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Any advantages of reversed lens over macro lens?

 
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dragonblade



Joined: 18 Oct 2014
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:26 pm    Post subject: Any advantages of reversed lens over macro lens? Reply with quote

I use my father's trusty Canon FD 50mm macro lens on both 35mm film and digital (Micro 4/3 format.) Though these days, I use it a lot more with digital. Now and then I'm intrigued by people who use reversed lenses for macro photography. Any advantages of this over using a macro lens? Would there be any increase in magnification with a reversed lens set up? I guess that would depend on the focal length of the reversed lens? Shorter the better, I guess. Regardless, I could always add the extension tube to the macro lens and get decent magnification there too.

Now on to a related query. Ive ordered a Canon bellows for use with FD lenses via eBay. I would like to mate that with my M4/3 camera + adapter and use the Canon FD 50mm macro lens on the other side for photographing the heads of flies - focusing on the compound eyes. However, would I get any better results using a reversed lens on the bellows instead of the macro lens?
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
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Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dragonblade,

The general rules are as follows:
    1) To get more magnification, add extension--such as with extension tubes or bellows.

    2) When magnification from extension exceeds 1:1 (1x), you'll probably get better results by also reversing the lens. This keeps most lenses in a regime closer to their designed use. (Exceptions can include specialty lenses originally designed for greater than 1x magnifications.)
So reversing a lens doesn't increase magnification per se--it improves the rendering of magnification gained by increased extension.

I see no reason why you can't reverse your dad's macro lens on the bellows.

--Chris S.
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dragonblade



Joined: 18 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris S. wrote:


I see no reason why you can't reverse your dad's macro lens on the bellows.

--Chris S.


Good thinking! Though I might be a bit worried about exposing the rear of the macro lens to various subjects - just in case something comes into contact with it. If I was to reverse a lens, I might be tempted to get a second hand Takumar M42 lens for a lowish price. Basically a 'disposable' lens. Pity such lenses are going for higher prices these days. Out of curiosity, would the aperture blades still open / close with a reversed lens?
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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To protect the rear side of a lens when reversed you can add a short extension tube (although if not very short it will cut your working distance and would difficult the illumination of the subject)

About the diaphragm, I don't know about Canon FD. Many manual lenses remain wide open when dismounted out of the camera while others remain closed at the chosen aperture, what's your case?. In the first case you can secure the lever that closes the aperture with any DIY trick like rubber band, adhesive tape...

For insect eye details (magnification around or over 5X) you'll be better served with a microscope objective
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Chris S.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dragonblade wrote:
Out of curiosity, would the aperture blades still open / close with a reversed lens?

With older lenses with physical aperture rings, certainly. With some modern lenses that lack physical aperture rings, not easily. Nikon lenses prior to the new E designated ones are no problem. Modern Canon lenses seem to let you control set the aperture on the camera before you remove the lens. Your dad's FD lens is older, right? Perhaps their apertures work better in this regard (I have no idea).

--Chris S.
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dragonblade



Joined: 18 Oct 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just now Ive removed the front and rear lens caps off a Canon FD lens and a Pentax Takumar M42 mount lens. With both lenses, I rotated the aperture rings but nothing happens. The aperture blades don't move.
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Pau
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the FD search a lever, with the M42 press the pin
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pau wrote:
To protect the rear side of a lens when reversed you can add a short extension tube (although if not very short it will cut your working distance and would difficult the illumination of the subject)

To protect the rear element of my reversed Minolta 50mm MD, I just bought a rear lans cap and ground the middle of it out with a Dremel tool. It was cheap and works great.


Last edited by Deanimator on Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Pau
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good idea, Deanimator
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Pau


Last edited by Pau on Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Deanimator



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dragonblade wrote:
Out of curiosity, would the aperture blades still open / close with a reversed lens?

It depends upon the lens.

They definitely do on my '81 vintage Minolta 50mm MD. It has a manual aperture ring.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pau wrote:
Good idea, Deanimator

Anybody who does that should try to get a soft type cap, as it's much easier to cut the top out with a razor knife than to grind it out with a power tool. It's a lot less messy too. Needless to say, I did it with a hard plastic cap...
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ChrisR
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smile Funny how that hard-plastic dust gets stuck to everything!

Or, if you happen to have an extension tube for the lens, use it as a lens hood, andsee if you can jamb something in there like a matchstick, to force the iris lever.
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zzffnn



Joined: 22 May 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dragonblade,

Please try searching YouTube or Google "manual aperture Canon FD 50 mm XXXX". Replace XXXX with your specific lens model.

With my Canon FD 50mm F/1.4 (non macro), I can manually change aperture. But it is hard to explain exactly how, without image or video. I learned it by watching YouTube video.
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Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
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Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ChrisR wrote:
Smile Funny how that hard-plastic dust gets stuck to everything!

Or, if you happen to have an extension tube for the lens, use it as a lens hood, andsee if you can jamb something in there like a matchstick, to force the iris lever.

Unfortunately, as close as I ever got to Macro with the Minolta XG1 was a reverse ring, with which I may have taken a grand total of 3-5 pictures.

An alternative would be to do what I did when I needed a lens hood for my Opteka 500mm mirror lens. I cut a strip out of an old plastic ring binder, rolled it into a tube, glued it together and then spray painted it flat black.
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