line of digital full frame cameras. We know that not all lenses are made equal, but I can't recall ever hearing in the film days that soft corners were blamed on film having too much resolution power. 



#27 Undertow

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:24 PM

This is ongoing issue in all photo forums above or below water, suddenly you have extra resolution and when you look at the corners at 100% in Photoshop you discover that the image does not look as sharp as the lower resolution older model, therefore the new camera causes poor corners.  In fact the corners are the same as they always were and the image will look the same if you downsample to 36 MP or whatever the resolution of the previous model was. 

 

The actual situation is you can't take advantage of that extra resolution in the corners because the lens does not resolve that well in the corners. 

 

Indeed, well articulated, but has it been definitively shown somewhere? Personally I just don't see it both topside and underwater.

 

All I've read are allusions to the idea on forums - primarily before the D800 came out in 2012. I've not seen much mention of it since (thought it was debunked) until here and now with the D850 UW.

 

Of course I've always been a firm advocate for using the best optics possible and when asked I advise people of the importance of lenses vs cameras (and of shooting vs fussing about gear). 

 

I can somewhat see the idea from a "get-the-most-from-your-high-res-camera" perspective but not that one's image will suffer due to some larger relative discrepancy between the sharp center and unsharp corners. That acceptable optics on a D810 (or even D700) may no longer be such on a D850. 

 

I shoot a lot and just haven't seen it. Though I'm not much of a pixel peeper. 

 

I can't recall ever hearing in the film days that soft corners were blamed on film having too much resolution power. 

 

I believe that the current best wide angle/dome combo for 36mp camera is also the current best combo for 45mp camera. :)

 

Agreed.

 

Cheers,

Chris


Edited by Undertow, 12 January 2018 - 01:28 PM.


#28 adamhanlon

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 12:39 AM

It all boils down to what you find acceptable (and what you plan to use them for.)

 

Personally, whilst I like the image that Chris posted very much, I find the corners too much of a distraction from the beautiful framing and lighting. Hence it would not be a keeper for me. I guess this is pretty definitive (for me...)

 

I saw another example from WPOTY a few years ago. It showed an amazing moment during an incredible encounter on the sardine run, but (for me) was ruined by the fact that the photographer had chosen to use a 14-24mm and the corners were soft.

 

Encounters like this are hard to get. Surely we owe it to ourselves to use the best tool possible to capture it?

 

Comparisons with film are tad dated. In terms of resolution, we are way beyond what 35mm film could do. 46MP (and arguably 36MP) would be the equivalent of medium format. The few people that shoot/have shot this medium with film underwater have really struggled to get acceptable corner performance with wide angle....We also need to be cognizant that in the days of film, a well composed, exposed and focused image was comparatively rare. The ability that digital imagery gives us to address these three issues have raised the bar of what makes for an outstanding image.

 

Adam


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#29 JackConnick

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 06:59 AM

Arrggh. Going through this now. I rented a D850 and used it with my Sigma 15mm FE and Nikon 17-35 behind a 170mm Zen (as its hard to travel with a 9" dome) for a trip in Dec. But I'm biting the bullet and will have a Saga 9" dome for an upcoming trip to Palau.

 

Adam, have you tried your Tokina 17mm 3.5 with your D850? I found one that's dirt cheap used...

 

While the Nikon 8-15mmFE is probably the sharpest of the lot of FEs, I'm not so sure I'd get that much more out of it than the Sigma 15 FE, especially with a larger dome.

 

I agree that the 17-35mm f2.8 is about the same as the 16-35mm uw. My experience is that an f2.8 can't help but catch focus better than an f/4 lens and I mostly use it for larger animals. I do have the S&S "filter" and will give that a test. I think the 9" dome and 70mm extension it should be ok.

 

But I'd like even more reach for shy big animals. 35mm wasn't enough reach.

 

I'd like to try to shoot the 60mm in DX mode for macro, as I miss using it with some diopters against the 105, we'll see how that goes.

 

Anybody shot the 60mm for big animals? Maybe behind a dome? Kinda weird, but it was a trick on DX.

 

Jack


Edited by JackConnick, 16 March 2018 - 07:00 AM.

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#30 JamesR

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 08:12 AM

Have any of you tried the Sigma 20/1.4 ART? Once I sell my D810/NA-D810 and get my NA-D850 I may rent one and give it a try.

 

I have 16-35/4, 20/2.8D, and Sigma 15mm FE & a Zen170 and Nauticam 8.5 port -- for now.

 

Regards,


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#31 buddy

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 09:17 AM

I am going to try the 14-24 f/2.8 on a Subal ND850 with a 65mm EXR and a 9" dome later.


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#32 Undertow

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 10:33 AM

But I'd like even more reach for shy big animals. 35mm wasn't enough reach.

 

I'd like to try to shoot the 60mm in DX mode for macro, as I miss using it with some diopters against the 105, we'll see how that goes.

 

Anybody shot the 60mm for big animals? Maybe behind a dome? Kinda weird, but it was a trick on DX.

 

Jack

 

 

We occasionally do some pelagic shark stuff here and I usually shoot a midrange zoom (17-55mm on DX, now 24-70mm on full frame). The long end comes in handy. In fact my profile thumbnail is a tiger at about 60mm behind a dome. 



#33 adamhanlon

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 02:07 PM

Hi Jack,

 

Sorry I missed your comments above. I haven't shot the D850 underwater yet. To be honest, the D500 is so good that I am in no rush!

 

Hence I have not tried the Tokina 17mm. I will shoot the D850 soon and will try it and report back....

 

I shot the 60mm behind a 100mm Zen dome on the D2Xs years ago. It was fine, but limited for macro as the dome meant you could not get the lens close enough.

 

I think the issue with sharks/big animals in the blue is more one of lighting than focal length. 

 

Adam


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