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Wetpixel Live: Upgrading to Full Frame

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@Alex_Mustard and @adamhanlon discuss in depth the equipment changes that underwater photographers will need to make if they are considering moving from a cropped sensor camera to a full frame camera. Among other things, they look at lenses, ports, and lighting options.

 

 

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My point of view a bit more brutal than what expressed by @Alex_Mustard is as follows

If you want to go full frame make sure you have budget and are not into compromises: the best quality needs powerful strobes or even dedicated wet optics and this is very expensive. 

The way underwater photography is constructed around small apertures means that if you are not fully invested in the ultimate quality you are likely to struggle if you then want to cut corners.

The cropped sensor planet remains the home of the majority of underwater shooters and will remain as such until cameras exist with cropped sensor....and that is a question mark I know

When I see posts here saying I have spent all my money on a Sony A7RIII now I want to take great images with a polycarbonate housing it really makes me wonder why people do not do more research on our activity the camera is important as the rest of your equipment lens ports strobes and of course the housing

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You’re not wrong. But it is important to remember that a full frame system still takes pictures with poor dome setup etc. You are just not getting the most out of the system. And some don’t realise what they are giving away, because they are getting images that they are happy with and therefore are happy with their setup. 

Rather than be too critical - I think the solution is to encourage them understand how much more they could be getting from it, with a a few choice purchases and a clear understanding of technique.

Alex

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How about covering the opposite topic. Moving to smaller sensors and reasons to do so.

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4 hours ago, Alex_Mustard said:

You’re not wrong. But it is important to remember that a full frame system still takes pictures with poor dome setup etc. You are just not getting the most out of the system. And some don’t realise what they are giving away, because they are getting images that they are happy with and therefore are happy with their setup. 

Rather than be too critical - I think the solution is to encourage them understand how much more they could be getting from it, with a a few choice purchases and a clear understanding of technique.

Alex

I think the point is I am going for an upgrade and should make sufficient allowance for all components of my kit. What is the point to spend £3000 on a camera body and take the same pictures like you did before? I guess is a matter of awareness and committing to your choices. 

A typical examples are minidomes. Ok they are good in some situations but size does matter and you need to spend on glass. I believe a full education should focus people on what matters i.e. lenses and light not just on the camera body. Cameras have been relatively stagnant in the last 4-5 years but there has been great work on underwater optics that you @Alex_Mustard have pioneered. Let's spread the word I would say

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2 hours ago, JohnLiddiard said:

How about covering the opposite topic. Moving to smaller sensors and reasons to do so.

Lol go onto my blog and have a read! Fundamentally cost and weight though some optics remain heavy you are shaving weight

Underwater photography is a small aperture game so for prosumer level equivalence matters in fact

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I'm now moving to a FF camera, just invested in an old 5D housing which is relatively easy to transform to fit a 5D mk II which I long belong only for land photo. I'm glad to hear I made right a  recent invest in two Subtronic 160 pro fusion instead of spend my money in an smaller dome. 

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14 hours ago, JohnLiddiard said:

How about covering the opposite topic. Moving to smaller sensors and reasons to do so.

Work in progress John. From NA-D800 to NA-Z50 with WWL-C. As the 10-17 won't AF with an FTZ adapter, I will have to add MF to a dome (the zoom is taken care of with the 100-120 port adapter.) Since the dome hasn't arrived yet, I can't say how difficult this will be. But there's always the 8-15 zoom fisheye as a fall-back.

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Most Photographers moving to full frame are looking for more flexibility between noise and resolution, improved dynamic range, equivalent focal length I.E. no crop factor, better DOF on the shallow end and an assumption that "Pro" bodies will have more pro features like better AF speed, better tracking, weather sealing and much more. 

I think it is safe to assume that most photographers buying into a new system are looking for smaller and lighter equipment. This extends beyond the issue of mounting travel restrictions and includes an aging photographer population, ease of use and competition from cell phone systems and action cams like Gopro.

I would guess that most photographers when talking about FF assume much greater numbers of megapixels than M4/3 or APS-C camera versions. The issues for moving to full frame apply to the many FF cameras in the market now that are not considered high res as well. Canon ESO R6, Nikon Z6 II and Sony A7 III are all cameras in the 20-24MP range that all provide better image quality for the above reasons than the best M4/3 and APS-C cameras and they all sell for under $2500.00US or so.

My point here is that at least in the mirrorless world full frame is becoming very affordable V. M4/3 & APS-C.

Sony has just released the A7C 24.2MP full frame camera with a 28-60mm F/4-5.6 FF lens in a kit for $2098.00US retail. I am pointing out this camera because it has all of the upsides of FF including the latest Sony AF and tracking speed  with eye detect in a package the size of the APS-C A6600 which sells for $1800.00US with a kit lens. The 28-60mm Kit lens is reported to have much better image quality than the aging Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 and it is about half the size and weight.

Yesterday Nauticam added the FE 28-60mm lens to its Sony port chart and Sony owners should be excited. First the lens works with all Sony FF cameras. It also works with the excellent but not cheap WACP with an AOV of about 130 to 74 degrees, the 28-70 goes to 59 degrees. It also works with the less expensive WWL-1 which until now only worked with the Sony 28mm F2 so you have the added zoom range. Because the 26-60mm lens takes a 40.5mm lens filter the diameter is small enough to work with the sub-full frame CMC-1 and CMC-2 closeup lenses that many M4/3 and APS-C owners now use. At this time Nauticam lists the Sony 28-70mm with Techart Sony to Nikon Z AF adapter and WAPC if you want a zoom lens for the Nikon Z system, perhaps the 28-60mm will be supported by Nikon Z as well. This adapter works with most of the Sony FE lenses on the Z system. 

Bottom line going forward is that Full Frame quality is fast becoming affordable at a verity of price points especially if you don't need the high resolution of a Nikon D850 or Sony A7R IV.

Photos of the Sony A7c with 28-60mm lens along side the Sony A7R IV with the 28-70 kit lens.

 

 

untitled-2622.jpg

untitled-2638.jpg

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Most Photographers moving to full frame are looking for more flexibility between noise and resolution, improved dynamic range, equivalent focal length I.E. no crop factor, better DOF on the shallow end and an assumption that "Pro" bodies will have more pro features like better AF speed, better tracking, weather sealing and much more. 
I think it is safe to assume that most photographers buying into a new system are looking for smaller and lighter equipment. This extends beyond the issue of mounting travel restrictions and includes an aging photographer population, ease of use and competition from cell phone systems and action cams like Gopro.
I would guess that most photographers when talking about FF assume much greater numbers of megapixels than M4/3 or APS-C camera versions. The issues for moving to full frame apply to the many FF cameras in the market now that are not considered high res as well. Canon ESO R6, Nikon Z6 II and Sony A7 III are all cameras in the 20-24MP range that all provide better image quality for the above reasons than the best M4/3 and APS-C cameras and they all sell for under $2500.00US or so.
My point here is that at least in the mirrorless world full frame is becoming very affordable V. M4/3 & APS-C.
Sony has just released the A7C 24.2MP full frame camera with a 28-60mm F/4-5.6 FF lens in a kit for $2098.00US retail. I am pointing out this camera because it has all of the upsides of FF including the latest Sony AF and tracking speed  with eye detect in a package the size of the APS-C A6600 which sells for $1800.00US with a kit lens. The 28-60mm Kit lens is reported to have much better image quality than the aging Sony 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 and it is about half the size and weight.
Yesterday Nauticam added the FE 28-60mm lens to its Sony port chart and Sony owners should be excited. First the lens works with all Sony FF cameras. It also works with the excellent but not cheap WACP with an AOV of about 130 to 74 degrees, the 28-70 goes to 59 degrees. It also works with the less expensive WWL-1 which until now only worked with the Sony 28mm F2 so you have the added zoom range. Because the 26-60mm lens takes a 40.5mm lens filter the diameter is small enough to work with the sub-full frame CMC-1 and CMC-2 closeup lenses that many M4/3 and APS-C owners now use. At this time Nauticam lists the Sony 28-70mm with Techart Sony to Nikon Z AF adapter and WAPC if you want a zoom lens for the Nikon Z system, perhaps the 28-60mm will be supported by Nikon Z as well. This adapter works with most of the Sony FE lenses on the Z system. 
Bottom line going forward is that Full Frame quality is fast becoming affordable at a verity of price points especially if you don't need the high resolution of a Nikon D850 or Sony A7R IV.
Photos of the Sony A7c with 28-60mm lens along side the Sony A7R IV with the 28-70 kit lens.
 
 
untitled-2622.thumb.jpg.931d64c4e150b7af2019b7ee43870e16.jpg
untitled-2638.thumb.jpg.82acfad166daa1f065d9a75a45f4887f.jpg

That’s true for the cameras as phones are creating pressure but not for the housing and ports that generate majority of cost and bulk


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A really interesting discussion and one I wish I'd seen a few years back!

I've related my experiences of moving from DX-FX and back to DX in various posts but I thought it worth relating again here.

Around 2012 I moved from my old faithful Nikon D300 to the D800. As the guys relate, I had to dump eventually the trusty Tokina 10-17 and switched to the Sigma 15mm and Nikkor 16-35. Whilst the 15mm was ok behind my old 8" dome, the 16-35 was awful with super soft edges. It wasn't long before I invested in a 9" dome.

Again, as I have written before, don't be fooled by thinking it's only an extra inch.... 9" domes are very expensive, huge, heavy and a problem for travelling unless you have a generous baggage allowance. And even then they do not entirely solve the problem. As Alex rightly says, you need to stop them down a fair bit and then lighting becomes a problem. I understand the Sea&Sea internal correction lens helps but I have never tried that.

Again, as the guys say, the upside for FX is macro where you have pixels to spare.

When Nikon introduced the D850 I had been using the D800 about 4-5 years and thought seriously of switching to the D850. After much debate and a few exchanges with Adam, I finally went with the D500 and reverted to DX.  I went back to an 8" and 100m domeports and stayed with the Nikkor 105mm, the Tokina 10-17 and, as I had one by then, the Nikkor 8-15 as well.

Presto: easier travel, lighter and cheaper gear, easier and less cumbersome wide-angle and, honestly, I have never regretted it. I'm no-where near a photographer of Alex's standard but I sell lots and no-one has ever quibbled over DX size images - I output to the shortest side at 3500 pixels.

I'm sure there are advantages to FX but I suspect, at least compared to a D500, you'd have to do some some real pixel-peeping to spot it - or blow them up to gigasize images. And, honestly, who does that?

I can well understand that we all want what we think is the biggest and best we can afford (well, I do anyway!) but there was a real lesson for me in all of this. Yeah, maybe FX is better. but it comes at a huge price, less convenience and hard to spot the advantage. It left me, to an extent, thinking we are all drinking the camera manufacturer's CoolAid: we have to have gazillions of pixels.

My experience anyway....

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, TimG said:

A really interesting discussion and one I wish I'd seen a few years back!

I've related my experiences of moving from DX-FX and back to DX in various posts but I thought it worth relating again here.

Around 2012 I moved from my old faithful Nikon D300 to the D800. As the guys relate, I had to dump eventually the trusty Tokina 10-17 and switched to the Sigma 15mm and Nikkor 16-35. Whilst the 15mm was ok behind my old 8" dome, the 16-35 was awful with super soft edges. It wasn't long before I invested in a 9" dome.

Again, as I have written before, don't be fooled by thinking it's only an extra inch.... 9" domes are very expensive, huge, heavy and a problem for travelling unless you have a generous baggage allowance. And even then they do not entirely solve the problem. As Alex rightly says, you need to stop them down a fair bit and then lighting becomes a problem. I understand the Sea&Sea internal correction lens helps but I have never tried that.

Again, as the guys say, the upside for FX is macro where you have pixels to spare.

When Nikon introduced the D850 I had been using the D800 about 4-5 years and thought seriously of switching to the D850. After much debate and a few exchanges with Adam, I finally went with the D500 and reverted to DX.  I went back to an 8" and 100m domeports and stayed with the Nikkor 105mm, the Tokina 10-17 and, as I had one by then, the Nikkor 8-15 as well.

Presto: easier travel, lighter and cheaper gear, easier and less cumbersome wide-angle and, honestly, I have never regretted it. I'm no-where near a photographer of Alex's standard but I sell lots and no-one has ever quibbled over DX size images - I output to the shortest side at 3500 pixels.

I'm sure there are advantages to FX but I suspect, at least compared to a D500, you'd have to do some some real pixel-peeping to spot it - or blow them up to gigasize images. And, honestly, who does that?

I can well understand that we all want what we think is the biggest and best we can afford (well, I do anyway!) but there was a real lesson for me in all of this. Yeah, maybe FX is better. but it comes at a huge price, less convenience and hard to spot the advantage. It left me, to an extent, thinking we are all drinking the camera manufacturer's CoolAid: we have to have gazillions of pixels.

My experience anyway....

 

 

 

Thankfully Nikon has done a newer version of the D5XX because on cropped mirrorless the situation is not as good. The cameras are average and the choice of lens port is not great at present.

 

 

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Interceptor121

"That’s true for the cameras as phones are creating pressure but not for the housing and ports that generate majority of cost and bulk"

Your point is well taken if you intend to invest in the same lenses and ports you would for a high res full frame like an D850. My point is that you can get into a full frame camera with excellent image quality in the 20-24MP range and with excellent AF. The A7c has better image quality than EM1-III or D500 and apples to apples about the same price. 

I really don't think many that picks a 20-24MP sub-full frame camera are going to be spending $4700+ on a WACP but many have spent $1388.00 for WWL-1 and are more than happy with the performance over Tokina 10-17 or Olympus/Pana 7-14mm.

So apples to apples.
 

Sony A7c with the FE 28-60mm retail at introduction $2100.00US     Nikon D500   ( at introduction now 5 years old)     $2000.00     

Nauticam N100/45 flat port with focus gear knob      $491.00            Tokina 10-17mm current price                                  $471.00                                                          

Nauticam Zoom gear                                                        $201.00             Nauticam zoom gear for DX                                      $198.00

                                                                                                                                                                                           Acrylic          Glass

Nauticam WWL-1                                                               $1388.00           Nauticam dome port & extension     $724.00        $1231.00

Nauticam NA-A7C housing                                              $2586.00           Nauticam NAD500 housing                                       $3620.00

                                                                             Total        $6766.00                       Total with acrylic port/glass                          $7013.00/$7520

 

Olympus EM-1 III                                                                $1799.00

Panasonic 14-42mm power zoom/Oly 14-42 PZ          $359.00/$299

Nauticam macro port                                                         $336.00

Nauticam PZ zoom gear                                                    $259.00

Nauticam WWL-1                                                                $1388.00

Nauticam NA-EM-1 III housing                                         $2068.00

                                                                    Total                  $6209.00/6149.00

Beyond these items everything else is equal, strobes, arms and more.

Obviously you can argue that the Olympus and Nikon cameras/lenses can be bought on sale for less and I fully agree but the D500 will be five years old next month and Olympus is going out of business so pricing may be depressed. Weight wise the Sony system will be much lighter and smaller than the D500 system. The Sony A7R IV housing is 2.71kg v 3.02 for D500 and the A7c housing will be much closer to the size and weight of the Sony A6600 housing at 1.65kg. The Olympus housing is 2kg about what I would expect the A7c housing will be. 

You can also argue that the Olympus and Nikon cameras are more robust and have more features but what matters to most is the best image quality and AF speed at an affordable price. The A7c surpasses both the  Nikon and Olympus in IQ and the Olympus in AF speed, accuracy and features. AF speed is also quite close to the aging D500 which when replaced next year will easily sell closer to $2500.00. 

Again my point is not to argue that buyers will move to full frame rather than a cell phone but that buyers looking to move up from compact cameras or away from a DSLR can now find a reasonably priced full frame system in a smaller package.

The A7c will of course lose any advantage if it is mated with a Sony 12-24mm F/4/2.8 and a 230mm dome port with 55mm extension. Sony has signaled an intension to introduce smaller lenses going forward which they have shown they can do and I am sure a smaller macro lens and port will be in the not to distant future. 

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Interceptor121
"That’s true for the cameras as phones are creating pressure but not for the housing and ports that generate majority of cost and bulk"
Your point is well taken if you intend to invest in the same lenses and ports you would for a high res full frame like an D850. My point is that you can get into a full frame camera with excellent image quality in the 20-24MP range and with excellent AF. The A7c has better image quality than EM1-III or D500 and apples to apples about the same price. 
I really don't think many that picks a 20-24MP sub-full frame camera are going to be spending $4700+ on a WACP but many have spent $1388.00 for WWL-1 and are more than happy with the performance over Tokina 10-17 or Olympus/Pana 7-14mm.
So apples to apples.
 
Sony A7c with the FE 28-60mm retail at introduction $2100.00US     Nikon D500   ( at introduction now 5 years old)     $2000.00     
Nauticam N100/45 flat port with focus gear knob      $491.00            Tokina 10-17mm current price                                  $471.00                                                          
Nauticam Zoom gear                                                        $201.00             Nauticam zoom gear for DX                                      $198.00
                                                                                                                                                                                           Acrylic          Glass
Nauticam WWL-1                                                               $1388.00           Nauticam dome port & extension     $724.00        $1231.00
Nauticam NA-A7C housing                                              $2586.00           Nauticam NAD500 housing                                       $3620.00
                                                                             Total        $6766.00                       Total with acrylic port/glass                          $7013.00/$7520
 
Olympus EM-1 III                                                                $1799.00
Panasonic 14-42mm power zoom/Oly 14-42 PZ          $359.00/$299
Nauticam macro port                                                         $336.00
Nauticam PZ zoom gear                                                    $259.00
Nauticam WWL-1                                                                $1388.00
Nauticam NA-EM-1 III housing                                         $2068.00
                                                                    Total                  $6209.00/6149.00
Beyond these items everything else is equal, strobes, arms and more.
Obviously you can argue that the Olympus and Nikon cameras/lenses can be bought on sale for less and I fully agree but the D500 will be five years old next month and Olympus is going out of business so pricing may be depressed. Weight wise the Sony system will be much lighter and smaller than the D500 system. The Sony A7R IV housing is 2.71kg v 3.02 for D500 and the A7c housing will be much closer to the size and weight of the Sony A6600 housing at 1.65kg. The Olympus housing is 2kg about what I would expect the A7c housing will be. 
You can also argue that the Olympus and Nikon cameras are more robust and have more features but what matters to most is the best image quality and AF speed at an affordable price. The A7c surpasses both the  Nikon and Olympus in IQ and the Olympus in AF speed, accuracy and features. AF speed is also quite close to the aging D500 which when replaced next year will easily sell closer to $2500.00. 
Again my point is not to argue that buyers will move to full frame rather than a cell phone but that buyers looking to move up from compact cameras or away from a DSLR can now find a reasonably priced full frame system in a smaller package.
The A7c will of course lose any advantage if it is mated with a Sony 12-24mm F/4/2.8 and a 230mm dome port with 55mm extension. Sony has signaled an intension to introduce smaller lenses going forward which they have shown they can do and I am sure a smaller macro lens and port will be in the not to distant future. 

If you compare with wwl-1 yes but most people shoot a panasonic fisheye and there is still $1000+ gap to an olympus
My point on sensor crop is that even if your full sensor camera is cheaper it will still require small aperture which means expensive strobes it higher ISO that will negate the superior performance
I have been doing a lot of land shooting this year and camera sensor size matters less than what I expected
I got into MFT because of video if I was a still shooter today and had to invest I have would look elsewhere and I agree the sony a7c and panasonic s5 are interesting however when I look at lenses the choice is limited. You go and shoot macro what are you going to use? Still a massive 90-150mm lens that will reverse the compactness of your set up
Canon is making the right steps with diffractive optics need to wait few years more to see where it goes
Its a shame olympus went belly up as MFT is currently self limited by a 12 bit raw. If this was 14 bits this would be much closer to other formats


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On 12/18/2020 at 2:24 PM, TimG said:

Presto: easier travel, lighter and cheaper gear, easier and less cumbersome wide-angle and, honestly, I have never regretted it. I'm no-where near a photographer of Alex's standard but I sell lots and no-one has ever quibbled over DX size images - I output to the shortest side at 3500 pixels.

I'm sure there are advantages to FX but I suspect, at least compared to a D500, you'd have to do some some real pixel-peeping to spot it - or blow them up to gigasize images. And, honestly, who does that?

I couldn't say better. Applause

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