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Udo van Dongen

Which 105 mm macro lens

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Hi All,

 

I want to buy a 105 mm macrolens for my Hugyfot/D200 setup, but i'm doubting a few different options. First i thought to buy a Sigma 105 mm Macro lens, which is relatively cheap, it wil cost about 400 euro. I own a few more Sigmas and i'm really happy with them. The only thing is that it has an external focus that comes out quit a lot. I'll have to buy a port extension ring of 5.5 cm.

 

The second option is the 'old' Nikon 105 mm. It'll cost me about 550 euros and the extension ring has to be 3 cm long. Another plus of this lens is the manual focus that can be 'gearred' with a ring.

 

And the third option is the new Nikon 105 mm VR lens. This one is the most expensive (750 euro). It has internal focus and requires a flatport extension ring of only 2 cm. It has the VR system that allows me to shoot sharp at 4 stops slower shuttertimes (at least that's what Nikon claims). This sounds nice, but i never shoot macros without a strobe and shuttertimes are never longer that 1/60, so i wonder what the use is for UW photography.

Furthermore, i was told by a professional photographer that lenses with a VR system (or something similar) in general are less sharp and crisp then lenses that don't have a kind of stabilizing system. At least he had very bad experiences with the Nikkor AF-S VR 24-120 mm lens and had it replaced several times.

 

What would you guys recommend me? Did anyone ever compare these lenses? Is the 105 mm VR really good or better then the 'old' 105 nikkor and worth almost twice the price of the Sigma? I hope the get some good arguments so i can make a well overthought decission

 

thanx in advance, Udo

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I don't think VR is all that useful for underwater photography as you will use strobe anyhow. Also when you engage VR, you won't get 1:1 magnification from what I was told. However the real reason to get the VR version is for the AF-S autofocus which is a lot faster and is silent so it is easier to take picture of the skittish critter for sure.

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If it will fit in your port and housing system, (it is very wide), Get the 105 AF-S. The auto-focus system is to die for in UW photography. Also very sharp. The VR is great for shooting action on land.

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The better AF of the VR is off course an advantage, but what about the quality? A friend of mine is absolutely not enthousiastic about lenses with the Nikon VR system. Can it be switched on and off? So far i couldn't find any (independent) reviews on this lens.

 

cheers, udo

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f it will fit in your port and housing system, (it is very wide),

 

It will fit my housing since the Sigma 10-20 mm is as fat as the VR105.

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Because I am known to be a cheap-skate, I shocked everyone (especially Steve Warren) by buying a Cosina 105mm macro lens second-hand for £40 (around 60 dollars). I reasoned that it was going to be used at f22 with a dioptre and so gave it a try.

Apart from having to keep it out of view in the camera shed at Kungkungan Bay in order to maintain my street-credibility, I got several hundred very useable pictures. I still have the lens and have yet to replace it with a proper Nikon offering.

I don't profess to be the world's best macro photographer but you can see 29 of them at http://www.divernet.com/travel2/1205lembeh.shtml but of course anything looks good on a computer screen!

It's just another point-of-view!

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John

 

:D thanks for making me laugh today, COSINA !!, i see why you kept it under wraps in lemby, They have a new version coming out called STEALTH; it suits this purpose very well.

 

Myself, I own the Nikon's but have used Sigma's with just as much success when i was a Canon Shooter.

 

Having just returned from Kapalai-Sipadan-Mabul, i found that the 60mm mostly suited, as you need to get that little closer and this kept the crap out from infront of the lens.

 

prior to going i also purchased a Nexus WET Close up , if i had to recommend something to a shooter, its one of these !!, wicked tool to have in your bag and its cheap as chips.

 

I'm now just in recovery after purchasing my new D200, the housing will have to move in when my DX70 stops paying the rent ! then i have an excuss to evict it !

 

I'm sick of all this Digital, I never had any good reason to upgrade my film rig's at all. now i find reasons everytime something new comes out.

 

I feel that i'll be upgrading to a divorce if Nikon-Canon keep producing cameras :lol:

 

regards

 

craig

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The better AF of the VR is off course an advantage, but what about the quality? A friend of mine is absolutely not enthousiastic about lenses with the Nikon VR system. Can it be switched on and off? So far i couldn't find any (independent) reviews on this lens.

 

cheers, udo

 

 

VR can be switched on and off, though not underwater in any rig I am aware of.

 

I have 3 VR lens with the IF-S (18-200, 70-200 and now the 105VR) and I think all 3 lenses are great. I haven't used the 105VR underwater as I just got it and the port for my Ike rig.

 

SD

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I haven't used the 105VR underwater as I just got it and the port for my Ike rig.

 

I'm very curious to see the results of the 105VR UW. Are you going to write a review about it?

 

cheers, Udo

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Because I am known to be a cheap-skate, I shocked everyone (especially Steve Warren) by buying a Cosina 105mm macro lens second-hand for £40 (around 60 dollars). I reasoned that it was going to be used at f22 with a dioptre and so gave it a try.

Apart from having to keep it out of view in the camera shed at Kungkungan Bay in order to maintain my street-credibility, I got several hundred very useable pictures. I still have the lens and have yet to replace it with a proper Nikon offering.

I don't profess to be the world's best macro photographer but you can see 29 of them at http://www.divernet.com/travel2/1205lembeh.shtml but of course anything looks good on a computer screen!

It's just another point-of-view!

 

Not surprising at all. At F/22 the limiting optical element is the little hole in the diaphragm. The only reason to paid big money is the auto focus performance.

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I don't use the VR UW. I bought the lens for the AF-S and the sharpness of the lens. Fast low light AF is a huge help in UW photography.

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I have just spent the morning with a black pen, retouching out the name on the Cosina lens. It has made it a much sharper lens!. As to auto focus, I let the camera focus generally, then switch it off and rock the camera back and forth (fractionally) until the electronic rangefinder tells me my chosen subject area is sharp. I have been doing that for the last 30-something years and it works for me! The advent of the electronic rangefinder helps with my failing eyes in my dotage!

 

I have Nikkor 35-105 zoom with a macro setting but manual focus. Before the Cosina I would go in with the focus preset and simply focus as described above. It performs very well and has f/32 as its smallest stop!

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Hi Udo,

 

without having used one of them (doesn’t mount on my Canons), I would go with the VR version. Silent and fast AF is really useful. Especially for macro lenses where focus range is greater – meaning longer travel distances. It helps a lot if the motor is fast.

 

I would not expect VR to be of significant use underwater. VR (like Canon IS) is designed to compensate high frequency shaking with small movements (handholding). That is completely different to underwater. However, I would prefer to have the VR version anyway because it might be a good topside lens as well (Love IS on my Canon lenses). VR is no drawback for underwater use as you can turn it off. But I would definitely go with AF-S. It helps so much compared to noticeable slower AF motors.

To me, fast AF and VR is much more important and of great use than some minor theoretical image quality differences from the laboratory or self made dpreview user tests. All those macro lenses (Canon / Nikon / Sigma / …) are very good and don’t forget, the major image quality degradation comes from the last lens element which has no optical quality at all (flat port interacting with water) and produces chromatic aberration, image field distortion, etc.

 

Julian

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Thanx for your replies guys,

I searched in some online stores for a Cosina, but unfortunately i couldn't find one for sale... So i think i'll go for the 105VR. Now i only have to check whether Hugyfot also produces focus gears for the 105VR.

 

cheers, Udo

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I searched in some online stores for a Cosina, but unfortunately i couldn't find one for sale...

 

I think they went out of business when Coca Cola went over to plastic bottles!!! :)

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I think I am right in saying that Cosina now make cameras and lenses under other tradenames and for other manufacturers I believe - even extremely well known manufacturers!!!

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Thanx for your replies guys,

I searched in some online stores for a Cosina, but unfortunately i couldn't find one for sale... So i think i'll go for the 105VR. Now i only have to check whether Hugyfot also produces focus gears for the 105VR.

 

cheers, Udo

Udo, I'm only speculating here, but I'd say the large barrel diameter of the 105VR will eliminate the possibility of focus gears for this lens. I'd plan on using John Bantin's method for manual focus.

 

Gerb

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Udo, I'm only speculating here, but I'd say the large barrel diameter of the 105VR will eliminate the possibility of focus gears for this lens.

 

I checked the diameter of the 105 VR and that is 83 mm. I already own a sigma 10-20 mm which has a diameter of 83.5 mm, and for this lens i have a zoomgear. So probably the same zoomring will fit and otherwise they can make it custom. But if finally it's not possible to have a focusgear i suppose i can live whithout that too, i allready use some kind of John Bantin's method with my 50 mm Macro.

 

Cheers, Udo

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I have the AF105VR. It is very fast focusing and is plenty sharp. This Arroy Blenny was less than 1" long (Used WetMate closeup attachment)

 

Tom

post-1589-1151952782_thumb.jpg

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Don't call it John Bantin's Method. Photographers have been doing this with close-up photography of moving subjects since the advent of the hand-held camera!

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Don't call it John Bantin's Method. Photographers have been doing this with close-up photography of moving subjects since the advent of the hand-held camera!

 

I usually just call it "rocking", I guess I should have said " the method John Bantin described".

 

Gerb

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