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Dome Lens for Underwater Photography: Overview and Advantages

Why use Dome ports for Underwater Photography

 

Domes make it better underwater - Domes help correct aberrations that occur in water photography as light changes speed when it travels thru water as opposed to air. Domes deliver better results compared to flat ports, specially for split-level (half over half under) shots, and make it easier to get the separation, and that more "spectacular" separation effect. While dome ports will not take anything away from your work above water, their impact or difference above the surface is irrelevant. Domes are ideal for split-level and underwater work. 

 

Size matters - In short, bigger size is optically better for a number of reasons. But it's heavier, bulkier, and pricier than smaller dome. If image integrity and results are the main concern, get the larger dome (Dome 180mm diameter).  If transportability and ease of use are paramount, the smaller dome (Dome 1200mm diameter) gives you great "bang for the buck". Both dome sizes work/fit any/all lenses and any/all Outex covers.  More details below....

 

Glass is optically superior - Glass domes are optically superior to plastic or acrylic, and they do not scratch as easily. All of the Outex ports, including the domes, are made of American or German optical glass. 

 

Universal fit protects your investment - Both Outex glass dome ports are designed to fit any/all lenses.  The domes are universal - both of them - and work with adaptors for threaded (filter thread size) lenses, and clamps for fisheye, hooded, or un-threaded lenses. This way both/either of the Outex domes fit ally/any current and future lenses. This design protects your investment and optimizes your usability and upgradeability over time. The Dome KIT comes with any one size adaptor or clamp you specify in your order.  And you can add additional dome adaptors and/or clamps from the PARTS page.  Get as many dome adaptors or clamps as you want. Either/both Outex domes fit/work with any/all of our covers. The Outex system is truly modular and you can select the cover and port sizes independently.  They all work with each other interchangeably.


Additional information 

There's subjectivity in photography and content creation, so results dependent on a number of factors including the camera, the lens, settings, environmental conditions and light conditions, proximity to the subject, angles, and other factors. Different users can produce very different results in the same conditions, all other factors being the same, and vice versa. An experienced photographer can deliver spectacular results with "basic" gear while a beginner may be incapable of optimizing the right variables with much "fancier" equipment.  Outex was designed for professional results in mind. It's meant to interfere the least, and go unnoticed, so the photographer can achieve her desired objectives regardless of the housing.  Because Outex covers enable full control and access to all of a camera & lens functions, and are so lightweight, we're able to deliver optical glass ports, including the domes, with are optically superior to plastic/acrylic (which most, often more expensive housings offer.)

The glass domes correct several light and color aberrations that occur as light changes speed above & below water, and the effects are dynamic, and depend on multiple factors, including the water. The visual examples below show a side by side comparison for the sake of helping you understand the differences.

Outex dome comparisons

 

The images above were taken using manual settings attempting to eliminate as many variability as possible, and have not been altered or edited. The two images on the left were shot RAW and simply converted to JPEG so they can be posted. We don't sell the Outex dome 100mm anymore (it's an older product) but it's available via custom order  if you contact us.

 

Dome Front Glass Comparison for Outex Underwater Camera Housing System 

 

Dome 180mm (180mm diameter)

Outex's largest dome makes it better/easier for you to capture your desired outcome both underwater and for split-level shots. It improves sharpness, aberration, focal distance, and makes it easier for your camera & lens to operate in water conditions/environments. It corrects or eliminates most of the underwater aberrations described in this post and others within the site, and makes it easier for most cameras and lenses to find focus, deliver sharpness, and operate in water use. But it's not our most travel friendly. Split-level photo using Outex underwater glass dome 180mm.

Outex dome 180mm glass front glass split level picture for comparison

Outex dome 180mm glass front glass split level picture for comparison 1

Dome 120mm (120mm diameter)


Outex's 2nd largest dome is a great compromise between performance and transportability. It's large enough to fit any/all lenses, and deliver most of the imaging and aberration-correction benefits mentioned above, and in a travel-friendly, affordable package that goes anywhere. The above and below effects are amazing, and you may need to plan certain split-level photographs to maximize your desired intent. Below are some examples of pictures taken with the Dome 120mm. Split level wedding photography using Outex underwater front glass dome 120mm .

Split level wedding photography using Outex underwater front glass dome 120mm

Split level wedding photography using Outex underwater front glass dome 120mm 2

Dome 100 mm 

Outex's smallest dome is ideal for certain lenses, but its small size does not fit all lenses. It's awesome for certain lenses, and an amazing value. Below are some examples. Split-level photo was taken using Outex underwater housing system and front glass dome 100mm Canon 8-15mm f/4 fisheye lens.

Dome 100 mm Outex's smallest dome is ideal for certain lenses, but its small size does not fit all lenses. It's awesome for certain lenses, and an amazing value. Below are some examples. Split level photo taken using Outex underwater housing system and front glass dome 100mm Canon 8-15mm f/4 fisheye lens

Dome 100 mm  Outex's smallest dome is ideal for certain lenses, but its small size does not fit all lenses. It's awesome for certain lenses, and an amazing value. Below are some examples. Split level photo taken using Outex underwater housing system and front glass dome 100mm Canon 8-15mm f/4 fisheye lens 2

Shopping for the Domes
Our domes work with any/all lenses and Outex systems/covers, so you can always add a dome at any time or upgrade the rest of the system around it. The domes work with threaded lenses as well as fisheye and hooded lenses with no threads through Outex clamps that mount onto the adaptors. This way your investment is protected and you can simply purchase the adaptors you need for additional lenses (a la carte or "shop by parts") from our online store to use with the dome you already have.  If you have questions or need help contact us.

Dome system demystified:

  • Dome 100mm works with Adaptor Type 5 - xx mm adaptors for threaded lenses, and/or clamps for unthreaded lenses
  • Dome 120mm works with Adaptor Type 6 - xx mm adaptors for threaded lenses, and/or clamps for unthreaded lenses
  • Dome 180mm works with Adaptor Type 8 - xx mm adaptors for threaded lenses, and/or clamps for unthreaded lenses

For example, when you own an 82mm threaded lens, such as the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, and a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, you'd need the following: Dome 120 + Adaptor type 6 - 82 mm + Adaptor type 3 + Clamp 3N1

In other words:
Dome 120 mm works for all/both lenses
Adaptor Type 6-82mm works for the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 lens (or any other threaded lens with 82mm threads) and the Dome 120mm.
Clamp Type 3N1 + Adaptor Type 3 works for the Nikon 14-24mm with the same Dome 120mm

But you don't have to worry about it.  Just specify the lens(es) you have when purchasing the Domes, and we'll include the required gear or contact you to let you know.  You can add domes from the Kit drop-down menus, and/or from the add-on menus, as well as from the shop by parts section of our online store - click on "Domes" on the menu.

Outex front glass dome ports side by side

 For additional information, explore the FAQ's page to learn more about domes and this subject. There are a few related entries on the subject.

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