By Amanda – (Australia)
I want to try split shot snorkeling photography with my Olympus TG5 camera in a PT-058 housing. Can anyone advise? Will my TG5 be able to take pictures half in and half out of the water successfully? I know I need a dome lens. Which one would be best? I am concerned about getting good depth of field with my camera. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Galen – Jan 12, 2020 – Split Picture Photography
I have limited experience with this, but know a little.
Can you take those cool over under split pictures while snorkeling with your Olympus TG5 or TG6? Yes, you can, but it is challenging.
To take split shots successfully, you must have glassy calm water. Any little waves at all and it becomes nearly impossible.
And you can’t really take split shots without adding a special wide angle wet lens, for two reasons. First, the lens on your camera is so small that successfully taking a picture while it is bisected by the water is nearly impossible, even on a calm day. But with the bigger wide angle lens it becomes more possible, although still challenging. Second, your standard lens will often give you pictures where either the subject underwater is out of focus, or the subject above water is out of focus, because light acts differently above and below. But you can get around that somewhat with a big wide angle lens with great depth of field.
So you really need to add a big wide angle auxiliary lens. And the lenses available for the TG housing are all wet lenses. A wet lens means there is water between the lens back and your camera housing. They have little holes that allow water in and out. Those holes become a problem with a split shot because your camera is partly out of the water, and then bubbles will enter the lens area, which will mess up your pictures. So you have to figure a way to keep the water from coming out.
A friend of ours has figured this all out, and I have used the same method. She purchased the Backscatter M52 lens, and then bought tiny little silicone plugs, which she uses to plug the hole on the lens threads, so that water could not escape.
So, to answer you question, yes it can be done, but there is not an easy way to do it. And even when you get the technology figured out, it is an art form to get good pictures. It takes patience and practice, and calm water.
Probably the easiest way for snorkelers to take split pictures is with a GoPro type camera, and one of the domes available for them. The camera is already very wide angle, the domes are big, making the split easy, and they are affordable.