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jefdriesen

Tips for shooting the Nikon AF-D 60mm?

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Hi,

 

I recently bought a Nikon D7000 with a Hugyfot housing, and the Nikon AF-D 60mm for macro. However I have lots of trouble making decent photos (on the technical level). The main problem is the focusing.

 

First of all I have the standard viewfinder which doesn't allow me to view the entire scene at once, making it difficult to make a nice composition. But I'll have to live with that for now, due to budget constraints. I'm sure there must be photographers that are able to make great photos with just the standard viewfinder.

 

The biggest problem is that I have difficulty evaluating the focus through the viewfinder, especially in low light conditions and bad visibility (which is very common here in the Belgium/Dutch waters). Mounting a Greenforce Ceto D on top of my housing to act as a focus light already improved a lot, but I have the feeling that it's still not enough. I have to aim the Ceto really straight on top of the target, or it's effect is mostly lost. Is this light not suitable as a focus light? Do I need a more powerful one, or maybe just a wider beam to cover a larger area?

 

The next big problem I encounter is that once I come very close, I have difficulty keeping the camera steady. Combined with the fact that even very small movements are large relative to the small subject distance, I end up with many out-of-focus images. Shooting at a large aperture and thus a small depth of field makes things only worse.

 

Does anyone have tips & tricks to solve these problems and improve my photography?

 

Jef

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A small focus light with a wide beam works best, the Sola 600 has rapidly become very popular. The movement of the housing/port system is one of those things that makes life difficult: lots of practice, good diving technique and bracing the system against rock help. I sometimes brace my left ring finger against rock and rest the housing on my index finger and thumb, but, mostly, I use continuous AF with focus prioritised and move the focus area to match the subject in the frame. Sometimes it doesn't work (and a 105mm lens is worse!).

 

Tim

 

:dance:

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A small focus light with a wide beam works best, the Sola 600 has rapidly become very popular. The movement of the housing/port system is one of those things that makes life difficult: lots of practice, good diving technique and bracing the system against rock help. I sometimes brace my left ring finger against rock and rest the housing on my index finger and thumb, but, mostly, I use continuous AF with focus prioritised and move the focus area to match the subject in the frame. Sometimes it doesn't work (and a 105mm lens is worse!).

 

Tim

 

:)

Those are all good tips. Buoyancy control is critical. For macro, I use a fiberglass stick as a “monopod” and brace with elbows on rib cage and housing pressed against mask. Try using higher shutter speeds – 1/125 – to whatever your camera can sync with. I use the older 60 and 105 Nikkor macros. The 60 focuses sufficiently fast at night with a very dim red light. I use the 105 in manual almost always. Place spot focus on the critical spot, e.g. the eye of your subject and you will see the green ball when it is in focus. I use continuos AF.

Bob

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In an attempt to make the beam of my Ceto D focus light a little wider, I would like to try making a diffuser for it. Does anyone know which material I should use for such a diffuser? I tried several plastics I found throughout the house, but they are either too transparent and thus not spreading the light enough, or too opaque and thus blocking nearly all the light. When I try with the diffuser from a compact camera, the resulting beam is much better. Unfortunately that diffuser is a little too small for the light, so I can't really re-use that.

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Maybe, a rubber band and couple (or more) of layers of white plastic shopping bag?

 

or

 

Look up a local lighting supply house.

They normally stock different grades of white plastic to diffuse overhead lights.

 

take care,

ChrisS

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Hi don"t no how the hugyfot options are but i guess you can buy an other viewfinder for macro shooting can bee somthing to consider doing if you have troubel too see the hole image but that quite normal for standar viewfinder have the same problem so when the big score come on lotto am just buy my an highclass viewfinder.

 

Problem whit focus??? image not focus not sharp? same here do as i use manual focus then you can select focus spot you want center point i would adwise you too choose

 

kent

Edited by diverocket

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Are you using AF or MF? If AF, make sure you use AF-C. With AF-C, the lens will continue to focus from the time you half press the shutter button until you take the shot. This will help quite a lot with camera or subject movement while shooting.

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For the 60mm and the 105mm I use this technique:

-camera in manual (too many cameras make dumb choices underwater)

-camera in Single Servo AF

-f/16 or f/22 for aperture

-1/250s for shutter speed (max flash sync on my camera)

-wide angle focus light edge lighting subject

-press shutter release half way to activate then Lock focus on your primary area of focus

-recompose

-depress shutter fully

(note: some cameras will not fire if AF sensor says image is not in perfect focus; this can be very frustrating in surgy conditions; most cameras can be set to fire when shutter release is fully depressed regardless of AF status)

 

another trick when shooting closer than to 1-to-2 (half life size on sensor):

-pre-focus

-set camera to manual focus

-use careful bracing and body movements to get your images (become a human macro rail)

(note: camera will fire regardless of what the AF sensor tells it when in manual mode)

 

remember, depth of field is shallow when shooting macro, the closer to 1-to-1 you are the shallower it gets; 1/3 in front of perfect focus and 2/3 behind perfect focus.

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For the 60mm and the 105mm I use this technique:

-camera in manual (too many cameras make dumb choices underwater)

-camera in Single Servo AF...

 

The automation on many modern cameras is better than that in the film SLRs where your technique evolved. Fast-moving subjects, surge and aiming for 1:1 or better lead to a very high failure rate in fully manual use. Getting AF to work is a big, big help, especially when you're starting out.

 

Tim

 

:)

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First of all I have the standard viewfinder which doesn't allow me to view the entire scene at once, making it difficult to make a nice composition. But I'll have to live with that for now, due to budget constraints. I'm sure there must be photographers that are able to make great photos with just the standard viewfinder.

 

I think most have this problem to a greater or lesser extent. I improved mine by getting a mask with a lens that is as close as possible to my eye (I feel my lashes touch the glass sometimes). This maximises the area of viewfinder I can see. I use a Technisub Micromask, but there is an Atomic almost as good.

Maybe take your camera and housing shopping for a new mask??

Tim Digger

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