View Full Version : macro micro suggestions

Dave Wooten
04-12-2012, 09:58 AM
Need mic ro lens for project photographing bird eyes. Bird is captive and hand held. 1:1 or gre enlargmen[B]B]td be best. Nikon f 3 and f 100.

Dave Wooten
04-12-2012, 10:14 AM
Need micro lens for project photographig bird eyes Bird is captive and hand held. 1:1 or greater. Lens recommendations requested

04-12-2012, 01:00 PM
The Nikon 105 f1:2.8 will get you to 1:1 without any attachments. To get closer there may be a reverse ring adapter? If there is you would have to use it on manual. I have the 105 which I use on an FM2, an F100 and D300.


Dave Wooten
04-12-2012, 03:02 PM
Thanks...how close/ far lens to subject?

Ian C
04-13-2012, 08:46 AM
The manual focus versions of the 105mm Micro Nikkor have maximum magnification 1:2. The newer autofocus versions attain 1:1.

The optical center of a 105mm lens needs to be about 210mm from the subject to attain 1:1 magnification. The extension can be completely provided by the helicoids (if it has that much travel), extension tubes, bellows, or any combination of these.

This assumes that the lens is used facing forward. Reversing a lens often places the optical center at a different position altering the magnification. It can be difficult to predict how reversing a lens affects the magnification, depending upon the position of the optical center of the reversed lens.

Dan Fromm
04-13-2012, 02:29 PM
Ian, the 105/2.8 AI/AIS MicroNikkor has a floating element that reduces the lens' focal length as the lens is focused closer. At its close focusing limit, according to Bjorn Roslett focal length is 88 mm. So your arithmetic is a little off.

The lens goes to 1:1 on the PN-11 extension tube. The range of magnifications available with the lens on the PN-11 is 1:2 to 1.14:1

You may have been thinking of the 105/4 MicroNikkor, which goes to 1:2 on its own mount and from 1:2 to 1:1 on the PN-11. It does not have a floating element and its focal length does not change as it is focused closer.

Dave, if you want to go much above 1:1, hand-held won't work, even with flash. The problem is that unsteadiness will move the plane of best focus. Shooting my 105/2.8 MicroNikkor AIS hand-held at 0.88:1 isn't easy, and I use flash.

But if you have faith in your steadiness, perhaps you should abandon Nikon and switch to Canon. Canon's 65/2.8 MP-E goes from 1:1 to 5:1 on its own mount, talks to all EOS mount cameras.

Dave Wooten
04-13-2012, 02:51 PM
Thanks all and for the canon tips. I've been looking about and what about the hiking 200mm? Also camera will be on tripod

Dan Fromm
04-13-2012, 03:33 PM
Dave, pardon my ignorance. What is a hiking 200 mm? I have a 200/4 MicroNikkor AIS, see my comments on it in the for sale listings. Not Nikon's best, and at its close focusing distance its focal length is around 135 mm. The AF version is much better but goes only to 1:1.

I've shot a 210/9 Konica Hexanon GR-II mounted, with adapters and a cheap Zenit belows with more adapters at each end, against a 200/4 MicroNikkor AIS at 1:2 (the MicroNikkor's close focusing limit on its own mount), at medium distance and at considerable distance at f/9, f/11, f/16. The Konica Hexanon won at all distances and apertures. So if you can bear to use a lens with manual aperture on bellows -- many people can't -- a good grade of ~ 200 mm process lens may be what you need. Think Apo-Artar (there's a 210), Apo-Nikkor (150 or 240), Apo-Ronar 150 or 240), G-Claron (210), Konica Hexanon (210), ... A 150 mm process lens will give less working distance than a 210 or 240 but will require less extension to get the desired magnification.

If the camera is on a tripod, how are you going to focus? Move the bird? If so, unless you use something like (pardon my choice of words, I don't know what devices used to restrain birds are called) a squeeze box on a rail to hold the bird, you're in trouble. Bird in hand is as unsteady as camera in hand.

Best practice with closeup work is to set magnification, then focus by moving (usually) the camera-lens assembly or (rarely) the subject.

Dave Wooten
04-13-2012, 03:43 PM
Thanks...thought I typed nikon 200. My cell changes words it doesn't recognize. I have a good stash of process lenses. The birds are racing pigeons and are holdable. I have used a medical dental yashica camera but it has no tripod threads...color transparencies. I might have to resort to process lens or make a device to hold the dental camera.

John Koehrer
04-13-2012, 07:22 PM
Just use a beanbag on top of the tripod to steady the camera. You have flexibility to reposition it and stability for sharpness.
Use a folded washcloth as a trial.

05-16-2012, 09:03 PM
You do not say whether you intend to or want to use flash. Flash could provide a high effective shutter speed and freeze any motion. For situations in which adequate working distance is needed I have tried many combinations. I have had good luck using the Canon 200/4 FD SSC with extension. The 200/4 AI/AIS Nikkor is also a decent performer with extension. For Konica I have the Vivitar Series 1 90-180/4.5 Flat Field zoom. It goes to 1:2 at 180 and to 1:1 with a 2x teleconverter. The original Konica Hexanon 2X worked well with this lens. The 200/3 Vivitar Series 1 is a lens I have in Konica and M42 mounts. It goes to 4 feet by itself and I have used it with extension. Unfortunately the Vivitar 2x Macro Focusing Teleconverter was never made in Konica mount but the Panagor Auto Macro Converter with a lens in the 100-135 range can give increased workng distance and good performance if you stop down adequately. Another possibility is an enlarging lens in the 200mm range, with extension. One of my favorite longer lenses for close-up work is the 135/2.8 Vivitar Close Focusing. It goes to 1:2 by itself and the design is fairly simple. It has unit focusing and a long helicoid. This gives good working distance. I do not remember exactly how the Canon 200/4 FD Macro compares to the 200/4 manual focus Nikkor Macro. From what I do remember it also "zooms" internally and is not really at 200mm at the closest setting. Another possibility is lens stacking. You can mount a 100 on your camera and then attach the front of that lens to the front of a 50mm lens with a purchased or improvised adapter.

The reasons I think the f/9 lens may not be practical is that it will need extension, it has no auto diaphragm and it will be difficult to focus even if it is used wide open. You might use one of the small LED arrays for a modeling light if you can keep several sets of NiMh batteries charged to give you enough time. It is easy to underestimate the difficulty of focusing through a very slow lens when you have a moving (even slightly) subject. I have had the complete Minolta Auto bellows III set-up for many years. The 100/4 bellows lens (2nd version) has the same formula as the 100/4 MD Macro but I never used the bellows lens to chase things around. Unless the light is very good I don't enjoy using the 100/4 hand held even with an X-700 with a grid or plain matter screen. The 90/2.8 Panagor or 90/2.5 Rokonar (Elicar, Spiratone etc.) or Tamron 90/2.5 (52BB) are just easier to focus because of the extra speed. It will be interesting to hear what you finally do. The F3 and F100 can give you TTL flash metering even with bellows or process lenses but the lack of an auto diaphragm is difficult to overcome with a moving subject.

Dan Fromm
05-17-2012, 02:12 PM
The reasons I think the f/9 lens may not be practical is that it will need extension, it has no auto diaphragm and it will be difficult to focus even if it is used wide open.

If you haven't tried it, don't knock it. I've tried it and that's why I recommended it.

Re extension, read what I wrote. Bellows with adapters as needed.

Re auto diaphragm, so what? I shoot from tripod, my subjects don't go anywhere, so manual stop down is practical.

Re focusing, the usual SLR screens with microprisms or "split image" whatsit are useless with slow lenses. I use a plain ground glass. Focusing is not a problem.

Fantasy, sorry, theory, is often a poor guide.

05-17-2012, 09:53 PM
A inexpensive alternative is to purchase an enlarging lens and extension tube or bellows to mount.

I have had success with a Schneider makro apo componon, which is very similar in build with their enlarger lenses, which is on an adapter which allows micro focusing, as well as a set of m42 extension tubes, with a m42-Nikon adapter.

I have taken pictures of the pores on my finger tips with it. Razor sharp.

A ring flash would be optimal but I use a simple corded setup off camera.


05-18-2012, 08:51 AM
Dan, If you are shooting with a tripod or copy stand and your subject isn't moving then you have plenty of time to focus and even close the lens down before making your exposure. I never said your set-up wouldn't work with non-moving subjects. Over the years I have used many different types of lenses for macro work. Enlarging lenses, used front forward or reversed, can give good results. I agree with you that split image and microprism focusing aids are not useful for macro work. I now have a number of systems but in 1984 my one system was Konica. I bought a new chrome Konica FT-1 body and brought it to Professional Camera Repair in NY. The original focusing screen was removed and was replaced by a Nikon E (grid) screen from the FE. I still have that camera and have used it a lot. Many years later I had Greg Weber install the same screen in a black Konica Autoreflex T2 body. I find the grid lines of the E screen to be a good sharpness reference. For higher magnification work I prefer a plain matte screen. I have grid and plain matte screens in Canon F-1, Nikon F2/FE/FE2/N2020/N8008S/N90S/F90X, Mamiya NC1000S, Minolta X-700 and Bronica ETR/SQ/GS-1 cameras. When I was younger and had a little more patience I used a reversed 28/3.5 Hexanon on extention tubes with an Auto Ring and Double Cable Switch. This was on the FT-1 and hooked up to a home made bracket with small flash units attached on either side. I shot with this rig on the ground, chasing ants. The Auto Ring and Double Cable gave me semi-automatic diaphragm control. This allowed me to focus wide open but shoot closed down for increased depth of field.

Dan Fromm
05-18-2012, 10:18 AM
dynachrome, in my experience the only setup that works well for shooting moving subjects is a lens, preferably a fixed focal length macro lens, with auto diaphragm on an SLR that will stop the lens down when the exposure is taken and flash illumination. Depending on the situation the flash can be attached to the camera body, to the front of the lens, to the subject holder, or on a tripod. Re subject holder, I have a portable photographic aquarium with arms that accept flashes, e.g., 283s.

I didn't mention format because the key elements of macro setups for moving subjects are SLR and auto diaphragm, which are available for formats up to 6x7.

I waffled about flash setup because there are many that work fairly well. FWIW, all of my flash rigs use "manual" flash with either fixed output (sometimes reduced by putting ND gels in front of the flash(es)) or variable power (283s with VP-1s). Also FWIW, all of my flash rigs are precalibrated. When I use one of them, all I have to do is choose the magnification to use, dial it in, then set flash output (if the rig allows it), look up aperture to set in the calibration table, set aperture, and shoot away. Or select magnification, select aperture, and set flash output. Which I do depends on the situation.

But for static subjects, many other setups will work very well. When I can use it, I much prefer my 210/9 Konica Hexanon GRII to my 200/4 MicroNikkor AIS. IMO the 200/4 MicroNikkor AIS is far from the best lens Nikon has made.

05-18-2012, 11:14 AM
When I shot with the reversed lens on the Konica FT-1 I had to do a lot of experimentation because the camera does not have TTL flash metering. The first SLR I used which did have TTL flash metering was the Minolta X-700. It was the bright viewfinder with the interchangeable screens combined with the TTL flash metering which got me interested in Minolta. Some control over exposure can be applied using the exposure compensation dial with TTL flash metering but if you are using more than one unit that can become tricky. I have Sunpak and Minolta flash units with variable power settings if I need to work without TTL flash. I also have a few Nikon flash units which will work in TTL mode with the FE2, N2020, N8008S and N90s/F90X cameras. Some years ago a friend gave me his extra 12CM f/5.6 Macro Nikkor from his Multiphot set-up. The rear is Leica 39mm and the front was some odd thread. I had a machine shop in Clifton, NJ make an adapter for 49mm filters. This was useful for the copy stand which had tungsten bulbs, when I needed to shoot daylight balanced film. My largest medium format is 6X7. The cameras are GS-1s and are not especially well suited to macro work. A bellows would help up to a point. I have probably mentioned in other posts that I sometimes use enlarging lenses intended for medium format on the Minolta Auto Bellows III. This gives more coverage for the front standard movements. There are many interesting combinations to have fun with.