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Macro 60 or 105mm on a D800 + (maybe) TC 14-EII or TC-20EIII

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Hi Elmer,

 

It sounds like we may be ships passing in the night. I'm in Tulamben now and start a Komodo cruise on Monday. Then a month in South Australia before returning to Bali for September and October. I'll probably start at Tulamben when I return from SA. That's on September 6th. If it turns out we can hook up, that would be nice.

 

Fred

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Fred,

 

I would love to hook up with another 70-180 mm micro guy! I will be in Tulamben the last week of August, then to Bima and Komodo.

Unfortunately we will be ships passing in the night, but may be fortunate enough to bump into you another time.

 

Elmer

Edited by eyu

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Elmer,

 

Don't forget to try your 70-180 behind a small dome if you haven't already. Not quite as good for really small stuff. Maximum magnification only about .4x behind the dome I use. But much better for bigger fish and critters. Like the barracuda that sometimes hangs out at the Tulamben Liberty shipwreck. Or even some of the jacks in the school. The attached shots were done with the 70-180 and a small dome. They're scans of film shots taken a few years ago before I switched to digital. I probably use the 70-180 more behind the dome than behind flat glass.

 

Fred

post-1375-0-51864300-1374408347_thumb.jpg

post-1375-0-83628100-1374408668_thumb.jpg

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Fred,

 

Thanks for the small dome tip, I just need to figure out what extensions to use with the 4" Subal DP-54b dome.

I remember you mentioned it in another thread that a small dome works well with the 28-85 mm f 2.8-4D lens set on macro.

I will need to try both.

 

Thanks,

Elmer

Edited by eyu

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Hi, Davi, thanks for your suggestion about the Sigma 150. I heard from someone here in this forum that its focus is too slow, that's why I haven't get interessed on this lens. Before having started this topic specific for the use with the D800, I believe I've read all topics around here which discussed about macro lens (mainly 60mm vs 105mm), so I guess the statement about the slow focus of the Sigma was said by someone who was discussing about the same as us. How do you like its focus, both for UW and topside shoots?

 

 

That is strange, because it is a fast to very fast and accurate focus lens. It is a 2.8 HSM lens. Maybe what you read was about sigma´s 105mm which a slow focuser...

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I am not shooting macro that often and like more wideangle and big fish, but being twice in Lembeh recently. I was shooting so far macro with the Nikon's 70-180mm maccro zoom in the original (long) Subal macroport FP70180. This port lets you switch underwater from AF to manual focus. Autofocus with this lens is ok at conditons with good available light. It might hunt a bit in bad lighting condition, but it is still ok. But I can always switch very fast to manual focus which is the best way for macro anyways IMO (e.g. you want to focus on the eye and NOT want to recompose the frame...however, Alex Mustard recently described here on Wetpixel a method using modern Nikon's like D800/D4 AF-C with 3D-tracking and thus focusing on the eye with the selected focus point and then recompose....).

 

The 70-180 is a pretty sharp lens and as others said already very versatile due to it s zoom functionality. But is not enough for smallest objects, especially on FF. It renders only up to 1:1.3. I was using sometimes a 5T with it to get almost to 1:1. The negatives: It is rather a long lens and requires a large macro port. The housing with this lens and port gets front-loaded in weight and negative boyanacy and tends to swap over. The other thing is that Nikon does not make this lens anymore and it seems to be quite hard to get a used one due to its many believers (I have heared that it sells today used more than original...I myself also would never sell this lens...and furthermore, Subal does not make that port anymore...)

 

The images from Lembeh on my webpage are all shot with this setup: http://www.jvpictures.com/welcome.html

 

Contrary to this I got now the 105 with a new Subal macro port. This setup is more elegant and way more slick. The port is for manual and Autofocus (and does not even requires a lever to swich between these modes. Just use AF ( I am using exclusively AF-ON only technique by pressing AF-ON button combined with AF-C) and be able to change to manual by just turning the focus knob on the port. The port does not even require a focus gear on the lens since the internal focus wheel goes directly on the rubber barrel on the lens).

 

The 105 VRII lens itself is just superb. It yields 1:1. the largest aperture of 2.8 means that the view finder is about double time brighter than with a 5.6 lens, which is especially for macro shots in bad lighting conditions a big plus. And this lens is probably the sharpest lens Nikon ever made in the range of "standard professional lenses" (maybe the 200mm /f2.0 is even sharper...but this is not for underwater!).

 

But beware, for Subal I believe it requires a type 4 bayonnet diameter, since this lens is thicker than others. Off course, as others said, there are other good underwater housings available.

 

So rather a long story...

 

Juerg

Juerg,

 

Thank you a lot for your feedback. I was quite convinced to buy the 105VR to pair with the D800, but after some advices about the 70-180mm, I must say I'm a bit confused about which one should I choose for now, that's why I asked you about your experience with the referred lens. Indeed, after have seen some pics took with this lens (from you and others) I'm really with in a problem :) Did you take all the photos from the Lembeh album with the 70-180mm? I like specially the follow ones: #77, #95, #97, #103 and #118.

 

Interesting to know you can switch from focus to manual (which I do believe is the best way for macro too) with the mentioned Subal port. But what's the use of it if for a future buyer like me - besides the difficulty of finding this discontinued lens, if Subal doesn't make this port anymore? BTW: I did read the Alex's article talking about the 3D-tracking as an option for focus while shooting macro when he has published it some time ago (I read almost everything I could find about the D800), and even I'm curious about how does it work, I don't like much to have to recompose every single frame I wanna shoot.

 

So, I'm wondering: even if I'm able to fin an used lens like this after a devoted search on Internet, how would I manage with the lack of a proper port to pair with? I can see the housing manufacturers saying something like: "Sorry, but there's no meaning to remain producing dedicated porters for discontinued lens". Also: if this lens is so versatile and top desired as you and others say, why did Nikon stop to produce it?

 

Anyway, after having bought the 105VRII + the new Subal macro port, are you saying that nowadays you prefer this brand new setup for macro or I've misunderstood you? And what you mean by the type 4 bayonet diameter required? This spec is supposed to be asked whenever I order the housing or it has to do with the port itself? Sorry, but Subal is quite a new world for me...

 

Thanks again,

 

Valeria

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[...] the newest Subal housings like for D4 and D800 are just astonishing. All camera functions are easily accessible by your fingers without to remove your hands from the regular hand positions. the latest ports AND extension rings have a port-lock, inside is a leak-warner for sound and sight [...] these are just a few items to know. But also, this stuff is (too) expensive...

 

Yep, Juerg, so far I've researched about, I do believe Subal is the Ferrari (at least for the D800), mainly due to its ergonomics. When I say I've not yet decided about which housing brand I'll marry to after upgrade to the D800 it means that it has not only to do with how expensive it is, but also the cost/benefit I will get after-sale (support, assistance and maintenance) because I live in Brazil, so, talking about Subal, it's a condition far different from you guys who live in Europe. Anyway, the best place for whatever I need in terms of rig assistance, is the USA, so any decision for me has to do with how things work in the USA as well.

 

Valeria

 

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[...] Autofocus speed is a two edge sword, the old 105 mm lens was slow and the new one is fast. The new 105 VR may misses the focus point by zooming past it, thus the convenience of a manual override on the Subal port. But some prefer the slower older 105 mm lens since the slowness with focus it does not tend to over shoot the focus point as much.

 

In regards to hunting in low light, this is a common problem in underwater photography. [...] A good focus light should be a standard feature in ones underwater photo setup to alleviate this.

 

[...] note that a Subal 105 VR port comes in a type 4 as well as a type 3 port. In regards to housings for the D800, try the different ones at a dive show and see how they feel in your hands.

 

[...] This hobby requires very deep pockets/pocketbooks, I could buy a new car for what I have in underwater photo equipment. A very nice car at that!

 

Elmer

 

Wow, Elmer, I was not enough awarred about the differences between the old an the new 105mm regarding to the autofocus performance. I suppose your considerations about the new one referring to the risk of miss the focus point by zooming past it is kinda a housing-command difficult, so this issue is limited to the underwater experience, no? I mean: topside no doubts the fast autofocus delivered by the new 105 is unquestionable?

 

Nevertheless, as I wish an initial single macro lens for both land and UW shoots, now I'm trying to figure out: if I finally decide for the 105mm, which one of it should I search for?

 

A focus-dedicated light: no doubts it's essential in UWP. I use one specially directed for helping that, besides two strobes.

 

Subal port for the 105mm: Juerg has advised me about the type 4 bayonet. Could you please specify what are the differences between this and the type 3 one?

 

What else you've sentenced: I dare saying it's not just a matter of $, it's a marriage for long as well (in case of new camera+new housing set up as mine), that's why I tend to be ever very very cautious going step by step :)

 

Valeria

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[...] if you stop any of those lenses down to working apertures like f11 or even f16 to get more depth-of-field you lose some sharpness to diffraction which tends to "even" the difference between the lenses. And getting the shot, any decent shot, is far more important than such technical differences. [...]

 

[...] the controls it has or doesn't have, plus how easily you can use those controls, is the single most important factor in choosing a housing [...]

 

I shoot using TTL flash with Ikelite 161 strobes, which I think are the best strobes for TTL. Inons work reasonably well slaving off of the pop-up flash on the D800, but Inon's are powered by AA batteries that need to be changed every dive or two. [...]

 

[...] Please feel free to contact me directly about housings or about lenses for Nikon. [...]

 

Fred

Hey Fred, being a journalist (even I have never being a photojournalist in such daily news confined purpose), I do completely agree with your statement: "getting the shot, any decent shot, is far more important than such technical differences". And I even must say that sometimes the so called tech perfection bothers me.

 

housings: for sure the easy of achieving the camera controls and whatever it means is the most valuable. Probably that's my complain about my actual Ikelite, besides its polycarbonate construction. And that's definitely too why I'm seriously wondering about choosing Subal, despite of its very high cost and it's being totally unused in Brazil.

 

strobes: I own an Ikelite DS125 and a DS160 (not two DS160 as I have said before, I forgot I have returned a defective one and choose to got my money back). I do like their TTL performance at all ambient lights situations, but I think they are too heavy and big (both for balancing gear set up and for checking luggage in before air trips), so I'm wondering about replace them for lighter ones like the Inons (that's why I decided not to accept another Ikelite strobe after I have bought a defective one). I've heard from Ikelite factory assistance's guys that they have the best e-TTL strobe on the market, but I never tried another one while shooting UW, so I can't really evaluate whether it's just a marketing statement or whatever. But something I can surely affirm: Ikelite strobes are very big and heavy. I'm with a huge inflammation on my elbow since a recent trip to Bonaire (indeed probably it's due to have for my whole life ever carried around so much weight during my field jobs - not only UW, must say), so I was seriously thinking about downsize it starting replacing my strobes. BTW: are you using the double connector #4103-52 cord or fiber optic? What about the EV manual controller?

 

Inons powered by AA batteries which must be changed every dive: yep, it's disgusting! I simply HATE AA batteries, even I know there are lots of people who love it because it can be easily replace wherever you are! My feeling probably comes from the analog camera times, when I was obligated to carry tons of AA batteries with me whenever I left land for sailing because I knew I'd be with no easy energy source for a loooooooong time… Strange to understand, but I stilled hating AA even after the arrival of the rechargeable batteries, though I do have it and its charger for some advices.

 

Thanks for all your offers, I probably will contact you soon, when finally I deep dive into my new setup buying decision.

 

Valeria

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Hello Valeria and others,

 

I've had a chance to put together a few shots that show the versatility of the 70-180 Micro-nikkor.

 

[...]

 

Fred

 

I appreciated a lot the shots, Fred, they are very illustrative for demonstrating the versatility of the 70-180mm. Where have you took them?

 

Valeria

 

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Elmer,

 

[...] What you do with your pictures makes a lot of difference (or it should) on what camera you choose to shoot with. If all you do with your pictures is post them on the internet, a D800 vs a D700 or D300 is a waste of money, in my opinion.

 

[...] which would give you better final image sharpness? Shooting a subject at 1:1 with a 105mm Micro-nikkor combined with Nikon's 2x tele-converter, which effectively gives you 2x life-size. Or shooting the same subject at 1:1 with the Micro-nikkor alone and blowing it up to the same 200% or 2x life-size with Photoshop [...] ?

 

[...] I am particularly doubtful about wet diopters which have a layer of water between them and the housing with the prime lens. I don't feel that the optical alignment between these flip up and flip down diopters is very good and think that they would be a great first test subject for shooting with and without pictures and then using Photoshop to blow up the lens only shot to the same magnification as the lens plus wet diopter. And then comparing both images side-by-side. Because I am leery of them, I don't own a wet diopter to do the test on. [...]

 

Fred

 

IMHO too, it values for everything in the informatics world: there's no sense to get (and pay!) for something that you don't really need or will definnetelly not use in the next, say, 18 upcoming months.

 

Your purposed test TC use vs pos on PS: I got curious about it because I own the 20-TCIII, besides the 14-TCII, so please keep me posted if you ever get to any conclusion.

 

dry/wet diopters tests: I'm researching about it as well and I have never used none of them, so it would be cool if you let me know too whenever you have some information about the comparison you're trying to establish.

 

Valeria

 

 

 

That is strange, because it is a fast to very fast and accurate focus lens. It is a 2.8 HSM lens. Maybe what you read was about sigma´s 105mm which a slow focuser...

Hi, Davi,

 

I read it from more than one person here: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=50681

 

Valeria

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Wow, Elmer, I was not enough awarred about the differences between the old an the new 105mm regarding to the autofocus performance. I suppose your considerations about the new one referring to the risk of miss the focus point by zooming past it is kinda a housing-command difficult, so this issue is limited to the underwater experience, no? I mean: topside no doubts the fast autofocus delivered by the new 105 is unquestionable?

 

Nevertheless, as I wish an initial single macro lens for both land and UW shoots, now I'm trying to figure out: if I finally decide for the 105mm, which one of it should I search for?

 

A focus-dedicated light: no doubts it's essential in UWP. I use one specially directed for helping that, besides two strobes.

 

Subal port for the 105mm: Juerg has advised me about the type 4 bayonet. Could you please specify what are the differences between this and the type 3 one?

 

What else you've sentenced: I dare saying it's not just a matter of $, it's a marriage for long as well (in case of new camera+new housing set up as mine), that's why I tend to be ever very very cautious going step by step :)

 

Valeria

Valeria,

 

The new 105 VR focuses quick and will zoom past the focus point on land, but more so underwater. It needs contrast to lock on the focus point, so if a land shot does not have good contrast it will have trouble locking on. But you can compensate for this by manual focus.

 

I do not do much above the water macro photography now, but it may be easier for you to just get the 105 VR since you may have trouble getting a good used 70-180 mm micro lens. Also if focus speed is an issue the 70-180 mm micro lens is a lot slower than the 105 VR.

 

The difference between the Subal type 3 and type 4 port is the diameter of the port opening and type 4 has a port lock. Lens have gotten bigger in diameter. The type 4 was designed to accommodate the 14-24 mm lens. I have kept my Subal with a type 3 port since all my lens will fit this diameter and all my ports are type 3. I have changed from a D2Xs Subal housing to a D800 Subal housing and I am able to use the same ports.

 

Besides the money issue, you need to be happy with the way the housing feels in your hands and what controls are accessible to you. The ergonomics of the housing is very important and good housings are expensive. I can feel the half click of the shutter and every click as a change f stops or shutter speed with my housing controls. Other housings I have tried did not have such a feel, they are just water proof boxes around your camera.

Edited by eyu

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I am a DX shooter and made the comment that the Sigma 150 is a comparitively slow autofocus. This is compared to the new lightning fast, AF-105-VR. Some people like the slower focusing older Nikon 105 so unless you want quick autofocus you should not rule out the Sigma 150mm. In my case, I am used to the quick focus and find it valuable. However, if you prefer a slower autofocus i believe you should seriously consider the Sigma 150. It is a very sharp lens and the working distance is slightly more than the 105. The big edge, in my view, is that a diopter will give more magnification the longer the lens. Just don't expect to shoot skittish little fist with it as easily as the new 105. (see picture)

 

I also started the thread on the 200mm Nikon and also suggest that you audit that thread. There are some very interesting comments and shots and i fear I will be purchasing this very expensive lens and making the underwater modifications necessary.

 

My view is that for macro the FX, DX discussion is a red herring that only applies to the artificial idea that gaining 1:1 is a goal. All that matters to me is the number of megapixels remaining when I import the shot from RAW to PS, not what % of the frame the subject is. Given that, I think DX macro experience is appropriate for your FX question.

 

For super macro I have found a wet diopter useful on the 105 and 150 but the working distance on the 60mm is to short to use the diopter and still get good flash coverage. I use the 60mm only in murky water and only without a diopter. My workhorse lens is the AF-105-VR with a wet +5 +10 subsee diopter.

 

I am looking at the 200 because I get more working distance. I will probably shoot with my +5 mounted most of the time in order to get good flash coverage. I may even put a Nikon diopter inside the port. The 200 is also a slow focusing lens.

 

post-1589-0-15849500-1374856312_thumb.jpg

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Thanks guys for your feedbacks! I apologize for the delay, but I've been very busy these past days. Now I'm back, so let's see:

 

 

 

If you have a chance to try it (just in a shop would do), go ahead... After that, if you think it is slow at all, do not even consider the 70-180mm... :innocent:

 

Actually I did consider the 70-180mm, but finally gave up about it. Thanks anyway, Davi!!!

 

Valeria,

 

The new 105 VR focuses quick and will zoom past the focus point on land, but more so underwater. It needs contrast to lock on the focus point, so if a land shot does not have good contrast it will have trouble locking on. But you can compensate for this by manual focus.

 

I do not do much above the water macro photography now, but it may be easier for you to just get the 105 VR since you may have trouble getting a good used 70-180 mm micro lens. Also if focus speed is an issue the 70-180 mm micro lens is a lot slower than the 105 VR.

 

[...]

Besides the money issue, you need to be happy with the way the housing feels in your hands and what controls are accessible to you. The ergonomics of the housing is very important and good housings are expensive. I can feel the half click of the shutter and every click as a change f stops or shutter speed with my housing controls. Other housings I have tried did not have such a feel, they are just water proof boxes around your camera.

 

Yep, Elmer, surely I know the focus is based on contrast. Just in case on land I use to set my lens on M/A for a quick manual focus if needed. And when the situation is really critical of course I change it for just manual.

I had a look searching for the 70-180mm and I could find some, but it's a bit expensive for an used gear which I don't know how long may it rest in good conditions (I must admit: I don't like at all to buy used photo gear). Adding to the difficulty for finding new ports to this lens, I indeed decided to go for the new 105VR although the versatility of the 70-180mm have in fact attracted me a lot.

"[...] they are just water proof boxes around your camera": I definitely agree with your statement! Feel the housing on my hands in a completely intuitive way (I mean much more than just able to shoot) should be as a friendly experience as a good camera is expected to be too!

 

[...]

I also started the thread on the 200mm Nikon and also suggest that you audit that thread. There are some very interesting comments and shots and i fear I will be purchasing this very expensive lens and making the underwater modifications necessary.

[...]

 

I read your thread about the 200mm and every comments on it, Tom. Thanks for the indication forwarding me to that, but I don't like the idea of such a long lens + ports, adapters and so on for an underwater use. I'm fighting against an inflammation on my ancon exactly for being carrying around so much weight while working. Obviously there's a considerable reduction underwater but again it seems to be very bulky on the frontside of the housing. And besides you ever need to carry it until arrive to the boat or whatever leads you to the dive point…

 

 

Valeria

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Hi Valeria,

 

I'm on my last day of a dive cruise to Komodo and returning to Bali. First internet connection in nine days. I'll try to reply to more of your questions as soon as I'm ashore and have a better connection. In response to where my pictures in this and the 200 Micro-nikkor pictures were taken. They were take in Tulamben, Bali. One of the best inexpensive places I know of to dive. Concerning Subal, as I may have mentioned in my comments I've just switched to a Subal ND800 from Seacam. But BEWARE! Subal's attention to the functioning of their controls, especially the push-buttons for focus point selection is not good. There has been a thread about problems with the push-buttons on the ND800 housing elsewhere on WetPixel. The Komodo cruise and a few days in Tulamben were my first chance to use my new Subal housing and like others I have had problems with Subal's push-buttons sticking in the "down position". I am going to have to disassemble the push buttons to see if I can find out why this is happening and what I can do to correct it. When the buttons have "stuck" I have been able to grab them and wiggle them enough so that they did return to the "off" position. But it is something that has happened several times on deeper dives (I've now done about 30 dives with two ND800 housings) and despite my trying to use liquid silicone to prevent it. The only other person I know personally who has and ND800 has also had similar push button problems.

 

Otherwise I have been pleased with the additional controls that Subal has on this housing vs Seacam and the other makes that I saw. As you get used to it, having both an "auto-focus on" AND an "auto-focus lock" controls allows you to first auto-focus where you want without the possibility of shooting accidentally, and then holding the auto-focus lock lever as you shoot or recompose and shoot. This can be a great way to operate in some shooting situations. I've programmed the function and preview buttons to allow me to either shoot a quick shot with no flash or to utilize Nikon's "flash value lock" which can be quite useful in some shooting situations.

 

As I may also have mentioned, I've worked with a good machine shop and have a port mount on my Subal ND800's that allows me to use all the ports and extension rings that I had accumulated as a seacam user which saved a lot of money. I mention this because I have seen a couple pictures of Subal's dedicated port for the 70-180mm Micro-nikkor and it has a permanent "flat glass" front. To use a dome you would need to "assemble" your own port with several extension rings and then add either a flat glass or dome on the front. With the flat glass option, the port I use for the 200mm Micro-nikkor is only a few mm longer than the flat glass port for the 70-180 so the same one would work for either lens.

 

More later,

 

Fred

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I appreciated a lot the shots, Fred, they are very illustrative for demonstrating the versatility of the 70-180mm. Where have you took them?

 

Valeria

 

 

At the risk of sounding as if I'm flaming Fred, I feel that the flexibility is a curse: there is a flatness to the images that he's posted that suggests using the zoom as an alternative to getting the very best angle on the subject.

 

As an amateur, I've learned to avoid flexibility, and shoot better images when I restrict myself to a prime lens. For macrophotography on the D800, that's the 105mm; the 60mm I'm now using for fish portraits, rather than for strict macrophotography.

 

post-4522-0-09140100-1375307398_thumb.jpg

 

105mm, Shetland, July 2013

 

 

post-4522-0-90372700-1375307607_thumb.jpg

 

60mm, Shetland, July 2013

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Tim, You are absolutely right. The flexibility of a zoom lens like the 70-180 is indeed a curse. In the old days, when all I had was either a 60mm or 105mm, and I didn't get the shot, I could always say, "but I had the wrong lens on my camera." Or, "The critter just wouldn't let me get any closer." Or, "The vis was so mediocre I couldn't back up far enough to get the whole thing in the picture." But these days magazine photo editors don't accept such excuses. And when you come back with those excuses instead of the "shot", they find someone else to send to places like Palau or Raja Ampat for them. Someone who they know will get the "shot", even if it means shooting with a 70-180mm. Someone who can deal choosing both a good shooting angle AND a good framing. At the same time! Oh, the curse of trying to make your living as a fish-paparazzi in a time of such optical richness! Fred

Edited by divegypsy
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Tim, You are absolutely right... Oh, the curse of trying to make your living as a fish-paparazzi in a time of such optical richness! Fred

 

The luxury of the amateur, eh? Thank heavens I don't have to cater to editors! I can take my time, and only ever show the nice images!!

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Hello Valeria,

 

I've washed up on Australian shores and am now settled into an operational base in Adelaide from which, when the weather permits, I'll go diving. I also have more regular connections to the internet and WetPixel.

 

Addressing your questions about my strobes. I use two very different kinds of strobes. Hartenberger 250's and Ikelite 161's. I use both on iTTL with Nikon cameras. I shoot virtually everything on TTL from fisheye to super-macro because once you know TTL it greatly increases your chance of getting a well exposed picture on the first try. The Hartenberger strobes are considerably larger and heavier that the Ikelite 161's but have the advantage of a full-power recycle in under a second, maybe about half a second. So I use those mostly as "special purpose" tools when I expect to be shooting larger or faster moving animals. For my day-to-day shooting I now use the Ikelite 161's.

 

Recently I upgraded to Ikelite's new Lithium Ion power packs which are excellent - lighter, more flashes per charge and faster recycle times (Ikelite says under two seconds for a full-power recycle). I just finished a Komodo cruise. On the cruise I had two housings - one set up for macro with the 70-180 and the other with a wider lens and dome port - either 24-85, or 17-35, or 16-35, and appropriate dome. I used that set-up for schools of fish and reef scenes. Attached to each housing were two Ikelite 161's. Over the nine days we actually dived, I did 26 dives, 19 of them with the wide-angle lens housing. Dives averaged about an hour and over the 19 wide-angle dives I shot 623 frames. I never had to recharge either set of battery packs the whole cruise. The battery capacity check on the strobes after the last dive indicated that I still had enough power for additional dives and shooting. The wide-angle camera's strobes had been turned on for at least eighteen hours, had provided 623 TTL flashes and still had more capacity. What more can you ask for?

 

I use my strobes with traditional wire sync cables, because I already have those and because I feel there are several problems with optically synced strobes that I'd prefer to avoid. I believe that Ikelite's TTL system (iTTL for Nikon and eTTL for Canon) is the simplest to use because the TTL converter is powered by the strobe and doesn't require a separate battery like many other TTL systems. As long as there is enough power to recycle the strobe, the converter has the power it needs.

 

I'll attach a few photos of one of my new "mongrel" D800 housings. Part Subal (housing body), part Seascam (ports & extension rings), part Nauticam (viewfinder), and part Ikelite (strobes, TTL converter and handgrips). A housing modified to suit its new tenant. Me. What I also have on my housings is a very nice carrying handle that makes carrying the housing much easier, especially for shore entry diving. It is also good when you need to hand the housing up to someone in a boat while you're in the water. Subal sold me a custom paint job with the tan front and a black back. I'll further camou the front which should make it minimally intrusive to sensitive critters. The black back allows me to see the camera's LCD better in high ambient light situations. Far better than the bright silver of my previous Seascam D700 & F5 housings. The housing as it is shown is set up for use with Nikon's 24-85mm lens.

 

Each of my housings also has one of Miso's Leak Sentinel alarms installed. They worked perfectly on the Komodo trip.

 

Fred

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As an amateur, I've learned to avoid flexibility, and shoot better images when I restrict myself to a prime lens.

IMHO restricting yourself is as right/wrong as not restricting yourself. Some photographers (amateur or professional) prefer working with primes, others prefer the versatility of zooms. Personally, I don't own a zoom lens. Above water I now shoot mostly on Leica M with 4 primes (small light and I like using rangefinders and always have). It really depends on what you, the photographer, are happiest shooting with. I prefer primes but I know other photographers who much prefer zooms. We live in a very fortunate age, as Fred says 'of optical richness', and the lens choices open to us are greater than ever before. IMHO the biggest obstacle to photographic decision making is to assume that copying the choices of others will enable photographic excellence in ourselves. It took me a long time to realise that equipment must suit the photographer and his/her preferences, not simply be gathered to ensure ultimate versatility. I am more than happy to go out and take only 1, 2 or perhaps 3 prime lenses with me, and I (think that I) actually produce better images by having to think in terms of their focal lengths rather than working with a zoom. Its each to his/her own though and whilst for me this applies underwater too, others may have a totally different view. FWIW, I would always suggest starting off with prime lenses though, until experience allows for decisions to be better made.

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Gee Paul,

 

I agree that each photographer should choose his or her equipment to suit his or her own preference of shooting style, subject matter, and what he or she wants to do with the images. I think that if you go out shooting and carry two, three or four prime lenses, so that you can vary your angle of view, there is no practical difference between changing lenses for the shot and changing the focal length setting on a zoom lens. Except perhaps that changing the zoom setting is faster, which means that you are less likely to miss the shot while changing the lens, and doesn't require exposing the sensor to dust and the other elements. Quality prime lenses are usually sharper than a zoom, but the two are often so close that there is little practical difference. Underwater, where you can't change lenses, I think the more practical solution for shooting a variety of subjects, and not missing the shot, is to use a zoom lens.

 

Many years ago I did a lot of shooting with two Leica M2's, one with a 35mm f2 and the other with a 90mm f2. Sadly, they didn't make it back from Viet Nam. Great cameras and sometimes I miss the compactness and unobtrusiveness of a small, quite Leica. But the Leica of that time, the late 60's, was more limited in lens selection than now, especially in the long focal lengths. And today, even Leica and Hasselblad offer zoom lenses or lenses with several focal length settings.

 

IF you want to be a prime lens purest, why not shoot only one lens? Henri Cartier-Bresson virtually "founded" modern photojournalism with a Leica and only a 50mm lens. Why not shoot everything with just a single lens for a year or two?

 

But let's not forget that Valeria, who started this thread, is a professional nature photo-journalist and already owns a variety of lenses. Probably including something like a 70-200mm f2.8 and she was asking for ideas about a macro lens, which was why I mentioned the 70-180mm Micro-Nikkor zoom.

 

Fred

Edited by divegypsy

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IF you want to be a prime lens purest, why not shoot only one lens? Henri Cartier-Bresson virtually "founded" modern photojournalism with a Leica and only a 50mm lens. Why not shoot everything with just a single lens for a year or two?

 

Fred

Actually Fred, I've reduced the number of lenses I use over the years. I'm becomming more and more of a minimalist as time goes on. I do often carry one camera, one lens these days, quite liberating.

 

Underwater Its somewhat different but I could happily drop to two or thre primes.......

 

FWIW though, Cartier-Bresson wasn't too myuch into gear apparently, and is reputed to have asked an author what pen it was that was used to write articles, with when the author asked him what camera gear he used :) .

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