Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Goodies Are Here

Front row--a five part set of extension tubes.

They screw together to hold the lens away from the camera body for greater magnification. When all five tubes are used the total length is 65 mm. Mount my garage sale 50 mm lens and the image/object magnification is greater than 1/1--the traditional boundary between macro and micro photograph.

For about $15 including shipping there is a surprising amount of precision machining in that set. A big bargain if you own the proper lens. More about that below.

Above them is an extension bellows. It stretches out to 144 mm. If I add the tubes I can reach 209 mm for some big time magnification. (With all the expected exposure and Depth of Field challenges of course).

As for quality and considering the price ($52 with shipping) I'd rate it up-to-the-job. While I've used precision stages before with less slop these stages weren't cheap.

Mounted on the bellows is my garage sale 50mm lens. Next to it is the garage sale 35-70 mm zoom.

At the far left is a Canon lens. When more parts arrive, it will be mounted to the macro setup with the camera end pointing out. Depending on the lens design and how the aberrations were corrected, flipped lens can create a cleaner image at high magnification.

Now for the kicker hidden in the fine print. Without the garage sale lens this setup won't work. All type G lens sold with the D60 lack an aperture control ring. You need the electrical connections to open and close the lens aperture--something you will do a lot in macro photography. Nikon does make extension rings and bellows with the electrical wiring but you will pay big bucks. Like $75 a single ring (B&H) vs $15 a five ring set (OEC Camera by way of ebay)

The new macro stuff is sitting on a copy stand. I bought that at a photographic auction cheap--mainly because nobody else was bidding on it. I discovered why when I took it home and tried to do something useful with it . In the days of manually focused film cameras, these stand were necessity for copy work. But with autofocus and almost instant feedback on how sharp the image looks, they lost their resale value.

To finish the set up, there is a x, z stage (up, down and sideways) that I already owned--a leftover from a consultant project.

Now all I needed was something to photograph. To start I dug out the innards of a camera lens that had been sitting in the back of a desk drawer for--enough years for me to forget why it ended up in pieces.

And here is my first macro using this setup

Let the macros begin

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