Time honored discussion :

Have questions about the equipment used for macro- or micro- photography? Post those questions in this forum.

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The BAT
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Time honored discussion :

Post by The BAT »

Hi Guys,
My name is Bruce and I'm new to this forum although I have been 'lurking' for a while. . . :wink:
My background is in underwater macro photography but now I've been committed to drying my gills and looking around topside.
I have seen many brilliant pics on this forum and was hoping that someone might be able to help me out with some easy answers to some, not so difficult, questions? I own and use a Nikon D70S with 60mm and 105mm 'Micro' nikkor lenses. I also have some Kenko extension tubes, a Kenko 1.4 T/C and some Nikon and Canon 'achromat' diopters. Without re-igniting the Nikon Canon War of the past few decades, I have been mightily impressed with the results from the Canon 1X-5X 65? lens and was wondering how i could achieve the same impressive results with my Nikon gear? I would like to thank you all for any replies in advance.
Bruce...
If anyone is interested, you may find some of my U/W work here:
http://users.ncable.net.au/~bterrill/

rjlittlefield
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Re: Time honored discussion :

Post by rjlittlefield »

Bruce, welcome aboard! :D
If anyone is interested, you may find some of my U/W work here:
http://users.ncable.net.au/~bterrill/

Lovely stuff! I don't know much about the animals themselves, but I sure am fond of the appearance of nudibranchs.
Without re-igniting the Nikon Canon War of the past few decades
No such wars here. At photomacrography.net we discuss equipment, but we never fight about it.
The BAT wrote:I have been mightily impressed with the results from the Canon 1X-5X 65? lens and was wondering how i could achieve the same impressive results with my Nikon gear?
That's a bit of a challenge, and it depends on what you mean by "results".

If you're looking for convenience in field shooting at 1-5X, then I don't know any way to do it. The Canon MP-E 65 is the only lens I know that focuses over the full range of 1-5X with auto-diaphragm coupling.

On the other hand, if you're willing to have only part of the range at any one time, and you still want auto-diaphragm coupling, then you could think about lens combos composed of a short lens reversed in front of a long one. For example an old 50 mm prime lens reversed in from of your 105 will give 2.1X at infinity focus on the 105 and rather more than that at closer focus or with tubes. Add on the 1.4 T/C and you start at 2.94X and so on.

The image quality of all the combo schemes will not be as good as what you would get from the MP-E 65. But quite possibly it's good enough to meet your actual needs.

Or if you plan on doing studio work at >1X, then you might consider reversing a lens on bellows. Either of your current lenses will give excellent image quality in that mode, assuming that they're able to be stopped down when disconnected from the camera. (I can't recall offhand how Micro Nikkors work in that regard. Other members will know.) Most of the high magnification studio shots that you'll see in our forum have been done with either reversed enlarging lenses or Olympus bellows macro lenses (typically not on Olympus cameras, by the way), or the really high magnification stuff is often done with microscope objectives on bellows.

Much of the high mag stuff is focus stacked, since DOF gets so small at higher magnifications.

So, what is it that you want to do, and what are your evaluation criteria?

--Rik

The BAT
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Post by The BAT »

Hi Rik,
Thanks for the speedy reply mate. I have been on other forums where the Canon vs Nikon debate rages like a scrub fire...
Anyway, I hope to be able to get out into the field a fair bit and capture the images of all small critters like bull ants, scorpians, grasshoppers etc.
I know that DOF will be a limiting factor in the field, but I also intend on capturing a few bugs and critters and taking them home in little mobile 'habitats' and then taking their pics and returning them to the field if they aren't a pest. So I hope to be able to get the most out of my equipment in the field and preparing a basic/serious amatuer home studio for some basic pics and an introduction to stacking soon after.
I hope that this gives you a bit more of an insight as what my early intentions are?
BYW, you mention the early models Nikkor 50mm lens reversed. There are so many of them, could you give me an indicationj as to which is 'better/best' for this purpose?
Thanks for taking the time to help out with my inquiries.
More questions to follow. . . hehehehe

Bruce... :D

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Bruce,

I can't talk model numbers about Nikon equipment because all my equipment is something else (a menagerie). In general, the 50 mm would be an f/1.8 with manual aperture capability and good central resolution. You don't care about what would have been the corners in normal use on a 35 mm camera, because reversed at 2X those are outside the field. f/1.4's have a reputation of not working well in a reversed combo. (I've never tried one personally.)

Lens combos are always a bit of try-it-and-see because sometimes two lenses that are good individually don't play well together. But perhaps one of our other members will have specific models that are known to work well.

For studio work, a 50 mm f/2.8 EL Nikkor reversed on bellows is cheap and good. Olympus bellows macro lenses are better, but they're hard to get and often expensive. If your current Micro Nikkors will stop down when reversed, they should be excellent also.

--Rik

Harold Gough
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Post by Harold Gough »

Bruce,

Have a browse here:

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/board/7

Harold
My images are a medium for sharing some of my experiences: they are not me.

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

HI Bruce
I had similar thoughts here

...and I'm still thinking.

Olympus do/did a 65 - 116mm sliding extension tube, and you can get adaptors to mount a reversed Nikon macro to the front and your body on the back, but no connections of course.
An old-fashioned Z ring and double cable release would give you an auto diaphragm. Usable with a pistol grip, but not ideal.

Similarly you could get the canon lens to physically go onto any body, but I haven't discovered how to stop one down yet!

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

The older Nikon lenses with an aperture ring all stop down when removed from the camera and reversed and the diaphragm can be controlled by the aperture ring (Canon lenses fly open to their maximum aperture). Many of the newer Nikkor's are now doing away with the aperture ring though and solely controlling the aperture from the camera, which obviously does not work when the lens is reversed.

The question is what magnification do you want and where will you be using it, outdoors or indoors since the Canon lens past a certain magnification is really a studio lens anyway?

To achieve the same maximum magnifications with Nikon equipment in the studio then bellows are the way to go with a lens reversed on the front, usually a Nikon 50mm f2.8 EL Nikkor enlarger lens that you pick up cheap on EBAY and used with a reversing ring on the bellows and a step up ring with the appropriate threads.

Bellows are rather cumbersome in the field though, so mostly used in the studio. However at extreme magnifications most subjects need image stacking and so insects are usually dead anyway and taken in the studio as live insects even if anesthetized can often move slightly during a photo-stacking session.

DaveW

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

You've probably tried this - put the 1.4 on the body, then the Kenko tubes then the 60mm.
That way it's more like you're multipying the extension than the focal length of the lens. You might find the working distance so short that the bug has to be walking around on the front surface of the lens, but hey, we don't see that view too often :wink:

The BAT
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Post by The BAT »

Hi Guys,
Thanks for all you input. . .
It seems really strange that with all the latest technology that the easiest and best way to get the magnification that we want/need, is to reverse an old lens onto the front of an even older bellows set-up?
I'm getting really interested in the 'studio' side of things and was wondering as to a really good set-up? I'm firstly concerned as to whether my ageing D70S has the necessary capabilities with resolution and accurate focusing screen, etc to be good enough for the job or whether i would be better off getting hold of one of the newest cameras from Nikon?
Maybe the D90 or D5000? :?:
I was keen on a refurbished D200 but then I have been reading a few reports about focusing issues and screen problems with the D200 and now i'm not so sure? :?:
Next i was thinking about the Nikon PB-4 bellows and would like to know if it has any weaknesses that should/would proclude it from the list? :?:
Sheez, I've been doin' a lot of thinking and not much acting lately? Better get on with it or Spring will be over and then it will be Winter again...
Hi ChrisR, I got into all sorts of problems with the Nikkor 60mm micro underwater because of its really close focussing abilities. It's a beautiful lens but you really have to be right on top of things to get it to work at 1:1
It makes things pretty uncomfortable for the critters when I get that close, let alone the ones that actually bite your bl**dy fingers... :lol:

Bruce...

AndrewC
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Post by AndrewC »

You can get helicoid focussing tubes which are a robust substitute for a bellows in the field. I've almost bought one several times ...

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/M42-to-M42-Focusi ... 286.c0.m14

Add appropriate adapters and a reversed 50mm El-Nikkor on the front and you have a manual Nikon version of the lovely Canon beast. Exposure isn't to big a problem - use trial and error and the histogram !

Andrew

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Post by rjlittlefield »

The BAT wrote:It seems really strange that with all the latest technology that the easiest and best way to get the magnification that we want/need, is to reverse an old lens onto the front of an even older bellows set-up?
That is amusing, isn't it? But you've heard correctly, at least for the budgets that most of us work with.

I think this is just a matter of economics. Extreme macro is a small niche. For consumer-priced products, the big manufacturers can only justify doing R&D for big markets.

There is some extreme macro equipment being designed & fabricated using modern techniques. But it's mostly the price of a small car and sold into commercial and research facilities. See for example Visionary Digital and the Keyence digital microscope.
I'm firstly concerned as to whether my ageing D70S has the necessary capabilities with resolution and accurate focusing screen, etc to be good enough for the job or whether i would be better off getting hold of one of the newest cameras from Nikon?
I recommend to save your money for other things. I'm still using the Canon 300D that I got over 5 years ago, 6.3 megapixels with a small dim viewfinder. It turns out that for extreme macro, it's difficult to get optics that are sharp enough to require more than that, even if you're into pixel-peeping. If you're not into pixel-peeping, well, 6 megapixels will make a full-page print at close to 300 ppi, which will keep most people very happy indeed if they're really looking at the picture and not thinking about the numbers.

--Rik

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Post by ChrisR »

For outside work I'd say you HAVE to have an automatic diaphragm. It rapidly all gets too dark, even at maximum aperture. If you go close by moving the lens out, then at magnification "M" your effective aperture becomes
(lens f number) x (M+1),
so a moderate M=3 and wide open at f2.8, becomes f11. Dim!
You'd have to stop down for DOF too, so that method hits difficulties quickly. Relatively few people, whom you'll find visiting this site, nonetheless produce remarkable pics with things like the Canon MPE-65.

It's worth trying a short lens reversed on a long lens. Results vary, but can certainly get into the "good" category, though they start at "impossibly bad"! The same is broadly true of close-up "filters". Simple ones aren't great but show you what works, and doublets (and more) such as Nikon's T series, Canon's D500, and the range of Raynox attachments, can certainly be "good".

Any bellows unit will do, though obviously the stronger the better, and you really need a focus rail to move the assembly to and fro. This is built in to the PB-4, PB-6, etc.

As Rik said, a lens like an EL-Nik 50/2.8 is the best place to start, with a reversing ring. I recently bid about $10 for one for some reason, and was surprised to get it. I use a 52-Nikon reverse macro adapter with a 52 to El-Nik step ring. I think that's 40.5mm (Search !) and common. Avoid the 50/4 and the 75/4 - not bad but better is easy.

There are lots of Chinese macro products on ebay of course. There are cheap bellows, and very cheap tubes, which are fine but have no couplings (ideal for reversed lenses).

You can start "Stacking" insects etc if you don't have something like a macro stand, with a slide copier attachment for a bellows, such as a PS-4, with limitations.

You'll have seen the sticky threads with pictures of people’s "rigs". If you can drill holes and saw L section, and are adept with gaffer tape and a circle-cutter, you can make strides. You can start with a cheap part-microscope sold "for spares" and get something together. I must take a pic to post...
(Also, pics with a $20 10x microscope lens can be very pleasing)

I wouldn't worry about the camera. Can you plug the camera into your TV?
A Right-Angle viewfinder can make life easier - there's a Chinese one with 2.7 x magnification which would be useful.

For garden stuff, a camera with a small sensor gives you much more DOF with the same light. Look at some of the work of eg (there are plenty of others) "sagarmatha".

Go for it!

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Post by DaveW »

Basically for camera manufacturers it comes down to depth of field close-up. Most general photographers cannot get used to taking subjects with only a couple of millimeters depth of field, and many who buy a macro lens which only go down to 1:1 seldom use them once they have bought them, or seldom at their largest magnifications because very close-up their photos come out "blurred" to use their terminology!

Therefore camera manufacturers just cater for the photographic majority, only going down to magnifications most are able to handle since few photographers do photo-stacking anyway, or other than hand hold a camera. I would think even regular tripod users are a minority among photographers, including professionals. Many who buy a tripod seldom use it either, since it is a chore to carry around.

Also cost, catering for a very small market is bound to make things expensive, so ultra specialist macro lenses due to their high development and production cost would only be bought by government establishments or industries wihere money is no object.

Regarding the Canon 1X-5X macro lens you quote. These regularly come up secondhand on EBAY when their original purchasers cannot live with the minute depth of field at the higher magnifications (at 5x and f/16, the MP-E gives a minute .269mm DOF) or having to bolt them down securely on focusing slides to eliminate vibration at say 5X magnification.

See:-

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Revi ... eview.aspx

http://myrmecos.wordpress.com/2009/01/1 ... acro-lens/

http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/macro.html

The problem with all macro lenses in normal photographic terms is you have to get close to the subject. The working distance of a 200mm Micro Nikkor is only 10.2" (260mm) at 1:1, and 200mm is the longest focal length macro lens usually made.

DaveW

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Post by rjlittlefield »

See this recent post for information about using a 105 Micro Nikkor on PB-6 bellows, non-reversed.

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/v ... 8638#48638

--Rik

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

I don't want to post in the FAQ thread where NU posted the information on the 105 Micro Nikkor used on bellows. So I am posting my question referring to it here:

That yellow jacket image at 3.4:1 looks good as it is but wouldn't this lens on bellows perform even better if it was reversed at magnifications significantly higher than 1:1?

--Betty

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