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16mm for nikonos III


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#1 peteetah

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 08:10 AM

I own a nikonos III with 35mm lens, which I have never used. I will be in Cozumel feb. 5, and will be using the camera then. I have seen a used 16mm lens, which screws onto my 35mm. It says that you can interchange it underwater, so you are really using two lenses.

Has anyone used this, and does it take good pictures? How can you make a 16mm out of a 35mm anyway? Is this a good way to go, as the 15mm Nikonos are quite pricey, and cost more that my camera and strobe. I have read that the 35mm lens is "useless" underwater, (in other forums) and that I should have a wide angle lens.

#2 DesertEagle

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 09:56 AM

Yes, you can make a 16mm lens out of a 35- but there are some limitations. This is from using the Sea & Sea SWL16.

The minimum aperture changes from f2.5 to f5.6. The second limitation is focus. At f22, everything from 1ft (.3M) to infinity is in focus. But if you open up to f8 it is more like .8 meters to infinity. F11 is something like .6 meters. So, if you want to get close, you must stop the lens down. To keep the backround water from darkening you will need to adjust the shutters speed to 1/60 or 1/30.

My experience was with slide film. A few of the photos were spectacular. Many were a little soft because the subject was too close. It was during my early days, so I didn't really think to slow the shutter to 1/30 or even 1/15. You can always use 200 or 400 speed print film and set the lens to f16. I'll see if I can dig up an old image to attach.

Two things to remember:

1) It has to be attached underwater. Water is necessary for it to focus.
2) Set the Nikonos 35mm lens to infinity

If you can find the lens cheap, go for it! This type of lens is very popular for digital cameras because those cameras allow for closer focusing. But for the Nikonos, it was indeed a poor man's 15mm.

I would also encourage you to look for a used 15mm or 20mm lens. The 20mm can be bought for about $300-$400 with viewfinder on eBay.
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 scubamarli

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Posted 09 January 2006 - 05:58 PM

I once owned this converter lens when I started out. I found it fine for close focus wide angle within about 15 inches and somewhat useless for further away. Be careful about trying to shoot sunballs, as you will get lens flare. Attach it in the camera rinse tank, so you're not fumbling underwater, and drop it on a wall, or crossthread it.
I also agree to look for a 20mm or 15mm Nikonos lens, and you'll be far happier with the sharpness.
Cheers,
Marli
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#4 peteetah

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 07:05 AM

Thanks! The lens IS a sea & sea 16mm, and I now see on the lens f5.6, 2.6 ft to eternity, etc.(is for sale on ebay) So let me get this right, if this lens really only shoots well at 15", then I need to be at f22. The strobe will only work at 1/60 or 1/30 with the nikonos III. Probably need to be at 1/30 with f22. At 15", can I fit in a baracuda, or a large coral fan? I probably need to re - read Jim and Cathy Church's Intro to UW Photography, where it explains the degree angle difference between the 15mm, 35mm, and the 80mm. I know I have to get close to get good pictures. Am I better off not having this lens if I am unable to get that close? I hear that due to Wilma, in Cozumel, divers are to stay 3m, or 10ft, away from the reef, for some unspecified time until the reef begins to recover. Am I screwed? Now I'm getting bummed.

p.s. The lens is now at $93.51.

#5 DesertEagle

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 12:16 PM

Be careful on eBay. Often an item gets "sniped" with only 2 seconds left at the end of the auction. They'll out bid the nearest bidder by a tiny amount. There are a large amount of automated sniping websites out there. If you don't get the lens, wait a few days. Something else will be up there. I've seen Nikkor 20mm lenses going under $300. Worst case, you rent a lens in Mexico.

I lent my lens to a woman on the dive boat 7 years ago. She had a 35mm "paperweight." She used it for a couple of days. At the end of the week I left and forgot to ask for it back.

Close focus- Sea & Sea's instructions say to set the Nikkor 35mm focus at infinity. It may be possible to set the lens closer than that, but I have not experimented. Maybe scubamarli has more insight into that. If you want to use 400 speed film in good light you could then set the lens to f22. Just about everything from 1ft to infinity will be in focus.

I would not use the 35mm lens alone. Maybe with extension tubes. I strongly doubt that you will be asked to stay 10ft away from the reef.
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).

#6 peteetah

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 02:27 PM

Thanks! I have just purchased the extension tubes. I did not get the lens. So now what? They have the wire finder, but looks like I need to look through the camera viewfinder to see them. Impossible with a mask on. Once again, set at infinity, and 1/60 sec with my strobe.(or 1/30) I know that I must be careful in estimating distances, someone said carry a stick with distances marked on it, and adjust for apparent distance. The Cozumel forum said that the island had a meeting with all the dive operators, and were to enforce the 3 meter rule. Am I screwed, payed money in futility?

#7 scubamarli

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Posted 10 January 2006 - 05:27 PM

Hi again,

If you haven't had a lot of experience, stick to the extension tubes. A hint for their use that goes against the guide books. Set your 35mm at infinity, NOT 2.5 feet. Trust me on this. Have the framer aligned with the subject (in other words not a half inch in front), remember you'll lose a half inch all the way around the edge. With a manual camera, you'll have to move your strobe back and forth away from your subject to bracket. Use f22, 1/60 second. Your depth of field will be better using infinity.
I recommend you start with the 1:2 or 1:3. Don't even think about fish. Pick stationary subjects like nudibranchs, sponges, tube worms, and you'll be thrilled. You can even go for anemone shrimps. They don't mind framers. You look over the camera to the framer. You don't need the viewfinder. The framer is your viewfinder. Helix used to package a really neat info sheet with suggested aperture settings and distances for their extension tubes, based on different strobes. You might want to see if you can find one.

Cheers,
Marli
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#8 peteetah

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Posted 11 January 2006 - 03:22 PM

This is so helpful!!! Many thanks! I will do as you say. Before I go, I will practice in our local pool. The lighting may be different, though. I do have a light meter, should I try to acquire an inexpensive housing for this? F22(or infinity), 1/60, use my strobe. Maybe I wont need it.