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kstokell

A7R2 with 90mm macro lens vs FE 28-70mm with Nauticam SMC-1 Super Macro Converter

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Hi All,


After nearly four years with my trusty old RX100 rig, I am thinking of upgrading to something more advanced.


Currently my rig consists of:

- RX100 (Version 1),

- Recsea housing (more than 1000 dives with no problems)

- single YS-D1 strobe

- Ikelite Vega Light

- Dyron +7 macro converter (wet lens)

- UWL-04 Fisheye Lens (wet lens)


Over the years I have really liked the ability of selecting different lenses during a dive, and as I live in Curacao most of my underwater photography is either using just the fixed lens, or the fixed lens with the +7 macro converter. The wide angle/fisheye lens gets much less use although I nearly always carry it just in case, I come across something larger.


So here is my dilemma, I would like to switch to the Sony A7R2 camera and am struggling to decide which lenses I should get. My problem is both one of "cost, usability/versatility and quality".


Basically I have two options:


- the Sony FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS lens , plus the Sony 90mm F2.8 OSS macro lens


or


- Sony FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens, plus either the Nauticam SMC-1 Super Macro Converter or my existing Dyron +7 macro converter (wet lens)


So finally I get to the question, obviously I assume I would get better results quality wise from the first option, but the cost is significantly more, and of course I need to decide what I'm going to shoot before I do the dive, potentially missing some good opportunities. Or I could go with the second option, and sacrifice some quality, but with a large cost savings, and extra flexibility once under water for most of the shooting I actually do (as I say wide angle is not my prime concern).


I understand it is of course a matter of individual choice, but which option would you choose? Perhaps more importantly, as I'm macro orientated, do any of you have experience of using the Sony FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS lens, plus the Nauticam SMC-1 Super Macro Converter, and if so how does it compare to the Sony 90mm F2.8 OSS macro lens with regards to quality, of course bearing in mind I'm upgrading from the RX100 set-up?


OK I know it's a long story to read but I would really appreciate any feedback, thanks in advance.


Below is my proposed new set-up.


- A7Rii

- Nauticam housing

- Nauticam Mini Flash Trigger for Sony A7/A7II Camera

- Sony SEL2870 FE 28-70mm

- Nauticam SE2870-Z Zoom Gear

- Nauticam N100 Flat Port 74

- Nauticam Flip Diopter Holder for M77 Macro Ports (M67 Lenses)

- and either my existing +7 macro lens, or Nauticam SMC-1 Super Macro Converter

- Extra Sea and Sea YS-D1 Strobe, plus strobe arms and batteries, and 2 x fibers


Kevin

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Hi Kevin,

 

Like you my main interest is macro (and fish potraits) with little need for WA. I would not even consider buying the A7R II if there was no good macro lens for it. Likewise it seems pointless to me to buy the camera and not get the 90mm macro lens right away if you are keen on macro. Delaying the lens purchase means your expensive camera and housing are not giving you the full benefit for the use that is most important to you. And, assuming you will buy the lens at some point anyway, it doesn't really save money.

 

The question is what other lens to get to cover the wider angles. If your camera came with a kit zoom lens I'd be tempted to use that initially. Either of your two zoom choices would do better justice to the high resolution sensor but if the wider angle images are not as important to you the kit lens may be ok, at least as a start. Since you are in Curacao it is easy to make some test dives to see how it performs. It may even fit in the 90mm macro port without vignetting. You could also consider adding a relatively inexpensive prime lens. That would be similar to my Oly EM5 setup: 60mm macro, 12-50mm kit zoom, 25mm F1.8 prime, all of which can be used in the 60mm macro port (though the WA end of the zoom is not good enough for some).

 

Bart

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Hi Kevin,

 

I own the Sony A7R II and the Nauticam NA-A7II housing and after several months with the system these are some observations. Above or below water a camera with the 42+MP's of the A7R II really highlights the flaws in the less than stellar lenses. The Sony EF 90mm macro has outstanding image quality and I would highly recommend this lens, not so much for the 28-70mm lens. The Sony FE 16 to 35mm F/4 zoom is also quite good and requires an extension, zoom gear and 180mm optical glass port. It works quite well even for split images. An alternative solution for wide angle is the Sony FE 28mm F/2 prime lens which retails for around $450.00 and is quite sharp for the cost. You can then add a $300.00 flat port and the New Nauticam Wide Angle Wet Lens-1 WWL-1, http://reefphoto.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=8542 this lens connects to the 67mm thread on the flat port or to a bayonet mount converter. I tested a prototype of this lens last February with an Olympus M43 system and was quite impressed with the results. On the Sony 28mm the lens has a whopping 130 degree angle of view which does not have the distortion of a Fisheye lens. Cost wise the Sony 28mm F/2 and WWL-1 is more cost effective than 16 to 35 but without the zoom range and the split image capability. WWL-1 does however work as a close focus wide angle with a very small port. As a traveling photographer I think the 90mm macro and WWL-1 will make a very portable system compared to full frame DSLR systems with an equivalent wide angle range.

 

The Sony A7R II/Nauticam combo is quite nice but requires top quality lenses to take advantage of the high resolution.

Edited by Phil Rudin

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One of the many upsides to mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras is the ability to mount just about any lens to the camera using an adapter like the Metabones. Currently Canon mount auto focus lenses from 2006 forward like the 15mm Sigma are perhaps the best choice since they will auto focus quite well with the new Sony A7 II line and especially well with the A7R II focusing system. A case could also be made for the Canon fisheye or Canon fisheye zoom plus many others both AF and manual focus lenses. The biggest issue is a port and extension combination which will work as well as the lens works on the A7 line. Nauticam currently has the Metabones/Sigma 15 fisheye supported with a 140mm optical glass port and extension, I am sure other fisheye lenses could also be supported as well. Since the WWL-1 and 16 to 35mm zoom are not fisheye lenses the third choice of a fisheye is relevant for those that prefer the fisheye look or in addition to a rectilinear design.

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This topic is of great interest to me, however my dilemma may be even worse: I'm not into macro stuff and can't stand super wide/fisheye*. Guess I would be a "mid-range" kind of photographer, and so far I haven't found a solution to do that in full frame.

 

My RX100 mk1 is starting to be a limiting factor to image quality, but I just don't see where to upgrade: the bigger the sensor, the less flexibility I seem to find in the mid-range focal lenghts

 

 

 

* Still not convinced I'm a heretic? I dislike nudibranchs! Ha!

Edited by pedro_rj

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The latest Sony RX100 IIII has an equivalent 24 to 70mm lens and your RX 100 I is 28 to 100mm both behind a flat port.

 

Nauticam has A7 II/A7R II/ A7S II support for Sony FE 28 to 70mm zoom with a flat port or Sony FE 24 to 70mm zoom with a dome port these seem to be about as mid-range as you can get.

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Hi Guy's

 

Thanks for all the feedback. From what I read I get the impression that if I go for the A7R2 then it would not make sense to try to save money trying to find a cheaper macro lens solution and that I should go with the Sony 90mm Macro lens. As this leads me back to a "cost" issue, and a little bit of a size worry, I'm not sure this is the best solution for me.

 

So after a little more research I'm wondering whether I should go for a Micro 4/3 solution instead of the FF option. For much less money I could get the Olympus E-M1 with the Olympus 60mm F/2.8 Macro Lens, and still have plenty of cash left over for a medium to wide angle solution, or I could even keep my existing RX100 for wide angle duty.

 

So I suppose the question is how does the A7R2 with Sony 90mm macro lens compare in quality/detail to the Olympus E-M1 with the Olympus 60mm F/2.8 Macro Lens, and also how does that compare to my current RX100 setup?

 

Have any of you shot with both combinations and what are your experiences, I'm particularly interested in "distance to subject range" (front of port) at 1 to 1 magnification, focus speed and accuracy, and of course quality and detail?

 

More questions I know but having only shot with the RX100 with a diopter I have a lot to learn.

 

Thanks again for any help you can give.

 

Kevin

Edited by kstokell

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Hi Kevin,

 

I started with Olympus in 2003 moving from Nikonos RS film camera to Olympus E-1 and I have been with Olympus ever since. I would not have added the Sony A7R II and Lenses if I didn't think it had much better overall image quality v. M43 and 1"sensors. Not huge differences in distance to subject between 90mm and 120mm equivalent.

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Thanks Phil,

 

I think I'm tilting towards the A7R2, a little bigger and more expensive but ultimately I think I'll have more fun with it. A couple of last questions if you have time to answer.

 

1. The A72 is significantly cheaper (about half the price) than the A7R2, have you tried it, how do you think it would compare for underwater macro use?

 

2. Have you tried putting a wet diopter on the Sony A7R2 for "super macro" and if so what strength and how much working distance did you loose?

 

Thanks,

Kevin

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I reviewed the Sony A7 II in issue #86 of uwpmag.com if you would like an in depth idea of what the camera can do. Since that review I have been using the A7R II which has a much better auto focus system and much more, well worth the price difference.

 

Sony FE 90mm macro with the Subsea +10 gives a minimum focus distance of around 7 cm, Nauticam SMC gives more magnification and a bit greater working distance.

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Thanks again Phil,

 

I'm pretty sure I know what I now want, all I need to do now is find the best prices. I'll be in Florida next March so will probably make the purchase then.

 

Thanks again,

Kevin

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