Jump to content
scalesr1

Nikon 105vr manual vs auto focus

Recommended Posts

Hello, I use a D200 in ND20 housing. So far I have used the Nikon 60mm macro lens and flat port. Whilst a manual focus gear is fitted it has never been used.

 

Now looking at the 105VR lens and port options.

 

From what I have read it looks like auto focussing on the 105VR can be a little more tricky than on the 60mm though not impossible.

 

Subal make a plain flat port and a flat port with built in focus ring - which is much more costly.

 

Will I be satisfied using autofocus or will I regret not making the greater investment in the manual focus port?

 

The desire for moving from the 60mm to 105mmVR lens stems from a recent trip to the Lembeh Straits photographing pygmy seahorses and other small stuff. I guess I should also ask whether the move to 105mm is in fact justified.

 

Are there people out there using this lens purely with autofocus and if so - how happy are you?

 

.. and all those with the manual focus port - how often do you find yourself actually using the manual focus?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

I do not believe that you will feel the need for Manual Focus.

There are situations were a locked Focus is desirable. My

Definition of those are when you are moving into the direction of super macro.

 

An easy way to get around the issue is to use the "back button Focus". I am not sure if the D200 has it, but I would assume.

It is a method in which you deactive the Focus from the Trigger button and activate it on a button reachable from your right hand thumb.

Which button and how to changes from Camera to Camera. This way you can lock your Focus to the desired distance. Then you Focus by moving.

 

 

/Erik

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagle Ray's point of Back Button Focus is spot on for macro and super-macro shooting. I've shot D70, D90 and currently D7000. On the back of your D200, there is an AF-ON button. Use this to achieve the back button focus and eliminate the focus lock with the shutter. I use it for all my shots, except that on my D7000, I have to program the AF-L button to AF-ON. You don't have to do that. AF is so good these days that I don't know any pros who are using manual focus UW. But I'm sure there are a few.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do a lot of macro and super macro with the 105 and wet diopters. I find manual focus to be very helpful (bordering on essential). You can add me to the list. With respect to the "back button focus" I assume you mean the "AF ON" button, and yes it is on the D200 as well as all currently made DSLRs on the market by the major manufacturers. I have all my DSLR camera bodies (topside and U/W) set to activate autofocus only with the "AF ON" button, and not with the shutter release. I know better what I want in focus in the frame than the camera does.

Edited by diverdoug1
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others said AF with the AF-ON technique is a standard today in macro photography. But manual focusing in addition to the AF is for some situation superior. I have the Subal 105 manual focus flat port which has a built-in crone for manual focusing on the Nikkor 105.

The manual method lets you focus exactly on a specific part of the object e.g. the eye of the critter without shifting the camera (focus and recompose) or selecting different focus points in the viewfinder. But this also has some disadvantages, e.g. you must use both hands (left hand to manual focus and right hand to release the shutter).

Manual focusing also requires a bright viewfinder of the camera (with a fast 2.8 lens as the 105) and preferably a housing viewfinder (45 degree viewfinder from Subal and others or GS180).

With AF and assuming your rig is well balanced (neutral buoyancy and also not forward or backward leaning) you can use one hand (the right hand) only for focusing pressing the AF-ON with your thumb and release the shutter with your finger while holding on to something (but not a coral!) and thus stabilizing your position with the left hand. I also like to use one of these "Lembeh sticks" for stabilizing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all very much for your super quick feedback. I will try the lens with a flat port now (I have the port for 60mm plus a range of extensions) and experiment with the back button focus.

 

the housing already has a GS180 viewfinder fitted so that should help a little, and yes, we picked up a Lembeh stick when we were there a few weeks ago. Thank you again for all the helpful feedback.

Edited by scalesr1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use an Aquatica housing, and bought an aftermarket gear made by XIT404 which allows me to focus the 105 with the large zoom knob on my housing. It is much easier to use than the knob that comes with the "focus knob ports". It was much cheaper than buying a new focusing port, and easier to use. Not sure how this translates to "Subaleese" but worth a look.

Edited by diverdoug1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I shoot the Nikon 105VR Micro with, for now, my D7000. Nauticam housing with macro port 87. I use the AE-L button for focus and do use manual focus a good bit, especially for supermacro.

 

On a recent trip to Lembeh, I was using the 105 with a Subsee +10 to shoot Pygmy seahorses. I could not get the AF to lock on, even with my Sola Photo 800 on high, very reliably. A quick flick of the manual focus knob then while I was moving around in the surge, anticipate the shot timing.

 

The AF was fine with nudibranchs and other critters bigger than my thumbnail.

Edited by CamelToad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CameltToad, I was thinking about how hard it is trying to shoot Pygmy Seahorses in Lembeh in the surge, when I was posting my answer. The ability to predictively focus on small details is one of the areas that manual focus is very useful. (this also speaks to how challenging the Pygmy Seahorses are in Lembeh :) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My humble opinion is that the main difference is in how you lock your Focus.

Manual Focus: turning a Knob

"Back Button AF": pre locking the Focus at some easy object

Then the real Focusing is done by moving slightly back and forth in both cases.

 

/Erik

Edited by E_viking

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree...moving around once focus is locked is critical, and another reason I use AE-L set up to back-button focus (AF=On) to prevent an accidental half-press of shutter kicking in the AF.

 

I think a magnifying viewfinder is also very important, at least for someone with 40yr old eyes! I have the 45-degree, and while it was a bit of a challenge to get used to it, I just cant see tiny critters well enough without it.

 

 

BTW: I couldn't believe surge was still rocking down at 90fsw in Lembeh!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, my 50 year old eye requires a magnifying viewfinder (I use the 45 degree for macro, and 180 for wide angle)

Edited by diverdoug1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chipping in a bit late on this issue - but I spent a year in Lembeh (yay!) photographing pygmies with both a (Nikkor) 60mm and a 105mm at the time on a Nikon D300 with Subal housing.

 

No doubt the 105mm is tricker especially if, like me, you are using a 45-degree viewfinder (where is that little devil!??!?). Although AF would work often with the 105mm, Lembeh can be pretty gloomy and it wasn't unusual to switch to manual focus on the Subal FP-FC105VR port.

 

I found the same recently photographing Yellowline Arrowcrabs in Bonaire. Fine when the little rascals were out an' about, but once hidden down a barrel sponge ( which I think can make interesting images) I was back to MF.

 

Yep, sometimes I used a focussing light which could sometimes avoid the need for the switch to MF - but pygmies don't like cameras let alone focussing lights (of whatever colour) and soon turn away.

 

There is, sadly, a big difference in cost between a flat port for AF only and one for both AF and MF. But, if I was starting out again and money was no object (ha!), I think I would pay the extra and have the versatility of being able to switch to MF. God knows we spend enough on our, errr, hobby, what's another few hundred......

 

Talking of which, I do have a Type 3 Subal FP-FC105VR port for sale...... happy to listen to offers :clapping:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tim, if I understand you correctly, you have a type 3 macro port with manual focus that will work with an ND20 / D200 and the 105VR macro lens (latest model). If I got that right, in what region might you be inviting offers for it, delivered to the UK? Cameras Underwater have it new for £512.49. Kind regards, richard at scalesweb.co.uk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tim, see if Xit404 makes a gear so that you could use the zoom knob on your housing for manual focus of the lens. This is that arrangement I have on my Aquatica for my D800. I use the standartd non-af flat port. The gear was much cheaper than buying the manual focus flat port, as well as easier to use!

Edited by diverdoug1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Richard

 

Yes, that's right. I've just sent you a PM

 

Best wishes

 

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Doug

 

I've got the Subal already - have just gone mad and got a Type 4 for my ND800 system. Hence having a Type 3 for sale......

 

:fool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a manual focus capability and I still do just fine with super macro shots. I set the camera in focus priority. I then get a bit too close and slowly back out until the camera decides it is focus and takes the shot. It is a frustrating process but the camera (d-300) is quite good at deciding it is in focus.

 

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom, while it certainly is possible to use your technique, it becomes problematic to rely on the cameras autofocus when you have foreground and background objects which are not in the focal plane of your desired subject, but could be identified as the focal subject by the camera IQ (think a Pygmy Seahorse in a branching Sea fan.). Simply finding such a tiny subject in the viewfinder can be quite a task, so making sure that the focus pixel is not picking up on a piece of foreground or background detritus can be pretty tough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

www.tomandginnie.com/wakatobi_in_super_macro.htm

 

Actually at the magnification of a +10 Sub See all I can do is get a single focus rectangle on a pigmy. Here is a writeup from yesteryear on the process. A very small pigmy in very low resolution from that presentation is attached. It has been formatted for the presentation but is full frame.

 

That was 2011. I have increased my technique since then but no interesting pigmys

 

 

post-1589-0-84283200-1405014655_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...