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Samhp

Sony A7IV 28-60/WWL-1b vs 24/WWL-C

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Looking at building up a Nauticam A7IV setup...I like doing a lot of pelagic type expeditions (ex. Marlin run, Mobula rays, Whales, etc..) and probably do scuba 50% of the time. I would like to have a streamlined setup particularly when freediving/open ocean swimming and a lot of on and off boats in general. I am now suffering from likely overthinking a situation. I know the WWL-1b setup with flat port 45 and 28-60mm lens is well proven and has zoom through. I also notice that the sony 24mm G lens with flat port 23 and WWL-C setup can work but then I am locked at a 130 FOV. Unfortunately don''t have a local Nauticam dealer, is there a perceptible difference in size/weight of both setups? Thanks in advance.

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The specs are available here:  https://www.nauticam.com/collections/water-contact-optics-for-nav

There's a minor difference in weights in air vs water and the diameter is the same.  They will both be negative setups overall in the water unless you add flotation.  I would think that for pelagic work where you don't have so much control over how closely the animals approach a zoom capability would be invaluable, compared to minor weight differences.  Size wise they would have the same cross sectional area with the dome facing forward so nothing much there.

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Thank you appreciate the insight, I was just overthinking it…

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Did you already do those trips? My experience with Tiger Zoo, Hanifaru, now Mo’orea and especially freediving is that a certain zoom range is ultimately necessary. The ability to position yourself is extremely limited if you are not a pro-freediver with more than 1,5 minutes dynamic apnoe.

With the big fish you could consider split-shots that are impossible with the wet-lenses. That’s why I‘m heading towards the WACP-C

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Thanks yes I have done the Marlin run and shark expeditions with a fisheye and yes it definitely can be a challenge in getting to the “right” position…definitely will stick to a zoom lens. WACP-C sounds great…I like to keep almost all of my gear in a backpack that’s why I’m going the WWL route…

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I can vouch for the WWL-1B + 28-60mm setup. It takes fantastic photos, and for pelagics (particularly when Freediving), the zoom through is really useful.

 

Here are two galleries from recent trips using this setup:

 - https://www.shanesmith.photos/Recent-Adventures/Underwater-2022/Fiji-Highlights-2022/ (almost all of the wide angle shots here are with the WWL-1B, with the exception of the split shot and a few of the coral wide-angle landscapes, which were taken with the Canon 8-15mm). I used the zoom through extensively with the bull sharks on this trip.

 - https://www.shanesmith.photos/Recent-Adventures/Underwater-2022/Lady-Elliot-Island-August-2022/ (All shot with the 28-60 + WWL-1B, as it was the only lens I took on this trip)

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2 hours ago, shanesmith.photos said:

I can vouch for the WWL-1B + 28-60mm setup. It takes fantastic photos, and for pelagics (particularly when Freediving), the zoom through is really useful.

 

Here are two galleries from recent trips using this setup:

 - https://www.shanesmith.photos/Recent-Adventures/Underwater-2022/Fiji-Highlights-2022/ (almost all of the wide angle shots here are with the WWL-1B, with the exception of the split shot and a few of the coral wide-angle landscapes, which were taken with the Canon 8-15mm). I used the zoom through extensively with the bull sharks on this trip.

 - https://www.shanesmith.photos/Recent-Adventures/Underwater-2022/Lady-Elliot-Island-August-2022/ (All shot with the 28-60 + WWL-1B, as it was the only lens I took on this trip)

Stunning pics Shane! Great to see your recent pictures in Fiji !

Alex (from Maldives)

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7 hours ago, fruehaufsteher2 said:

@shanesmith.photos incredible! I see you often did freediving rather than scuba. Can you say something about your lighting and about usability while freediving?

Woooow how great those pics are!

Thanks @fruehaufsteher2!

 

re: lighting for Freediving, it depends on how mobile I need to be and how deep/long I need to dive to capture the shots. Adding strobes creates quite a bit of additional drag which slows you down for surface swims and makes you burn through oxygen underwater, reducing your breathhold time and the max depth and duration of your dives. It’s considerably more enjoyable to dive without them. It also adds additional variables that can go wrong for any given shot (e.g. one or both strobes not firing). However, for certain species and situations I find that I simply get better results with them attached:
 - For mantas with white bellies, strobes help to pick them out from the surrounding blue and to freeze motion. The same applies to sharks and other counter-shaded pelagics.
 - Any time you want to shoot against the sun (sun balls or light rays) and also want to see the detail of your subject (e.g. many of the turtle shots from Lady Elliot - note that most of these were fairly shallow and the turtles were relaxed and moving slowly, so strobes weren’t a hinderance).
 - For the manta shots in Fiji, I was also specifically hunting for a shot of the mantas swimming over the beautiful coral, and lighting this coral foreground made a big difference to those shots.

If you’re going to use strobes on breath hold, it’s worth taking test shots to check your exposures (and levels of backscatter) before you approach your subject. You’ll also need to ensure that your strobe arm clamps are done up quite firmly because they tend to move around when you start your descent (rapid acceleration), and you don’t want to be messing with them when you’re down there on a limited breathhold.

In terms of strobes, I was using a pair of Retra Pro X’s. They’re fantastic! Unfortunately, because they’re heavy I need a pair of float arms to offset this => even more drag.

I’d sum it up by saying that it’s a contextual decision. When I have the strobes attached I quietly resent their presence in the moment but appreciate their impact on my images after the fact.

 

Hope that helps!

 

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5 hours ago, shanesmith.photos said:

Hope that helps!

Absolutely, thanks so much. Again, wonderful pics.

Just for my curiosity: How long are you on apnoe for those pics or, similar question, able to hold your breath while shooting ("dynamic apnoe")?

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3 hours ago, fruehaufsteher2 said:

Absolutely, thanks so much. Again, wonderful pics.

Just for my curiosity: How long are you on apnoe for those pics or, similar question, able to hold your breath while shooting ("dynamic apnoe")?

Nothing extreme. I’m a pretty average freediver and I’m very deliberately diving well within my limits - no photo is worth risking a shallow water blackout. It’s generally 45-60 seconds per dive (with strobes). That equates to 20-30 second bottom times for shallow dives (~10m), or 5-10 seconds at ~16m. Diving without strobes increases all of these times somewhat. For creatures like mantas, the secret is to anticipate where they’ll be heading and to descend far enough ahead of them that they have the opportunity to approach you on their terms, rather than you swimming at them.

I found doing a freediving course really valuable both to improve my technique and (more importantly) to understand the risks and safety mechanisms, so I’d highly recommend doing one if you haven’t yet.

Very happy to chat more about this if you’ve got any more questions. We should probably branch it off onto its own thread so we don’t take this one too far off topic.

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