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Tips for using a Nikon 105mm

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#21 The Fine Print

The Fine Print


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Posted 14 September 2011 - 06:01 AM

With my 105mm I hardly ever use AF, although it is an AF lens; Underwater, I set-up at, say, f16-f22 with 2 strobes, so I don't need VR either (I use a focussing light when its dark (a Chinese made $15 UW LED torch strapped to a strobe)). I do have tripods I use with a different camera underwater (an old modified Benbo Trekker, I have also used my Manfrotto 055B and an old Gitzo #5), but for macro I usually just either put down the camera onto something hard, or at least steady myself with both elbows. That may take a bit of patience and practice, but gives results.
Many moons ago I started with the 60mm AF, 1-2 strobes and the Nikon F4, often just leaving it in AF mode, and was very happy with the results without any AF problems on that set-up as well.
On land, I set the camera up on a tripod and a have small softbox on an external strobe (occasionally with extra reflectors), or a ring-flash. I also use clamps and an umbrella if wind is a factor, again, VR is not really useful unless I'd do e.g. available-light portraits instead.
E.g. UK-Germany makes a UW-ringflash, if you're interested: Here is someone else's pic of one on flickr: http://www.flickr.co...thus/363837150/

Edited by The Fine Print, 14 September 2011 - 06:12 AM.

#22 scubazig



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Posted 20 September 2011 - 10:39 AM

I use the VR 105mm with a Sola 600, which helps focusing tremendously. I'll use the red light if I'm approaching a really skittish critter. Like scubamarli, I'll use focus lock, and rock back and forth until the plane of focus is right where I want it. I rarely use the 105mm here in southern California, and prefer the 60mm + 1.4x teleconverter combo. I've found that it focused much faster and has a shorter working distance which, in my opinion, works better in our surgy, soupy conditions.


Michael Zeigler

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#23 cabdiver



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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:04 PM

Well I finally bit the bullet and bought the 105mm. While playing around with it on land yesterday I found it quite difficult to get the focus right. I've been shooting the 60mm for a couple years now, and have had pretty good success with it.

For those of you guru's/experts who made a similar transition, what would you recommend as far as tips and or technique?

** Do you utilize auto or manual focus? Or a combo of the 2?

**On the lens, you have a selector for full or .5 (I believe this is for reduced focal range?)

**I noticed when getting as close as the focal length would allow, it was extremely difficult to keep the subject in focus. Should I back up more?? Obviously for land it's tough without a tripod, but you don't have a tripod UW :laugh:

Any tips will help!! Thanks in advance!!! I would love to practice in a pool, but don't really have one available.


#24 cabdiver



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Posted 26 September 2011 - 01:14 PM

I've struggled with getting a good focus with this lens too, and it's still a work in progress.

My current challenge is to get better control on my buoyancy by relaxing (breathing out) as I focus. Beside this, I get the focus close with autofocus lock, frame the photo for composition and then move the camera back and forward until I see a sharp image through the viewfinder (magnified) and then pull the trigger on the shutter release.

I then check the result in the viewfinder and repeat if needed (which happens a lot).

Hope this helps.

And remember, you're not alone. I believe getting a sharp focus is one of the most challenging aspects of macro.

Good luck.


#25 earthwindow


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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:08 PM

Hi Greg,
I don't often shoot macro, but when I do, I prefer the Nikkor 105 (and I am NOT the most interesting man in the world). The headache of finding fine focus is worth the extra trouble when you get shots of shy critters like butterfish in sea jelly that you can't get with the 60mm. If you have a strong modeling light, your autofocus should do just fine. If not, you can prefocus at the desired reproduction ratio then switch to manual and move slightly in and out to find fine focus, usually by training your brain on the subject's eye or an area of texture. It will be just as important to keep as much of what you want sharp in a plane parallel to the shutter. Pack a high capacity card and shoot away. There's bound to be a keeper in there. Enjoy; it's a razor sharp lens.