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What Underwater Photographers Need to Know About Wide-Angle Conversion Lenses

Get the right lens to get the most impactful shot.
By Brent Durand | Authored On November 26, 2021
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What Underwater Photographers Need to Know About Wide-Angle Conversion Lenses

Field of view and lens selection are critical components of underwater photography. When shooting wide-angle scenes, get close to your subject to minimize the volume of water—and amount of particulate—that exists between lens and subject. This results in clearer images but also requires a very wide field of view to see the full subject or scene within the frame.

Wide-angle conversion lenses are the per
fect tool to expand the
field of view on compact, mirrorless and even DSLR cameras, letting you get up close and personal with your subject while seeing the full reef or shipwreck. These lenses are designed to be attached to, and removed from, the front of your housing lens port while underwater. They also have optics specifically designed for different camera, lens and housing combinations.


AOI UWL-09 PRO - Underwater 0.45X Wide Angle Conversion Lens


There are several things to consider when purchasing a wide-angle conversion lens. First, you’ll need to check compatibility with your current camera and housing combination. A specialty retailer can recommend several options that deliver varying levels of image quality. Next, decide on your budget. More expensive lenses will generally deliver better image quality, especially around the edges of the frame. Decide which lens offers the field of view that you need. Wider is often better. However, if you plan to dive with midsize subjects like reef sharks, then the widest choice may not be ideal.

Lastly, determine your ideal lens weight and size. Think about holding and balancing your system underwater, attaching or removing the lens if switching between wide-angle and macro photography, and packing for travel.