equipment question/comparison

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

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Martin G.
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equipment question/comparison

Post by Martin G. »

Hello all, I am just starting to try out high mag pictures.

Here is the set up for the tubing

Image

There is roughly 150mm of tubing to accomodate some finite 160mm objectives. I think I got this part right? I do not have bellows, so I have to work with whatever increments my tubes can offer, so it is not 100% precise.

I did not "flock" the interior of the cone, I believe this is recommended from what I have read here. Would I need to flock the interior of the cheap extension tubes as well (the non Kenko ones)?

Now on to the objectives I have. I bought this Nikon E Plan LWD

Image

And my friend lent me this Nikon objective. Apparently he had it for over 10 years, never used it, it appears in mint condition. I have no other info on this optic, maybe someone is familiar with them? It "looks" like those new EO finite objectives, probably means nothing.

Image

Now a set of stack to compare both. I know, those stacks are horrible and a lot of focus gap. At this time, I simply have no suitable stable equipment. I have simply used those very affordable macro rails from e-bay on my cheap tripod, it is very wabbely. Used a cable shutter release. Anyhow, the purpose of my post is not to evaluate the quality of the stack, but the output images.

Aside from some slight retouching in Zerene, I left the pictures untouched from photoshop (aside from resizing)

First is with the E plan

Image

and the other objective

Image

My questions:

1. the picture from the E plan looks "hazy" and has no contrast and a lot of CA (I think). Is this the overall "quality" or "lack of" I can expect from these objective, or you think I simply got a bad copy?

2. to my very unexperienced eye, the second objective seems to perform better, more contast, image is sharper, less CA. Would you say this objective provides acceptable image quality? Or should I look into upgrading... I was thinking going with the CFI Rick has shown coupled with his telephoto zoom lens. Would I gain a substantial improvement in quality.

Right now, my obvious priority is getting a proper stable set up, I am interested in a stackshot. But I am trying to get an overall idea if I need to upgrade the optics as well.

Thank you for your time and sorry for the long post.

Martin

rjlittlefield
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Re: equipment question/comparison

Post by rjlittlefield »

Martin G. wrote:There is roughly 150mm of tubing to accomodate some finite 160mm objectives. I think I got this part right? I do not have bellows, so I have to work with whatever increments my tubes can offer, so it is not 100% precise.
Your setup is longer than standard. For finite objectives, the 150 mm is measured from sensor to shoulder of mounting threads. On a Canon camera, this means 106 mm of extension in front of the camera, because the Canon "flange distance" is 44 mm from sensor to camera face.

However, for objectives at 10X and below, the extension can be made longer without significantly degrading the image from aberrations. Your setup as shown will work fine except for giving magnification closer to 13X than 10X.
I did not "flock" the interior of the cone, I believe this is recommended from what I have read here. Would I need to flock the interior of the cheap extension tubes as well (the non Kenko ones)?
You can get a good indication by just pointing the objective on tubes at a brightly lit piece of paper, and looking by eye into the back end of the tubes. Study the sides of the cone and tubes. If you see glare, then you definitely need flocking. If the sides of the tubes appear black, you're probably OK without it.
And my friend lent me this Nikon objective. Apparently he had it for over 10 years, never used it, it appears in mint condition. I have no other info on this optic, maybe someone is familiar with them? It "looks" like those new EO finite objectives, probably means nothing.
Except for placement of the yellow ring, this objective is identical in form and markings to the 10X Nikon Finite Conjugate Objective currently being offered by Edmund. It is also extremely similar but not identical to the Nikon CF E Achromat objective shown on page 11 of the Nikon CF brochure HERE. The brochure lists working distance of 5.2 mm for the CF E Achromat, while your lens and the one from Edmund have 5.6 mm.

I suspect, but do not know for sure, that the 5.6 mm WD lenses are some minor update of the CF E Achromat.
1. the picture from the E plan looks "hazy" and has no contrast and a lot of CA (I think). Is this the overall "quality" or "lack of" I can expect from these objective, or you think I simply got a bad copy?
I agree about the poor quality. I don't know if it is typical for that type objective.
2. to my very unexperienced eye, the second objective seems to perform better, more contast, image is sharper, less CA. Would you say this objective provides acceptable image quality? Or should I look into upgrading... I was thinking going with the CFI Rick has shown coupled with his telephoto zoom lens. Would I gain a substantial improvement in quality.

The second (black) objective is quite good enough that you should rest easy about the optics and concentrate on other aspects such as getting a stable setup that can make fine focus steps. Upgrading your optics would give measurable improvement, but I certainly would not call it "substantial".

One hint about shooting in unstable setups: use flash. Shooting with flash can give you tack-sharp images even when continuous illumination would give a hopeless blur. It is good to avoid vibration anyway, because too much vibration can cause you to miss focus steps even if the individual frames are sharp. But flash is a powerful tool to use after you've taken other reasonable steps.

--Rik

Mitch640
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Post by Mitch640 »

Hi Martin. I can only comment on the flocking question. I do not think even the cheap tubes need to be flocked. It seems only certain things, like PVC tubing and unpainted metal need it. Even black PVC is too shiney without some kind of paint or flocking.

I am not surprised with the quality of the E lens. I have an E 40x Plan and it's about the same with horrible CA. :)

Martin G.
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Post by Martin G. »

Thank you both for all the help, it is much appreciated.

Rick, these pictures were indeed taken with flash, otherwise, I think I would have no picture to show at all! he he

Thank you again for all the tips, now I think I can just concentrate on the table for the moment, my budget is tight. Optics will come at a much later date.

Martin

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

Martin,
I did not "flock" the interior of the cone, I believe this is recommended from what I have read here. Would I need to flock the interior of the cheap extension tubes as well (the non Kenko ones)?
I would definitely "treat" the inside of the cone adapter... either with a very matte black paint, flocking material, or adding a flare-cut diaphragm. If the interior is the same as my piece, you can most definitely get some very problematic flare from its internal surface. (This can be very dependent on your lighting. You might be fine 90% of the time, but if a light is positioned so that you get a bright spot on the interior surface you will sit there and wonder what on earth happened. You should also check the outer rear of your objectives. Some Nikon objectives have a very bright, chrome outer ring. Normally this is covered when it is in a microscope turret. Doesn't seem like it would be a problem, but on an adapter like these it will sometimes reflect back light that is reflected forward by the filter over the camera sensor. It is surprising how much flare this can create.

Rik's suggestion is good. I like a real "torture test" and will peer into the back of the tubes while I move a flashlight around pointing toward the front of the lens from all directions outside of the field of view. Normally when taking pictures you try to want to avoid a light shining directly into the lens, but this "test" will clearly reveal any flare potential inside your set-up.

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

I bought one of those Beljan cones and found it to be horrible. It seems to be the worst possible shape for internal flare reflections, so I never bothered to put flocking in it. A flat disc adapter, rms to T2 or 52mm or 42 x 1mm just works better!
There's a stepped adapter with a cylindrical section always available on ebay, which comes flocked, but has similar problems. I've had to cut black paper aperture discs to use it.

OK:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RMS-Thread-M42-Ad ... 2ead0036dc

Problems:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RMS-Thread-M42-Ad ... 20b60f0f88

Nasty:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/RMS-Thread-M42-Ad ... 5192a1613c

Oskar O
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Post by Oskar O »

Stacking a lot of tubes may bring some very slight play in -- the tolerances of the bayonet mounts are not that tight, especially with the cheaper 3rd party bayonets. I'm just starting out with 10x, but since such play becomes very annoying already at 3x, it might be a good idea to get one long tube, e.g. T2 tube, to minimize the number of mounts. Of course you might be lucky enough to have a rock solid set of tubes, hard to say from the pic...

Definitely focus on a more stable setup and lighting the subject; the image quality of the better picture are ok, but the stacking issues are obvious even in the web sized image. Those "affordable macro rails" from eBay are rubbish, a wobbly setup will drive you nuts when trying to frame and focus accurately.

Mitch640
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Post by Mitch640 »

I have a set of Kenko tubes. They are loose fitting and rattle. They work good for shooting non-macro stuff. And they cost well over $100. I also spent $10 on a set of Chinese E-bay tubes. About the same length as all the Kenko set stacked up, and solid as a rock, since they screw together. Did I mention they cost $10? ;)

By the way, the cheap tubes can also be tweaked for ultra fine focus by unscrewing or tightening the threads. This will give you a few mm to play with if you need it, as in a microscope trinocular adapter.

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

If you have a loose female bayonet it's worth looking hard at the part (times 3 in most cases) which is supposed to be gripping the flange of the lens bayonet. Often that's just a piece of metal with a cut in it, but it can be a piece of springy metal added in. With a tool like an electrician's screwdriver with a 90 degree bend near its tip, you can spread the split a little to tighten the grip. Of course if the metal's cheap it's likely to go loose again relatively quickly, but it's well worth a try.

One set of cheap Chinese tubes was quite loose on arrival. After being tweaked tighter once, they've stayed OK.

Martin G.
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Post by Martin G. »

thank you for all the information, will keep all of that in consideration!

realjax
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Post by realjax »

As a side note.. I own the Ebay tubes as well. Both the EOS mount as the M42 mount versions. I've found them to have highly reflective innersides, allthough they are in a black matte finish.

This and some other light bouncing around in my setup (due to various adapters, and even my Canon FD bellows is not free from shiny surfaces) has put everything on hold for now unitil I've stuck protostar on just about every innser surface. :)
Jacco

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

highly reflective innersides
Yes they are!. A thin tube fitted at the camera end with a black paper rectangle slipped under its female bayonet, helps a lot.Image

Craig Gerard
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Post by Craig Gerard »

Chris,

That approach resembles a Nikon M2.

Image

DSLR > Nikon PK11a > Nikon M2 > extension


Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

Yuh, someone else thought of it too :) http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/images ... ar-600.jpg

georgetsmurf
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Re: equipment question/comparison

Post by georgetsmurf »

Hi Martin.
I thought the images seem to show signs of camera shake together with poor resolution, contrast and colour saturation-this is no criticism of your abillity only the equipment and/or setup, put it this way, your images are better than any of mine so far. I am definately no expert at these magnifications but intuitively I get the impression that you may need to calculate the focus intervals of the stack a bit closer and consistently and use flash (keep in mind that when you use flash you are effectively exposing at several thousanths of a second) so as to avoid the shake effect. Others more experienced than me are probably better at pointing you in the right direction.
Cheers George.

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