View Full Version : small question - close up adapter or a new lens?

01-14-2009, 01:32 PM

I have a nikon 80-200 f/4 zoom lens. I would like to do some macro photos. Think I should get a #5T close-up adapter for it, or should I buy a whole new lens more suitable for macro photography? Like a 55mm f3.5? They are about the same price on keh...


Ian Grant
01-14-2009, 01:39 PM
A specialist macro lens will very significantly out perform a zoom lens with a close up adaptor.

An enlarger lens on a bellows attachment will work very well too.


01-14-2009, 01:44 PM
I agree with Ian, if you're wanting to get into it seriously go with the dedicated gear. If you're just wanting to play around then a diopter is an inexpensive add-on.

Steve Smith
01-14-2009, 01:47 PM
Whilst technically inferior, a supplementary close up adaptor will be cheaper and will allow you to see if you like the idea of macro and help you decide if you want to get a dedicated macro lens later.

Rather than the Nikon 5T which seems very expensive to me (70 on UK Amazon site) you could get a set of +1, +2 and +4 dioptre supplementary lenses to suit the filter thread of your lens.


01-16-2009, 10:11 PM
Do you have any other lenses? Especially wide angles? If so, a better alternative to a close-up diopter is to buy a reversing ring, like this one:


or genuine Nikon brand:


Just be sure to order one for the correct filter size of your wide angle lens(es). Most Nikkors between 24mm and 50mm take a 52mm filter.

Mount your lens backwards for increased magnification. The wider the lens, the greater the magnification. Of course, you'll have to set the aperture manually and meter in the stopped down mode, but that's not that big of a deal. Just focus with the lens wide open, then stop it down and meter, and fire away.

Using reversed WA lenses for macro photography is an old technique and achieves quite satisfactory results with good optics. I've done it with 35mm and 28mm lenses and been well pleased with the results. Even a 50mm gives good magnification. Try it for yourself: take a lens, turn it backward and look through it at a subject close up. You have to get pretty close before it'll come into focus. The only drawback to this technique is the focusing ring doesn't make much of a difference. So you have to be able to accurately position your camera. A macro focusing rail is good for this. Mounting it on a tripod is essential. MFRs can get really expensive, but here's a reasonably priced one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/4-way-Macro-Shot-Focusing-Rail-Slider-for-SLR-DSLR-DC_W0QQitemZ250310898211QQcmdZViewItemQQptZTripods _Monopods?hash=item250310898211&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1234%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50



01-16-2009, 10:15 PM
Pass on the close-up diopter and just get a set of extension tubes.

Please note that, on the used market, there many legendary manual focus "micro" nikkors such as you mentioned that are not at all expensive. And truly excellent. That would be the best option IMHO.

01-16-2009, 11:12 PM
Hey thanks for the kind replies, everyone.

I do have a 28mm lens that I could try reversing. I did not think to do this because of possible wide angle distortion. Is this less of a problem when the lens is reversed? Not that I am doing scientific photography or anything. I guess it doesn't matter that much.

Probably I will just take "pretty much close up" pics with the 28 and the zoom lens for now. Eventually I guess I will go with the micro nikkor 55mm f3.5 and a set of extension tubes.


01-17-2009, 03:05 AM
Wide-angle distortion isn't an issue when the lens is reversed. Try reversing your 28mm and look through it. You'll find that the magnification you're getting is way more than "pretty much close up". As Keith stated, a set of extension tubes will get you to that range. I have a Vivitar macro-focusing teleconverter that lets me do basically the same thing that extension tubes will. That's another option, by the way. The Vivitar 7-element macro-focusing teleconverter works quite well, even with a regular old 50/1.8. And you can vary the magnification all the way down to 1:1. Not available new anymore, but they do show up on eBay from time to time. But if you want to do high magnification photography, then reversing lenses is an economical way to achieve this feat.