New to phtography..few questions

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by jubbin2001, Dec 26, 2008.

  1. jubbin2001

    jubbin2001 TPF Noob!

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    Hey all!
    Well in my never ending search to find out more information on photography, I find myself here :mrgreen:. I am totally new to the whole SLR thing, and for the most part have only been using the good old "point and shoot" digital cameras.

    A few months ago my wife and I decided to pony up some money and get a Nikon D80 SLR. We got a 18-55mm Nikon lens with the camera, and purchased a Tamron 28-300mm when we got it as well.

    My wife is the more general shooter, and I want to start working with macro shots of my saltwater aquariums. I have gotten some OK shots I guess, but I am kind of disappointed so far as to the quality of the images. I know it would be best to get a dedicated macro lens, but holy crap are they spendy! The only one I have found in my price rage so far is a used Vivitar 100mm for $150.

    I have also heard about extension tubes, and tried to really get a grip as to how they work, and all that, but since I am not a photographer, some of it is still a little cryptic to me.

    Do you guys think I would be able to use the extension tubes with the lenses I have? Would they produce better macro shots (of course providing I get my settings right and all that :lol:)? Is there an easy way to figuring out focusing distance with the tubes? I was looking at a Promaster set (12mm, 20mm, 35mm) since I was told they will work with the camera's TTL/EE metering as well as auto focus. Would those be a good alternative, or am I better off getting some generic ones off ebay?

    Here are a couple sample shots I have done to show what have accomplished with the lenses we already have.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This last one had to be edited to get it sharper, and more defined (as you no doubt can see the difference). The others turned out ok, but I still think they could be better. I have seen some just amazing shots on the forum I belong to, using a D80 and the 18-55mm lens. I tried contacting the poster about how he went about doing it, but apparently he doesn't want to reveal his tricks :(. I assume he is using extension tubes, becuase they seem way to close and detailed to be just the lens on the camera. Here is a link to the thread I am talking about:

    Spankey's 75g Reef Tank..... - Saltwaterfish.com Message Boards

    I guess I am just looking for a little more inexpesive way to get better images for the time being. I don't know if I can justify spending $600 or so for a lens right now, since I am just getting into the hobby, and don't really know how much macro I will be shooting.

    Thanks all for the help! I hope I can learn a few things here.....which I am sure I will :mrgreen:.
     
  2. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    The focusing distance doesn't change with the extension tube.

    I'd go with the Vivitar for $150. I never used it, but they came out with good lenses and bad, just like everyone else.:er:
     
  3. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    I like your pics. Tanks are soooo hard to photograph. Of course, my only experience taking tank pics with a DSLR is at the zoo and the aquarium room is pitch black other than the tank lights and it's really hard to use a tripod in there because there is a step in front of the tanks (presumably for little kids to use to see into the tanks).

    I don't know anything about extension tubes, I just wanted to comment on our pics and say that it's really crappy that the other guy wouldn't share some tips. I think you should just practice and maybe do some google searches for aquarium photography. There is bound to be people out there who WILL share how they do it.
     
  4. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    Perhaps the other guy doesn't have experience taking macros through aquarium glass.:spank:
     
  5. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Nikon makes a very good 60 mm macro, maybe save up, because it will best serve you.
     
  6. jubbin2001

    jubbin2001 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input all. I tried my best with the pics, thanks for the kind words. here is one of my all time favorite ones:

    [​IMG]

    It was actually captured with a Fuji S5000 I got from my brother for $100. Just put the camera up to the glass, hit macro, and that was the end result. The level of detail I think is just amazing for a camera as old as it is. I am hoping to get better results from the D80....once I get the lens thing figured out :mrgreen:.

    Is there any companies besides Nikon that have perhaps less expensive good lenses around the same 60mm mark? Any input is appreciated. Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2008
  7. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    Less expensive and good don't go hand in hand.
    Save up and get the nikon, you won't look back.
     
  8. jubbin2001

    jubbin2001 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks or the input Alex. I am gurrently looking to see if I can find a 60mm Nikon, and I also am looking at a 105mm Sigma. The tank I will be shooting is a 125 gallon, and is 18 inches from front to back. Now most of the stuff will probably be in the middle of the tank, so I only realistically need a focal distance of around 9", which is only about 2" longer than the 60mm :mrgreen:. I am still looking at either the 100mm Vivitar or the Sigma 105mm, just because if something is farther back, or if I decide to start getting insects or something, the lens would allow me to get a little more upclose and personal while giving me a good stand off. Unless of course I could use the extension tubes with the 60mm to achieve similar results. Primarily right now though, I am trying to get the 60mm to start, and see where it takes me from there. Thanks again, you've helped tons!

    Just a quick question. If I got a set of extension tubes, (say for Christmas, cuz I think my wife got me some...we haven't exchanged presents yet :() and I plan on using my lenses I already have - Nikon 18-55mm and the Tamron 28-300mm, how would I go about figuring out how to achieve 1:1 with the tubes? I know that both the lenses as they sit are 1:3.5-5.6 for the Nikon and 1:3.5-6.3 for the Tamron. Is there a formula or something to get a 1:1? Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008
  9. OldClicker

    OldClicker TPF Noob!

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    I think you're wrong here. That's the purpose. - TF
     
  10. OldClicker

    OldClicker TPF Noob!

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    The extension tubes will get you closer (with some loss of IQ), but your shots look like they are close enough for the most part. I would perfect your technique before buying anything and then see what you really need. First, be sure the glass is spotless; inside and out. And that the water is perfectly clear. Then make a hood for your lens so that zero light gets to the outside of the glass to reflect back. Keep the room pitch black as possible. Try some colored lights at different levels. Watch you background. Be sure the camera and your subject are rock-solid still. Obviously use your tripod and be sure there is no current. Try both your lenses at different focal lengths looking for sharpness and try different apertures (1 or 2 stops above max may be the sharpest). All I can think of for now. - TF
     
  11. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    You are right! I must have been thinking 2x converters. My bad! Sorry!
     
  12. jubbin2001

    jubbin2001 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks again for the input. I am still working on figuring out this whole D80 thing. I'll do some test shots and see what I come up with. In your opinion, should I be shooting in Aperature Priority to get started, or try working in Manual first? I just get a bit overwhelmed with all those buttons. heh
     

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