Your cart is currently empty.

Continue shopping


By: Todd Winner


The Super Macro Converter, (SMC-1) and now (SMC-2) truly have changed the way most of us approach underwater super macro photography. Prior to the Super Macro Converters, achieving “super macro” underwater meant using tools that were designed for in air use. We used teleconverters, extension tubes and whatever wet diopters were available at the time. But these tools simply do not take into account the physics of shooting in water. Adding any of these tools meant lowering the image quality of your picture. The SMC 1 and 2 take a radically different approach: treat the system - camera, lens, port, air, and water – as a whole, and account for the air-water interfaces in a conversion lens design to achieve the best image quality possible!


Canon EOS 5DS R, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, SMC-1, 1/200, f/13, ISO 320


The SMC-1 offers stunning magnification. When combined with a full frame camera and a 100mm or 105mm macro lens, the SMC 1 lens converts the optical system to provide a maximum of 2.3X magnification factor. In other words, a subject area of 15.6mm X 10.4mm will fill the whole frame of a 36mm X 24mm sensor.

Finding subjects that small in the viewfinder can be somewhat challenging. Adding a Nauticam enhanced 180° or 45° viewfinder to your system provides a bright, clear and undistorted 1:1 image of the camera’s finder. The larger viewing area is beneficial for precise focusing and artistic composition. Look for unique landmarks around your subject that can help guide you to your subject.


Canon EOS 5DS R, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, SMC-1, 1/200, f/18, ISO 160

If you have ever worn reading glasses you will understand this concept. Adding a SMC-1 to your system allows you to focus much closer to a subject but your lens can no longer focus on distant subjects. The SMC-1 has a wide working range from approximately 100mm to 50mm when used with a 100mm or 105mm macro lens. Even at the maximum 2.3X magnification, there is still more than 50mm of working distance between the front element and the subject with 100/105mm macro lenses. This working distance is crucial when capturing behavior of skittish subjects and allows for more creative lighting. 


Canon EOS 5DS R, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, SMC-1, 1/125, f/14, ISO 640

Auto focus works extremely well with the SMC-1 but I also find a manual focus gear to be very helpful. Both the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED and Canon EF 100mm /2.8L Macro IS USM lenses are full time manual override lenses. I typically use just a single focus point when shooting supper macro but experiment with different focus modes and see what works best for you. It is important to be able to lock your focus either with AL lock or my preferred method, back button aka “thumb focus”.  This allows you to fine tune your focusing by slightly rocking back and fourth. You can fire off a shot any time the subject looks in focus and as long as you hold down AF lock, or don’t depress the thumb focus, the camera won’t try and refocus between shots.


Canon EOS 5DS R, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, SMC-1, 1/200, f/10, ISO 160

The SMC-1 retains the optical properties of the macro lens for the whole system underwater, resulting in a blurred (out of focus) background that has a pleasing smoothness and creamy look, without the normal purple and green fringing. It is possible to shoot larger apertures with excellent image quality. This avoids reaching the diffraction limit of high resolution sensors, and allows selective focus effects with narrow depth of field in super macro images. 


Canon EOS 5DS R, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, SMC-1, 1/200, f/6.3, ISO 160

Having tools like the SMC-1 and SMC-2 with you and ready to shoot are key to capturing stunning super macro images. Although the SMC-1 and SMC-2 can be directly attached to most macro ports a single or double flip adapter allows you to go from standard macro to super macro with ease. 


Canon EOS 5DS R, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, SMC-1, 1/200, f/13, ISO 160