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Greetings Wetpixlers!

I'm currently trying out the new Sony A7RIV in a Nauticam housing together with  the 90mm macro and SMC-2 diopter, but I'm having issues (to say the least). I come from having used Olympus cameras for the past 7 years or so, so some adjustment was expected but I'm banging my head against the wall much more than I anticipated. The 90mm alone works fine, but as soon as the SMC-2 is put into the equation I just simply cannot get it to lock focus. I'm used to less than stellar auto-focus, my current (potentially previous) EM1 hunted as well when paired with the CMC-2, but this is just at another level. The 4x magnification is no joke! I've done 5 dives so far with this combo, and I think I've seen it lock focus once and only for a second before starting to hunt again. Because of the insanely shallow DOF, all you see is gloriously creamy bokeh swishing by in the viewfinder, so no point of reference to work with. I use back focusing, so what I've been doing to holding the back focus button, let go and any random time and then rock the camera back/forth in hopes to find the right focus distance. It's quite random, and you never know what distance you're going to get :).

Earlier today I took the entire setup back to my room, as I wanted to see if I could get the focus to lock on a static object on the bed in a more controller environment. Same issue though - focus just hunts and never seems to lock. 

Two questions:

1. Am I expecting too much here of the SMC-2, perhaps this is a manual-focus-only diopter?

2. I've tried different focusing settings, but with no improvement. Any other settings that might be worth trying to improve the results?

 

Would be great to get your opinion if you've tried the same, or similar, setup!

Thanks!

Edit: Corrected topic

Patrick

Edited by PatrickJ
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Hi, I do not have this setup but am considering it. Phil Rudin has the A7riv with 90mm and has written two excellent articles in UW photography magazine episodes 111 and 112, free for download. He has found a fix for your hunting lens issue which he explains how to use in detail.
http://www.uwpmag.com/

Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk

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1 hour ago, Placebo365 said:

Hi, I do not have this setup but am considering it. Phil Rudin has the A7riv with 90mm and has written two excellent articles in UW photography magazine episodes 111 and 112, free for download. He has found a fix for your hunting lens issue which he explains how to use in detail.
http://www.uwpmag.com/

Sent from my CLT-L29 using Tapatalk
 

Thanks! Had a look, and indeed it seems Phil is combining manual focus and moving the camera into place. Shame I don't have to SMC-1 to test with as well, sounds like a better all-around-diopter (SMC-2 feels very specialized). 

/Patrick

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The SMC-2 requires a higher level of skill than SMC-1 and 1:1. This is a very niche item for the obsessed super macro fan. My suggestion is to turn off AF and set to manual. Set the 90mm macro at 1:1 and leave it. Then acquire focus at 1:1 once you have done that flip in the SMC-2 and move much closer to your subject to obtain focus. When you are in focus at 1:1 and use the SMC-1 you need to reduce subject distance by about 50% say eight inches to four inches, SMC-2 is about 1/2 the distance as SMC-1 or four inches to two inches. 

Not aware of your skill level but these are toys that are not easy to use. When I have used SMC-2 and shot 150 images on a dive I will be lucky to get 5 or 6 in focus at F/18 to F/22. Lighting is also a bitch because you are so close to the subject and the obvious damage you can cause if you bump the subject is also a concern. 

The biggest issue for all super macro is subject selection, at times it is hard to find a subject so small that is not very three demential to photograph. With full frame at this magnification DOF is razor thin so most subjects will only be partially in focus.   

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Thanks Phil - appreciate the information!

Since my previous post I've done two more dives, and I think realizing and accepting that AF simply won't work with this combination was exactly what I needed. Throwing that out of the equation, instead of getting frustrated I started to adapt and I have started getting some decent results. Seems to be the way it always goes when trying out new gear in this hobby. I definitely think having a manual gear is the preferred setup, and if I decide to go this route it's a definitive buy, but in lack of it I used the workaround mentioned in your article in UWPMAG (taking the SMC-2 off, focus on either something close or far away object depending on the subject size you're shooting and then flip the SMC-2 back on). It works decently enough!

I'll post a few example photos later today once I've had time to go through the results, I'm sure others are curious about this combination. In general I'm rather amazed how sharp the SMC-2 is the few times your get it right! :)

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As promised a few of the photos taken during yesterday's dive. Not am I saying in any way these photos show the full potential of the camera/lens combination, but I'm still quite excited about what I'm seeing in terms of sharpness - bodes well for the future!

Flickr Album

/Patrick

 

 

 

Edited by PatrickJ
Will link to photos instead

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Most of this video is shot with sony FE 90mm + SMC-2. First time I used it. SMC-2 is no easy...

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10 minutes ago, TaxiDiver14 said:

Most of this video is shot with sony FE 90mm + SMC-2. First time I used it. SMC-2 is no easy...
 

Awesome stuff!!

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