September 15, 2008

Light & Motion's Fathom 90-Degree Lens $900.00

Review by Steve Douglas

Any videographer worth his or her salt knows that without a good port on their housing, their images will be reduced in color saturation, resolution and, often size. While a bit more expensive than standard plastic ports, for those wanting to film up to their camcorders very highest standard, the Fathom glass lens, by Light & Motion, is the only way to go.

Once I had my hands on this beauty I knew in my heart that my film work would only go up from there offering exceptional depth of field, saturation and ease of filming. The quality of the Fathom lens is evident and intrinsic to every Fathom lens I have ever used. The Fathoms 90 degree wide-angle lens increases your field of view by 25 degrees from the original standard 65 degree port to a full 90 degrees.

I have frequently encountered videographers who were concerned that they would be using the right lens for a particular dive. Should they switch to their macro or flat port with diopters, use the standard wide angle or super wide angle? With the new Fathom 90 degree lens, the question becomes moot as this lens really can do it all, macro or wide angle with ease.

Vignetting can be a frequent problem with underwater video systems and it is now a relief not to have to worry about it. During use, no matter where or when I used my zoom control, there was absolutely no sign of a vignetting problem. While I do not use my zoom controls very often, chosing instead to get closer to my subjects, the Fathom 90 degree lens offers full zoom through ability allowing the videographer to get near 1:1 magnification at full telephoto. While testing the lens in Costa Rica, I discovered that the only limitations which existed were those presented to me by my camcorder. The Fathom Lens did all that Light & Motion, a continual leader in underwater photo and video systems, said it would. Soon to be released will be a Fathom 110 degree lens which I hope to test for you as well, especially as it has been touted as having the ability for 1:1 macro reproduction in full zoom.

The bottom line on the Light & Motion Fathom 90 lens is that it is a shame that it wasn't available sooner. Now that it is, for the underwater videographer it automatically makes itself as essential as the housing itself.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, the History channel's MegaDisaster show and is a feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine. His first National Geographic special will air in late 2008. Steve is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Kenya in Aug.09, the Red Sea for Nov.2009, and Truk Lagoon in Micronesia for July,2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.


copyright © Steve Douglas 2008

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