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S.U.P.E.R. Part 5: The Insect Eye Lens from INON

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In our ongoing series S.U.P.E.R. (Scubaverse’s Underwater Photography Equipment Reviews), Nick and Caroline Robertson Brown from Frogfish Photography review new underwater photography equipment, general diving equipment, and some older favourites too. 

For the fifth instalment of S.U.P.E.R., Nick and Caroline take a look at INON’s Insect Eye Lens.

Frogfish 1The INON Insect Eye lens, or to use its full title the INON UFL-M150_ZM80 Underwater Micro Fisheye Lens, is a small lens with a big punch. As this lens is specifically designed to work underwater, it will not produce a coherent image on land, so to get your first view of what it can do, you have to go diving with it. We attached our demo lens to our Fuji XQ2 in the Fuji underwater housing and tried it out in the pool and in open water. It was love at first sight.

Frogfish 4

This lens is a lot of fun! You can get up very close to your subject, and still get a funky wide angle shot of the scene, so if you want something a little different to add to your compact camera setup, then this is a great item.

Retail price is £219 and you will also need a £40 adapter which comes as a 67mm screw thread or bayonet adapter that will fit onto an existing INON mount base for many compact cameras. However, before you rush out and buy this lens, please be aware that it is not compatible with all makes of compact camera, so check with an INON dealer before buying!

Frogfish 3

To use the lens, you will need to zoom through until the vignetting has gone, or you can use it to make a circular frame to your image; it is up to you. Whilst the edges of the shot might not be pin-sharp, it is acceptable and you can get really creative using this lens. The lens is designed for the user to be extremely close to the subject. It provides a 150 degree ultra wide-angle view of a macro subject as close as 0cm from the lens. Having used it in the UK, we are really looking forward to getting this lens into the water in Indonesia, where we can have some fun with the small critters like nudibranchs and frogfish.

Frogfish 2

This lens will not add a huge amount of weight to your compact kit either, as it is small and light. If you are looking for something to make your images stand out from the crowd, then this might be just the thing. It will take some practice to get great images and here are some tips to get you started.

  • Set your zoom position to about 80mm (35mm equivalent).
  • Keep your aperture setting at its maximum (in our case F11) to maximize depth of field.
  • Strobe positioning can be difficult with a subject so close to the lens, so try to keep the strobes behind the lens, angled so that the “edges” of the light catch the subject.
  • Try using a strobe snoot or a constant light source mounted on your camera or even held by your buddy.

Whatever setup you use – the idea of this lens is to go out and have some fun. We did!

Frogfish 7

 

www.frogfishphotography.com

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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World Rivers Day: Go with the flow during these river Drift Dives 

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Going with the flow is something we’ve all had to get better at doing this year. And becoming a PADI Drift Diver lets you take those skills to the next level, and just in time for World Rivers Day which is celebrated this Sunday 26 September. 

Drift diving can be both relaxing and exhilarating. The course teaches you how to enjoy going with the flow as you scuba dive down rivers or use ocean currents to glide along safely. It feels like flying – except that you’re underwater using scuba equipment. 

If you’re a PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver who is at least 12 years old, you can start your journey at home with the PADI Drift Diver eLearning course and then complete the specialty course with your local PADI Dive Centre or Resort.  

EXCLUSIVE: WIN a PADI Drift Diver eLearning course – click HERE to be in with a chance to win one of two eLearning courses from our friends at PADI to celebrate World Rivers Day!

Once you are certified as a PADI Drift Diver, you are ready to explore rivers, amongst other currents, all over the world. Here are some of the most remarkable river dive sites across the globe for you to seek adventure in. 

1. Valle Verzasca, Switzerland 

See a whole new side to Switzerland while doing a drift dive through the Valle Verzasca, which has some of the clearest diving in all of Europe. It is both an ideal place to learn to drift dive and still offers plenty of adventure for the more experienced divers. Exploring Valle Verde can be arranged through a range of PADI Dive Centres in the region and combined with mountain lake dives in the area as well. 

2. Rainbow River, Florida 

The clear, shallow and warm waters of Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida make it the perfect drift dive location for scuba divers, snorkelers and freedivers alike. PADI Dive Centres in the area can help organize pick up and drop offs so that you can drift down one of Florida’s most outstanding waterways. 

3. St Lawrence River, Canada

Drift diving in the St. Lawrence River can provide access to thousands of shipwrecks, including the RMS Empress of Ireland. Plus, the riverway is known to have surprisingly warm temperatures of up to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and have friendly visitors that include salmon, beluga whales, Greenland sharks and grey seals. If you plan it right, you can even dive between the two countries of Canada and the United States. 

4. Waikato River, New Zealand 

Zip by boulders and rainbow trout during a drift dive through the Waikato River on a guided dive with a PADI Dive Centre in the area. While the river water is likely to be a bit chilly, the drift dive ends at Hot Water Stream, where you can warm up and relax in a natural hot spring. 

5. Local Rivers Inspired by other PADI Drift Divers 

You don’t have to venture far to seek adventure with a drift dive. As Youtuber Scuba Jake explains on PADI’s recent Dive Stories Podcast, there is always something to discover beneath the surface—with rivers offering some of the most unique dive sites in the world. All you have to do is look below the surface and go with the flow. Your local PADI Dive Centre or Resort can give you additional insight on the best places near you.

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Win a PADI Drift Diver eLearning Course – two to give away!!!

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For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at PADI to give away a couple of their Drift Diver eLearning courses!

The PADI Drift Diver Specialty course teaches you how to enjoy going with the flow as you scuba dive down rivers and use ocean currents to glide along. It feels like flying – except that you’re underwater using scuba equipment. Drift diving can be relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. If this sound like fun, then the Drift Diver course is for you.

You can find out more about the PADI Drift Diver eLearning course here.

To be in with a chance of being one of our winners, all you have to do is answer the following question:

In a recent ‘Creature Feature’ on Scubaverse.com by The Shark Trust (which you can read here), it is revealed that Porbeagles look like what other species of shark?

Is it:

  • A) Tiger Shark
  • B) Bull Shark
  • C) Great White Shark

Answer, A, B or C to the question above:

PADI Drift Dive eLearning Course x2 September 2021

Competition
  • Enter the country you live in
  • Terms and Conditions: This competition is open to all visitors to www.scubaverse.com except for members of the Scubaverse team and their families, or employees of PADI and their families. This prize is for the eLearning element of the PADI Drift Diver course and does not include any of the course's practical elements). A valid answer to the competition’s question must be entered. If no valid answer to the competition’s question is entered, your entry will be invalid. Only one competition entry per entrant permitted (multiple entries will lead to disqualification). Only one prize per winner. All prizes are non-transferable, and no cash alternative will be offered. In the event that the prize cannot be supplied, no liability will be attached to www.scubaverse.com. When prizes are supplied by third parties, www.scubaverse.com is acting as their agents and as such we exclude all liability for loss or damage you may suffer as a result of this competition. This competition closes on 05/11/21. The winner will be notified by email. The Editor-in-Chief’s decision is final.

  • The following fields are optional, however if you fill them in it will help us to determine what prizes to source in the future.

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Red Sea Northern Wrecks & Reefs plus Tiran

Custom built itinerary scheduled to include Abu Nuhas wrecks, the SS Thistlegorm, the fabulous reefs at Ras Mohamed including Shark Reef, then over to Tiran to dive Gordon, Jackson, Thomas and Woodhouse reefs.

You’ll visit any number of other wrecks including the beautiful Carnatic and the wrecks of the Giannis D, the Chrisoula K and the Marcus, all at Abu Nuhas.  And you can’t miss the Rosalie Moeller and the Dunraven!

 

But this trip isn’t just about wrecks – far from it! Ras Mohammed, the protected marine reserve of the Red Sea, delivers schooling fish, spectacular corals, and we drop-in numerous times on the best sites before heading over to Tiran to dive the immense reefs of Gordon, Jackson and Woodhouse.

 

What are you going to see? The most stunning corals, abundant marine life, and exceptional wrecks. Turtles, Napoleon wrasse, morays, dolphins, maybe a manta, and perhaps even whale sharks. Hammerheads off the back of Jackson Reef are a possibility, and don’t forget the little critters either! This trip delivers, time and time again.

 

From £1599 per person based on double occupancy.  Full board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £695pp.  Stay in a deluxe chalet on a soft all-inclusive basis and enjoy 10 guided shore dives and unlimited, unguided house reef diving.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

 

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

 

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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