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Introducing Nauticam’s WACP - The Wide Angle Corrector Port: Discuss Here

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@AlexMustard: I thought you had an idea. Not necessarily scientific data like resolution in lpm but a general idea like the quality is the same or one has a 1 stop advantage over the other. Maybe Nauticam has the data and will share it someday - the WACP is a very high investment specially for someone who has a 230mm dome and fisheye lenses and the Nikon 16-35 already (many of us have, me included).

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As a feeling - the 8-15mm is the best non-water contact fisheye you can use on a Nikon - it is noticeably sharper than other fisheyes.

 

But it is not as good as the RS 13mm fisheye or WACP. But of course, the images are totally useable for any application.

 

I was processing some recent shots of the Kittiwake wreck the other day and I noticed that the image quality wasn’t as nice as usual (most obvious as Chromatic Aberrations) and then I remembered that I had used the 8-15mm that day, rather that the RS13 or WACP I normally use for my wide angle. But of course the images are still very nice. It is a small difference - but when you know how it can be, you do notice it every time!

 

But the main reason for using the WACP is that it has a totally different angle of coverage than the 8-15mm. The 8-15mm is 180˚ corner to corner @ 15mm. The WACP covers 130˚-57˚ corner to corner with the 28-70mm - making it a super versatile option. But I still always travel with a fisheye too - for shooting the biggest subjects (wrecks, scenery, very big animals, etc). I take the RS13mm when splits are not important and the 8-15mm when I expect to shoot some splits or want to use the 16-35mm too (they use the same dome).

 

Alex

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But the main reason for using the WACP is that it has a totally different angle of coverage than the 8-15mm. The 8-15mm is 180˚ corner to corner @ 15mm. The WACP covers 130˚-57˚ corner to corner with the 28-70mm - making it a super versatile option. But I still always travel with a fisheye too - for shooting the biggest subjects (wrecks, scenery, very big animals, etc). I take the RS13mm when splits are not important and the 8-15mm when I expect to shoot some splits or want to use the 16-35mm too (they use the same dome).

 

Alex

 

Which dome are you using, Alex? A DP230?? With a 20mm EXR for the 8-15mm?

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Any idea if the Nikon 28-85mm lens would be any good?

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Those of you who have used the WACP -- do you find that it's significantly more prone to flare than fisheye/wide-angle solutions inside a dome port?

 

I ask because I've been using the WWL-1 a lot recently with the Olympus 14-42mm EZ and Panasonic 15mm F1.7 lenses and I've been noticing an unacceptable amount of flare with that combination as soon as the sun gets anywhere near the frame. So I'm curious if it's a problem with all wet wide angle adapters when compared to native lens+dome port solutions.

 

Here's an example of what I'm talking about -- check out the lower right corner.

 

post-42872-0-32168000-1528208334_thumb.jpg

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Nauticam's WACP has been out for a year now. Other than the initial test shots, I have not seen any feedback or pictures from users. I am interested in going this route but with the high cost I would really like to hear from others that are using the WACP. Anybody out there that can give more feedback?

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^^I'm not sure how to reply with the quote thing but to landlocked, Alex did a big review on it that is somewhere on wetpixel. if you google his name + nauticam wacp it will come up. I've used it a few times and it is one hell of an optic. It is razor sharp at any focal length, you can shoot it at much wider apertures than normal rectilinears (or even fisheyes) and the ability to use the 28-70mm gives unmatched versatility. It also balances extremely well in the water and is so easy to dive with.

It is definitely an investment, but is worth it IMO. I shoot the RS13mm which is an amazing lens and I was skeptical the wacp would match it in terms of sharpness and IQ but to my eye it definitely does and I'd love to complement the 13mm with the wacp but unfortunately I just can't afford to haha.

Almost all the shots I have with it are on external drives but I can post them later. Here is one meh shot but with a 100% crop also so you can get an idea of how insanely sharp it is. (athought wetpixel is crushing the quality, not sure I can do anything about that?)

Nikon D4, Nikon 28-70

post-25337-0-36190100-1537893389_thumb.jpg

post-25337-0-72201300-1537893398_thumb.jpg

Edited by Matt Sullivan

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Thanks Matt ! I appreciate hearing about your experience with the WACP. I have read every review I could find including the great review by Alex. I was hoping that after the production models became available that we would see and hear a bit more about the results people were getting with the WACP.

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I suspect that, at $4000, they aren't exactly flying off the shelves, and it may take a while before there are enough of them out there to encourage active discussions. Not criticizing the price, mind you, just commenting that this is a pretty expensive item.

 

Of course, maybe I am wrong and they are selling like hotcakes; I wouldn't really know.

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If I didn't have a bunch of the stuff already, id go WACP I think. Nikon FX body...

 

WACP + 28-70 + zoom gear + ext ring 35 = $4600

vs

230mm dome + 16-35 + Ext Ring + Zoom gear = 3600ish, 3900 or so with 250mm dome.

 

edited to add ext ring 35 for wacp..eek!

Edited by JamesR
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I really wonder, if they could make smaller ones for N85 or even for the compact N50 system. Maybe it's just too expensive?

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Hoping someone will test out the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 with the WACP for Sony shooters... an article on Nauticam's website indicates that the Sony FE 28-70 f/3.5-5.6 OSS works, but this kit lens isn't the best top side afterall.

 

Seems a waste to have such an investment in a wet lens coupled with a $300 piece of glass behind it!

Edited by unregistered

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Why couldn't at 24-70 or 24-105 work, just limit zooming to 28mm on the wide side?

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Most of these kit lenses extend considerably with zoom. I expect at worst, some lenses may collide on zoom with the WACP and possibly cause damage unless used with a long port extension, in which case they may not perform well optically at the wide end. I have also read that lenses with smaller front elements - slower aperture - work better optically with the WAPC. Maybe someone from the Nauticam world can comment as this is relevant to potential use with the new Nikon Z series where there is a narrower range of autofocusing lenses?

Edited by MarkD

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I dont get that. How could nauticam design a $4000 lens for an obsolete slow aperture slow screw drive AF lens from one manufacturer and not for modern optics? Or for cheap slow kit lenses? Yes indeed they have some serious explaining to do.

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Does anyone out there have experience shooting stills with the WACP and Canon full frame? Specifically with the recommended zoom lenses, the old Canon 28-70 f3.5-4.5 version 2, and the Canon 28-80 f3.5-5.6 version 5? Especially when coupled with the Canon 5d4?

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As someone who just recently started shooting with the D850 + WACP (and the 28-70mm lens), I've been very impressed with the corner sharpness and versatility of the lens/port combo.

 

I initially bought the WACP for shooting whales (while snorkeling) in French Polynesia, but after (mostly) striking out on finding the humpbacks u/w (we had very limited # of days), I ended up using the lens on a few dives in Tetiaroa.

 

A couple of points worth making:

- the 28-70mm is fairly fast on a D850. Never had an issue with the lens, in a number of different lighting conditions. Yes - it would be great if there was a more modern lens with similar zoom range to use, but this combo works much better than I expected.

- My rig with the WACP is easy to handle underwater. No issues with size/buoyancy while diving. For carrying to/from the dive boat, I just carried my arms & strobes in my backpack, and carried the housing + WACP by the lanyard. It was manageable (certainly not light, but I actually felt more comfortable carrying this combo than my older housing & and large dome). The attached (hard plastic) port protector is definitely (much) more sturdy & protective than a neoprene port cover - with the WACP port protector on, it feels like any small bumping is really not going to have much impact on the port (whereas with a dome you're always extremely protective because of the potential any bump/scratch to cause havoc). As an example, I had the housing & WACP on the floor of a small boat (sitting on a towel, with another towel over it) for 3+ hours (2 days in a row) while we were searching for whales - some jostling - no issues.

 

One thing to keep in mind - just like with a superdome, strobe placement/power (and coverage angle) becomes super important. I have a set of Z330's on order to help with this. The Z240's I've been shooting with were fine for most situations, but not quite wide enough in some cases.

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I dont get that. How could nauticam design a $4000 lens for an obsolete slow aperture slow screw drive AF lens from one manufacturer and not for modern optics? Or for cheap slow kit lenses? Yes indeed they have some serious explaining to do.

 

 

My understanding is that the physically bigger the lens you want to use behind a lens like the WACP, the bigger the WACP has to be. And to make it work with a 24-70mm (f/2.8), for example, the WACP would have to much, much bigger to give any measurable image quality advantage over the current WACP and 28-70mm. And as such would weight 7-8KG and cost $10,000. So this approach was not considered because the current WACP and 28-70mm gives really noticeable image quality advantages over anything else available covering the same FOV underwater. I also feel that the simpler design of older lenses is better suited to being incorporated as part of the optical setup of the new lens (the WACP + zoom lens).

 

I did test more expensive 28-70mm lenses with the early WACP prototype (not the production version) and these did not perform as well behind the WACP as they Nikon 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5. Despite being better lenses out of the water.

 

The hard thing to get our head around is that a relatively cheap, old lens can out perform an expensive new one. Because we've all bought expensive pro-glass and seen the difference it makes to our pictures out of the water. What you have to factor in is how much image quality a dome port in water gives away. Which is much more than the difference between the old and new lenses. This is why the WACP works. The reason the WACP is not made for the latest pro lenses on land is that it would end up way too large to travel with and cost way too much (and actually gives relatively little improvement because there are diminishing returns on the water corrected optics). It is already at a size that causes production issues because of the availability of such large pieces of optical glass (bigger than even the mega expensive super telephotos).

 

Alex

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Does anyone out there have experience shooting stills with the WACP and Canon full frame? Specifically with the recommended zoom lenses, the old Canon 28-70 f3.5-4.5 version 2, and the Canon 28-80 f3.5-5.6 version 5? Especially when coupled with the Canon 5d4?

 

 

British photographer Will Clark has used the WACP on canon FF pretty much exclusively for the last year. He is a good source to ask questions:

 

He recently posted his contact email on his Facebook page (second post down, currently):

 

https://www.facebook.com/bifter?hc_ref=ARRKamIRyg6UCxxC5EHOQljXkS2jpXmg-3eZWyptir3raCmllXx1jJTQAtBrMW8F9j4&fref=nf

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My understanding is that the physically bigger the lens you want to use behind a lens like the WACP, the bigger the WACP has to be. And to make it work with a 24-70mm (f/2.8), for example, the WACP would have to much, much bigger to give any measurable image quality advantage over the current WACP and 28-70mm. And as such would weight 7-8KG and cost $10,000. So this approach was not considered because the current WACP and 28-70mm gives really noticeable image quality advantages over anything else available covering the same FOV underwater. I also feel that the simpler design of older lenses is better suited to being incorporated as part of the optical setup of the new lens (the WACP + zoom lens).

 

I did test more expensive 28-70mm lenses with the early WACP prototype (not the production version) and these did not perform as well behind the WACP as they Nikon 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5. Despite being better lenses out of the water.

 

The hard thing to get our head around is that a relatively cheap, old lens can out perform an expensive new one. Because we've all bought expensive pro-glass and seen the difference it makes to our pictures out of the water. What you have to factor in is how much image quality a dome port in water gives away. Which is much more than the difference between the old and new lenses. This is why the WACP works. The reason the WACP is not made for the latest pro lenses on land is that it would end up way too large to travel with and cost way too much (and actually gives relatively little improvement because there are diminishing returns on the water corrected optics). It is already at a size that causes production issues because of the availability of such large pieces of optical glass (bigger than even the mega expensive super telephotos).

 

Alex

Ok thanks for that insight alex. I plan to go mirrorless, what about the new Nikon S (or the older Sony/Zeiss) 24-70 F4 zoons--still to big in the front element? Unfortunately the old nikon 28-70 won't work with the new Z cameras.

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I agree it would be nice to see more feedback from those being used in the wild. My understanding is that they are still fairly backordered and maybe Nauticam hasn't been able to keep up with demand. Being on backorder is enough time to change your mind and buy something else!

 

I would desperately like one for the caves but can't justify the cost. In aussie dollars with the extension ring and new (even cheap new) lens, it's close to $7k. I guess maybe if I sold my Canon 14mm and domes that would make a dent in the price but then I'd be shooting with the WACP on every dive, all the time. If it was to be my main wide angle rig I'd like to hear from other people using it day to day for all their diving, not just special trips or special dives.

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