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horvendile

Nikon Z: 8-15 mm fisheye or 105 mm macro?

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What kind of questions is that? - I hear you asking yourselves. Well, here's the thing.

Earlier this year I, longing for tropical travel, started a thread about what lenses to bring for my Z7/Z6 on a trip to Brothers/Daedalus/Elphinstone in the Red Sea. Here it is, for reference:

Now I've done some diving on the Swedish west coast, trying some things out. Among other things I have tried using the Sigma 15 mm fisheye which is MF only on Nikon Z. On the plus side, fisheye was kind of fun. On the minus side, MF means that I have close to zero chance of capturing anything moving quickly.

Also, I have ordered the new Nikon 105 mm macro for Z-mount. For about the same money I could get my hands on a Nikon 8-15 mm fisheye which will work fine on my Z7 on FTZ adapter. I can afford one of them, but not both.

Z macro, pluses: I'll probably get it in the end anyway. It's better than the F-mount version. Also lighter and with better weight distribution.
Z macro, minuses: The F-mount macro I already own isn't bad. The Z version doesn't give me any fundamentally new capability.

Nikon 8-15, pluses: Will give me good fisheye with AF, which is a new capability.
Nikon 8-15, minuses: That's a lot of money for a lens to be used on FTZ adapter. The Z mount is good for wide angle lenses. Sooner or later there will be a native fisheye making the 8-15 unnecessarily cumbersome. Also, I have the 14-30 with Sea&Sea correction lens, so I'm not lacking wide-angle AF while waiting for a native Z AF fisheye.

Of course it's my decision in the end, I'll have to figure out what's most important to me. Still though - what takes on this do you have?

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Wow, apples and oranges. And I prefer mango ;)

Some thoughts:

- The F-mount 105mm is already extremely sharp. Underwater will an even sharper Z-mount 105mm make any noticeable improvement? Yeah, you then can remove the FTZ but you are paying a big piece for that convenience.

- with the Sigma 15mm: if you stop it down to, say, f11 isn't pretty much everything worthwhile in focus if you have it focussed at say about 60cms?

- I've got the Nikkor 8-15. Super fun lens to use topside on an FX body (although underwater I use it on a  D500). Although I have read (Alex Mustard for one), and would tend to agree, that on FX it is just two lenses and not really a zoom: so an 15mm FE and an 8mm FE. I find with DX underwater it's a more useable as a zoom. (But can't see any significant improvement over the Tokina 10-17)

- yeah, you have a Z 14-30.

Not sure where this takes you. If anywhere! I'd have thought the 8-15mm would be more use - and maybe more fun - than "just upgrading" your 105mm. How likely is a Z-mount 8-15 in the near future?

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2 hours ago, TimG said:

The F-mount 105mm is already extremely sharp. Underwater will an even sharper Z-mount 105mm make any noticeable improvement? Yeah, you then can remove the FTZ but you are paying a big piece for that convenience.

Realistically, maybe not. I suspect the water column will remove much of the advantage. Though I'm not sure, some examples I've seen are really remarkably better with the new lens - topside.

2 hours ago, TimG said:

with the Sigma 15mm: if you stop it down to, say, f11 isn't pretty much everything worthwhile in focus if you have it focussed at say about 60cms?

Sadly not. I did use it at f/11 but focusing was always needed, I didn't find any usable fix-focus distance.

2 hours ago, TimG said:

How likely is a Z-mount 8-15 in the near future?

In the near future, very unlikely. It's not on any roadmap and while there may be surprises I doubt a fisheye will be high priority. At any rate it won't be here before late October when I go on my trip.

A Z-mount fisheye in a future is certain, I'd say. But it may take a couple of years.

Thanks for the reply!

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1 hour ago, horvendile said:

Realistically, maybe not. I suspect the water column will remove much of the advantage. Though I'm not sure, some examples I've seen are really remarkably better with the new lens - topside.

Yeah, I've seen that improvement too on topside examples and was amazed. But, yeah, have my doubts that will translate underwater.

Bummer on the Sigma focussing. I didn't know that was an issue.  A pity as that Sigma was such a go-to lens for FX.

Looks like the 8-15 then eh?

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11 hours ago, TimG said:

Looks like the 8-15 then eh?

Maybe. It's still a lot of money for an inelegant* solution and I haven't done enough uw photo to have a well-founded sense for what fisheye gives me over the 14-30.

*"inelegant" doesn't necessarily mean "giving inferior pictures"; it's more a case of technical elegance in an engineering sort of way.

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46 minutes ago, horvendile said:

Maybe. It's still a lot of money for an inelegant* solution and I haven't done enough uw photo to have a well-founded sense for what fisheye gives me over the 14-30.

*"inelegant" doesn't necessarily mean "giving inferior pictures"; it's more a case of technical elegance in an engineering sort of way.

Kind of depends on what you like to shoot - rectilinears are traditionally for wrecks and things like sharks that don't really get close enough to fill the frame well.  The fisheyes are generally thought better for CFWA and reef scenics.   Not to say it can't be done with a rectilinear lens, but the fisheye will allow you to get in a lot closer. 

I really don't think the FTZ is an inelegant solution it's exactly the same as mounting the 8-15 on a FX DSLR body as there's no optics in the adapter.  Fisheye focusing is not challenging so I wouldn't expect problems there.  A future 8-15 might have improved optics or may be little more than a re bodied mildly revised version of the current lens in Z mount.  Lot easier to travel with than a 230mm dome as well.

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19 minutes ago, ChrisRoss said:

I really don't think the FTZ is an inelegant solution it's exactly the same as mounting the 8-15 on a FX DSLR body as there's no optics in the adapter.  Fisheye focusing is not challenging so I wouldn't expect problems there. 

Oh I expect no optical or AF problems at all, I'm generally impressed by how well the FTZ works; in fact, for the photography I usually do focusing with F-mount optics (topside) is often better on my Z cameras with FTZ than on my previous F cameras.

 

22 minutes ago, ChrisRoss said:

Lot easier to travel with than a 230mm dome as well.

Yes, if traveling with fisheye as only wide-angle and also owning smaller domes. For me right now, everything except macro goes into the 230 mm dome.

I'm not really disputing here that the 8-15 would do a good job. I just have to think some. Some mental gear clutching may also be in order since I've been firmly on track for the new macro so far.

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Update: I've been plowing uw photo info about the 8-15. Yes, more and more it sounds like a sensible idea to spend money on that rather than the Z 105 macro at this point, despite my weird grievances about lack of technical elegance (which have nothing to do with image quality or function).

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Just look at Sony, which is the most developed mirrorless FF system. They still don't have a first party fisheye. With the exception of tilt-shift lenses Fisheye lenses are dead last on the priority list of manufacturers,

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Yeah, sounds a good plan to me. That way you have new photo options. Whereas with the Z-105 you just have another, errr, 105mm.

I agree too with Chris' point on travelling. I lugged around a 230 dome port for a couple of years with a D800 and Nikkor 16-35 (and Sigma 15mm). It took up a good chunk of my European hold baggage allowance - and even more of my partner's good will.

Although I'm back to the good ol' Tokina 10-17 on my D500, tests with the Nikkor 8-15 showed that I could use that (on DX) with either an 8" or a 4" dome.

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Posted (edited)

Since you're all wondering how things are going: I have ordered an 8-15. I found a used one (demo in a shop) for a decent-ish price and managed to get that down another 100 € (really 1000 SEK). Pulled the still substantial trigger.

On a side note, that's a lot of money - about 1500 € new - for a lens which is kind of worthless for, well, about everyone but divers and snowboarders. But I guess that if Nikon has to regain the R&D from a few divers and snowboarders those will have to fork out.

Edited by horvendile

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Congrats horvendile! I hope you love the new lens. Do post some pics! 

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I use 8-15mm, ftz adapter, z6.


Nikon is known to have lower auto-focusing performance than Canon or Sony.
However, in a wide angle, I have no regrets in the environment I use.
Properly, if you raise the aperture, the quality is clear from the center to the periphery.

Usually, aperture f11 is used a lot.

It is more comfortable to film than the d800 I used before.

However, the f mount 105mm feels slow.
I'm curious about the performance of the new 105mm z-mount. If there is a review on the expansion soon, it will change to 105mm z-mount.

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On 8/20/2021 at 6:27 PM, TimG said:

Congrats horvendile! I hope you love the new lens. Do post some pics! 

Thanks! I've received the lens and confirmed that it's functional, but testing underwater may not be until November.

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Posted (edited)

For what it's worth I've been shooting a Z6II with FTZ and 8-15 fisheye -- I'm 100% satisfied with how quickly it locks focus!

I don't think we will see a native Z-mount fisheye for several years (if ever) as it's never been on Nikon lens roadmap

Edited by njdiverjoe

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This is a really good thread for me.. 

I'm upgrading from a Sony RX100V compact setup to a Nikon Z system, and have decided on the 8-15 as my wide/fisheye lens of choice with an 8" dome.

For macro & walkaround, I'll be going with the new MC 50mm Nikkor Z mount lens. This is a tough one for me as I also have a D500 for topside and therefore if I bought an F mount, could use it on both camera systems but the new MC 50mm looks the goods for UW macro.

I'd love to see some of your pics! Very excited. Now just have to buy the setup.. and strobes.. etc. :)

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4 hours ago, Mel45 said:

the new MC 50mm looks the goods for UW macro.

Sadly, it is front focusing, so is likely to be difficult to house..

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I'm going with Isotta, they have housing & ports available for the MC50 and MC105 already. The MC50 performs well underwater from the test shots that I've seen but not sure about the 105. And tbh for me, I wouldn't get the 105 anyway so it's a moot point.

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3 hours ago, Mel45 said:

I'm going with Isotta, they have housing & ports available for the MC50 and MC105 already. The MC50 performs well underwater from the test shots that I've seen but not sure about the 105. And tbh for me, I wouldn't get the 105 anyway so it's a moot point.

The problem with the MC-50 is short working distance, which is only 52mm from the front of the lens at 1:1.  You will lose about 10mm of that working distance with the port, so you'll end up with 40mm working distance when at maximum magnification which will have a 35mm subject filling the horizontal frame.

it certainly has its uses shooting larger subjects but getting in close and lighting will be challenge for the small stuff.

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I have used normal focal length macro lenses for many years. First case was using the classic 55mm f/3.5 Micro Nikkor back in the late 80s when I was a Ph.D. student! This was a lens that extended quite a bit when focused close. More recently I have used the 60mm AFS lens with both flat and done ports (each has pros and cons).  I have yet to take a 1:1 or even 1:2 shot using one so this argument has not much value to me. Instead these lenses provide much better close focusing ability than the run of the mill standard lenses that may only focus to 0.4 meters. The normal focal length is useful for larger or more skittish marine creatures that are smaller than a whale. A 105 or 100mm is just too long a lens for other than close-up portraits, which I have done when confronted with the wrong lens syndrome on a dive and wanted to shoot anyway!

Edited by Tom_Kline

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23 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

The problem with the MC-50 is short working distance, which is only 52mm from the front of the lens at 1:1.  You will lose about 10mm of that working distance with the port, so you'll end up with 40mm working distance when at maximum magnification which will have a 35mm subject filling the horizontal frame.

it certainly has its uses shooting larger subjects but getting in close and lighting will be challenge for the small stuff.

Yeah, given it's all theoretical for me right now (as I don't have my setup yet), I can see that shooting the smaller stuff will be a challenge depending on location / what the subject is etc.

However, my last rig for macro had a <4cm working distance and awful focus hunting - if I could get a few ok macro shots with that then my assumption is the 50mm will still be ok for me.

Having said that I've moved from a solely macro location to the GBR, so I'm guessing 80% of my dives will be wide. The MC 50mm will probably get more use topside :)

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Update regarding the Z 105 mm macro: I just saw that Sea & Sea has updated their port chart, and the Z 105 uses the same port as the F-mount 105 mm macro.

http://seaandsea.jp/products/system_chart/mdx_nikon.html

This is what I expected, but nevertheless nice to get a confirmation. I suppose the same will hold for other brands of underwater housings.

Edit: incidentally I just got an e-mail saying that my Z 105 has arrived and now I have to decide pretty quickly whether I will buy it or not.

Edited by horvendile

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1 hour ago, horvendile said:

Update regarding the Z 105 mm macro: I just saw that Sea & Sea has updated their port chart, and the Z 105 uses the same port as the F-mount 105 mm macro.

Yeah, good indeed to get that confirmation. Thanks for letting us know.

So, the big decision then.... are you slapping down the cash????

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1 hour ago, TimG said:

So, the big decision then.... are you slapping down the cash????

I really don't know. I have until tomorrow to decide. It's definitely a "nice to have" rather than "need to have", but nice is... nice.

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