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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    35mm macro lenses for slide copying

    I recently bought a set of macro extension tubes for Nikon mount. I want to use these to make B&W dupes of color slides for making B&W prints.

    The only lens I have now is my 50mm f/1.4 AF-Nikkor. By stacking up the right number of extension tubes, I have found a combination that allows me to have focus at the 1:1 magnification required. Quality seems only OK.

    The question is, how much better quality will I get by buying a special macro lens? Would you care to recommend a Nikon mount macro lens that I should use?
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2

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    All of the 55 Micro Nikkors are dirt cheap and amazingly good. I had one laying around and adapted it to my non-Nikon, non-film camera for this same sort of use. I would assume performance should be considerably better than your 1.4, but if you are happy with the results, that is all that matters.

    I am talking about manual focus lenses, but see you have an AF 50. I think manual focus would be an advantage in this situation, but you'd have to check what models are compatible with your Nikon.

  3. #3
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Fast lenses aren't very good for macrophotography. Mark gave fine advice.

  4. #4
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    For reproduction works the ideal lenses are those labelled as "bellows" lens. They typically have no focusing helicoid and I suppose often they don't have the diaphragm simulation (you focus and the manually close the lens to the working aperture).

    They are specific for reproduction work, and are especially corrected for distortion and field curvature. In principle they should work better than ordinary macro ("micro") lenses for reproduction work.

    Canon, Nikon, Minolta and probably many other producers produced them. You can use adapters ring as you probably don't need any diaphragm simulation and you will not have any issue with focusing at infinity, so you can use any lens on any bellows (or tubes).

    Another alternative to try would probably be enlarger lenses used as bellows (or tube) lenses with adapter rings.
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  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I recently bought a set of macro extension tubes for Nikon mount. I want to use these to make B&W dupes of color slides for making B&W prints.

    The only lens I have now is my 50mm f/1.4 AF-Nikkor. By stacking up the right number of extension tubes, I have found a combination that allows me to have focus at the 1:1 magnification required. Quality seems only OK.

    The question is, how much better quality will I get by buying a special macro lens? Would you care to recommend a Nikon mount macro lens that I should use?
    I also have some color slides I want to print in B&W. I have a few nice macro lenses but don't have the bellows and slide holder so I have not tried the method you describe. What I was going to do is use equipment I already have. I am planning on projection printing the negatives onto my usual panchromatic 4x5 sheet film under my enlarger. I think that will give a much better result.
    I'm sure you can get razor-sharp grain on all 4 corners of a 4x5" print with your 35mm enlarger. Do the same but use film instead of paper. That will give you a very high quality 4x5 negative to print. And you know you can make a good print from a 4x5 negative. You have a 4x5 enlarger, right? If not you should with 2664 posts !
    Last edited by ic-racer; 12-19-2012 at 12:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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    Curious how you are comparing your results to the original material?

  7. #7
    PDH
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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    I also have some color slides I want to print in B&W. I have a few nice macro lenses but don't have the bellows and slide holder so I have not tried the method you describe. What I was going to do is use equipment I already have. I am planning on projection printing the negatives onto my usual panchromatic 4x5 sheet film under my enlarger. I think that will give a much better result.
    I'm sure you can get razor-sharp grain on all 4 corners of a 4x5" print with your 35mm enlarger. Do the same but use film instead of paper. That will give you a very high quality 4x5 negative to print. And you know you can make a good print from a 4x5 negative. You have a 4x5 enlarger, right? If not you should with 2664 posts !
    I have made B&W copies from slides using an enlager with a 35mm slide holder, in the old days Kodak made film for just this purpose. In todays world I would use Tmax or Delta 100 . My enlarger timer will time in 1/10 of a seconds so by stopping down to F 16 or 22 should be able to run a test strip with one sheet of film to find your times.

  8. #8
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I have made lots of 4x5 B&W internegatives from 35mm color slides. It works very well. However the film is expensive and working in the dark is inconvenient. I would like to copy a large amount of slides so that I have a separate archive on 35mm roll film, available for later printing, which I will store with the slides. This will only cost $3-4 for the 35mm film, and should be a quick operation. For family photos/postcards, a 35mm dupe should be sufficient quality.

    I do have a 50mm 2.8 EL-Nikkor enlarging lens, but it won't work for me. I don't have a bellows; I only have extension tubes, so I actually need a lens that has internal focusing.
    Last edited by BetterSense; 12-19-2012 at 02:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    f/22 and be there.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Crabtree View Post
    All of the 55 Micro Nikkors are dirt cheap and amazingly good. I had one laying around and adapted it to my non-Nikon, non-film camera for this same sort of use. I would assume performance should be considerably better than your 1.4, but if you are happy with the results, that is all that matters.

    I am talking about manual focus lenses, but see you have an AF 50. I think manual focus would be an advantage in this situation, but you'd have to check what models are compatible with your Nikon.
    I'll second the Micro Nikkor, it's one of those really fine lenses that seems to be undervalued.

    The quality will be vastly better than your 1.4.

    edit - I'm pretty sure Nikon made a slide duplicator to go with that lens, the 55/3.5 Micro Nikkor.
    Last edited by E. von Hoegh; 12-19-2012 at 04:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    I'd go with the bellows instead of the extension tubes. The slide stage fits onto the front of the bellows and your lens is in the middle.

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    Yashica did make this unit with built in optics and no bellows. This fits right on the camera in place of the lens.
    Click image for larger version. 

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