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Old Jan 31, 2005, 9:56 PM   #1
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This is the second installment of my post about the use of SLR lenses on a DC. In this case, the DC is still my trustworthy Coolpix 4500. The first installment can be found here: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=12038191

In this earlier post, I used a MF Nikon 200mm F4 micro Nikkor in the hope of covering telephoto as well as close-up. Since this MF 200mm F4 is only a 2:1 (half live-size) lens, the magnification is 0.5X without additional accessories (e.g., extension tube and/or bellow). Since the weather here is still cloudy and snowy, I have no way to go out for telephoto shots. This second installment is still for close-up, well, actually higher magnification close-up.

Equipment used in this post includes a Nikon AFD 60mm f/2.8 micro Nikkor, the 3-piece Kenko extension tube set, William Optics DCL-28 eyepiece, LE-Adapter and Nikon BR-3 reversing ring. The 60mm f/2.8 Nikkor is a 1:1 life size capable micro lens. The 3-piece Kenko AF extension tubes are of length 12mm, 20mm and 36mm. Since AF is not used, one can use MF extension tubes. The following image shows these three pieces:

The following image shows the configuration of mounting the eyepiece to the Nikon 60mm f/2.8.

The following shows the three Kenko tubes installed between the eyepiece and the 60mm micro Nikkor.

The first thing we need to know is the magnification of using the 60mm with and without tubes. The following image is perhaps the 4500's maximum magnification. Note that 4500's maximum magnification is not obtained with the flower macro icon in green. Instead, one must zoom the lens to the telephoto end slightly passing the green flower icon.


It shows that in the vertical direction the 4500 can record about 13mm (this is the best I can get so far). Since the height of the sensor is 5.319mm, the magnification of the 4500 is 0.4X, slightly better than my previous measurement:


I also have a good Raynox MSN-500 close-up lens. The following is the best result I can get with this lens zoomed all the way in, which is the standard way of obtaining maximum magnification:

The recorded vertical measurement is 5mm. Hence, the Raynox MSN-500 has a magnification (on a 4500) of 1.06X, which is about life-size.

Since the Nikon 60mm f/2.8 is already a 1:1 lens, we can expect the same result without the use of extension tubes. The following image shows that it is indeed the case (i.e., 1:1 life size). Compared with the Raynox MSN-500 image, both show some edge softness with the 60mm f/2.8 falling behind slightly. You may be surprised by this fact because the 60mm f/2.8 is one of the sharpest micro lenses. The problem is two-fold. First, the 60mm f/2.8 is used wide open (i.e., f/2.8) in this case, and any micro lens is not supposed to be used wide open for optimal performance. Also note that the 60mm image has a worse light fall-off at corners, which is, of course, a consequence of an large aperture being used. Second, the William Optics DCL-28 may be not up to the work. Therefore, when you look at these images, you perhaps should interpret them as the worst cases. By closing down the aperture to f/8, image quality will be improved significantly.

The next four images were taken with extension tubes of 12mm (first), 20mm (second), 36mm (third) and 12+20+36=66mm (fourth), with recorded vertical measures 4mm, 3.5mm, 3mm and 2mm, respectively. Therefore, the magnification values are 5.319/4 = 1.3X (1:1.3), 5.319/3.5 = 1.5X (1:1.5), 5.319/3 = 1.8X (1:1.8), and 5.319/2 = 2.7X (1:2.7). These are amazing figures! Image quality-wise, as the extension length gets longer, the image appears to be softer, and chromatic aberration in the form of purple fringes gets stronger; however, light fall-off in the corners is weaker (this is obvious, isn't it?). Note that all images were taken with sharpness, contrast and saturation parameters set to low, and, as a result, all images were slightly leveled and USM-ed.

Here is a summary of my findings, where the first and second columns are lens and its magnification, respectively.

Coolpix 4500 in macro mode/0.4X

Coolpix 4500 with Raynox MSN-500/1.06X

Coolpix 4500 with 60mm f/2.8/ 1X

Coolpix 4500 with 60mm and 12mm extension/1.3X

Coolpix 4500 with 60mm and 20mm extension/1.5X

Coolpix 4500 with 60mm and 36mm extension/1.8X

Coolpix 4500 with 60mm and 68mm extension/2.7X

In summary, if you wish to have about 1:1 magnification with your 4500, the Raynox MSN-500 is good choice. Its down side is that the working distance is so short that lighting becomes so difficult. On the other hand, the 60mm setup will have more than 4cm to 5cm room; however, closing the aperture of the 60mm f/2.8 down can really cause focusing problem on the 4500. Of course, shutter speed would also be very slow. If you expect a higher than 1:1 magnification, the extension tube setup is an easy and cheap way to go. Note that the use of extension tube also makes working distance short. In the case of 68mm, the working distance is about 1cm to 2cm.

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