Which Wide Angle Lens is the One for You?

How wide do you want to go?

Lenses, lenses and more lenses – wide ones, wider still ones, different sizes, weights, prices and different names! How on holy macaronis do you choose which one to get to suit your needs?

Today I thought I’d share some knowledge with you to hopefully help a beginner shed some light on a sometimes complicated subject.

Taken with a Backscatter Air Lens

First up why do you need a wide angle lens? Well, the closer you can get to your subject, the sharper and richer in colour it’s going to be! Water magnifies our subject, making it appear closer. For small subjects our compact cameras can achieve amazing results but for larger scenes such as reef scenes, wrecks and huge schools of fish, the wider the lens you can put on the front of your housing, the better your results are going to be.

So how do you know which lens to use? I recently tried out Backscatter’s M52 Air Lens which increased the field of view on my Olympus TG-6 to 80 degrees. The sharpness was incredible and I only wish I’d had the wider M52 Underwater Wide Wet Lens to fir this whole shark in the frame.

Knowing what kind of subject you’re going to be taking pictures of is essential to purchasing the correct lens for your trip. An 80 degree field of view is ample for a turtle, diver, reef scene or a dive buddy.

Reef Scene, Lembeh Straits, Indonesia

Some wide angle lens such as Fantasea’s and Kraken allow you to zoom through the lens to take a close-up image too. Kraken also offers two models, one KRL-11/12 offering a 90 degree field of view and the other one KRL-02 offering a whopping 168 degrees, ideal for huge schools of fish and split-level (above and underwater shots).

Schooling Bumphead Parrotfish and Jacks

Another thing to consider is whether the lens has an anti-reflection coating to minimise glare to your image. Some are made of glass which will increase the weight of the lens on land but remember that underwater a lens will always feel lighter. Those that are made of acrylic can easily have any scratches buffed out if bumps occur.

The wider the better to capture the atmosphere of caves

Finally price is always an important factor but if you’re really looking for an incredible top-of-the-range lens then there is no better choice than Nauticam’s Wet Wide Lens for Compact Cameras offering 130 degrees field of view with the sharpest optics from corner to corner, and also a buoyancy collar making it super light underwater, a mere 0.25 gms in fact.

Swanage Split-Level

So there you have it, a quick guide to help you choose the lens which is right for you. Don’t be shy when it arrives and it looks larger than you thought, it may just turn out to be your best underwater buddy when it comes to nailing those shots.

Happy Shooting everyone x

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