Always on the look out for intersting marine life, the last couple of weeks have featured some rareties for us here in Tulamben. First a massive school of Barracuda, then a giant frogfish and for only a short appearance was a Hairy Frogfish.
Our latest LED Focus & Video Light, with a power packed - incredibly bright 18oo lumens, super wide and smooth beam plus extreme burn time. This light is bright enough for most underwater video shooting as well as a still photography focus light when used on low power. The light has three power levels (1800 lumen, 900 lumen and 450 lumen), as well as a built-in battery power indicator and low battery warning. It comes standard with a smart charger, rechargable lithium battery, a ball type mount, a YS style mount and a wrist lanyard. We have tested the actual burn time at a stunning 8 hours at 450 lumens! Our introductory price on this light is USD$ 135 + post to your location.
Using the INON UFL-M150 ZM80 Micro Fish Eye Lens with Olympus PEN & OMD camera's underwater
The INON UFL-M150 ZM80 Insect Eye Lens was released back in 2011, but didn't initially attract my attention. It was advertised as a lens for use with a limited range of compact cameras that I didn't own. Then I noticed during 2016 that Inon Japan had listed some of the Olympus PEN & OMD models as compatible camera's. http://www.inon.jp/products/lens/uflm150zm80/top.html
This INON Insect Eye Lens is listed as a speciality lens that offers "150 degree ultra wide fish eye, a compact fisheye lens to shoot through eyes of small marine life, so-called "insect-eye lens" imaging..... hmm I wonder what all that means?
Well the INON Insect Eye Lens certainly is a speciality lens. It is not just a standard fish eye lens, it has to be used in very close quarters to your subject. Almost touching it! This is because the lens cannot focus further than around 30cms from the camera, but can focus all the way down to the glass on the front mini-dome. The INON Insect Eye Lens fits into an adapter that itself screws into any 67mm lens adapter. The smaller thread on the lens body is screwed in or out until the INON Insect Eye Lens is touching the front port of the camera housing on Olympus housings (it has a soft rubber ring to stop any damage to the port) Then the second smaller ring surrounding the lens is turned to lock the position of the lens. The distance between the port and the Insect Eye Lens can be adjusted underwater to achieve the best results without cropping of the image in the corners. The camera lens is set to the longest telephoto end (42mm or 50mm dependent on which lens I am using - see below). Check this list if you are thinking of buying this lens, as your camera/housing may not be compatible: http://www.inon.jp/pdf-dl/_userdata/SystemTable-EN.pdf
The INON Insect Eye Lens gives a whole new perspective to the underwater world. Nudibranchs can fill the frame and still show the surrounding reef. A shrimp on a sea whip along with the surrounding fish and blue water. The Insect Eye Lens even works on macro video subjects (the main reson I purchased this lens).
To use the lens for still photos, I use either of the Olympus standard kit zoom lenses (The Olympus 12-50mm or 14-42mm lens), set to a relatively high aperture (F8-F16, to gain the most depth of field), shutter speed to around 1/60th to 1/100th second (to get the most back ground natural lighting) and then select an ISO that gives me a correct background exposure (this can be between ISO 400 to 1000 depending on the subject and amount of daylight), then bring my strobes directly alongside the lens and adjust strobe power to achieve the lighting on the foreground subject (normally I use MAD Flip Snoot to get the light just on the foreground subject and not light the surrounding water - to reduce any backscatter). Some sample photo results are posted here to give you an idea of the potential of this lens. It isn't for every day underwater photography, but it is the only lens style that allows macro subjects to be photographed among their surroundings.
A fantastic group of friends shared our Raja Ampat Underwater Cruise in September.
Jeff compiled this video and Dawn kept swimming into the frames.
Shot with Olympus OMD EM5 MkII and PEN E-PL6 camera's.
The Panasonic LUMIX G MACRO 30mm f/2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. Lens is designed for the micro four thirds range of camera's. So it fits directly to the complete range of Olympus PEN and OMD digital camera's, plus Panasonic Lumix camera's.
The lens was released in May 2015 without any fan-fare, it just quietly slipped into the market.
I often find myself in need of a lens for underwater use that allows me to take in a wider view than the other macro lenses available for the micro four thirds format, as I want to reduce the amount of water between the camera and the subject. The 30mm Panasonic Macro Lens has a much wider field of view (40 degrees) than either the Olympus 60mm Macro Lens (20 degrees) or the Leica 45mm Macro Lens (27 degrees), so I can photograph larger subjects without being too far back from the critters. But if I see something smaller that I want to photograph, I can get as close as 50mm from the lens to the subject, and get 1:1 reproduction ratio. Now that's a handy lens!
Then with the addition of a strong wet lens in front of the 30mm macro lens, I can also photograph really tiny subjects. Even adding more versatility during the same dive, if I then decide I'd like to shoot some video, the 30mm macro lens really shines, as I can hand hold the camera without any shake and have enough room in the frame for the critters to play, plus not have particles showing in the frames, as I am really close to the subject.
The 30mm Panasonic Macro Lens is sharp and focuses very fast, I'm super happy with my purchase. This lens also won't break the bank, I bought mine when it was on special for less than $300. I use it with the same short port that I utilise with my Leica 45mm Macro Lens, made by Zen for the Olympus Pen Housings, as the 30mm macro lens is the same length (within a couple of millmeters) as the 45mm Leica Macro Lens and fits perfectly in this port. Some Photos and a short video taken with my Olympus E-PL6 and the Panasonic 30mm Macro Lens are below.
Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) is a great tool for creating panoramas from fish eye images. The software is free and does a great job of merging photos into a panorama without needing to learn any fancy techniques or complicated software. Download here: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/ice/
The above Panorama was compiled by the Microsoft ICE 2.0 software, from 36 fish eye images I took on the USAT Liberty Wreck in Tulamben, Bali. I used an Olympus PEN EPL6 in a PT-EP10 housing with a Panasonic 8mm fish eye lens and Athena Dome Port. The camera was hand held and with no strobes. Shot in Manual (so the exposures were consistent across all images).
I shot the images by moving the camera in a semi circular pan at two levels (see the thumbnail images in the following slide show to see what I mean).
I then imported them into the ICE Software and let the program do its magic. The slide show below shows the steps I took. (click on the numbers to view each Screen Shot)
There are also two websites that can display files output from ICE in 3D or high definition zoomable panoramas (PhotoSynth & DeepZoom).... But that's for another day!
We have just returned from Cenderawasih Bay in West Papua having extraordinary experiences diving with Whale Sharks. Also diving some great WWII shipwrecks, aeroplane wreck and beautiful reefs.
Reef Wreck & Critter Blog:
Jeff & Dawn Mullins run this Blog to give an insight into our underwater discoveries in Indonesia and any news about what we are currently doing .