ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST LENSES FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHYLENSES REVIEWSSONY FE 90mm MACROCANON EF 100mm MACROINON UWL-H100NAUTICAM CMC-1TOKINA 10-17mm FISHEYENIKON 16MM FISHEYECANON 60MM MACROCANON EF 8-15MM FISHEYESONY VARIO-TESSER T* FE 16-35MMNAUTICAM WW-1COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST LENSES FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHYHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LENSES FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHYTYPE OF CAMERACOMPACT CAMERA LENSESDSLR AND MIRRORLESS LENSESTYPE OF UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHYWIDE ANGLEMACROTYPE OF LENSRECTILINEARFISHEYEMACROFOCAL LENGTHSBUDGET Have you ever wondered what’s one of the best investments you can make to improve your underwater photography? Quality lenses are the answer. But how do you know what’s the best lens for underwater photography? Your choice in lenses as a UW photographer becomes even more important as each lens requires different ports and housing accessories. Various types of photography, such as wide angle or macro, require different lenses. Just because a lens is ideal for topside photography doesn’t make it ideal for use underwater! One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to gear shopping. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose a lens for underwater photography and show you our selection of the best models of the year. For more of our top scuba gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: BCDs | Regulators | Gauges | Masks | Fins | Dry Snorkels Wetsuits | Boots | Gloves | Drysuits Travel Bags | SMBs | Knives | Lights | Compasses Rebreathers | DPVs | Tanks | Watches | Computers Cameras | Housings | Lenses | Strobes LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR AFELLOW DIVER?Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your diving friends.From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone. VIEW NOW QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST LENSES FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY Sony FE 90mm Macro Canon EF 100mm Inon UWL-H100 Nauticam CMC-1 Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye Nikon 16mm Fisheye Canon 60mm Macro Canon EF 8-15mm Fisheye Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm Nauticam WW-1 DIVE TRAVELPACKING LISTDon't forget important gear at home!Print out this free dive gear packing list to prepare for your next adventure.Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your time underwater!UNLOCK THIS LIST* You will get weekly emails with practical diving advice that complement the information contained in the packing list. You can always opt out of these emails. LENSES REVIEWS SONY FE 90mm MACRO Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Macro Photography LENS TYPE: Full frame Sony E-mount lens for mirrorless cameras APERTURE RANGE: f/2.8-22 PROS: 1:1 magnification and excellent image stabilization CONS: Heavy, large and expensive lens CANON EF 100mm MACRO Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Macro photography LENS TYPE: Full frame dSLR macro lens APERTURE RANGE: f/2.8-32 PROS: Life size 1:1 macro magnification CONS: Autofocus can sometimes travel a bit when trying to find a focus point INON UWL-H100 Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Wide angle photography LENS TYPE: Interchangeable wet lens for compact cameras APERTURE RANGE: N/A PROS: Sharp corners and excellent image quality. CONS: Heavy and loss of corner sharpness when using a red filter NAUTICAM CMC-1 Check out the latest price on: Backscatter BEST FOR: Macro photography LENS TYPE: Interchangeable wet lens for compact cameras APERTURE RANGE: N/A PROS: Lightweight and high magnification whilst still retaining excellent image quality and sharpness CONS: Image corners can show up black sometimes if camera lens is not zoomed in TOKINA 10-17mm FISHEYE Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Wide angle photography LENS TYPE: Cropped sensor dSLR lens APERTURE RANGE: f/3.5-4.5 PROS: Comes with either a Canon or Nikon mount and sharp 180° field of view with close focusing ability CONS: Auto focus capability lags in low light environments NIKON 16MM FISHEYE Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Wide angle photography LENS TYPE: Full frame dSLR fisheye lens APERTURE RANGE: f/2.8-22 PROS: Close-Range Correction (CRC) system provides excellent performance at both far and near focusing distances CONS: Corner sharpness poor at f/4 and f/5.6 CANON 60MM MACRO Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Macro Photography LENS TYPE: Cropped sensor dSLR lens APERTURE RANGE: f/2.8-32 PROS: Very versatile lens and it’s even possible to get a 1:1 magnification ratio if you move in close enough CONS: Slow autofocus due to large range of focus CANON EF 8-15MM FISHEYE Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Wide angle photography LENS TYPE: Full frame and cropped sensor dSLR fisheye lens APERTURE RANGE: f/4 – 22 PROS: Full circular fisheye effect at the 8mm end CONS: Expensive lens if using a cropped sensor camera. The Tokina 10-17mm will give you almost the same results at half the price if using a cropped sensor camera SONY VARIO-TESSER T* FE 16-35MM Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Wide angle photography LENS TYPE: Rectilinear full frame Sony E-mount lens for mirrorless cameras APERTURE RANGE: f/4-f22 PROS: Wide angle and short minimum focus distance make this lens ideal for underwater CONS: Heavy and expensive lens NAUTICAM WW-1 Check out the latest price on: Backscatter BEST FOR: Wide angle photography LENS TYPE: Interchangeable wet lens for compact cameras APERTURE RANGE: N/A PROS: Excellent image quality, full zoom capability and great angle of view CONS: Large and heavy for a compact set up COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST LENSES FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY PICTURELENSWIDE ANGLE / MACROCAMERAPRICERATING PICTURELENSWIDE ANGLE / MACROCAMERAPRICERATING Sony FE 90mm MacroMacroMirrorless$$$5.0 Canon EF 100mmMacrodSLR$$$4.9 Inon UWL-H100Wide AngleCompact$$4.5 Nauticam CMC-1 MacroCompact$5.0 Tokina 10-17mm FisheyeWide AngledSLR$$4.3 Nikon 16mm FisheyeWide AngledSLR$$$4.8 Canon 60mm MacroMacrodSLR$4.5 Canon EF 8-15mm FisheyeWide AngledSLR$$$4.5 Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mmWide AngleMirrorless$$$4.4 Nauticam WW-1Wide AngleCompact$$$4.5 PLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIPPLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIPEnter your name and email to get instant access to the Quick Starter Guide to Liveaboard Diving, which has been used by hundreds of people to plan and prepare for their diving adventures! Plus, you'll get exclusive content in our newsletter to help you make the most of your scuba safari!UNLOCK THIS GUIDE* You will get weekly emails with practical diving advice that complement the information contained in the guide. You can always opt out of these emails.LET US HELP YOUGET YOUR SCUBA FIXFor more email-based advice and inspiration, select additional areas of interest below. GET STARTED DIVINGLIVEABOARD DIVINGDIVE TRAVEL DEALSDIVE DESTINATIONSGEAR UP FOR SCUBA UPDATE PROFILE SKIP FOR NOW HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LENSES FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY TYPE OF CAMERA Not all lenses are suitable for all cameras. In this guide, we will be looking at a variety of different lenses for compact cameras, dSLR cameras, and mirrorless camera systems. If you’re still undecided about which camera body is right for you, check out our article about the best diving cameras. COMPACT CAMERA LENSES Compact camera lenses are built into the camera and thus cannot be changed. Divers who use compact camera systems to take photos underwater will need to use “wet lenses”. These wet lenses are added on top of the camera housing to create either a wide angle or macro capability. An advantage of wet lenses is that they can be added and removed underwater. This gives compact camera shooters the ability to shoot both wide angle and macro on a single dive! DSLR AND MIRRORLESS LENSES DSLR and mirrorless cameras are the choices for experienced photographers and professionals. These cameras allow for interchangeable lenses. They cost more and lenses are sold separately. TYPE OF UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY To find the best lens for you, you’ll need to think about what type of photography you will be shooting. We recommend you have a quality wide-angle lens and a macro lens in your photography kit. WIDE ANGLE Wide angle UW photography allows you to capture the ocean in all of its glory! This type of photography normally includes the ocean water itself as a composition element. Wide angle UW photography is used for taking shots of large schools of fish, large marine mammals or magnificent seascapes. MACRO UW macro photography focuses in on the miniature details of the ocean. Whether it would be a gorgeous nudibranch or a microscopic shrimp, macro photography captures the beauty that most people overlook in the ocean. Wide angle UW photography is easier than UW macro photography, so most people start off buying a wide angle lens. Once you have gained some experience with the dynamics of shooting underwater, it might be time to invest in a macro lens. TYPE OF LENS RECTILINEAR Most lenses are rectilinear. This means that straight features appear straight in the image, instead of being spherical like with a fisheye lens. FISHEYE Any lens with a focal distance smaller than 35mm is considered wide angle. Underwater, though, we need to go extra wide with our lenses. Going extra wide will allow us to get as close to our subject as possible while still capturing the whole subject and including the background. Fisheye lenses are a special kind of ultra-wide lens. They give a unique curved perspective. For example, a 16mm fisheye lens will create a wider image than a 16mm rectilinear lens. An advantage of fisheye lenses is they allow you to get closer to your subjects. This is key for better color and image sharpness. MACRO Macro lenses are rectilinear lenses specifically designed for up close work. These lenses have a long barrel for close focusing and continuous autofocus system. The best macro lenses are fixed focal length non-zoom lenses. FOCAL LENGTHS The focal length of a lens is the number expressed in millimeters. Smaller focal lengths are for wide angle lenses – think 10mm or 20mm. Macro lenses have larger focal lengths – think 60mm or even 100mm. WIDE ANGLE FOCAL LENGTHS – Large schools of fish, divers, reefs, dolphins, whale sharks and wrecks. MID-RANGE FOCAL LENGTHS – Marine life portraits and large fish. MACRO FOCAL LENGTHS – Nudibranchs, micro shrimps, gobies, coral details, intimate portraits. BUDGET It’s important to find the best lens for your desired type of photography within your budget. Sony, Canon and Nikon lenses are on the most expensive options. There are cheaper brands that offer the same kind of lens (Tokina and Sigma), but their quality doesn’t match that of the Sony, Canon and Nikon lenses. You will need to think about whether dropping an extra $500 – $1000 is worth it. SCUBA DIVING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSSCUBA DIVINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. BASICS 5. SCUBA EQUIPMENT 2. DIVING COURSES 6. UW PHOTOGRAPHY 3. SPECIALTY DIVING 7. LIVEABOARD DIVING 4. DIVE SAFETY 8. DIVING DESTINATIONS 1. BASICS 2. DIVING COURSES 3. SPECIALTY DIVING 4. DIVE SAFETY 5. SCUBA EQUIPMENT 6. UW PHOTOGRAPHY 7. LIVEABOARD DIVING 8. DIVING DESTINATIONS Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.