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phil.elsasser

Help me decide on a WA setup for a new Sony A1

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Super excited to be upgrading to a FF camera from many years of shooting M4/3s.  

I previously shot the Panasonic 8mm FE lens for wide angle shots and am now debating between two options for a WA set up with the Sony. 

 

Option 1:

Sony 28-60mm with the WWL-1B

 

Option 2:

Canon 8-15mm with the 140MM glass dome

 

I am mainly a stills shooter and I think am more concerned with IQ and sharpness than the flexibility of being able to zoom to a 60mm.  Would love any help in deciding.  It seems that the WWL-1B set up is rather new, so I haven't been able to find any sample images taken with it or good info on how it will perform with that lens from Sony. 

 

Thank you all for the time and responses!

 

Phil

 

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The two options you list are a little bit apples and oranges.  I would think the fisheye would be the choice for reefscapes and CFWA, while the WWL would be favoured for big animals, wrecks etc.  There is of course some crossover between the two.

This thread is worth reading:

A couple of points - that image quality difference between WWL and fisheye is not huge and a view that one poster felt that the WWL was a little lacking in field of view for some type of shots.  I have seen other posts on here in the past expressing the view that the WWL didn't replace a fisheye for reefscape and CFWA work.

So the answer is is it depends on your main subjects.  The WWL will certainly beat a rectilinear wide in a dome, but the rectilinear wide is not on our list.

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15 hours ago, phil.elsasser said:

It seems that the WWL-1B set up is rather new, so I haven't been able to find any sample images taken with it or good info on how it will perform with that lens from Sony. 

Just for reference, the following were all shot with the Sony 28-60mm and WWL-1B (on A7C), although they are all compressed for upload. There's times when it might be nice for a little more width, but overall, I've been happy with results although I only have about 20 dives on the camera. I have found that I've tended to get a little too close to subject for good focus. 

Manta1.thumb.JPG.861a099db35fe970b99e862c019e0fde.JPG

eel1.JPG

Turtle1.JPG

Reef1.JPG

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@RVbldr

I think WWL should allow you to focus on the front of its dome?

Would you mind sharing your aperture settings? The corners seem very soft (to me) and it would be good to try and diagnose why.

 

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I believe the Zebra Moray was f9 and f11 for manta, and f13 for coral and turtle.

Here's a blow-up of center vs. lower left in the coral pic:

Detail1.JPG

DetailLowerleft.JPG

Edited by RVbldr

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@RVbldr I think those images are convincing me that I want to go with the Fish eye.  What focal length are those manta shots taken at?  In general, all of those shots seem very soft to me. 

I appreciate the responses, and while I understand the comments about FE to Rectilinear being apples to oranges for me I have only ever shot a FE underwater (or macro), so maybe I should just stick with a FE for now and get the canon set up. 

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3 minutes ago, phil.elsasser said:

 What focal length are those manta shots taken at?  

28mm

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2 hours ago, phil.elsasser said:

@RVbldr I think those images are convincing me that I want to go with the Fish eye.  What focal length are those manta shots taken at?  In general, all of those shots seem very soft to me. 

I appreciate the responses, and while I understand the comments about FE to Rectilinear being apples to oranges for me I have only ever shot a FE underwater (or macro), so maybe I should just stick with a FE for now and get the canon set up. 

Don't ever judge image quality from the pictures posted on this forum. The Forum software does absolutely horrendous things to the images here and you can also only upload image files that are ridiculously tiny. Maybe, if it's important to you ask the OP to send you high res files separately.

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@hyp While I agree that forum resolution is limited, the corner softness is very obvious. This is not related to resolution just to sharpness...reduced resolution will tend to make everything soft, which is definitely not the case here.

In the 100% crop of the coral image's corners (thanks @RVbldr), if this is at f/13, I think there is some kind of a problem with this set up. I would expect significantly better corners even with a conventional rectilinear lens and dome combination. 

I must confess that to date, I have not really seen images taken with full frame (Sony) cameras with the WWL conversion lenses that seem to have acceptable (to me) corner sharpness. In the reviews etc. of WWL with full frame cameras that I have seen, the corners of the images that were used to illustrate them seem pretty soft (again to me).

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@RVbldr - thank you so much, the RAW was way more helpful than what is shown on the forum. After compressing enough for upload here, it does degrade significantly (See attached, super quick edit in LR). 

I think it will just come down to whether I want a Fish Eye or Rectilinear, which I am still having trouble deciding. Thanks for all the inputs. 

 

 

DSC01459.jpg

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1 hour ago, phil.elsasser said:

@RVbldr - thank you so much, the RAW was way more helpful than what is shown on the forum. After compressing enough for upload here, it does degrade significantly (See attached, super quick edit in LR). 

I think it will just come down to whether I want a Fish Eye or Rectilinear, which I am still having trouble deciding. Thanks for all the inputs. 

 

Not be pedantic, but neither of your lens choices is rectilinear. The WWL lenses definitely have some distortion to them. Nowhere near a true fisheye lens, but it is noticeable.

For context, I currently shoot with a Sony a6400 and use both the Sony 10-18mm and the WWL-C wet lens. I generally use them for different things. The corners on the WWL-C on equivalent camera settings is better, but I shoot a lot of wrecks and usually prefer the 10-18.

I'm starting to work on a A7rIV setup and hope to test it with the Sony 24mm and the WWL-C lens in the next 3-4 weeks.

- brett

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14 minutes ago, phil.elsasser said:

Thanks for the clarification / correction.  

I think, as other posters have indicated, they both have a place in the lineup and it really depends upon what you are going to be photographing. The WWL-1 option really has a lot of versatility and, if you do shoot wrecks occasionally, the pictures will look "normal" to most people. 

You can also use fisheyes for wrecks and I have a few friends who do that. I think it works well for CFWA on a wreck, but I just personally don't like the distorted look of what should be long, straight lines on a wreck that you get with a fisheye for wide angle shots.

Also, if you do end up shooting large pelagics, I would think that the WWL option is probably the better choice. 

However, if your subjects are mainly reefs, small-medium creatures, etc. then the fisheye might be best.

The last thing I will point out is that the WWL lenses are somewhat heavy - even in water and even with the built in or add-on buoyancy collars. You will likely need to add additional buoyancy if you want a natural rig. I also shoot with video lights so that adds to negative buoyancy problem.

- brett

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4 hours ago, TmxDiver said:

I think, as other posters have indicated, they both have a place in the lineup and it really depends upon what you are going to be photographing. The WWL-1 option really has a lot of versatility and, if you do shoot wrecks occasionally, the pictures will look "normal" to most people. 

You can also use fisheyes for wrecks and I have a few friends who do that. I think it works well for CFWA on a wreck, but I just personally don't like the distorted look of what should be long, straight lines on a wreck that you get with a fisheye for wide angle shots.

Also, if you do end up shooting large pelagics, I would think that the WWL option is probably the better choice. 

However, if your subjects are mainly reefs, small-medium creatures, etc. then the fisheye might be best.

The last thing I will point out is that the WWL lenses are somewhat heavy - even in water and even with the built in or add-on buoyancy collars. You will likely need to add additional buoyancy if you want a natural rig. I also shoot with video lights so that adds to negative buoyancy problem.

- brett

Yup, this all makes sense. Seems like they are both good options. I am leaning towards the fish eye since it is what I know from my previous set up and will ease the transition to a new camera system.  Once I have mastered the new system with the fish eye, maybe then I will revisit the decision to add the WWL. 

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16 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

@hyp While I agree that forum resolution is limited, the corner softness is very obvious. This is not related to resolution just to sharpness...reduced resolution will tend to make everything soft, which is definitely not the case here.

In the 100% crop of the coral image's corners (thanks @RVbldr), if this is at f/13, I think there is some kind of a problem with this set up. I would expect significantly better corners even with a conventional rectilinear lens and dome combination. 

I must confess that to date, I have not really seen images taken with full frame (Sony) cameras with the WWL conversion lenses that seem to have acceptable (to me) corner sharpness. In the reviews etc. of WWL with full frame cameras that I have seen, the corners of the images that were used to illustrate them seem pretty soft (again to me).

Something happened to those images Adam, I had a look at the linked Raw file and took a 100% crop from the centre and it looks a lot better than what @RVbldr posted above and I did a test post (since deleted) to check what the forum did to the image and it still looked good on the forum.

Lots of things can go wrong with screen shots and re-sizing, I would hazard a guess that the forum uses a fairly basic re-sizing routine and also the image posted above looks to me to be at more than 100% so quite likely didn't come from a 100% crop.  I could post the 100% crop here for comparison, but would need the image author's permission to do so. 

It looks like the forum posts images inline at about 800 pixels wide and if you click on them displays them at full size if it fits on the screen.  It looks like the software deals reasonably well with a 800 -1200 pixel wide image.

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@ChrisRoss- The issue is with the corners, not the center of the frame. 

screenres_DSC01459.jpg

 

This a 100% crop of the RAW file. It looks the same on my computer. These corners are (for me ) too soft, especially since at f/13.

As I mentioned above, I haven't really seen any images taken with the WWL and Sony full frame cameras that "do it" for me in terms of corner sharpness.

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For what it is worth, here is a screenshot of the same crop on my computer:

Capto_Capture 2022-01-13_10-09-27_am copy.jpg

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48 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

@ChrisRoss- The issue is with the corners, not the center of the frame. 

screenres_DSC01459.jpg

 

This a 100% crop of the RAW file. It looks the same on my computer. These corners are (for me ) too soft, especially since at f/13.

As I mentioned above, I haven't really seen any images taken with the WWL and Sony full frame cameras that "do it" for me in terms of corner sharpness.

I think my point was more on the forum resolution question,  your crop certainly looks better than the corner crop posted above, even if it is not up to your standards.  One thing for certain is that a 100% crop will not look as good from an A1 camera. 

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13 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

I could post the 100% crop here for comparison, but would need the image author's permission to do so. 

Go for it Chris.

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5 hours ago, RVbldr said:

Go for it Chris.

This is a 1000 pixel wide centre crop of the unprocessed Raw image, it looks a little better if you click on it as the forum software is compressing it to 700 pixels wide inline.

 

DSC01459_center_crop.jpg

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I am not sure I follow this logic of the focus point being the coral and way down in the corner no where near in the same plane of focus you would not expect the corner to be soft. Further I don't grasp the premise that many believe that a fisheye corrects this problem, especially when used with a small port. 

I have attached some Fisheye shots that seem to suffer the same corner results as other lenses.

The first is an Olympus 8mm fisheye and as Adam suggested you can focus on the dome with the glove in focus and hardly anything else is in focus at F/7.1 with a 140mm dome. #2 is the Canon 8-15 at 15mm and F/8 with a 100mm dome shot at F/8 and the Canon 8-15mm at 8mm and F/11 with a 100mm port. all suffer from soft corners and if you use the lens profile for C-8-15 in Lightroom it de-fishes the lens and the problem becomes even worse.

All images are un-cropped.

 

 

untitled-6250044.jpg

untitled-02854.jpg

untitled-03023.jpg

untitled-03023-2.jpg

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1 hour ago, Phil Rudin said:

I am not sure I follow this logic of the focus point being the coral and way down in the corner no where near in the same plane of focus you would not expect the corner to be soft. Further I don't grasp the premise that many believe that a fisheye corrects this problem, especially when used with a small port. 

I have attached some Fisheye shots that seem to suffer the same corner results as other lenses.

The first is an Olympus 8mm fisheye and as Adam suggested you can focus on the dome with the glove in focus and hardly anything else is in focus at F/7.1 with a 140mm dome. #2 is the Canon 8-15 at 15mm and F/8 with a 100mm dome shot at F/8 and the Canon 8-15mm at 8mm and F/11 with a 100mm port. all suffer from soft corners and if you use the lens profile for C-8-15 in Lightroom it de-fishes the lens and the problem becomes even worse.

All images are un-cropped.

 

This is really a different issue Phil,  the first 2 shots have limited depth of field as you are focused in very close and some parts of the image in the centre are also a little soft where they are not at the main subject distance.  The corners are either much closer or much further away than the main subject.

For the Coral shot while the coral head and sea floor are different distances, it is in no way a CFWA type shot and the depth of field at f13 should cover the full scene and the corners are a little soft due to the lens/WWL optics.  If you look closely at the bottom edge sharpness improves towards the centre bottom and you can see unsharp/sharp boundary is more or less circular even though all along the bottom seems to be at a similar distance.  The corners fall off in sharpness due to the optics not a lack of depth of field. 

Whether that is a problem for the coral head shot is purely subjective - I'd be quite happy with that shot myself but with a different subject/composition maybe less so?

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@Phil Rudin 

@ChrisRoss has explained it perfectly!

The issue here is not one of (camera) focus. It is an issue of depth of field. I would say that I would expect better corners with shot #4 with the 8-15mm at f/11.

:offtopic:Perhaps this emphasises the problems with very small domes. They are great for CFWA (as they allow lighting) but are optically always a significant compromise. With full frame cameras, I prefer to shoot anything scenic with a  dome of 170mm or greater (but will use smaller domes for specific purposes)

You are entirely correct that fisheye lenses suffer from the same optical problems as any other lens. It is just that due to the barrel distortion in the image, the corner sharpness seems (creatively) less noticeable. 

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