Jump to content

- - - - -

Photographing swimmers with Nikonos V

  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 gsteinfeld67


    Sea Wasp

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 21 December 2005 - 08:53 AM

Hi, I'm looking to photograph elite swimmers in California and Australia. I'm going to go the film route to start and wanted to get a Nikonos V. The idea is that I will swim, with fins, beneath and along side a swimmer in a pool or open water and take shots of different phases of different strokes of swimmers. Ideally I'd like to get a full body shot or some half body shots, from about 6 to 12 feet away from the swimmer.

So two questions come to mind:

1) Lens choice
I'm guessing a 28mm lens will be good, but I'm not sure.

2) Strobe choice
Also I'm guessing the Nikon SB 104 will be good, but again I'm not sure.

Does anyone have any ideas on what equipment may work here? I guess the analogy may be taking a photo of a 6 foot fish. How close would one be to get the whole fish, and what sort of lens/strobe combination would work.

Thanks for anyones help


#2 DesertEagle


    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 389 posts

Posted 21 December 2005 - 10:32 AM

Welcome to Wetpixel!

1) A 28mm would be fine for 6-12ft away. But...

2) Even the most powerful strobe will have difficulty illuminating an object 6ft away.

Many photos of divers/fish that appear to be far away are actually taken much closer. If you use a 15mm lens, you can photograph a swimmer from only a couple feet. The 15mm is expensive, and photos taken of a swimmer 10ft away will make the swimmer look tiny. You can do things like making a 1ft sponge appear to be 6ft tall. Such is the beauty of wide angle.

For your use, the 20mm might be the best. It will allow you to get close enough for a strobe.

The SB-104 has some nice punch.
Canon 30D. Olympus SP-310, PT-030 housing with Sea & Sea 16mm lens. Sea&Sea YS-50 and YS-60 stobes. Heinrichs-Weikamp DA2 adapter. ULCS base & arms. A little Magic (original & auto).

#3 Photobeat


    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 373 posts
  • Location:Largo Florida - Not Key Largo (I wish)
  • Interests:Top Side photography also, Compete in Triathlons, former professional drummer

Posted 07 January 2006 - 05:23 PM

A couple questions 1. Are you in a pool outside? You may not need a strobe. The 20mm is a good choice but the 15 is even better. These guys will be fast, with the 15mm you can set it and forget it and get close with everything sharp. Especially if shooting under with the swimmers comming at you rather than just on the side.

I will be posting a nikonos V, 28mm lens, 15mm lens and viewfinder, 35mm lens with the extension tube setup and tlc flip tray, standard nikonos mounting arm. (no strobe thats about it) on ebay in a day or so. Looking for about $1200.00 for all but will separate. If interested let me know and I will fill you in on all conditions etc before posting.
Aquatica Housing - D100 - 10.5dx - 17-55DX - Nikonos 105 strobes - TLC arms

#4 onokai


    Sting Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 249 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Arcata
  • Interests:U/W photo-Diving-Tuna fishing

Posted 07 January 2006 - 07:44 PM

If you are inside you will need a strobe. Shoot faster film outside and that should work. As noted the 15mm lens is best but costs 3x the camera cost. I would shoot a 20mm. all this nikonos stuff is set and shoot rangefinder. You will need a viewfinder as well for which ever lens you go with. The best depth of field is the 15 then the 20 then the 28 then the paperwieght 35. Since these are only swimmers not whales the 20 will give you both depth of field and some wide/close focus opertunities. Any larger strobe will work.I personlly like the ikeelite D125 small but powerfull and does film cameras well. Its a TTL which may help . You need to be as close to the swimmer as possiable 6-12 feet is to far -get closer for better results. Good luck with the Nik stuff- buy it used and save some $$. Mark

 Subal ND800- Housing
Way to many strobes to list
 subal ND800 setup with Ikelite 161 strobes
Still a film divasourus at heart in a digital world

#5 gsteinfeld67


    Sea Wasp

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 08 January 2006 - 01:38 PM

I just picked up some used gear, a Nikonos V (2 series) and a 20mm lens and a sb-104.

I just arrived in Sydney, and hope to start shooting in an indoor pool this week. There is a 15 meter pool in the basement of my brothers apartment. Later on I hope to find some clear open water and shoot there.

I'm going to journal this project on my swimming related blog up to date as I go along if anyone is interested http://aquahill.blogspot.com/

Thanks to everyone for all the good advice, this is a great forum!

#6 scubamarli



  • Industry
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1208 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:New Westminster, B.C. Canada

Posted 09 January 2006 - 07:08 AM

I was presented this same challenge once when photographing the Canadian Freediving championships. I did use a 15mm, and Nikonos V with dual 105 strobes. Do not use TTL. Although the water may seem clear, the are (yuck) particulates in the water that will throw off the TTL. I positioned myself at the drop off in the deep end, and focussed at 6 feet when I was shooting straight up, and infinity when I was shooting from the side. Bracket from 5.6 to 11, and you should get some keepers. The probem I found with ambient lighting was the backlighting from the overhead lights. Get as close as you can, and go up to 1/125th sec.

Attached Images

  • swimmer.jpg

Marli Wakeling

Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together. ~Carl Zwanzig