Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift lens Underwater for First Time
I am teaching a photo course in Key Largo this week, and as we are in the water so much during the seminar, it provides an opportunity for me to try some experimentation. Also, since we are fortunate enough to have Canon technical wizard Chuckie Luzier join us for these courses, I get to play with some very interesting new Canon equipment as well.
Today's project was housing the unique Canon 17mm tilt-shift lens. While underwater was never likely in any engineer's mind in creating this lens (it is primarily for architectural photography) it is a very sharp 17mm prime lens, a focal length very useful for me.
The downside to using it underwater is that it is manual focus only, and because of the tilt and shift controls, adding even a manual focus gear would be tough. But, I guessed at where the focus should be according to the dome's virtual image, and really had very nice performance with the lens. If Seacam ever offers an option to actually focus the lens manually via the housing (the tilt knob will likely be the issue, as that is taller than the position of the focus gear), I'd seriously consider making it a go-to for wide angle work. Not that many would actually buy the lens exclusively to use underwater, but I can see a lot of topside applications for the lens, and if I owned it of course I'd want to use it underwater too. It truly is a beautiful piece of glass!
Intuitively, I tried the Seacam superdome, a 9" mineral glass wide angle port, in conjunction with a 35mm port extension, which actually worked out quite well for subjects 2 feet to infinity.