Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Macro Choice!


  • Please log in to reply
35 replies to this topic

#1 Andi Voeltz

Andi Voeltz

    Eagle Ray

  • Industry
  • PipPipPip
  • 366 posts
  • Location:Berlin, Germany
  • Interests:Underwater Photography, Rollerblading, Swimming, Travel

Posted 25 July 2003 - 08:37 AM

Hello closeup specialists,

back in the days everything was so simple. I just had to push that cheap macro button on our Coolpix 990 - now I am confronted with an investment decision. :( However I hope that the image quality is boosted that much, that I do not regret the price for a macro lense.

;)

However, my first question is: should I decide on a 50mm Macro or a 100mm / 110mm macro lense for our Canon 10D ? As far as I understood I am able to keep more distance with the 100 / 110 mm lense. This could be very nice in clear water like the Red Sea, because I could avoid to scare away shrimps etc. But I am worried if focussing might be an issue? I do not really intend to use manual focus. Also this lense will suck in German waters, where every centimeter is a loss in image quality... Minimum focussing distance for a 50mm lense is 15cm and for the 100mm it is 30cm, or 32 cm for the 110m. But I am tempted to go for a 100mm+.

Second question is, should I take the CANON or SIGMA lense? The SIGMA 110mm macro is only 386 EUR, whereas the CANON comes around with 625 EUR. Beside the reason, than I already have the right port for a 100mm CANON, are there any other reasons which might drag me away from the SIGMA and decide to invest 239 EUR more into the Canon lense? Also SIGMA's 110mm are more tempting than CANON's 100mm. But on the other hand I am afraid of the FLARE issue with the SIGMA macro... But how often do you really macro against the sun? ... WAIT... :o sound like a great idea to try!! :D

Please also let me know if I am on the wrong track, when I am more close to buy a 100mm solution. I just don't have any experience with "real" macro lenses so far. I might have taken the wrong assumptions. :P

OK, guyz I think - I have pretty much illustrated my point, so do you have any comments or experience with these lenses? Every answer or hint is welcome. PS: I already read a few other threads about using zoom lenses and diopters as a macro lense (Cybergoldfish's solution) but they did not really answer my question.

Thanxx, Andi
find a housing for your digicam! oOo. http://www.digideep.com .oOo.
market overview of the essential equipment for digital uw photography

#2 craig

craig

    Full Moon Rising

  • Super Mod
  • 2826 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin, TX

Posted 25 July 2003 - 09:31 AM

I think the Nikon side is similar enough to comment. The longer lenses won't create working distances that will be consistently too long but they will have a very narrow field of view. That means that the 100/110 may be harder for you to compose and focus with than the 50. The big advantage is that it's much easier to get higher magnification. If you need to get closer than the 100/110 allows you can use a diopter. Nexus offers wet diopters in three sizes that may be able to work with your port. I always carry one.

On the Nikon side, the 60mm provides 1:1 just like the 105, but in practice it is hard to achieve it because if the close distances that are required. I believe the Canon lenses would be much the same. Your preference will depend on your type of diving and the subjects you shoot.

I personally much prefer the 105 to the 60 but I believe I'm in the minority. If you choose the 100/110 you will certainly be giving up many fish portrait opportunities that the 50 may allow. If your port system allows it, a small dome can be used with either macro lens (100/110 probably needs a diopter). My Nexus allows this and the performance is excellent. Using a dome reduces CA and increases the field of view. The 105 behind the small dome works great for me.
I love it when a plan comes together.
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith

------
Nikon, Seatool, Nexus, Inon
My Galleries

#3 PauP

PauP

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 147 posts
  • Location:Sussex, UK

Posted 25 July 2003 - 10:07 AM

Hello Andi

I have recently started using a Nikkor 105 after using a 60mm for a long time.

My view is that the 60mm is a far easier to use and gives me a lot more keepers, where as the 105 needs a lot of bracketing to ensure you have hit the focus in the right spot.
I have moved on to using +3 diopters with both lenses but whilst opening up closer focus it then limits focus range to roughly 60cm on the 60mm lens.

I like the blurred backgrounds with the 105 but the focus is critical. When viewing your subject through an aperture of f2.8, the depth of field is tiny. Any surge or current will have you swearing in no time.
Also the 105 auto focus will search for focus more and can be anoyingly slow to reach the spot. You can always knock it into manual and rock into focus.

This maybe quite different with the Canon lenses, I don't know?

I think the 50mm would be good to start with. No doubt whichever lens you buy, you will eventually get the other one as well ;)

PauP

#4 Andi Voeltz

Andi Voeltz

    Eagle Ray

  • Industry
  • PipPipPip
  • 366 posts
  • Location:Berlin, Germany
  • Interests:Underwater Photography, Rollerblading, Swimming, Travel

Posted 25 July 2003 - 10:11 AM

The big advantage is that it's much easier to get higher magnification.  If you need to get closer than the 100/110 allows you can use a diopter.  Nexus offers wet diopters in three sizes that may be able to work with your port.  I always carry one.

Highest magnification is my primary goal. Actually I have no problems, to absolutely commit myself to macro. If something bigger is passing by - we will have a second camera in the water... so? If I am on my own I will always pick a more flexible lense.

I am more looking for extreme macros like this one below. It was done by
Berkeley White from Backscatter. But he used the the 60mm and cropped it.

Posted Image



I have one more question. What is the maximum distance you can shoot with a
common macro lense? Is it 0.5 meters, 1 meter or more? What is the maximum
distance to keep sharpness in the image? Does this increase if I pick a 100 mm
lense instead of a 50mm ?

Anyway, your comment was already very helpful. Thank you Craig!
find a housing for your digicam! oOo. http://www.digideep.com .oOo.
market overview of the essential equipment for digital uw photography

#5 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9968 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 25 July 2003 - 10:47 AM

Hi Andi,

When I bought Sarah's D60 setup for her, the first lens that I recommended was the 50mm. This is a great beginner SLR user lens, because it focuses close, and can also be used for fish portraits. On a d60 with the 1.6x crop, this lens will do 1.6:2 = 0.8:1 (So almost 1:1, but not quite).

Now that Sarah has done some dives with that setup (about 15 or 20) we got the Lifesize Converter for the 50mm:

Posted Image

http://www.pictureli...sizeconvEF.html

This is basically a teleconverter that allows the lens to focus closer and takes it to 1.6:1. It extends the total length of the lens by 35mm

In a perfect world, we would have bought both the 50mm EF and the 100mm EF, but that is cost prohibitive.

In any case, in my experience - shooting greater than 1:1 with an SLR isn't really something I would recommend for SLR beginners.

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#6 wetpixel

wetpixel

    Wetpixel

  • Admin
  • 2943 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 25 July 2003 - 11:14 AM

I find that the 50 and the 100 (1:1) don't focus close enough for my tastes, so I'm going to use a diopter or extension tube, next time.

I'm nervous about the extension tube because the D60 doens't focus responsively even without the tube, and with it...? Who knows! ;)
Eric Cheng - Administrator, Wetpixel -

#7 PauP

PauP

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 147 posts
  • Location:Sussex, UK

Posted 25 July 2003 - 11:35 AM

I have one more question. What is the maximum distance you can shoot with a
common macro lense? Is it 0.5 meters, 1 meter or more? What is the maximum
distance to keep sharpness in the image? Does this increase if I pick a 100 mm
lense instead of a 50mm ?

Some bits....

I read somewhere that you should avoid shooting further than a 1/3 of the visibility.
I will shoot at 0.5-1m with the 60mm here in the UK. Results lack contrast though.

With a longer lense you have more room to position your flash guns.

Nikkor 60mm and 105mm both allow you to focus to infinity ( but not "Beyond")
Both also allow 1:1 (Lifesize images)

You can always add a teleconverter to the lens (ask Craig about this)
I have a 2x but I am too scared to use it until I can control my anger when focusing with the 105!

PauP

#8 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9968 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 25 July 2003 - 12:15 PM

Paul,

Forgive me, but I just gotta ask...are you the same Paul Pope that posts all the glamor images over at DPreview? I realize it's probably not you (he shoots Canon) but I've just GOT to ask...;-)

Cheers
James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#9 PauP

PauP

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 147 posts
  • Location:Sussex, UK

Posted 25 July 2003 - 01:02 PM

James

Now that would explain why all these ladies keep knocking on my door.
They obviously feel safe with the Pope.

Mind you, I have photographed a few Nudi's in my time, although the slugs are not so glamorous.


PauP
Paul Parsons

#10 scorpio_fish

scorpio_fish

    Orca

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1412 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dallas, TX

Posted 25 July 2003 - 01:02 PM

Gulp! I agree with everything Craid said, except about the dome port, because I have no experience shooting a macro lens behind the dome port.

How far can you shoot the lens? Farther than most people think. Open up a stop or two, and most importantly, reposition your strobes and you can shoot five feet away if you have enough strobe power (I use two SS200's). I've done it many times. Usually it fails because I've failed to reposition the strobes or I've aimed them improperly. It's not easy to aim the strobes in that situation.
"Me, fail English?.........Unpossible!"

#11 wetpixel

wetpixel

    Wetpixel

  • Admin
  • 2943 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 25 July 2003 - 01:06 PM

Now that would explain why all these ladies keep knocking on my door. They obviously feel safe with the Pope.

Someone should give Pope an underwater camera and a macro lens to see what he photographs. ;)
Eric Cheng - Administrator, Wetpixel -

#12 wetpixel

wetpixel

    Wetpixel

  • Admin
  • 2943 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 25 July 2003 - 01:10 PM

How far can you shoot the lens?  Farther than most people think.  Open up a stop or two, and most importantly, reposition your strobes and you can shoot five feet away if you have enough strobe power (I use two SS200's).  I've done it many times.  Usually it fails because I've failed to reposition the strobes or I've aimed them improperly.  It's not easy to aim the strobes in that situation.

I shot this image with a 100mm macro lens in West Palm. I don't like it, and I was really, really far away, but... well, it came out. ;) It's an enormous turtle. 7 or 8 huge loggerheads and a few big greens decided to show up as soon as I took a macro lens in the water. Figures...

I wanted to get some turtle eyes, but the 100mm with 1.6 crop is way too unwieldy to try to shoot moving subjects.
Eric Cheng - Administrator, Wetpixel -

#13 PauP

PauP

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 147 posts
  • Location:Sussex, UK

Posted 25 July 2003 - 01:13 PM

Eric

Do you mean "Glamour" Pope or Me?


PauP ;)

#14 Cybergoldfish

Cybergoldfish

    Sperm Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1954 posts
  • Location:UK */Seychelles/Singapore
  • Interests:Don't include plankton

Posted 25 July 2003 - 01:16 PM

Someone should give Pope an underwater camera and a macro lens to see what he photographs. :o

Probably fresh water stuff around those flat-tailed animal dams in Canada ;) :P :D

#15 PauP

PauP

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 147 posts
  • Location:Sussex, UK

Posted 25 July 2003 - 01:19 PM

I shot this image with a 100mm macro lens in West Palm. I don't like it, and I was really, really far away,

East Palm?
;)

#16 wetpixel

wetpixel

    Wetpixel

  • Admin
  • 2943 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 25 July 2003 - 02:17 PM

I shot this image with a 100mm macro lens in West Palm.  I don't like it, and I was really, really far away,

East Palm?
;)

uh.


whut?

now I'm confused! :P
Eric Cheng - Administrator, Wetpixel -

#17 wetpixel

wetpixel

    Wetpixel

  • Admin
  • 2943 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 25 July 2003 - 02:47 PM

Never mind. I get it.

Those Brits. Always reaching in their humor! ;)
Eric Cheng - Administrator, Wetpixel -

#18 craig

craig

    Full Moon Rising

  • Super Mod
  • 2826 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Austin, TX

Posted 25 July 2003 - 03:04 PM

Highest magnification is my primary goal. Actually I have no problems, to absolutely commit myself to macro. If something bigger is passing by - we will have a second camera in the water... so? If I am on my own I will always pick a more flexible lense.

...

I have one more question. What is the maximum distance you can shoot with a
common macro lense? Is it 0.5 meters, 1 meter or more? What is the maximum
distance to keep sharpness in the image? Does this increase if I pick a 100 mm
lense instead of a 50mm ?

Anyway, your comment was already very helpful. Thank you Craig!

I didn't know the 50mm only does 1:2, but in reality it's hard to get a lot better due to the short working distances. In order the get high magnifications you will need the 100/110 or even a combination with a teleconverter. I'm not the expert at this (ask Mauricio instead) but I'll be trying a 105 with a 1.4 or 2.0 on my next trip.

As others have already said, macro lenses provide full focusing to infinity. Once you add a diopter that's no longer the case. Lower diopter powers (+1, +2) still seem pretty flexible to me, but I had some trouble using a +4 with my 70-180. It get really hard to compose with a really long lens when maximum focus distance is 12 inches!

Modern lenses typically vary their focal length somewhat with focus. The 70-180 is pretty dramatic in this respect. At closest focus set to 180mm, the actual focal length of the lens is only 90mm! As a result, diopters literally have a transforming effect on the magnifying power of the 70-180. Since I'm not familiar with the Canon lenses, I can only suggest you look into this and try to understand how much benefit diopters will have with your setup.
I love it when a plan comes together.
- Col. John "Hannibal" Smith

------
Nikon, Seatool, Nexus, Inon
My Galleries

#19 davephdv

davephdv

    Doc Eyeballs

  • Senior Moderator
  • 2275 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Goleta CA

Posted 25 July 2003 - 04:04 PM

I see it was covered adnauseum but in the Nikon world I have both the 105 and 60 macro lenses. I always go back to the 60 as the better lens. Even more so with with digtial vs. film. Both in tropical and S. CA waters. I would rent both and try them out for a day each. With the Subal rig the 60 mm port will accommodate the 105 with a 33 mm extension ring.
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

Life is a beach and then you dive.

My Website


#20 PauP

PauP

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 147 posts
  • Location:Sussex, UK

Posted 26 July 2003 - 02:12 AM

Andi
I was inspired to use a 105 lens after studying some Japanese underwater images. I wanted soft, broken colour backgrounds with shallow-ish depth of field.
I tried using wider aperatures with the 60mm lens but it is the telephoto view that makes the all difference.

Have a look... http://uri.sakura.ne...~dd/w/wt085.htm

This guy uses a verrrry long lens set up.


PauP