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Suitable lens for close up's of elusive subjects !

Canon lens

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#1 andycornish



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Posted 13 August 2014 - 05:31 AM

I will try to keep this brief, I recently returned from a weeks diving in the red sea and was my first extended go with new camera and housing (details below), the problem I had certain wildlife is easily spooked, no matter how slow I approached, minimal/no bubbles with the lens on the camera I could not get close up for some of the shots I would like to take.


Two specific occasions were: a large Napolean wrase was behind a pinnacle I swam around to get a photo, said wrase then proceded to swim around the pinnacle as soon as I got closer.


Second occasion was an amazing dive with 20+ hammerhead shark shoal (unsure of the plural) it was a surreal dive but looking back at the photos I would have like to have got a good close up (able to see denticles on skin would be good), in this situation the sharks were very curious but wary. Over the space of 4 dives gradually got closer but 2 metres was the limit they would swim off if we got any closer.


My camera is a Canon EOS M in a Nauticam Hosuing with a 22mm f/2 lens, it performed really well for the majority of the trip apart from close ups (bar lion fish and moray's which dont move away!). My choice now is one of the other EF-M mount lenses (18-55 f3.5/5.6 or 55-200 f4.5/6.3) or use the canon adaptor (already own), and fit any of canon's lenses.


I own a 600D and have a few lenses, above water this would not be an issue as I could try a lens and if I didnt get on with it sell it on or return if for minimal loss, the added complication being if i purchase a new port then it adds quickly to the cost of trials and are more difficult to sell on/return.


Any adivce or opinons welcome !





N.B. Current idea would be keep using the 22mm lens (with strobes I am saving for) most dives and then switch over to the longer lens for specific close up dives.





#2 bvanant


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Posted 20 August 2014 - 12:06 PM

You have hit on one of the great truths of underwater photography which is you need to get close. Using long zoom lenses can be done of course but water is quite thick and usually not as clear as air (except today in LA, the air is quite ugly). Most big animal guys underwater are using very wide lenses like the 15 mm or the Tokina 10-17 and diving so that they get close. Of your lens choices the 18-55 can be quite useful) but I think the 55-200 will not be very useful underwater.


Canon 7d, Nauticam, Lots of glass, Olympus OMD-EM5, Nauticam, 60 macro, 45 macro, 8 mm fisheye, Inon, S&S, Athena Strobes plus lots of fiddly bits.

#3 andycornish



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Posted 22 August 2014 - 01:03 AM

Thanks for the advice Bill, my other thought with a 'zoom' lens' would be keeping it stable to get a sharp image especially it is was deep and darker.


I have heard only good things about the Tokina 10-17 but they are pricey !


Quick final question, with shots of subjects which are further away are strobes still effective ? (at the 2m+ range) or is it better to try and work with the natural light ? I realise this would be dependant on strobe, water conditions etc !

#4 Johnqdiver



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Posted 02 September 2014 - 07:56 PM

With regards your strobe question and distance. The further away you are the less light will reach the subject. Do a google search for inverse square law with strobes, it explains it perfectly.

Edited by Johnqdiver, 03 September 2014 - 07:07 PM.

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