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berickf

10-22, 16-35 or 17-40

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Hello everyone,

 

I have decided to take the plunge into DSLR photography, but want to be able to take it underwater as soon as I have mastered it on land. I have spent considerable time on the DP review forums deciding the gear that I want to get, but have reserved the choice for my WA to be heavily influenced by the needs in diving as that is somewhere that I want my photography to go. Of course, first of all you'll want to now that I have decided on the 30D camera (so a 1.6x crop), and will eventually get the Ikelite housing with all the ports and strobes that I will need, but for now I want to focus on learning this camera on land, but want to make sure that when I decide to take it under I will have the right lens for the job, so I'm thinking ahead. I have already talked to one diver on the dp review website who pointed me here. He said that he used the 10-22, but that sometimes that lens decieved him into getting so close to things that he almost scraped his lens port on a few occasions. I was also particularily interested in if the f/2.8 of the 16-35 made it any better for diving given underwater lighting conditions? Could the 16-35 be used without strobes in say a 10m reef dive for instance? Or would it lend any advantage over my other two choices with strobes in a dark overhead environment like in caves or wrecks. I do love wreck diving, so that could be a valuable thing to know? Or would the 17-40 be better with its all around good optics and at half the price of the 16-35? I want to buy my WA now so that I can take advantage of the double rebates with the rest of my camera gear, but also plan on buying a couple of small primes in about a year, at the same time I plan on buying my underwater housing and underwater accessories. So if you can recommend any other excellent lenses that I should consider at that time as well, it would be very much appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Erick

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I have just read through a lot of the earlier threads that cover this topic and it seems that the majority of people recomend the 10-22 when comparing the zoom wide angle lenses, while the 16-35 does pop up a few times as a favourable lens, and the 17-40 was a rare discovery when it was talked about positively, assumingly because it is a f/4. Many here were in favour of primes to achieve faster aperture speeds. now considering that the 16-35 has a slightly faster aperture speed then the 10-22, is that completely wasted because you have to put more water in between you and your subject then with the ultra wide (weitwinkel) angle 10-22 at f/3.5, or does the f/2.8 give some advantages in some situations underwater with the 16-35 lens? Don't worry all you prime lovers. I'll get some primes before I go diving with this camera, I just want to get my WA with the camera now to take advantage of the double rebate, and just want to make sure that I'm making the right choice as far as using a WA in diving is concerned.

 

Thanks again for all your help,

 

Erick

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Hi Erick,

 

Here's my recommendation in terms of both price and use:

 

1) Sigma 10-20 or Tokina 12-24

2) Canon 10-22

3) Canon 17-40

4) Canon 16-35

 

The 17-40 is actually a better performing lens than the 16-35 at the apertures and focal distances we use.

 

You'll always want to be 3-6 feet from your subject at the MOST, so choose your lens accordingly. The 17-40 on the crop sensor cam will result in shots of subjects bread box to human sized. The 10-20 will be human sized to wreck sized.

 

Cheers

James

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Hi Erick,

 

Here's my recommendation in terms of both price and use:

 

1) Sigma 10-20 or Tokina 12-24

2) Canon 10-22

3) Canon 17-40

4) Canon 16-35

 

The 17-40 is actually a better performing lens than the 16-35 at the apertures and focal distances we use.

 

You'll always want to be 3-6 feet from your subject at the MOST, so choose your lens accordingly. The 17-40 on the crop sensor cam will result in shots of subjects bread box to human sized. The 10-20 will be human sized to wreck sized.

 

Cheers

James

 

Alright,

 

At first I was looking at the canon lenses for the double rebate, but since James and so many others have recommended the Sigma 10-20 and the Tokina 12-24 I have decided to look at the reviews for those lenses as well. Unfortunately the review pages that I know about specialize in land use, but they do give a general impression of build and optical quality (does anyone know of any lens reviews especially for underwater). The Sigma, doesn't actually rate that well (above water), save for it's price, which is about the same as the Tokina at $500, where as the Tokina rates better and has a f/4 which is very comparable to the f3.5-4.5 of the Canon 10-22. The Canon lens is one of those EF-S lenses that is said to use 'L' quality glass (along with the 17-55 f/2.8, for which is too big for an Ikelite housing), so assumingly the glass quality of the 10-22 is superior to the other two, and it is quicker when in optimal conditions, but is that worth the $660 after double rebate cost, or $160 more then either of the others. The 17-40 alternatively, doesn't always capture the 'whole scene' due the distances that one has to be to their subjects underwater, but its after rebate price is only $590, which is a great price for a lens of this quality. The 16-35 comes in at an astounding $1,300 after rebate, so I could actually get both the 17-40 and the 10-22 for $1,250 or the 17-40 and the Tokina/Sigma for $1,090 and effectively cover an accumulative 10-40 range. According to James the f/4 average of this range is fine and their is not any reason in expecting at the 16-35's f/2.8 aperture as having any great advantage in the underwater environment. Is this an appropriate analysis? Or am I missing anything here?

 

Thanks for the help everyone,

 

Erick

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Erick,

 

I have a Canon 30D with the 10-22 mm lens. A few weeks back my wife and I were in Paris and I was practicing with the 10-22. Only a few of my shots were taken at 10mm, most were taken with a focal length of 16mm and greater. I too was wondering if I should have bought the 16-35 or the 17-40. One thing that I noticed with the 10-22 is that the lens does not piston in and out when changing focal length. I felt that this was a good thing for being behind a dome port. I do not know if the 16-35 or the 17-40 are similiar in this regard. With that being said, the 10-22 is a fun lens

 

As far as housings go.. I can't say that I'm a fan of plastic housings. I was fortunate enough that my wife bought me an Aquatica A30D housing. I really like this housing. The engineering and machining are excellent. For controls, I couldn't be happier. I find that changing that aperature and shutter speed are easier than my Nikonos V with the 15mm lens.

 

-Jim

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Erick,

 

I have a Canon 30D with the 10-22 mm lens. A few weeks back my wife and I were in Paris and I was practicing with the 10-22. Only a few of my shots were taken at 10mm, most were taken with a focal length of 16mm and greater. I too was wondering if I should have bought the 16-35 or the 17-40. One thing that I noticed with the 10-22 is that the lens does not piston in and out when changing focal length. I felt that this was a good thing for being behind a dome port. I do not know if the 16-35 or the 17-40 are similiar in this regard. With that being said, the 10-22 is a fun lens

 

As far as housings go.. I can't say that I'm a fan of plastic housings. I was fortunate enough that my wife bought me an Aquatica A30D housing. I really like this housing. The engineering and machining are excellent. For controls, I couldn't be happier. I find that changing that aperature and shutter speed are easier than my Nikonos V with the 15mm lens.

 

-Jim

 

I believe that all of these lens choices are contained within the body throughout their focal range, although don't quote me on that ;) I have read another thread that pointed out that the 16-35, at least, does not fit into the lens port that well, and that this was causing some refractory lines from the dome to show up in some pictures, and I can only assume that since the size of the 16-35 and the 17-40 lenses are very similiar, that this might pose a problem for the 17-40 as well inside that housing. I can only hope that in the next year as I learn my camera, that Ikelite is able to adapt their gear to suit either of these lenses if I choose to buy either of them. Otherwise, if the lens is not well accepted by that housing I may be forced to adapt my choice in housings.

 

This brings me to my next question. At $1000 more, is the Aquatica A30D that much better then the Ikelite 30D model to justify the price jump? I know that its depth rating is better, but quite frankly I can't see myself going below 60m no matter what housing I choose. Is there a great leap in optic quality in pictures taken from inside the Aquatica model, or is it functionally that superior? Or is your choice simply a cosmetic preference?

 

Thanks for the reply,

 

Erick

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Hi Erick,

 

Check out the announcement and photos of the Aquatica housing jus posted on the homepage. Some neat features that it has that may make it "worth" the extra money - at least to me - are:

 

Fingertip controls - Aquatica has engineered the controls so that the knobs are at your fingertips. You don't have to take your hands off the handles to adjust aperture or SS. Some housings don't have this, and the controls just stick out wherever is easiest to build.

 

Bayonet Port w/ Extension Rings - I've used this port many times and it's very rugged and hard to knock off the housing. The extension rings allow you to buy ONE wide port and ONE macro port and use them for everything.

 

Viewfinder - Aquatica housings will soon have the option of a magnified viewfinder. This should be available to preview at DEMA. This finder is really really useful for macro photography. You can buy the housing and upgrade the viewfinder later - it's user service-able.

 

Cheers

James

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Hi Erick,

 

Check out the announcement and photos of the Aquatica housing jus posted on the homepage. Some neat features that it has that may make it "worth" the extra money - at least to me - are:

 

Fingertip controls - Aquatica has engineered the controls so that the knobs are at your fingertips. You don't have to take your hands off the handles to adjust aperture or SS. Some housings don't have this, and the controls just stick out wherever is easiest to build.

 

Bayonet Port w/ Extension Rings - I've used this port many times and it's very rugged and hard to knock off the housing. The extension rings allow you to buy ONE wide port and ONE macro port and use them for everything.

 

Viewfinder - Aquatica housings will soon have the option of a magnified viewfinder. This should be available to preview at DEMA. This finder is really really useful for macro photography. You can buy the housing and upgrade the viewfinder later - it's user service-able.

 

Cheers

James

 

Thanks a lot James,

 

I will definitely take your and Jim's recomendation of the A30D over the Ikelite when the time comes to choose my housing. You make some good and valid points. Would you say that the Ikelite is built with "controls [that] just stick out wherever is easiest to build", or is the comparison much closer then this assumption would leave me to believe? I have no experience with either so I hope that this is not a dumb question?

 

Did my homework regarding your lens rating make sense or did I drop the ball?

 

Thanks for all your help!

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Hi,

 

The older Aquatica housing for the 5D did not have fingertip controls - that was what I was referring to. I haven't seen the Ikelite housing for the 30D. There are many housings where the controls are not at your fingertips - I didn't mean to single out any one manufacturer. There are a few housings where the controls are right at your fingertips, such as Subal, Seacam, and now some of the Aquaticas.

 

Yes, you got it right RE the lens. The 16-35 is a poor performer at f2.8 so I wouldn't consider its being "faster" than the 17-40 an advantage. It's no good unless you can use it. All the lenses may need some modification so that you can't see the writing and the red or gold ring on the end in your photos. It's reflection from the inside of the dome, nothing to do w/ refraction. See Steven Frink article here at Wetpixle for suggestions.

 

Cheers

James

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Hi,

 

The older Aquatica housing for the 5D did not have fingertip controls - that was what I was referring to. I haven't seen the Ikelite housing for the 30D. There are many housings where the controls are not at your fingertips - I didn't mean to single out any one manufacturer. There are a few housings where the controls are right at your fingertips, such as Subal, Seacam, and now some of the Aquaticas.

 

Yes, you got it right RE the lens. The 16-35 is a poor performer at f2.8 so I wouldn't consider its being "faster" than the 17-40 an advantage. It's no good unless you can use it. All the lenses may need some modification so that you can't see the writing and the red or gold ring on the end in your photos. It's reflection from the inside of the dome, nothing to do w/ refraction. See Steven Frink article here at Wetpixle for suggestions.

 

Cheers

James

 

 

Ok, thanks so much James you are really helping me come to a decision here. I have another question.

 

Earlier you said:

 

Here's my recommendation in terms of both price and use:

 

1) Sigma 10-20 or Tokina 12-24

2) Canon 10-22

 

If I am not concerned about the $160 price difference between the Canon with the Sigma or Tokina lenses, and am only concerned about the best glass available for the purpose of WA zoom underwater, then which is the best pick for my future 30D? Still the same order, or would a "quality of picture" priority criteria shuffle it up a bit? Also take into consideration that I intend on getting the 17-40 as well at this point, so there will be some overlap at the high end, and I don't care about limiting myself by getting EF-S if I ever decided to upgrade to ff, because I would have the 17-40 and my wife can inherit all the 30D gear that wouldn't be able to be used on the upgrade body.

 

Thanks again for your patience with my endless questions.

 

Erick

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I enjoyed reading your thread on DPreview Erick - an interesting bunch there eh! Well, that's what you get for suggesting purchasing from a 3rd rate outfit I guess. :-)

 

I'd say the quality between the Tokina and the Canon is the same. The Sigma is quite a different lens, quite fatter. The Tokina is not EFS so can be used on FF cameras from about 18mm upwards.

 

Cheers

James

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Not to ask a stupid question, but why would you want both the Tokina 12-24 and the Canon 17-40? Underwater, the 12-24 forces you just a bit closer (mostly a good thing). I have both and don't use the 17-40 underwater at all. The 17-40 is a nice lens topside so maybe that's what you want it for -- I use the 17-40 topside as my walk around lens at the moment but am thinking about getting the Sigma 18-200OS when it is released as I missed way too many pictures walking around on my land tour in Indonesia this year beacuse I kept wanting to switch between the 17-40 and the 100-400. I need something in between and it is a pity that Canon doesn't offer much in that range for a decent price (like Nikon does with its 18-200VR, though as usual they can't make enough to keep stock in any store I know of). Other than that, I think you've got the right analysis of the lens quality. For the price, the 17-40 is a very good performer.

Edited by MikeO

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I enjoyed reading your thread on DPreview Erick - an interesting bunch there eh! Well, that's what you get for suggesting purchasing from a 3rd rate outfit I guess. :-)

 

I'd say the quality between the Tokina and the Canon is the same. The Sigma is quite a different lens, quite fatter. The Tokina is not EFS so can be used on FF cameras from about 18mm upwards.

 

Cheers

James

 

Hey James,

 

Yes that was an interesting "3rd rate outfit" experience. But a good learning experience and now I'm no worse for the wear. I will go with one of the many companies recommended throughout those threads now that I have learned the ropes. Luckily that experience got me to go on these forums, so I'm actually better off from the experience when you look at it in a practical light because I have been given so much great advice. So I guess if you have read those threads you know that I eventually decided upon the 70-200 f/2.8 IS w/ 1.4x extender when needed for telephoto and the 24-105 f/4 IS for my walk around as my "land lenses". And, now with your help I believe that I have settled on the 17-40 f/4 and the 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 to round out the full zoom range (Canon over Tokina for the extra two mm of focal range since they are optically equivalent) and this should have me covered when I make the "dive" into underwater photography as well! Once I get the hang of the camera I'll work my way back up from the shorter focal lengths to the longer with a collection of primes to fill out my underwater and macro selections and if I want to get beyond the 200mm w/ 1.4x then I'll really have to fork out a lot of $ because, quite frankly, I didn't like the way that the 100-400 reviewed when dusty conditions are taken into consideration (Kenya is very dusty), and those high focal length primes become really expensive! So those will have to wait a couple of years at least because I have to save up for my underwater housing first, because it is very obvious that these lenses and the 30D body are going to suck me dry! Maybe in 3-4 years I'll look into a new body and hand the 30D over to my wife, then because she is scared of lenses that cost over $1000 I'll leave her with the 10-22, and get her the inexpensive 17-85 and 70-300 IS. Then I might pick up the tokina for myself to replace the loss of the 10-22, but there might be all kinds of new options for both of those lens kits (mine and hers) come that juncture? So I'll have to start my homework all over again!

 

Thanks again for all your help,

 

Erick

 

Not to ask a stupid question, but why would you want both the Tokina 12-24 and the Canon 17-40? Underwater, the 12-24 forces you just a bit closer (mostly a good thing). I have both and don't use the 17-40 underwater at all. The 17-40 is a nice lens topside so maybe that's what you want it for -- I use the 17-40 topside as my walk around lens at the moment but am thinking about getting the Sigma 18-200OS when it is released as I missed way too many pictures walking around on my land tour in Indonesia this year beacuse I kept wanting to switch between the 17-40 and the 100-400. I need something in between and it is a pity that Canon doesn't offer much in that range for a decent price (like Nikon does with its 18-200VR, though as usual they can't make enough to keep stock in any store I know of). Other than that, I think you've got the right analysis of the lens quality. For the price, the 17-40 is a very good performer.

 

Hey Mike,

 

I would be getting the 17-40 primarily as a topside WA that is not extreme like the 10-22 can be, but I also like that it can be used effectively underwater, so while it would not be my main underwater lens, it could be useful in some circumstances. For instance, as mentioned in some threads, as a lens for shark or manta dives where I might not be getting as close to the action as I might like to, or need to to effectively use the 10-22. I also like the aspect of having both for reasons of upgradability in the future which I covered in my previous post in this thread.

 

I hope that addresses your question adequately.

 

Erick

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Hey James,

 

One more thing keeps eating away at me, that being the need to have a good max aperature for low light conditions on land, like for indoor shots. I already figure that with my budget already chewed up I'll just settle on the cheap solution of throwing in the 50mm f/1.8 into my package for now to tide myself over for the time being until I figure out a better solution. That was one reason that the 16-35 did have some appeal to me originally, but since it is not said to be the greatest lens for underwater use I have scraped it off the list. One other option that I want to know your opinion on though is the Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS. I know that this lens does not have an Ikelite port that it can fit into at this time, but I was wondering, is it compatible with the A30D housing and port? You mentioned that that housing uses a one port fits all theory, and I just wanted to see if this lens was included in that theory. So how does the 17-55 rate for underwater use? It is a tragedy that this lens is an EF-S though, because I think that this fact virtually rules it out as a contender within my initial package because my wife doesn't want $1000+ hand me downs, plus this year there is no rebate on this lens. But if you or anyone else could give me the heads up on the utility of this lens for underwater use as a replacement for subjects that would otherwise have been for the 17-40, that would be really appreciated. You know, just to give me a little more to agonize over ;)

 

Thanks again for all your help,

 

Erick

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This may seem a silly question but ... your thread seems to indicate a preference for wide angle use underwater ... so why are you going with a cropped camera like the 30D? Why not the 5D instead so you get the full benefit of the widest lenses???

 

Aloha!

JCD

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no polite way to say this...but if Erick is trying to justify prices differences in the sub K range...I really doubt he would even remotely consider an upgrade from the 30D to the 5D....thats quite a monetary step no?

 

I wish money was never a consideration for compromise!

 

John

This may seem a silly question but ... your thread seems to indicate a preference for wide angle use underwater ... so why are you going with a cropped camera like the 30D? Why not the 5D instead so you get the full benefit of the widest lenses???

 

Aloha!

JCD

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I have no experience with EF-S lenses save for the 18-55 and I tried a 10-22 underwater once. The Aquatica port opening is big enough for the 17-55 so you'd just need to get the right extension ring and a diopter if required.

 

I've got to agree about the 5D though - why not spend $1,000 more and get a 5D? Then spend $1,000 less on lenses and forget about EF-S

 

James

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My reasoning is this,

 

When I first wanted to get a DSLR I quickly realized that the body was more the medium of the art (like water colour vs oil in painting) where as your lenses are the brushes that one chooses to use. Unfortunately, in the world of serious photography one's gear is costly, and when working on a budget, compromises have to be made. With the gear I want to get right now, my budget is stretched so if I wanted to pay $1,250 more (after double rebate) and get the 5D then it would force me to make the decision between downgrading my lenses or not getting the full complement of lenses that I have decided on getting. Now, for myself, I really would not consider compromising my lens choices. Even if I'm starting off doing water colour painting, at least I know that I'm laying it down with brushes that are fine haired enough to allow me to paint with detail and that, so long as I take care of my them, won't start losing their bristles. The other option would be to compromise the range that I cover with the lenses and not get either the 70-200, the 24-105 or both the 10-22 and the 17-40. This would be akin to learning oil painting now, but not bringing all the brushes that I need to learn all the aspects of the art. My compromise has been in the medium, I've choosen to start off doing 1.6x cropped watercolour, and will go to class with a lot of nice brushes to learn with. I know, there will be a whole new learning curve when I move on to full framed oil paintings, but I hope by then I will have a pretty good grasp of how to use the entire range effectively and can make the jump effectively. When money counts, something has to give... unfortunately.

 

I hope that this made some sense, Even I'm starting to wonder what I just wrote?

 

Thanks again,

 

Erick

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Erick,

 

I'm going to be shooting the 30D/10-22/Aquatica housing over the next 3 weeks, I'll let you know how things work out when I return.

 

In regards to research, don't forget to explore the different ports for each of the housings and which lenses are supported.

 

I read an interesting article a few years back on what the pros shoot, although dated, it might provide some insight for housings/gear set-up.

 

 

-Jim

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as you are considering ultra wide (weitwinkel) angle for an aps-c sensor you might want to consider the new tokina 10-17mm dx fisheye that is just coming out canon mounts. it is a lot wider than the 10-22 and minimum focus distance is 14cm as opposed to 24cm for the 10-22.

 

i don't know how good or not good it is, but it is in the 550usd range so you might want to add to your list of potentials.

 

now that i have thrown a spanner in works ;):):P

/paul

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Erick,

 

I'm going to be shooting the 30D/10-22/Aquatica housing over the next 3 weeks, I'll let you know how things work out when I return.

 

In regards to research, don't forget to explore the different ports for each of the housings and which lenses are supported.

 

I read an interesting article a few years back on what the pros shoot, although dated, it might provide some insight for housings/gear set-up.

-Jim

 

Hey Jim,

 

That was an interesting article. I even noticed that the 17-40 was recommended by Stephen if he was restricted to "one lens" While a couple others used the 16-35. Then, even though the ff cameras that they all use get more out of the wide angle aspect of the lenses, most also had a 12-24 in their lens list. (revisiting the original question of my thread) I think that they all had a 10.5mm, 15mm or 16mm fisheye. I wonder if any of the pros will opt for the new Tokina 10-17mm fisheye to get some flexibility within that range, or if they will all just stick with the fixed lenses? They also had many small primes, which I intend on researching as part of camera accessories phase two... in about a year. As expected, Ikelite was not a favourite housing, but they did seem to like the strobes offered by Ikelite. I imagine that the housings that they choose cost a fortune and I don't think I'm ready to try and jump into their league, by any means, so when the time comes I think that I will try to keep the cost of my initial housing, ports and strobe needs within the $2000-$3000 range, although I will maintain some flexibility in the event that I can recognize a significant jump in operational capabilities at a marginal price increase, so, again when the time comes I won't make that $3000 ceiling too rigid if I can justify the increase... Much like I have already done with choosing my camera and lenses so far! I think that when it is all added up I will have already have broken my budget by about $1000... another reason why I'm not willing to move up to the 5D at this juncture.

 

Again, thanks for the article.

 

Erick

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as you are considering ultra wide (weitwinkel) angle for an aps-c sensor you might want to consider the new tokina 10-17mm dx fisheye that is just coming out canon mounts. it is a lot wider than the 10-22 and minimum focus distance is 14cm as opposed to 24cm for the 10-22.

 

i don't know how good or not good it is, but it is in the 550usd range so you might want to add to your list of potentials.

 

now that i have thrown a spanner in works ;):):P

/paul

 

Hey Paul,

 

I have already been trying to wiggle that spanner loose!

 

I saw the thread, and followed the links, for that 10-17 fisheye lens. It is a very intriguing lens, especially for underwater use, but I think that it might be a bit too much of an "extreme"... yet fun lens, for use above the waves. It is definitely on my list of lenses to get as I gear up more towards underwater photography, but I think that for the time being I'm going to learn on the 10-22 for my Ultra WA, before I start bending light to do 180s! You can see on my previous thread that I was questioning if this lens was a good option for the pros, or if they'd sooner stick with their fixed fisheyes? Over the next year if that lens gets some good reviews from underwater pros, it will definitely become one at the top of my list.

 

Thanks for the spanner,

 

Erick

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Erick,

 

I'm going to be shooting the 30D/10-22/Aquatica housing over the next 3 weeks, I'll let you know how things work out when I return.

 

In regards to research, don't forget to explore the different ports for each of the housings and which lenses are supported.

 

I read an interesting article a few years back on what the pros shoot, although dated, it might provide some insight for housings/gear set-up.

-Jim

 

Jim - The article you referenced is from 2004, and clearly lots has changed in terms of digital tools since then. Here is the 2006 update:

 

http://stephenfrink.com/sf-tips/200608-what-the-pros-shoot/

 

Another article relevant to the original question is at http://www.seacamusa.com/lens-testing.shtml

 

In particular, how very important it is to choose the exact right port extension per dome, and why compact domes are not the best solution for every lens. With any system with multiple domes and port extensions in-water testing seems to be better than theoretical calculations. Note also that using diopters in search of corner resolution is not without cost ... namely depth of field for distant subjects (not an uncommon scenario for wide lens use UW) and wide coverage. In the test reference in the link above, adding the diopters demonstrated less wide angle coverage.

 

My conclusion was that the diopter was a special tool, necessary for some lenses and some ports, preferred for others. But not a panacea. For example, with my 17-40 on a full frame 1DsMKII, if I was shooting a model in the far distance with soft coral foreground, I would use a superdome (9") and a PVL30 port extension, no diopter at all. But, if I was shooting that same soft coral but the composition now was more about subjects along the same plane, say soft coral and anthias, I'd opt for a +2 diopter. And, if the anthias were meant to be more compositionally important than the soft coral, I might opt for a +4 diopter. Good testing will help determine what to use when.

 

I call it "predictive previsualization", knowing enough about what's down there to set up the right tool to best capture the highest probability significant images.

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Jim - The article you referenced is from 2004, and clearly lots has changed in terms of digital tools since then. Here is the 2006 update:

 

http://stephenfrink.com/sf-tips/200608-what-the-pros-shoot/

 

Another article relevant to the original question is at http://www.seacamusa.com/lens-testing.shtml

 

Thanks so much Stephen,

 

I found your updated article for what the pros use very useful. And your article that outlined the premium gear specifications depending on which lens you were to choose is very interesting as well. I like the analytical side to it, not quite as speculative as the "pros" choices. Now it would be nice to think that one day I would have the Seacam housing and ports to make use of this data, but I fear that I'm going to end up geting something more on the consumer level seeing as I'm not a pro and don't know if I could ever work the Seacam housing into my budget? Is there any such compolation of similiar data for Aquatica or Ikelite housings with this same list of lenses? Or perhaps if you are still feeling scientific, you can borrow those housings as well and create complete data tables for all housings/ports... and camera bodies, if you were feeling particularily benevolent and wanted to create an amazing resource for the photographic diving community. I have a feeling that your primary concern was for your own knowledge though, and not mine and others in my shoes. So I'll have to start saving!

 

Thanks again,

 

Erick

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