WACP-2 Explained

WACP-2 Explained

The WACP-2 has raised the bar on what is possible in underwater optics. Offering the maximum in image quality with the widest angle of view available in a rectilinear lens.

Like the WACP-1, the WACP-2 is a dry mount lens design, functioning as both a port and optical lens. It is optimized to work with professional camera lenses up to 14mm and offers an unparalleled 140° angle of view. The WACP-2 is capable of focusing in air, adding the ability to capture over-under images and film in wet topside environments. The WACP-2 can focus as close as the front element and captures images with minimal distortion.

Nikon Z6, 14-30mm @14mm, WACP-2

Dome Ports

Dome ports solve many of the issues we encounter when using flat ports but there is still substantial room for improvement. The main problem we contend with is corner sharpness and in some cases, it can be quite extreme. Underwater, a dome port acts as an additional lens element. This lens creates a virtual image of the subject that is smaller and much closer to the camera than the actual subject. The first challenge is that the camera lens must be able to focus close enough to capture the virtual image, but this isn't a common problem with big domes and close focusing DSLR lenses. The issue that can be harder to overcome underwater is that the virtual image is curved. The portions of the subject that are near the edges will appear to be closer to the camera than the center of the subject. When focused at the apparent distance of the center of the image, the corners (that appear closer to the camera) can fall outside of our depth of field range (and out of focus). This is why a smaller aperture improves corner sharpness - it increases depth of field!

For more information on flat ports and dome ports please see WACP-1 Explained.

Nikon D850, 16-35 @16mm, WACP-2

WACP-2

An alternative solution to dome ports are optics corrected for in-water use. The WACP-2 was designed to be the finest underwater optic possible. Not only does it greatly improve the quality available from traditional domes, but it expands on our already excellent water contact optics. It borrows many of the characteristics from the WACP-1, adds additional features and expands the range of compatible professional lenses. The WACP-2 is a conversion lens with in-water correction. It converts a lens designed for use in air to be wider and corrects for in water use.  The WACP-2 was designed for large, high resolution image sensors.  It is compatible with both video and still photo systems. It increases center sharpness, dramatically increases corner sharpness, and improves contrast. The combination has excellent overall image quality - even at open apertures.

Nikon Z6, 14-30mm @14mm, WACP-2

Lenses

The WACP-2 is designed to work with several professional lenses including 16-35mm lenses from Nikon, Canon, Sony and Panasonic. It is also compatible with the recently released Canon RF 15-35mm and Nikon Z 14-30mm. There is a  0.57x conversion so at 14mm the WACP-2 produces a field of view of 140°. Compatible zoom lenses offer full zoom-through capabilities. Underwater filmmakers or photographers can capture wide, medium and close-up shots - all with one lens while maintaining optimum optical and close-focus performance. Most ultra wide lenses have a fair amount of distortion. Straight lines will look slightly bowed and objects often look stretched at the edges and corners. The WACP is the most natural looking lens I have ever used and it is creating a wider FOV than any lens you can compare it to!

Nikon Z6, 14-30mm @14mm, WACP-2 

Focus In Air

The WACP-2 is able to focus in air making over-under and topside shots possible.  Alex Tattersall, Nikon D850, 16-35mm @16mm, WACP-2

Video

Having wide, medium and tight shots of a subject is so important when editing your footage to tell a story.  The WACP-2 with a zoom lens allows you to get those shots on a single dive. Because the WACP-2 retains sharp corners at wider apertures, footage can be shot at a lower ISO. This produces cleaner images with less noise. 

Travel

It is certainly worth looking at weight and size when considering the WACP-2. The overall dimensions of WACP-2 are not that much different compared to a 230mm dome and extension. Both the WACP-1 and 2 have built in buoyancy collars so underwater they are only slightly negative. Travel weight shows the biggest difference between the systems. (230mm +ext. 5.7lbs, WACP-1 9lbs, WACP-2 15Lbs) For many this will not be an issue, but not everyone has the same needs. The image quality from either the WACP-1 or 2 will be far superior to a traditional dome. The WACP-1 offers many of the same features in a smaller package so I suggest looking at the features of both and then making a decision.

WACP-2 and WACP-1

Dome Shade

The WACP features a truly unique shade design. With imaging angles up to 130° and during transport, the shade can remain in the default position that extends past the front element. At wider angles, the shade can be opened wider with a simple knob turn to prevent vignetting.

The WACP-2 with the shade closed and the WACP-2 with the shade open.

For underwater image makers looking for the highest quality optics, the WACP-2 and WACP-1 dramatically improve what is possible from traditional domes.

Nikon Z6, 14-30mm @14mm, WACP-2


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