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Kraken KRL-11/12 Compact Wide Angle Lens Underwater Review

Kraken KRL-11/12 Compact Wide Angle Lens Underwater Review

February 25th, 2020

Kraken compact wide angle lens underwater review

Kraken Compact Wide Lens


The new Kraken compact wide lens is the latest and greatest gadget for wide angle photography with a compact camera. The lens is designed by Kraken specifically for cameras with compact sensors, like the Sony RX100 series, the Canon G7X series, and the Olympus Tough series. There are currently two versions on the market - the KRL-11 which has a 52 mm thread for housings with a smaller port, and the KRL-12 which has a 67mm thread for housings with a larger port. Optically, the lenses are the same underwater and both provide the same field of view.


So what makes these lenses so special? The Kraken compact wide lens provides amazing, wide-angle image quality at an unbeatable size and price. Many people have been comparing the Kraken compact lens to popular air lenses. It's not - it's much better. The Kraken compact lens is a real wet wide agle lens. It offers a wider 90 degree field of view (with a 24mm equivalent lens), with full zoom-through capability. Traditional air lenses only offer an 81 degree field of view. Compared to other wet wide lenses, the Kraken compact lens is very small and compact - it can easily fit into the palm of your hand! 


Given all the benefits of Kraken compact lens, we decided to take it diving in the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest with the popular Olympus TG-5 camera. For the price point, we were thrilled with the images that we came back with! 


Availability: Available Now!

U.S. MSRP: $225 - 245 (depending on thread)





Purchase the Kraken Compact Wide Angle Lens at Bluewater Photo: 


Kraken KRL-11 (52mm thread)

Kraken KRL-12 (67mm thread)




Kraken Compact Wide Lens Specifications


  • Magnification: 0.72X
  • Lens construction: 2 glass lens elements, 2 groups
  • Compatible cameras - Sensor size: 6.4mm X 4.8mm (1/2"); Camera lens: 24mm (35mm equivalent) - F/1.4
  • Field of view conversion: 24mm (84.1 degrees) -> 21.5mm (90 degrees)
  • Glass lens coating: Multi-Layer BBAR Coating
  • Lens Barrel: Aluminum with type II anodizing
  • 52mm thread
  • Dimensions: 92.8 X 50.6mm
  • Weight (air): 240g 
  • Weight (underwater): 80g
  • Depth Rating: 60m (197ft)


Kraken Compact Wide Lens Features


Solid Construction


The construction of the KRL-11/12 is solid and user-friendly. The lens is a wet lens designed with an optical glass element that makes it superior in image quality compared to air lenses. Inert gas has been injected into the lens in order to minimize humidity in the air space and prevent fogging inside.


The lens can be attached to the camera underwater or topside at any time. It's uses a simple screw mount, made from aluminum. The aluminum threads will stay strong and last for years. We found is relatively easy to take on and off underwater after some practice. Be sure to screw it in by holding it from the sides and not the dome, to avoid scratching it. If you do scratch the dome, the KRL-11/12 is built with an acrylic dome which means that any scratches can bee easily buffed out (unlike glass). 


Most importantly, we loved the lens because it's small...really small! The lens only ways 240 grams above water, and underwater it's a mere 80 grams! It is an excellent choice for underwater photographers who ned the smallest and most compact wide angle set up available. The lens comes with a carrying case that makes it easy to travel with during trips. 


Field of View and Image Quality


Anemones photographed without the Kraken Compact Wide Lens (84 degree FOV)


Anemones photographed with the Kraken Compact Wide Lens (90 degree FOV)


We were very excited to take the lens underwater and see just how the field of view measured up to what was advertised. It does appear to be 90 degrees. Although that's not the widest field of view advertised on the market for a wide angle wet lens, it's certainly a wide view for the price point. For most wide angle photography, it should be wide enough. However, it's less ideal for close focus wide angle photography, where an ultra-wide fisheye lens might perform better. The Kraken KRL-11 and KRL-12 are great for photographing reef scenes and large animals. Although the visibility was poor during our tests we manage to capture great photos with limited backscatter. Because the field of view isn't ultra-wide, it's easier to eliminate backscatter from the scene. 


The image quality from the KRL-11 and KRL-12 is excellent. All of our subjects appeared super sharp and detailed. Most importantly, the corners in each image were very sharp - which can be a problem with other wet wide lenses. 


Zoom Through Capability


Because the Kraken compact lens is often used with compact cameras that excel at macro photography, we were sure to test out the "zoom-through" capability of the lens. It worked great! At any point during the dive, instead of removing the KRL-11 or KRL-12, you can zoom through the lens and still take macro photos. Just be careful not to get too close to the subject and scratch the lens! 


Sea star photographed with Kraken compact wide lens (zoomed out)



Sea star photographed with Kraken compact wide lens (zoomed in X4)



The KRL-11 and KRL-12 are all-around great wide angle lenses designed specifically for compact cameras. They are masterfully designed and beautiful constructed for a relatively minimal price point, in a style of photography that comes with traditionally high costs. With it's small design, wide field of view, and zoom through capability it's a great option to pick up for any first time wide angle shooter, or veteran photographer in search of a light-weight wide angle option.




Purchase the Kraken Compact Wide Angle Lens at Bluewater Photo: 


Kraken KRL-11 (52mm thread)

Kraken KRL-12 (67mm thread)



Reef scene shot with the Kraken KRL-11, Olympus TG-5, Sea & Sea YS-D2J strobes. f/8, 1/30, ISO 400

Learn more here:

Contact our sales department:

Phone: 310-633-5052



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