Kraken Sports KRL-01 Wet Wide Angle Lens Review

An excellent wide angle wet lens for compact and mirrorless cameras
By Nirupam Nigam

Renowned for their expertise in underwater lighting, Kraken Sports has hit the ground running with a new wet lens – the KRL-01! This ultrawide wet lens is a portal to the wide angle dimension of mirrorless and compact underwater photography. The KRL-01 has proven to be a high quality, easy-to-use option for photographers who want to get more detailed, more colorful photos of big animals and reef/kelp scenes. 

KRL-01

Optical Performance

The KRL-01 is of the highest quality with 6 optic elements organized in 5 groups. With an acrylic dome, the lens is made of high-quality optical glass and coated with multi-layer BBAR coating for anti-reflection and optical clarity, the KRL-01 is ideal for shooting into the sun and over-under (half/half) split images. The field of view is a spectacular 145 degrees when used with a recommended 24mm lens! Combined with an almost zero minimum focusing distance, close-focus wide angle photos are within easy reach. 

Compatibility

With a 67mm thread, the KRL-01 easily fits on most ports and housings. Simply screw it in and you’re good to go. The lens was made for sensor sizes up to Micro 4/3rds. However, I have even been able to push its use up to the full-frame sensor on the mirrorless Sony A7R III. The lens is most ideal for Olympus and Panasonic mirrorless systems as well as high end compact cameras like the Sony RX100 series. 

 

Recommended Focal Lengths

The KRL-01 was made for use with a 24 mm lens. At his focal length, the KRL-01 creates an equivalent of 6.9mm or a whopping 145 degree field of view. Moreover, the lens has zoom through capability which means it can be used with 28mm (12.8 mm equivalent/118.6 degree field of view) and even 35mm (20mm equivalent/94.7 degree field of view) lenses.

 

Recommended Cameras

Sony RX100, II, III, IV & IV

Canon G7X & G7X Mark II

Panasonic LX10

Olympus TG-4 & TG-5

Olympus OM-D E-M5, E-M10, E-M1, E-M5 Mark II, E-M10 Mark II & E-M1 Mark II

Sony A7R, II & III

 

The Kraken KRL-01 is available now at Bluewater Photo!

Pros and Cons

Pros

As with anything else in photography there are pros and cons to using a wide angle wet lens. Perhaps the biggest benefit of the KRL-01 is the ability to instantly screw on a very high quality wide-angle lens to your camera at any point during the dive. The lens of the KRL-01 is made of high quality glass and the dome itself is acrylic so scratches can be buffed out if necessary.

Cons 

Wet lenses are usually known for being slightly lesser in quality than a dedicated wide angle lens. That being said, you’d be hard pressed to find too many differences between the KRL-01 and a dedicated wide angle lens. 

Tips and Tricks

Luckily for the user, the KRL-01 is fairly intuitive to use. There isn’t much you have to do past screwing it in. At wide apertures, photos can become a little soft around the edges. I recommend using f/8 or smaller for the most depth of field and sharpest results. Vignetting should not be a problem, though it could be on some compact systems. If it is, then zoom in until the vignetting goes away. As with all wide angle photography – make sure you shoot close to the subject and shoot up if possible!  

 

Comparison

With the KRL-01

Without the KRL-01

Sample Underwater Photos

 

The Kraken KRL-01 is available now at Bluewater Photo!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nirupam Nigam is a dedicated underwater photographer and fisheries scientist. While growing up in Los Angeles he fell in love with the ocean and pursued underwater photography in the local Channel Islands. He received degrees in Aquatic and Fisheries Science and General Biology, as well as a minor in Arctic Studies, at the University of Washington. Now he works as a fisheries observer on boats in the Bering Sea and North Pacific. When he is not at sea, he is traveling with his fiancee and taking photos. 

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