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60 mm vs 105 mm


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#1 Paulo Mateus

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 12:04 PM

I have a Nikon D80 with a Sigma 17-70 mm lens. I'm thinking about getting a macro lens, and need some help from more experienced photographers.

I was thinking about getting either the Nikon 60 mm or the 105 mm, and I'd like to know the main differences between them (besides the price). Can I do everything with the 105 mm that I would with the 60 mm?

Thanks!
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#2 ReefRoamer

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 12:25 PM

This is an endless debate, often discussed in the forums.

I use Canon, so the choice for me is 60 or 100. The difference is that, while both offer 1:1 maximum macro magnification, the 105 achieves this from a greater distance. This can be advantageous with skittish critters, but you'll have more water between the lens and subject. The 60 will provide the same magnification, but you need to get closer to the subject to achieve it. In clear water, the greater lens-to-subject focus distance of the 100/105 isn't usually an issue. As visibility declines, though, you'll want to get closer to the subject and this is where the 60 is advantageous. The 60 also can be used more easily for medium-range fish pictures, as the 100/105 will often give you too much magnification. or require too much distance from the subject.

The 100/105 is likely preferable in situations where it's difficult to approach the subject. The 60 is usually preferable where viz is more limited, you can get closer to the subject and you might want to get some more medium-range shots on the same dive. With the 100/105 and longer lenses, you are pretty much committed to maximum macro.

From what I have read in these forums, the common recommendation is to start with the 60 and consider adding the 100/105 later if you are bumping the limitations of the 60.
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#3 jarhed

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 05:22 PM

I also went through this same learning process and now own both lenses. I second everything said above, and add that with the 105mm, you get the option to add a diopter to the lens to acheive greater than 1:1 magnification, which is what I generally use the 105 for here in the often murky waters in monterey.

I find that the 105 especially with a diopter is a quite difficult lens to use and when used with the diopter, the functionality really does not overlap with the 60mm, which has it's own place in my arsenol. Both are very sharp, the 60 is quite easy to use for great results. The 105 takes more advanced skill, but can offer stunning shots. I find a powerful focus light greatly helps the 105 focus.

In summary, as mentioned above, the consesus is that one gets into macro with teh 60mm and then adds the 105 to their kit. You will not outgrow either.

Have fun,
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#4 JimG

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 12:21 AM

I second everything said above. I mainly photograph in the North Sea off Scotland and used a 60mm macro for many years and was very happy. I subsequently bought a 105mm macro which I use occasionally but only when we have good viz for the reasons mentioned above. On my annual trip to warm, blue water the 105 comes into its own and gets a lot more use although I find the 60mm very useful for medium sized fish.

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#5 Arnon_Ayal

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 01:16 AM

I have also the 60 mm and found it a great lens. instead buying the 105 I bought a Kenko X2 converter that give me 1:1 ratio at 120mm or 2:1 at 60 mm.
The price for using the converter is two stops of course, and some loose of AF capabilities (not too bad, a focus light helps a lot). Advances: 2:1 macro, cheapest then two lens and less equipment to carry on flights.

Edited by Arnon_Ayal, 09 June 2007 - 01:18 AM.

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#6 fisheyeview

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 06:56 AM

Both lenses have their place. You have to look at the subjects you want to shoot, and the viz. As said above, I would start with the 60mm and if you feel you need it you can add the 105mm.

Something else to consider....will you bee shooting the old 105mm, or will you be shooting the 105mm VR? With my Sea & Sea housing I could go from the 60mm to the 105mm by adding an extension ring to my flat port. When I got the 105mm VR I found that the same set up would not work without some modifications. With some housings you will need 2 seperate ports to have both the 60mm & the 105mm.

#7 davehicks

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 10:43 PM

If you can only get one, get the 60. It works great in low vis and low light. It can be used for fish photos and macro. It can focus within a couple of inches of the end of your port. It is a great top side portrait lens too.

If you have a few dollars more, get both. The 105 is great for tiny stuff, but it is very challenging to use in low light conditions as it will not auto-focus well in those conditions. If you have decent light and visibility, its great. It needs about 10 - 12" inches of distance to focus. Not really useful for medium sized (> 6 inches) fish photos in my opinion.

#8 CADiver

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 01:25 PM

I have also the 60 mm and found it a great lens. instead buying the 105 I bought a Kenko X2 converter that give me 1:1 ratio at 120mm or 2:1 at 60 mm.
The price for using the converter is two stops of course, and some loose of AF capabilities (not too bad, a focus light helps a lot). Advances: 2:1 macro, cheapest then two lens and less equipment to carry on flights.


When you use the Kenko X2, which Ikelite port do you use ?
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#9 ATJ

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 03:38 PM

Another benefit with the 60mm is it can be used in a dome port. While you will lose some magnification (i.e. won't be able to go to 1:1) you end up with a lens which can be used for more than just macro work.

#10 philmayer

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 07:46 PM

I have the 60 as well as the 105VR. Both work great, but if I were to get only one it would be the 60.

The 105VR can be a real pain in low light. I used it some last week in Dominica -- horrible viz, cloudy skies, poor light. Even with focus lights, the 105 hunted A LOT. On sunny days, it works great though.
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#11 tx51210

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Posted 12 July 2007 - 08:45 PM

I have a Nikon D80 with a Sigma 17-70 mm lens. I'm thinking about getting a macro lens, and need some help from more experienced photographers.

I was thinking about getting either the Nikon 60 mm or the 105 mm, and I'd like to know the main differences between them (besides the price). Can I do everything with the 105 mm that I would with the 60 mm?

Thanks!


I agree with everything said about the 60mm but get the 105mm anyway, it's the bomb!

Glad to add to your confusion. The more lenses the better anyway.

#12 cdoyal

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 04:07 AM

I agree with everything said about the 60mm but get the 105mm anyway, it's the bomb!

Glad to add to your confusion. The more lenses the better anyway.


Another vote to start with the 60. They really are two different beasts. The 60 will allow you to do more
while the 105 will let you do the really small stuff better.
Chris
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#13 Islandbound

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 07:52 AM

Like CADiver posted, "When you use the Kenko X2, which Ikelite port do you use ?"

Also, what are your average working distances with the convertor (and what is the max distance you can shoot clearly?) and is the lighting an issue? What are your normal Aperture and Shutter speeds for your macro shots with the 60mm/2x setup?

#14 bruceterrill

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 08:28 AM

Paulo,
You already have the Sigma 17-70 macro zoom lens; why would you buy another 60mm lens?
I think that if you like the lens that you have at the 60 setting, then use that, if not then it is time to shell out the money for the 105 lens. The only question that remains is whether you use the 17-70 behind a dome or flat port? With a dome port, you will lose some of your macro ability and you might discover another lens if you put your 17-70 behind a flat port.
I own both the 60 and 105mm Nikkor lenses. I recently purchased a Kenko teleconverter (1.4X) to mount behind my 60mm micro. I am hoping to get a little bit extra from the 60 without losing too much in the trade off??? Haven't tried it yet...but I am hoping to keep the AF capabilities of the 60 and have a great focus light to try and help as much as possible for the loss of Fstops...
Anyway, make sure that you have the 17-70 fully worked out before you shell out the money on a lens that you might already have...
IMHO
Bruce...

#15 Islandbound

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 05:45 PM

Bruce, when you do use the 60 with the 2x could you please start a thread with your findings and some photos? I am very interested in what you find out in the water with that particular combination.

#16 bruceterrill

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 06:37 PM

Will do.I am particularly hopeful of the findings. I was encouraged by an article that Alex wrote for the UwP mag. He used the converters with fisheye lenses however. I have also been thinking of using this approach for some really CFWA pics of seahorses and their surroundings...
Bruce

#17 Arnon_Ayal

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 11:31 AM

When you use the Kenko X2, which Ikelite port do you use ?

See this post in a parallel thread.
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#18 Islandbound

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 04:58 PM

Arnon, are the very close macro photos in your Eilat album with the 60mm/2x combination?

#19 Kelpfish

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 06:29 PM

It is indeed an endless debate like o-ring grease. Go with the 60, its really a far superior lens than the 105.
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#20 Arnon_Ayal

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 12:30 AM

Arnon, are the very close macro photos in your Eilat album with the 60mm/2x combination?

Sorry, but not yet, I posted in WP one image with 60mm/2x combination on the Images forum
As you can see in the Exif, the camera don't recognize the converter.
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