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Nikon 12-24 or 17-55? Looking for the experts opinions

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Divers,

 

I just got back from Bonaire and got some great pics with my 60mm and some with my 10.5 however i feel that the 10.5 is just a little too wide. I've been searching the forums but haven't really seen any consensus. Heading to Australia in 2 months and feel like I need to add a wide angle zoom and so I am wondering which of these 2 lenses would be the best way to go.

 

Any opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Dave

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I think you might want something wider than the 17-55 for U/W. Also, since you didn't mention your housing, I think (though someone correct me if I'm mistaken) that the 17-55 doesn't fit in an Ikelite port. Most folks here, and there are lots of threads over the past year or so, recommend variously the 12-24 (from Nikon or Tokina) or the 10-20 from Sigma. I've used the Tokina 12-24 in the Ike 8" dome sucessfully but haven't taken enough images with it to say more than it's fine on a D200 (it's been a slow diving year). I would need to take a lot more images with that combination before making any definitive comment. But I would look at the wider options than the 17-55 (which is my favorite lens for topside work).

 

Rinjani

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I'm not an expert, but...

 

I use a 18-55mm lens on my D70 for most of my dives. I can't remember a time that I have thought "I wish I could go wider than 18mm", but that just may be the subjects I choose to shoot. The great thing about the 18-55mm is that it has reasonable macro capabilities. It is nowhere as good at the 60mm, but does still allow taking photographs of small subjects. It is a very cheap lens.

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I guess it would help if I describe my kit. I'm shooting a Subal housing (absolutely love it alhough heavy) with the dome for the 10.5 and a flat port for the 60. I know that if I get a new lens I will probably need an extension for the dome along with some zoom gears. Anything else I might need?

 

D.

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tokina 10-17 and the 17-55 nikon would be ideal. The 12-24 has worked fine for me, but the first 2 give you the most flexibility

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Ok, no expert. But I can relate to your situation and though this might help:

 

I wanted a wide rectilinear lens to complement my 10.5FE. I ended up with the Sigma 10-20 instead of the 12-24 (or the Nikkor 14/2.8 which I also tested UW), because it has a better CFD which makes it more suitable for UW usage behind a domeport. I can use it behind my Hugyfot FE dome (7") without dioptres or extensions. Good sharpness from corner to corner (this will never be perfect behind a dome). If you like to keep it simple, it might be worth checking if you can use it behind your Subal FE dome just as it is? I think it might work as the Sigmas front iris-position is almost exactly the same as the 10.5:s. With the 17-55 you will need extensions and dioptres, most certainly with the 12-24 as well. The Nikkor 14/2.8 prime, at least to my eyes, didn't stand out in any way for UW-use when I looked at the final images. And it was very heavy and double the price of the 12-24 and triple of the Sigma.

 

/christian

 

A couple of images taken with the 10-20:

 

post-5597-1187166677_thumb.jpgpost-5597-1187166692_thumb.jpg

Edited by Christian K

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Hi Dave, although I love the 10.5 and have made a lot of good photos with it, im really starting to like the Tokina 10-17. For me personally the 10-17 will probably replace the 10.5. The 10.5 basically already replaced my 12-24, ive not taken it underwater for over a year now, because I found it a little soft for my taste. I would take the 10-17 over the 12-24.

 

Cor

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No expert but the Tokina 10-17mm has replaced my 10.5 for use. Sold my 12-24mm and take out the 17-55mm when I don't know what I will run into. I even tried shooting "Macro" with the 17-55mm w/+4 diopter behind a dome port. The nudi is not a great shot but was only slightly cropped. The shark shot was taken at the wide end, no diopter of course.

 

sharksolo1.jpg

post-1729-1187190148_thumb.jpg

Edited by NWDiver

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If I had the money I would have got the Nikon 12-24. I got the Tokina instead and I am very happy with it. I also use the Nikon 60mm and find it a great piece of glass.

 

IMHO, but I am no expert.

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I use nearly all these lenses and quite a few more. Zoom lenses are very handy, but there is no lens that will suit all situations. The key to getting "expert" quality results underwater is to use the right lens for the right job. Of course if a once-in-a-lifetime presents itself, take the shot.

 

The lenses you need in Australia depend entirely on what you plan to shoot. The 10.5mm would be great for hard coral vistas on the GBR. While the 12-24mm might be better for Ningaloo whale sharks, and the 17-55mm a very useful focal range for leafies.

 

Since you already own a 10.5mm and want a wide angle zoom I would get a 12-24mm as a complementary partner. Should you one day decided to swap the 10.5mm for the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye, for a bit more flexibility, then you will find this an ideal partner for a 12-24mm. The 17mm end of the Tok-fisheye has about the same coverage as the 12mm end of the rectilinear lens. The 17mm end onm the 17-55mm DX is not really wide angle enough underwater.

 

Alex

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I use nearly all these lenses and quite a few more. Zoom lenses are very handy, but there is no lens that will suit all situations. The key to getting "expert" quality results underwater is to use the right lens for the right job. Of course if a once-in-a-lifetime presents itself, take the shot.

 

The lenses you need in Australia depend entirely on what you plan to shoot. The 10.5mm would be great for hard coral vistas on the GBR. While the 12-24mm might be better for Ningaloo whale sharks, and the 17-55mm a very useful focal range for leafies.

 

Since you already own a 10.5mm and want a wide angle zoom I would get a 12-24mm as a complementary partner. Should you one day decided to swap the 10.5mm for the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye, for a bit more flexibility, then you will find this an ideal partner for a 12-24mm. The 17mm end of the Tok-fisheye has about the same coverage as the 12mm end of the rectilinear lens. The 17mm end onm the 17-55mm DX is not really wide angle enough underwater.

 

Alex

 

 

Corr Blimey Mr Mustard, I was going to say that!

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snip .....a better CFD .... snip

 

Sorry to be a bore, but what is CFD, google didnt give me the answer. Close focus something I guess ???

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Sorry to be a bore, but what is CFD, google didnt give me the answer. Close focus something I guess ???

 

Short question, long answer.

 

CFD=Close Focusing Distance, the closest distance which the lens is able to focus on. It is important when using a dome port, because the port 'creates' a curved, virtual image some distance in front of the dome, which the lens focuses on. The distance to the virtual image is aproximately double the dome diameter. So ideally you want a lens that can focus closer than the distance to the projected virtual image with no add-ons. The things to play with is getting a larger dome, extensions to move the dome and image further away and then dioptres that alters the cfd-capabilities of the lens. I picked up the Sigma 10-20 because it simply didn't need any add-ons. I could use it without extra stuff and get good results (at least to my standards). This off course differs depending on what equipment you have and - what your standards are. Also worth mentioning, because the image is curved - it is always a bit tricky to get acceptable sharpness in the edges and corners with rectilinear lenses behind dome ports. Shooting a higher aperture is normally needed. Dioptres certainly can help, even if your lens is already within 'range'.

 

/christian

 

Another example of 10-20, in blue water:

 

post-5597-1187212495_thumb.jpg

Edited by Christian K

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I used the 12-24 on my sperm whale shots, I got the 10-17 after the trip to Dominica and wished I had it with me. The tokina is a super all purpose underwater lens. hope this helps.

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I have given up on my 12-24 UW - I find it a little too soft. I've complimented my 10.5 with a sigma 15mm FE which is sharp with super close focus.

 

Its designed for 35mm, so the distortion is minimal and not noticable UW. You should not need any extensions or zoom rings either.

 

People also rave about the tokina 10-17 but I have not tried it.

 

The 17-55 is nice but not really a wide zoom when taken UW.

Edited by Undertow

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