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Finetuning my Rig

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It has been roughly over a year since I bought my first underwater rig and I am looking to maybe finetune some things that I am not so happy with. However, I'm not entirely sure which way to go, as affordability is a big issue. I currently use an Em5mkI in Nauticam housing together with a Panasonic-Leica 8-18mm in the 7" acrylic port and the 12-50mm with its special port and gear. I use two YS-02 (not D2!) for lighting. On occasion I can also borrow my mothers Panasonic-Leica 45mm Macro which fits in the same port. All of this except for the 8-18 (which I already owned for land use) was bought used. New this kit would be way out of my financial reach. 

However, there are a few things that I would like to improve. The first thing is that I would like to get a fisheye lens, as I have found that sometimes I can't get close enough to large corals to light them. My mother (who has a Panasonic GX80 in Subal housing) just bought the Olympus 8mm lens and I tried it out for a single dive on Lanzarote and definitely want some of that fisheye goodness. I am also very interested in making my rig more compact. The 7" dome is a big hassle on airplanes and using something like the 4.33" dome would make travelling a lot easier. 

The question is whether I could replace the rectilinear wide angle all together (or at least only bring it on very specific trips). I know of the possible use of the Canon 8-15mm giving a roughly 170° fisheye at the wide end and something in the middle of the range of the PL8-18 at the long end. But while the lens itself can be had used for reasonable discounts housing it seems quite a bit more expensive. The N85-120 adapters as well as extension rings add up to a substantial amount of money and they rarely come available used. Buying and housing the 8-15mm would probably cost me at least 1500€ more likely 2000, depending on what parts I can get used. Buying and housing the Panasonic or Olympus fisheye (both very good and compact optics) would certainly cost less than half of that. 

Another option would be to add a wide wetlens to my 12-50mm (preferably via Flip Adapter). My parents own the INON UWL-100 that I could have as they don't use it anymore. They also own a Saga +10. If this works the 12-50 could function as a (fairly) rectilinear wide lens, while I carry only the small dome for a fisheye lens. In addition I could expand the (already quite good) macro capabilities of the 12-50mm.

I'm just wondering if I will be annoyed on dives where I only have the Fisheye. On the other hand, I have found that contrary to what I believed at first the fisheye actually seemed to be a bit more versatile because it's "wide angle macro" capabilities.

So...

After all this rambling. Should I wait and see if I can maybe one day afford the 8-15mm setup giving me a fisheye that also zooms in, or should I get one of the native fixed fisheyes and patch the rectilinear wide angle hole with a wetlens on the 12-50. 

 

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I have the following for my GH5

4.33 dome Panasonic 8mm

7" dome: Panasonic 8-18 and Panasonic 12-60

35 Macro port" Panasonic 14-42 Mark II with wet lenses

35+ 30 extension Olympus 60mm

The Panasonic 8-18mm is a lens I only use for wreck interiors or split shots all my wide angle is done with the 8mm fisheye or in cases of sharks or similar with the 14-42mm and wet lens which is my go to for video

For what concerns the WWL-1 the horizontal and vertical field of view are the same of the 7-14mm you get 130 diagonal but you don't really look at the corners as they are distorted.

To give an idea your 8-18mm horizontal field of view is 94 the WWL-1 is 102 and the 8mm fisheye is 130. You gain around 13% with the WWL-1 while the field of view is double with the fisheye so it is an entirely different game

The WWL-1 is an alternative to the 8-18 or 7-14 but not to a fisheye lens

 

 

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I think the 8-15mm would give the same field of view as the 8mm Pany or Oly fisheye at 8mm which should be ~180° on the diagonal. For 15mm focal length I get a field of view of 88° on the diagonal which is equivalent to  about 22mm on full frame or 11mm on your 8-18mm.  This page gives the formulas http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/field_of_view.html

The Pany 8mm with a 4.33" acrylic dome is certainly  cheaper and easier to come by used,   you can also use the Oly 12mm f2 lens in that dome if you want to dive with a little more focal length.    You also need to source a adapter and zoom gear!  Whether you are frustrated only having a fisheye will probably depend on your dive spots more than anything else

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On Nikon FX sensor cameras I found that I pretty much ditched the rectilinear and stuck with a fisheye.

The fisheye is much easier in terms of a port: cheaper, lighter, more travel-friendly, less to lug. And for the type of pics I want, divers on reefs/wrecks, the FE is perfect.

Where it not is not so good is for photographing larger critters who won't let you get close, eg sharks and dolphins.

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2 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

I think the 8-15mm would give the same field of view as the 8mm Pany or Oly fisheye at 8mm which should be ~180° on the diagonal. For 15mm focal length I get a field of view of 88° on the diagonal which is equivalent to  about 22mm on full frame or 11mm on your 8-18mm.  This page gives the formulas http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/field_of_view.html

This is where my maths lead me, too. It seems to be the optimal solution, except for price. 

 

1 hour ago, TimG said:

Where it not is not so good is for photographing larger critters who won't let you get close, eg sharks and dolphins.

This is actually something that I have no experience, yet. The largest critters I've photographed underwater were angle sharks (which let you get close enough to use a fisheye) and turtles (sometimes let you get close enough). 

Do you think I would be ok with the 12-50mm for those subjects? I've searched the forums about this before, but there seems to be very little information on combining wetlenses with the 12-50. I may have to test it myself.

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I'll leave Chris and Massimo to respond to that one.  I've no experience of the 12-50.

 

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I'll leave Chris and Massimo to respond to that one.  I've no experience of the 12-50.
 
You need the bayonet converter for the m77 port and will only work from 14mm

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Wouldn't I need a bayonet converter for both the wetlens and the port? My assumption was that such a converter would add extra distance between port and lens in the same way that a flip adapter would. Considering that I'm (for now) not planning to use a big lens like the WWL-1 I felt that a flip option would be superior. I was expecting that a little zooming in would be required (although zooming to a specific spot with the 12-50 is a bit of pain...), so that is not a problem.

I probably wouldn't sell the 7" dome so in case of a trip to the Bahamas or other shark heavy destinations, I would still use the 8-18mm. I'm happy with the quality, just not the size of the rig.

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Wouldn't I need a bayonet converter for both the wetlens and the port? My assumption was that such a converter would add extra distance between port and lens in the same way that a flip adapter would. Considering that I'm (for now) not planning to use a big lens like the WWL-1 I felt that a flip option would be superior. I was expecting that a little zooming in would be required (although zooming to a specific spot with the 12-50 is a bit of pain...), so that is not a problem.
I probably wouldn't sell the 7" dome so in case of a trip to the Bahamas or other shark heavy destinations, I would still use the 8-18mm. I'm happy with the quality, just not the size of the rig.
The wet lens already comes with a m67 and a bayonet
The bayonet mount itself is a separate part look up nauticam wwl-1 port chart you can see it
I also recommend the float collar. I do think however that for you the panasonic 8mm and 4.33 is a better move as there isn't a lot of difference between the 8-18 and the wwl-1

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There is an old saying "Introduce too many variables and you are certain to disappoint."

I would stick with you wide angle for sure and then add a macro or close up system.

Also, you MUST use two powerful strobes in deep blue water as in the Sea & Sea YS D2.

Once you have mastered the above, you may consider other options. Getting to the right rig set up for you can leave you with a lot of money staying home because you bought too much too soon.

I've been playing in this sandbox for 20 years and I hear more "regret" stories than I would prefer.

Good Luck!

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@Interceptor121 I am not planning to use the WWL-1. My parents have an Inon UWL-100 (as well as Saga +10) that is spare and that I could use. I am considering using that on a flip adapter to fill my "medium wide" wideangle need in addition to an 8mm fisheye in 4.33 inch port. I am just not sure if it actually works. Getting the flip adapter for macro might make sense anyway so it's not the worst investment even if the UWL-100 doesn't work well. 

@bill1946 I know that more powerful strobes would be better, but I've actually been surprisingly happy with my YS-02. When Backscatter tested a bunch of strobes recently, it showed that the YS-01 (which is identical + TTL) was punching significantly above it's weight class and my experience with the YS-02 reflects that as well. They are significantly stronger than the Inon S2000, which is certainly not enough for lighting wide angle pictures. Unless a financial miracle happens upgrading the strobes doesn't seem to make that much sense. I had a private workshop on Lanzarote with a pro UW-Photographer this summer and my main takeaway was that before adding more power, I need to learn how to use the power I already have better. Quite often he adjusted my strobe positioning and I then had to reduce power. 

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The UWL-100 comes in several flavours and INON data seems to indicate it is designed for 28mm equivalent lenses there is one footnote saying only compatible on 14-42 lens.   Here is their page:  http://www.inon.jp/products/lens/uwl100achromat/top.html

The website indicates using a type 2 lens for olympus cameras.   I believe also the lens is not designed to zoom through only to use at it about the widest setting close to 28mm equivalent on the lens: " Set the camera to wide end. If you observe vignetting at wide end, zoom to telephoto side minimum necessary or crop the image after taking image. The lens is designed to get optimum performance at above setting. "

Before I went out and  a purchased a flip mount I would suggest just getting a step down ring to m67 and screw it on to give it a try and see how it performs, you will probably need to zoom into about 14mm on the 12-50.

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Thanks for the helpful replies. Getting a step down ring is probably the lowest cost way to test my setup. It gives me some time to figure out whether I need or want a flip adapter and stick to the 12-50mm as my main macro solution that also does wide angle, or if maybe I should invest in a 60mm macro. On the fisheye/wide angle side I think it's best to just get the native dome and fisheye. While the Canon 8-15 seems to be an amazing lens on mu43 it is a very expensive proposition.

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Thanks for the helpful replies. Getting a step down ring is probably the lowest cost way to test my setup. It gives me some time to figure out whether I need or want a flip adapter and stick to the 12-50mm as my main macro solution that also does wide angle, or if maybe I should invest in a 60mm macro. On the fisheye/wide angle side I think it's best to just get the native dome and fisheye. While the Canon 8-15 seems to be an amazing lens on mu43 it is a very expensive proposition.

I am not sure which version of the UWL-100 you have and if you have a dome but with the lens you have there is a chance that the incremental field of view you get over the 8-18 is not much.
The 12-50 is not the best lens for use with a wet lens, the Panasonic 14-42 MkII and PZ with the 35 and 29 port are the lenses that sit closer to the glass and give best optical quality
I run some tests to compare the inon to the UWL-H100 and the inon lens clearly suffers with micro four thirds whilst the difference on the sony rx100 series was not substantial


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To be clear. Adding the Wetlens would be in addition to a fisheye lens. I would only use it for those dives, where it is likely the fisheye will be too wide and 12mm behind a flat port will be too narrow. I will see how the quality is. 10€ for a step-down ring is cheap enough that there it should be alright to just try.

I will also keep the 7" dome, but I don't want to carry it on every trip, as it is quite large.

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To be clear. Adding the Wetlens would be in addition to a fisheye lens. I would only use it for those dives, where it is likely the fisheye will be too wide and 12mm behind a flat port will be too narrow. I will see how the quality is. 10€ for a step-down ring is cheap enough that there it should be alright to just try.
I will also keep the 7" dome, but I don't want to carry it on every trip, as it is quite large.
I think by the time you zoom there won't be much difference to the 8-18 you will need a test card to check. The main benefit of the wwl-1 compared to a rectilinear is that it works at wider apertures however the inon needs to stop at f/8 and offers no benefits
See how you get on as you already have the 7" port I think you will use it because it works well for split shots
For sharks instead my go to lens is the 14-42mm with the Wwl-1 not because of field of view but because the sharks look skinny with a rectilinear lens

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You have an excellent setup, lens wise.  I shoot the same exact gear, except I use the Panasonic 7-14 for wide.  I would not add the fisheye.  You have good wide capability already.  I have the 12-25 for mid-range animal work and fish portraits, combined with its handy macro mode.  A very handy all-around lens and adding the WWL-1 gives you an "all around" ultra-wide (weitwinkel)-to-midrange-to-macro capability on a single dive that no other package can match.  Reef Photo has a good article on this on their website.

Personally, I do not prefer the fisheye look for reefscapes or animals.  I prefer rectlinear, and the versatile framing/perspective of the zoom, and this times ten when you are shooting animals.  Fisheye gets repetitive in its "look", and the fisheye shooters I deal with for goliath grouper and turtles have to chase the animals to get right in their faces, needless to say scaring them more often than not, and not exactly enhancing the joy of the other divers.  Same problem with gopro users.

But, not to say not to add one later if it fills some unique need.

First, I would invest your funds in stronger flashes--that would, I think, pay far more dividends.  A couple of YS D2s would light up pretty much any scene you want.  I bought two Retras when they first came out, to replace my YS-01s , and the difference those made in my images was more than anything adding another lens would have done.

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You have an excellent setup, lens wise.  I shoot the same exact gear, except I use the Panasonic 7-14 for wide.  I would not add the fisheye.  You have good wide capability already.  I have the 12-25 for mid-range animal work and fish portraits, combined with its handy macro mode.  A very handy all-around lens and adding the WWL-1 gives you an "all around" ultra-wide (weitwinkel) (weitwinkel)-to-midrange-to-macro capability on a single dive that no other package can match.  Reef Photo has a good article on this on their website.
Personally, I do not prefer the fisheye look for reefscapes or animals.  I prefer rectlinear, and the versatile framing/perspective of the zoom, and this times ten when you are shooting animals.  Fisheye gets repetitive in its "look", and the fisheye shooters I deal with for goliath grouper and turtles have to chase the animals to get right in their faces, needless to say scaring them more often than not, and not exactly enhancing the joy of the other divers.  Same problem with gopro users.
But, not to say not to add one later if it fills some unique need.
First, I would invest your funds in stronger flashes--that would, I think, pay far more dividends.  A couple of YS D2s would light up pretty much any scene you want.  I bought two Retras when they first came out, to replace my YS-01s , and the difference those made in my images was more than anything adding another lens would have done.
There is a huge difference between the field of view of the WWL-1 which is essentially the same of the 7-14 except it focus closer and its sharper and a fisheye lens
There will be plenty of situation if you shoot close focus wide angle or even a wreck or a school where with the wwl-1 you will need to be more than 1.5 metres away making your strobes ineffective
Surely there will be situations where this is not required however to say you don't need a fisheye starting from an 8-18mm is a big statement

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Well, it's a question of choice for the OP.  Spend the money on better flashes, or spend the money on a new fisheye lens and dome.  The cost is going to be about the same, I suspect.  My thought was that, since the OP has wide angle covered pretty well, the flashes would add something more valuable than a fisheye.  Also, the post raised the question as to whether a fisheye would replace a rectlinear wide angle zoom set-up.  My personal opinion  is that it would not, as you lose too much versatility, but, that is my opinion.

If the OP does not want to invest in flashes, then the idea of selling the 8-16 and dome, and then adding the WWL-1 to the 12-50, and also adding a fisheye and dome, makes sense, as it gives both capabilities.

 

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I have decided to try out the UWL-100 to see how good the 12-50 works with a wetlens. If it works reasonably well, I will probably get a fisheye lens. 

I am happy with the performance of my YS-02. They work well enough. Some of the deficiencies I can correct in post, which is (sadly but probably) my strongest photography skill.

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I wrote about it here
https://interceptor121.com/2019/05/12/nauticam-wwl-1the-best-wide-angle-lens-for-underwater-video-on-the-gh5-and-other-micro-four-thirds/

There is a table that compares horizontal and vertical field of view that are a totally different story from advertised diagonal
The improvement of a wet lens over an 8m is small and on a 7mm is none
The fisheye is far away from both doubling the field of view
The wwl-1 only provides a 10% increase over the 8-18
The key benefit of a wet lens is not the field of view but the ability to zoom in and also take off the lens in short versatility that especially for video is important
Once you have gone past and have already a couple of port fisheye is a must in fact the 8mm fisheye and the 60mm macro are probably the true must have for photos
For video instead the wet lens path is preferred


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I have felt the lure of the WWL-1 before, but the UWL-100 I can get is free and free beats 1000€+ very easily, especially for a first experiment. I know that the WWL-1 will be superior, but money is a serious consideration for me.

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I have felt the lure of the WWL-1 before, but the UWL-100 I can get is free and free beats 1000€+ very easily, especially for a first experiment. I know that the WWL-1 will be superior, but money is a serious consideration for me.

Maybe you haven’t read the post correctly free will give you what you already have as the field of view won’t go up much if it will at all


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4 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:


Maybe you haven’t read the post correctly free will give you what you already have as the field of view won’t go up much if it will at all


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So you are saying the horizontal /vertical field of view are equivalent to about a 7mm/8mm rectilinear lens and you only get 130° field of view along the diagonal due to distortion.  I take it that the FOV column in your table is your estimate of the angular field of view, but I'm not sure what the other values are?   Are the values calculated or measured, you are talking about calculations and verifying them? 

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8 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:


Maybe you haven’t read the post correctly free will give you what you already have as the field of view won’t go up much if it will at all


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But it will give it to me in a much smaller size. That is my main annoyance with the 8-18. I would then add true fisheye later, as a 4.33" dome is much easier to handle while travelling. In the end that would give me a smaller rig with more shooting options. So long as the Image quality that the UWL-100 puts out is acceptable.

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