Today I headed out for 2 dives in the morning, armed with the Nauticam D500, 105mm lens, double flip holder and the SMC1 and SMC2.
I didn’t want to take too many diopters as it would have meant juggling them around underwater, and frankly they are too expensive to risk scratching.
I wouldn’t consider myself a super-macro expert anymore, but after a few shots iI was getting back into the groove – which was quite fortunate as the first subject presented to me by our guide “Skinny” Joni was a ghost pipefish with eggs. This was obviously a huge challenge, so i started with SMC1 and moved on to SMC2 once both I and the subject calmed down.
One huge problem I had was that the D500 has our old 180 viewfinder on it, which I love for wide angle trips but dislike for macro. It took a while to get used to lying on my side again, and is the reason there are some sand particles in some of the shots.
The most annoying thing was that with 2 heavy diopters on the end of the lens I need to change two things, firstly i’ll need a bit more floatation out front rather than my standard setup, so tomorrow I will upsize the floats and tilt them more forward. Secondly, carrying the camera on dry land caused the non-engaged diopter to swing down and smack on to the other diopter. Some Bungee will fix this, or simply tying the diopters in place when the camera is ready to move to the boat. When the boat crew handled the camera it was no problem so it was likely my own carelessness when trying to avoid being the last person on the boat. Nauticam are in a bit of a tricky compromise with the lock feature on the flip, make it stronger to prevent accidents on land and risk having complaints it’s jammed, or add a more complicated lock mechanism and risk it breaking. Some bungee will be a good fix, or a 3D printed stopper.
Underwater the SMC1 is as always very nice to use, and the SMC2 was ideal when needed. Just to be clear, you should only be using the SMC2 once you run out of focus room on the SMC1. The SMC2 has further working distance than the SMC1 + Multiplier, which makes lighting a little easier. Infact I didn’t really struggle with lighting, I didn’t try anything creative but I was satisfied for a first run out on the diveboat.
Tomorrow I’ll get the Noodilab Moby out as well as the SMC2 and do some like for like real world comparisons.
**All Images in the blogpost are uncropped, but have been optimised including changes to sharpness and clarity.**
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