No matter where in the world you dive the best lens for underwater photography will make your experience last forever. It is hard to describe to someone who has never been diving before all the beauty and life below the ocean’s surface. That is why so many divers enjoy this sport with an underwater camera. Since so many colors are lost the deeper you go it is important to get the best setup you can to fully capture the beauty. In an effort to still focus on your dive it is important to bring a lens with enough zoom so you don’t have to disrupt your subject to get the perfect shot.
The perfect dive lens will combine the perfect focal length, aperture, and of course be waterproof. A focal length refers to the amount of millimeters the lens is capable of. For example a standard lens is 18 mm – 55 mm. This means that the lens can zoom between 18 and 55 millimeters away from the actual image sensor. A higher millimeter rating means the lens is capable of a more zoomed photograph. Aperture is the amount of light the lens lets in. The range of aperture is usually between f/1.8 to f/22. A smaller number means that there will be more light let in for the sensor to detect. This creates a faded or blurred area around the subject a feature that can give you amazing, professional looking photos. Finally, a dive lens needs to be waterproof. This is done by a nano coating which seals the lens from the water. All of these features combine to give you the best dive lens.
We have put together a guide to find the best lenses for underwater photography for your next dive.
How To Choose The Best Lens – Buying Guide
Compact Camera Lenses
When you buy a compact camera, the lens is built into the camera. Compact cameras are one of your cheapest options, but the lack of versatility is a drawback. You do have some options with wet lenses, though. Wet lenses can be added on top of the built-in lens of the camera. One advantage of this is that you can swap lenses when you are under the water to get a variety of shots.
DSLR And Mirrorless Lenses
These camera types are used by most professionals. They are more expensive than a compact camera, but they offer more flexibility and better pictures. With these cameras, you can switch out lenses. You are able to get more professional looking photographs with DSLR and mirrorless lenses.
Type Of Underwater Photography
Before you go ahead and choose your lens, you shock know a little about where you are going to take your photos and what type of photography you are going to undertake. Assembling your photography gear is as important as assembling your scuba gear. Two of the most common lenses which are used are the wide angle and the metro. These will allow you to take great photos in most situations.
A wide-angle lens allows you to capture a lot of what you can see underwater. The lens gives you a wide angle of shot, allowing you to capture a large school of fish or a coral reef. A wide angle lens is great for shooting seascapes.
Macros lenses are more focused on the detail of your shot. Where a wide angle lens will allow you to capture a lot in your shot, a macro lens will focus in on the details. They are great for capturing the detail of a fish and smaller creatures. Having both lenses at your disposal will allow you to go big or go small.
Type Of Lens
Most lenses are rectangular. This means that any straight lines in real life are captured as straight lines in the photo.
A fisheye lens is a type of wide angle lens. When you are underwater, it is beneficial to be able to see your subject up close while getting in the background too. A fisheye lens will capture all of that, while giving a curved perspective, just like the eye of a fish. The closer you get, the richer the color will be.
Macro lenses are rectangular, but they are specially designed to get up close to your subject. They have a long barrel which allows you to get close to whatever you are capturing.
The focal length of a lens is expressed in millimeters. A smaller focal length means that you can see better at short distances. If you want to capture things which are close to you, as you would do with a macro lens, then you will need a short focal length. If you want something which will help you to capture images at a distance, then go for a longer focal length, as you would find in a wide angle lens.
Small focal lengths are ideal for capturing a lot in your photo. If you have fellow divers who are swimming in the distance, and there is a school of fish swimming in between, then a small focal length is perfect. If you want more of a portrait style of photo, then a medium focal length is what you want. If you want to get in close, to take a photo of a shrimp perhaps, then you will want a long focal length.
Q: Why Do I Need A Special Underwater Lens?
Many cameras can focus closely on an image, so why do I even need a lens? Well, one answer to that question involves a similar answer as to why you would need lenses for shooting out of the water. Lenses will give you options for your photos. You can get good photos with your camera, but you will get better photos with additional lenses.
A problem which many cameras face underwater is that the macro mode only works at the shortest focal length. This is counterintuitive to taking a good close up photo. Short focal lengths are great for wide angle shots. When you are taking a macro photo, you want a long focal length, and many cameras cannot do that with the inbuilt lens. This is where a good macro lens comes in. By adding lenses to your camera, you can get shots which are impossible with just your camera.
Q: How Do I Clean My Underwater Lens?
After you have completed your underwater adventure, you should take the time to take care of your lens. Rinse the lens in warm water to remove any debris and salt. You want to dissolve the salt and remove it completely from your lens, or you run the risk of the lease becoming damaged. If there are any particles in the lens, then the lens can become damaged or blocked. Once you have washed your lens, you should pat it dry with a soft cloth. Do not use anything abrasive on the lens or you could damage it completely. After drying, makes sure to store the lens in a case or with some protective housing.
Q: I Am An Amateur Photographer, Do I Need A Special Lens?
Not at first, but you will want to add them over time. If you are just starting out with photography, then we would recommend taking photos with your camera to practice underwater photography. Once you become more adept at taking photos, then you can begin to think about lenses and strobes.
Globo Surf Overview
It only takes one trip underwater to appreciate all the beauty and life below the sea. Once you begin your journey into underwater photography it is easy to become addicted. With vibrant full bodied photos this can quickly become a favorite hobby or even part of your career. Many professionals prefer the use of a fisheye lens for underwater photography as it provides a wide view allowing more sights to be captured with every photo. Regardless of your preference, when looking for your next lens be sure to read through the many underwater camera lens reviews before deciding on the best one for you. This will help to ensure that you get the best lens for your needs. Any of the five best lenses for underwater phootgraphy on our list are sure to leave you with excellent photos to be looked at for years to come.
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Did your lens make it on our top 5 list? Let us know how it works for all of your underwater photography needs in the comment section below.