Going backwards on shooting fish; Nikon user

mpoletti

You'll never walk alone
Premium Member
I need some help shooting fish, especially tangs and angels. They seem to move a little too fast for me.

I use a Nikon d40x I have been trying to capture them in different manual modes with the 105mm vr. I did not break out my camera for a few months and it seems like I have gone backwards when it comes to fish.

What modes are you nikon users shooting your fish in?

Thanks for you time and help.
 

TitusvileSurfer

New member
The whole point of DSLRS are to have many lenses for many different purposes. You got a 105mm VR to shoot your corals. I applaud you for that, but it is NOT meant for tangs. Tangs are a whole new specialty requiring a whole new lens.
 

mpoletti

You'll never walk alone
Premium Member
I know, I'm looking at the nikon 24-80mm/2.8 for my everyday shooting.
 

TitusvileSurfer

New member
Well when you get it, that will be your fish lens! :) Assuming the auto focus speed is quick like the Canon...but I think it is.
 

glparr

Waterbox Keeper
Mark,
24-70 for me for most fish shots. I shoot in manual mode and focus manually. Autofocus is too easily confused. My usual settings are ISO 400 (sometimes 800), f/8 or f/11, and the fastest shutter speed I can get. I mount my flash on the camera hot shoe and tilt the head forward from vertical to the first notch, i.e., whatever the angle is between vertical and 45 deg. I then attach a white card to the flash. This arrangement sends the main flash to the ceiling and bounces more than enough fringe light into the tank. This prevents glass reflections and puts a soft light on the fish.

I usually pull up a stool and wait for the fish to come to me. If you observe, you'll see where fish tend to stop in their swimming patterns. Set up on those spots and you'll get your best success percentage. However, it generally takes a lot of shots to get a few good ones. Below is my favorite, to date, PB tang shot, of course done with settings nothing like described above (oh well)--ISO 200, 1/250 sec., f/4.
Gary

jcblue01.jpg
 

mpoletti

You'll never walk alone
Premium Member
Thanks Gary.

Junior recommended the flash as well Flash

What would be your best recommendation until I can purchase a new lens? Or is there anything I really can do until then :(
 

glparr

Waterbox Keeper
Mark, I don't do Nikon. Canon is my sickness. If Junior recommended that flash, I'm sure it's a good one. I own the Sigma EF-500 DG Super flash. I've had it for years and been more than pleased with its performance. Might be a less-expensive option for you. As with the Canon 24-70, the Nikon carries a healthy price. Again, I would direct you to the Sigma EX24-70 f/2.8. They just introduced a newer model. I own the old model and it's been a good performer for me. I find that the Sigma EX lens line is as good or nearly as good as the Canon L series and I'm sure the same can be said for Nikon's professional line. I own three Sigma EX lenses. The rest of my lenses are Canon L. The difference between the two brands is insignificant. Just something to think about as you consider lens purchases. You also might consider getting a primary lens in the 50- to 80-mm range. Canon makes a very good 50-mm lens for about $70. The Canon 85-mm lens is not very expensive either. Maybe Nikon has equivalents? You don't have to have a zoom lens. In most instances, primes are better/sharper. You just have to zoom with your feet.
gary
 

glparr

Waterbox Keeper
Titus, that's too bad. I've never looked at what they have to offer, but have always assumed they pretty much matched what Canon has.
Gary
 

Hookup

New member
just curious, would you guys use the 50mm f1.8 or the 24-105L F4 IS for active fish shots? (Cannon talk obviously, but kind of related to the OP.. cheap but good prime vs expensive L zoom)
 

glparr

Waterbox Keeper
Either will do. The 24-105 would be more versatile in terms of being able to fill the frame. That 50 f/1.8 is an impressive lens at any price and more so for $70. I don't use mine enough.
Gary
 

mpoletti

You'll never walk alone
Premium Member
If I can get away with a less expensive option, I would definitely like to look into it. I paid off my car awhile back , but it was not to buy a lens :p

I also understand that a lot people shoot Canon and I still appreciate the feedback. I'm looking for what speed and size of the lens. Besides, I am not anywhere close to the photographers that you guys are. I just like to share what I see in my tank.
 

TitusvileSurfer

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14789734#post14789734 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by glparr
Titus, that's too bad. I've never looked at what they have to offer, but have always assumed they pretty much matched what Canon has.
Gary
Nikon wins the wide angle zoom contest IMO. The normal range zooms are close but Canon pulls away fast with primes and telephoto.
 

TitusvileSurfer

New member
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=14789815#post14789815 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by Hookup
just curious, would you guys use the 50mm f1.8 or the 24-105L F4 IS for active fish shots? (Cannon talk obviously, but kind of related to the OP.. cheap but good prime vs expensive L zoom)
If f/4 isn't enough speed use the 50. If f/4 or slower is fast enough use the 24-105! :)
 

TitusvileSurfer

New member
I think the 85mm f/1.8 would be a little on the long side for most purposes. Other than the fact that you can't choose how far you zoom in, and that it would almost always be zoomed in too far, it would be the best.
 

xtm

Active member
Do you have a tripod? One technique I use on fast-moving objects (that are NOT erratic) is "focus trapping". Use manual focus and "pre-focus" on a certain spot. (on manual focus, the camera will not AF by half-pressing the shutter, giving you release priority) I would set the camera to manual mode, around f4 and at least 1/250. When the tang swims by, just press the shutter.

On erratic subjects (most fishes, birds, etc) the trick is to "decouple" your shutter button and the autofocus. The problem is, everytime you try to shoot a fish, you press the shutter button halfway (to autofocus) and then press all the way down to take the exposure. This is a slow method and you will miss a lot of action shots.

On your D40's custom settings menu (pencil icon), go to AE-L/AF-L and choose AF-ON. On your autofocus mode, set this to Continuous AF (AF-C). Now, when shooting fish, all you have to do is hold down your AF-ON button (the camera will keep on autofocusing as your subject moves) while pressing the shutter. Now your fish shots will always be IN focus since you won't have to "half-press" the shutter to acquire focus.

The 105mm is fine for fish shots.

PS. There is so much misinformation about the Nikon-Canon arguments it's sad. They are just cameras! As they say "A Poor Craftsman blames his tools."
 
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TitusvileSurfer

New member
Oh yeah I forgot we are talking Nikon, I was referring the the Canon 85mm f/1.8. The Nikon is good I am sure but auto-focus speed is the Canon 1.8's star attribute.
 
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