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Phil Rudin

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Everything posted by Phil Rudin

  1. Just to be clear the N-120 170mm Zen Underwater port has the removable shade for the circular end of the 8-15 zoom.
  2. My first suggestion would be to look at the Saga and Zen port charts at zen underwater.com and sagadive.com. These 100mm ports are very lens specific and according too the charts neither brand supports the Sigma full frame 15mm lens. In fact the only full frame lenses they support are the 8-15mm fisheye zooms. The Nauticam N120 140mm optical glass fisheye ports support both the sigma 15 and the outstanding Nikon 8-15mm fisheye zoom. The fisheye zoom requires the port with the removable shade for the 8mm and and an N120 40mm extension. The port with the removable shade is a bit more expensive but if you ever intend to move up to the 8-15 zoom it will have been money well spent. Photos are with the Nikon 8-15mm F/3.5-4.5 fisheye zoom at the circular 8mm and and the 15mm full frame end using a Nikon Z6 with Nikon lens adapter. The housing is Ikelite with the eight inch compact acrylic dome and Ikelite DS-161 flashes.
  3. I have not seen or tested the Tamron lens so have no comment regarding that lens other than to say it should work in a smaller port like Nauticam 180mm or ZEN 170mm with the proper extension. I am in the process of testing the new Sony FE 20mm F/1.8 with minimum focus distance of 18cm (the Tamron is 10.92cm). My lens will focus all the way to the glass with the 170 and 180mm ports. Photo touching the port glass, zen 170mm.
  4. Hi Eric, First of all 1:1 or life size on a full frame camera is an image area of apex. 36 X 24mm the frog photo is way greater than that, I would guess at least 1:3 or greater. With this lens to get to 1:1 the lens needs to be within 1 or 2 mm of the subject which just will not work with a dome port. The thickness of the port glass alone would prevent using it at full life size. With FF and a lens as wide as 15mm you would be best served with a 230mm or greater port diameter. Even if you were to use the lens for its excellent wide angle qualities by the time you added the gears it would not be cost effective. Rokinon/Samyang makes a 14mm F/2.8 AF lens for Canon, Nikon and Sony FF mirrorless which is also an excellent lens. This lens focuses to 20 cm which is a usable distance behind a 230mm port. You will find my review of that lens in back issue #112 jan/feb 2020 at uwpmag.com, this is a free PDF download. The Rokinon FE 14mmF/2.8 is now on sale in the US for under $500.00. This lens is a much better choice as a budget ultra wide (weitwinkel) rectilinear. Out of the water the Venus Laowa 15mm works quite well using focus peaking.
  5. The fisheye converter for the Sony FE 28mm F/2 snaps to the lens like a lens cap. The 28mm has a 49mm thread the new Sony FE 20mm F/1.8 (which shipped in the US today) has a 67mm threads so I would say not.
  6. Also Adam, Just out of curiosity I am interested to know why a firmware update which still does not raise the Z-cameras to the level of the current Sony tracking, eye AF, is in your words, "may make the Z series much more attractive for underwater use" I think theNikon Z6/Z7 are excellent cameras however they have few native lenses including NO Fisheye, (14-30 zoom and the coming 20mm). In November 2019 you rejected all Sony FF cameras for in your words, "The lack of a native fisheye makes it hard to justify the Sony full frame mirrorless cameras for underwater use when pretty much every other manufacturer offers one". I don't understand why the lack of a native fisheye would not apply to all camera brands.
  7. Hi Adam, The dome port used is the Ikelite Compact 8 inch dome with the 50mmport extension which is the Ikelite recommendation from the port chart. The dome port is the acrylic "Dry Lock" and it masters about six inches across and cost $350.00. The first image shooting up is at 17mm, ISO-640, F/18, 1/200th sec. This image also uses the S&S M82 internal correction lens which could be affecting the image with the smaller dome port. Second image is at 14mm, ISO-640, F/10, !/80th sec. Both images are full frame no crop.
  8. I have an older Think Tank Airport Security roller bag and a newer and smaller Think Tank Airport Advantage XT. The XT bag is lighter and as my roller bag has been weighted on every international trip I have taken in the past three years I have had to lighten the load in the roller bag. I have never had to weight my shoulder bag because the airlines assume it is lighter. My personal system is the Sony A7R IV with Nauticam housing and the ZEN 230mm dome which is heavy. I use the port with the Sony FE 12-24mm zoom Canon 8-15mm Fisheye zoom, FE 16-35 zoom, Zeiss 18mm and more. Because of the port size problem you have described I am now standing the port on its side in my shoulder bag along with several lenses and camera bodies. This allows me to put a lot of weight in a small bag that does not get scrutinized much. I bag the port with bubble wrap and cary the lenses in storage bags. The shoulder bag is an older Think Tank UrbanDisguise60V2.0
  9. That would be an article for another day but it does work with the Z 14-30 lens in the Ikelite housing with the 8 inch compact port if that is your question.
  10. Differences you may want to consider are depth ratings which range from 40 to 100 meters, optical glass or acrylic and the reason I selected the Zen port is ease of removing the dome shade blades. I use the Canon 8-15mm Fisheye zoom with the Metabones lens adapter and this lens will vignette at the 8mm circular end without the blades removed. This is the best port for splits with the fisheye zoom.
  11. Just finished up spending several days with the Nikon Z6 and Ikelite housing with the compact 8 inch dome port. The lenses I tested were the native Z 14-30mm rectilinear zoom and the 8-15mm Fisheye with the FTZ lens mount adapter. My test camera had the version 2.0 softwear not the new V. 3.0 which Adam addresses with this post. I found the version 2.0 to be an improvement over the v. 1.0 I first tested in late 2018 using the just released Z7. I shot the v. 2.0 in AF-S rather than to use the hit and miss tracking which appears to have been resolved with the V. 3.0 update. The Z6 is an excellent camera with superb build and image quality. The native 14-30mm is quite good for underwater use since most will be using higher F/stops in the F/11 to F/22 range. The 8-15mm Fisheye zooms gives the same performance on the Z6 with the adapter as the Canon 8-15 Fisheye does on the Sony A7 III with an adapter. My full review will be posting soon in issue #113 of uwpmag.com. Attached image, Large Mouth Bass, Ginnie Springs, Florida, Nikon Z6, Z 14-30mm F/4 S, at 17.5mm, ISO-640, F/13, 1/125th sec, Ikelite housing, 8 inch compact dome port, Two Ikelite DS-161 flash’s.
  12. Regarding the Tokina 10-17 zoom you are making the assumption that the lens will work with the A7R III and an adapter. If you look at the front page of divephotoguide.com you will see that the 10-17 is having compatibility issues with the Nikon Z6/7 cameras, I would want to know it will work before I would buy. Second is that the A7R III in APS-C provides about a 19mp image rather than the 24mp common with most current APS-C camera bodies. The Sigma is an option that has been tested but I think the most popular combo is the Canon 8-15 with the Metabones adapter. It is the most expensive option but is a bit like having two different lenses. At 15mm it is a full frame fisheye and at 8mm it is a circular fisheye. Not everyone likes the 8mm round image but I have found it fun to use. The port selections remain about the same as long as you buy a port with removable shade. The shade blocks the corners of the 8mm causing bad vignetting. Images with the Canon 8-15 and A7R II/III.
  13. That is a viewfinder designed to be used with the Nikonos cameras. It fits on the cold shoe on the top of the camera and the masks are for different lenses to cover the AOV of the lens. The dial on the viewfinder is for distance adjustment. Useful if you are still shooting a Nikonos film camera or to a collector perhaps.
  14. The current issue of uwpmag.com has an image attached below using the Somy FE 90mm macro with the Aquatica +10 closeup lens which is designed for full frame cameras. I personally own the SMC-1 which I have used for several years and many of my super macro shots on full frame have been taken with that lens. In back issues at uwpmag.com you can find reviews for Saga +15 issue #76, Nauticam CMC-1 issue #84 and Inon UCL-167 issue #98. CMC 1 & 2 are designed for best results with consumer compacts and M43 cameras. APS-C and full frame would be better served using SMC-1 or 2. With CMC the #1 is the higher power and #2 is lower, it is the reverse with the SMC lenses. Saga is perhaps best with APS-C and smaller sensors as is the Inon UCL-167. Inon has a newer line of C/U lenses called UCL-67 M67 which are designed for full frame cameras. Dozens of other C/U lens manufactures are out there as well, hard to cover them all. I have reviewed Weefine/Kracken Sports 1000 and 3000 ring lights but none of their C/U lenses at this time.
  15. The snoot comes with two aperture cards, one with round holes and one with oval holes. If you use the oval card you can change the shape of the light from round to elongated by turning the snoot while it is mounted on the Mini flash. The shape of the focusing lights should then be the same as the flash. This allows you to harden or soften the edges of the light for different lighting effects. I have not used the Retra snoot, but like you guys I have found the MF-1 to be the easiest snoot I have used.
  16. I have not tested or reviewed the Weefine/Kraken sports closeup lenses. Good to hear that someone else has adopted the better design.
  17. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the Backscatter Mini flash and snoot.
  18. All of these lenses are closeup lenses of different powers expressed in diopters. What makes the Nauticam CMC and SMC lenses a cut above is the design of the lenses. With any macro lens the placement of the closeup lens in relation to the macro lens makes a big difference. If the distance between the C/Uand the macro lens is even 2 or 3 millimeters the amount of magnification begins to drop. If the macro lens does not sit very close to the port glass you loose magnification. If the C/U lens sits forward on the outside of the housing you loose magnification. The Nauticam closeup lenses and flip adapters are designed to reduce this distance from the macro lens. All of the C/U lenses you have referenced above except for the Nauticam are designed so that the lens elements are flush with the 67mm threads on the back of the C/U lens. If you take a close look at the Nauticam C/U lenses you will see that the lens elements extend past the threads to get them closer to the port glass. To make this work you need to use a Nauticam flip adapter or the threaded adapter ring that comes with the Nauticam lenses. You won't see another lens being sold with this adapter ring. This 3 or 4 mm extension difference allows greater magnification with like lenses.
  19. The CMC-1 can be used with a 60mm on APS-C but results is less magnification, 1.5:1. On M43with a 60mm the magnification is 2:1. The SMC-1 while more expensive is the better choice especially if you move to full frame at some point.
  20. The SMC-2 requires a higher level of skill than SMC-1 and 1:1. This is a very niche item for the obsessed super macro fan. My suggestion is to turn off AF and set to manual. Set the 90mm macro at 1:1 and leave it. Then acquire focus at 1:1 once you have done that flip in the SMC-2 and move much closer to your subject to obtain focus. When you are in focus at 1:1 and use the SMC-1 you need to reduce subject distance by about 50% say eight inches to four inches, SMC-2 is about 1/2 the distance as SMC-1 or four inches to two inches. Not aware of your skill level but these are toys that are not easy to use. When I have used SMC-2 and shot 150 images on a dive I will be lucky to get 5 or 6 in focus at F/18 to F/22. Lighting is also a bitch because you are so close to the subject and the obvious damage you can cause if you bump the subject is also a concern. The biggest issue for all super macro is subject selection, at times it is hard to find a subject so small that is not very three demential to photograph. With full frame at this magnification DOF is razor thin so most subjects will only be partially in focus.
  21. If you purchased the CMC-1 new it should have come with an adapter ring and storage bag. the adapter ring allows it to be used with most non-Nauticam flip adapters.
  22. As Vince said above the E 16mm for APS-C and the fisheye converter are marginal because the 16mm is so bad. The FE 28mm F/2 is a much better lens so I would expect better results. The Orange sponge shot is from a review I did of the A6400 and Ikelite housing with the 16 and Fisheye adapter. The fresh water shot was done with the Sony FE 28mm and the Nauticam WWL-1 for another review. Big difference in detail and much better than I would expect with the Fish adapter.
  23. I have attached the front page for my Sony a6400 review and I would agree with Jack regarding the A6600. All things being equal you will spend the same amount on housing, ports, gears, extensions, flash etc. for 6400 as you will for 6600. I consider the extra battery life and IBIS alone to be worth the $400.00 or so difference. If you chose to go with A6400 I have one for $775.00 shipped that is like new. You can also find my reviews for A7 III and A7R III in UWPMAG.com back issues. I like the 10-15 zoom for W/A and the Zeiss 50mm macro best.
  24. The S&S correction filter is used most for 16-35 zoom lenses because most lenses at 14mm are curved and don't take a filter. The 14mm is 7 degrees wider than the 16 which is a lot at the normal U/W range of three feet or less to the subject. The Olympus 7-14 zoom has the same 114 degree AOV as the Nikon Z 14-30 F/4. I used the 7-14 with 170 and 180 ports but did not get the corner results I was looking for until I went to the Zen Underwater 200mm optical glass port. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but with full frame you need large domes for expectable corner sharpness with rectilinear lenses and you need to be shooting at high F/numbers. I start at F/13 and higher using Sony FE 12-24 F/4 and 16-35 F/4 with a Zen 230mm optical glass port. Testing with a 170mm port and 16-35at 16mm are very poor, adding the S&S filter helps but most would still not be happy especially if you go to a 114 AOV rather than 107 degrees. Everything in photography is a tradeoff and with FF one of those is larger dome ports, with like DSLR's lenses the ports for best results can be even bigger (250mm). The 240mm acrylic port sells for $750.00 in the US and the 165mm is around $450.00. The S&S correcting filter is around $400.00. your money would be more wisely spent to go with the 240 than with the 165+filter combo. The photo is taken with a Sony A7R IV (61mp) and a Rokinon AF 14mm F/2.8 at F/13, ISO500, 1/125th sec. using the Zen 230mm port.
  25. Thank you all for your interest in my article in UWPMAG.com. Your questions for the most part address the Sony A7R IV and the Sony FE 90mm F/2.8 macro lens. So let me start off by saying that I am Senior Reviewer for uwpmag.com and I have done over eighty equipment reviews for this magazine alone. Most of my reviews address mirrorless cameras from a number of manufactures and that I have not done much with Panasonic because the Editor is a Pana user and covers that equipment. Most if not all of the questions you have ask are answered in those reviews so I will highlight some of the specific issues you have ask about. First is the issue of comparing apples to apples. I am a big fan of 4/3 and M43 having moved from the Nikonos RS film camera to Olympus 43 (E-1, E-300, E330 E-3) as my first digital cameras. I later migrated to M43 with the first camera with an Olympus housing. So first I can assure you that shooting with M43 is not at all like using Full Frame or Medium Format. Both FF and MF require much more critical focus than M43 or even APS-C. The first Sony FF cameras I reviewed were the A7R II and A7 II with the Sony FE 90mm macro. At that time I said that the 90mm macro was the best macro lens I have ever used, prior to that it was the Olympus 50mm F/2 for 4/3. I have never said that the Sony 90 macro was the fastest macro lens I have ever used so let me clarify that distinction. With each new A7R the auto focus has improved and the recent firmware update for A7R III has made the camera even better but not as good as the RIV. As I covered extensively in both of my A7R IV reviews I have completely changed my auto focus setting preferences. With Olympus EM-5, EM-5 II, EM-1, EM1 II, Sony A7R II & III, Nikon Z-7, Canon EOS R and more I have always used AF-S with back focus because that was what worked best for me while reviewing equipment. I also had a manual focus gear for most of those reviews which I used with subjects in the 1:2 to super macro range. I have now gone to what Sony calls AF-C (auto focus continues) and Tracking: Flexible Spot S (also implemented in the A6400 & A6600). This has allowed me to abandon rear focus and I have yet the use the manual focus gear. I want to make this clear, other brands like Olympus have similar focus settings but they have just not worked all that well for me. Sony is a clear leader in the area of auto focus tech and to say that all mirrorless systems have adopted EYE AF may be true but they just don't rise to the quality of the Sony EYE AF. Sony has two native FE macro lenses the 50mm F/2.8 and the 90mm F/2.8 both of which are class leading. With the A7R IV you can toggle between 61MP FF and 26+MP APS-C which gives an equivalent 90 & 135 or 50 & 75. My personal preference is for the 90 over 100/105 because of the wider AOV, they all end up at 1:1 so you have a slightly wider range without having much closer. As a point of reference I have used the Nauticam SMC-2 with excellent results. That is more than enough magnification for me. Regarding adapted lenses like I used for my Canon EOS R and Nikon Z-7 reviews they are just not the same. Mirrorless lens design is just different from DSLR lens design. So while adapted lenses are quite expectable (I use the Canon 8-15 Fisheye zoom with Metabones for Sony) they will never be as good as like quality lenses designed for mirrorless. When Canon and Nikon introduced DSLR's they kept the same lens mount so film users migrate film lenses. How many photographers are still using film lenses on DSLR's only those that have converted Nikonos or Nikonos RS lenses for underwater use. I have done 1000's of dives with Olympus gear and I can assure you that it works very well but is not up to the current Sony standard for AF. Last I am not sponsored by anyone and while I have an opportunity to test a wide range of equipment the equipment I own I paid for just like everyone else. I was accused of being an Olympus fanboy for years and now the same is true of Sony. The truth is I buy what works best for me, I went back to Olympus after a short stint with the Sony A7R II/A7 II productivity decreased. Since the release of A7R III I have been all in with Sony. That does not mean that I would not switch again if someone builds a better mousetrap. All photos with the Sony 90 macro and Backscatter MF-1 flash.
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