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.
The 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.
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!
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.
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!