When I was ask to review the Sony NEX-5 and Nauticam housing several months ago for an article in UWP magazine (UWPmag.com #57) I used the 16 mm F/2.8 lens with the 4.33 inch Nauticam dome port and the 16 mm lens with the VCL-ECF1 Fisheye conversion lens. The conversion lens mounts directly to the front of the 16 mm much like a lens cap would.
Last month I was able to use the same camera and housing combination with the 16 mm F/2.8 lens and the VCL-ECU1 wide angle conversion lens. This lens increases the angle of view of the rectilinear 16 mm lens from around 82 degrees to around a 95 degree while retaining the rectilinear view.
I am a big fan of rectilinear lenses and find them to be much more useful underwater in a verity of situations than the fisheye or fisheye zoom lenses. For many years the Nikonos 15 mm lens was the gold standard for underwater wide angle underwater photography and while I will always have a fisheye or two in my bag I reach for the rectilinear lens more often than not.
The Sony VCL-ECU1 wide angle conversion lens at around $120.00 US is a great addition to this Nauticam housing system. This unique lens is quite sharp for the price and does not suffer from anymore corner softness than competitors in its class.
Using the Nauticam NA-NEX-5 housing with the E-mount 4.33 inch port and twin strobes is much like using the Nikonos with the 15 mm lens both in size and weight. It is very easy to go from landscape to portrait without a great deal of strobe movement. If you are looking to expand your NA-NEX-5 system to include a wide rectilinear lens or looking for a great wide angle solution at an affordable price this may be your answer.
Text and Images by Phil Rudin