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More magnification with Micro Nikkor 105mm VR - Raynox?
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WebbCMH



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Location: Linton, Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject: More magnification with Micro Nikkor 105mm VR - Raynox? Reply with quote

I am hoping to capture the scales on the wings of lepidoptera - I am not looking for the (albeit wonderful) high magnification shots taken using a microscope as seen throughout these forums but for a macro equipment solution if at all possible.

I am hoping that the image will be seen within context - i.e perhaps other parts of the moth or butterfly or background will be visible in the shot. Something like this posted by forum member pwnell [http://www.flickr.com/photos/pwnell/7827344866/lightbox/] is kinda what I am looking for and it appears it was taken using 4X magnification. So would the scales still be visible and recognisable at 2x or 3X magnification.

I also intend to use Helicon Remote software for accurate focus control for stacking and it works well with my D5100 and my 105mm VR.

Does anyone have experience of using the Micro Nikkor 105 VR with a Raynox 250? What macro ratio is achievable? I would assume 2.5:1 but I may well be wrong. Also how much cropping (if any) takes place to eliminate vignetting when using a DX camera? An alternative but a much more expensive option over the Raynox 250 is the Austrian made LMScope Macro 40 and LMScope Macro 80 - does anyone know if their cost is justified by their performance.

Instead of the Raynox 250 I would also consider using a 1.4, 1.7 or 2.0 teleconvertor but I am not so sure even a 2:1 ratio obtained with the 2.0 teleconvertor would be enough to see the scales effectively and there may also be issues using the Helicon remote software.

I suppose another option could be both a teleconvertor and a Raynox 250 but I wonder about degradation in quality with so much glass in front of and behind the main macro lens.

Many forums talk about extension tubes but with my D5100 I believe either the Helicon Remote software would no longer be able to operate the focusing or I would lose any control over the lens aperture or both. Perhaps that's something else someone could clarify for me.

Another issue to throw into the mix is that I need to create images with as high a degree of resolution as I can achieve. Even though I have access to PS and clever image size manipulation add-ons, large amounts of cropping of the image is to be avoided if possible. The final image may well be printed at 1,000 x 1,400mm for display as part of an art exhibition.

Apologies for the battery of questions and unfortunately I am sure there will be more. Please accept in advance my grateful thanks for any responses.
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
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Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Re: More magnification with Micro Nikkor 105mm VR - Raynox? Reply with quote

WebbCMH wrote:
So would the scales still be visible and recognisable at 2x or 3X magnification.

Depending on the species, some may even be visible at 1:1 but you probably need 3 or 4 :1 to see any detail on the scales.

For additonal magnifcation I like using the Marumi Achromats but I believe Raynox may offer higher magnification.

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16727&highlight=marumi

The longer the focal length the more magnifying effect they have.

You can even stack two of them:

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=17784&highlight=marumi

Harold
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I assume you already have certain equipment and are looking at acquiring more.

Exactly what is it that you currently have? Please tell us about all your lenses, not just the ones you think are good for macro.

One reason I ask is that very sharp images in the 2-10X range can be created pretty easily by using certain microscope objectives in front of ordinary lenses having focal length 100 to 200 mm. This can give you the resolution of a microscope with more the flavor of a macro setup. See for example AF motor focusing with a microscope objective.

Regarding extension tubes, the high priced ones do retain aperture and focus motor control by transmitting the electronic signals that control those. Cheap tubes are typically just mechanical extensions that will lose those controls.

You mention Helicon Remote. If you already have that, and probably Helicon Focus to go with it, then those will work fine. But if they will be new purchases, then you might consider instead ControlMyNikon and Zerene Stacker. The functionality and pricing models are different, so I would have to know a lot more about your whole situation to say which would be better.

--Rik
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WebbCMH



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Location: Linton, Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:46 am    Post subject: Re: More magnification with Micro Nikkor 105mm VR - Raynox? Reply with quote

In response to Harold

Quote:
Depending on the species, some may even be visible at 1:1 but you probably need 3 or 4 :1 to see any detail on the scales.

Yes I agree - discussions in another forum on this site have led me to believe I need at the very least 2.5:1 but probably 3:1 and the option of going 4:1 would give me flexibility regarding my particular composition requirements.

Quote:
For additonal magnifcation I like using the Marumi Achromats but I believe Raynox may offer higher magnification.


I looked up the Achromats up and a useful benefit is that they would fit the existing Nikkor 105mm VR's 62mm thread whereas the Raynox 250 steps down from 62mm to 43mm which may/may not lead to vignetting on my D5100. They are probably a viable alternative to the elusive 62mm thread Nikon T5 and T6 close up attachment filters (no longer in production I believe). A Marumi +3 and a +5 Stacked may create enough magnification but at around £135 for the pair the £49 Raynox DCM 250 is an appealing contender if anyone knows whether the quality is as good.
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WebbCMH



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Location: Linton, Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In response to Rik

Quote:
Exactly what is it that you currently have? Please tell us about all your lenses, not just the ones you think are good for macro.


Body = Nikon D5100, lenses I own, AF-S Micro Nikkor 105mm 1:2.8 G ED, AF-S Nikkor 17-55mm 1:2.8 G ED, AF-S Nikkor 50mm 1:1.4 G & Sigma 10-20mm 1:4-5.6 DC HSM. Post processing software = Adobe CS 5 on Desktop PC and Aperture on MacBook Air. Lighting options include various light diffusing tents by lastolite), Nikon SB800 & SB26 Speedlights, 2 x Elinchrom FX400 strobes. I may borrow a D800 or D800E to take the final image as the increased resolution should help if it is to be enlarged to 1,000 x 1,400mm as part of an art exhibition.

Quote:
One reason I ask is that very sharp images in the 2-10X range can be created pretty easily by using certain microscope objectives in front of ordinary lenses having focal length 100 to 200 mm. This can give you the resolution of a microscope with more the flavor of a macro setup. See for example AF motor focusing with a microscope objective.


Yes thanks for the link and I have been wondering whether a lens plus m/s objective may be the way I need to go to obtain the very sharpest of images at the magnification I need. Also I assume they can be easily interchanged for more or less magnification as needed.

Quote:
Regarding extension tubes, the high priced ones do retain aperture and focus motor control by transmitting the electronic signals that control those. Cheap tubes are typically just mechanical extensions that will lose those controls.


Yes and in reality if adding to the back of the lens was necessary I would look to go down the route of using a 1.7 teleconverter which would be useful for other types of photography as well. If I can, I prefer to avoid additions between the camera and lens for the moment.

Quote:
You mention Helicon Remote. If you already have that, and probably Helicon Focus to go with it, then those will work fine. But if they will be new purchases, then you might consider instead ControlMyNikon and Zerene Stacker.


I have only trial versions of Helicon Remote & Helicon Focus so I have no financial commitment there as yet.

Rgds Conrad
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WebbCMH



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Location: Linton, Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
One reason I ask is that very sharp images in the 2-10X range can be created pretty easily by using certain microscope objectives in front of ordinary lenses having focal length 100 to 200 mm. This can give you the resolution of a microscope with more the flavor of a macro setup. See for example AF motor focusing with a microscope objective.


Hi Rik and further to your message response this morning I found a bit of time to do some trawling thru the forums specifically looking at the method of adding a m/scope objective to the front of a 105mm Micro Nikkor VR.

What I discovered was
a) how to attach an objective's RMS mount to a 62mm filter thread on a 105mm Micro Nikkor VR specifically via an RMS-52mm filter adapter followed by a 52mm-62mm adapter.
b) It would appear there is a consensus across the forums, that for overall quality balanced with cost, a very good place to start could be a Nikon CFI BE Achromat 4x with many users liking the 10x.
c) These are discussed in terms of being infinity lenses.
d) I even found a forum discussion on how to order such an objective lens direct from Nikon UK at a very reasonable price.

So as my search for the appropriate equipment looks like it may be nearing a conclusion, I have just a couple of questions remaining.

1) Assuming the camera and lens were to remain still and using helicon remote to step the focus what kind of focus range would a 105mm micro nikkor VR with the 4x Nikon Objective achieve.
2) what distance would the tip of the objective lens be from the subject at maximum magnification?
3) Can the focusing abilities of this combination allow for the objective lens to be used further away from the subject and thus achieving less magnifications ranging from say 2:1 to 4:1 or is this only possible by changing the objective (there is a 2x version I understand)
4) I assume there must be some, but how much much vignetting with this combination may occur with the DX sensor?

Sorry for more questions and I continue to be amazed how comprehensive these forums are once I started digging....
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Responding here to your earlier posting...

WebbCMH wrote:
I may borrow a D800 or D800E to take the final image as the increased resolution should help if it is to be enlarged to 1,000 x 1,400mm as part of an art exhibition.

OK -- just be sure to plan ahead because the change of sensor size means that you have to change magnification to match.

Quote:
Yes thanks for the link and I have been wondering whether a lens plus m/s objective may be the way I need to go to obtain the very sharpest of images at the magnification I need. Also I assume they can be easily interchanged for more or less magnification as needed.

Sort of, but you're not going to have the continuously variable range of magnification that you're used to with conventional lenses. You can swap in different lengths of tube lens to get different magnifications, subject to limits on coverage of the objective. Zoom lenses will usually vignette except at or very near full length. Objectives only come in a few discrete magnifications, notably 4X, 5X, and 10X.

If you need greater flexibility in magnification for framing, then one possibility is to co-opt a Raynox macro lens for use as a tube lens as described HERE. That arrangement would put the tube lens on bellows, which gives more freedom to adjust the extension to change magnification.

Given your whole situation, the best strategy might be to choose an area of the bug that fits the magnification you can get easily, rather than trying to wrestle an exact magnification that fits the area you'd ideally like to have.

Quote:
I have only trial versions of Helicon Remote & Helicon Focus so I have no financial commitment there as yet.

OK. Since you're trying to get one specific job done, and Helicon is a good match to that job, then perhaps the best approach is to buy a one-year license for Helicon. I think that will set you back only about $65. Zerene Stacker and ControlMyNikon would give you more flexibility and better results on other subjects, but you have a lot of hurdles to overcome in this project and HF provides a simple way to deal with some of them.

--Rik
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WebbCMH wrote:
1) Assuming the camera and lens were to remain still and using helicon remote to step the focus what kind of focus range would a 105mm micro nikkor VR with the 4x Nikon Objective achieve.

With my Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM lens, focus range is about 3 mm with the lens from infinity to 1 meter, and another 3 mm from 1 meter to 0.5 meter. You can probably push that farther and still retain good image quality.

Quote:
2) what distance would the tip of the objective lens be from the subject at maximum magnification?

32 mm with the hood removed at infinity focus. Subtract the focus range for focusing closer.

Quote:
3) Can the focusing abilities of this combination allow for the objective lens to be used further away from the subject and thus achieving less magnifications ranging from say 2:1 to 4:1 or is this only possible by changing the objective (there is a 2x version I understand)

These objectives give rated magnification only with a 200 mm tube lens. The magnification scales proportional to the tube lens focal length. When you use the 4X objective with a 105 mm tube lens, you're only going to get about 2.1X anyway. With a 10X objective, it would be 5.25X.

It's not a good idea to use microscope objectives that are labeled as below about 3X. Their designs have been compromised to fit within the confines of the microscope frame. Ordinary macro lenses and high quality add-ons such as the Raynox will give better image quality across the frame.

Quote:
4) I assume there must be some, but how much much vignetting with this combination may occur with the DX sensor?

With the 105 wide open and the manufacturer's hood removed from the 4X objective, there will be essentially no vignetting. See HERE. The issue of veiling glare with the hood removed is easily solved by making your own hood to shield the lens from seeing the lights directly.

Quote:
Sorry for more questions and I continue to be amazed how comprehensive these forums are once I started digging....

Thanks. Glad we can help.

--Rik
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WebbCMH



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
Posts: 15
Location: Linton, Cambridgeshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
With my Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS USM lens, focus range is about 3 mm with the lens from infinity to 1 meter, and another 3 mm from 1 meter to 0.5 meter. You can probably push that farther and still retain good image quality.

So can I infer from the above that if focus stacking I would have around 6-8mm of attainable depth of field in focus?

Quote:
These objectives give rated magnification only with a 200 mm tube lens. The magnification scales proportional to the tube lens focal length. When you use the 4X objective with a 105 mm tube lens, you're only going to get about 2.1X anyway. With a 10X objective, it would be 5.25X.

That's useful to know.

Quote:
It's not a good idea to use microscope objectives that are labeled as below about 3X.

So is that.

Quote:
With the 105 wide open and the manufacturer's hood removed from the 4X objective, there will be essentially no vignetting.

And again so is that

Many thanks for all the valuable input from Rik and Harold and below is where I am currently at.

1) To achieve the image I require of Lepidoptera Wing Scales for this specific photographic art project I believe that I need to obtain a magnification of at least 4:1

2) I will be using a Nikon D5100 & 105mm VR Micro Nikkor and with (yet to be determined) remote software controlling the lens for focus stacking purposes.

3) The use of the 105mm macro with a Raynox DCR 250 will get me to 2:1 and the image quality would be good but not enough magnification without more equipment (extension tubes or teleconverter)

4) The Raynox MSN 202 is another option with it's 25 diopter rating and I believe (please correct me if I am wrong) that with the 105mm lens it will give me around 4:1 magnification. The even stronger MSN 505 I have rejected as the images I have seen thus far on the net look very soft to the edges.

5) Using the 105mm macro with a Nikon CFI BE Achromat 4x will get me to 2.1:1 magnification and using the Nikon CFI BE Achromat 10x would get me to 5.25:1 or so

So if my assumption about the MSN 202 having a ratio of 4:1 with the 105mm lens is correct my final options seem to be a Raynox MSN 202 or Nikon CFI BE Achromat 10x.

I doubt either will produce any more or less working depth of field and I also assume whichever I use it will take a large amount of time experimenting to get good quality well focused & lit images.

So what are your opinions on which setup would produce the highest quality final image? Sharpness, colour rendition and lack of 'artifacts' all being important as the final image is quite likely to be enlarged & printed to around 1,000 x 1,400mm


Last edited by WebbCMH on Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WebbCMH,

At 4X, it is unlikely the Raynox 202 will deliver the resolution you seek. I've just had a look using a Canon 50D (22.3 x 14.9) with a Canon Macro 100/2.8 L and a Raynox 202 attached; FOV = 5.5mm. It's not a configuration I would normally use; but this thread gave me a good excuse to setup and have a look. Initial observations are not encouraging.

I'll replace the Raynox 202 with a 10X objective tommorrow and compare the results.


Craig
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WebbCMH



Joined: 28 Sep 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
At 4X, it is unlikely the Raynox 202 will deliver the resolution you seek. I've just had a look using a Canon 50D (22.3 x 14.9) with a Canon Macro 100/2.8 L and a Raynox 202 attached; FOV = 5.5mm. It's not a configuration I would normally use; but this thread gave me a good excuse to setup and have a look. Initial observations are not encouraging.

That's interesting & continues to pull me towards the Nikon Microscope Objective solution.

Quote:
I'll replace the Raynox 202 with a 10X objective tommorrow and compare the results.


Really looking forward to your observations.
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It'll be surprising to say the least if the microscope objective doesn't win the quality competition, considering that high resolution over a small field is exactly what they're designed to do. In all of our previous tests a 10X objective has won handily. Consider for example the comparison panel HERE and bear in mind that aside from the EL Nikkor 50/2.8, all the other lenses are fairly expensive specialists being used for their intended purpose.

For the job that WebbCMH has, I'd recommend the Nikon CFI Plan Achromat 10x NA 0.25 WD 10.5mm (part number MRL00102). You can see an early test report HERE, and a later one HERE. That lens is available new from Nikon, price probably around $250.

Compared to the other two 10X objectives that I'd seriously consider pushing down like this, the MRL00102 has more working distance and better corners than the Nikon CFI BE 10X (MRN70100), and much less working distance but still better corners than the Mitutoyo 10X NA 0.28 Plan Apo (specs HERE). Aside from very long working distance, the Mitutoyo does have the advantage of less longitudinal CA. For this application I'd be surprised if that aspect matters, but the difference in corner quality at 5X is significant. See comparison images in the second block HERE.

--Rik
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Craig Gerard



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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WebbCMH,

You can 'scrub' the Raynox 202 off the list; suffice to say the result is far from acceptable. I did not even feel inclined to release the shutter button; but I'll upload a visual representation in a followup post.

I've attached the Nikon CFI 10X NA 0.25 WD 10.5 (part number MRL00102) and the view is significantly better. I have the Canon 100/2.8 set to infinity @2.8, FOV = 4mm (approximate).

Rik has conclusively explored a near identical arrangement on more than one occasion as demonstrated in the various links of the previous post.

I'm looking at Waldo's 4X image on Flickr (mentioned in an earlier post). I happen to have a Sunset Moth on stage at the moment and I'm in the process of preparing to take some images using the 100/2.8 Nikon CFI 10X NA 0.25 WD 10.5 combo. I'll upload some examples and crops.....



Sample_1: (that's not vignetting in the corners)

Canon 50D, Canon 100/2.8 Macro L, Nikon CFI 10X 0.25 (@5X), Single frame, Fiber Optic illumination, Rosco diffuser cylinder.

Larger jpeg version at link below:
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/48523277/sample_1_large.jpg

Actual Pixel Crop from above image:




Craig
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice demo: vanishingly small DOF, but sharp even at actual-pixels. DOF for this objective is only around 10 microns.

If you need even more sharpness, then consider stack-and-stitch to assemble say 2-4 frames from the D5100. That approach can increase the pixel count to equal or exceed the D800, while maintaining sharpness throughout. For this application I don't think there'd be any trouble with parallax. Just use the MRL00102 and pretend it's telecentric by turning off scale adjustment in the stacking program.

--Rik
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Craig Gerard



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik wrote:
vanishingly small DOF, but sharp even at actual-pixels


Crop of stack at actual pixels (Zerene Stacker: PMax).

It requires retouching.....but may serve as a reference as is.

*I used a StackShot rail for this focus stack...which is outside the brief of this topic. I'm yet to attempt any software controlled stacking via AF motor control.

Canon 50D, Canon 100/2.8 Macro L, Nikon CFI 10X 0.25 (@5X), Fiber Optic illumination, Rosco diffuser cylinder, StackShot rail. Crop at actual pixels.




Craig
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