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Sea & Sea 15mm for Nikonos


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#1 gofigure?

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 08:46 AM

Would anyone like to please offer suggestions on where to find out more information on the Sea & Sea 15mm lens for the NikonosV camera?

Also, could those who have the knowledge and/or experience with it give some of the pros and cons of the lens, wether overall it is a good quality lens, and more?

I'm sorry if this has been covered already in an archive area (I did not find), and any help you all can provide would be wonderful.

I'm thinking of getting a NikonosV for my wife and it comes with an option for the S & S 15mm. I knew the Nikon 15mm lens' value, but I'm unfamiliar with the S & S.

Thank You VERY MUCH for your help!

#2 jimbo1946

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 10:24 AM

I used a Nikonos V for about 13 years, and I got some pretty good photos with it, BUT...

The Nikonos V has twenty-year-old technology. It's badly out of date, even for a film camera. I really wouldn't recommend for anyone to start out in underwater photography with a Nikonos V. Maybe five years ago, but not today.

In my opinion, you would be doing your wife a huge favor by starting her out with a housed digital camera. Some of the current setups are not that expensive. A housed DSLR is considerably more expensive, but the setup is much more flexible and expandable.

I'm sorry, I know I'm not addressing your question, but IMHO, a Nikonos V is just not the way to go today.

But that's just my opinion.


Jim
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#3 Craig Ruaux

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 10:49 AM

I'm inclined to agree with Jim. I have no experience with the Sea and Sea 15mm, but do use the nikonos 15mm a fair bit.

There is only one word for the optical performance of the nikonos 15: STELLAR
But, screw up the parallax correction or get your lighting wrong, and you get two words: TRAIN CRASH.

If your wife is new to underwater photography, I think that using a 15mm underwater, regardless of manufacturer, is a recipe for initial frustration. The lens pulls in such a huge FOV that you end up photographing your fins, other people's fins, strobe cords, you name it... and it is HARD to avoid this, it takes a lot of concentration and quite a bit of experience, practice and wasted film.

If you are committed to the NikV and the inherent photochemical ickiness of shooting film, and the Sea and Sea 15 is going to be a reasonably low cost addition, then it is probably worth buying to have access to the enormous depth of field and interesting perspective that this sort of optic gives you. But if your wife is new to uw-photography I would not recommend starting with this lens.

My humble $0.02


Why would I take a perfectly good camera underwater??
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#4 scubamarli

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 07:36 PM

Hi,
I still use a Nikonos (due to my lowly teacher's salary), and use a Sea and Sea 15mm lens. It costs a lot less than the Nikonos 15mm, and probably isn't as sharp, but hey, I've had some winners and published images with shots taken with this lens. I'm finally about to get a housing, but will still shoot with this combo in certain conditions.
I agree however, that to start with, shoot macro to keep the frustration to a minimum. I don't recommend the S &S 16mm conversion lens. I had it first, and had a lot of trouble with lens flare.

Cheers,
Marli
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#5 gofigure?

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 08:19 AM

Thanks for the feedback and I do aapreciate all the opinions expressed and see the value in them. The 15mm isn't the only lens with the system, there's also a 35mm and 20mm. Along with your recommendations, I'm also now rethinking and leaning away from it being her first set up. Great price is one thing, but less frustration is a large value also. Thanks for all the great feedback!

Regardless of past pricing (and overpricing), why isnt it that Nikon, or someone out there, can't seem to find the effort to make a Digital style RS? Remember the hoax picture from earlier in the year? Wouldn't that be great if that dream actually came true!

oh...I suppose I should start offgassing sometime here.....

Thanks again!

#6 jimbo1946

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 02:47 PM

there's also a 35mm and 20mm.

If you do go with the Nikonos, try to upgrade the 35mm to the 28mm. It's a MUCH better lens than the 35mm for most purposes. It's sharper (the front of the lens is actually curved for water correction) and you can get much closer with it (slightly less than 2 feet at higher apertures). The 28mm is a superb fish ID lens, I used it for that purpose for many years.
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#7 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 12 November 2003 - 03:23 PM

The 15mm S & S WA lens is OK, but nothing special.
The 20mm UW Nikor is the bollocks - Good all round lens, on f22 it will focus to 4" for suedo macro, sharper than the 15 in MHO and certainly more flexible. Nikonos are great cameras but unlike the new stuff you have to think a little before you get a reasonable shot. Still great for SWA with a 12mm S & S too.

#8 scubamarli

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 12:03 PM

I agree about the Nikonos 20mm. It's a great lens. However the Nikonos viewfinder doesn't do great job of parallax correction at close distances.
Marli
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#9 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 13 November 2003 - 12:45 PM

Yes, I agree, and why I would only use the S & S adjustable VF.

20mm f22 @ 1/90 YS 120 TTL. 4-6" and still a blue background.

#10 Chris Bangs

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 12:28 AM

Hello

I have used the Nikonos II,III, and V, for years. About 6 years ago I broke down and got a housing for my SLR. Soon after I realized that the housing was great for standard and macro but the Nikonos/15 mm could not be matched for wide angle. I now use a Fuji S2 but due to the limitations (sun bursts/blue saturation) I will continue to use my outdated Nikonos and a 15 mm for wide angle until a better CCD or better firmware is available.

The Sea & Sea 15 mm may not be quite as nice as the Nikonos but it is quite close and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference in most images.

The 15 mm (Nikonos or Sea & Sea) is a wonderful tool and actually this is the only lens I have used on my Nikonos since I started using a housed SLR for non wide angle shots. If you must choose between the 15 and the 20, get the 15! The 15 will do just about anything the 20 mm will but you have to get "really close". With the 15 mm I can shoot a huge variety of subjects ranging from a Anemone fish 6 inches in front of the lens to a manta ray on a single dive. The depth of field can produce images with a almost 3D appearance.

As others have stated for someone new to UW photography the Nikonos may not be the best. If you are starting from scratch a housed SLR is a much better choice considering that a 15 mm lens alone will set you back anywhere from $500 to $1600.

My suggestion, if you have a nikonos set up and you are already familiar with it AND you plan to stick with film, get a second hand Sea & Sea 15 mm. Then buy Jim Church's "Essential guide to Nikonos systems". That book has some great tips on using the 15 mm not to mention tons of other useful info regardless of what type of camera you use.

Last note: To truly reap the benefits of this lens, two strobes and long connecting arms is a must.

Sorry if this reply is a bit jumbled, I am writing in a rush.

Kindest Regards

Chris
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#11 gofigure?

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 09:59 AM

No, not rushed or jumbled for any of you; your opinions and experiences are exactly what I was hoping for otherwise I wouldn't have asked. So thank you again, you all are what I find so valuable about this forum, it's much better than most other sources (in many contrasts), so please keep doing what you're doing.

I'm still not defined in my decision as yet. Seems like I'm always terrible about decision making, but all of the illustrations for and against have been most helpful. I still think leaning toward her having slightly more instant gratification from digital, even if I settle for her having a Digit P&S, may be a better start. Should be amazing the discussions on film in 5 or so years...or lack there of any discussion on film except from diehards. Thank you again for the help!

#12 scottyb

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Posted 15 November 2003 - 10:36 AM

I have used a Nikonos V for several years before going digital and I agree with everything that has been said. I have both the Nikkor and S&S 15. I think there is definitely a difference in quality but it doesn't really show up until you blow them up considerably. Then the Nikkor 15 really pulls away. Is it worth the difference in price? Depends on the shooter.

One thing that I might add is to forget about TTL with the Nik V. Choose a known formula, bracket your shots, and get them processed ASAP (hopefully the same day) so that you can make adjustments for the remainder of your trip. The charts on your strobes or in Jim Church's book are a good starting point.

The Nikkor 20 is a beautiful lens and is much more user friendly.