Today I did my first dives with a new camera system. The Sony A7r is a 36MP full frame mirrorless camera, and with the Nauticam housing and an adapter ring you can use the Nikonos series of lenses. I started with a very old and well used 15mm lens that I would guess hasn’t been in the water for about 10 years. Luckily the housing has the new vacuum check system from Nauticam so I could check the integrity of the seals before getting wet.
For those that do not know much about Nikonos Lenses, the 15mm only focusses in water, but is fully manual for aperture and focus. So it is small and compact but a little more tricky to use than modern lenses. It is great for Close Focus Wide Angle and general reef shots.
It stayed ‘green’ for over an hour last night (I would have left it all night except for the new Sony cameras doing in camera charging). This morning I headed down to 45m and the camera stayed dry! I got a few shots but missed a pair of circling Eagle Rays when I forgot I had the camera set to close focus (+1 for using an AF lens).
The hardest thing about this setup is getting used to judging distance again, focus peaking on the camera body did help but I did find myself getting too close on occasion, and of course I only realised when back in the office, again +1 for AF lenses.
With regards to image quality I felt it comparable to using a good wide lens behind a 230mm Zen done, but obviously this is a much smaller package. Corner Sharpness is very good without stopping down.
Overall the cost of this setup vs a ‘normal SLR’ probably means that most people will not bother with it. However if you are looking for a wide-angle camera with small form-factor then this might be the one! I’ll update more on this when my 12mm fisheye arrives!
Now all I need is some Spray- Can Cheese and it will be the 80’s again.