Sony A7R with microscope lens

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clarnibass
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Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by clarnibass »

Hi

After almost a decade with my camera I'm on the verge of getting a Sony A7R IV. However a lot of what I do is with a x5 microscope lens that I use on a 200mm tube a lens, an old MF Nikon.

There are many adapters, but reading reviews, even the best ones seem to get some bad reviews and problems like not focusing to infinity, loose, getting stuck, breaking easily (for the cheapest ones).
I haven't seen bad reviews on a couple of the $300+ adapters but I really don't need them (for AF, etc.). The (supposedly) better manual ones are $30 to $100 but even those get mixed reviews.

Has anyone here tried this setup with an adapter and can suggest a good one?
From what I understand I must have infinity focus working since that's where the lens is focusing with the microscope lens.
It's a bit absurd but without this working a lot of what I'm buying this camera for would be impossible :?

Sony doesn't have a 200mm lens and if they ever make one, I guess it's going to be a fancy modern f/4 macro, or worse... one of those f/2 gigantic things. Certainly nothing I would replace this old Nikon with...

Thanks!

Steve S
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Steve S »

Don't sweat it too much. The following is US$11, and I've been using two of them for a few weeks on the A7RM4. https://www.ebay.com/itm/264635012993

I did have an expensive Commlite smart adapter that was too long, and actually modified it. But the electronics were hopeless, so wasted effort. Buy a cheap dumb adapter and if it is painfully loose or painfully tight, try a different one.

Even if it doesn't focus quite to infinity, it's probably close enough for this sort of thing. It certainly won't be long by more than a small fraction of a millimeter.

By chance I asked a parallel question recently on the DPR MF board, for a converter from Nikon F to Fuji GF. I got varied recommendations, all of which were out of stock everywhere I looked, so I took what I could get on eBay, and it was fine.

Lou Jost
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Lou Jost »

Don't forget that you can use a slightly longer lens as the tube lens. What is the sensor size of your old camera? If it is an APS sensor, remember that a 300mm tube lens on FF will give you the same FOV as a 200mm on APS.
Lou

clarnibass
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by clarnibass »

Thanks
Steve S wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:38 pm
But the electronics were hopeless, so wasted effort. Buy a cheap dumb adapter and if it is painfully loose or painfully tight, try a different one.

Even if it doesn't focus quite to infinity, it's probably close enough for this sort of thing. It certainly won't be long by more than a small fraction of a millimeter.
Yes I don't need the electronics anyway because the lens is manual.

Is it really "close enough" if it doesn't focus to infinity exactly? With my 200mm lens (as tube lens) on my Nikon cameras, it is usually best when focus is all the way to the infinity end i.e. until the focus ring physically stops.
Maybe the worst is if it's barely there but not exactly, so it would seem pretty good but I won't know it's just not as sharp as it should be...
Lou Jost wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:43 pm
Don't forget that you can use a slightly longer lens as the tube lens. What is the sensor size of your old camera? If it is an APS sensor, remember that a 300mm tube lens on FF will give you the same FOV as a 200mm on APS.
Lou
I think I can use a longer and shorter tube lenses and get different magnifications (with the latter it won't cover the frame eventually I guess). I have both FX and DX (Nikon language for FF and APSC) right now, and I use both for macro (choosing which one to match magnification and sensor for the best frame) but I thought of selling both once I get the A7R IV so I'll only have FF.

enricosavazzi
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by enricosavazzi »

About Nikon F to Sony E adapters, it is unfortunately true that most of the cheap ones from China are so-so in mechanical quality. For my Sony FE cameras, I try to use Metabones Nikon F to Sony E adapters, in part because the front and rear bayonets are better than average, and in part because the small Arca-compatible foot at the bottom of these adapters is the most solid I have seen among adapters. This lets you use legacy telephoto lenses without putting a strain on the camera body.

Metabones seems to no longer produce these adapters (I guess they discovered that they can earn more from "smart" Canon to Sony adapters and speed boosters). However, second-hand Metabones "dumb" adapters can still be found on the second-hand market, sometimes at relatively good prices.
--ES

Macro_Cosmos
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Macro_Cosmos »

For 5x it should be fine, but at higher mag, the a7r's shutter shock issues might render images blurred.

I would recommend a M42 tube setup (offered by Wemacro) combined with the Carman Haas clone itl200, wemacro also offers an adaptor for that lens. The clone itl200 is $220 shipped from Suzhou, China via TNT or fedex by the company that cloned them most likely. This wouldn't be too expensive and will outdo a 200mm macro or whatever gigantic F2 version (most don't even have filter threads, so how is one gonna mount the objective? Use a plug? alignment issues says hello). This makes a lot more sense if you have the ai-s version, as that one is commonly $200 in mint condition.

Novoflex makes excellent adaptors, but yeah they are not cheap.

The CMH-200/ITL200 will outperform your Nikkor in the centre, corners at 5x is decent too. Some get better images when the tube lens is reversed for lower mag, this was true for me at 5x and 10x.

lothman
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by lothman »

Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:57 am
For 5x it should be fine, but at higher mag, the a7r's shutter shock issues might render images blurred.
The A7R3 A7R4 have no problem with shutter shock since they offer electronic shutter.

clarnibass
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by clarnibass »

enricosavazzi wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:42 pm
Metabones seems to no longer produce these adapters (I guess they discovered that they can earn more from "smart" Canon to Sony adapters and speed boosters). However, second-hand Metabones "dumb" adapters can still be found on the second-hand market, sometimes at relatively good prices.
B&H has this in stock ($100) https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... t_nex.html
I'm definitely considering it, though someone said he had issues with it (infinity doesn't line up, doesn't click nicely in place) compared with a K&F Concept $30 adapter they have... so I read about those and some seem fine, but they have some terrible reviews too.
This is why I'm a bit nervous...
Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:57 am
I would recommend a M42 tube setup (offered by Wemacro) combined with the Carman Haas clone itl200, wemacro also offers an adaptor for that lens. The clone itl200 is $220 shipped from Suzhou, China via TNT or fedex by the company that cloned them most likely. This wouldn't be too expensive and will outdo a 200mm macro or whatever gigantic F2 version (most don't even have filter threads, so how is one gonna mount the objective? Use a plug? alignment issues says hello). This makes a lot more sense if you have the ai-s version, as that one is commonly $200 in mint condition.

Novoflex makes excellent adaptors, but yeah they are not cheap.

The CMH-200/ITL200 will outperform your Nikkor in the centre, corners at 5x is decent too. Some get better images when the tube lens is reversed for lower mag, this was true for me at 5x and 10x.
I'll check the Novoflex. It's about twice the cost but if it's really excellent I don't mind it. I just don't want to get something only to find it's not good (obviously there's a limit... and the Novoflex is pretty much it).

Just to see if I understand, you are suggesting to replace the Nikon 200mm lens with that Carman Haas clone ITL200 and the M42 tube lens, right? I tried googling and couldn't find anything about it (the lens). Do you have a link?
The WeMacro (and MJKZZ) tube lens setups seem to be for a Raynox but I guess it's something similar?

Macro_Cosmos
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Macro_Cosmos »

lothman wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:06 am
Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:57 am
For 5x it should be fine, but at higher mag, the a7r's shutter shock issues might render images blurred.
The A7R3 A7R4 have no problem with shutter shock since they offer electronic shutter.
Yeah I understand, I was specifically referring to the a7R.
I'll check the Novoflex. It's about twice the cost but if it's really excellent I don't mind it. I just don't want to get something only to find it's not good (obviously there's a limit... and the Novoflex is pretty much it).

Just to see if I understand, you are suggesting to replace the Nikon 200mm lens with that Carman Haas clone ITL200 and the M42 tube lens, right? I tried googling and couldn't find anything about it (the lens). Do you have a link?
The WeMacro (and MJKZZ) tube lens setups seem to be for a Raynox but I guess it's something similar?
I'm not sure about the quality for Sony's mount. I've played with a Nikon F to Canon EOS mount one and it felt pretty good. The price is indeed very high for what it is however. Try to find used ones, they do show up at times.

Yes, I am suggesting a replacement here. By replacing the 200mm Nikon F-mount lens, you don't need to worry about adapting it anymore. Moreover, you get to standardise your system to M42, which is easier to work with than F-mount, as you also get to exploit the benefits of a high quality adaptor.

Think of it this way. To use the Nikkor, you need a Nikon F > Sony E mount. To use some weirdo industrial optics, you need some kind of threaded thing, maybe M42. You are left with either the purchase of a second expensive adaptor (which might not even exist), or one that goes onto the F-mount adaptor you already have. This is where trouble comes in, cheap f-mount adaptors are utterly rubbish. I'm not going to dance around the issue here, at least 80% of adaptors out there are really bad. I've bought expensive ones and they are bad as well, just as your top post states.

It makes more sense to standardise the setup in case you switch systems. What if you want to move to Canon, or Nikon's Z, or the L-mount? That expensive piece of metal will either need yet another expensive piece of metal, or sold off at a loss. While I personally suggest thorlabs' SM2 system, it is an expensive investment. M42 tubes from Wemacro works just fine, they even come flocked for you.
For the clone ITL200, check out my test: https://macrocosmosblog.wordpress.com/2 ... vs-itl200/

I know a guy in China, Tsing or "adapter-king", he makes very good quality adaptors, but they aren't cheap. I have some of his recently made Z-mount ones and there's literally zero wobble. Not sure if he has an ebay store or not.

The wemacro and MJKZZ setups will work for Raynox, or the ITL200 and its clone, it will work for finite objectives and a lot more. It's simply a set of extension tubes with an appropriate adaptor. I cannot speak about the quality of the camera mount adaptor they offer in the package, but if it's from Taobao, I'm gonna say it likely wobbles.

Lou Jost
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Lou Jost »

I have a different philosophy than Macro_Cosmos. The wonderful thing about mirrrorless cameras is the freedom to use any brand of lens. Lens mounts (even good ones) are inexpensive compared to lenses, so I have a wide varierty of mounts. I can use any of my old legacy Nikon lenses, plus old manual FD supertelephotos from Canon (which are beautiful lenses, formerly costing a fortune but now quite reasonable), plus interesting manual Pentax long lenses (often extemely good as tube lenses, and very very cheap, cheaper than a Raynox+ tubes), plus the great Olympus film-era macro lenses, and even medium format Hasselblad and Pentax and Mamiya lenses (which are now ridiculously cheap though they cost as much as a car when they were new). This freedom is transformative, allowing me to take advantage of bargain lenses by any manufacturer, and also able to choose the best lens, regardless of manufacturer, for special jobs.

clarnibass
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by clarnibass »

Well I would like to use some old manual Nikon lenses (not for macro), definitely a 400mm and possibly 300mm and 200mm too. I'll get the adapter anyway, since I'm not going to buy any new AF 200mm+ lenses.

For the tube lens, I found one person who compared a Raynox 150 with a Nikon 200mm lens (the Q version, mine is significantly newer but not sure if optics are the same or not). According to them, the Raynox is slightly better, with especially less vignetting.

From reading Robert Otoole's website, the ITL200 seems very visibly better than his version of the Nikon 200mm lens. I think I will go with a similar setup.

If I do go with the Thorlabs setup, can someone explain a bit or post links to what actual parts I need (or "kit" if it exists)? It's a bit difficult to dig through their huge website and figure out where to find things.

Marco_Cosmos, one thing you mentioned (and I read elsewhere too) is that the ITL200 is made for APSC sensors. The Sony A7R (and my main Nikon for that matter) is a full frame camera. Would that be a problem? Enough to forget about the whole thing?

My plan is to replace both FX and DX cameras with the A7R IV.
I thought about getting the Venus 100mm x2 macro lens, which would be an improvement over my current x2 setup (mainly in working distance but probably in quality too).
I could live without the x3.6 mag I have now (with very short working distance and annoyingly large lens at the front anyway) since cropping the Sony should be at least as good or better than my current DX.

Lou Jost
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Lou Jost »

Well I would like to use some old manual Nikon lenses (not for macro), definitely a 400mm and possibly 300mm and 200mm too.
Those (particularly the old 400mm f/5.6 ED-IF) make good tube lenses when you need more magnification. Of course resolution on the subject doesn't increase when using using such long lenses, but if your object of interest is a bit smaller than your FOV with a 200m tube lens, the longer lens puts more pixels under each feature, and this can facilitate sharpening and noise-reduction algorithms. Also sometimes it is nice to have sharp corners, and a longer tube lens makes that easier.

Macro_Cosmos
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Macro_Cosmos »

Alright, several things here...

I personally haven't found any need to push magnifications using longer telephotos. With a 400, the magnification is doubled and NA remains the same. What objective are you going to couple it with? I can't think of too many beneficial scenarios I'm afraid. Perhaps there are some high NA objectives that work nicely even after being pushed, I however haven't seen a convincing example to pursue such a setup.
The 400mm IF-ED is still not a cheap optic. There aren't any cheap 300mm lenses I'm aware of that works well. This entire territory is unexplored. You'll wind up spending far more trying to find a suitable longer lens, though you'd be doing the community a favour if you document your findings (ie, Robert's blog, lens coupling was unexplored territory, Robert pretty much laid the foundations and the structures already, and the roads... and all the time to get the results...).

For the ITL200 and CMH-200 clone, yes they are both designed for crop sensors. This means the edges aren't the best. This usually doesn't matter either as none of us should expect edge-to-edge sharpness when it comes to objectives with a limited acceptable circle of resolution. Unless you have access to some insane optics, it's best to use lower MP cameras even. Both of these TLs can be reversed to yield far better edges on FX when it comes to 5x and 10x. At 20, reversing gives worse results according to my experience. Both of these TLs end up outperforming most of their competition anyway. So in short, you'll have no problem using them on your fullframe camera even though it's a crop-tailored TL and the corners might be a bit soft.

For the ITL200/CMh-200 setup, it depends. Do you want an expensive SM2 setup and use it for other fun lenses, or is M42 enough?
Keep in mind that an SM2 setup will require a good $500-$1000 investment. That's just for tubes, yeah metal extension tubes that lack flocking. Thorlabs' website is far easier to navigate than for example Newport and Edmund Optics, but I understand how overwhelming it may be -- me several years ago.
To mount the TL using thorlabs' parts you will need these:
SM2A20, housing for the TL, $50.40
Various SM2 tubes, expect to pay $200-$500.
The TL is 148mm away from your sensor, so to get the correct and refined distance, you need one of those SM2Vx0 variable tubes, such as the SM2V10. That's $54.
The objective should be placed at least 70mm away from the TL, however this distance actually doesn't matter too much. That said, an SM2M30 does the job. $35.44
Then you want to adapt the male SM2 to your objective. You can either get Raf's adaptor, or use SM2>SM1 then mount the mitutoyo, or use SM1>M26x0.706 for added rigidity.
Parts: SM2A6, SM1A28. The mit goes straight into SM1, so the second component isn't that necessary. Threads aren't matched though, and I don't like that!
Since you have an f-mount adaptor, you should get the very expensive but well made SM2MFN2. Oh and buying that, you have to fill out about 5 pages of stupid documents on how you're not gonna use it to make a bomb or something. It's incredibly dumb and somehow restricted for exports. I don't know if that's still required, I had to fill out forms last year.

Or as I've said, get yourself a good sony to M42 adaptor, some wemacro tubes, and wemacro's ITL200/CMH-200 clone adaptor, which is also M42. Email william about it, it's $25 or something. That setup would cost I'm guessing $200 maximum. All the mounting is the same as above, you're just using M42 instead of the larger SM2.

For 2x and 3.6x and the such, you're better off with the Laowa 25mm ultra-macro. It does 2.5x-5x. It has a bit of LoCA and a bit less resolution than the Mit 5x, it wins in every other aspect... and no messing with tubes or adaptors, it comes in the Sony mount.

Lou Jost
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Lou Jost »

I personally haven't found any need to push magnifications using longer telephotos. With a 400, the magnification is doubled and NA remains the same. What objective are you going to couple it with? I can't think of too many beneficial scenarios I'm afraid. Perhaps there are some high NA objectives that work nicely even after being pushed, I however haven't seen a convincing example to pursue such a setup.
...none of us should expect edge-to-edge sharpness when it comes to objectives with a limited acceptable circle of resolution.
You say you can't think of a scenario where a longer tube lens would be useful, but at the same time you note that a 200mm tube lens often gives poor corners on FF. The problem you note about edge quality is exactl ythe scenario that longer focal length tube lenses will fix for you.

As you know, if you are happy with the results of a 200mm tube lens on an APS sensor, you will get the same image, with the same corner quality, by using a 300mm tube lens on a FF sensor. The FF image will be better than the APS image because you are putting more pixels under each feature. Yes, some of this will be empty magnification, so the improvement won't be linear with the increase in pixels per feature, but as Rik and others have shown, there are still advantages to having more pixels.

It is a misunderstanding to think there is anything special about a 200mm tube lens, independent of sensor size. The size of the sensor matters. A 500mm-600mm tube lens would be appropriate for medium format. For FF, the natural focal length for a tube lens would be 300mm (given the experience of most of our community that a 200mm tube lens is a good fit to an APS sensor).

Sure, some objectives will not be able to take much advantage of the extra pixels under each object feature, but some will. The 20x 0.75 apo Nikon is an example. There are 10x 0.45 and even 10x 0.50 objectives.

Steve S
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Re: Sony A7R with microscope lens

Post by Steve S »

When you order from ThorLabs they put a box of junk food in with the order. It's almost worthwhile to not get the order exactly right, to forget some gimcrack or other, so you have to reorder and get more junk food.

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