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dubscutty

Sony a6000 vs a6500

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I currently have an a6000 and looking to get into underwater photography. Is it worth spending the $$ to get the gear for the a6000 or should I look at upgrading to the newer a6500 before splurging on underwater gear?

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SeaFrogs Salted Line housing supports A6000, A6300, A6400 and A6500 with a few part swaps, so you can upgrade the body later if you like, and keep the housing. In any case, the improved autofocus on A6400 is more useful for underwater photography than the in-body stabilization on A6500.

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Thanks for the info. I'll have to do some more research on the A6400 as I was not considering it as an option.

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Phil Rudin has an underwater-specific review of the A6400 in UwPMag issue #108; you may want to check it out.

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Posted (edited)

The auto focus on the A6400 is truly remarkable for a camera at this price point and beats many cameras in the over $3000.00 price range. I also agree that AF speed and accuracy in U/W photography is much more important than IBIS.

 

The rest of the article is a free PDF download.

 

 

post-2618-0-78990500-1557852887_thumb.jpg

Edited by Phil Rudin

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Don't write off your A6000. I've been using it UW with a Sigma 19mm and Meikon housing for a couple years now. It's a lot of bang for your buck. Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping to upgrade soon but would still recommend the A6000 to anyone.

 

Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk

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Hi dubscutty,

 

I have been shooting with an a6500 and fantasea housing for the past two years until now (I just upgraded to a canon 7d m2 since I had a good deal on the setup). I do really like it, and I think it is worth going for the 6500 over the 6000. I also had the 6300 for 6 months with a meikon housing for 6 months or so a while back before I felt limited and upgraded to the 6500. I personally think it is the best cropped sensor mirrorless to take underwater, but I have not done too much research on the 6400 yet.

Anyway, I don't think you could go too wrong with either! Good luck!

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I have been shooting with my A6500 with the Nauticam housing for 2 years as well. It's a great camera and I really like the housing. I did a lot of research when I purchased and felt the A6500 was the way to go. The A6400 was not on my radar, so I can't comment on it. What kind of photography do you do? Feel free to message me directly if I can help with other questions. Also watch in classifieds as I may be selling my wide angle lens and dome port for the Nauticam housing.

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On 5/16/2019 at 12:54 AM, Placebo365 said:

Don't write off your A6000. I've been using it UW with a Sigma 19mm and Meikon housing for a couple years now. It's a lot of bang for your buck. Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping to upgrade soon but would still recommend the A6000 to anyone.

 

Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk

Hey, do you have any sample images? I'm starting to consider the A6000 for myself and would love to see what it puts out 

Thanks :)

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Posted (edited)
Hey, do you have any sample images? I'm starting to consider the A6000 for myself and would love to see what it puts out 

Thanks

Hi Dave, yeah sure, here are a few.  Like I say, taken on the A6000, Sigma 19mm f2.8 lens, Meikon housing, 1 strobe (InonZ330, some of them may have been taken with one Sea&SeaYs-02 strobe before I had the Inon).  I've got a Meikon wet lens attached to the housing.  The A6000 is 1.5 crop, therefore the Sigma lens is effectively about 28mm, but the wet lens widens it a bit, I'm guessing to about 20 or 22mm?? Not sure.  Anyway, it's a total workhorse.  Been used for I'd say about 600 dives over the last 3 years, as well as daily blasted on land.  I dread to think how many clicks its done and (touch wood) it's still going.  People argue that the Sony's have that 'weird colour science' but I've found it's totally fixable in LR.  Here are a link to some sample images... (can't upload them direct here as it's saying I can only upload max 0.98mb.

Sample images

**edit** Oh and forgot to mention re video, obviously there's no 4k but it does have zebras which I use constantly and it absolutely enables you to nail exposure every time.  No complaints about the auto focus either.  

 

 

Edited by Placebo365

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3 minutes ago, Placebo365 said:

 I've got a Meikon wet lens attached to the housing.  The A6000 is 1.5 crop, therefore the Sigma lens is effectively about 28mm, but the wet lens widens it a bit, I'm guessing to about 20 or 22mm?? Not sure.

The Meikon wet dome isn't a true lens like, say, a Nauticam WWL-1 or Inon UWL-H100 - it's only a dome with air inside, so its effect is limited to restoring the lenses in-air field of view. Basically, when you put a lens behind a flat port and take it underwater, its angle of view shrinks by about a third due to refraction - Meikon's wet dome cancels this effect, similar to how a dry dome port would do the same, but it doesn't otherwise affect the optical properties of the lens. 'Real' wet wide lenses have multiple lens elements inside, and widen the camera's field of view significantly, but of course they cost a lot more.

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The A6500 is a major step up in autofocus performance over the A6000. With the hefty outlay for an underwater setup, I think upgrading to the newer camera is the sensible choice. 

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Autofocus of 6300 and 6500 are the same.
The 6400 is newer and got a lot of better AF functions...
Stabilising is nice, but not so much worth than a quick autofocus....
Water dimms a lot of shaking against air.

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On 8/23/2019 at 6:35 PM, Placebo365 said:

Hi Dave, yeah sure, here are a few.  Like I say, taken on the A6000, Sigma 19mm f2.8 lens, Meikon housing, 1 strobe (InonZ330, some of them may have been taken with one Sea&SeaYs-02 strobe before I had the Inon).  I've got a Meikon wet lens attached to the housing.  The A6000 is 1.5 crop, therefore the Sigma lens is effectively about 28mm, but the wet lens widens it a bit, I'm guessing to about 20 or 22mm?? Not sure.  Anyway, it's a total workhorse.  Been used for I'd say about 600 dives over the last 3 years, as well as daily blasted on land.  I dread to think how many clicks its done and (touch wood) it's still going.  People argue that the Sony's have that 'weird colour science' but I've found it's totally fixable in LR.  Here are a link to some sample images... (can't upload them direct here as it's saying I can only upload max 0.98mb.

Sample images

**edit** Oh and forgot to mention re video, obviously there's no 4k but it does have zebras which I use constantly and it absolutely enables you to nail exposure every time.  No complaints about the auto focus either.  

 

 

Thank you! Lovely images. I think that's sealed the A6000 for me. I'm a bit confused about what lens choices still, but at least I know which camera to choose! 

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Thank you! Lovely images. I think that's sealed the A6000 for me. I'm a bit confused about what lens choices still, but at least I know which camera to choose! 
No problem Dave. Started off with the kit lens 16-55 if I recall, not very sharp at all. I did loads of research on lenses too. Went for Sigma 19mm f2. 8 which is pretty sharp for the price. Great at f8 which is what I mostly use it at. F9-f11 I find it hunts quite a bit for focus. Good luck.

Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk

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4 hours ago, DaveMullins said:

I'm a bit confused about what lens choices still, but at least I know which camera to choose! 

The 16-50mm PZ is an okay starter lens, but on its own, it's neither particularly wide nor capable of macro. It is, however, very compact and quick-focusing - you can put it in a short threaded port and shoot wide-angle and macro with add-on wet lenses. There is an older 18-55mm kit lens, but that one hasn't been sold for years now.

Expanding from that, for wide angle, there is Sony 10-18mm f/4, and... that's pretty much it. There is the Zeiss 12mm, but it suffers from a fixed focal length and can only do CDAF, while its 1-stop advantage in aperture (f/2.8 vs f/4) is wasted underwater.

For fisheye, you can pick between Sony 16mm f/2.8 with VCL-ECF adapter (full controls and autofocus, but iffy quality and fixed focal length), manual lenses from Samyang and 7Artisans (cheap, but manual focus and fixed aperture once you seal the housing) and adapted options like Tokina 10-17mm (fairly expensive once you include the adapter and AF issues on older cameras like A6000). In fairness, fisheye is kind of a weak point for Sony, both on APS-C and on full-frame.

For macro, there are four choices, each with its own compromises:

  • 30mm f/3.5 - small, cheap, generally fits the same ports as 16-50mm kit lens, but the short focal distance produces a very short working range - its 1:1 reproduction distance is practically on the port glass. More suitable for fish portraits than true macro.
  • 50mm f/2.8 FE - good combination of working distance and focal length - not too long, not too short - but very slow and unreliable autofocus on most bodies. Reportedly, the A6400 solves its autofocus issues, but with older bodies, it's not a good choice.
  • 50mm f/2.8 Zeiss Touit - suffers from the same issues as 50mm FE, but costs more.
  • 90mm f/2.8 G - great image quality, but costs a lot, and even buying used doesn't save you much. Autofocus can be fast (for a long macro lens), but you have to hold it absolutely still while it's moving its internals around; a bit  of current or surge can totally ruin your day. It also chews through battery - I can reliably get three dives out of a single charge with 10-18mm or 16-50mm, but no more than two with 90mm. The narrow field of view can also limit your shooting opportunities, especially in less than perfectly clear water - you simply have to stay way too far back to fit non-macro subjects into the frame. On the other hand, it's your best choice for true macro and supermacro.

FWIW, I use the 90mm G, but if I had an A6400 rather than my A6300 (the former did not exist when I bought the latter), I'd probably go for 50mm FE instead.

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I guess it all depends on the final product you're after.  I upgraded from a NEX-7 to a6500 Nauticam housings and enjoy the better AF and IBIS (miss Tri-Nav though).   I shoot super-macro most of the time and MF is the most common focusing method, so focusing systems come more into play more in video and fast action shots.  The a6500's IBIS helps with lens that don't have built in stabilization.  I've set up my rig to shot with the very sharp and bright Sigma 16mm f1.4 in a 4.33 dome.  f1.4 is a nice fast lens for underwater video and has fairly fast and accurate focusing.  Use this with Sony's "Clear Image Zoom" function and a 15X diopter and you have some incredible footage in macro or WA using one lens (and swing diopter).  For those scratching their heads and thinking Sigma 16mm f1.4 in compact 4.33 dome with diopter?  I got the lens to fit by filing off the shade support mechanism and  grafted a swing diopter mount from my old Flat Port 72 onto it's wings (not for the faint hearted..it was a lot of work), but I love that stuff.  

Still photography fast action shooting will always benefit from improving focus systems like the a6400 and new a6600 have. I'm happy with my upgrade from the NEX-7 to a6500 though with the latter being no slouch in the arena of AF. Perhaps not as accurate as the new system in the 6400/6600 but I wonder how much?  Worth the extra buck when you can pick up clean used a6500 housings and camera now that the latest and greatest a6600 are out (just a matter of time for Nauticam, they never miss a beat.....    

Using some creative modifications,  I now shoot Sony 18-55 (single dive Macro & WA set-upset-up),  Sony/Ziess 16-70,  Ziess Touit 12 and  Sigma 16mm f1.4, all in my compact 4.33 dome (w/ swing diopter CMC-1 for macro with appropriate lens) using a mix of 20-50mm of mini-extensions.  Great travel rig.  However,  I also added the Sony 90mm macro housed in the  N100 manual focus port system which added to it heft, but nice sharp and long macro lens in APS-C format. 

Have fun with your new rig whatever you get :-) 

 

 

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That's interesting to hear Marsh - I'm just getting into A6500 with 4.33 dome and right now have taken UW shots w the 16 mm Sony w fisheye converter. I also have the 16 mm Sigma 1.4 - what extension do you use for that? I've tried the Sony 16 mm pancake without converter behind the 4.33 dome and it had trouble focusing

 

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Sigma 16mm is a rectilinear lens (and so is the Sony 16mm without converter), so you will need a much bigger dome. 4.33" is basically for fisheyes only. 

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On 5/11/2019 at 8:39 PM, Barmaglot said:

SeaFrogs Salted Line housing supports A6000, A6300, A6400 and A6500 with a few part swaps, so you can upgrade the body later if you like, and keep the housing. In any case, the improved autofocus on A6400 is more useful for underwater photography than the in-body stabilization on A6500.

Have you found good luck with the SeaFrogs/Meikon line?  

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18 minutes ago, DevilEyeDog said:

Have you found good luck with the SeaFrogs/Meikon line?  

I've put close to a hundred dives on my A6xxx Salted Line housing over the past year without any significant issues. The zoom gear for 10-18mm f/4 lens is fiddly to set up, but reliable when properly positioned. I did have a problem with left strobe not firing properly (the fiber optic ports are slightly offset from the camera flash and use a reflector to guide the light) but switching to multicore fiber optic cables (from Nitescuba on Aliexpress) resolved that completely - I'm 40 dives into my current trip with zero strobe troubles.

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While the 4.33 dome is considered a fish eye dome,  it was designed to be used with Sony's 16mm pancake by itself or with the fish-eye adapter added.  Many use the Sigma 19mm in it with excellent results, so it does work quite well with many rectilinear lens, even the extremely wide Z12. When comparing it's corner performance to the larger 7" dome, it had ever so slight softer corners compared to the larger dome, BUT the CFWA was incredible and beyond my imagination, opening up creative compositions, which was the main reason I stuck with the 4.33.  Both CFWA and SM simply was not possible with the 7" dome. 

I'm currently looking into a N85 to N120 adapter to add to the N85 to N100 adapter that I use with the S90 macro.  Looking at the possibility of using the 4/4.33 inch N120 dome in place of the N85 4.33. This could potentially replace the Sony 18-55 Kit lens with the new Sony 16-55 f2.8 "G" lens for much higher IQ. The lens is to physically too wide for the N85 port and would require a two part dome set-up that they have used before.  Lots of hurdles to jump through in zoom control and other issues,  but mostly the cost of the gear, so it may be a while, if ever,  before it moves beyond the idea stage. 

I've contacted Nauticam engineers and inquired whether they had anything in the works for the S16-55 G, since it's release.They said they had no plans at the moment but would bring it up at the next design meeting. I remember when they came out with the two part port for the Sony/Metabones/Canon 60 macro set-up.  They're a great company and I wouldn't be surprised if they came up with a solution in the future. 

Hope this info helps those who want to go beyond the standard configurations and continue using Sony APS-C.

Contact me directly if you need any info on any of the modifications I made.

Marshall

Sony a6500 with Modified 4.33.jpg

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2 hours ago, Marsh said:

I'm currently looking into a N85 to N120 adapter to add to the N85 to N100 adapter that I use with the S90 macro.  Looking at the possibility of using the 4/4.33 inch N120 dome in place of the N85 4.33. This could potentially replace the Sony 18-55 Kit lens with the new Sony 16-55 f2.8 "G" lens for much higher IQ. The lens is to physically too wide for the N85 port and would require a two part dome set-up that they have used before.  Lots of hurdles to jump through in zoom control and other issues,  but mostly the cost of the gear, so it may be a while, if ever,  before it moves beyond the idea stage. 

I'm not a Nauticam user, but I thought that N85 stood for 85mm diameter of the port mount? The 16-55mm f/2.8 is not that big around - spec sheet has it at 73mm, which is barely larger than 10-18mm's 70mm, and smaller than 90mm's 79mm. As far as housing it goes, I'd be a lot more worried about the significant distance it extends to zoom - going by the photos, it looks like it goes from 100mm collapsed to something like 150mm extended, which has major ramifications on both flat and dome ports. At the very least, you'd need a much larger dome than 4.33" to keep it from bumping into the glass when extended and/or vignetting when collapsed.

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Barmaglot,

Yes,  you are correct, those are exactly the issues that need to be dealt with.  Until I get some of the gear to measure, it's hard to say what will work.

In regards to the N85 nomenclature, yes it does stand for the mm size of the housing opening for the ports, but not the ID of the ports themselves that the lens must fit through.  The first port flange design (that the 4.33 is manufactured from)  used parts and mechanical connections , which has an ID of 70mm.  The mini-extensions that followed use the same design, but Nauticam enlarged it by 2mm to a 72mm ID.  The latest Nauticam mono-flange design design (no mechanical parts/connections) that they created to accommodate fatter lens and gears (like the S10-18) is a whooping 77mm. Unfortunately, if you buy the 4.33 and mini-extensions today, they still incorporate the older design. It appears Nauticam doesn't don't want to redesign their machining process for earlier ports. Because of this,  I've had to make custom zoom gears out of 70 x 1mm titanium tubing with timing belts for the Ziess 16-70 and remove the shade mounts on the Zeiss 12 and Sigma 16 f1.4 to fit the 4.33.  Otherwise, all the lens (except Z12?), including focus/zoom gears, would have fit into the N85 4.33 if it had the newer 77mm flange mount,  perhaps even perhaps the S10-18. However, being a rectilinear zoom at 10mm most likely wouldn't work with the 4.33.  As you correctly pointed out, most WA rectiliniers do not play well in the corners, especially extreme WA.   Alex Mustards article and formula on using small micro domes for rectilinear WA's just barely met the specifications for the Z12 and the 4.33. I was surprised I got such good performance in this respect.  Just lucky the optics worked, especially with CFWA. Fitting the Z12 into the 4.33 was an engineering task that Zeiss helped me with. 

As far as lens design goes on the new Sony G, as you pointed out, the length at it's long end might be problematic.  However,  both the Sony 18-55 Kit and Zeiss 16-70 extend their lens barrels in the same manner.  The Zeiss being a longer lens at 16-70mm has an extension of 44mm from it's 16mm position and this works perfectly in the 4.33: the 16mm end is positioned optically correct for WA with no vignetting and the long extension comes within 2mm of the face of the dome which works out perfect for using a diopter for SM.  However, for whatever reason, the optics of the Z16-70 do not play well with my CMC-1 or other high power diopters, even though a +5 works fine. The Sony Kit 18-55 doesn't have these issues and works perfectly with the CMC-1 in all respects, so I tend to use it over the Z16-70 for a single dive lens for CWFA and SM, even though I miss the extra 2mm of WA. Moreover, the Sony kit has a very short minimum focusing distance, compared to the Z16-70, which gives it an advantage in CFWA.  The S16-55G would be perfect if it had a similar minimum focus distance. It would give perhaps the same macro IQ as the much heavier S90G M at a more medium macro range and provide razor sharp corners at 16mm WA. As you pointed out on your above lens post, the longer S90 macro is great for SM, but one has to put a lot of water between it and the subject if shooting anything larger.  

Presently, the 73mm girth of the new S16-55G will require a two part port since it doesn't appear that Nauticam will change their machining design of the 4.33 port.  I may call the dealers and have them check for me since it's been a while, but last year when I checked, they said the flange was still the same design with the ID at 70mm. The 50mm extension of the S16-55G you refer to might be handled okay by the N120 4/4.33 dome since it's only a few mm more than the extension of the Z16-70. Until I get my hands on the new lens, I won't know what the actual extension is? The back of the new S16-55G lens will fit through the mini-extensions, so it's possible to fine tune the lens position in the port by the use of mini-extensions at the housing body. I'd love to see Nauticam create a port similar to their 4" semi-WA port # 36137 (for the S18-55 Kit with it's attachable 67mm swing mount for macro) for the new S16-55G.  It would solve the corner and extension issues you speak of and make things a lot simpler.

I just don't have the funds to play around with the modification idea for now, as a new lens and adapters would cost $1,900 +.  Not to mention the engineering of getting the knobs on the adapters to work with the zoom and/or focus barrels. The housing gear system can only handle a 70mm OD which works with the titanium tubing and narrow lens,  but it cannot be adopted to fatter lens. If I come across some inexpensive used gear, I might have a go at it with the two part port system as mentioned earlier, but for now the set-up I have works great. 

I apologize for the length of this response :-) , but it addresses some of the technical issues for such modifications if one is interested in a small travel rig with the best Sony lens.  Those who want more specific information, please contact me directly through the message board. 

Marshall

 

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