Nauticam SMC Review

Detailed review and image quality inspection of the Nauticam SMC diopter
By Scott Gietler

The Nauticam SMC (super macro converter) is a very popular wet diopter for magnifying the smallest underwater critters.

Standard macro lenses are able to reproduce small subjects at a 1:1 ratio, meaning the image captured on the camera's sensor matches the real-life size of the critter. This is the world of macro. Diopters come into play when we want to go beyond macro and enter the world of supermacro. The way we do this is through the use of diopters like the SMC or SubSee on the outside of our macro ports. This enhanced magnification makes the tiny subjects appear larger than real life on the sensor, helping to fill the frame with detail.

The Nauticam SMC uses a standard 67mm thread, making it easy to screw into most housing macro ports and adapters. For the smallest subjects, Nauticam also makes a Multipler, which essentially stacks two diopters to create more magnification.

UWPG Publisher, Scott Gietler, used the SMC in Anilao, Philippines on his Nikon D810. We've put together the photos below, including detailed insight from using the diopter, to show the beautiful images created with this supermacro lens combination.

- Brent Durand, Editor

 



View and purchase the Nauticam SMC and Nauticam Multiplier on Bluewater Photo.

Photos below shot with:

Nikon D810, Nikkor 105mm macro lens, Sea&Sea D810 housing, Sea&Sea YS-D1 strobes.


 

Scott's Nauticam SMC Review

This is a very high quality macro lens, and I highly recommend it for a dSLR setup. It is a little stronger than the Subsee +10, and slightly sharper. Casual macro photographers may not notice the difference, but experienced supermacro shooters will. I recommend using the lens with a flip diopter holder and a longer lens, like a 100mm or 105mm macro lens.

Chromatic aberration is not noticeable. Contrast is very good. Corner sharpness is not applicable to a macro lens, as the goal is not and should not be sharp corners.

Downsides are its heavy weight and high cost. All supermacro lenses take a lot of time to get used to, and I highly recommend reading my supermacro tips article. You will need to learn a new technique for holding your rig, bracing yourself, new buoyancy floats and possibly a new focus light to get the most out of this lens. Not to mention a new viewfinder. 

 

Anilao Macro Photos with Nauticam SMC

 

Nauticam SMC underwater photo

100% Crop:

 

Nauticam SMC review

 

Join Scott Gietler for the Anilao Spring 2016 Photo Workshops. Details are below:

Anilao Workshops April / May 2016

 

Nauticam Super Macro Converter review

 

Nauticam Super Macro Converter underwater photos

100% Crop:

 

Nauticam SMC photos

 

Nauticam macro lens review

 

Nauticam macro lens underwater photos

 

Nauticam Super Macro Converter lens

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott Gietler is the owner of Bluewater Photo, Bluewater Travel, and the Underwater Photography Guide. Bluewater Photo, based in Santa Monica, CA is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious underwater camera stores, serving many thousands of customers each year, where nothing is more important than customer service. The Underwater Photography Guide is the world’s first website to feature free tutorials on underwater photography, and has become the most trafficked resource on underwater photography worldwide. Bluewater Travel is a full-service dive travel wholesaler sending groups and individuals on the world’s best dive vacations. 

Scott is also an avid diver, underwater photographer, and budding marine biologist, having created the online guide to the underwater flora and fauna of Southern California. He is the past vice-president of the Los Angeles Underwater Photographic Society, has volunteered extensively at the Santa Monica aquarium, and is the creator of the Ocean Art underwater photo competition, one of the largest underwater international photo competitions ever held in terms of value of prizes. He lives in California with his wife, newborn girl and scuba-diving, photo taking 4 year old son.

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