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stuartv

Macro setup for Sony FF?

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I'm shooting a Sony a7rIV. I just got the new 28-60 lens for it. I've been shooting with the 28mm f/2 and WWL-1. Now, I'll be switching to use the zoom lens with the WWL-1 for most stuff.

I would also like to have some ability to shoot macro. Or macro-ish, I guess. From what I can tell, I have 2 choices:

- CMC-1 or CMC-2 added to the flat port in front of the 28-60.

- Sony 90mm macro lens, with a flat port, and then possibly an SMC-1 or SMC-2.

The Nauticam marketing info on the CMC options seems to want me to think that I'll actually get better results with the 28-60 and a CMC, versus the 90mm with a flat port.

Are any of you knowledgeable enough to give me any insight on this? I guess it's down to: 

28-60+CMC-1

vs

90mm macro w/flat port

vs

90mm macro + SMC-2

 

I have not really shot macro before, so I'm not sure what I don't know. What seems like the important question is, for each of these setups, what is the minimum size of a subject I can shoot and have it fill the frame?

Comparing 28-60 w/CMC1 to 90 w/SMC2, the 90 seems like it would have ROUGHLY 50% longer focal length, by comparison. But, I guess minimum focusing distance comes into play with that. If the 90+SMC2 has a 50% longer minimum focusing distance, then I guess it would have no actual advantage. Or, it would be longer working distance (good) vs more water between you and the subject (bad).

 

Any insight any of you can share will be much appreciated. I've been shooting u/w for a few years now, but always WA or CFWA. Macro really seems like a mystery to me. I'd like to get setup for it, but I don't want to spend money on one path only to realize later that I really should have gone down the other path.

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My gut is that since I already have the 28-60 lens and I do not have a 90mm macro lens, I should go ahead and just get a CMC 1 or 2. That and the WWL-1 will let me go from pretty small to 130 degree FOV - all while in the water, even.

If that seems like the smart way to go, then do I get the CMC 1 or 2? The Nauticam marketing makes it sound like the CMC-2 is easier to shoot with and may also offer better AF accuracy. Combined with the ability to crop that my a7rIV gives me, should I get the the 2? Or go for the CMC-1, which gives 50% more magnification?

I guess the flip side of "easier to use" is that if I get the CMC-1, I can zoom the 28-60 lens back from 60mm to something less, to get the same result as using a CMC-2 at the full 60mm focal length? Or do these CMC lenses only work with the lens zoomed all the way to max (60mm)?

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The basic principle is that the diopter reduces minimum focus distance, the 28-60 min focus distance is 300mm so plenty of room for improvement. 

I would also suggest if you have not shot macro before to pick the least powerful diopter and work your way up from there.  Assume you've seen this: 

Bear in mind they are mostly talking about putting them in front of macro lenses that will do 1:1 already.  

Also look at Interceptor's post and video in that link - it's on m43 so on full frame you'll get about twice the field he shows approximately, but the working distances quoted will be similar.  Also take note of the working distances he is quoting for that maximum magnification and that the INON lenses seem to have about double what the CMC-1 has. 

I did back of the envelope calculations from the images presented in the Interceptor's video to come up with on sensor magnifications:

INON UCL-67:     0.8x

CMC-1 :            0.7x

INON UCL-90:            0.6x

CMC-2:             0.55x

With the setup used the working distance was about 4cm with the CMC-1 and 8cm with the UCL-90.  This should translate across to your system when zoomed to about 40mm and you'll get a bit more magnification because you can zoom to 60mm.  The working distance I am guessing will be a little greater as your bare lens focuses further away than the test lens.  I would suggest you also consider the INON lenses for a little more working distance.

Regarding zooming, the lens should work but will lose magnification fairly rapidly because when you are zooming you are losing magnification with out the lens and on top of this the magnifying power decreases as the focal length decreases.  those effects will be additive. 

Regarding swapping between the closeup lens and WWL in the water, in theory it's possible, in practice what do you do with an expensive 150mm diameter lens that weighs about 120 gr underwater and does not have a tie off point to tether it when you take it off?   You can place it on a dock somewhere but it's a very large lump to place on a flash arm - you can pocket it I guess but It will make your rig 120 gr lighter which might be an issue if it is near neutral already and you would need a big secure pocket.

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Hi Chris, that last question you asked is precisely what I have been mulling.. I was planning to try almost the same setup as suggested by @stuartv. Namely, the Sony A7C with the 28-60, and the WWL-1B; and carry my subsee +10 to switch to macro if required. But the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that It'll be better to have a separate system for macro (possibly the 90mm), and the wwl-1b for wide. Sigh.

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15 minutes ago, ajay said:

Hi Chris, that last question you asked is precisely what I have been mulling.. I was planning to try almost the same setup as suggested by @stuartv. Namely, the Sony A7C with the 28-60, and the WWL-1B; and carry my subsee +10 to switch to macro if required. But the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that It'll be better to have a separate system for macro (possibly the 90mm), and the wwl-1b for wide. Sigh.

I don't see why the 28-60 plus close up lenses wouldn't work just fine maybe down to about lifesize with appropriate lens choice.  But you'd be diving WWL on one dive and swapping to closeup lens (or lenses) for the macro dive.  Depends on your priorities a little perhaps, but a lot less equipment to haul and you'd never remove the front port with associated o-ring checks for the whole trip.

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Honestly, I would go with the Wetlens solution first. Lenses like the CMC-1 only cost 300-400€/$ and they hold their value fairly well. If you are not happy after the first trip, you can always change to a dedicated macro lens, but most likely you will be fine, unless supermacro is your goal. In that case you will need a wetlens + macro lens so you might as well get the wetlens first.

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In my experience, switching from macro to wide during a  dive doesn't work well. My lighting set up etc. is completely different. It also means that I can never decide whether i should be looking for wide angle scenes or macro subjects, to the detriment of both!

I would suggest that 60mm on full frame is not really enough for a lot of macro subjects. The 90mm is a better option. 

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Adam makes a good point as always.

Irrespective on whether you can get your gear to do more than one type of photography during the dive (macro or wide-angle) it does have a real impact on how you visualise the scene in front of you - and you spend too much time messing about switching formats, changing lighting setups etc.

Much better to go with a plan to do one specific format - or even one specific critter - and if the school of whale sharks rock up and you're ready to shoot macro, just forget the camera for once, enjoy the scene and stop looking at the dive through a viewfinder. 

:D Create the memories in your mind rather than in 1s and 0s.

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Very true on switching between macro & Wide angle in the single dive. the WWL-1 with buoyancy collar isn't small either, so it will be hard to tuck away!

I'm curious at what a 60mm with CMC can shoot though - frog fish type of subjects?

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@stuartv

My daughter shoots with the A7III (she has the A7R4 for land work as well). There are a large number of u/w photographers that start heading down that path of looking to build a system that can theoretically shoot both macro and w/a on the same dive. As both @TimG & @adamhanlon allude to, shooting macro is not just about what the gear can do, it's the mindset (subject size, substrate, behavior, etc. all play a role in this).

My daughter shoots with the 90mm and the flat port on most dives, and has never really wished for anything else on a macro-focused dive (well, there was that one dive in Bangka when a dugong swam by, but that's another story). She does shoot with the 28mm and the WWL-1 for w/a, and enjoys that as well.

If you are just looking to document what you see u/w, give the 28-60 a try with a close up lens, but even at 60mm (on a full frame) it's going to feel like you want more reach. The 90mm is a very high quality lens, you will notice the difference shooting the 90mm vs. the 28-60.

In addition, my macro set up and w/a set up differ by more than just the lenses used. For macro I choose shorter arm segments, I dive with a focus light (attached to the top of port), and I usually carry a snoot as well. When I shoot wide angle, I'm using longer arm segments, no focus light, and I leave the snoot behind. How I look for subjects is also very different.

Last - if you really want to learn how to shoot macro (which can initially be a wee bit frustrating) then I highly recommend a trip to a macro-rich destination like Lembeh or Anilao. You could spend two weeks diving in a destination like these without every seeing a w/a subject (although they do have dives for w/a) nor missing the opportunity.  These locations are so rich with macro subjects that you'll spend every dive with a plethora of opportunities to shoot.

Not to say there aren't dozens of other great macro locations (including a few closer to home), but some are either harder to get to or aren't quite as rich in subjects, so you may not get as many opportunities to practice.





 

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1 hour ago, oneyellowtang said:

@stuartv

My daughter shoots with the A7III (she has the A7R4 for land work as well). There are a large number of u/w photographers that start heading down that path of looking to build a system that can theoretically shoot both macro and w/a on the same dive. As both @TimG & @adamhanlon allude to, shooting macro is not just about what the gear can do, it's the mindset (subject size, substrate, behavior, etc. all play a role in this).

My daughter shoots with the 90mm and the flat port on most dives, and has never really wished for anything else on a macro-focused dive (well, there was that one dive in Bangka when a dugong swam by, but that's another story). She does shoot with the 28mm and the WWL-1 for w/a, and enjoys that as well.

If you are just looking to document what you see u/w, give the 28-60 a try with a close up lens, but even at 60mm (on a full frame) it's going to feel like you want more reach. The 90mm is a very high quality lens, you will notice the difference shooting the 90mm vs. the 28-60.

In addition, my macro set up and w/a set up differ by more than just the lenses used. For macro I choose shorter arm segments, I dive with a focus light (attached to the top of port), and I usually carry a snoot as well. When I shoot wide angle, I'm using longer arm segments, no focus light, and I leave the snoot behind. How I look for subjects is also very different.

Last - if you really want to learn how to shoot macro (which can initially be a wee bit frustrating) then I highly recommend a trip to a macro-rich destination like Lembeh or Anilao. You could spend two weeks diving in a destination like these without every seeing a w/a subject (although they do have dives for w/a) nor missing the opportunity.  These locations are so rich with macro subjects that you'll spend every dive with a plethora of opportunities to shoot.

Not to say there aren't dozens of other great macro locations (including a few closer to home), but some are either harder to get to or aren't quite as rich in subjects, so you may not get as many opportunities to practice.

 

 

@Yellowtang: I think my question is still in this topic, although more of interest for people that have not decided yet which FF system to acquire...

How is AF speed/accuracy of the Sony cameras with Sony 90mm Macro, compared to Nikon (DSLR/Z-mount) with 105mm Macro lens and Canon R-mount with adopted EF 100mm Macro (There is now a native RF mount Macro lens available, bu tunlikely that anyone alsready has practical experience) - can you compare from your own experience?

I ask, because there are reports here that say that the Sony 90mm Macro lens' AF is very slow and a hardship to use in comparison to the other brands (the new Sigma 105mm Macro with Sony E-mount is optically a tick better but has even slower AF).

 

Wolfgang

Edited by Architeuthis

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@ChrisRoss Thank you for those links!  Very helpful. Now I'm leaning towards starting with the Inon UCL-90. Taking to heart what Adam and Alex were saying in the video that people always want to start with the strongest, but usually end up using a weaker option after a little experience.

Regarding the idea of being able to switch around during a dive, here is what I was thinking: I already got the double bayonet holder for one of my strobe arms.

My specific scenario where I was thinking to use it is this: My favorite diving is to shoot sharks on the wrecks off of North Carolina. But, what often happens is we get on site for a dive and either there turn out to be no sharks there, or the sharks take off as soon as the divers show up. So, currently, I'll end up in the water with a WA setup (the WWL-1) and none of my intended subjects to shoot. When that happens, there are usually still plenty of opportunities to shoot small stuff. So, I was thinking I could splash with the WWL-1 mounted and a CMC/UCL on the bayonet holder. If I get down and the sharks are cooperating, I can shoot away. But, if I get down and find that I'm not going to have any sharks to shoot, then I could take the WWL-1 off and put the CMC/UCL on and spend my dive looking for little stuff.

So, not so much switching back and forth during a dive as making a decision at the start of the dive, after I get to the bottom and assess the scene. Then sticking with one type of shooting or the other for the duration of that dive. I DO understand that my plan could completely fail to survive contact with reality. But, in that case, I reckon I'm really only out the cost of that bayonet mount thing I bought for my strobe arm...

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Stuart-Regarding the Sony FE 28-60mm zoom. I have attached a few photos to give you an idea of what you should expect with closeup lenses. The C/U lenses I have in house are the SAGA +5 and the Nauticam SMC-1. They are close in magnification to the CMC-1 and CMC-2 the #2 having less magnification and #1 having more.

Image #1 is the 28-60 at 60mm with no C/U lens at minimum focus distance of about 30cm. You will see my standard test for life size or 1:1 on the 35mm sensor size. The bill inside the slide mount being 1:1 for 35mm sensors and the image at minimum focus being about 1:5.5 or about five and a half times life size.

Image #2 is minimum focus distance of about 18cm and about 1:2.4 or two point four times life size using the SAGA +5 at minimum focus distance.

Image #3 is at a minimum focus distance of about 13cm with the SMC-1 magnification goes to about 1:1.5 or one point five times fife size. The first three images were taken with the Sony A7c a 24MP body.

Image #4 was taken with the Sony A7r IV in the APS-C mode which is a 26MP image with a 1.5 X crop factor for the FE lens. Image with the SMC-1 at a minimum focus of about 12cm. I would guess this image to be about 1.3:1 or one point three times (larger than life size) life size.

The Sony 90mm macro on the 35mm sensor starts at life size and the beyond life size depending on the C/U lens used.

 

untitled-00048.jpg

untitled-00055.jpg

untitled-00060.jpg

untitled-02259.jpg

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@Phil Rudin Thank you for that! That is great to see those examples. 

So, the 90mm would give a result somewhere in between images #3 and 4. Hmm.... I definitely have a lot to think about now.

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NO 1:1, life size does not change, only the angle of view changes. The 90mm macro has an AOV of 27 degrees while the Sony FE 50mm macro has an AOV of 47 degrees. Since they are both 1:1 macro lenses when set at 1:1 the images will be the identical the difference is that with the 50 you need to be closer to the subject to get to 1:1, LIFE SIZE. Life size is when the subject is the same size in real life as it is in the frame so if you look again at the 35mm slide what you see is the same in real life as it is on the sensor. Same same for smaller sensors. A 50mm macro lens on an M4/3 or 4/3 sensor has an AOV of 24 degrees at 1:1 the image is the same as in real life or the size of the sensor. A 100mm macro lens on 35mm "so called full frame" has an AOV of 24 degrees and life size 1:1 is the same size on the sensor as it is in real life. 

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3 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

NO 1:1, life size does not change, only the angle of view changes. The 90mm macro has an AOV of 27 degrees

[snip]

A 100mm macro lens on 35mm "so called full frame" has an AOV of 24 degrees and life size 1:1 is the same size on the sensor as it is in real life. 

Now I'm definitely confused. 

I said that a 90 would give me results somewhere between #3 and #4 above. #3 looks slightly smaller than life-sized and #4 looks slightly larger than life-sized. So, from your earlier statement that the 90 would yield life-sized images on a FF sensor, I construed that to mean it would be between #3 and #4.

Now, you've also said that the 90 gives 27 degrees AOV and a life-sized is 24 degrees. Those are very close, so again it seems like you're saying the 90 would give results just in between images #3 and #4 from above.

When you say the 90 gives a life-sized image, doesn't that mean that the part of the image within the borders of that film slide would just fill the frame on a FF sensor, when viewed at minimum focus distance with the 90?

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Perhaps you should go on line and read more about macro lenses. 

What I am saying is that a macro lens be it a 100mm at 24 degrees, 90 at 27 degrees, 50 at 47 degrees or any other AOV lens at 1:1 on full frame will all yield the same image at life size. If you want to call that between #3 and #4 that is fine but they will all be the same size as the sensor size.

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The simplest way to look at it is the slide frame which is a 35mm frame less a very small border.  That is what a 1:1 macro lens will cover on a full frame camera. 

I would suggest don't get carried away with getting 1:1 straight away, it will of course depend on what macro life you have where you dive, but small stuff is often incredibly well camouflaged and hard to even find.  I do quite a bit of macro shooting around Sydney - I'm guessing North Carolina would be similar types of things present, small fish, nudis, sponges etc.  Depth of field at 1:1 and f16 will be about 1.5mm depending on assumptions you make which is not much - you need to be able to hold still enough so the DOF doesn't shift off the subject - which is no easy task if you have some surge. 

60mm may be a little short if you are going for traditional high magnification macro but if you are shooting larger critters in water that is not pristine, being a little closer can help a lot. 

Based on the data Phil presents, I would think t close up lens on your 28-60 would be a fine way to start out.  Upgrade if you find you are starting to shoot creatures you would really like to get closer to.

If you are going to do the swapping thing you'll need a big pocket with positive closure _ the WWL-1B is 150mm or 6"in diameter and also quite thick.  I still think it's too big to go on an arm if you take it off the camera.

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3 minutes ago, ChrisRoss said:

The simplest way to look at it is the slide frame which is a 35mm frame less a very small border.  That is what a 1:1 macro lens will cover on a full frame camera. 

I would suggest don't get carried away with getting 1:1 straight away, it will of course depend on what macro life you have where you dive, but small stuff is often incredibly well camouflaged and hard to even find.  I do quite a bit of macro shooting around Sydney - I'm guessing North Carolina would be similar types of things present, small fish, nudis, sponges etc.  Depth of field at 1:1 and f16 will be about 1.5mm depending on assumptions you make which is not much - you need to be able to hold still enough so the DOF doesn't shift off the subject - which is no easy task if you have some surge. 

60mm may be a little short if you are going for traditional high magnification macro but if you are shooting larger critters in water that is not pristine, being a little closer can help a lot. 

Based on the data Phil presents, I would think t close up lens on your 28-60 would be a fine way to start out.  Upgrade if you find you are starting to shoot creatures you would really like to get closer to.

If you are going to do the swapping thing you'll need a big pocket with positive closure _ the WWL-1B is 150mm or 6"in diameter and also quite thick.  I still think it's too big to go on an arm if you take it off the camera.

I've had the WWL-1 w/buoyancy collar for a couple of years. I only just got the bayonet mount holder for a strobe arm, so I haven't tried using it to hold the WWL-1 while swimming around yet. But, I definitely grant you that it looks like it might be such a PITA as to not be worth it. But, I will find out for sure by trying it myself. :)

I'm not specifically pursuing 1:1, per se. I just want to get closer to filling the frame with little stuff than I can do now, with only the 28-60 by itself.

I was super frustrated about 1 year ago. I only had the 28mm f/2 lens, with the WWL-1. I was diving in Utila and actually got a photo that I REALLY wanted to get for a while - a jawfish with an open mouth, full of eggs. Except, it was basically worthless because even with 61MP to crop from, that shot, through a 130 degree FOV setup, just wasn't good for anything. I could tell what it was, but only because I already KNEW what it is. If I had had the 28-60 at the time, and been able to just take the WWL-1 off and store it somewhere, that shot could have been SOOO much better! And even mo' bettah, with a CU lens to add on.

So, yes, I am totally onboard with starting with the 28-60 and a lesser magnification CU lens (like the CMC-2 or UCL-90). I am only asking if I should consider (for example) the SMC-1, on the basis that I might change to a 90mm macro lens in the future?

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I would think even more so that you choose a low powered closeup lens so you can crawl before you can walk with a 90mm macro lens.  It does 1:1 by itself - add a macro lens and it's even more magnification and less depth of field.  From the video you'll recall Alex's most used lens was the flip +3.  The issue is you need a moderately powerful lens to use with the 28-60.

So you have the WWL-1 (original) already?  that is a little better as it has a tie off point.  It is also significantly heavier UW even with float collar as I recall and more of a risk of the whole rig going positive if you remove I would think, so you need to think about that.  I don't know if you have ever shot with a positive rig - I did accidentally once and it's not fun and it was only about 100gram positive if that.

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13 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

I would think even more so that you choose a low powered closeup lens so you can crawl before you can walk with a 90mm macro lens.  It does 1:1 by itself - add a macro lens and it's even more magnification and less depth of field.  From the video you'll recall Alex's most used lens was the flip +3.  The issue is you need a moderately powerful lens to use with the 28-60.

So you have the WWL-1 (original) already?  that is a little better as it has a tie off point.  It is also significantly heavier UW even with float collar as I recall and more of a risk of the whole rig going positive if you remove I would think, so you need to think about that.  I don't know if you have ever shot with a positive rig - I did accidentally once and it's not fun and it was only about 100gram positive if that.

Yes, I have the original WWL-1, but with the buoyancy collar, so I think it is roughly neutral. I have taken it off and put it back on underwater many times, to make sure there were no bubbles between the camera and the WWL-1. It has never tried to sink like an anchor nor float off like a cork, either. I also have not noticed (but that could just be my lack of awareness) any real difference in the buoyancy of my rig between diving with the WWL-1 on and not on at all. It seems just a little negative either way (in salt water).

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If it stays negative with and without WWL-1 you probably won't notice, it it goes positive you probably would notice.  Depends on whether you have flotation on the housing.  Just searched again and appears that with Nauticam collar the WWL-1 weighs 160 gr underwater according to their specs.  If you stick to your either WWL or macro lens strategy it doesn't matter anyway as you would be changing on the boat.  You could most likely make use of an arm dock for whatever macro lens you end up using as could well be swapping that on and off UW.

 

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