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adamhanlon

The Perfect Underwater Camera

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I am with Adam on the Lower native ISO number (25-64) for all cameras. I really don't understand the usefulness of these excessively high ISO values on the latest cameras.

The D850, Z9 and Z7 II are 64 to 25600 expandable to 102,400.

Canon EOS R3 is 100-102,400, R5 is 100-51,200 expandable to 204,800 & 102,400 respectively.

Sony A1, A7R IV, A7 IV are all 100-32,00 expandable to 102,400, A7 IV 204,800.

Who are the folks using 102,400 and 204,800 this seems to me to be only for the purpose of marketing.

In general I think most real world photographers would rather have a lower ISO if it would assist with dynamic range, color, noise and more.

 

 

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Just curious. Did someone tried the Sony A1 AF underwater?

Is it comparable to Nikon D850 underwater?

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2 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

I am with Adam on the Lower native ISO number (25-64) for all cameras. I really don't understand the usefulness of these excessively high ISO values on the latest cameras.

The D850, Z9 and Z7 II are 64 to 25600 expandable to 102,400.

Canon EOS R3 is 100-102,400, R5 is 100-51,200 expandable to 204,800 & 102,400 respectively.

Sony A1, A7R IV, A7 IV are all 100-32,00 expandable to 102,400, A7 IV 204,800.

Who are the folks using 102,400 and 204,800 this seems to me to be only for the purpose of marketing.

In general I think most real world photographers would rather have a lower ISO if it would assist with dynamic range, color, noise and more.

 

 

It depends what you shoot. If you do concerts in dimly lit clubs ISO 6400 is not rare. Wildlife at dusk or dawn with long (and often slower) lenses is another one. ISO 102,400 is probably just marketing but generally there are good reasons to want high ISO performance. Basically anything where it's hard to add light because it's either forbidden (concerts) or too far away (wildlife/sports) but you still need to freeze the action. 

For Underwater it's probably only useful for Video.

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2 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

I really don't understand the usefulness of these excessively high ISO values on the latest cameras.

 

Think fast moving large animals in very low light. 

Orcas in Norway during the winter?

You need a reasonable shutter speed to prevent subject motion blur, and an aperture that allows for acceptable corners, so all this is left is ISO. In this situation, DR is less critical, color pretty monotone and apps like Topaz DeNoise can sort out any noise issues...

I have friends that have shot amazing images at very high ISO, without these setting, they simply wouldn't be able to capture them

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I get all that I have used 6400 underwater but in the long run is 102,400 and 204,800 really more useful to most photographers than say ISO 50 that is native and if it is what limits both. 

Edited by Phil Rudin

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2 hours ago, Davide DB said:

Just curious. Did someone tried the Sony A1 AF underwater?

Is it comparable to Nikon D850 underwater?

You may want to read Jim Decker's review of the Sony A1 for Backscatter. He points out the excellent Nikon 3D tracking and the Sony AF tracking in AF-C as the best two systems. He also points out that with the Sony A1 the 90mm macro lens is now the best focusing macro lens he has ever used. Jim has used the D850 and A1 extensively so I respect his insight.   

 

 

www.backscatter.com:.webloc

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4 minutes ago, Phil Rudin said:

You may want to read Jim Decker's review of the Sony A1 for Backscatter. He points out the excellent Nikon 3D tracking and the Sony AF tracking in AF-C as the best two systems. He also points out that with the Sony A1 the 90mm macro lens is now the best focusing macro lens he has ever used. Jim has used the D850 and A1 extensively so I respect his insight.   

 

 

www.backscatter.com:.webloc 296 B · 1 download

Ouch! Bad news for @adamhanlon :D

thanks for the doc!

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6 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

I am with Adam on the Lower native ISO number (25-64) for all cameras. I really don't understand the usefulness of these excessively high ISO values on the latest cameras.

The D850, Z9 and Z7 II are 64 to 25600 expandable to 102,400.

Canon EOS R3 is 100-102,400, R5 is 100-51,200 expandable to 204,800 & 102,400 respectively.

Sony A1, A7R IV, A7 IV are all 100-32,00 expandable to 102,400, A7 IV 204,800.

Who are the folks using 102,400 and 204,800 this seems to me to be only for the purpose of marketing.

In general I think most real world photographers would rather have a lower ISO if it would assist with dynamic range, color, noise and more.

 

 

The native ISO selection is something of a trade off with dynamic range.  Native ISO is the output from the chip without any gain or amplification applied.  The higher it is the higher the higher the maximum ISO, assuming a constant noise ceiling. 

Native ISO generally has the lowest noise and maximum dynamic rang.  If you go higher or lower than native ISO there are issues.  Above Native noise goes up and dynamic range reduces.  If you go below native ISO then the camera generally exposes at Native ISO and processes it to reduce expsoure, so you'll get possibly better shadow detail at the expense of clipped highlights. 

AN ISO of 102400 sounds good in marketing but note that it's only 2 stops more than 25,600.  More to the point though if a camera can use 102,500, is likely to do better at ISO3200 -6400 where many people might shoot low light action - Orcas in Norway or a more common application might be sports under artificial lighting.

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Time will tell - perhaps more pertinent is that the review admits that the AF on previous iterations was just about unusable. This is despite lots of reviews of those cameras claiming great AF performance! The D850's 3D AF is amazing, but is by no means the best/fastest/most accurate AF mode on the camera, and there are better modes on it for challenging conditions/subjects. If the a1's AF is as good as the D850's 3D AF, then that subjectively makes the D850's 25% better!
Even if they are similar in that one mode, as the review points out, there is still no option for native fisheye or any screw drive lenses.
My spies using the a1 do not make claims that are similar. The AF is better, but given the base line, this is perhaps somewhat inevitable. I will have access to an a1 during the Wetpixel Cenote Workshop in April, and look forward to being proven wrong!
Lastly, please remember that the purpose of these reviews is (like the camera manufacturers) to sell cameras and housings...

ISO - I know of people who regularly shoot at crazy ISOs and produce beautiful, award-winning imagery. The goal is to get the shot, and this is one tool that allows us to do so. I can fix noise (and to some extent color) in post, but I can't fix soft corners.

I advocate the addition of low ISO settings too as I like super shallow depth of field macro imagery, often in bright shallow conditions!

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22 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

there is still no option for native fisheye

Why does it have to be native? The end goal is to get the image, and if a 3rd party lens does it, then what's the problem?

23 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

or any screw drive lenses.

Sony LA-EA5 has screw drive for old Minolta lenses.

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1 hour ago, Barmaglot said:

Why does it have to be native? The end goal is to get the image, and if a 3rd party lens does it, then what's the problem?

As far as I am aware, there is no native fisheye from any brand? Adding an adaptor really removes the (optical) advantages of the mirrorless flange systems. 

I must admit, I have ignored the MF options...
 

1 hour ago, Barmaglot said:

Sony LA-EA5 has screw drive for old Minolta lenses

I don't know of any Minolta screw drive lenses that are used regularly underwater? 

I would be looking for support for: 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). Yes there are Sony lenses that work well with the WACP, but not any of the others thus far...

Of course an adaptor may come along...

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16 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

As far as I am aware, there is no native fisheye from any brand? Adding an adaptor really removes the (optical) advantages of the mirrorless flange systems. 

There isn't, but mirrorless has other advantages besides the shorter flange distance, such as focusing aids and image review right in the viewfinder.

17 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

I don't know of any Minolta screw drive lenses that are used regularly underwater? 

There aren't, but I was just making the point that screw drive adapters do exist.

20 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

I would be looking for support for: 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). Yes there are Sony lenses that work well with the WACP, but not any of the others thus far...

I don't know why, but there is very little support for adapting Nikon lenses to other mounts. Tons of Canon EF/EF-S adapters of various kinds, but almost nothing for Nikon F.

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12 minutes ago, adamhanlon said:

As far as I am aware, there is no native fisheye from any brand? Adding an adaptor really removes the (optical) advantages of the mirrorless flange systems. 

I must admit, I have ignored the MF options...
I would be looking for support for: 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). Yes there are Sony lenses that work well with the WACP, but not any of the others thus far...

 

The adapters for Canon and Nikon to use EF and f-mount lenses have no optics they are basically an extension tube - so the lenses will perform exactly the same on the R and Z mirrorless cameras as they do on the EF and F mount DSLRs.  No improvement and no degradation on optical performance.  The adapters are merely spacers with electronic contact relays.

A future R or Z fisheye lens might be able to take advantage of the smaller flange distance when they are designed in the future but for now there is no downoside optically to using the Canon and nikon fisheye lenses.  The shorter flange distance only allows the potential for improvement - it does not guarantee it.

I can't comment on your Nikon screw drive lenses, but there is currently an adapter available to use the Sony lenses on Nikon Z mount.  This is possible as the Nikon has a 16mm flange distance while the Sony is 20mm.  You could use the Sony 28-70 or 28-60 lenses on the Techart adapter.  These lenses are listed as WACP compatible.  It is the same deal as the EF to R and F mount to Z adapters - no optics, merely a short extension tube.  Of course AF may be an issue but probably not a big deal for the lenses of that focal length.  This is the adapter:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj1krj6xoH2AhXf7XMBHWEbChMQFnoECAcQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.digidirect.com.au%2Ftechart-pro-sony-e-nikon-z-full-auto-adapter&usg=AOvVaw1HKSP49dBMD2jsUvUVAHK5

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@ChrisRoss

I agree. My point is that there is no optical advantage in using EF or F mount lenses with an adaptor. Granted there is no disadvantage either, but unless there is an advantage, I can see no valid reason to change/upgrade. While cameras like the D500/D850 exist, there seems no point in doing so. 

The Z and R flanges do offer optical advantages when you use native lenses, but you lose these when you use an adaptor. As an aside, using the adaptor also is part of the reason why mirrorless housings are as big and heavy as SLR ones.

I've seen the Techart adaptor, and it would offer some focal length compatibility for lenses to use with WACP. However, it would also mean buying Sony lenses, when there is a plentiful supply of perfectly adequate and relatively inexpensive Nikon lenses. Again, I fail to see the advantage in doing so. The cost of the Nikon 28-70 f/3.5 is miniscule compared to the Sony options, and it is the lens that WACP-1 was designed to work with. 

@Barmaglot

42 minutes ago, Barmaglot said:

There isn't, but mirrorless has other advantages besides the shorter flange distance, such as focusing aids and image review right in the viewfinder.

I'm sure we can compare the advantages and disadvantages of mirrorless vs SLR and probably cite the trade offs that each one produces. My guess is that we would end up in  a draw....However, these are personal preferences, rather than specific advantages. 

The reason for choosing SLR as my perfect camera underwater (at present) is AF performance and lens choices. Until mirrorless AF is better and there are lens options that are optically better than those available for SLR, this will remain my choice. Of course, you may value the option of peaking in an EVF or image review over these, but this is a matter of choice...
 

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Since we are only dreaming, here is my perfect camera system:

  • Based on a Nikon d500.
  • Global shutter to be able to sync at high speeds (1/8000?) with full power on the strobes
  • Higher dynamic range (don't ask how much)
  • Inside an underwater housing (iIm not so brave) but with new wide & fish eye lenses designed to be use behind current available domes.
  • VF with Focus peacking, and image review.

Other than the wished lenses, I think we are almost there.


By the way, have you guys noticed the price increase for the nauticam D500? 47% Increase!
Seems I did a great investment 5 years ago, jajaja

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4 minutes ago, Joss said:

Global shutter to be able to sync at high speeds (1/8000?) with full power on the strobes

That'd require radically new strobes. The strobe pulse, while fast, is not instantaneous, and most strobes require about 3ms (1/320s) or more for a full dump. @Pavel Kolpakov and @Randall Spangler could provide more accurate data here regarding currently available models. Speeds above 1/320s-1/400s will start cutting into the strobe power, and 1/8000s would whittle it down to almost nothing.

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Considering how strobes can be used to freeze motion, I would have thought that the pulse duration is shorter than 1/320s. I thought it would be at around 1/1000s, but I'm not sure.

Edit: I checked and found some numbers for land strobes. Usually around the 1/320s mark for full power like @Barmaglot said, but at half power it already went up to 1/1000s. 

Edited by hyp

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1 hour ago, hyp said:

Considering how strobes can be used to freeze motion, I would have thought that the pulse duration is shorter than 1/320s. I thought it would be at around 1/1000s, but I'm not sure.

Edit: I checked and found some numbers for land strobes. Usually around the 1/320s mark for full power like @Barmaglot said, but at half power it already went up to 1/1000s. 

There's considerable variation in pulse length for strobes.  I recall reading that circular flash tubes tended to have longer durations.  The data is not readily available and requires a  bit of searching to find.  And yes that is for full power,  as strobes adjust power by pulse length reducing power certainly helps to freeze motion.  There are in fact specialised strobes that have very fast dump times for freezing very fast motion, but that's a whole other topic.

 

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7 hours ago, hyp said:

Considering how strobes can be used to freeze motion, I would have thought that the pulse duration is shorter than 1/320s. I thought it would be at around 1/1000s, but I'm not sure.

Edit: I checked and found some numbers for land strobes. Usually around the 1/320s mark for full power like @Barmaglot said, but at half power it already went up to 1/1000s. 

Here's an older thread discussing this:

It'd be great to have some up to date info on the subject though, with strobes such as YS-D3 II, Retra Prime/Pro, D-MAX, OneUW, etc.

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21 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

@ChrisRoss

I agree. My point is that there is no optical advantage in using EF or F mount lenses with an adaptor. Granted there is no disadvantage either, but unless there is an advantage, I can see no valid reason to change/upgrade. While cameras like the D500/D850 exist, there seems no point in doing so. 

The Z and R flanges do offer optical advantages when you use native lenses, but you lose these when you use an adaptor. As an aside, using the adaptor also is part of the reason why mirrorless housings are as big and heavy as SLR ones.

I've seen the Techart adaptor, and it would offer some focal length compatibility for lenses to use with WACP. However, it would also mean buying Sony lenses, when there is a plentiful supply of perfectly adequate and relatively inexpensive Nikon lenses. Again, I fail to see the advantage in doing so. The cost of the Nikon 28-70 f/3.5 is miniscule compared to the Sony options, and it is the lens that WACP-1 was designed to work with. 

 


 

Yes I agree also using DSLR lenses on mirrorless adapters is neither a reason to go mirrorless or not go mirrorless which is the point I was trying to make. 

Some housings are much bigger than others for the same mirrorless body than others - it certainly makes them thicker as they have designed them so that the same port chart applies or DSLR lenses when you use them on mirrorless with an adapter.

There is no advantage to using the Techart adapter, merely the possibility of continuing to use the WACP on Nikon mirrorless if you have decided to go that way.

BTW I'm with you entirely on continuing to use your current setup until a respectable improvement is on offer with the upgrade.  I think the mirrorless offerings have bought lots of new features along and The next generation or two will be when it all settles down and the important new features are clear.

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Now hat electronic viewfinders are getting better and better, I think they should be discussed in the description of a perfect camera. EVF’s offer some options that DSLR shooters probably don’t miss but appear to be useful for UW- photography once you get to use them.

In clean water I like the WYSIWYG option, which enable to preview how the background will look like in the photo. In dark water, especially in macro photography, I switch over to boosted brightness. This  gives a real benefit finding the subject in our dark waters, even with a focus light. Another useful option is the immediate evaluation of the photograph in the viewfinder after you pushed the button. Others may like to use the visual peaking warnings directly in the viewfinder.

Of course the Live View screen on the back of the camera can give these options as well, but nobody likes to tilt their camera when shooting.  It seems an odd action once you bought an extensive 45 or 180 degree viewfinder.

Ok, I wouldn’t throw away my DSLR with optical viewer for these reasons when I had one, but it’s all about perfection in this thread.

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6 minutes ago, Floris Bennema said:

Of course the Live View screen on the back of the camera can give these options as well, but nobody likes to tilt their camera when shooting.  It seems an odd action once you bought an extensive 45 or 180 degree viewfinder.

It's not the tilting; if you use the live view on a DSLR to compose your photos, it has to swing both mirrors out of the optical path, which disables the PDAF array, severely compromising autofocus - in effect, you're turning your SLR into a mirrorless camera.

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Regarding a Sony mount fisheye they made one the 16mm F/2.8 for the Sony DSLR A-mount that can be used with the screw drive adapter. I am not suggesting that this is the best choice for Sony mirrorless but I have the lens and adapter and it works well but does not focus as close as some newer fisheyes. 

Regarding the Techart adapter which can be used to mount Sony mirrorless lenses to Nikon Z-cameras it retains the same flange distance as a Nikon Z-lens so image quality should be the same.

So if I understand Adam correctly DSRL lenses mounted to mirrorless cameras only make the image quality as good as if it were used on a DSLR leading to the conclusion that a quality mirrorless lens like the Sony FE 14mm F/1.8 should result in better image quality than say the Canon EF 14mm F/2.8L II or Nikon 14mm AF-D on a DSLR of the same resolution and quality. 

I also get why Adam is not ready to depart from the D850 and D500 they are both outstanding cameras with top quality AF and imaging qualities. I have not seen a single Canon DSLR user arguing that Canon DSLR AF is superior yet Canon remains #1 in camera sales, with Sony being #1 in mirrorless sales. The bottom line is that mirrorless cameras are the future like it or not and they will soon exceed DSLR's in every area of performance. I also agree with Adam that the six year old Sony mirrorless system should have introduced a fisheye and new macros at this point.

Sony has however filled in most of the other "pro" lens desires which is why the largest US news agency AP has moved to Sony, as has the largest UK news outlet, Canadian news outlet and others.  

 

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4 hours ago, Phil Rudin said:

Regarding the Techart adapter which can be used to mount Sony mirrorless lenses to Nikon Z-cameras it retains the same flange distance as a Nikon Z-lens so image quality should be the same.

So if I understand Adam correctly DSRL lenses mounted to mirrorless cameras only make the image quality as good as if it were used on a DSLR leading to the conclusion that a quality mirrorless lens like the Sony FE 14mm F/1.8 should result in better image quality than say the Canon EF 14mm F/2.8L II or Nikon 14mm AF-D on a DSLR of the same resolution and quality. 

 

The Adapter must maintain flange distance to remain capable of focusing at infinity, otherwise it would be like adding an extension tube.  Flange distance by itself has zero impact on image quality.  The smaller flange distance on mirrorless cameras means you don't have to implement wide angle lenses as retrofocus designs.  Lenses less than about 45mm focal length (the depth of a DSLR mirrorbox) can't reach focus without using a retrofocus design.  If you reduce flange distance of the lens you can design lenses differently.

On the image quality of the various 14mm lenses, the smaller flange distance may contribute to better image quality, but the lens designer needs to take advantage of it, it won't be better just because the flange distance is less.  For example they may come up with an equal quality lens that has fewer elements and is easier to manufacture instead of a lens that is slightly sharper in the corners.

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