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meerseen

FF vs. Crop - which System for UW-pics

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Hey!

Comparing FF and Crop cameras you can find advantages and disadvantages of both systems.

My question is: What do you think about the different between the systems specially making uw-pictures.

 

May be we should divide this discussion in macro and Wide/Fisheye.

Which system would you prefer for macro photos?

Which system would you prefer for Wide/fisheye photos?

 

Cheers

Schorsch

 

PS.: I read allready this http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/nikon-d3-fi...pacific-part-1/ from Alex. It is very good. But I am still not sure about my personal preferences.

Edited by meerseen

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Hey!

 

May be, my question was a little bit o general (or is it my English?)

So, let me go a little bit in details.

Making Macro, I think that the crop cameras have the advantage that the depth of focus is greater. So under the same conditions of light you will have more opportunities to play around with the apertures.

On the other hand, with a FF camera you have better possibilities to define your point of focus. For example it is easier to focus only the eye of a fish sharp and not the whole fish.

 

Looking to wide angel photography it is better to take a FF camera, because you get more angle of field with the same lens. But in contrast with the crop camera you will get more depth of focus.

 

So, in general I am not sure witch system is better for photographing Underwater.

And this is my question. What do you think in general is nicer to have?

Schorsch

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I think that the question is different depending on whether you are a Canon or Nikon user, where you dive, what you like to photograph and what camera you already own.

 

Alex

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Hey Alex!

 

You are absolutely right, but I though, it could be an easy answer in general for this.

But anyway we can discuss this also in detail.

I am photographing mainly in the Red Sea or Mediterranean Sea as well as German lakes.

I am a biologist and the mostly I am making pictures of fishes, fish portraits and in general of other important species of a habitat for my presentations.

Looking back to my last equipments my favorite lens was a 50 or 60mm macro. I guess, about 70% of my pictures are made with this focal length. The rest is about 20% with a 100mm macro lens and the rest with 14mm/20mm.

I am now photographing about 20 years and I have had a lot of equipment like Nikonos, Nikonos RS, and housings with Nikon F4 or F5. Digital cameras I had a Canon 5D and a Canon 1Ds. At the moment I have nothing. Because of my job situation it was clear that I could not make pictures for nearly one year. So I sold everything and at the moment I am looking around for a new camera.

Because I find photographing with magic filters very interesting, I would like to have a camera with low noise and good quality at high ISO. We all do not know how the 5DMKII will be at high ISOs. So, at the moment I think I will go back to Nikon. And there I have the possibility of to systems: a D700 or a D300. The quality of the pictures seems to be very identical, so I do not know, how to decide

There are two possibilities. The first one can be:

Nikon D700

Lenses: Nikon AF-S 60mm, AF-S 105 VR, Nikon 70-180 Micro zoom and the 17-35mm 2,8 and a 16mm for wide angel.

The second one can be:

Nikon D300

Lenses: Tokina 35mm Macro, AF-S 60mm, Nikon 70-180 Micro zoom and the Tokina 10-17 for fisheye.

And I find it difficult to decide between this to. Both are good and have advantages and disadvantages.

I am not sure about the 35mm Tokina macro. And because this lens could be my main one, I prefer the D700. But one the other hand, the Tokina 10-17 seems to be a nice lens.

So, what to do?

Schorsch

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I'm sure Alex has his ideas on this and other threads have covered this quite extensively; but it seems quite clear to me that with the type of photography you describe probably a system like the D300 or even a D90 (DX) would be ideal. The systems are tested and reliable with few 'issues' regarding quality, edge sharpness etc from the Tokina 10-17 all the way through super macro. There is even a 35mm Tokina DX Macro lens available if you want to emulate your 50-60mm macro on full frame. To me, depth of field can only be an advantage. If you ever wanted to reduce depth of field, one can always blur the background in post. The reverse is not possible. It appears the only reasons to explore either full frame or higher resolution cameras are if one is planning larger size prints in the case of higher resolution, or expanding the possibilities for available light low noise images or techniques, as in the case of the D700. Against the FF setups is the fact that there are still 'issues' pertaining to wide angle corner sharpness and ease of use underwater, except for the fact that the larger viewfinder is an advantage. I am presently going back and forth on whether to house my D700 and ultimately I can't come up with any good reasons except those that I mention.

Edited by loftus

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Schorsch

I know most of the questions you brought up have been asked and answered in the forums in the last few months. You need to go through the information and decide for yourself. You've already answered most of your own questions anyhow. The next step is to decide on a budget and choose a housing based on the budget and the lens port combinations of your most used lenses.

I'd suggested to a friend who was looking to house both D700 and 300 to go buy 2 used D200/300 Nexus housings. Mod one back for the D700 and then you can have 2 cameras for use with 2 different backs and a spare front. Did I just send the price of Nexus D200 used housing up? All those selling can send thanks via donations to Médecin sans Frontière, WFP, WWF or Greenpeace. :)

If you think that's exhorbitant, then just buy the camera which suits the majority of your shooting style and live with the limitations of the other less important stuff. That's what the majority of the people do.

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For shooting macro at base ISO, the cropped camera can be nicer because you can use a smaller lens and still get comparable results.

 

Cheers

James

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For shooting macro at base ISO, the cropped camera can be nicer because you can use a smaller lens and still get comparable results.

 

Cheers

James

 

All things being equal, which they are not when you consider file size and resolution of full frame camera like 1DsMKIII, the cropped sensors do have a killer lens arsenal. Just came back from Indonesia and the Nikon shooters in our group with the lenses below could cover anything that swam along the reef:

 

Tokina 35mm macro

Nikkor 60mm macro

Nikkor 105mm macro

Tokina 10-17mm

Nikkor 17-55mm

 

Most focal lengths I could replicate with my Canon lenses & FF sensor, but the Tokina 10-17 and Nikkor 105mm on cropped sensors were lenses outside my normal travel kit. If there is a major megapixel jump that needs full frame to implement, that's one thing, but meanwhile the cropped sensor cameras from both Canon and Nikon are very, very nice for UW applications.

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Hey!

 

The budget is not the problem. Or better, for me the prices are nearly the same.

I have still a few Seacam items so I will prefer Seacam.

Of course the D700 is more expensive than a D300.

But I have the Wideport WP. So for the combination D700 and 17-35 I do not need to buy another port.

But using the Tokina 10-17mm I have to buy a fisheye port or the Superdome. And for this I have to spend nearly the same money than the different from D700 to D300.

So, it is only a question of getting the better equipment for me.

Schorsch

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The 17-35mm on full frame is no alternative to a 10-17mm on DX. The 17-35mm at 17mm - probably has less coverage than the 10-17mm (which is a fisheye) on DX at 17mm. Alex

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Hey!

 

The budget is not the problem. Or better, for me the prices are nearly the same.

I have still a few Seacam items so I will prefer Seacam.

Of course the D700 is more expensive than a D300.

But I have the Wideport WP. So for the combination D700 and 17-35 I do not need to buy another port.

But using the Tokina 10-17mm I have to buy a fisheye port or the Superdome. And for this I have to spend nearly the same money than the different from D700 to D300.

So, it is only a question of getting the better equipment for me.

Schorsch

 

I wouldn't count on the Seacam wide port being the appropriate solution for the 17-35 on full frame D700. The corners will be quite marginal as compared with using the same lens with a superdome. As you consider your options, just something you should probably note. With a cropped sensor it should be fine, but with full frame the lens @ 17mm end is much wider and port optics are required to be much more precise.

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I wouldn't count on the Seacam wide port being the appropriate solution for the 17-35 on full frame D700. The corners will be quite marginal as compared with using the same lens with a superdome. As you consider your options, just something you should probably note. With a cropped sensor it should be fine, but with full frame the lens @ 17mm end is much wider and port optics are required to be much more precise.

 

 

In the light of that reply, I think information in the article I have had published in December Diver Mag (UK) about DSLRs is actually accurate!!!

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I thought you would appreciate a response from a non-expert. (I take good photos but am not in these guys class.)

 

As a Nikon shooter there is no way in he!! I would give up the Af-105VR on a DX camera for macro. Simply stated, I can take the same shot from further away from the subject. Now technically, more water between the camera and the subject degrades the photo but, practically, being farther away allows me to get a better pose from the subject simply because I am less likely to spook the subject. The bottom line is that I use the 105 for 90% of my macro shots (Sometimes I use a diopter.)

 

So my answer is that if only one (Nikon) camera, for both macro and wide angle, then a DX sensor is best.

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Sigma makes a 150mm F2.8 macro which is a good replacement for the 105mm if you're used to shooting DX.

 

Cheers

James

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Yep, James said it. Sigma 150 mm for full frame.

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I guess I should clarify what I am saying. In addition to Alex's criteria (macro vs. wide, Canon vs Nikon, etc.) I am suggesting that what kind of photographer you are: Professional vs. Amatur is importent in gear selection.

 

I watched a professional photographer at work at Wakatobi. He was there for four months then was going to another location for two months. He had the luxery to use all his air on a single subject (He was very good on his air to boot.), then arrange for another dive in the same spot if necessary.

 

On the other hand, I was there for 10 diving days and wouldn't return for a year at best! Needless my photographic style was different from the professional. I would float along until I saw something interesting. I would then take ten miniutes or less, usually five or less and continue on with the dive. Why? I don't get to dive anywhere as much as the typical professional. In addition to being not as good a photographer, I am not as good a diver and I get far fewer opportunities for the great shot.

 

So, from my particular perspective, accurate autofocus is critically importent. I don't have time for the d@mn fish to rest in a stationary pose that is suitable for manual focus. I try to get the focus rectangle on the critter's eye and pull the trigger.

 

I would not say the Sigma 150 is equal to the Nikon 105 in terms of the autofocus. (It is more like the older Nikon 105 so I am told). So I would still opinion that the AF105VR on a DX body is the best macro setup for most of us.

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The Sigma 150mm has an "AFS" type autofocus mechanism actually, so it's the same focus type as the newer 105mm. It can do full type AF with manual over-ride too - which is really nice. That's what I use it for on my Canon - which has excellent AF - but for those times when I want to tweak it myself I can. That sounds right up your alley too Tom - you should try it.

 

Cheers

James

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James,

 

150mm on a cropped sensor would be awesome, no. 1:1 at 15" I heard it was slow compared to the new Nikon 105.

 

Regards

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Pros and amateurs are not distinguished by focus technique. Many pros use AF. I use MF and am not a pro. The Sigma 150mm has fast AF and is f/2.8 like the 105. If you haven't used it perhaps you should before coming to conclusions on what FF can do.

 

I use the 150mm on DX cameras as well. I use it typically with a 500D.

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The reviews on the 150mm lens indicate a slow auto-focus.

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The reviews on the 150mm lens indicate a slow auto-focus.

Can you provide references to these reviews?

 

Individuals saying AF is slow don't mean a whole lot. You have no idea how they are testing, if they are, or what they consider slow.

 

The shallower the DOF, the slower AF will be and the 150 at f/2.8 is shallower than the 105 at f/2.8 so it is at a disadvantage. In my experience the 150 AF is fine but I use AF to get in range and MF afterward. Alex is certainly a photo pro, he places great emphasis on AF performance, and he didn't mention AF as a problem with the 150 on the D3. He thought the lens quite useful.

 

If fast macro AF is the first priority a large sensor is probably not the first choice. I'd wonder why any serious photographer would make such a choice. Of course, your original point has nothing to do with AF speed and that point has already been debunked.

 

Simply stated, I can take the same shot from further away from the subject. Now technically, more water between the camera and the subject degrades the photo but, practically, being farther away allows me to get a better pose from the subject simply because I am less likely to spook the subject.

FF shooters don't have any problem achieving these working distances and they can focus fine while doing so. Not a good reason to drive format choice.

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Before deciding on anything consider this:

 

Canon's new 5D MkII is 21MPixel Full Frame camera. Nikon do not have a camera with a matching specification.

 

I am NOT suggesting Canon are the better choice, merely indicating that the likelihood is that Nikon will have to compete in the near future. I am rarely an advocate of waiting until the next best thing comes out but given the situation at present I'd be wary just in case current products are short lived - just my personal view.

 

Regardless of reviews, assertions, etc., all the cameras discussed in this thread are capable of very high quality results - lens availability and choice together with output requirements are as important factors as body choice.

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If fast macro AF is the first priority a large sensor is probably not the first choice.

Unless 'pro' AF is only available in a body with a large sensor! :uwphotog:

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Unless 'pro' AF is only available in a body with a large sensor! :uwphotog:

Yes, of course, but... :fishblue:

 

The longer the focal length for a given f-stop, the narrower the depth of field. The narrower the DOF, the longer it takes to sweep through the focusing range.

 

The higher the magnification, the wider the focusing range. The wider the range, the longer it takes to sweep through the range.

 

Larger formats require higher magnifications and longer focal lengths but still need fast lenses for the AF sensors to work. As a result, larger formats inherently have an AF speed disadvantage when all other technologies are equal. All else is not equal, of course. If you were designing a macro system for AF speed, 4/3 would be a better choice than DX or FX. If you were designing an FX pro body system, you'd have more money to spend on faster AF electronics. :ninja:

 

The AF speed of the 105VR doesn't have much impact on the Canon shooter.

 

If a lens provides the right combination of perspective, magnification and IQ then a shooter will learn how to focus it. This is dedicated macro we are talking about!

 

...lens availability and choice together with output requirements are as important factors as body choice.

That's the important point.

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Let me go through this agian Craig.

 

If I am shooting a macro subject that moves rapidly I can't use manual focus. I don't have the time, or the brainpower, to 1) Find the critter who has just moved 2)Get the eye in the focus rectangle 3) adjust the focus manually and 4) press the shutter. If I am a professional photographer who dive multiple times per year more than I do, then I am able to hang around and wait for the happy circumstance when I can do all four. Not me. I have other places to see on the reef and other critters to photograph.

 

I would say a large percentage of photographers 1) Don't ususally dedicate a large percentage of their dive to a single subject and 2) Are not capable of using manual focus on a fast moving subject.

 

So, therefore, for a Nikon shooter (not a pro), I would not give up the AF105VR lens to go to a FF camera for macro. I need the fast autofocus of the lens to get the shots I want. The reviews that I have read indicate that the Sigma 150 is not nearly as fast autofocus.

 

I continually focus (autofocus) while approaching the subject as you do but, at the critical moment I rely on autofocus not manual focus. Why? The subject will be gone in the time it takes me to manual focus. And, frankly, the lense is fast and accurate enough that the autofocus is much better than my manual focus.

 

Therefore I would say a D3 with a Sigma 150mm is not as useful as a D300 with a Nikon af105VR.

 

That's the advice I give Meerseen.

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