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Equipment for moving past 5x
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kirispupis



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 21
Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:59 am    Post subject: Equipment for moving past 5x Reply with quote

After shooting with my MP-E 65 for some time, I have decided to move past the 5x barrier. I have been reading for some time various posts here and I thought rather than asking "how can I do this?" I will start by stating how I think I can do it and then you can correct me. Smile

First, my goal is to take photos > 5x both in the field and at home. I also currently do very little stacking and aim to stack a lot more even at magnifications < 5x. I expect in the field I will be < 5x most of the time, though occasionally may go past it.

As I understand there are four issues I need to solve.
1) How do I achieve this magnification optically?
2) How do I move the camera small increments for stacking?
3) How do I place and hold the subject?
4) How do I light?

#1 Achieving the magnification optically.
I believe the best solution is to pick up a Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10x and 20x. I plan to buy them used in order to maximize my budget (is there anything to watch out for when buying them used?). What I most like about the Mitutoyo's is the working distance - which should help greatly in the field.

I understand these objectives need a tube lens. AFAIK my Canon 70-200/2.8 II @200mm should accomplish this. I currently own a 5D2 and a 7D. From reading I believe I may see some vignetting on the 5D2 but none on the 7D so I'll probably just use the 7D. I also own a 300/4 and as I understand that will give me 15x and 30x magnification accordingly.

To mount the objective to the lens I believe I need to buy an M26 to M42 adapter, then an M42 to EOS adapter, then the appropriate rings to reach the 72mm of the 70-200.

#2 How to move the camera small increments for stacking
I currently own two RRS macro rails, but I understand that won't cut it for this scenario. Therefore I plan to pick up a Stackshot + rail to automate the stacking. I'll probably also buy a long rail for the studio for course adjustments. In terms of other directions than x, I plan to move the subject rather than the camera. I e-mailed Paul at Cognisys and he mentioned that the Stackshot can go down to 1-2 micrometers though the steps are not uniform at that range. Still, it seems like that should work for the Mitutoyo 20x.

#4 Lighting (3 is the hard one for me)
I have a number of options here and am not too worried. I have multiple speedlights and an MT-24EX. I also own a number of Manfrotto flexible arms and Wimberley macro brackets so I'll figure something out here.

#3 Moving the subject
This is the challenging one for me. As the DOF of the Mitutoyo 20x is 1.6 micrometers. I have been reading numerous posts here and I understand that I need to be able to move my subject in 6 directions - xyz, rotation, and tilt forward and side. I've had many thoughts here but the following are my dilemnas.

Tilt forward and side are not overly difficult. If I want fine adjustments here I can pick up the Torrlabs GNL20 (combination of the GNL10 and GNL18). For course adjustments I can use one of my ball heads. I currently own a Markins M20 and a Acratech GP. Obviously at this magnification the ball head will be a pain. The real question is, is it worth the extra $475 (less if I find one used) to be able to tilt in fine increments? I have also considered just finding a small flexible arm - kind of like a wire arm - that will probably be less frustrating than the ball head. Therefore, for tilt is it really worth buying a goniometer or will a wiry thing do the job?

I also have a number of options for x-y. From other posts here I understand that my RRS macro rails aren't precise enough here. The best solution so far seems to be the Proxxon KT70. Unless there are strong reasons not to this is what I plan to pick up.

There are three choices so far for rotation. One one side there is the rotation in the ball head. However this isn't very precise and I suspect there are other issues mentioned above for the ball head so I am unlikely to do this. A more precise option would be to pick up a Newport rotation stage like the 481. I am currently leaning towards an in-between solution and am interested in the Thorrlabs LJ750 - http://www.thorlabs.us/thorProduct.cfm?partNumber=LJ750/M

What I like about this is it offers both rotation and 1" of vertical adjustment. It therefore solves both rotation and the z direction. While the rotation does not seem as precise as a dedicated rotation stage, it looks like it should suffice. The other thing I like about this is it could be useful in the field. My tripod (Gitzo 2541EX) is of the Explorer arm type but is not geared. This would allow me to solve that issue without replacing it with a geared version. I can use the arm for rough adjustments and this for small ones.

That would leave the z direction. I have read numerous reports here of people taking hack saws to old microscopes. I'm sure that would work but given my aptitude I'll probably destroy the microscope completely. Another option I have heard is to just mount another Proxxon KT70 vertically but I haven't seen a post yet where someone has actually done that. Right now I'm thinking of picking up a Thorrlabs adjustable mounting platform - http://www.thorlabs.us/NewGroupPage9.cfm?ObjectGroup_ID=1310.

If I go this route then I just need to find someone who can mount the pole + camera rail to a piece of steel or granite for support. I'll then need adapters to attach the Proxxon KT70 to the adjustable mount. Another one to attach the LJ750 to the Proxxon, and another one to attach the GNL20 on top of that if I purchase it. As I understand krosno65 on EBay may be able to create the adapters. Otherwise I will use the D-method (stands for "debrouille-toi").

For a vertical setup I'll do something roughly similar but in a different direction. Smile In the field similarly I'll have a number of options as the parts are quite modular.

For those who have gotten this far, what mistakes have I made in this setup? Is there something I am missing? I would greatly appreciate any feedback.
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kirispupis,

A number of members have used the Proxxon KT70 and are satisfied with the unit, I am not....just 'pencil' that component in until you've had an opportunity to trial one.

If your budget permits, the Thorlabs GNL20 will not disappoint. The Thorlabs LJ750 appears to be a good choice for working at 5X and above in the studio.

As far as rotation in the field, Novoflex make a number of items for this purpose, usually under the panorama banner. If using an AS equipped Novoflex piece, check compatibility with your AS plates. They do have a 'universal' rotating unit which is quite nice:
http://www.mainlinephoto.com.au/prod77.htm


Hope this is of some help. I'm still dissecting parts of your post, but wanted to raise a couple of 'flags' in the meantime.



Craig

*edit: typo
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Last edited by Craig Gerard on Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:42 am; edited 1 time in total
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kirispupis



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 21
Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Craig for the advice, and a belated Australia Day. Smile (I have a cousin who lives in Melbourne)

What would you recommend over the Proxxon KT70? Perhaps a Newport xy stage like the 460?

In terms of rotation, as the LJ750 has rotation on it wouldn't the Novoflex be unnecessary? Otherwise it looks nice, though for the price I wonder if something like a Newport 481 would be better for micro purposes.
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naturephoto1



Joined: 13 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kirispupis wrote:
Thanks Craig for the advice, and a belated Australia Day. Smile (I have a cousin who lives in Melbourne)

What would you recommend over the Proxxon KT70? Perhaps a Newport xy stage like the 460?

In terms of rotation, as the LJ750 has rotation on it wouldn't the Novoflex be unnecessary? Otherwise it looks nice, though for the price I wonder if something like a Newport 481 would be better for micro purposes.


I have a new Newport 481-A scheduled for delivery on Monday that I purchased on ebay. But, here is a really nice one available right now that ends in less than 2 days:

http://tinyurl.com/85zfvw7

Rich
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Equipment for moving past 5x Reply with quote

kirispupis wrote:
I understand these objectives need a tube lens. AFAIK my Canon 70-200/2.8 II @200mm should accomplish this. I currently own a 5D2 and a 7D. From reading I believe I may see some vignetting on the 5D2 but none on the 7D so I'll probably just use the 7D. I also own a 300/4 and as I understand that will give me 15x and 30x magnification accordingly.

Correct.

Quote:
To mount the objective to the lens I believe I need to buy an M26 to M42 adapter, then an M42 to EOS adapter, then the appropriate rings to reach the 72mm of the 70-200.

Not quite. It's M26 to M42x1, M42x1 to 52mm filter thread, then the rings. Be sure you get the right M26 to M42x1. Nikon and Mitutoyo use different pitches on their M26 threads (discussion HERE). A few tight adapters will fit one but not the other.

Quote:
I e-mailed Paul at Cognisys and he mentioned that the Stackshot can go down to 1-2 micrometers though the steps are not uniform at that range. Still, it seems like that should work for the Mitutoyo 20x.

Yes, and a lot farther beyond that. See HERE for discussion about using the StackShot at 40X NA 0.50 .

--Rik
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kirispupis



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
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Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! In terms of the adapter, just to be clear this should work. Correct?

I see a number of M42 to EOS adapters on EBay, but I do not see any M42x1. If a normal M42 adapter will not work, where may I find an M42x1 to Canon adapter?

In terms of handling the subject I have decided to postpone that. Right now I need to get used to working in that magnification. Rather than speculate I have a feeling after working with these objectives for a bit I'll have a much better idea what I need.

Thank you for all of the helpful advice.[/url]
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kirispupis wrote:
Thanks! In terms of the adapter, just to be clear this should work. Correct?

That's the correct thread. However, the extra extension of the cone adapter increases your risk of vignetting when using the Mitutoyo with a conventional telephoto. I use a flat adapter instead, like this one (M26x36tpi to M42).

Quote:
I see a number of M42 to EOS adapters on EBay, but I do not see any M42x1. If a normal M42 adapter will not work, where may I find an M42x1 to Canon adapter?

Usually things that labeled just M42 really are M42x1. That fits the old Praktika/Pentax screw thread that was so popular. The reason I raised the point is that there is also an M42x0.75 thread that is the T2 mount.

Aha! I just now did a search and found an adapter that would skip one step in your chain. That's HERE, an M26x36tpi to M52 filter thread, in a single part. Then all you'd need would be step rings to match your lens.

One last thing to be aware of is that some Mitutoyo objectives are sold with an adapter already installed that turns the thread into something other than M26x36tpi. For example with the 10X HERE, the black section is an adapter that turns M26x36tpi into M25x0.75, compatible with Nikon CFI objectives. That can be really confusing if you don't realize what's going on. (Been there, done that -- just a few minutes ago!)

Quote:
In terms of handling the subject I have decided to postpone that. Right now I need to get used to working in that magnification. Rather than speculate I have a feeling after working with these objectives for a bit I'll have a much better idea what I need.

Sounds like a good plan. Jumping up in magnification is often an interesting learning experience.

--Rik
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kirispupis



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 21
Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! I just ordered the adapter and this week I'll order the objectives and the Stackshot.

One final question about the objectives. I find myself questioning a bit whether I should purchase the following objectives (in general).

a) Mitutoyo
b) Nikon CFI
c) Nikon BD (not sure the exact names, but the ones that a number of people use here that require a bellows instead of a tube lens).

I know that Mitutoyo has the best working distance of the three, with the Nikon CFI 10x .25 10.5 after that. Would it be reasonable to say that the Mitutoyo will provide the best image quality, or am I really just paying a high premium for the long working distance?
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ChrisR
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Small things..
I think the adapter Rik linked to there is to RMS. Some would vignette with that, others OK

If you go via M42 somewhere near your objective, you can usefully insert an adjustable iris. You don't get good definition of course, but a small-aperture shot at the end of a stack is very good for reducing the obvious "step" change in focus. Things like eggs and legs become recognisable and it all looks much more natural. One of the usual ebay vendors had some M42 irises made,
yer tiz.
I believe the central sharpness of the Niks and Mits goes with NA. The Mits generally win on working distance, image circle size (particularly important on larger sensors) and lack of coloured artefacts and CA. Whether anyone would reliably guess which lens were used on a single eg fruit fly headshot though, I'd very much doubt.
My gleaned /generalised feeling having played with things rather than done strict comparisons is that at about 5x there's not too much of a problem- things don't come fantastically better than your MPE. overall.
At 10x the Mitutoyo WD is longer but there are several Nikons which are very good, finite or infinite. At 20x the balances tip in favour of the Mitutoyo. The Nikkor 20x ELWD is good, but the Mitty is better, though quite a lot more money.

The jury is still out on how much better real "tube" lenses, from Nikon or Mitutoyo perform, than decent camera lenses. A few of the PM group use them, but the set-ups are elaborate and can't easily be swapped for a camera lens.

BD lenses (do try a search) don't really give us advantages, and they're harder to mount.

Remember that particularly if you use an APS/DX sensor, you can find a lens to use as a "tube" lens to go lower on magnification. EG a 135mm will give you
10 * 135 / 200 = 6.75x with high resolution. A full frame sensor may be getting poor (or dark) in the corners. Combinations vary. Some zooms turn out to be useless!
You can go "longer" with a longer FL tube lens, though a 300 is a lump to handle, or with a longer bellows for a finite objective. For that useful magnification around 7x using a finite objective, the best you'd do would be with a 4x Apo, which is uncommon and expensive.

You are of course being difficult ( ) being able to switch bodies, but you'll have realised that the propensity to use "magnification" all the time isn't always best, for you!
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChrisR wrote:
I think the adapter Rik linked to there is to RMS. Some would vignette with that, others OK

Sorry, I failed to be clear that I was the buyer for that objective. The numbers that I reported were from measuring what came in the package. It is not an RMS adapter, it is M26x36tpi to M25x0.75, compatible with Nikon CFI objectives as stated. I was quite surprised to find that the Mitutoyo fit the same adapter as my Nikon CFI 10X NA 0.25, until I realized that the black thing was not actually part of the lens. If it were an RMS adapter, then vignetting could be an issue.

Quote:
If you go via M42 somewhere near your objective, you can usefully insert an adjustable iris.

True, and an excellent point. I don't have one of those yet, but I'm thinking about getting one.

Quote:
I believe the central sharpness of the Niks and Mits goes with NA. The Mits generally win on working distance, image circle size (particularly important on larger sensors) and lack of coloured artefacts and CA.

That's what we'd like to think, but my testing shows otherwise in some respects.

I've been testing lenses pretty hard the last few days, and I threw into the mix the Mitutoyo 10X NA 0.28 (working distance 33.5 mm) and the Nikon CFI 10X NA 0.25 (WD 10.5mm).

It turns out that in my tests, the Mitutoyo has far less longitudinal color aberration, but the Nikon delivers better detail over a larger field. Using an APS-sized sensor (Canon T1i), combining the Nikon 10X with a 100 mm tube lens creates the sharpest 5X in my arsenal, obviously beating out the MP-E 65 at f/2.8 when viewed at actual pixels. In contrast, the corresponding combination with the Mitutoyo has severe aberration on the sides and corners and has inferior reproduction of fine detail everywhere. The differences are less important when used with a 200 mm tube lens to provide 10X magnification, but still the Nikon wins on resolution.

To compare the images yourself, see:

Nikon CFI 10X at 10X (on 200 mm tube lens)
Mitutoyo 10X at 10X (on 200 mm tube lens)

MP-E 65 at 5X
Nikon CFI 10X at 5X (on 100 mm tube lens)
Mitutoyo 10X at 5X (on 100 mm tube lens)

I have no experience with other Mitutoyo's or with other Nikon CFI's. [Edit/Warning: It turned out in much later testing that this particular Mitutoyo objective was defective, probably damaged by dropping or disassembly by a prior owner. A brand new Mitutoyo 10X NA 0.28 is much better and noticeably outperforms the Nikon for sharpness at center field. See http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20594 and in particular http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=136282#136282. End Edit]

Edited to add: no doubt you'll be curious to know what the test target is. That's a piece of 600-grit silicon carbide sandpaper that's been scored with a spring steel pin so as to crush a bunch of the particles. I chose the target after much experimentation. Compared to everything else I tried, this has by far the best combination of overall uniformity and flatness, detail at many different sizes down to as fine as we can possibly need, and ability to make aberrations visible as various flare shapes and colored outlines. It's ugly, but very informative.

--Rik

Edit 10/30/2013 to warn about the defective sample.


Last edited by rjlittlefield on Wed Oct 30, 2013 12:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Planapo



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik - A very helpful side-by-side comparison, thanks for that!
Had you shown us these elsewhere before and I've missed that?

--Betty
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Pau
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik, excellent comparaison. I would expected similar or better resolution of the Mitu at least in the center but nothing like actual tests.

I also do notice in your Nikon CFI shots a yellow cast compared to the others, is it a WB issue or a characteristic of the lens?

About the blue halos, the only real problem I have experienced in my very limited use of the Nikon CFI, any idea to deal with?
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PlanApo wrote:
Had you shown us these elsewhere before and I've missed that?

These are new. You'll be seeing quite a few of them the next few days.

Pau wrote:
I would expected similar or better resolution of the Mitu at least in the center but nothing like actual tests.

Me too. But I've gotten used to being surprised. And working with that 10X Nikon CFI feels something like dealing with "alien technology". The combination of high resolution and huge field is unlike any other lens I have.

Quote:
I also do notice in your Nikon CFI shots a yellow cast compared to the others, is it a WB issue or a characteristic of the lens?

Each stack is individually white-balanced based on one severely OOF frame shot immediately before the stack. The yellow cast with the Nikon CFI seems to be produced during PMax processing. I suspect it's related to that blue halo you mention, maybe something like the broad inversion halos that PMax produces around strong contrasting edges.

Quote:
About the blue halos, the only real problem I have experienced in my very limited use of the Nikon CFI, any idea to deal with?

Not really. Other people have talked about desaturating in post-processing.

--Rik
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kirispupis



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
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Location: Bellevue, WA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comparison shots.

So as I understand for the money the Nikon CFI 10x .25 10.5 is a better value than the Mitutoyo 10x? They seem to be a bit harder to come by (didn't see one on EBay) but at what looks to be half the price it seems worth it.

For the 20x though from my understanding the Mitutoyo still seems the way to go despite the higher price. The Nikon CFI plan achromat 20x has a WD of 1.3mm, while the Mitutoyo has 20mm. At 1.3mm it certainly seems like a pain.

Is there anything that has a better working distance that can also compete with the 20x in terms of image quality? My current budget allows me to pick up the Mitutoyo 20x + either the Nikon CFI or Mitutoyo 10x, though the price of the 20x is a bit steep.
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ChrisR
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The choices I'm aware of are :
Nikon finite 20 ELWD - several posts refer,
USMCO Mitutoyo lookalike - some discussion showing uncertainty about its breeding, comparable with the Mitutoyo for cropped sensor at least ,
Nikon LU or orther infinites - shorter WD and/or expensive.
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