Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lens testing - A Work in Progress

I did very extensive testing when the Canon 14mm II first came out to determine which port and port extension gave the very best performance underwater. See for the results.

Based on these tests I went several months shooting the superdome and PVL25. But, I never really tested the PVL20, as it didn't "look" right. It seemed the lens protruded too far inside the dome and intuitively it did not seem like a viable solution. But, in an effort to trim down my travel kit, I found I was using a PVL20 as a port extension for my flat port with the 100mm macro, and if it would work with my superdome and 14mm, I could travel lighter.

I was surprised, and pleased, to learn it actually worked better. I've now confirmed that the Canon 14mm II works best with a superdome and PVL20. I use ISO 200 and typically work at F-8 and smaller for wide angle shots. See above for example of corner performance, as lower right corner reveals what little distortion still exists. From a product shoot for Henderson Aquatics for their blue water camouflage wetsuit.

This is on par with what I get with 16-35 II @ 16mm with PVL57.5 and superdome, but is wider and handles easier. Not perfect necessarily, but better than what I was getting before, and I think the best we can expect of any 14mm. Far better than my experience with old Canon 14mm or Nikon 14mm.

Now that the lens is dialed in, I use it a lot for situations I need to go wider than the 16mm end on my 16-35II, but without the perspective distortion inherent in my 15mm fisheye lens.

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