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The Ultimate Guide To Underwater Wet Lenses

The Ultimate Guide To Underwater Wet Lenses Header

Most top-side DSLR / Mirrorless photographers appreciate the importance of having several lenses for different types of shots. A basic photography kit usually includes a wide angle lens, a telephoto zoom lens and perhaps a couple of prime lenses.

Switching between lenses on ground is pretty easy, but underwater, we don’t have that luxury.

Even if you’re shooting with a compact above water, you can always take a few steps back, or zoom in, to get a different angle or frame. When water enters the equation, things aren’t that simple.

Enter Wet Lenses!

Wet lenses were developed as a method of altering the field of view or optical quality of our original lens, without the need to surface. Hence the name – Wet Lenses!

Wet lenses are positioned in front of the underwater camera housing, flush against the port. They are usually designed to take into account the layer of water between the front of the port and the back of the lens, since water combined with air creates some type of optical element.

The main advantage of shooting with compact cameras underwater is versatility. The option of using wet lenses and changing them during the dive allows you to shoot a Whale Shark and a Nudibranch on the same dive! Something that can rarely be achieved with even a DSLR underwater. This is the reason some photographers prefer leaving their DSLR’s above water and getting a 2nd compact system dedicated for underwater use.

Nauticam WWL-1 Wide Angle lens mounted on RX100 IV housing
Nauticam WWL-1 Wide Angle lens mounted on RX100 IV housing

Let’s go over the main features of wet lenses:

Types of Lenses

The 2 most common types of wet lenses are Wide Angle and Macro (aka Close-Up).

This is derived from the 3 types of underwater photos – Wide Angle, Medium shots and Macro. Medium shots are also known as “Fish Portraits” and don’t require special lenses, since your average camera lens will usually be the ideal focal range to shoot that type. The other two are the ones we want to improve on. As long as you’re changing your FOV (Field Of View), you would probably want to go wider or get closer.

Mounting Options

Mounting a wet lens on your housing can be done in several ways and is generally determined by the type of mount the housing offers. Some methods can be combined or replaced using various adapters.

Thread Mount (Screw-on lenses)

The most popular method is threading on the front of the port, 67mm and 52mm are the most common thread sizes. With this method, the lens has similar threading and can simply be screwed on the front of the housing. If the threading on the lens and the port are different, a step-up / step-down ring is used.

Nauticam WWL-1 Bayonet MountBayonet Mount

The Bayonet mount is a common attachment type in many industries, due to the simplicity of attaching something with this mechanism. It requires a simple “1/4 twist and press” action, which is usually locked in place with a button, lever or spring. It was quickly adopted underwater, to prevent unnecessary fiddling with the gear and making the lens replacement as simple as possible. The problem is that the standardization of this type of mount is not uniform among different manufacturers, and many of them tend to develop their own unique type of Bayonet, which doesn’t play nicely with other types.

Manufacturers that offer a bayonet mount include Nauticam, Fantasea, Kraken and Inon.

Flip / Swing Mount

This is not a method by itself, but usually combines a thread mount along with a swing or flip mechanism to position the lens in front of the port or get it out of the way fast. This is by far the fastest and easiest way to switch between different FOV’s but it’s mainly effective for close-up lenses, since wide angle lenses are heavier and require more precise positioning.

The adapter itself can be pricey and if it’s not high-quality, it can swing / flip out of place involuntarily, which can be quite annoying. Nevertheless, it’s a valuable asset and very common among macro photographers.

Nauticam Single Flip Mount

Aquatica Double Flip Mount

Other Mounts

Some manufacturers create their own mount types for lenses, such as Fantasea’s excellent snap-on mechanism for the G7X / G16 housings. These custom mechanisms are usually very good and easy to use, but would limit the user to one type of wet lenses, made by the housing manufacturer.

Fantasea EyeDaptor Snap-On Macro Adapter

How does it work?

Wet lenses consist of one or more optical elements and rely on a specific type of lens which they are to be mounted on. As mentioned before, they take into account the thin layer of water between the port and the lens, to deliver optimal quality and sharpness throughout the frame. Naturally, some lenses use higher quality optical elements, which raises the final price for the customer. They vary in size, weight, shape, contrast, sharpness, vignetting, corner sharpness, fringing and more. Not all lenses are created equal and not every lens is intended for all housings, or all photographers for that matter.

Wide Angle Lenses

Fantasea FRX100 with BigEye domeIf you’re a diver, or even a snorkeler, you have probably noticed that things look bigger underwater. This is caused by optical refraction between air (in your mask) and water. The same thing happens with your camera. The housing serves as a “mask” for the camera, causing it to see things bigger, which is translated to a narrower Field of view, just like zooming in. The change in FOV varies but we can regard it as approximately 25%.

A wide angle wet lens is meant to fix that, or even produce a wider field of view, such as FishEye or Ultra Wide.

Dome vs Actual Lens

There are two types of wide angle lenses for underwater. The first one is simply a dome, made out of acrylic or glass, with trapped air inside. This type of lens has no actual optical element, so if you look through it above water, you won’t see any difference, but when it goes underwater, the magic starts to happen. The dome combined with optical refraction creates a virtual image on your camera which eliminates the 25% difference in FOV and returns the focal range to that produced on the surface. In short – adding a dome creates a 25% wider image underwater!


Inon Dome_0012
Inon UWL-H100 with Dome Unit II installed

The second type is an actual lens with one or more optical elements. Usually a wide angle lens is comprised of several optical elements, producing a definitive angle of view which is mentioned in the manufacturer specifications. These lenses will usually work both underwater and above, producing a certain FOV underwater and an even wider one above water. Some lenses will actually produce a FishEye angle, which is very wide and can reach up to 180 degrees. However, to reach a 180 degree FOV underwater, you will most likely require a dome port in addition to your wide angle lens, installed in front of it.

Some wide angle lenses, such as the popular Inon UWL-H100, have an optional add-on dome which can be purchased separately and installed in front of the lens itself, increasing FOV and significantly improving corner sharpness.

Other wide angle lenses have the dome included as one unit, such as the Fantasea UWL-09F and the Nauticam WWL-1. These lenses are bulky and heavy, but produce the best results overall.

Compatibility note: Wide angle lenses are engineered to fit a specific focal range on your original lens, such as 35mm or 28mm on the newer ones. Recently released compact cameras feature an ultra wide 24mm focal range, making it increasingly hard to produce wide angle lenses that fit without vignetting (black corners). As a result, you might need to zoom in slightly when using wide angle wet lenses on newer compacts, to avoid black corners (alternatively, you can crop in post processing).

Macro / Close-Up Lenses

Nauticam CMC Compact Macro Converter

This is probably one of the most popular additions to underwater camera gear. The underwater world is abundant with small critters which are both magnificent and bizarre. Taking photos of these wonderful creatures and enlarging them for the world to see, is one of the underwater photographer’s main goals and passions.

To create this type of magnification, all you need to do is get close to the critter, zoom in as much as you can, and shoot! Sounds easy right?

The problem is focusing.

Every camera lens in the world has a limitation called minimum focus distance. This is the closest you can shoot from a subject while still keeping the image focused. When zooming in, that distance grows even further away, making it impossible to get a sharp clear shot of the critter. Close-up lenses, aka macro lenses, aka diopters, are placed in front of the lens, altering that “minimum focus distance” and reducing it significantly. The effect is usually measured by +X units (+4, +6, +10, +15…). This is a relative measurement, which depends on the original lens. The longer the zoom of the original lens is, the more magnification you will get in the final shot.

Macro photography is generally considered getting your subject to have a 1:1 size ratio on the sensor. That means a 1/2″ critter will take 1/2″ of your sensor. Assuming it’s a 1″ sensor, a 1/2″ critter will take up half the frame.

While this is the “proper” way to determine exactly how much magnification you are getting, with all due respect, we are not scientists! We’re just a bunch of people who like taking photos. We don’t need exact figures…

What you need to remember is this – More Zoom + Stronger Close-up Lens = More Magnification

Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X - Full zoom macro shot comparison
Sony RX100 III vs Canon G7X – Full zoom macro shot comparison

An important thing to keep in mind – the more magnification you produce, the smaller your DOF (Depth Of Field) will be.

DOF is the range that is in focus. When shooting macro, it can be as small 1mm (a bug’s eye), causing the act of shooting the photos quite an excruciating feat. You will usually require a lot of practice, excellent diving skills and quite a few tries to get one shot right.

Beginners are advised to start out with a lower magnification lens (+4 or +6), until they get the hang of it and can advance to the +10 or +15 lenses.

Insect View Lenses (aka Micro FishEye)


The last type is an odd combination of both previous types. It’s an Ultra Wide Macro lens! That means that’s it’s intended for close-up shooting, while capturing a very wide frame behind the main subject. This type of photography is called CFWA (Close Focus Wide Angle). You can create CFWA with standard FishEye lenses, but this one takes it to extreme.

The end result is very unique and cool, allowing you to demonstrate to your viewers how the underwater world looks like from the eyes of a bug.

Inon produces the most popular insect view lens – the UFL-MR130 EFS60 lens as well as the less extreme UFL-M150 ZM80 lens.

Common Compatibility Issues

Due to the large amount of manufacturers in the market, both for cameras and housings, as well as wet lenses, compatibility is something you should take great care with.

The easiest solution is to get a lens made by the same manufacturer as the housing. This will likely ensure compatibility and usually easy to figure out which lens you need for your housing.

If your housing manufacture does not produce wet lenses, you can usually find online which are the wide angle and macro lenses that are most recommended for your camera and housing. Our UW photo experts have a lot of experience with this, so it would be best to ask us!

Common issues which you might encounter are:

UWL-H100 Vignetting
Noticeable black corners when using the UWL-H100 with a red filter behind it.

Vignetting (Black corners) – This is a problem which occurs in wide angle lenses, that are engineered for a different focal range than the one you’re using (e.g. wet lens made for 35mm, used on a 28mm lens), or if you’re using an adapter for matching different mount types, or adding a filter behind the wet lens, which causes the lens to be further away from the front port than intended.

Vignetting with Macro Lenses is not a problem! It simply means that you didn’t zoom in far enough on your camera. Zoom in all the way and the black corners will vanish.

Vignetting with Macro Lenses is not a problem!

Black sides – This might occur if your wide angle lens has a shade, which is misaligned. Make sure the larger flaps of your shade are on the top and bottom of the frame, and the smaller flaps (if there are any) are on the sides.

Trouble Focusing – Some lenses will require switching to Macro Mode on the camera (little flower). Mostly on underwater domes such as the Fantasea BigEye. This is because of the virtual image I discussed previously, which is created close to the lens and the camera needs to focus on that.

When using a macro lens, your focus range is limited, so you would need to get used to the closest and farthest distance from which you can shoot your subject.

Soft corners – Some wide angle lenses will cause the corners of your frame to be blurry and soft. This happens as a result of forcing optical elements to work together even though they are not aligned in an optimal way. Using a dome on your lens will help, but the best solution is closing down your aperture. This will reduce the problem significantly.

Strong purple fringing – Some purple fringing always exists in every lens and it’s not always noticeable. The higher quality your lens is, the less fringing you will get. Fringing can be either fixed in post processing (Lightroom does a great job on this) or simply getting a better, higher quality lens.

Most of these issues can be resolved by switching over to a professional underwater camera and not using wet lenses.  That, However, requires a much higher budget, more travel weight and is at a higher level of complexity.

Related Accessories

Apart from the actual wet lens, there are several useful accessories which can be added to your system for increased comfort and usability.

Dual lens holder, fits perfectly inside the new arm system and allows stowing both macro and wide angle wet lens.

Lens holders are an excellent addition which enables you to stow your lens on the tray or arms when not in use. These can be found for various types of arms and various mounts. Just look for the one that matches your gear. Using a lens holder is a good alternative to stuffing the lens in your pocket / BCD / wetsuit thus preventing potential damage to the lens.

Flip / Swing holders, which I mentioned previously in the Mounts section, are a useful add-on which can help you apply or remove the lens in the easiest way possible, instead of screwing it all the way in or out between shots.

Nauticam Flip Diopter Holder
Nauticam Flip Diopter Holder

Dome shades are a nice little add-on which is available for some lenses and reduces flare from the sun, enhancing the overall contrast of the image.

Filters can sometimes be combined with wide angle lenses for better results when using ambient light. Red or pink filters are quite common for correcting the colors underwater and some wide angle lenses allow the use of filters behind or in front of the lens. Keep in mind that this might reduce sharpness since the lens is not used exactly as intended, so it’s not always recommended.

Popular Wet Lenses in the market 

(Updated Oct 2019)

Wide Angle Lenses

Fantasea AOI UWL-09F

Fantasea AOI UWL-09F | US$699

High quality wet wide angle lens, with excellent optics and dome port, for optimal image quality underwater. Compatible with a 67mm thread mount, ideal for compact cameras such as Sony RX100 series and Canon G7X series. Expand your FOV (Field of View) to 130 degrees on a 28mm lens!


83201 Wet Wide Lens 1 (WWL-1)_1

Nauticam WWL-1US$1150

Nauticam’s Wide Wet Lens 1 is the result of extensive R&D and excellent engineering.

“WWL-1 is the highest quality wet changeable underwater wide angle conversion ever made, featuring unmatched contrast, overall sharpness, corner sharpness, and clarity”.

The WWL-1 can be fitted with a 67mm threaded mount or on a dedicated Bayonet mount.

Fantasea BigEye Lens M67 Mark II - 67mm thread Underwater Wide Angle Dome

Fantasea BigEyeUS$219.95 –US$299.95

The Fantasea BigEye is a dome only, designed to restore the focal range lost due to optical refraction, effectively adding about 33% wider field of view underwater. It comes in a variety of models to fit different Fantasea or Canon housings and is a great affordable option for getting that entire shark in the frame!

The BigEye is available as a snap-on for Fantasea / Canon housings and threaded for 67mm housings.

i-Das KRL-02 Wide Angle Lens w/ Dome for 24mm

Kraken KRL-02US$449

The KRL-02 is the newest lens by Kraken. It includes both a wide angle lens and a dome unit for about half the price of the Inon or Nauticam alternatives. It’s designed for a 52mm thread, so 67mm threaded housings will require quite a lot of zooming in, sometimes rendering it useless. However, for the smaller compacts such as Olympus, it’s the perfect lens!

Inon UWL-H100 28M67 Type2 Wide Conversion Lens

Inon UWL-H100 (Type 1 / Type 2) | US$522.50 US$380

The Inon UWL-H100 has been the market leader for many years now, since its release. The compatibility with 28mm lenses, the excellent sharpness throughout the frame, the availability of the Dome Unit II for extra wide angle and even better sharpness; all of these have made the UWL-H100 a top choice among compact shooters.


Ikelite W30 | US$475

The W30 is a great solid lens, created to fit most of Ikelite’s compact housings (fits a 46mm or 67mm thread). Specifically designed for digital cameras with 28mm focal length. It’s also possible to use it on any other non-Ikelite housing with a 67mm thread!


Macro Lenses

Inon UCL-165 M67 Close-up Lens
Inon UCL-165 M67 Close-up Lens

Inon UCL-165US$165

This popular +6 lens has been a top choice among beginner underwater photographers for the past few years. It features excellent sharpness and contrast, ideal medium range magnification – enough to make the critters pop, but not too much that it becomes harder to shoot.

The great thing about it, is that it’s double threaded (on both front and back) so once you gain more experience in macro shooting, you can add a second lens, stack it on the first, getting a +12 magnification factor for extreme close-ups!

Nauticam CMC Compact Macro Converter

Nauticam CMC-1US$320

Nauticam’s CMC-1 was released in 2015 and designed to become the strongest and most high-end close-up lens in the market. This is the SMC’s little brother, engineered for optimal results on compact cameras.

With a staggering +15 magnification factor and razor sharp quality, this small lens delivers! It definitely won’t be easy for beginners to control it, but once you get the hang of it, prepare to be amazed by the results! Nauticam also offer the less powerful CMC-2.

Kraken KRL-06S +23 Underwater Macro lens

Kraken KRL-06S | US$195 – US$225

The KRL-06S is not your average diopter. It’s an ultra powerful, super-macro, mind boggling +23 diopter. It can capture a stunningly sharp macro shot of a blenny’s eye. That is, if you are skilled enough to take that shot… Shooting with such a powerful diopter is no easy feat. It’s designed for experienced shooters and works best with a longer DSLR zoom lens such as the Nikon 105mm or the Canon 100mm. This lens isn’t compatible with most compact cameras.

Nauticam Compact Macro Converter 2 CMC-2

Nauticam CMC-2 | US$290

The Nauticam CMC-2 is a new macro lens designed to stand alongside the previous CMC-1, offering a less powerful lens choice for larger macro subjects that is noticeably easier to use.

The CMC-2 ships with the common 67mm threaded lens mount. The lens has a protruding rear element, designed to place the accessory optic as close to the camera lens port as is possible, providing the best overall image quality when used with flip lens adapters.

Fantasea AOI UCL-05LF

Fantasea AOI UCL-05LF | US$179.95

Fantasea joined forces with AOI to create 3 excellent high quality macro lenses for various subjects and magnification levels. The UCL-05LF is a +6, the UCL-06LF is +12 and the UCL-09F is a +12.5 super macro lens with maximum magnification.

All lenses use high quality optics and produce sharp, vivid images.


Mozaik +8 Close-Up lens | US$149

If you’re looking for an affordable and strong magnification lens, this would be the best choice! This excellent +8 close-ups lens delivers the best bang for your buck and fits any 67mm threaded port.


I hope this article helped clear up a few things!

If you have questions about anything I discussed here, or anything else for that matter, feel free to reply to this post or contact me directly at

Dive safe and mind your fins!


Ran Mor
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  1. Scott Thomas May 1, 2017

    Thanks. that was very helpful and informative!

  2. Lily July 16, 2017

    This has some great info. I was wondering if you have any experience with flooded macro lens. My macro lens has water stuck in between the two glass. Not sure how to open it up, if even possible, to change the oring. Tried contacting blue water, the lens company , and I was basically told that this cant happen and is must’ve damaged the glass.. Both glass are in tact. Would appreciate any feedback or experience in this matter, thanks

  3. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor August 2, 2017

    Sorry for the late reply on this Lily!
    I’m afraid there really isn’t any solution for this.
    You can take it to a machine shop to try opening it up, but frankly these are rather low priced lenses so you might be better off getting a new one.
    I’ve never seen a macro lens that flooded before so it’s not a common issue.

  4. John Lyons December 16, 2017

    Hi folks! I have a question about add on dome lenses like the 67mm threaded ones mentioned here. A lot of the ones I’m seeing state that they MUST be attached underwater, as the optics were designed expecting a small layer of water between the dome and the flat port of the housing. So can I use a dome like that for an over under shot? It seems like having half the image going through that little water layer and half not would be pretty noticable and bad.

  5. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor December 18, 2017

    Hi John,

    Using wet domes for split shots is difficult.
    There are small holes either in the port or the lens thread, which allow water flow between the port and lens, whether you want it or not.
    This means that when shooting over / under, you will likely have some water there, but not full or empty, which will result in another water line in your photo, in addition to the actual water line.
    If the water is completely still, you can align both water lines and get a clear shot. But that’s very rare and only possible in a pool or extremely still water.
    Some people try to block the holes with tape, just for over/under shots, to avoid the 2nd water line.
    You can also simply shoot quick, leaving it submerged so it can fill up, then lift and shoot fast, before it empties. Then repeat.
    Another problem is that focus doesn’t always work out with wet lenses, so likely you will have either the top side of bottom side in focus. Small aperture can help.

    Hope this helps! Good luck!

  6. Rudi February 3, 2018

    Hi Ran. Great post! I´m just beginning to read about this wet lenses or ports. Would you say they are intended for just shooting underwater? Will the wide angle effect work to shoot over the water (surfing) if you have that layer of water in between the glasses? Thanks!

  7. Tal Mor
    Tal Mor February 3, 2018

    Hi Rudi,
    These are specifically for underwater use, they will not work correctly without water between the housing and lens.

  8. KB June 5, 2018

    Hi, I was wondering if you guys tried using the uwl-04 on a standard port (not short port nauticam) for G7X mk 2? Since it’s a 24mm lense plus require a step down ring m67 to m52. I am worried about the vignetting. And zooming pass it may just reduce or completely remove the ultra wide angle view it is suppose to produce?

  9. KB June 5, 2018

    Hi Ran and Mozaik team, great write up on the wet lenses. Really insightful.

    I have a question regarding UWL-04 paired with standard port housing for Canon G7X Mk 2 housing. I’ve done quite abit of research online about it being good with the RX100 Mk IV/V since it’s a 70mm lense, less vignetting since the port is shorter on the front. But with G7X Mk2 at 100mm, I am worried about vignetting. Plus it’s going to need a step down from M67 to M52. Would this be a bad option to go with G7X Mk2? PS – I own a Canon S100 and TG5, both with UWL-04 has good wide angle effect. Do you guys have experience with this pairing of UWL-04 + G7X Mk2? I am worried about it being worse than with the S100 (Ikelite housing M67-M52 adapter) or TG5 (Olympus housing, no adapter). Would appreciate if you guys can advice me on this, as it would determine my next upgrade – the RX100 Mk5 or the G7X Mk2. Thanks in advance!

  10. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor June 5, 2018

    Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
    Generally, the UWL-04 is not ideal for the RX100 V / G7XII, due to the reasons you mentioned. I don’t have a sample photo to share with you, but I suspect you will have to zoom in quite a bit with the G7XII and lose most of the field of view.
    You are far better off getting the UWL-09, or the Kraken KRL-01. These lenses are larger and designed for a 24mm lens and a 67mm thread.
    If you do prefer to stick with the UWL-04, then yes, the Sony would be a bit better with it due to the shorter port.
    Hope that helps!

  11. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor June 5, 2018

    Just replied on your other comment!

  12. catrin pichler June 9, 2018

    which macrolens would you suggest for my CanonG16/ Nauticam set? aquako IV or saga 15/20?
    or do you know a better solution?
    I read that the Nauticam cmc 1 lens provides less magnification with the G16 then with the S120. I don’t understand why. ?
    I would be very happy to get some informations and tipps!

    nice regards

  13. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor June 11, 2018

    Hey Catrin!

    I don’t have experience with the Saga and Aquako, but the CMC-1 is an amazing lens.
    It would actually produce more magnification on the G16 than the S120, since the G16 has more zoom (140mm vs 120mm).

    The CMC-1 is an excellent choice, but bear in mind that it’s very powerful and might be difficult to handle if it’s your first lens.
    For someone starting out with macro, I would suggest the CMC-2, which is easier to start out with.

  14. Casper Rønhof December 6, 2018

    Hi im looking to get a macro lens for my G7X as im having a hard time getting close up shots compared to my buddys TG5… what lens can you recommend? i was thinking a +10 i know it might be a bit of a learning curve to use it at first.. or would you say its a bad idea to go +10?
    Best regards

  15. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor December 7, 2018

    Hey Casper!

    First of all, it’s a great idea to get a macro lens. The TG-5 has amazing macro capabilities without any added lens, but the G7X needs help focusing that close. That being said – the G7X produces much higher quality photos than the TG-5, so armed with the macro lens, you’re going to make your buddy jealous 😉
    +6 is easiest, but not much magnification. +10 is harder, but more magnification. +15 or higher is really hard, but crazy magnification.
    So I would say about +10 is a good balance.
    This is the best lens in that range:
    The UCL-09 is exceptional as well, but a bit on the strong side:
    The Mozaik +8 is a good and affordable entry level lens:

  16. Giacomo Rossi December 31, 2018

    Subsea+10 with Sony A6300 and Zeiss Toiut 50mm macro lens. I don’t find any improvement with and without the close up lens using this macro lens. The magnification remain the same. It’s a my fault, or the Zeiss 50mm is not compatible with a close up lens? Thanks

  17. Tal Mor
    Tal Mor January 1, 2019

    Hi Giacomo,

    A close up diopter does not provide magnification but only allows you to get closer and still focus. It basically reduces the minimum focus distance. With compacts and zoom lenses, it allows you to zoom in and still focus so the result is like extra magnification.

    I hope that explains what you are experiencing.

  18. Renato Correia February 22, 2019

    Hello, I just bought a second hand Fantasea Bigeye G series lens and it went with the inside with some kind of greasy cloud and I can’t open and separate the dome from the other glass to clean both from the inside. Anyone knows how to do it ? The dome and the other glass are glued together ?

  19. Pat Wall March 20, 2019

    Hi there,
    I shoot a Panasonic LX7 in an Ikelite housing. I already have an Inon UCL 165 that I am using with it, but I am thinking about getting something to take me into the super macro range. With the LX7, what would be the best option?
    I have been considering the CMC1, the UCL67 and the Fantasea UCL 09F. I want to make sure that I do not buy a lens with no working distance at all, but I want to get as much magnification as possible.

  20. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor March 26, 2019

    Hi Renato,
    The dome cannot be removed.
    In certain weather conditions, specifically cold water, some fogging can occur. It usually goes away within a few minutes.

    As Fantasea specifies:

    During the beginning of your dive, the lens might become foggy as a result of an increase in the air temperature inside the lens, following submersion in cooler water. Storing the lens in a cool dry place when not being used, such as a padded housing bag with a few silica gel packs inside, and submerging it in cool water for 10 minutes prior to the dive, will assist in preventing such condensation. However, even if the lens starts fogging up at the beginning of the dive due to temperature differences, note that continuing to dive with it for about 10 minutes should eventually dissolve the fog.

  21. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor March 26, 2019

    Hey Pat!
    The CMC-1 would be the strongest option out of these, and an excellent high quality lens.
    The UCL-09F is also an excellent lens and will give you a slightly longer working distance than the CMC.

  22. JA June 10, 2019

    Hi – thanks for the helpful article! I’m getting the new TG-6 and I’m debating between the Backscatter M52 wide-angle lens and the AOI UWL-04 lens, which offers a wider angle (160 degrees vs Backscatter’s 120). I talked to Backscatter and they recommended their own lens because:

    It offers zoom-through, which the AOI does not
    Sits closer to the housing
    Better shade arrangement

    Can anyone help me understand how important these things are? I like the idea of a wider fisheye lens like the AOI and am leaning towards that one, but am trying to figure out if the Backscatter 120 lens would be a better choice, and if it would be worth compromising a bit on the wide angle.

  23. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor June 24, 2019

    I can confuse you even more by adding the Kraken KRL-02 and the Fantasea UWL-400 😉
    Basically these are all rather similar, but vary slightly in the angle and overall sharpness.
    I haven’t tested out the Backscatter one, and the UWL-04 is a bit of an outdated design. I can vouch for the Fantasea UWL-400 which is the best I’ve tried out of the ones I’ve tested.
    Another advantage is that the UWL-400Q works with the Fantasea QRS (Quick Release System), so that you can easily take it off / on during a dive.

    Hope that helps!

  24. Bryan Chuah July 2, 2019

    What’s the ideal way of storing wet lenses. Should they be handled the same way as regular camera lenses and stored in dry cabinets/boxes? I know there’s probably some concern with the O-Rings, but would we remove the O-rings and then store the lenses? I haven’t been able to find any useful advice online.

  25. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor July 3, 2019

    Hi Bryan!

    That’s a great question.
    The most important element is to rinse your lenses properly after diving and dry them up completely. It’s also crucial not to leave a wet neoprene cover on the lens for a long time, since that may cause build-up on the lens which will be hard to remove.
    Salt build-up is the no. 1 enemy of wet lenses, so try to avoid it at all cost. Well, that and scratching it underwater, which unfortunately happens quite a bit.
    Other than that, yes you can handle like a regular camera lens, keep it safe, dry and covered from dust.
    Most wet lenses don’t really have o-rings. Which o-rings are you referring to?

  26. Vibodh August 10, 2019

    Hi ! I use a Sony Rx100 iii with Fantasea Housing. Kindly recommend a decent macro and wide angle lens for this set up. Do you ship accessories to Galveston , Texas ?

  27. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor August 20, 2019

    Hi there!

    Sure thing, we definitely ship to Texas 🙂
    Since you have the previous 55mm thread, I advise using a 55-67mm step up ring and using 67mm lenses.

    A great entry level macro lens would be the Fantasea UCL-05.
    For wide angle, I would advise getting the UWL-09.
    If you prefer a more affordable one, you can get the UWL-400, however, it has a 52mm thread so you would need a 55-52mm step down ring.
    If you keep both rings on the lenses then you can easily switch between the two.
    A 55mm lens holder would come in handy.

  28. Alex October 13, 2019

    Hi Ran

    I have a Pana LX10 1″ compact with Ikelite housing. Done quite a bit of dive photography back in the day with my old Oly compact and D2000 strobe but now need my first macro wet lens for my LX10.

    I’m wondering what would be best balance between handling on the one hand i.e. wide enough DoF to be easy to focus and long enough working distance for video light/strobe lighting and power on the other to fill the frame with super macro subjects like pygmy seahorse or nudi portraits.

    My options under consideration would be AOI UCL-09 (12.5 diopter), CMC-2 (probably 9 or 10 diopter equiv) or 2x Inon UCL165M67 for framing flexibility and learning curve (2×6 diopter). All are about same price.

    My first choice would be UCL-09 if you think it is not significantly harder to handle than CMC-2? I guess for me that is the key question.

    (Pana macro can fill frame down to 5cm with 3cm min focusing but that is probably at wideangle 24mm and i understand it’s recommended to zoom in for macro?)

    Also wondering if there is a quality flip holder for these macro lens compatible with my Ikelite housing (6170.01)?

    Many thanks

  29. Alex October 13, 2019

    Sorry my Ikelite housing is 6171.01

  30. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor October 15, 2019

    Hey Alex!

    Thanks for the detailed info.
    First, it’s important to understand that there will always be a compromise. There is no lens that is easy to focus with plenty of working distance, that can fill the frame with super macro subjects. The closest thing to it would be a 105mm / 100mm macro lens on a DSLR, which I find as the best balance between ease of use and power.
    But when shooting with compacts, it’s either easy or strong.
    Yes, zooming in is mandatory to properly use a macro lens. Ideally all the way but you can also zoom until the black ring is gone. This would be slightly easier to shoot but you would have blurry edges on the photo.

    I love the UCL-09. It’s my favorite macro on compacts. However, you have to be ready for a steep learning curve if this is your first macro lens. It’s really really hard.
    The CMC-2 is indeed somewhere in between. A bit easier but still not as easy as the UCL-165.
    If you are up for the challenge – I would go for the UCL-09. If you prefer to make it easier at first, get one UCL-165 and add a 2nd one when you feel comfortable.

  31. Alex October 15, 2019

    Hi Ran, thanks for the advice. Indeed i understand there is no perfect balance or absolutes and it is all relative. My LX10 is stated as being able to fill the frame down to 5cm with 3cm working distance in native macro mode so not sure what advantage the UCL-165 will bring to that? That then leaves me with either CMC-2 for around 10 diopter equiv or UCL-09 for 12.5 diopter. Considering DoF and working distance, how much easier to position for plane of focus and lighting is the CMC-2 than the UCL-09? If it is marginal i will go for the UCL-09 but if much easier i may have to think about it more… many thx Ran

  32. Alex October 15, 2019

    If you could elaborate with an example from your experience illustrating the real world degree of difference in ease of use between these 2 lenses that would be really helpful. Also, any tboughts on the cheaper 12 diopter UCL-06? Thx

  33. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor October 22, 2019

    The LX10 macro mode lets you focus at a 3cm working distance when zoom is at 24mm, which is quite different that shooting with full zoom and a diopter on. The macro lens lets you focus closer with full zoom which results in more magnification.

    In the end, we’re talking about very small differences here – For example, with the UCL-165 it might be a working distance of 10cm, CMC-2 would be 7cm and UCL-09 5cm. These are just rough estimates and I don’t have the exact numbers for that combination, but the idea is that we’re talking very small numbers. Hard to say how much more difficult one would be than the other.

    I don’t like the UCL-06 too much. Not sure why. It’s a decent lens, but it’s big, not stackable, and not as nice as the 09. If you’re on a budget and want something more powerful, it’s a good choice.

    I don’t have direct comparisons between CMC-2 and UCL-09.

    You can see some examples here between the UCL-09 and UCL-05:

    I took this one with the RX100 and the UCL-05
    And this with the RX100 and UCL-09

    Hope that helps!

  34. Alex October 22, 2019

    Thanks Ran but none of that really answers the basic question on ease of focussing of the UCL-09 compared to its relevant comparables at similar diopter strength the CMC-2 and UCL-06.

    Also not clear what advantage would a +6 diopter bringif i can use camera’s native macro to fill frame down to 5cm on horizontal at same working distance as the UCL-05?

  35. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor October 22, 2019

    I’m not really sure how to answer that basic question. The smaller the diopter – the easier to focus. How much easier is +6 from +8 from +12.5? You have to try and see 🙂 Some people would find it easy to focus with a +23. Some will find it nearly impossible to focus with a +6… It’s very individual.

    The native macro fills the frame with a 5cm subject when shooting at 24mm from a 3cm distance. The UCL-165 (+6) would let you use the 72mm zoom, resulting in more working distance and similar if not better magnification.

  36. Alex November 2, 2019

    Many thanks Ran!

    In a dry test I just did I found there to be little difference in focusing range, working distance and magnification between the CMC-2 and UCL-09, about 8-12cm for the latter and 8-14cm for the former. Not too hard to find focus point in the range and good working distance. Of course those distances and magnifications may change UW but at least gives an idea of focus range and relative comparison. UCL-900 was a very different story with a focus range of only about 1cm!

    Now that it’s a few years since this article was written, on wideangles, do you have a view or know of a review comparing the AOI UWL-09 vs INON UWL-H100+Dome II? In particular on sharpness, zoom thru flexibility with maintained focus and dome scratch resistance & ability to repair dome scratches? Is there much of a difference?

  37. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor November 3, 2019

    Good to know!
    I assumed there won’t be that much difference.

    Underwater the working distance should be 33% longer, though it may vary according to the lens’ structure.
    However, with all the different variables going on underwater, it won’t be nearly as easy as above water 🙂

    The UWL-09 is far more prone to scratches. The UWL-H100 is glass and the UWL-09 is acrylic. The dome on the UWL-H100 is easily replaceable whereas the UWL-09 is harder to replace and not very easy to buff out scratches.
    However, the UWL-09 is better in terms of quality, wider and zooms through better.
    The best one would be the UWL-09 PRO but that’s also reflected in price.

  38. Amanda November 20, 2019

    Thanks Ran for your article. I have an Olympus TG 5 with the PT-58 Olympus housing & a UWL-400Q wet lens. Want to learn how to take split-shot photos. Will the TG5 be able to do this? And will my existing wet lens be able to as well? Or should I be looking at another wet lens?

  39. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor November 23, 2019

    Hi Amanda!

    Yes, it should be possible, though difficult.
    Generally, to take split shots, it’s ideal to have an “air dome” on a dry lens. That’s usually reserved for DSLR or Mirrorless cameras.
    With wet lenses you have two options:
    1. Start with the camera under the water, then lift it slightly and take the shot as quickly as possible, while there’s still water between the port and lens.
    2. Use waterproof tape to seal the space between the lens and port, to prevent water from coming in.

    These methods are in order to prevent a 2nd waterline from showing in the photo – the waterline from the water that exists between the lens and port.

    So it’s challenging, but definitely possible with the gear you have!

  40. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor November 23, 2019

    Btw, if you’re still struggling with this, the Ikelite housing for the TG-5 allows you to mount a dry dome on it! If split shots are very important for you, that might be a good option for you.

  41. Sarah Wormald December 15, 2019

    Is it possible to use wetlenses with a mirrorless camera?

  42. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor December 17, 2019

    Yes it is!
    That’s actually one of the advantages of mirrorless over DSLR.

    You need to make sure it’s compatible.
    Which combination are you considering? I’d love to help you determine compatibility.

  43. mirko December 30, 2019

    Hi, I’m using Inon UWL-H100 with my canon g16 in fanrasea housing and I decide to buy a sony a6400. Is it possible to use that wet lens with my new mirrorless? which housing suggest? Fantasea?? than you!!

  44. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor January 2, 2020

    Hi Mirko!

    Yes, the A6400 would work great with the UWL-H100, using the 16-50mm lens and flat port. Even better than the G16.
    It should work with Ikelite, Fantasea and Nauticam.
    The Fantasea housing is the most popular one for the A6400 so I would go with that. You’re also used to Fantasea already.

  45. Петр April 19, 2020

    Здравствуйте Ран! Спасибо за обзор. Я не так давно купил у вас fantasea FRX 100 для sony rx100 5a. Правда я ещё не получил, из за короновируса почта идёт гораздо дольше. Думаю на следующей неделе придёт. Спасибо вам большое за скидку и ещё я хотел бы узнать какой широкоугольный мокрый объектив подойдёт для моей камеры и бокса fantasea. Я рассматриваю несколько вариантов inon uwl-h100 28m67 с куполом, kraken krl-12 тоже как вариант. Меня интересует как будет работать inon uwl-h100 28m67 с 24 мм объективом, будет виньетирование и насколько сильное. Не хотелось бы постоянно менять фокусное расстояние. Да и вес тоже критичен, не говоря о стоимости. А как на ваш взгляд вариант kraken KRL-12? У вас есть опыт работы с ним? Как качество оптики, есть какие то проблемы. Можете что то посоветовать.

  46. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor April 20, 2020

    Привет, Петр!
    Рад выручить 🙂
    Лучшими объективами для вашей установки будут UWL-400 и UWL-09.
    KRL-12 будет работать, но не будет очень широким. Только на 33% шире.
    UWL-H100 рекомендуется для 28 мм, поэтому вам придется немного увеличить.
    Я протестировал KRL-02 на корпусе, который у вас есть, и я думаю, что это лучший вариант – без виньетирования и отличной цены. Это также очень мало.
    Объектив поставляется с понижающим кольцом на 67-52 мм.
    Смотрите примеры здесь:

    Это было бы моей рекомендацией!

  47. Petr April 27, 2020

    Спасибо Ран!
    Вы молодцы. Корпус я получил, все отлично, спасибо!

  48. Tom Tasker July 14, 2020

    I only recently started this particular facet of photography and use a Kraken housing for my phone. No I am a girl on a budget and am always looking for the work around , can I use a dry or surface lenses under water? These are very simple macro lenses with only two elements in them the macro portion and the wide angle portion one screws into the other. I have only tried it once and it was kind of successful the air space became flooded the next time I will flood it prior to the dive.

    What problems am I likely to encounter

  49. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor July 21, 2020

    Hey Tom,

    Yes, theoretically it could work. Underwater wet lenses are designed for optimal optical quality with the water element behind and in front of the lens, so they perform best, but essentially a lens is a lens. If it works as a macro lens above water, it’ll likely work underwater as well.
    Take into account that the materials that the lens is constructed from matter, as the ocean is a very harsh environment so over time or even within a couple of uses, a regular land lens can corrode.

  50. DEAN HART November 29, 2020

    Not sure what kind of compromise it is using a combination wet lens. Will I loose a visible difference for the wide angle used with a Nauticam port designed for it solo, and separate micro with flip lens to get the very smallest of creatures. What kind of compromise?

  51. Ran Mor
    Ran Mor December 2, 2020

    Hi Dean!

    I’m not sure I understand the question 100%, could you clarify?
    What do you mean by combination wet lens?

  52. Enrico L. February 12, 2021

    Hi Ran,
    I have a Canon G7XmII and recently i bought an Olympus EM5mII, both in meikon housings with 67mm thread mount (the meikon for the EM5 also has a 6”dry dome exchangeable port).
    I tried on the G7XmII a dome wet lens produced by meikon/seafrog with not optimal results in terms of image quality but it was a cheap tryout to understand better if i was liking or not the FOV, since i mostly shoot macro.
    For the EM5mII i own a 60mm macro and a 12-50mm that is whethersealed and to expand towards wideangle this system was now looking at the Olympus 8mm fisheye F1.8 PRO…and i saw that it is the only lens compatible with my housing in the dry dome port and even there it will need cropping or defishing to eliminate vignettings. This reason and the price tag of the lens are bringing me to reconsider a wide angle wet lens + the 12-50mm but i cannot find info about good compatibility with cameras that have a bigger sensor than a compact camera.
    Which lens could be a good choice for both the G7XmII and the EM5mII+12-50??? is there one? For example the fantasea UWL-09F is good on micro4/3 sensors? And again Inon UWLH100 or S100 (both with dome units) are compatible with m4/3 at 28mm equivalent? If both are suitable choices, which one has the better image quality (since price is pretty similar) ? Looking at the specs Inon wideangle lenses with domes achieve 140degrees of FOV versus 130 of fantasea UWL-09F.
    Last but not least i view an interview to alex mustard that says that OMDcameras perform really good with 14-42mm behind a WWL1…but that wetlens is far too expensive for me now to be considered.
    Thanks for any of your advices!

  53. Enrico Lazzarini February 12, 2021

    Hi Ran,
    I have a Canon G7XmII and recently i bought an Olympus EM5mII, both in meikon housings with 67mm thread mount (the meikon for the EM5 also has a 6”dry dome exchangeable port).
    I tried on the G7XmII a dome wet lens produced by meikon/seafrog with not optimal results in terms of image quality but it was a cheap tryout to understand better if i was liking or not the FOV, since i mostly shoot macro.
    For the EM5mII i own a 60mm macro and a 12-50mm that is whethersealed and to expand towards wideangle this system was now looking at the Olympus 8mm fisheye F1.8 PRO…and i saw that it is the only lens compatible with my housing in the dry dome port and even there it will need cropping or defishing to eliminate vignettings. This reason and the price tag of the lens are bringing me to reconsider a wide angle wet lens + the 12-50mm but i cannot find info about good compatibility with cameras that have a bigger sensor than a compact camera.
    Which lens could be a good choice for both the G7XmII and the EM5mII+12-50??? is there one? For example the fantasea UWL-09F is good on micro4/3 sensors? And again Inon UWLH100 or S100 (both with dome units) are compatible with m4/3 at 28mm equivalent? If both are suitable choices, which one has the better image quality (since price is pretty similar) ? Looking at the specs Inon wideangle lenses with domes achieve 140degrees of FOV versus 130 of fantasea UWL-09F.
    Last but not least i view an interview to alex mustard that says that OMDcameras perform really good with 14-42mm behind a WWL1…but that wetlens is far too expensive for me now to be considered.
    Thanks for any of your advices!

  54. Morgan Bennett-Smith March 8, 2021

    Hi Enrico,

    Some really interesting questions!

    First, the Olympus 8mm fisheye is one of my all-time favorite lenses. I use it on an EM1 model and get terrific results behind a dedicated dome. It’s got tremendous close focus ability for close focus wide angle, and it even has some really interesting uses above water for astrophotography thanks to that crazy 1.8 aperture.

    I’ve not used the exact combinations you propose, but I have read that one of the Meikon V4 dome version has a longer length from the housing body, which causes vignetting. The v3 dome, which Meikon says can be requested, is not as long and should cut down on that vignetting substantially.

    For the top quality wide angle solution in your scenario, I think that might be the way to go.

    Further, I’d personally prefer a good wide angle (and especially an ultra wide fisheye like the 8mm 1.8) behind a dedicated dome on that setup if you can manage it. I have found my image quality to be highest with the simpler, dedicated wide angle + dry dome configuration.

    What do you think about keeping your G7xmII as a dedicated macro camera and your Olympus with a dome as a wide angle? I know a few people who have setups like that and can take both with them on dives..

    Hope something in there helps.

  55. Simon Heron June 10, 2021

    Hi Ran, I have a newly acquired Aquatica with a Canon 5D Mk4 and an 8-15mm F4 Fisheye, I am using it with an 8′ dome port in UK (not always super clear water) and pleased with the results but unfortunately the dome is too big to get really close to the smaller subjects and the lens itself focuses really close.
    So I wonder if a 4′ or 6′ dome would allow for that closer access (and to get better visibility to the light from the strobes) and what is the best option to purchase and would I need an additional dome extender?
    Thanks 😀

  56. Mari Hg June 10, 2021

    Hi Simon.
    Yes, a smaller dome would help. The 4” does not allow zooming with the 8-15 FE,
    because it has a built-in shade that interferes, although this can be potentially removed by Aquatica by request.
    The 6” allows for zoom functionality, so it might be a better choice here.

  57. Sagi December 18, 2021

    Hey Ran!
    My gear is Fantasea FA6500 + sony a6300 + FML flat port 34 + sony 16-50 lens.
    I also have the ucl-09f (+12.5) and the fantasea bayonet system.

    I want to buy a wet wide lens and I’m trying to figure out which one will work with my gear.
    Inon UWL-100H, Kraken KRL-02 or one of Fantasea’s lenses. Budget is importent but also compatibility to the fantasea bayonet QRS.

    Thank you!

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