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adamhanlon

The Perfect Underwater Camera

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1 hour ago, hyp said:

I don't think Nikon is the king of Autofocus for mirrorless though. By all accounts the current crop of sony cameras blows everything else out of the water in terms of AF. Maybe it's just unwarranted hype, but I believe too many people are saying it's true. Personally, all those FF systems are too large for me, so my perfect AW camera would still be travel friendly and likely in MFT format. 

It would have global shutter for unlimited sync speed and probably more megapixels than the current ones (30 maybe). I think that with current tech, only one of those is realistic though, in which case I'd prefer global shutter. While the AF of my current EM5 (original) sometimes leaves me wanting better AF, I think that already a camera like the EM1mkII would be good enough for my needs in terms of AF. I don't really think that UW photography is the most challenging for AF, certainly not anywhere near BiF.

Agree, the Canon R5 and Sony A1 are currently the cameras being talked about as having excellent AF that is a step apart and truly competitive with the best DSLRs.  The Z9 may or may not join that list.

The need for good AF UW is debatable but generally a good AF system will also snap in faster on macro subjects, as you approach 1:1 and beyond this is als a real test of the quality of the AF system.  There are other special use cases like big animal photography with fast moving subjects.

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8 minutes ago, ChrisRoss said:

The need for good AF UW is debatable but generally a good AF system will also snap in faster on macro subjects, as you approach 1:1 and beyond this is als a real test of the quality of the AF system.  There are other special use cases like big animal photography with fast moving subjects.

The true test of AF is blackwater. Tiny subjects among a sea of particles, moving in all directions, limited light, often translucent so they're low contrast...

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My perspective on AF is coloured by my wife's work as a wedding photographer using D850/D800 Nikons. Accurate focus above water is more important to me than speed. When each of ten lenses has to be AF fine tuned to four bodies and the AF fine tune varies slightly with zoom position AND with aperture you have a nightmare on your hands. Nikon lent her a Z5 and Z6II recently and I found the focus to be far better for me shooting women, but for her, subject tracking shooting into the light wasn't as good as the D850.

Underwater shooting wide we are using apertures where focus accuracy is not that important. In the far off days when I shot macro I always locked focus and rocked the housing.

I think a better approach might be to start from the lens rather than the camera. High quality versions of the Tokina 10-17 and the FF version, the Pentax 17-28 fisheye zoom would be a great start. (the 8-15 is wasted on FF I think.)

For me, I wanted affordable water contact rectilinear, so I went for a Nikon Z50 and WWL-C (which has slight barrel distortion). If you are fit, I think a D500 and 10-17 is still hard to beat.

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9 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

@GeorgeH

Chatting to the Nikon Pros that I know (outside of the published marketing reviews) they all admit that the AF on D850/D500 is still better than that of the Z6II/Z7II. None of them have used production versions of the the Z9 enough yet to have a real feeling either way. Certainly, no one has used it underwater much yet.

Until there are suitable lenses available for UW use, this holds true: "The optical advantage of moving the lens' rear element closer to the sensor is a potential bonus of all the new mirrorless flanges. This is definitely a potential improvement, but should be qualified by 2 factors. Firstly, we shoot through water, with all the inherent optical issues this produces and secondly, this limits lens choices. Until there is a full complement of the lens that are useful for underwater use, we can't take advantage of these optical advantages."

Using the FTZ adaptor removed all the optical advantages of the Z flange mount. 

In fact, with the Z mount lenses currently on offer, the only real wide angle lens solution is the WACP, which adds another $5,000 to the package!

What made you chose the Z9 over the (much cheaper) D850, or even more pertinently, D500? I can see no actual advantage (for underwater use), but am perhaps missing something? 

I like the large pixels idea, and perhaps and should add this to the list, but equally, this would mean that a Sony aSIII would be the best tool?

First, I currently own a D850, an Aquatica housing for it, a large dome and any other ports I might need. I also own a D5 that I still prefer to the D850 and a D3S and D3S housing I no longer use. I don't choose my camera bodies with UW photography as a priority. Although I "retired" from shooting professional sports a few years ago (a 2nd job) I am considering starting again now that I have also retired from my day job. I still do other types of photography in addition to sports.

A local pro I know and have shot with many times has changed to a pair of Z 9 bodies. We were a couple of the Nikon shooters in a sea of Canon shooters for a number of years. I learned he is now a Nikon Ambassador. The AF is improved over even the D6 and the video is much better. He is featured on the Nikon USA website talking about AF.

While the Z series lenses may have a theoretical advantage over the F mount lenses, there is no difference in the performance of an F mount lens on a Z 9 compared to a F mount lens on a D850 or D6.

I have read and watched a number of reviews confirming the advancement in AF on the Z 9. The lead story on the front page of DPReview is a comparison of the Canon EOS R3, Sony a1 and Nikon Z9. The Z 9 did well. None of the previous Nikon mirrorless cameras interested me. I've ordered a Z 9 but don't have any current plans to get an UW housing for it. I had just expected to come to this forum and read all the opinions on it and am surprised there weren't any. This is a body that has finally put Nikon to the top or equal to any of the best pro level mirrorless systems.

 

 

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17 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

I had just expected to come to this forum and read all the opinions on it and am surprised there weren't any. This is a body that has finally put Nikon to the top or equal to any of the best pro level mirrorless systems.

IIRC Nauticam announced their housing few days ago. No news from other manufacturers so far.

And Nauticam Z9 is still decalred as "coming soon"

https://www.nauticam.com/products/na-z9-housing-for-nikon-z9-camera

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It seems to be that only Nauticam is able to deliver some new cases in fast pace. I still wait for other brands to sell the case for the Sony A7 IV, there is still only Nauticam on the market .. 

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Somewhat  :offtopic:off topic! For which my apologies.

Many people believe that the housing manufacturers have pre-release "fast lane" access to new camera bodies, but this is largely untrue. A few get early or prototype bodies from testing pros or distributers, but the vast majority rely on someone being able to order a camera body and for this to be delivered. Often they use Amazon like the rest of us! Many of them use pre-release imagery to create CAD designs, but until they have an actual finished camera in front of them the tolerances are too close to actually start producing them.

I had a conversation with one of the major housing manufacturers a while ago, and was surprised to learn that selling 50 units of a given camera housing is considered a success. The numbers are probably much smaller than we think/expect. With this in mind, it is inevitable that some cameras will not have housings available from some manufacturers. 

Once upon a time, the advice was to ensure that a housing was available before buying the camera....I can see a case when we may well be returning to something similar.

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As someone invested in high quality, water contact, full frame optics (Nikon fit) I am not in a rush to move away from them. I think it would be perfectly possible for someone (Metabones) to make a AF-D lens adaptor for Z (and perhaps other brands). Even if it needed its own battery to power the AF motor. That would be on my wish-list for the future perfect UW camera.

Alex

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2 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

Somewhat  :offtopic:off topic! For which my apologies.
Once upon a time, the advice was to ensure that a housing was available before buying the camera....I can see a case when we may well be returning to something similar.

I'd agree with this. I think we’re returning to an age where photographers run housings for 5-10 years, rather than 2-3 years. As the cameras don’t offer the big jumps in capability any more. This will hit housing manufacturer’s profits and there will be more of a demand for them to build robust housings, rather than simply first to market housings.

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Yes, that is what Nikon currently make. 

Does not allow focusing with widely used lenses such as Nikon 16mm fisheye, Sigma 15mm fisheye, Nikon 28-70mm (the lens the WACP-1 was designed around), Nikonos 13mm fisheyes (many people’s dream optic).

I don’t think it would be that difficult for a company to make an adaptor with the AF motor and screw drive used by these lenses - assuming the circuitry in the Z cameras send signals through the connectors to control it. For underwater shooting - I think most of us would accept even a quite slow AF with these wide angle lenses, to be able to use them. If the camera doesn’t send the right signals, then maybe even a powered focus like the Nikonos RS had, could be used. 

Alex 

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1 hour ago, adamhanlon said:

Somewhat  :offtopic:off topic! For which my apologies.

I will report you to the Admin :-p

 

Let's just say that when it comes to photography, it's getting harder and harder to add new must-have features with each iteration.
Being able to convince your customers that they absolutely need a new camera is every manufacturer's nightmare. 
From the video point of view, since now they are all hybrid machines, instead at each iteration the improvements are important but it's normal being a technology introduced in the machines recently.

Let's say that in this round, Nikon and Canon have it easier since there is an important technology change: the transition to mirrorless. Personally it's also interesting to read the communication stunts to sell a technology that competitors have had for years. Good times!
Irony of fate: Panasonic who invented mirrorless and Olympus who was among the first to embrace this technology have nearly disappeared from the market. the real competitor is Sony.

I and my wallet can only be happy if the update cycle slows down. 
Nauticam has beaten all the competition thanks to an incredible time to market and range of models. Before Nauticam, each manufacturer had a maximum of 2 models in their catalog.
Although I have been a Nauticam customer for years, I must say that not all that glitters is gold (precisely because of this exasperated TTM). Lately I've been playing with an Aquatica case and.... WOW...

 

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1 hour ago, adamhanlon said:

I had a conversation with one of the major housing manufacturers a while ago, and was surprised to learn that selling 50 units of a given camera housing is considered a success. The numbers are probably much smaller than we think/expect.

I'm honestly surprised by this - perhaps they were referring to the ultra-high-end of the market, like the RED cinema cameras and such? Because I see compacts and crop DSLR/mirrorless, even in Nauticam and other metal housings, too often for that '50 units' number to make sense.

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I think housings for Cameras like Fuji or the less popular cameras will often sell in very low numbers. There is a reason many manufacturers (Seacam, Subal, Aquatica come to mind) only offer a very small selection. Nauticam probably sells more housings but I bet something like the Panasonic GX8 housing sold less than 100 times, quite possibly less than 50. 

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I should perhaps re emphasize my statement.

The manufacturer said that selling 50 housings is considered a success, not that they only sell 50 housings. There will probably be some models of camera that they sell a lot more housings (and some that they sell less).

But, suffice to say, if you were to approach any camera manufacturer and suggest that 50 camera sales is a success, they would probably disagree ;)

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3 hours ago, Alex_Mustard said:

Yes, that is what Nikon currently make. 

Does not allow focusing with widely used lenses such as Nikon 16mm fisheye, Sigma 15mm fisheye, Nikon 28-70mm (the lens the WACP-1 was designed around), Nikonos 13mm fisheyes (many people’s dream optic).

I don’t think it would be that difficult for a company to make an adaptor with the AF motor and screw drive used by these lenses - assuming the circuitry in the Z cameras send signals through the connectors to control it. For underwater shooting - I think most of us would accept even a quite slow AF with these wide angle lenses, to be able to use them. If the camera doesn’t send the right signals, then maybe even a powered focus like the Nikonos RS had, could be used. 

Alex 

Nikon claims to support *Full AF/AE supported when using

FX or DX AF-S Type G/D/E,

AF-P type G/E, AF-I type D lenses and

AF-S/AF-I Teleconverters.

AF performance tests show no difference in focus speed when used on an F mount body vs the Z 9 with FTZ.

The AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D is included in a list of supported lenses. That doesn't mean D lenses that have been discontinued and/or replaced by newer versions won't work. For example, I have a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR that is not listed because a newer E FL version is available but it has been confirmed to work flawlessly. It is expected many 3rd party F mount lenses will be supported via future firmware updates.

These lenses will also be able to use the Z 9 in-body VR.

https://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/camera-lenses/mirrorless-lenses/index.page#!/tag:lR8:F Mount Digital Cameras (via Adapter)

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56 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

The AF Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D is included in a list of supported lenses.

Nikon's adapters do not provide autofocus to AF-D (screw drive) lenses like the 16mm fisheye. 

 

5 hours ago, Alex_Mustard said:

Yes, that is what Nikon currently make. 

Does not allow focusing with widely used lenses such as Nikon 16mm fisheye, Sigma 15mm fisheye, Nikon 28-70mm (the lens the WACP-1 was designed around), Nikonos 13mm fisheyes (many people’s dream optic).

I don’t think it would be that difficult for a company to make an adaptor with the AF motor and screw drive used by these lenses - assuming the circuitry in the Z cameras send signals through the connectors to control it. For underwater shooting - I think most of us would accept even a quite slow AF with these wide angle lenses, to be able to use them. If the camera doesn’t send the right signals, then maybe even a powered focus like the Nikonos RS had, could be used. 

Alex 

It's possible to adapt some of these lenses to mirrorless by using adapters from Techart, Megadap, Fotodiox, etc that focus by moving the whole lens forward/backward. I have adapted the Nikonos 13mm to Sony mirrorless using the Techart adapter. The autofocus works pretty well, with the bonus that the lens focuses closer than it does on a Nikon DSLR. The main challenge is that the aperture is manual, so a system to control aperture must be devised. And ideally it should allow focusing with the aperture wide open (for highest accuracy) and then quickly stop down to the selected shooting aperture. I have made such a system for my setup, though it is a little clunky. Anyway, it is currently possible, but yeah, a screw drive adapter would make it quite a bit easier. Hopefully we get that at some point.

Edited by Isaac Szabo

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1 hour ago, Isaac Szabo said:

Nikon's adapters do not provide autofocus to AF-D (screw drive) lenses like the 16mm fisheye. 

 

It's possible to adapt some of these lenses to mirrorless by using adapters from Techart, Megadap, Fotodiox, etc that focus by moving the whole lens forward/backward. I have adapted the Nikonos 13mm to Sony mirrorless using the Techart adapter. The autofocus works pretty well, with the bonus that the lens focuses closer than it does on a Nikon DSLR. The main challenge is that the aperture is manual, so a system to control aperture must be devised. And ideally it should allow focusing with the aperture wide open (for highest accuracy) and then quickly stop down to the selected shooting aperture. I have made such a system for my setup, though it is a little clunky. Anyway, it is currently possible, but yeah, a screw drive adapter would make it quite a bit easier. Hopefully we get that at some point.

Thanks. I'm beginning to get a better understanding of which lenses are supported and how they are supported. 

This article helped but I can't vouch for its accuracy. I wasn't aware  some 3rd party lenses already worked even though I don't think Nikon officially claims they will. It is early in the product life cycle, perhaps Z versions will be announced.

https://photographylife.com/nikon-ftz-adapter-lens-compatibility

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9 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

I should perhaps re emphasize my statement.

The manufacturer said that selling 50 housings is considered a success, not that they only sell 50 housings. There will probably be some models of camera that they sell a lot more housings (and some that they sell less).

But, suffice to say, if you were to approach any camera manufacturer and suggest that 50 camera sales is a success, they would probably disagree ;)

I suspect you are correct Adam and the number of housings needed to be successful probably varies from vendor to vendor.  I think Nauticam for example seems to developed very good processes to allow them quickly and efficiently go from camera in hand to new housing and are able to produce a wider range of housings as a result.

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6 hours ago, Isaac Szabo said:

Nikon's adapters do not provide autofocus to AF-D (screw drive) lenses like the 16mm fisheye. 

 

It's possible to adapt some of these lenses to mirrorless by using adapters from Techart, Megadap, Fotodiox, etc that focus by moving the whole lens forward/backward. I have adapted the Nikonos 13mm to Sony mirrorless using the Techart adapter. The autofocus works pretty well, with the bonus that the lens focuses closer than it does on a Nikon DSLR. The main challenge is that the aperture is manual, so a system to control aperture must be devised. And ideally it should allow focusing with the aperture wide open (for highest accuracy) and then quickly stop down to the selected shooting aperture. I have made such a system for my setup, though it is a little clunky. Anyway, it is currently possible, but yeah, a screw drive adapter would make it quite a bit easier. Hopefully we get that at some point.

It is likely that other solutions might be more efficient way of achieving this.  There is already a Techart adapter to use Sony - E mount lenses on Nikon Z which is a lot simpler thing to do than to build a motor into an adapter. 

Maybe the solution will be to use the the SONY 28-60 or 28-70 lenses on Nikon Z bodies with WACP - you could do that now.

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18 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

It is likely that other solutions might be more efficient way of achieving this.  There is already a Techart adapter to use Sony - E mount lenses on Nikon Z which is a lot simpler thing to do than to build a motor into an adapter. 

Maybe the solution will be to use the the SONY 28-60 or 28-70 lenses on Nikon Z bodies with WACP - you could do that now.

I'm talking about using the Nikonos 13mm on a mirrorless body. How is any of this relevant to that?

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2 hours ago, Isaac Szabo said:

I'm talking about using the Nikonos 13mm on a mirrorless body. How is any of this relevant to that?

Responding to the lack of screw drive for AF-D lenses on Nikon Z and subsequent lack of AF - probably should have edited the quote box down.

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I admit I was completely unaware of the screw drive problem because I never used old Nikon lens but I see that on the net is full of posts about this (and desperate people).

Two opposite opinions from the net:

Quote

Yes, it's possible but if Nikon wanted to include that in the FTZ they could have done it before. There is plenty space in the FTZ, but they decided not to. It would have also required a modification for the aperture control, but it would have been possible to do it technically.

 

490c8389959d46d4b6f5ad310f02cd45

Other users say it's possible because Sony made exactly this kind of adapter for its lens:

97180e433c644e6b8ad17dd3a6843a38

 

So maybe in the future...

 

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A much better example is the Sony LA-EA5 lens adapter for Sony-A lenses. Much smaller and lighter. The photo is mounted to the Sony 16mm F/2.8 fisheye with three built-in filters. This is a screw drive lens and adapter.

untitled-3194.jpg

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