Jump to content
errbrr

A fish lens for the 5DII

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I bought a 5DII in an Aquatica housing about 2 years ago, with a 14mm lens and 8" dome. Mostly a cave diver, the 14mm has been the best lens ever for tunnels big and small (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/errbrr/544396...57626045667280/ for an example of what I'm used to!)

 

However, I'm planning a trip to Layang Layang in July, and 14mm is not going to help me if something skittish swims out of the blue...and so, I'm looking for a longer lens. The caveat is that I have no interest in photos of tiny things (though great respect for those who do) - I'd like to better capture turtles, larger/pelagic fish, sharks and rays without having to be within a 50cm of them.

 

I've been looking at the reviews on the Canon 50mm varieties. Is this likely to do what I want? Is it worth shelling out for the L series? Alternatively, can I take my existing 24-105mm kit lens underwater? I have heard of focal distance and focussing problems. Will the 8" dome port work for these photos, or would I get better results with something smaller?

 

Any thoughts or advice much appreciated.

 

Liz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi all,

 

I bought a 5DII in an Aquatica housing about 2 years ago, with a 14mm lens and 8" dome. Mostly a cave diver, the 14mm has been the best lens ever for tunnels big and small (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/errbrr/544396...57626045667280/ for an example of what I'm used to!)

 

However, I'm planning a trip to Layang Layang in July, and 14mm is not going to help me if something skittish swims out of the blue...and so, I'm looking for a longer lens. The caveat is that I have no interest in photos of tiny things (though great respect for those who do) - I'd like to better capture turtles, larger/pelagic fish, sharks and rays without having to be within a 50cm of them.

 

I've been looking at the reviews on the Canon 50mm varieties. Is this likely to do what I want? Is it worth shelling out for the L series? Alternatively, can I take my existing 24-105mm kit lens underwater? I have heard of focal distance and focussing problems. Will the 8" dome port work for these photos, or would I get better results with something smaller?

 

Any thoughts or advice much appreciated.

 

Liz

 

 

Liz

 

I've been going through a similar process, I shoot caverns on a 15mm, but I primarily only shoot video so the DOF is important for me.

 

The 17-40 seems the popular choice, but you're going to have to get an extension for your dome and then zoom gear. Alternatively there's always the other primes, 20mm or 24mm won't require an extension.

 

 

You also have an option of cropping in to some extent (digital zoom).

 

 

I like your photos, do you use off camera strobes, they're quite spectacular!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're leaving it behind the dome, make sure the 50mm you choose can focus close enough so that you don't need a diopter... maybe the 50m macro, but it is a bit of a slow focuser.

 

I agree with Captain caveman the 17-40 is a good alternative, at least you have a chance to go wide if you need to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Liz, your 24-105 is supported, you will need the extension 18458 and the zoom gear 18700.1, the lens will require a +3 diopter on the front of the lens (a +2 can also be used).

 

IMO the 17-40mm and 16-35mm are better adapted for the task, but that would mean more expenses.

 

Extension ring for both is 18457 zoom gear for both is 18708

 

If you shoot a lot of video, then looking into the extension 18464 or 18465 (made for the lenses above) might be worth it, they have a knob on the side for manually focusing while shooting video (and have the dedicated focus gear included with them) http://www.aquatica.ca/en/products_rings.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Jean sez, the 24-105mm can be used with a +2 or +3 diopter, with the 8" and 9.25" domes.

 

post-1861-1302030274.jpg

 

Here is a sample of the lens @ 24mm. In this example, I was using a +3 diopter and a 60mm extension with a 8" Zen dome. 60mm is 0.5mm too long for the Zen dome port with this lens. There is VERY slight vignetting @ the top. It's really negligible!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice everyone!

 

Regardless of buying a new lens or using the 24-105, I'm looking at about $350 or $400 in housing bits - I'm currently no good at video, although the manual focussing might be something I'd look at down the track. The 17-40mm seems to cost between $900 and $1300, or a bit more for the 16-35mm, and then some pocket change for diopters.

 

I guess I'm leaning towards sticking with the lens I already own, if it works behind the dome. I don't need the wide angle flexibility of the other zooms, given they wouldn't come close to the 14mm and probably just frustrate me if I tried. I might get some diopters and experiment with the lens at different fixed focal lengths behind the dome to see how it feels and what comes out.... I'm so used to working with a prime lens underwater that I don't know if my taskloaded brain can handle another function and option, so maybe zoom gears aren't required!

 

For those who've used the 24-105 underwater, any other hints or tips? What's the focussing distance and DOF like? Is it going to help me capture a hammerhead, swimming idly by?

 

 

Cheers for the compliment, Captain_caveman. I use off camera strobes in all my dark zone cave photos, or at least I do when they work. In the shot I linked to, I have two on camera strobes, the front diver has an old ikelite substrobe backmounted, and both divers are carrying inon Z240s. The key to cave photography for me has been more light to give the pictures depth, although more strobes also increases the difficulty in getting everyone co-ordinated and pointing in the right direction. And strapping strobes to divers means they get beaten up a bit more than usual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So after being inhibited by the Melbourne weather for a month or two (both too bad to dive in, and too good to waste on testing new camera gear) I finally got out and tested out this setup. I was using the 24-105 set at about 50mm, behind an 8 inch dome port in the Aquatica housing. I put a Hoya +2 diopter on the front of it, and using the existing extension tube I had for the 14mm lens.

 

I found the combination to be mostly unworkable, due to autofocus difficulties. The lens hunted through the whole range before locking onto something, and it wasn't able to focus on objects closer than a metre or so. It didn't seem to be able to focus on objects further away than a couple of metres, but this could have been due to the atrocious vis under the pier. The focussing difficulties meant that catching anything moving was pretty much impossible - I don't think this is going to be a solution for sharks swimming by in the blue.

 

In addition, the lens and dioptre produced very flat, non-contrasty shots. Maybe this is my lack of experience with strobe positioning for non-WA work....do I need to do something differently?

 

I've now got about 2 months before I leave for Layang Layang, and I'm thinking that I might just stick with my 14mm lens. It's not great for everything, but it's pretty good at the things it does well. Or maybe I should be spending my money on a gym membership to help me catch up with the wildlife I'm trying to capture...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...