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Nick Hope

Getting some wider shots with an MFT macro rig

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There's a good chance my next rig, at least for shooting small stuff, will be a Panasonic GH3 or Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera in a Nauticam housing.

 

It's also likely to have a Panasonic 45mm or Olypmus 60mm macro lens on it a lot of the time, behind a Nauticam macro port with a 67mm thread. Probably also a Subsee diopter on hand for super-macro.

 

So here's the thing... How to get some wider establishing shots in a situation where you can't zoom? There are so many u/w macro videos these days where all you get is the tight/super-tight shots and for me they just don't flow as nicely as videos shot with older cameras that were zoomable.

 

There's always the option of a 2nd cam, but it's an extra hassle, even if it's just a GoPro mounted on top of the main camera.

 

How would a wet-mount wide conversion lens such as an Inon work in front one of those macro lenses? Is it a daft idea? What sort of image could be expected? If it's not a daft idea, can anyone recommend one that's easy to get on and off? Even flippable perhaps?

 

Or any other bright ideas?

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What about the 12-50mm? Pretty big range with that lens, and the macro mode is quite good.

 

Cheers,

Cp

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Nice idea Chris, but I'm reading that to access macro mode you need to "depress and hold the Macro button while pushing the zoom ring all the way forward, which locks the zoom ring at the 43mm focal length". Can that be done through the Nauticam MFT housings?

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Nick, the crop on the BMPCC is 3.02x. That means you'll have difficult finding an all in one lens.

I suggest you don't bother with the BMPCC as a main camera unless you are willing to deal with the limitations.

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Nice idea Chris, but I'm reading that to access macro mode you need to "depress and hold the Macro button while pushing the zoom ring all the way forward, which locks the zoom ring at the 43mm focal length". Can that be done through the Nauticam MFT housings?

Yes, it can, at least for the OMD. Nauticam's port and gear for the 12-50 lens allows the full zoom range and access to the macro function which is fixed at 43mm. I don't know if this port and gear combination works on other camera bodies but it seems that it should

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Nick, the crop on the BMPCC is 3.02x. That means you'll have difficult finding an all in one lens.

I suggest you don't bother with the BMPCC as a main camera unless you are willing to deal with the limitations.

 

I'm not looking for an all-in-one lens (does one even exist for any camera?). I'm just looking to set up a macro rig with the flexibility for a few wider shots when shooting macro. e.g. An establishing shot to show a Lembeh frogfish in its surroundings before going in for the close-ups.

 

For wide-angle dives I'd be looking at something like the Panasonic 7-14mm on the same camera with a Zen dome port. The high crop factor of the BMPCC vs the GH3 is drawback for wide-angle but could make it great for macro. So it's a trade-off.

 

Any other significant limitations with the BMPCC? I'm reading there are audio problems (noise, lack of meters), but that doesn't matter for underwater use.

 

Yes, it can, at least for the OMD. Nauticam's port and gear for the 12-50 lens allows the full zoom range and access to the macro function which is fixed at 43mm. I don't know if this port and gear combination works on other camera bodies but it seems that it should

 

Thanks. Can anyone confirm that the macro button would be accessible on the Nauticam GH3 and/or forthcoming BMPCC housings?

 

I'll see if there are any reviews of the Olympus 12-50's macro performance versus a dedicated macro lens.

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There are some very good examples in this thread posted by girelle using the 12-50 versus the 60 mm macro, and also by Alex Mustard using wide angle lenses for CFWA. (I'd point to the specific pages but for some reason the search function is not working for me tonight, sorry)

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Thanks troporobo. Yes, I guess a lot of my questions have already been answered in the "stills" forums. I'll go hunting...

 

What does CFWA mean? (edit: close-focus wide angle. Got it)

Edited by Nick Hope

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Don't spend too long in the stills forums Nick or you may not be allowed back to the dark side! :)

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I use the 12-50mm lens with on the GH2 in a Nauticam housing with the special 12-50mm zoom/macro gear. I'm really enjoying this setup.

 

Downsides that I've seen so far are:

  • lack of auto-focus while zooming and recording (maybe I'm missing something here - need to do more testing)
  • Macro is only at 43mm instead of 50mm (overcome with ETC mode - not sure if GH3 has ETC mode?)
  • Not a very fast/bright lens - but sufficient given decent ambient light and/or video lights (using 2xSola 4000)

Plusses are:

  • Easy to change from wide to c/u and/or macro, though zoom/macro gear can be touchy, definitely need to follow the installation instructions very close
  • wide enough for some CFWA (or as some people are starting to call it, WACRO), but haven't tried much with that. A larger dome would be better, and it really isn't wide enough for good CFWA
  • macro is decent, and with ETC mode on GH2 I believe you can get close to 120mm? With ETC mode you need a fair amount of light, to keep the ISO low (<400-640)

 

Two recent videos (not the best conditions) in SoCal with this setup:

https://vimeo.com/67626406

https://vimeo.com/71950341

 

Me shooting with the GH2/12-50mm:

1000938_10201158315892917_713639973_n.jp

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Simon, the stills forums are the dark side.

 

Thanks for those Bob. That lens definitely gives a wide enough FOV for what I have in mind.

 

I must look into this CFWA/WACRO thing, which is new to me.

 

Yes, the GH3 still has that ETC mode, which is a bit of a bonus.

 

I suppose the slowness of the lens is a disadvantage where you're trying to be a bit stealthy with critters that don't like bright lights. No problem for nudis though! In DOF terms I don't think I'd mind being limited to shoot macro at a relatively small aperture. From what I've seen, focus and DOF are real challenges for u/w macro with "large" sensor cameras. I can't imagine many videographers wishing they could get a shallower depth of field when shooting a nudi. Right?

 

I'd be interested if anyone can confirm "lack of auto-focus while zooming and recording", or otherwise.

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I'd be interested if anyone can confirm "lack of auto-focus while zooming and recording", or otherwise.

 

I will test this over the weekend.

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I must look into this CFWA/WACRO thing, which is new to me.

 

Scott Gietler has a good write-up on CFWA here (of course stills based):

http://www.uwphotographyguide.com/close-focus-wide-angle-underwater

 

Allison Vitsky Sallmon is one of the modern master's at CFWA in my book:

http://www.avitsky.com/Underwater/Lembeh-Strait-wide-angle-2012/23460747_cPZKpP#!i=1895635358&k=KN2QjNX

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Did some testing with the GH2 and Olympus 12-50mm zoom in E-Zoom mode. The lens doesn't appear change focus at all while zooming, but quickly re-hunts depending on focus mode. I found the best results were using AFC, and giving the zoom a little help with a half-depress when zooming was completed. Manual zoom mode (not available using the nauticam port with the zoom/macro gear) seemed to focus a little bit more while zooming, but it's never really a constant zoom with this mode. These tests were handheld, with fairly low light,@ f6.3, 1/60, ISO 1600.

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