LEMBEH HAS IT ALL
A lot of people struggle with which lens to bring on their diving trip to Lembeh. The Strait has it all: little shrimps and nudibranchs, medium sized frogfish and octopuses, perfect wide angle scenes like reef tops and every now and again even big fish passing! This post gives you a few suggestions and recommendations on the best lens if you’re shooting a Panasonic/ Olympus Micro Four Third camera.
WHAT IF YOU CAN’T MAKE UP YOUR MIND?
Micro Four Third (MFT) setups are a great choice if you can’t make up your mind. If you’re like me who wants to shoot video and stills, macro and wide angle – and all on the same dive, these setups in combination with wet lenses, give you the greatest flexibility. I shoot the Panasonic GH4, both for video and stills, and can therefore share my personal experience.
You will find over 45 different lenses to choose from for MFT/ mirrorless systems, used by Panasonic & Olympus. But which one is the best lens and most suitable for Lembeh? I use mainly three different lenses when diving in Lembeh, with one of them being the most versatile. Check out the three different options including example photos and videos below:
OLYMPUS MSC ED M.60MM F2.8
For shooting Gobies, Cardianalfish or Clownfish at greater focus distance, the best lens for me is the Olympus 60mm macro. This is also my preferred lens when shooting bokeh. With a maximum aperture of f2.8, it creates really nice “creamy” backgrounds and very shallow depth of field – especially when combined with a diopter like the Nauticam CMC-1. Nauticam offers different port options now, I started using the lens with the Nauticam M67 Macro Port 65.
When shooting video, the Olympus 60mm macro is hard to use unless you go for manual focus mode. The autofocus starts hunting as soon as the subject moves slightly. This is another plus for the Olympus 12-50mm, which performs much better in terms of autofocus and video. Filming a Coconut Octopus from distance and close-up works best with this lens, see below:
PANASONIC LUMIX POWER ZOOM, 14-42MM, F3.5-5.6
If you can’t make up your mind whether to shoot (close-focus) wide-angle or macro and you don’t want to miss out on the big but also small stuff during your dive, this is the perfect setup for you. The Panasonic 14-42mm “pancake” (which has nothing to do with what we serve you for breakfast but there is different versions of this lens) is the perfect choice if you don’t want to compromise. I use this lens with the Nauticam N85 Macro Port 35.
I combine the lens with a Nauticam WWL-01 for wide-angle or Nauticam CMC-1 for macro. Not a cheap option but definitely worth the money since the WWL-01 allows you to zoom all the way with an incredible corner sharpness. For me, this is the ideal setup for dive sites like “Angel’s Windows” where you want to take wide angle shots of the beautiful reef tops or swim throughs and at the same time being able to shoot the Pygmy Seahorses. I have both wet lenses mounted on a Nauticam bayonet mount which makes it easy to change from wide to macro within “a twist”.
OLYMPUS M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3
My absolute winner and preferred lens in this comparison is the Olympus 12-50mm which comes with a 43mm macro mode you can switch to. The Nauticam port including the zoom/ macro gear is not cheap but definitely worth the money.
It’s the most versatile lens you will find for shooting mostly macro on your dive. In combination with a Nauticam CMC-1 the magnification is even more powerful. At the same time, you will still being able to record the occasional whale shark swimming by 😉
Why Dive with NAD-Lembeh?
NAD-Lembeh Resort is a small, owner-operated, photography-oriented dive resort in the Lembeh Strait. We are situated in a private bay on Lembeh Island, away from the hustle and bustle of the mainland. We guarantee a 2:1 guest to guide ratio as standard, which makes for a private dive experience and lots of time to take pictures.
ROOMS & BUNGALOWS
All our rooms (10 Beachfront Rooms, 5 Seaview Bungalows) offer ocean view, air conditioning, hot water, wifi, including full board. Our resort has only few steps, which makes our layout extremely convenient to get from your room to the restaurant, camera room, bar and floating jetty.
Our dive team consists of 15 full-time guides, with over 100 years of combined experience! Air as well as Nitrox and various cylinder sizes (both DIN and Yoke are available onsite).
BOATS & FLOATING JETTY
NAD-Lembeh has 4 large, purpose-built dive boats. Each at around 15m long, they offer lots of space and comfort for the divers. Boats feature onboard toilets, towels, drinks and snacks and first aid/ oxygen
Our jetty allows our guests dignified and quick boat entries – all our dive boats can be moored simultaneously, so there is no wading through the shallows to get on the boat for the dive!
Our focus at NAD is to take your underwater photography to the next level. We offer 1:1 photo classes and our guides are all proficient with photography, using our rental equipment for fun dives when not diving with guests.
We shoot video up to 8K, along with Nikon/ Canon SLR and mirrorless setups. This gives us a rounded knowledge of all cameras. We are also the go-to location for natural history filming in the Straits.
Our newly renovated, huge camera room offers one work space for each and every guest. The spacious, individual benches with lots of power points were purposely built for underwater photographers. NAD’s dedicated camera room is also the perfect place to work on and edit your pictures.
Several rental cameras and strobes are available onsite. We have basic tools and spare parts in our gift shop in case of minor camera problems as well as a drying cabinet, and computer for you to work on and edit your photos.