Nauticam WACP - Wide Angle Conversion Port - Review
Nauticam WACP (Wide Angle Conversion Port) Review
All dome ports suffer with the issue of corner softness. No matter the level of accuracy for dome port + extension rings you're using to fit for your lens, you'll face the issue to some degree, particularly when shooting in larger apertures. There were a few exceptions to this issue, through past water contact optics like the Nikonos and Nikonos-RS film systems, but these were very limited options and available to only a small number of current cameras.
That is... until now. Through this exciting new creation from Nauticam, the Wide Angle Conversion Port (WACP) brings that flexibility to a broader audience of Full Frame, APS-C and Super-35 photographers & videographers.
In addition to this correction of corner softness, the .36x Wide Angle Conversion Port increases the shooters angle of view to an astonishing 130 degrees. This offers a perfect middle between the more drastic fisheye lenses which traditionally shoot at 180 degrees, and an ultra wide rectilinear lens which is about 110 degrees. You'll see a great example of this in the shot below, Bryan Blauvelt was able to capture these whales filling the frame, but not deal with your traditional fisheye distortion.
So what's our thoughts!?
If you've got the budget to handle it's steeper price tag - BUY IT. Hands down this will provide a new level of sharpness in your photos, and if that sounds at all important to you, then this is the equipment you need. This lens isn't just a simple port, it functions more like the front end of a more elaborate lens, working in conjunction of your actual lens attached to the camera. While you're camera lens operates the internal functions, like aperture control and auto focusing, the WACP takes over with offering razor sharp image quality across the whole frame. It's the best quality money can buy, keeping you sharp in the corners, even when you're shooting wide-open (a large aperture).
Although it looks huge off the bat, it's actually relatively smaller than a 9 or 10 inch dome port, when you consider those also require a certain number of extension rings and things like that included as well.
There seems to be nearly no limitation on how close you can get to your subject thanks to this lens - a really key feature for those interested in nailing close-focus wide angle shots. You'll see a great example of this in the photo below from Bryan Blauvelt, in which he was photographing a curious turtle, it approached to look at it's own reflection, and he was still able to nail the shot and maintain everything in focus - even with it basically right against the dome port!
The cons of the lens are it's price point. That being said, if you're looking into high-quality lenses, then your alternative is using a glass dome port, extension rings, zoom gear, etc which will still price you in the multi-thousand dollar range, so the jump isn't really significant all things considered, especially when noting the significant benefit you get in image quality. It also is relatively heavy due to it's internal optics and the aluminum buoyancy collar, so you'll need to consider that as well when traveling, but fortunately it is neutrally buoyant underwater so it's not an added hassle once you get into the water.
As mentioned previously, there are a number of lenses now compatible with it.
- Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G EC VR
- Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8D EF-ED
- Nikon AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
- Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm F/1.8G
- Nikon AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D
- Nikon AF Nikkor 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5D
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
- Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM
- Canon EF 28mm f/128 USM
- Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM
- Canon EF 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5II
- Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-4.5 II
- Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 V USM
- Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM
- Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM | A
- Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
All in all, we are really big fans of the Nauticam WACP and look forward to seeing some other spectacular images from staff and customers alike over the coming months and years. If you've recently purchased the WACP, feel free to share your thoughts or images with us! Please reach out to us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.