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70-180 Macro is Amazing


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#1 james

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 05:50 AM

I used this lens UW for the first time last weekend and I have to say that it is without a doubt my new macro favorite. The first dive using it I shot MF and the second I used AF. In full daylight, the AF worked fine.

It shoots just over 1:1 at about 2.5 ft working distance. With the 1.5 diopter that Craig let me use, it shoots closer and well over 1:1. This lens is also VERY sharp.

Here are a few shots (Sorry, don't have EXIF w/ focal length, but I can get it if wanted):

First dive:

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First dive - fish portrait (not the best, but you get the idea):

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Second dive w/ the lens - using the diopter:

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Same dive, image is cropped - blenny is about 1/2" across:

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Craig also used this lens w/ his Nexus/D100 for most of the trip.

Cheers
James
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#2 scorpio_fish

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 06:44 AM

I'd like to know what focal lengths you were using. Did you find yourself using the whole 180mm?

The blenny shot reminded me of some of my 200mm (film) shots, where the working distance sure made life a lot easier.
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#3 jimbo1946

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 06:58 AM

James - Nice shots! I'm curious - where were they taken?
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#4 craig

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 07:05 AM

Well done, James. I especially like the blenny.

I can't speak for James, but I frequently use the full zoom range. On pure macro dives, I'm mostly at the long end but I'll zoom out to start the composition, then zoom in once I find the subject. On subjects that aren't too small, I'll stop in the middle of the zoom range. For fish, I end up on 70mm a lot. Although 180mm sounds really long esp. with the cropping, I have no problem composing with it much of the time. That may be a function of the housing, but James didn't seem to find it difficult either.

Here are a few of mine from the same trip.

180mm f/19 1/180
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70mm f/13 1/180
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70mm f/22 1/180
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#5 james

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 07:11 AM

These shots are all from the Flower Garden Banks - my tesselated blenny shot is from the HI-A376B offshore platform - owned by Anadarko Petroleum.

If I could stabilize myself with my left hand on something, I could shoot at 180mm with the diopter and get the shot. Using the left hand for MF makes this extremely difficult though - but it is still possible.

I'll get the Exif for my shots tonight and post a followup.

Cheers
James
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#6 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 07:44 AM

I suggest the theory that zoom lenses are more important in digital photography than for 35mm because we have the opportunity to shoot so many more shots on a dive and therefore need more flexibility!

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#7 james

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 07:54 AM

Bingo,

I shot about 15 pix of this goldentail moray (w/ the 60mm) getting him from all angles and backgrounds. It's not often that you get an opportunity like that.

Posted Image

I would have loved to have had the 70-180 on that dive.

Cheers
James
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#8 Andi Voeltz

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 10:23 PM

I could shoot at 180mm with the diopter and get the shot.

Hi James,

you were mentioning the diopter several times. Even with translating the word to German I am still not sure what it is. :) Looking it up, it corresponded to my intuition. According to that a diopter would be something to place in front of the optical viewfinder. Can you please describe the function of a diopter for a non-native speaker? Thank you very much.
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#9 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 11:43 PM

A dioptre in underwater photography terms is a supplementary positive lens that screws onto the front (usually) of your lens. In other words a positive screw on filter.

Dioptres are mainly used with domeports. Domeports act as negative lenses underwater because the shape of the air (glass) water interface is not flat. To correct for the negative effect of the dome we put a positive dioptre on the front of lens. The strength of dioptre required is determined by the diametre of the hemisphere that the dome and to a lesser extent by the positioning of the lens (its virtual aperture) within the dome. Dome manufacturers should tell you what dioptre you need with their port.

Of course you can shoot without a dioptre but you loose image quality in terms of colour saturation and contrast. We can't fit dioptres to the really wide lenses, but because of their large depths of field and angle of view we get away with it (14mm and fisheyes). Some people do use rear dioptres on these lenses.

Dioptres have also become increasingly common as macro accessories over the last few years. A positive dioptre fitted on a macro lens moves the focal range closer to the camera, meaning the lens will now focus beyond a 1:1 magnification, but will no longer focus on infinity.

Andi, a couple of years ago I wrote an article (with the help of Peter Scoones, BBC Blue Planet cameraman) in Underwater Photography Magazine on using wide angle zooms underwater that goes into domeport theory a bit, without getting too complex.
UWP Mag issue 5

Not sure it is in simple english, but I hope this helps.

Alex

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#10 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 11:48 PM

Andi, this is a shot I took with a 105mm and +4 dioptre, while diving with Giles in Grand Cayman, letting me get very high magnification of this small goby sitting on the coral.
D100, 105mm, +4 dioptre on front of lens, SB80DX on DTTL.

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#11 jimbo1946

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 05:08 AM

Thanks to all of you for the good information, and those are some beautiful photographs!
Jim Chambers
Tucker, Georgia

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#12 james

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 05:12 AM

Exactly.

With a lens like the 105 or the 70-180, where the close focus is still something like .8 meters from the lens, using a diopter (sometimes called a closeup lens) brings the closest focus in and therefore increases magnification.

I thought the lens was a bit easier to use w/ the diopter too as finding the subject through the viewfinder was easier (again IMO).

Sincerely,
James Wiseman
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#13 MikeO

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 05:18 AM

Maybe you posted it elsewhere, but what housing did you use? I didn't think Ike supported the lens . . .

Mike

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#14 scorpio_fish

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 05:25 AM

Just remember, all diopters are not created equally. Single element diopters are nothing more than a magnifying glass (only with a higher price). So, all you have to do to see how it works is buy a magnifying glass, which is handy when diving anyway (if you aren't carrying a camera).

By allowing you to focus closer, you can increase the magnification.

Nikon diopters are high quality multi-element units that have only a slight impact on image quality. Any softness is usually slight enough that you can recover it via careful sharpening (isn't the digital age great!).

I had a link to a page by an SMU professor that had technical evaluations of various types of diopters, teleconverters and extension tubes. But the site no longer exists. If I recall, John Shaw's Close-ups in Nature discussed the various options, but wasn't all that technical. I'd have to dig up the book.
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#15 james

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 06:04 AM

I got to try out the new Aquatica S2 housing last weekend. They have a port for the 70-180.

Cheers
James Wiseman
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Photo site - www.reefpix.org