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Storker

Should i get a fisheye?

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I got my UW rig about two years ago. I've been shooting topside for more than a couple of decades, and I had a half-decent idea about my weak and strong sides there. So, since macro basically was out of the question due to buddy obligations and I was more of a tele perspective person than a WA perspective person, I opted for a rectilinear WA zoom (Olympus 9-18mm/4-5.6). It had a fairly moderate WA perspective which I felt fairly confident I'd be able to use properly without too much trouble, and the zoom function gave me some flexibility WRT shooting the slightly more skittish critters.

Now, the 9-18 has its limitations. Rectilinear WAs give weird corner distortions on some closeup shots, and the close focus limit isn't the best for CFWA. And I have to use a dry diopter to avoid mushy corners. So, I've started thinking about a fisheye. Problem is, I'm not sure if it's a real need, of if I'm just feeling another onset of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). So, I'm sort of trying to do a pro/con analysis here. Pro: More FOV enabling me to get closer with less debris causing backscatter, better CF limit for CFWA. Con: Co$t, less flexibility. I think using a FE will basically deny myself the possiblity of snapping the odd semi-closeup or two of smallish and/or skittish critters. There's also the question of whether I should just go for the Panasonic 8mm/3.5, or if I ought to wait for the Olympus 8mm/1.8 and hope that Nauticam has (or designs) a suitable port for it, and that I won't have to sell a kidney to afford it.

I guess that what I'm basically asking is: What would you guys do? And why?

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Hi Storker

 

I can't offer any insights into mirror systems, but I've gone through the same dilemma with FX - comparing a 16-35 rectilinear zoom with a 15mm FE.

 

For my system the 16-35 was expensive in terms of the cost of the lens, the need for a larger dome than an FE, a big extension ring and a diopter. This made the FE inexpensive in comparison. The 16-35 set-up was also awkward for travel weighing significantly more and taking up way more baggage volume. But then do you really need more than a toothbrush and a change of swimmies for a dive trip?

 

In image capture terms, the 16-35 offers more flexibility although when I had a close look at the metadata, many of the images were either taken at 16mm or 35mm. Many of my best images on the trip where I had both lenses were with the FE. The ability, as you say, to get close and reduce the amount of water between the main subject and the lens is significant.

 

Obviously much depends on what it is you are trying to photograph. A wreck or a diver against the corals and the FE is terrific. A big fish can, however, look lost against its background with an FE. Attempts to photograph tarpon in Bonaire with a FE made them look like sardines. But then much also depends on how you set up the composition. Others have written about deciding before hand what you are going to photograph and how and then sticking with it - and ignore flexibility and the possible lucky shot-of-a-lifetime until the next dive.

 

But maybe the killer factor is what you wisely describe as "GAS". We nearly all suffer with that and it may well be the over-whelming factor. Make all the lists of pros and cons you like but that hankering and the nagging Jiminy Cricket-like voice ("go on! it's only $xxxx, you only live once, get it!") will get you in the end. You can rationalise it all you want, but we all know we are going to buy that lens...

 

FE it's a winner. Go on, you know you want one.

Edited by TimG

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I can't offer any insights into mirror systems

I don't think it really matters what camera or sensor size you're using, as long as we're discussing similar FOVs. Topside, I use FX, DX and m43 according to what fits my needs best at the moment. Whether I shoot 9mm on m43, 12mm on DX or 18mm on FX makes very little, if no, practical difference. Except for the size of the gear. and the somewhat increased DOF with the smaller sensor.

 

In image capture terms, the 16-35 offers more flexibility although when I had a close look at the metadata, many of the images were either taken at 16mm or 35mm.

It's the same for me with the 9-18. It's either 9mm or 18mm. Never anything inbetween.

 

Make all the lists of pros and cons you like but that hankering and the nagging Jimmy Cricket-like voice ("go on! it's only $xxxx, you only live once, get it!") will get you in the end. You can rationalise it all you want, but we all know we are going to buy that lens...

Darn, you know me too well. Don't tell my wife! ;-)

 

Yes.

Pretty succinct, yes? :-D

 

 

Now, on the additional costs tab: I'm currently running two Z240s on 5"+7" arms. It's a compromise between portability/lug-ability and backscatter. Particularly on WA shots with a not-too-close subject, I usually have to clone out a bit of backscatter. Will a fisheye require langer arms due to the increased FOV, or will the shorter subject distance make those arms long enough?

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Will a fisheye require langer arms due to the increased FOV, or will the shorter subject distance make those arms long enough?

 

Shorter

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Thanks.

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So, Storker, ordered it yet?

 

:clapping:

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Not quite yet. I've put aside funds for the lens, but still need to tuck away a few more €€€ for the port. I was just hoping I could convince myself I didn't need it. Sure. Fat chance for that... :lol2:

 

Right now, I'm deliberating whether to wait until I've saved up for the port as well, or if I just should go ahead, buy the lens to play with topside to familiarize myself with the FE perspective until I've saved up for the port.

 

First world problems :mocking:

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I had the 9-18mm and I hated it (sorry) it was like butter left outside.

 

The 8mm is a cracking lens, however saying that I do enjoy the 7-14mm more.

 

Next question.... Glass Zen Dome or Acrylic Nauticam Dome................... I'll get my coat. ;)

Edited by thetrickster
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Meanwhile as Trickster gets his coat, Alex is lost for words, Storker wrestles with First World Problems... an FE lens dealer in deepest Norway is wrapping a package... Mirrorless???? Ha! Sigma or Nikon? Cat amongst pigeons

 

Just get it ordered, Storker. Mrs Storker will never hear about it from us....

Edited by TimG
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I had the 9-18mm and I hated it (sorry) it was like butter left outside.

 

I don't hate it.

 

It's not perfect, but IMO it's a fairly decent compromise if more factors than just maximum IQ is involved in the trade-off. I chose it primarily for the size, both for topside and UW use. And used correctly, it can give decent sharpness:

 

15738519401_1105522a3f_t.jpg 16660200906_a6ca77203f_t.jpg 16684807991_54801b486b_t.jpg 15942957388_d84b63ea84_t.jpg 16871686778_e226c9b6ce_t.jpg

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Sigma or Nikon?

 

I didn't know Sigma or Nikon made a fisheye for m43 :mocking:

 

I'll probably end up with the Panasonic 8mm/3.5. The Olympus 8mm/1.8 isn't on the market for quite a few months (and the price will probably be... prohibitive), while the Samyang 8mm/3.5 is MF only, and I don't know if Nauticam makes a focus gear for it. Besides, with my presbyopia and the poor performance of my progressive contacts, AF is the only way I can get my subjects focused right...

Edited by Storker

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Alas no focus gears for the Samyang :( and the Nauticam focus gear for the 8mm isn't cheap either.

 

I think you will love the 8mm, just be prepared to get A LOT closer to stuff :)

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Hello Storker

 

When I was setting up my kit, I talked with Scott at Bluewater Photo in Los Angeles. He said the difference in the 9-18 and the 8mm is whether you want to get nice snaps from every underwater excursion or do you want to get that one-of-a-kind photo that may make you miss some others. The 9-18 is for the former and the FE is for the latter. Since I just shoot for my own enjoyment and have been shooting uw photos for some three decades I chose the latter and got the 8mm Panny lens. While I haven't been able to get into the water with it as much as I would want, I did have the opportunity to dive Catalina Island in SoCal last month with the camera (e-m5) and the FE. I found the lens to be somewhat limiting, but I did get some nice shots with it. The best being of a Garibaldi who decided to attack the dome port (probably saw a reflection of himself). Here's that photo, something I doubt I could have gotten with the 9-18.

 

 

post-18052-0-31628200-1428593279_thumb.jpg

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Just go for it. ;)

 

I have the Panasonic 8mm, love it - top side and UW.

 

Regarding the dome, I planned for a Nauticam 4.33 but got a chance to buy an older used zen dome (glass). So far so good. :D

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Go on, you know you want one.

 

 

Yes.

 

 

Just go for it. ;)

 

 

OK, I did :)

 

No port yet, as my "discretionary account" wasn't fat enough for that right now. :( Is it a good idea to put it behind my 4" semidome, vignetting be darned, just to be able to take it for a spin and start working on the dramatically changed subject distance? I do know that I'll have to crop out about half of the picture or so.

 

In the meantime, I took it outside in the weekend, just to try it out. I'll need to do some experimentation before I'm able to handle the dramatically changed perspective in a meaningful way.

 

 

17135511561_7aa12d76c4_t.jpg 17136152535_3f6711f849_t.jpg

 

Mrs Storker will never hear about it from us....

 

:angel::innocent::blush:

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Hey, at least you have a discretionary account.

 

I'd certainly give it a workout in the 4" dome. What is there to lose? FEs don't wear out... well, not until a newer model comes along anyway. Much will depend on how close-focussing the lens is and whether it can focus on the virtual image that the dome creates. (This is Alex's area of expertise). I think it should be ok.

 

Yeah, they do take a bit of getting used to. But nothing like using it topside - for once it's much easier and forgiving underwater. Topside I think they are very limited but for, say, walls, wrecks, fan corals, divers... they are terrific.

 

You'll soon find though that your pics are littered with "other divers" who have their legs in the most horrendous positions. Maybe time to train-up Mrs S to be an underwater model for you? My partner is brilliant at this. Hey, here's a thought, you could buy Mrs S an underwater modelling class as a reward for you buying the lens. I'm sure she'd be delighted. Better than flowers - lasts longer.

 

:lol2:

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Maybe time to train-up Mrs S to be an underwater model for you? My partner is brilliant at this. Hey, here's a thought, you could buy Mrs S an underwater modelling class as a reward for you buying the lens. I'm sure she'd be delighted. Better than flowers - lasts longer.

 

:lol2:

 

Although the idea is tempting, I don't think it's a good one. I'd have to convince her to get SCUBA certified first...

 

I'll probably go for the flowers solution. It's a lot easier. And cheaper, which means I'll have money for the 4.33" port a bit earlier ;)

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Wooohooo, love your train of thought.

 

But, longer-term thinking, if you get MrsS scuba certified, you can persuade her that she needs a camera system, she could have yours to start off with and..... gasp... you can trade up.

 

And, meantime, there's the flowers....

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Dear Storker,

 

 

I was on a budget as well and ended up getting the Rokinon/Samyang 7.5mm fisheye paired with the Nauticam 4.3mm dome port. The lens is only $250 and is even sharper than the 8mm Panasonic lens! I also got a good deal on a second hand dome. The pair ended up costing much less than the price of a new 8mm Panasonic lens alone!

 

I put a thick rubber band (cut from a motorcycle inner tube) around focus ring and was able to mount the Nauticam zoom gear for the 9-18mm lens. I can now focus manually using the zoom gear and focus peaking. Since this is a fisheye lens, there's a lot of leeway for focus anyway. It's great for close focus-wide angle shots as well.

 

The pictures come out really sharp. The only disadvantage is not being able to change aperture during the dive. I usually pre-set it to somewhere between f8 and f11 depending on the intensity of the sun and the expected depth of the dive. Manual focus is also slightly slower but not really an issue.

 

Hope this helps!

 

 

Mike

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not much to add, except that i noticed fisheye much easier to use on m4/3 than on 3/2 cameras:

When i was shooting Nikon DX, i was quite happy with the angle of view of my 10-24mm Nikon, and was finding the 10-17mm Tokina fisheye usually too wide.

Now on m4/3 my 9-18mm often seems too narrow, whereas my pany 8mm fisheye does seem very OK, and with the Nauticam 3.5" mini-dome, the CFWA capabilities are just awesome!!! Not that i am an expect, but learning...

 

And the pictures look always crispier.

 

The 4/3 pictures being less "panoramic", composition with a fisheye gets easier i think.

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A fisheye underwater is a wonderful thing. Getting close enough, or being patient enough, for the right situation is the issue. If you're just after happy snaps - and my guess is that if you're on this site you're after something a bit better than that - than the 9-18mm will do. The Panasonic is priced right and compact. Focuses very closely, and is quite sharp all said. Not sure spending the extra money for the new Olympus is worth it, unless you have loads of discretionary income, in which case we can be new best friends.

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If you are going to shoot any video, you need a fisheye. The Panasonic 8mm works great for me.

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If you are going to shoot any video, you need a fisheye. The Panasonic 8mm works great for me.

I have the Panasonic GX7 and I am planning to buy the 8mm fisheye

However for video I prefer the 14-42 power zoom with macro port 35 and inon wet lens it works wonders and has full zoom through

I never liked distorted images for video but may give it a go once I have the lens

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I have the Panasonic GX7 and I am planning to buy the 8mm fisheye

However for video I prefer the 14-42 power zoom with macro port 35 and inon wet lens it works wonders and has full zoom through

I never liked distorted images for video but may give it a go once I have the lens

 

I call fisheye video the gopro effect. :-)

 

But really you want an ultra wide (weitwinkel) angle for video as well - at least for wrecks and stuff - so its hard to get away without the 7-14 mm.

Edited by EspenB

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