Text and photos by Todd Winner
I think most of us who shoot macro underwater with full frame or APS-C cameras are now familiar with the Nauticam SMC-1. It’s a powerful wet diopter that when paired with a macro lens like the Canon 100mm or Nikon 105mm, it can give you a maximum of 2.3X magnification. That will fill a full frame sensor with a subject that is only 15.6 x 10.4mm. That’s pretty small but there are plenty of super macro subjects that are even smaller than that. Fear not, the Nauticam Multiplier-1 is here to help you out! The Multiplier-1 when combined with the SMC-1 produces an incredible 3.5X magnification when used with a 100mm/105mm macro lens on a full frame camera!
Using the Multiplier-1
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when using the SMC/Multiplier combo is simply finding the subject through the viewfinder. This of course is after you have located this tiny speck somewhere in a vast ocean. Don’t expect it to be easy. If you have any hopes of being proficient with this combo – practice!
Once you do locate the subject it’s time to focus. Easy! Not so fast, your depth of field is razor thin with this combo and even the slightest movement will put you out of focus. I use a manual focus gear and or back button focus with this combo. Enhanced viewfinders will help immensely with deciding when to pull the shutter. Remember that adding diopters allows you to focus much closer but you lose the ability to focus further away. With this combo, you need to get extremely close before it can focus.
Subject in viewfinder – check! Subject in focus – check! Time to light it – arghhh! The challenge when lighting with this combo is how close the the subject is to the lens. It will only be a few millimeters away. Get your strobes out in front and get creative with your lighting, otherwise you will get shadows from the lens itself on the subject. I typically use cross lighting with this combo.
Other tips for the Multiplier-1
Flip adapters are available for both the SMC and Multiplier and will make your setup much more versatile. Don’t stop down too much! It may be tempting to stop down to f/22 or higher to try and gain more depth of field but you will actually lose sharpness due to diffraction on high resolution sensors. On my 5DS-R I tend to shoot between f/11 and f/16 with this combo. I think this gives me nice sharp focus with a pleasing selective focus look.
Todd Winner is a contributor, instructor, and trip leader for Samy’s Underwater Photo & Video and has over 20 years of experience in underwater still and broadcast video. To see more of Todd’s work please go to www.toddwinner.com. For the latest information on workshops and trips, sign up for .our newsletter