Nauticam WWL-1 Wet Wide Angle Lens Review

Nauticam has been working on a wet wide angle lens for some time now, the first prototype was seen with the release of the new N50 port system for compact but nothing has come to market yet.

Until now!

Last week I have received a pre-production version of the WWL-1 (Wet Wide-Angle Lens – 1) coming in a retail box.

Edward had advised that the lens is bigger than the competition and this is due to the construction that includes 6 elements in 5 groups.

The box size is the same of a small compact housing and inside you find a pouch that looks like a mini picnic basket.

WWL-1 Pouch!
WWL-1 Pouch!
The lens comes with a neoprene dome cover.

WWL-1 With Cover
WWL-1 With Cover
Other characteristics include an adjustable dome and a large loop ring. I am unsure if this is to secure the lens, as it is so heavy you can’t really remove it in water or to operate it more easily.

WWL-1 Section
WWL-1 Section
Thanks to that ring I could easily remove and replace the lens with gloves.

The other feature is the extremely large rear element that measures 48mm, larger than the Inon UWL-H100. This makes the lens virtually compatible with any camera at 28mm equivalent. Edward mentioned that it could work even with an A7.

The lens has a standard M67 mount.

WWL-1 Rear
WWL-1 Rear
So off I went to Essex to test the lens in a pool. I was hoping for girls in bikini or at least some model but the water was around 14C so off I went with my dry-suit and gloves.

Interceptor121's test rig with WWL-1
Interceptor121’s test rig with WWL-1
The lens itself weights 1.28 Kg and is heavier than many compact housings including the camera.

I took some test shots with the WWL-1 and with the Inon UWL-H100 with and without dome.

First of all the WWL-1 seems wider than the Inon once you get rid of the vignette. I was using the WWL-1 with a Panasonic LX-100 in Nauticam housing and short port. The WWL-1 would stop vignetting at 28mm whilst the Inon lens needed zooming until 29mm.

Shooting a Snell’s window gives you an idea of the field of view.

WWL-1 Snell's Window
WWL-1 Snell’s Window
The Snell’s window requires an angle of 97.2 ° in order to be fully captured along a specific axis. We can appreciate that the WWL-1 on the LX-100 at 28mm has more than the required field of view on the diagonal and horizontal dimensions but is narrower than required on the vertical axis. Looking at this image the field of view on the diagonal looks more around 120 ° this may be due to the fact that the lens on the LX100 even with the short port is still around 2 cm away from the glass.

However when compared with the Inon the WWL-1 shows a better field of view overall.

UWL-H100 Snell's Window
UWL-H100 Snell’s Window
I did have some fun shooting through the window.

Shooting through snell's window
Shooting through snell’s window
The calm conditions of the pool allow the camera to see through the surface.

WWL-1 Photographer Through Window
WWL-1 Photographer Through Window
Having concluded that the WWL-1 is at least as wide as the Inon UWL-H100 I took some shots with the PADI test cards.

WWL-1 Test Card
WWL-1 Test Card
The images are taken with strobes at an aperture of f/5.6 which is the sweet spot of the camera. I wanted to check what is the level of softness in the corners as well as chromatic aberration.

I took few shots where the PADI logo was right on the bottom corner and this is the crop.

WWL-1 Corner Crop
WWL-1 Corner Crop
There is some softness and virtually no chromatic aberration.

The lens has the typical barrel distortion of a fish eye lens.

UWL-H100 Test Card
UWL-H100 Test Card
I took the same shots with the UWL-H100 with dome and the corners were much worse in terms of softness, CA was not a big issue.

UWL-H100 Corner Crop
UWL-H100 Corner Crop
I then took a few shots with the UWL-H100 flat, the LX-100 stopped vignetting at 25mm.

UWL-H100 Flat Test Cards
UWL-H100 Flat Test Cards
I had to step back in order to be able to capture the two cards and I could not achieve a Snell’s window on the horizontal axis as expected however the field of view is impressive for a rectilinear image I would say around 108-110 °.

UWL-H100 Flat Crop
UWL-H100 Flat Crop
The  wide field of view and the lack of the dome element present challenged, corners present both softness and large amounts of chromatic aberration.

Operating with Gloves
Operating with Gloves
Operating the lens and housing with gloves was acceptable and I could remove it as well.

What I liked the most is the fact that the hood can be adjusted without an allen key just operating the screws on the back.

The retail price of the WWL-1 is going to be $995, £769 and €1060 the lens is going to be slightly more expensive than the Inon UWL-H100 with dome but compared to the Inon it offers increased sharpness and contrast and comparable field of view.

The only draw back is the size the lens weights quarter of a Kg more than the Inon and is substantially longer.

If you are after the best optical quality for a wet lens this is the lens to buy at time of writing.

I would like to thank Edward Lai at Nauticam for sending me this pre-production model and Alex Tattersall at Nauticam UK for shipping me promptly.

I have not bought the item and I do not sell equipment this review is based on my independent view.

I will be testing this lens with the Panasonic GX7 and 14-42mm Mega OIS II soon.

A day at the pool
A day at the pool
Advertisements

44 thoughts on “Nauticam WWL-1 Wet Wide Angle Lens Review”

    1. Just realised I omitted the info! Have update now. It is a standard m67 mount. The lens is very heavy for the flip adaptor and also this set up would increase the amount of water between the master lens and the wet lens resulting in additional chromatic aberration and loss of sharpness and field of view. At 1.28 kg I think this could even damage the adaptor. In water the lens still felt over 500 grams negative

  1. Hi,
    I have a RX 100 M2 in Meikon Aluminum 100m WR housing made with 67mm port.
    I have the UWL 100 28ad with dome since 2008 and it is has some scratches: time to Change it. I use the bayonet Mount thanks to the Deeproof adapter M67-AD and I have vignetting. I read your article few Months ago where you Tell UWL 100 28ad is the only one without vignetting on RX 100 M2 nauticam housing: which kind of adapter M67-ad you used?
    I was Wondering if it is worthwhile to buy the WWL1 or Change the dome if there is a bayonet adapter which allows no vignetting.
    However, is there any chance to have bayonet for the WWL1?…I don’t want to screw All the time…I use UCL 165AD for macro…
    Many thanks for your advice!

    1. I used your same adapter. Vignette get depends on the design of the housing port. Nauticam’s port design allows the camera lens to be very close to the glass, other housings don’t. In fact the same lenses vignette with aquapazza and meikon housing. I don’t know how the WWL-1 would perform with meikon but having a bayonet is not possible and besides the lens is too heavy. The WWL-1 is a lens that you don’t really want to remove in water

      1. Thanks for your reply. You suggest me to try the WWL1 and then compare with UWL 100 28ad zooming a Little bit?or comparire with the Image cropped ?
        or the difference between WWL1 is so much That Justify the Gap from buying Just the Inon dome (300eur) and the new nauticam lens? Thank you

      2. It really depends on the port design. The Nauticam lens vignettes less because the rear element is wider. The price of the Inon lens with dome new and the Nauticam lens here is pretty similar the difference is not €300. The Nauticam lens appears sharper but vignetting and effective field of view can only be confirmed with testing

    1. Weight is 1.28 kg diameter around 13.5 cm I don’t measure the length but I took a video side by side with the Inon and it was almost double so around 13-15 cm. It is a big piece of kit

  2. Many thanks for the review. I only recently invested in the UWL-100 for use with my RX100iv so got a bit worried when I learned about the WWL being issued soon. Reading your review makes me relaxed again.

    I don’t think the few degrees more angle justify the huge weight increase. The UWL with dome is only about 300g negative in water compared to the 500g of WWL, so no reason for any rushed change.

  3. Hi, I’ve a Nauticam housing for Pana LX7 plus Nauticam Wet Mate so, which is your opinion about NA-LX7 + WWL-1 set up, especially for uw for video?
    Awaiting for your kind reply, thanks to all of you for your kind support.
    Daniele.

    1. I think the WWL-1 may vignette until you zoom a little. More importantly the WWL-1 is a semi fisheye lens and I don’t like barrel distortion in video so I would consider a more normal lens. I have used the Inon UWL-H100 with the LX7 and works very well. Consider that the LX7 at wide end is actually like a 22mm camera in movie mode due to the multiaspect sensor the wet lens gain is really needed only for wrecks or really large fish coming close

  4. Hi Interceptor121, here I’m! In reference previous question, and in order to use a red filter, I should like to know your opinon about Inon UWL-H10028M67 + Inon lens Hood II (new) for UWL-H100 + Mangrove CF-UWLH100 red filter. I read all your previous topics (pro vs cons M67 LD connection, when and why using filter or not, etc…) but, later about 2 years and especially about Inon lens Hood for UWL-H100 (first release), yours opinions are the same? Bye, Daniele

  5. Actually the INON lens with dome are 20 degrees wider, lighter, sharp as hell and don’t protrude as far as Nauticam’s WWL-1 (twice the distance) and are over $100 cheaper when purchased as a combo from Mozaik.

    1. Also it gives you more flexibility where you can use flat lens by itself without the dome if you want to have nice flat wide angle which is very useful for video.

  6. What about a comparison with the Dyron 13mm fisheye converter? Ant difference in performance on RX100 IV in 4K?

  7. Nauticam supports this lens in their full-frame Sony NA-A7(II) system using a 28mm lens. Do you have an access to a full-frame camera to test the lens? Should it perform as good as a fisheye behind a 200mm dome?

  8. Hi 🙂

    In your opinon, would the WWL-1 lens perform well on a full frame camera? Sony RX1 + Recsea housing?

  9. Hi Interceptor121
    I own a GX7 and I dont have much experience with underwater fotography. Im planing to shoot big animals (Whales and Sharks). What would you recommend? a 7-14 lens plus the 6” dome or the wwl1 with a 14-42. am I able to zoom with the wwl1 option?
    I do own a 14-42 lens already.
    Thank you for the help!

    ahab

    p.s. the 8mm fisheye is not an option for me

      1. I bought the 14-42 Kit, so I believe it the 14-42 II lens (f/3.5-5.6).
        Whats included in the NA.GX7 housing? Do I need a flatport to attach the wwl-1 lens? or would it be just the housing plus the lens?

        Thanks for the help

        ahab

      2. So what would you say to my first question then? Is there a big difference in these two options? (7-14 vs. wwl-1)

      3. They are completely different options. Ryan from reefphoto has put some examples on wetpixel. Essentially the 7-14mm is a rectilinear lens the WWL-1 is wider but not rectilinear. The WWL-1 will cover more focal ranges than the 7-14mm and can fit a whaleshark reasonably close

      4. Hi Interceptor
        Is it true that you loose some degrees when using the 14-42 mega OIS (kit lens) with the WWL-1 compared with the 14-42 super OIS? Which 14-42 lens is better to use with the WWL-1?

      5. If you use the right port 29 for the power zoom and 35 for the mega ois there is no difference I can see. If you want to use the camera for still images the kit lens is better. See my flickr gallery from egypt or philippines. The power zoom is useful to zoom but actually optically is worse

  10. Hi Interceptor,

    I have the LX100 and nauticam UW housing with a flip holder and CMC-1.
    I’m considering a wide angle lens as my next investment. In your opinion, which would be a wiser choice? The WWL-1 or the UWL-H100?
    Some considerations are shooting macro and wide in the same dive.
    Thanks!

      1. Hi the LX100 is one of those cameras where macro and wide on the same dive is not an option. You need the short port and then depending if you want a rectilinear or semifisheye look you can choose between the two. For still image the WWL-1 is much better. You can’t use the flip holder with the rectangular port it will vignette and the optical quality will be poor. By the time you zoom enough to get rid of the vignette all the field of view will be gone. The RX100 is the only camera that doesnt need ports and can do macro and wide on the same dive though the macro like the LX100 is limited

  11. Hey for the quick reply.
    With the short port, will I still be able to get some zoom?
    I’m just considering the possibility of switching wet lenses underwater. CMC and UWL-H100.

    1. The short port allows zoom up to 35mm which is useless for macro. If you read my LX100 review you can see that this is one of the limitations of the set up that cant be overcome

  12. Hi there, great review.
    Wondering if you have an opinion on the pros and cons of the Olympus 14-42 power zoom plus UWL-H100/Dome combo vs Panasonic 7-14mm on a GH4 for 4k and stills? I’m going to Tonga for the humpbacks and unsure of which is better for the job.
    Cheers

    1. The 7-14mm is a rectilinear lens and it works well in blue water background as corners are not that sharp. The inon lens is ok but the olympus lens not so great however you have better field of view especially in 4K where the 7-14mm only gives you 100 degrees. So would say video wet lens and olympus stills 7-14mm. None of those are stabilised you may want to consider a different panasonic zoom lens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s