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bruceterrill

Lens for sharks

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Hi To the crew,

I am a very lucky little camper indeed. I have just finalised arrangements for my trip to South Australia to photograph white sharks from the safety of cages.

I have Nikon D70S with 105mm, 60mm and 10.5mm fisheye lens. Could someone suggest what they consider to be the best lens for this style of shooting and why??

BTW, it doesn't have to be one of the lens that I already have.

Thanks for your help,

Bruce

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Hey Bruce

 

How cool!! From the pics I have seen of cage diving, I would have thought the 10.5 would be ideal if the shark approaches the cage. For slightly more distant shots a 12-24 would be next best. With either you should be able to get whole body shots.

 

A 105mm would be way too long - and even a 60mm probably too long unless you are looking for pics of dental work.

 

But I'm sure you will get replies from Wetpixlers who have been there, done that.

 

Have a great trip and post some pics when you get back.

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Back in my film days I went to S. Australia to shoot the sharks. One of the guys in our group was a well know photographer and professor of UW photography. He told me that he thought the best lens to get full frame shark shots there was the 28 mm on an F3.

 

I found that you would indeed get the most shots with a longer lens but the Keepers were shot with the Nikonos 15 mm.

 

Translating this into todays digital cameras and lenses I would try to shoot with the 10.5x if the sharks would come in close. Otherwise I would shoot the 12-24.

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During a Caged Shark Dive, most of the time, the sharks will be some distance away. An ultra wide (weitwinkel) like the 10.5 will be too wide - you will get a picture of the bars of the shark cage with a little shark in the background.

 

Also you can not swim closer to change composation, so a zoom really comes in handy to compose the image otherwise you will end up with 50 shots all just about the same.

 

I think a semi-wide to mild telephoto zoom is ideal. On your D70 a lens like the kit 18-70 would be great. It is sufficiently wide that you can capture the whole shark when it makes a close pass, and you can zoom in when the sharks are some distance away.

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Agree that a fisheye or superwide is too wide, unless you're very lucky. In PNG, shooting silvertips and greys with a full-frame film SLR, I found that a 28 worked better than a 20. For similar situatins now, shooting a (educed frame) digital camera, I go with the 17-35 mm, which gives the full frame equivalent of about 24-53 mm. If you can't pull them in with that, they're too far away.

 

Frogfish

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Hi Bruce, Nikon makes the 17-35 but it is very expensive as it is a 2.8.

 

They also make a much less expensive 18-35 but that would be the same as the 18-70 kit lens.

 

I would also suggest a good zoom like the 12-24 for the Whiteys as i think they get close enough that the 18 might not be wide enough

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Bruce,

 

Mike is right. Unfortunately, the Nikon 17-35 mm f/2.8 is a pricey lens, and for a wide angle, it's big and heavy too. (That's why it can open to 2.8!) I bought mine before there were DX lenses like the 12-24. I'm not sure I could justify purchasing it now, but I'm secretly very glad I have it. It's sharp as a tack from corner to corner (even on a full-frame SLR), cand olors somehow come out cleaner than they do with any other lens I own.

 

Ive taken some of my all-time favorite photographs - above and under water - with the 17-35. I am more likely to use the 12-24 or 10.4 underwater most of the time, but it would still be my preference for sharks, at least shooting in the open. I've never done cage diving, probably never will.

 

Frogfish

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Hi Bruce-

 

I just purchased the new Sigma 10-20 for my d70/d2x.. It is still dry but looks promising for U/W, especially shark shooting.. May be a little less $$ than Nikon 12-24 and about the same price as Tokina 12-24..

 

Ryan from Reef photo and video (a sponsor here) has had the 10-20 U/W...You may want to contact him...

 

M.

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Hi Bruce-

 

I just purchased the new Sigma 10-22 for my d70/d2x.. It is still dry but looks promising for U/W, especially shark shooting..  May be a little less $$ than Nikon 12-24 and about the same price as Tokina 12-24..

 

 

I believe it's a 10-20mm, f4-5.6 lens. It is half the price of the Nikon 12-24, but not as sharp at the edges. Probably a good candidate for the shoot. I have this lens, and like it a lot. But you do get what you pay for -- Nikon lenses are usually sharper and more likely to be compatible with future products. They should be, at the price.

 

Latest gotcha: for the D200 many Sigma DX lenses have to be re-chipped to work with one new function on the camera, the rear AF switch, including this one. To their credit, Sigma is offering to do this no charge, but you lose the use of the lens for a period of time. Again, this is only for the new function on the D200, and does not matter for the previous Nikon DSLRs.

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I know NW DIVER (Martin) just got back from a GW shark dive and he nailed some fantastic stuff. However, I am not sure what he used to shoot them with. HEEYYYYYYY MARTIN!!!! YOU out there?

 

Joe

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Hi Guys,

Sorry that I haven't been around. Working as frieght delivery at this time of year sucks. Losing your job three days after x-mas sucks even more! Thanks for all your replies. I am certainly looking at the sigma lens for this trip. I just found out that the Nikon 12-24 is going to cost me nearly 2500 oz dollars. Ryan tells me that they sell for 919 in the states. Hey Martin, I would love to see the 'whitey' snaps from your recent trip and equipment used.

Hooroo my friends,

Bruce

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Oh man, what a bummer, Bruce. I hope your 2006 starts much better than 2005 ends.

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Just did a shark trip in mexico-Guadalupe Island. in Nov. My lens of 1st choice was and is the -Quoting Mike Veitch-(Nikon makes the 17-35 but it is very expensive as it is a 2.8.).

It is worth it- tack sharp to all corners and perfect to shoot film with. Oh did I say film thats because some of oldtime'rs still work with it like me.I'm sure the newer dig lens which cost less will almost do what this lens does. Why do those dig lens cost less?? I'm sure and engineer will answer this one -cheaper glass -or optics do not matter as much -or something entirely different. All I know is the 2.8 17mm to 35mm was made for shark shots its fast to zoom and sharp as a tack. When did underwater photo ever -ever been cheap to do??? It was not in the 80-90-or now. Mark

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