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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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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INON announce SD Front Mask and M67 filter adapters for GoPro Hero 8 and Hero 9

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The new SD Front Mask enables users to enjoy dedicated the semi-fisheye lens (the UFL-G140SD) which increases the underwater angle of view and minimises shooting distance.  It also enables users to attach the dedicated wide close-up lens (the UCL-G165SD) which provides ideal coverage and shooting distance for taking video of marine life.

The M67 Filter Adapters allow underwater videographers to attach the INON UW Variable Red Filter to easily obtain natural colour without a blue/green colour cast. To learn more about these filters watch the video below.

No need to bring couple of filters underwater and swap them depending on depth. It is easy to adjust colour tone simply by turning the filter edge and stop turning when you see appropriate white balance on your screen.

For more information visit the INON UK website by clicking here.

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News

NUPG Lockdown Best of…

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Usually the January NUPG meeting involves a guest judge coming to Manchester to talk through the very best images members had taken in the previous 12 months. However, this year, due to COVID19 restriction many of the members had not had the chance to dive. The NUPG committee decided to change the rules a little. So this year members judged a series of Best of the Century images online and were also invited to take part in a lockdown underwater bath tub category.

There were five categories for members to enter. Here are the winners of each…

British and Irish Close Up

Octopus in St Abbs Marine Reserve by Mike Clark

British and Irish Wide Angle

A Basking Shark off the coast of Cornwall by Nick Robertson-Brown

Overseas Close Up

A squid at night in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia by Ken Byrne

Overseas Wide Angle

Hammerhead Sharks in the Red Sea by Justin Beevor

Under Bath Water

Lockdown fun in the tub by Caroline Robertson-Brown

The next NUPG meeting will be held on Monday 8th February and the guest speaker is John Bantin.

For more information on the NUPG please visit their website by clicking here.

Header image: Lionfish hunting in the Red Sea by John Spencer

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