CAMERA LENS Nikon 10.5mm Nikkor Digital Fish-Eye
I WENT OFF TO FLORIDA TO DIVE and photograph the USS Oriskany, a decommissioned aircraft-carrier and now the biggest artificial reef in the world. I wondered what would be the best way to reveal its awesome size, and treated myself to a Nikon full-frame digital fish-eye
lens to help find a solution.
The Nikkor DX 10.5mm f/2.8 G gives an angle of view close to 180 on land. That is wide enough to include your feet. Under water, behind the big dome port of a submarine housing, it is narrowed down to a bit less than that, but you still have to be careful not to include your flashguns or fins in the picture.
The lens focuses to within 14cm of a subject, but that subject will still look a fair distance away. Besides the obvious application of getting a lot of a big subject in the frame while still being within the realms of good visibility, it also has a more useful application that has been exploited by underwater photographers such as Alex Mustard.
It allows the photographer to enjoy composing pictures with some dynamic perspective by allowing the lens to approach very close to a subject.
The perspective in most underwater pictures can look a little flat, even though underwater photographers, except when shooting macro subjects, invariably use wide-angle lenses to take close-focus landscapes.
Because there is so little water between you and what you are photographing, the clarity of the pictures is at its maximum. When I was in the Maldives during the rainy season, this characteristic became very important.
The water was full of plankton and tiny baitfish, and I needed to get as close to my subject as possible, which the 10.5mm lens behind its 8in dome-port allowed.
Only suitable for use with digital single-lens-reflex (DSLR) cameras, this lens will work on any camera with a Nikon lens mount. Its relatively wide maximum aperture makes for a bright through-the-lens viewfinder image, but I found that it needed to be stopped down to at least f/8 to give acceptable sharpness.
For natural-light pictures, it proved better to increase the ISO speed, and risk grain or electronic noise, than to use the wider lens openings to make pictures.
I was still a young photographer when extreme wide-angle lenses emerged. We used to call the super wide-angle 40mm lens of the bigger Hasselblad camera a miracle lens because it seemed able to make pictures in situations in which one might think there were none.
Its the same with this Nikon FishEye lens. No wonder it is becoming a firm favourite with certain underwater photographers.
The Nikon Nikkor DX 10.5mm f/2.8 G FishEye lens costs around£600.
  • Nikon, www.nikon.co.uk

  • Divernet
    + Makes underwater pictures more dynamic
    + Makes pictures apparently clearer

    - Another expensive lens for DSLR owners to buy!