I believe that you are judged by the final image and also how that image was taken in accordance with the rules of that competition. If it only judged by the final image the competition would be open to all sorts of unethical forms of trying to capture an images, like staged shots and harrassing wildlife to get that winning shot.
I personnaly think it takes more skill to fill 100% of a frame with a great shot, compared to using 50% of the frame of a ordinary shot to make a great shot.
John I can see your point regarding when your not shooitng competition. If you got the 36mp at your disposal why not use it. Cropping doesnt interest me so much as I am shooting at the other end of the scale with big subjects and ultra wide (weitwinkel) angle. Cropping a shot taken at 10mm on a Dx camera takes away the whole affect i am trying to achieve.
My opinion if old mate was waiting patiently infront of the Jawfishes hole with their 105mm and 12mp camera and captured a great jawfish shot filling the frame and with no need to crop shows me more skill than someone with a 60mm and D800 shooting further away and cropping the hell out of the image.
I think having competitions which allow no cropping or only very minor cropping makes in more competitive and shows increased skills need to achieve images. It might be "gone with the wind" to someone to have skills in being able to compose and frame a shot but its those with those skills which truely make successful photographers in any format which they choose to use. Isnt it the basics in photography to be able to compose your shot before you take that shot?
If heavy cropping were to be allowed its definately an unfair advantage to people that have 36mp Nikon D800 especailly in the field of macro photography when compared to 12-16mp cameras everyone else is using?
Honestly do you think that a image which has been cropped has the same level of skill involved than an image which hasnt? Bit like baking a cake...........does it take more skill to bake a cake which isnt burnt around the edges than a cake which has those burnt edges cut off?
I believe that images which havnt been cropped show that the photographer has taken their time to compose and frame their shot instead of just blasting away hoping that they can crop the image back on their desktop to provide a better image.
There is a difference between a cropped sensor and cropping. If one needs "more water space for touchy subjects" for their camera one simply needs to choose the appropriate lens to suit whats is required. Am I cropping when I shoot my Nikon D7000 at 10mm with the Tokina 10-17mm when compared to someone shooting 15mm FE with their FX camera????
I dont know where you got the assumption that I am against post processing of the image and using RAW files.........my only comment was that regarding cropping.
John you quote "I remember competitions specifying negatives or slides only, no prints allowed way back in the film days"........and why was that? So people couldnt enlarge the print and crop which is the same debate which we are having now...??????
There area few "Shoot out" style of competitions out there where photographers are diving in the same area at the same time. Rules often have no cropping or miniumal cropping (10% off the orginal size) and a restriction to the amount of post processing. The orginal file also has to be submitted for comparison. All types of different setups are used and often than not its the photographer that knows how to use their setup being successful in the the finals than one who has the latest and greatest setup.
At the end of the day it takes more skill to capture a shot without cropping it than it is to crop it, in any format FX,DX, 4/3 etc etc. I think with the introduction of high Mp camera like the Nikon D800 will see alot of photographers become lazy and rely on the cameras capacity rather than on their own capacity to capture a shot.
I am all for competitions that do not allow cropping. It actually shows the skills of the photographer and their ability to compose and shoot the image and comparing that photographers skills against others doing the same. Its not about someone with a large MP camera that just shoots away and crops the shit out of their image to get something decent in the end I dont see the skill in that.
I am also for competitions which all the images are shot in the same location. Everyone in the same boat so to speak. I dont like competitions were one can travel all over the world to prime locations to get that winning shot. Doesnt show skill just the size of their wallet.
I think the reason why and I too have asked regarding shooting DX on an FX camera is in reference to lenses and namely the Tokina 10-17mm. I have asked is there any difference between the quality of the images taken with the Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm in DX mode of the D800 and the quality of the images taken with the Sigma 15mm FE in FX? The answer I get is that who cares about the shooting in Dx as you can shoot the 15mm in Fx mode and crop it.
Is there a versatile lens like the Tokina 10-17mm in FX? or the only thing to compare it is the Sigma 15mm FE? If your cropping the Sigma 15mm shots on Fx doesnt that make you loose the feel of a ultra wide (weitwinkel) Fisheye image?
Can anyone tell the difference between a Tokian 10-17mm shot at 10mm in Dx mode and a Sigma 15mm shot in FX mode other than the image size? What do the images compare when the FX image is resized to the DX image taken with the Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm?
I think your getting caught up with the whole true macro way of thinking.
True macro lenses are able to capture an object on the camera's sensor at the same size as the actual object (termed a 1:1 or 1.0X macro). Strictly speaking, a lens is categorized as a "macro lens" only if it can achieve this 1:1 magnification.
Your right to get 1:1 magnifaction you need to be 48mm away from the subject with the 60mm, 145mm away with the 85mm, and 154mm away with the 105mm. This is only to get 1:1 image size.
In its purist form macro photography is getting that 1:1 image size but honestly the macro term is loosely used for any close up photography which has higher magnification than 1:1. So most of the "Macro" shots you see are actually not True macro but a close up shot of the subject.
The 60mm Nikkor macro is one of the most common and widely used macro lenses due to a number of reason. Its versatility, ease of use, and cost make it most often the first choice of lens for underwater close up work. Most often the 60mm will do what is required for close up work on subjects which are not shy or move quickly ie Nudibranchs, slow moving shrimps and crabs, soft corals etc etc. For those than shoot more shy subjects which are hard to get close too like gobies for example, use 105mm with its extra focal length.
Ikelite do not have 67mm thread on their dedicated ports so if you want to go for the Subsee you will need its holder which comes at a cost often more than a lens.
For first time underwater Macro (close up) photographers I suggest you start off with the 60mm Macro (even the older AF-D) as its cheaper. Once you have mastered the 60mm and need more focal length then go for the 105mm. The 85mm is a DX lens and maybe the next camera you buy after the D7000 will be full frame so my advice is to keep away from DX macro lenses and stick with the tried and proven 60mm or 105mm lens.
Another option and also a cheaper one is that you buy the Nikkon 60mm AFD lens and use a teleconverter like the Kenko pro 300 1.4X. If you add this to the 60mm you turn it into a 84mm focal length but with an image size of 1.4x.........all you need is to find a port to fit it in and from memory it fits in the dedicated ikelite 105mm port.
Would be interesting to compare the same image using the Tokina 10-17mm in Dx mode in the D800, Sigma 15mm FE and D800, and also the Tokina 10-17mm with the D7000. On paper there is a difference but what is it really like at the end of the day side by side?
It could be like comparing a block of wood under the accelerator of a BMW M3 and unblocked accelerator BMW M3 but driving them both in busy streets of Bangkok?
I have noticed a big difference with shooting from the maxium flash sync of 1/200th when I had the Nikon D90 and now the maxium flash sync of my Nikon D7000 of 1/320th. I mainly notice the difference my summer shots in clear shallow water with sunbursts and animals such as Manta Rays, Leopard sharks Turtles
Here are some unedited stock examples of shooting a f9 and 1/320th ISO100 with the Nikon D7000 and Tokina 10-17mm with Ikelite Ds161 strobes:
These are unedited and only resized to be uploaded
I had a quick look on the Ikelite website and it looks if you go the modular setup for the 60mm its going to cost you $350 vs $150 for the standard 60mm port. Benefit is that the modular port is glass front. Buy a new port just for the 105mm in standard is going to cost $150 vs $125 for the port body to add to your already 60mm modular setup. At the end of the day if you go modular you have a glass front and ability to change port bodys to accomodate different lens or a TC. The 60mm and 105mm modular port bodies are going to cost $425 (ikelite#5510.35,#5510.58.#5510.22) vs two standard ports at $150 each ((#5505.5, #5502.41). You can always troll for them second hand on ebay or classified sections which might help out in the money department.
You can get adapters for the Subsee and both ikelite modular and standard ports. I think reefnet seel them for $200 and $250 respectively.
Regarding the Tokina 10-17mm FE you have to shoot this lens in a dome. I have no experience with the Precision 5inch dome but it looks like a great setup for the Tokina and Ikelite especially if you want to add a TC later and shoot CFWA. If your into wrecks and big animals I would recommend the Ikelite 8inch dome as it would accomodate other lenses as the Precision dome is designed for just the Tokina 10-17mm.
The standard ikelite ports come with zoom gear from memory but I dont know what they do with the modular port setups.
UWPhotoNewbie I am just looking at what you think the adavantages the D600 over D800. Most of the advantages you mentioned dont really apply to a camera used underwater.
1. D800 has 36MP vs 24MP on the D600. Well if 36MP is too much to deal with you can always reduce the image size on the D800 to Medium and have a 20.3MP image size. If you want to go back to 36Mp its a simple change especially in the future. You cant do this with the D600 as your stuck with 24MP
2. High FPS isnt an issue underwater as you can only shoot as fast as your strobes can reload (unless you shooting without strobes alot........honestly who is)
3.Dumb green mode wont work underwater
4.Matching memory cards.......big deal these days with cards being so cheap
5.Lighter and small isnt going to make any difference when you put it in a housing
The advantages of the D800 are that there are housing already made for it available now. Higher flash sync which is an important factor when it comes to deciding a camera especially with wide angle. More AF point and better AF. Just the alone are more important advantages over the D600.
I was shooting the Nikon D90 before I moved onto the D7000. I find the D7000 alot better at capturing sunbursts mainly due to its flash sync of 1/320th with my hard wired Ikelite DS161 strobes shot in manual.
The Nikon D90 can obtain decent sunbursts but there a many viables which need to be taken in mind as its not just a matter of camera settings. I agree with Morten that low ISO (Lo 1 on the Nikon d90) and high shutter speed. It also has alot to do with what your trying to achieve in the shot. Are you just after the sunburst or are you after the sunburst as a secondary importance to a subject like a model or animal (ray,shark, turtle etc etc) as this also influences your settings.
As Morten stated sun position, surface conditions play and important role but also one of the most important factors is depth and water clarity. Most of the successful sun burst I have have taken have been in shallow clear water with still surface conditions. I beleive once you gain greater depth that you will end up with more of a sun ball glow than a sun burst as the water has some form of colour (unless gin clear) which acts as a filter/diffuser to softens the light. The deeper you go the more is effect comes into play. It also the same if shooting on a cloudy day as the clouds themselves soften the light and act as a diffuser similar to whats on your strobes.
My suggestion for you to achieve high impact sun rays is to shoot as shallow as your subject allows, pick the day were the surface conditions are calm and the water clarity is high. Lowest ISO on your camera (lo 1 on the Nikon D90), fast shutter speed and a f stop relative to what effect your trying to achieve.
If your diving deeper water you can still use the effect of the sun for a warm ball feeling as a background to your subject by positioning the subject within that sun ball.
Here are some examples: Nikon D90 Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm. ISO LO1, f10, 1/200th
Nikon D90 Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm. ISO LO1, f10, 1/200th
Using the subject to cover part of the sunburst. Nikon D90 Tokina 10-17mm @ 10mm. ISO LO1, f10, 1/200th
Using the Sun ball at depth. Nikon D90 Tokina 10-17mm (@10mm) Ikelite DS125's. ISOLO1 (100) f13, 1/200th