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As NEX shooters will know all too well, there is a lack of lens options for the system. Up until recently, there has only been one dedicated wide angle option (16mm + FE) and one Macro option (30mm). It’s also possible to use the 18-55mm kit lens with external (wet) diopter for a closer perspective. Any other macro options? How about the Nikonos 80mm with extension tubes?

 

I’ve recently completed two dives with my NEX 7 and the Nikonos 80mm. To improve focus distance, I attach two extension tubes

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My quick impressions:

  • Its super macro on the NEX! For NEX users, ‘nuff said.
  • It’s fun! It’s a real challenge to shoot. I’ve had a lot of with this lens. I feel is a high risk, high reward type set up.
  • Its best suited to calm conditions where you have plenty of time to shoot. i.e. Blue Heron Bridge. Several shots were on a recent night dive with a bit of current. My % keepers were much lower.
  • A magnifying viewfinder is a necessity. Since you have to judge focus yourself.
  • With extension tubes, the only way to focus is to rock in and out. With this lens, and underwater in general, I have not found the focus peaking on the NEX to work very well, even with focus lights. Maybe I’m doing it wrong….
  • It’s heavy. Having the system more neutral would help the handling a lot.
  • Even at f16, DoF is razor thin.
  • The resolution isn’t great. I think this has always been the issue with the 80mm, but the 24mpx on the NEX 7 doesn’t help it along. There is plenty of detail, just don’t crop down or pixel peep.

 

First, the set up

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NO, NO. Look THIS way. Flounder eyes.

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Moving objects are difficult but not impossible. Both could be better, but for my level, not bad considering the limitations of the set up.

post-24448-0-02568900-1371755162_thumb.jpgpost-24448-0-93046200-1371755171_thumb.jpg

 

Sometimes, even stationary subjects can be difficult. Hey, I meant to focus on the pinchers and not the eyes. I swear!

post-24448-0-66852000-1371755180_thumb.jpg

 

When it works… Guitar fish eye, Corals, Worm, Blenny.

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It does work, but wouldn't it be much easier to shoot with a DSLR camera like a Nikon or Canon? By the time you add the housing, the strobes and focusing lights it would seem that the smaller size advantages of the NEX7 camera have been all but eliminated. And you've lost the DSLR advantages of thru-the-lens viewing, auto-focus, true macro lenses and reliable TTL underwater flash.

 

Fred

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It does work, but wouldn't it be much easier to shoot with a DSLR camera like a Nikon or Canon? By the time you add the housing, the strobes and focusing lights it would seem that the smaller size advantages of the NEX7 camera have been all but eliminated. And you've lost the DSLR advantages of thru-the-lens viewing, auto-focus, true macro lenses and reliable TTL underwater flash.

 

Fred

Jason down sized from a D7000. Thats why he's shooting the NEX. He can get it all in 1 carry bag!

 

Kirk

 

Hey Jason,

Are these from Blue Herron in early Dec during the macro course?

Hope all is well.

 

Kirk

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Its a fair point and one I thought long and hard about before switching from a nikon dslr to the NEX. However, I would challenge several of your assumptions.

 

First. The smaller size advantage is not eliminated. A housed NEX is only slightly bigger than my former D7000 (ex housing). such that I can carry everything I need in one backpack. I couldn't do this before and found myself missing underwater photographic opportunities. if I'm traveling with my young family, its just too much hassle to haul the extra baggage to bring my full underwater rig. I had a great nikon dslr set up but would end up packing my compact set up on trips. The NEX is a great compromise. If I did not have kids to haul around, I would probably still be shooting with the nikon. But the size advantage has a great deal of value to me.

 

Second. I have ttl viewing and reliable ttl flash. The ttl viewing is via EVF (a good one at that). so no real compromise there.

 

What I lack are a decent lens choice and this is a problem that can be solved (albeit not yet). micro 4/3rds systems are about a year or two ahead of mirrorless aps c cameras and their lens range is just now coming into its own for underwater photography. I'm hopeful that this will be solved soon and in the mean time, I have some options to expand my imaging.

 

I'm not going to say that the nex system is best or defend it to the end. yes, super macro is easier with canon/nikon. but for a host of other reason, i've chosen the nex and am attempting to offset the current limitations.

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Jason down sized from a D7000. Thats why he's shooting the NEX. He can get it all in 1 carry bag!

 

Kirk

 

Hey Jason,

Are these from Blue Herron in early Dec during the macro course?

Hope all is well.

 

Kirk

 

 

Hey Kirk,

 

Yes, some of them are!

 

the others are from a local night dive last night. I went back up to BHB in March but forgot the Nikonos adapter so got stuck shooting the 30mm macro the whole time.

 

Jason

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So at the end of the Day the only real advantage of the NEX over a DSLR is that its physically smaller and better for transport but at the cost of not having a decent lens choice?

 

Regards Mark

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So at the end of the Day the only real advantage of the NEX over a DSLR is that its physically smaller and better for transport but at the cost of not having a decent lens choice?

 

Regards Mark

 

Nice summary

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:notworthy: Only after a few trips and shootings for the past months I started to realise that the benefit of underwater shooting using a mirrorless over a dslr is minimal.

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I had a NEX but sold it since I mostly shoot macro and the macro choices were crap. I got an OMD and it is quite nice, not quite as easy to use as my 7D but still very nice. I will probably go back to the NEX (better sensor, better viewfinder) when/if the Zeiss ships and might play with the Metabones and my Canon 60 using the move the camera focus style

Bill

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So at the end of the Day the only real advantage of the NEX over a DSLR is that its physically smaller and better for transport but at the cost of not having a decent lens choice?

 

Regards Mark

And cost. A d7000 nauticam housing is 3300 us, while a nex7 is 1850 at one site, and that's without an external viewfinder.

 

The lack of a good macro lens is annoying but once that's addressed, it will be a pretty compelling option in my view, and olympus now has a good m43 macro with the 60mm.

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I am in the same boat with Bill (bvanant) sold my NEX-7 due to lack of quality glass for U/W use. I have since tested the new 10-18 F/4 which is a descent zoom but not in the same league as the Panasonic 7-14 F/4 for M43. I also had a chance to hold the new Zeiss 12mm which is a stellar lens but will need a custom port because of it size. Regarding macro I have used the Nikonos/extension tube setup and it is just to limited compared to a quality macro lens. Even the coming Ziess 50 macro is a bit short by U/W macro standards and is rumored to be a 1:2 rather than a1:1 lens.

 

To me image quality with the Olympus E-M5 is every bite as good as most of the APS-C sensor DSLRs like the D7000 and I think you would need to go to full frame to see much difference in image and low light quality.

 

Regarding cost the basic housing, lens and port costs differ greatly between Like DSLR and E-M5 housings. The main upside to the DSLR's remains quality optical viewfinders with larger format cameras and wider lens selection.

 

Phil Rudin

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jmauricio

Did You ever try extension tube attached to the lens like Sony 50mm f1,8 ??

I am interested what solution is better.

27mm extension tube + 50mm lens placed in the flat port with 30mm extension

or

50mm lens and 2x Inon UCL 330 wet lenses

??

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