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Anyone shooting Sony a7riii?

Discussion in 'Sony Snappers' started by hilljo88, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. PHIL RUDIN

    PHIL RUDIN Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives:
    Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
    1,221
    265
    83
    Read my A6400 review in the current uwpmag.com, a free PDF download. It covers the same features as the V 5.01 and V 3.01 updates.

    Ike6400_108 (dragged).jpg
     
  2. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    8,970
    4,702
    113
    I don't have one, but I have dived quite a lot with a buddy that is shooting an a7rIII. We have done the North Carolina Wreck Shark Shootout (photo/video contest) together the last 3 years (he shot the a7rIII the last 2 years), so I have many evenings of hanging out with him as we both downloaded our day's photos and did our editing to get our submissions ready for the contest. Lots of time to learn about what he's shooting and see the results.

    With his a7rIII, he has won a 1st place in one category every year he's shot that camera. The contest only allows you to win one 1st. He won at least one 2nd place each year as well. This year, he won 1st in Best Portfolio, 2nd in Best Wreck, and 3rd in Best Shark.

    He shoots with a Nauticam housing, the Sony kit lens (the 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6, I think is what it is), and the Nauticam WACP port. He had some other, better lens with a normal port setup before the WACP came out. But, the WACP with the kit lens gives better results than any better lens and other, more conventional port/dome setup.

    The WACP is fantastic for wide angle, close focus wide angle, and, because it supports full zoom-through, it actually works very well for shooting very small subjects as well. I'm not going to say it gives true macro. But, when the camera is giving a 42MP image that is razor sharp, you can crop to still get an excellent "macro-like" result. :) I believe with this setup, the WACP will allow you to focus on a subject that is right up against the lens/port.

    I am planning to upgrade from my m43 rig to FF some time in the next year. My plan is an a7rIII or a7rIV, if it's out by the time I'm ready to buy, and a Nauticam housing. I wanted to go with an Aquatica housing, but I have emailed with one of their engineers and there is no way to use the WACP on an Aquatica housing - and, while I may not spring for the WACP immediately, I do not want to invest in a platform that will preclude me from using it in the future.

    The WACP runs around $4K. It is REALLY expensive. BUT, when you factor in the lenses you don't have to purchase, it's actually not THAT expensive. I.e. The WACP + the kit lens is around $4400. If you want good WA, CFWA, and some ability to shoot small subjects, you could easily end up buying at least a WA lens and a macro lens and, with the ports, domes, etc.., to go with them, the total starts getting up around the same price. And, with the WACP, you can shoot WA and zoom in to shoot small stuff all during one dive, without changing any lenses or ports. And, for WA and CFWA, the WACP setup will give sharper images. I'm really not sure how the WACP setup compares to a true macro setup, for shooting macro.

    At this year's WSS, he had upgraded to the latest firmware with the Animal Eye AF. He tried it and it did not work as well for him, when trying to focus on sharks, as whatever non-Animal Eye AF he was using. I'm not sure why that is. I speculate that it may have had something to do with the sharks being frequently surrounded by balls of baitfish. Maybe with a hundred eyes in the frame, the camera couldn't decide which one to focus on and was too-often focusing on a baitfish eye instead of the shark. Not sure.
     
    Hoag likes this.
  3. Hoag

    Hoag Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Ontario
    1,586
    1,223
    113
    Just a couple quick points:

    First, yes, you are correct, the kit lens is a 28-70mm f3.5-5.6. (It drops from f3.5 to f4 by 30mm, so it is not a fast lens.) It is, surprisingly sharp for a kit lens though. (I shoot it on my A7iii.)

    Second, the animal eye autofocus that was released with firmware version 3.0/3.1 is optimized for dogs and cats only at this time. Sony expects to add the capability for other animals sometime in the future, so if your friend isn't getting good results with sharks with it, this could be why.
     
    stuartv likes this.
  4. Alek Mikolajczyk

    Alek Mikolajczyk Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Chicago
    19
    1
    3
    Yes, I am shooting with Sony a7riii , along with Ikelite housing and 90mm f2.8 and 16-35 f4 ports and Sea & Sea YS2 strobe. The 3rd release of the A7r is finally a professional grade camera with 2 SD card slots, improved auto focus and significantly improved battery life. For me A7r and A7rii (had both) were almost professional grade but were lacking on the battery life, memory slots and poor auto focus. This has been addressed with a7riii release. I did about 150 dives with this camera/housing combo and was pretty happy. At times, I would run low on battery life during my 3rd dive but I was shooting a lot. The only area where I wish Sony would improve would be flash sync, which for Sony a7riii was 1/200. I wish it had 1/250. What else can I help you with? By the way, I have the Ikelite for a7riii with 90mm f2.8 and 16-35mm f4 ports for sale; listed on this site as well. I am keeping the camera though, I like it too much.
     
  5. Xterra

    Xterra Nassau Grouper

    114
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    I been shooting the the A7RIII in the Nauticam housing for a year and 4 dive trips now. I use the 18mm Batis with the Zen 170mm Glass dome (N100 to N120 adapter port required) and the 90mm Macro. I use the new Z330 strobe with it.
    Works great, love it every dive more. Battery life is fantastic compre to the a6500 which needed the additional battery under the tray.
    Some shots for your enjoyment.

    full?d=1570979933.jpg

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    full?d=1570979933.jpg

    full?d=1570979933.jpg
     
    Hoag likes this.
  6. EduFiend

    EduFiend Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Santiago, Chile
    12
    5
    3
    I also have been using the A7rIII with the Nauticam housing for a year and a half now on three liveaboards and I'm currently counting the days to the fourth one on Tiger Beach/Bimini.

    It is true all of what the others have said so far: it ends up being quite expensive, heavy and difficult to travel with, but you do get what you pay for: the reliability and vacuum seal are top notch; once you've figured out the buoyancy it's a breeze and very ergonomic. File sizes are big, but I've used the same housing with the A7III, no problem. In terms of getting the shot with the 16-35GM, for example, I find that although animal eye autofocus doesn't work on underwater critters yet, "expand flexible spot" usually works pretty well with back button AF.

    However, I've been trying to find a solution for soft and distorted corners with the 16-35GM, which I use with a 60 extension port and the 180mm dome as per Nauticam's suggestion back in 2018. Whilst the Sea&Sea M82 internal correction lens sounds interesting, I wouldn't be able to use it with another lens I own, the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 ART. I've also been contemplating using it underwater and have been trying to find online reviews being tested with a big dome to no avail. Both the 16-35GM and the 14mm share Nauticam's new 70 extension port and 230mm fisheye, which of course, is a way more serious investment, but, naturally, it peaked my interest anyway. Damn GAS.

    I was wondering if by any chance @PHIL RUDIN has had the pleasure of testing it or maybe knows someone who might have? Any help would be much appreciated.

    Cheers!
     
  7. PHIL RUDIN

    PHIL RUDIN Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives:
    Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
    1,221
    265
    83
    untitled--3.jpg Regarding the S&S internal corrector I own the M77 version which can be used with a 72mm to 77mm step up on the Sony FE 16-35 zoom. I have been involved in other projects so I have not tested it yet but I did lone it to a friend who used it with his A7R III and FE 16-35 F/4 with a ZEN Underwater 170mm port a combo he had been using for several years. While he is still interested in going to a larger dome port he was more than impressed with the S&S on the 170mm port. Keep in mind that I advised him to shoot at F/13 or higher to help with the corners. I will be borrowing a 180 and a 8.5 inch acrylic port when I do review the S&S.

    Regarding the 14mm I just did a review on the Rokinon 14mm F/2.8 AF for Sony in the current issue of uwpmag.com (a free PDF download) I was shooting the lens with the A7R IV in an Aquatica housing (that review is in the same issue #112) using an eight inch acrylic port. For those reading this who may think the Sony 16-35 F/2.8 or the much more expensive 14mm are better choices for U/W photography I would say save your money. The more expensive lenses may have superior image quality out of the water wide open but for full frame underwater you should be shooting in the F/13 or higher range and you will see little to no difference. If you are buying the 16-35 or a 14mm strictly for U/W work you will be more well served to go with the F/4 or the Rokinon and spend the money you saved on a larger port.

    I have attached the first page for both reviews.

    untitled-.jpg untitled-.jpg
     
    stuartv likes this.
  8. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    8,970
    4,702
    113
    I think the new WACP2 would solve that for you...

    :D
     
  9. EduFiend

    EduFiend Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Santiago, Chile
    12
    5
    3
    Thanks @PHIL RUDIN, I had actually read your reviews the day before, great job on those. Last night, after reading your reply I set out to research on Wetpixel going either the 230mm dome port+M82 or WACP-1 route, as @stuartv kindly suggested :) The 2 is just a bit out of my budget, just a bit. By the way, thanks for your very detailed review on the Seaskin Nova, I got one last year and diving here in the chilly Chilean waters has never been easier and more comfortable.

    I guess my biggest concern at the moment is to try to maximize the big animal photo ops both for the upcoming trip while also making a solid investment for the next one, December in the Maldives. Since there aren't any UW photo distributors in Chile and the shipping rates are quite draconian, I'd really like to take the opportunity to visit Reef Store before heading to the Bahamas. I want the widest rectilinear sharp(ish) corners that I can get without breaking the bank and thought the Sigma could provide that, and at least, having the same EXR and port would leave me with the alternative to use the 16-35 should the need arise. My reasoning behind that plan was that the lens is also curved and has very good corners topside, I figured maybe it would perform better behind a dome (am I right with this?). I got a reply from Nauticam saying they tested the Sigma 14mm but that I should expect even worse corners than the 16-35, so now I'm torn.

    Spend less and have the ability to get some split rectilinear shots with the 16-35+M82 or spend a lot more, get wider, sharper corners and more versatility for future trips? Both of them will probably break the bank and my back, anyway, so it's a very tough call, indeed.

    If anyone else is in a similar situation I recommend checking out some threads on Wetpixel that a user by the name of horvendile started.
     
    stuartv likes this.
  10. PHIL RUDIN

    PHIL RUDIN Scuba Media & Publications

    # of Dives:
    Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
    1,221
    265
    83
    I own the S&S M77 which I will be using with a stepup ring on the Sony FE 16-35mm F/4. S&S is also sending me anM 82 which I intend to test with the Nikon 14-40 zoom on the Nikon Z6. My plan to too test both with at least two or three different dome sizes. While I expect an improvement over the lens alone I am sure that it will be in an entirely different class V. the WAPC-1. The big issue is how much you are willing to spend. The WAPC-1 even with the older kit type zooms (some not even made any more) or the Sony FE 28-70 a low end lens will result in better image quality and wider AOV than even the highest quality ultra wide zooms like the Sony FE 12-24mm F/4, FE 16-35mm F/2.8 or like lenses from Canon and Nikon.

    I have attached two photos taken with the $499.00 Rokinon 14mm F/2.8 AF for Sony, Sony A7R IV, Aquatica housing and Aquatica eight inch acrylic dome port. First was taken at F13 and the second at F/14. So the question is how much better will the corners be with equipment that cost at least four times as much and is that expense worth it to you.

    untitled-01380.jpg untitled-01362-2.jpg
     

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