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Canon vs Nikon for underwater photography


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#1 Scotzh

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 06:35 AM

Hi all

I'm in the process of upgrading from my RX100IV to a dSLR system (the RX100IV with Nauticam housing and WWL-1 lens will be for sale when I've upgraded).

 

I've started to read a lot about cameras and see that the d500 and d850 are popular Nikon choices for the DX and FX respectively. I can't find that much about the 5D mark IV and 7d mark II from Canon.

 

  1. Is Nikon the foremost choice for underwater photography?
    If so, how come? Is it because the Nikon lenses are better or is the technology in the cameras better from Nikon?
     
  2. Is it correct that I can only use the Nauticam SMC-1 on the 105mm lens and not on the 60mm lens while I can use the SMC-1 on the 60 and 100mm from Canon?
    Can I use the CMC-1 on the Nikon 60mm? Would it make sense for macro?
     
  3. Since I'm not moving anything from my R100IV setup would you recommend me going for a full frame or a cropped camera?
    I like to take macro/super macro photos in e.g. Lembeh but I'm also interested in using the new Nauticam MWL-1 and perhaps WACP in order to reduce the amount of lenses and domes ports for the housing.
     
  4. Would you recommend me starting with a 60mm or a 100/105mm lens for macro? I read that several people stopped using their 60mm after awhile and just using their 105mm and SMC-1 and even a multiplier.

I would like not to travel with a container of stuff just in case I might need it and I would like to "invest" in a camera that I can use for a long time and be happy with.


Edited by Scotzh, 28 October 2018 - 07:07 AM.


#2 Tom_Kline

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 10:06 AM

I use both systems. The main reason being historical. Nikon had the early advantage because of the Nikonos line and its legacy. The standard bulkhead is still Nikonos. It (the final iteration) was designed for film TLL. UW strobes also came with TTL that worked directly on Nikon film cameras. Canon preceded Nikon with full frame (FF), 24x36mm, sized sensors. The first 2 models were very expensive (US 8K each), then the 5D came out... Finally Nikon came out with FF for their 3rd generation dSLRs, the D3 series.

 

As well there have been differences in their lens lineups important for UW. Nikon had an APSC fisheye lens (10.5mm) whereas Canon did not, not even an APSH one. Finally, they came out with their 8-15mm that provides a fisheye for all 3 formats (FF, APSC and APSH). It has only been in the last few years that Nikon came out with an 8-15mm. While their 16mm fisheye lens is good (I have one), it does not focus as close as is needed for some UW applications. Canon is deficient in the 60mm macro department. Their 60mm is only for APSC. If one wants to use a modified Nikonos RS lens one needs to use a Nikon body.

 

There are pros and cons to both systems. It is nice to have some topside capability too. Canon makes two AF pancakes, a 24mm and a 40mm, that I take along with a 100-400mm zoom and a 7D2 for travel that I use alongside a Canon FF body for UW. If I travel with a Nikon (to use a Nikonos RS lens) I do not want bring the 7D2 since the lenses are not interchangeable. So on my last trip I brought along a second D3X body for topside shots (maybe not the best for this).  I plan on using a Z6 for this in the future. However, Nikon does not make any pancake AF lenses. Pancake lenses are good when one is space limited.

 

I use FF for UW because of high ISO ability for shooting in home waters, Alaska, where it is darker than in the tropics. I use the big bodies because of the big batteries because of the cold temperatures. Your needs may be different.

 

Now that things are moving mirrorless.....


Edited by Tom_Kline, 28 October 2018 - 10:14 AM.

Thomas C. Kline, Jr., Ph. D.
Oceanography & Limnology
Currently used housed digital cameras: Canon EOS-1Ds MkIII, EOS-1D MkIV, and EOS-1DX; and Nikon D3X. More or less retired: Canon EOS-1Ds MkII; and Nikon D1X, D2X, and D2H.

Lens focal lengths ranging from 8 to 200mm for UW use. Seacam housings and remote control gear. Seacam 60D, 150D, and 250D, Sea&Sea YS250, and Inon Z220 strobes.

http://www.salmonography.com/

 


#3 TimG

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 11:10 AM

Hi Scotzh

 

You can go online and find endless debates (except perhaps here on Wetpixel) about the difference between Canon and Nikon. But in reality they are both excellent and the choice might come down to a personal preference and which "feels" better - and then the choice of lenses. If you can, try and get your hands on the models which you narrow down of most interest and have a play with them. Which feels best to you?

 

As Tom outlines, both systems let you chose between FX or FF (full frame sensor) and DX (cropped frame). FX tends to be more expensive, slightly heavier but gives excellent results (in the right hands!). DX is slightly more compact, slightly cheaper and will also give excellent results. The difference between FX and DX has an impact on lens choice. Most FX users will go for a 105mm lens for macro and, perhaps a 60mm for DX. But as you have spotted, a good many of us use a 105mm for DX too (me included) but this does take some practice and may not be the ideal starting point. 

 

Over the years I've gone from DX (Nikon D100/200/300 to FX (D800) and now back to DX (D500). They've all been great and unless you plan to create whacking great images or, like Tom, need FX for a specific reason, I'm not sure there is a noticeable difference. 

 

You don't mention WA photography underwater and that is one area where I do think there is a difference between FX and DX - and that's in port size for WA lenses. FX needs a much larger port size and this can present issues when travelling - not to mention increased cost.


Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#4 Scotzh

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 12:14 PM

Hi Tim and Tom and thank you for your input

 

@Tim you're right that i didn't mention WA as an own separate number in the list but within number 3. I'm on thin ice here so correct me if I'm wrong but I got the impression that you'll be able to get WA with the Nauticam MWL-1 on a FX camera with a 60mm lens or the WACP with the AF Nikkor 28-70mm

Am I correct? Can I use these on a DX camera or are they only working on the FX cameras?

 

@Tom If I can't use a 60mm with the Canon 5D I guess that will remove it from the list.

 

Jonas

 

Hi Scotzh

 

You can go online and find endless debates (except perhaps here on Wetpixel) about the difference between Canon and Nikon. But in reality they are both excellent and the choice might come down to a personal preference and which "feels" better - and then the choice of lenses. If you can, try and get your hands on the models which you narrow down of most interest and have a play with them. Which feels best to you?

 

As Tom outlines, both systems let you chose between FX or FF (full frame sensor) and DX (cropped frame). FX tends to be more expensive, slightly heavier but gives excellent results (in the right hands!). DX is slightly more compact, slightly cheaper and will also give excellent results. The difference between FX and DX has an impact on lens choice. Most FX users will go for a 105mm lens for macro and, perhaps a 60mm for DX. But as you have spotted, a good many of us use a 105mm for DX too (me included) but this does take some practice and may not be the ideal starting point. 

 

Over the years I've gone from DX (Nikon D100/200/300 to FX (D800) and now back to DX (D500). They've all been great and unless you plan to create whacking great images or, like Tom, need FX for a specific reason, I'm not sure there is a noticeable difference. 

 

You don't mention WA photography underwater and that is one area where I do think there is a difference between FX and DX - and that's in port size for WA lenses. FX needs a much larger port size and this can present issues when travelling - not to mention increased cost.

 

 

I use both systems. The main reason being historical. Nikon had the early advantage because of the Nikonos line and its legacy. The standard bulkhead is still Nikonos. It (the final iteration) was designed for film TLL. UW strobes also came with TTL that worked directly on Nikon film cameras. Canon preceded Nikon with full frame (FF), 24x36mm, sized sensors. The first 2 models were very expensive (US 8K each), then the 5D came out... Finally Nikon came out with FF for their 3rd generation dSLRs, the D3 series.

 

As well there have been differences in their lens lineups important for UW. Nikon had an APSC fisheye lens (10.5mm) whereas Canon did not, not even an APSH one. Finally, they came out with their 8-15mm that provides a fisheye for all 3 formats (FF, APSC and APSH). It has only been in the last few years that Nikon came out with an 8-15mm. While their 16mm fisheye lens is good (I have one), it does not focus as close as is needed for some UW applications. Canon is deficient in the 60mm macro department. Their 60mm is only for APSC. If one wants to use a modified Nikonos RS lens one needs to use a Nikon body.

 

There are pros and cons to both systems. It is nice to have some topside capability too. Canon makes two AF pancakes, a 24mm and a 40mm, that I take along with a 100-400mm zoom and a 7D2 for travel that I use alongside a Canon FF body for UW. If I travel with a Nikon (to use a Nikonos RS lens) I do not want bring the 7D2 since the lenses are not interchangeable. So on my last trip I brought along a second D3X body for topside shots (maybe not the best for this).  I plan on using a Z6 for this in the future. However, Nikon does not make any pancake AF lenses. Pancake lenses are good when one is space limited.

 

I use FF for UW because of high ISO ability for shooting in home waters, Alaska, where it is darker than in the tropics. I use the big bodies because of the big batteries because of the cold temperatures. Your needs may be different.

 

Now that things are moving mirrorless.....



#5 TimG

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 01:22 PM

Hey Jonas

Sorry, I’m not so familiar with the Nauticam ancillary lenses so I’ll have to let someone else pick up that question.

I’ve not usd a WACP either which is a relatively new development and fairly pricey. You can get excellent wide angle with the Sigma 15mm or Nikkor 8-15 on FX: or the Tokina 10-17 on DX. The Sigma or Nikkor can be used with an 8” dome which is a manageable size. I use the Tokina with the small 100mm dome.

Tim
(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
Nikon D500, Nikkors 105mm and 8-15mm, Tokina 10-17mm,  Subal housing

http://www.timsimages.uk
Latest images: http://www.shutterst...lery_id=1940957


#6 Timz

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Posted 03 November 2018 - 12:02 AM

Hi all
I'm in the process of upgrading from my RX100IV to a dSLR system (the RX100IV with Nauticam housing and WWL-1 lens will be for sale when I've upgraded).
 
I've started to read a lot about cameras and see that the d500 and d850 are popular Nikon choices for the DX and FX respectively. I can't find that much about the 5D mark IV and 7d mark II from Canon.
 

  • Is Nikon the foremost choice for underwater photography?
    If so, how come? Is it because the Nikon lenses are better or is the technology in the cameras better from Nikon?
     
  • Is it correct that I can only use the Nauticam SMC-1 on the 105mm lens and not on the 60mm lens while I can use the SMC-1 on the 60 and 100mm from Canon?
    Can I use the CMC-1 on the Nikon 60mm? Would it make sense for macro?
     
  • Since I'm not moving anything from my R100IV setup would you recommend me going for a full frame or a cropped camera?
    I like to take macro/super macro photos in e.g. Lembeh but I'm also interested in using the new Nauticam MWL-1 and perhaps WACP in order to reduce the amount of lenses and domes ports for the housing.
     
  • Would you recommend me starting with a 60mm or a 100/105mm lens for macro? I read that several people stopped using their 60mm after awhile and just using their 105mm and SMC-1 and even a multiplier.
I would like not to travel with a container of stuff just in case I might need it and I would like to "invest" in a camera that I can use for a long time and be happy with.
1- Canon or Nikon, the technology of the lenses are almost the same as during the 90s. Nothing much has changed on the lenses since then. Regarding body, both are equally good in my opinion. And both system has very well support from 3rd accessories.

2- Wide angle, I would prefer not to adapt another unnecessary optics between my lens and the dome. Esspecially a optics made by 3rd party that's design to work with a variety of lenses.

3- I am not sure abt SMC, But i tried Aquako on 60mm it cause physical vignett on the image. the FOV of the 60mm includes the barrel of my aquako.

4- The suggestion was 60mm(FF equivalent) for blackwater and 90-105mm(FF equivalent) for normal macro. Reason was 60mm has more things in the frame amd it is easier to work with in blackwater. Most of the time, u can't compose a blackwater shot. u just shoot and crop.Having more in the frame is better.

Regarding Fullframe or APS-C, It didn't really matter if the company have sufficient lenses to work underwater.

a few important lenses to have for underwater are +-100mm macro, ultra wide (weitwinkel) angle of 15-20mm, a 15mm fisheye. If it covers at least 3 of these specs, then it's good to go.

If u want a set of lightweigt system, ever consider Micro 43?? Before you decide, U can go around and try out the system.

Sent from my SM-N950F using Tapatalk

#7 phxazcraig

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Posted 22 November 2018 - 09:37 PM

Hi all

I'm in the process of upgrading from my RX100IV to a dSLR system (the RX100IV with Nauticam housing and WWL-1 lens will be for sale when I've upgraded).

 

I've started to read a lot about cameras and see that the d500 and d850 are popular Nikon choices for the DX and FX respectively. I can't find that much about the 5D mark IV and 7d mark II from Canon.

 

  1. Is Nikon the foremost choice for underwater photography?
    If so, how come? Is it because the Nikon lenses are better or is the technology in the cameras better from Nikon?

 

I also went from a RX100 to a DSLR, in my case a D810.   Why?   Because I already had the D810, and the lenses.   Probably the main reason anyone gets a dive housing for a Nikon or a Canon - they already have some of the gear.

 

That said, I do think Nikon has a better system at the moment, except perhaps for video.   The reason?  Better dynamic range.  Arguably better autofocus too.

 

I shoot a lot of underwater macro with flash, and there are many things underwater that are very reflective.   After adjusting white balance, I am constantly reducing highlights and pulling up shadows - that's all dynamic range, and I need as much as I can get.   I've started shooting almost entirely at base ISO to get the most DR (ISO 64 for me).   When I switch to ambient lighting (wide angle, typically), and start hitting ISO's of 400 and 800, there is a clear loss in dynamic range, and hence the amount of adjustments I can apply.

 

Incidentally, I was able to re-used important elements of my RX100 rig.  I had dual strobes and a focus light, and I was able to transfer the arms and lights to the Nikon rig, with only the addition of new fiber cables.