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Nauticam WACP - does it makes sense to change?

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Hi,

 

I photograph mainly with my Nikon D850 in a Nauticam housing with 16-35 or with the 8-15 fisheye.

 

I have currently a look on the WACP......ok, I know it's additional budget, but what do you think....does it makes sense for an ambitious amateur?

 

Regards, Sascha

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I think it depends on what subjects you are planning to shoot. For me, on some trips it is my most used lens, on others I don’t even travel with it. It is great for big animal destinations with unpredictable diving (e.g. Galapagos, Maldives). But I prefer the straight fisheye when shooting scenics.

Alex

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Hi Alex,

 

thanks as usual! Now it's complicated: I usually dive at Red Sea offshore reefs like Panorama, Elphinstone,....of course I like there shooting scenics ke coral walls, turtles, napoleons and with some luck sharks.....especially for the later fisheye is sometimes challenging ;-)

 

Regards, Sascha

Edited by SMY

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Hi Alex,

 

thanks as usual! Now it's complicated: I usually dive at Red Sea offshore reefs like Panorama, Elphinstone,....of course I like there shooting scenics ke coral walls, turtles, napoleons and with some luck sharks.....especially for the later fisheye is sometimes challenging ;-)

 

Regards, Sascha

 

For sharks your 16-35 should be ideal with a large dome for blue water shots at around 18mm?

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Yes, that's my experience, too... that's why why I'm on the one side curious about WACP and on the other side hesitate, if there is a benefit....And because sharks are so rare...I want to be prepared for scenics, turtles, etc...

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I'm with you guys on the 16-35 for sharks (and dolphins) in the RS.

 

I was looking at the WACP at Boot. It looks an amazing piece of kit but, wow, BIG, heavy and very expensive. In terms of transportability, I reckon the WACP would be even harder to move around than the 230 dome port (and, as has been pointed out many times, shark/dolphin shots often don't require sharp edges - especially out in the blue - so the smaller 8" dome can be enough).

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I would suggest for anyone who is interested of, or not sure of the rationale behind, the WACP to read the review by the Honorable Dr. Alex Mustard here:

 

http://www.wetpixel.com/articles/review-nauticam-wide-angle-corrector-port

 

Alex has been so supportive in contributing his time and effort, at his own cost, in field testing 2 different versions of the WACP at various sites during the development of the lens. It was only possible from his personal hands-on experience, and with his extensive knowledge and constant pursue of ultimate image quality, that he can help return his valuable feedback to me for making improvement before the final launch of the product.

 

I would not have been involved in optical design without the inspiration and encouragement from Alex. It has been a most enjoyable journey for myself !

 

Edward

Edited by Edward Lai
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I would suggest for anyone who is interested of, or not sure of the rationale behind, the WACP to read the review by the Honorable Dr. Alex Mustard here:

 

http://www.wetpixel.com/articles/review-nauticam-wide-angle-corrector-port

 

Alex has been so supportive in contributing his time and effort, at his own cost, in field testing 2 different versions of the WACP at various sites during the development of the lens. It was only possible from his personal hands-on experience, and with his extensive knowledge and constant pursue of ultimate image quality, that he can help return his valuable feedback to me for making improvement before the final launch of the product.

 

I would not have been involved in optical design without the inspiration and encouragement from Alex. It has been a most enjoyable journey for myself !

 

Edward

 

Nobody was suggesting the WACP is not a good piece of equipment I believe the comments were more about how this lens fit certain situations in Egypt where there is not an abundance of pelagics and you just get the isolated shark in some circumstances. So being stuck with a 130 degree lens may not be the solution as the sharks may not come close and the 130 may not be the right choice for some of the other CFWA shots

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Exactly!

@Edward: there was never the intention to question, that the WACP is a very good piece of equipment and without Alex' articles I would have never thought about a change....and I think Alex knows, that he ispires me all the time and I have received a lot of helpful hints and tipps from him....

 

Regards, Sascha

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I did some testing this past weekend for my own. Not very technical, but here are my very initial impressions:

 

Zoom Range

The WACP+28-70 combination will give you a bigger zoom range, it is wider and and will have a little more reach. Don´t know the exact numbers, but that is the impression that I´ve got

 

Distortion

At close distances on the wider end:

The 16-35 have a strong pincushion distortion

The WACP has more of a fisheye kind of distortion that I think it is more pleasant, but that's personal taste.

At medium to long distances at wide end

The 16-35 has less distortion, keeping straight lines more in shape. More rectilinear.

The WACP maintain it´s fisheye kind of distortion

 

At the zoom end

Both lenses have little distortion.

 

Sharpness

 

At the very center they are similar along the zoom and aperture range.

 

At close distances on the wider end:

I would avoid using the 16-35 wider than F8 (F11. F16 and F22 are preferable, F8 the limit). The corners are not sharp at F5.6 and F4.

I would say the corners on the WACP are sharper than on the 16-35 on every aperture. I would use it until F4, maybe F3.5 in an emergency( the image becomes softer overall). F8 to F16 gives the best results.

 

At medium distances on the wider end:

The advantage of the WACP corner sharpness is still there, but less noticeable. I would use F8 on the 16-35 more comfortably , specially on open water subjects.

 

At medium distances at the zoom end

The overall feeling is that the WACP advantage becomes more noticeable at the corner of the images as apertures get wider. Buy not as a strong difference as it is at close focus on the wider end. I would avoid using the WACP at F4.5. at 70mm and 16-35 at F5.6 and F4

 

I use the 9,25in dome port for the 16-35. I don't have the sea sea correction lens. People are claiming a 2 stops sharpness increase. If that's true I would not use the 16-35 without it.

 

About the WACP

The nikon 28-70 is not a very good lens on land. At wider apertures it is specially bad. Lots of CA and softness. At F8 I would say it is very good. How the lens delivers a very nice performance with the WACP underwater is beyond my understanding. CA is almost gone.

 

I brought the WACP for mainly two reasons:

The first, I am doing some kind of pictures that required a lens that has a zoom range, that is not ultra wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel), is capable of very close focus (at the dome) and would have good corner to corner sharpness.

The second would be to use a fast aperture lens underwater with sharpness (Converted 13mm RS would be another option)

I can use the 28mmF1.8 at F2 or F2.8 and have a very good image (when focused at infinity). Even at f1.8, i consider it produce acceptable images.

 

Flare

On rare occasions, with the lens pointed at the sun. the WACP would produce a flare that is very visible at the image. It must me a very specific angle/position because other images with a very similar framing/composition did not have any flare.

 

WACP negative points:

price: it is very very expensive.

Size/weight: with almost 4KG it is as heavy as the housing+camera. With airlines restrictions going tighter every day that is for me a major drawback.

It can not do split shots ( it can if you modify some o-rings from what i've read, but i haven't tried)

It has a shade, but i would say that the front element is more exposed that i wished

 

Long term use will produce a more useful opinion.

Regards
Marcelo
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Thanks a lot Marcelo for the very helpful information!!

 

Sascha

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I've never used tho WACP, just the WWL-1, which as far as I know has an identical optical design, just smaller. So consider it a baby WACP.

 

The WACP is a 0.36x magnification wide angle converter. So it turns the 28-70 into a 10-25mm lens essentially This is a 2.5x zoom, so you're correct that it has a wider zoom range than the 16-35 (that's a 2.2x zoom), but it's actually wider than the 16-35 both at the wide end and the telephoto end. So if you need the reach of the 35mm, the WACP can't reproduce that. This may be a factor with shier sharks in the red sea. (The WWL-1 + 14-42 combo on micro 4/3 is actually slightly more versatile because the lens is a 3x zoom, giving you a 10-30mm FF equivalent zoom range.)

 

Rectilinear ultra-wide (weitwinkel) angle lenses like the 16-35 stretch objects near the corners of the frame. I personally find this very distracting (especially for video) and an unappealing aesthetic. You don't get that with the WACP, which has a mild barrel/fish-eye distortion near the edges. I find this looks a lot more organic/natural and less objectionable underwater unless you're dealing with a subject that has lots of straight lines (e.g. a wreck)

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The key difference between the WACP and dome port/lens combinations is that it can be used with very wide apertures. As others have noted in this thread, the 16-35mm f/4, and 230mm dome port combination start to suffer from corner sharpness issues at around f/12. The WACP (or one of the converted RS lenses) can be used even at f/3.5 or less.

 

So, for example, if you are shooting fast moving animals in relatively low light conditions it will simply allow you to capture images that you are not able to with conventional lens/dome combinations.

 

It is actually not a lot heavier or more expensive than a 230mm dome, 16-35mm lens, extension and zoom ring...

 

I am going to do some extended testing soon, but from everything I have seen, the latest very high-resolution full frame cameras are out resolving the 16-35mm f/4 behind a dome. The fact that the WACP (and the RS lenses) optically corrects the image so that it is presented parallel to the sensor should allow it to avoid these issues.

 

Adam

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I'll throw in a question, since I'm still intensely pondering optimal equipment choices, having the luxury of starting from more or less scratch.

I've been thinking that the WACP could be ideal for e.g. Red Sea diving with the possibility of sharks. But maybe not? Using a 28-70, even zoomed in, at about 25 mm equiv - that's a bit wide for many shy sharks, right?

 

(BTW, I hope it turns out to work well with the 24-70/4 S (from 28 mm) on the Nikon Z.)

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yes, I would say that even zoomed in, It may be a little to wide for shy sharks. But I don´t see much options. If you were only shooting shy sharks, I would say that the 24-70 and a big dome would be a better choice. But for general use, I think 24mm is not wide enough. Plus, the lens won´t focus on the dome (very close). But if they are developing a WACP version 2 I would wait for more news on that, as it may fit different lenses.

 

Marcelo

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Well, the other option is just using a 16-35 (possibly with correction lens) and a dome port.

 

BTW, I asked Nauticam. The WACP does not work with the Nikon 24-70/4 S. Too bad.

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Wondering, how would a correction lens like the Sea & Sea correction lens (that effectively flattens the image caused by the dome before it gets to the lens) compare with the WACP? Anyone lucky enough to have tried this?

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