Extension tube for 55mm Micro-Nikkor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by robert_bowring, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. I just obtained a AI 55mm f3.5 Micro-Nikkor pc lens Serial #747831 but it did not come with the extension tube to get to 1:1. Does anyone know which extension tube I need for this lens.? I have and older Micro-Nikkor that has the PX-3 extension tube. Would this work or do I need a different one?
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    I believe it is the M 2 ring, at least that is what my old Nikon Handbook says.
  3. Here it is.
  4. The M2 is a very old version only available used (at quite a price) and doesn't provide AI meter coupling.
    The latest version is the PK13, which gives the same 27.5mm extension but adds AI-coupling. A used PK-13 seems to go for around the same price as an M2, and so would seem the obvious choice to me.
    Edit: The PK-3 will also work, but again it only has the "rabbit ears" meter coupling, not AI.
  5. Rodeo is correct. I have the PK13, which came with my 55/3.5. Gets you down to 1:1 and couples with the meter.
  6. Another alternative is to buy a used Nikon PN-11 tube. It provides for 52mm of extension, more than what you need for 1:1, and a tripod collar mount is built into it. That is the tube I use with my Nikon 55mm micro lens. It allows for electronic coupling.
  7. PK13 is "matched" to the 55mm f3.5 Micro-Nikkor in the sense that it exactly gives you 1:1; and PN-11 works but is more useful with longer lenses. I normally carry at least the shorter 2 of the 3 tubes from the latest Kenko kit to provide closer capability with newer lenses, especially the telephotos. These provide full automation which the Nikon tubes do not. However, the Nikon tubes, while old, are built very substantially by comparison. The Kenko set isn't much more expensive than just the PK13 if you are buying new.
  8. I have and older Micro-Nikkor that has the PX-3 extension tube​
    I couldn't find any info on a PX-3 extension tube. Do you mean PK-3? If so, that is the same tube as the PK-13 (27.5mm extension) with the exception it is for the Non-AI version of the 55/3.5 and only has "rabbit ears" instead of the AI follower tab. Depending on the camera you are using, the PK-3 may be able to be used to get to 1:1 with the 55/3.5, but there would be no metering.
    ETA: Now that I think about it, I'm not 100% sure that an AI 55/3.5 could be mounted onto a PK-3 without damaging the follower tab on the lens. You'd have to try it and see if it mounts smoothly with no biding.
  9. I'm pretty sure with the adapters the rule is the same as with the lenses and cameras, which means you can mount an AI lens on anything, since the tab extends no further back than the pre-AI skirt did, but you cannot mount a pre-AI lens on an AI adapter.
  10. I was just playing tonight with my Micro Nikkor 55mm/2.8 AI and a Tamron 2x teleconverter. This teleconverter provides full connectivity to my D7100 for matrix metering and aperture priority auto exposure. Adding a simple extension tube to the 55mm Micro Nikkor gets you really close, perhaps too close, since my lens then shades the subject. I have had better luck with the teleconverter, since it gives me a larger image on the sensor, while also giving me working distance to my subject. Not expensive and worth a try. I used to have a pre-AI setup that was similar, and it worked well on my old Nikkormat EL.
  11. Here is an image taken with my 55mm/2.8 AI Micro Nikkor on my D7100 at closest focusing distance.
  12. Here is an image taken with the same 55mm/2.8 AI lens using a Kenko 36mm extension tube. Note how the very close focus causes the lens to shade the subject. There was less than 3cm working distance between the front of the lens and the subject.
  13. This third image was taken with the same 55mm/2.8 AI Micro Nikkor, but using a Tamron 2x teleconverter. I had over 5cm working room in front of the lens with this combination, and full metering and auto exposure on aperture priority on my D7100.
  14. I like to use the matching tube (or at least, the right tube length) to get correct barrel information. This way you can use the magnification marks. If you use a longer (or shorter) tube, the marks on the lens` barrel doesn`t apply.
    BTW, I have a M2 extension tube that fits too tight with later lenses. The tube seem to be in good condition, so it makes me think on different time manufacturing tolerances.
  15. For this kind of questions i like to visit the "MIR website".
    Here is the Link to the 55mm Macro lens :
    And here is the link to the page about extension rings :

  16. The IQ with that Tamron converter doesn't look bad David. And that reminded me about my old Vivitar 2x Macro-teleconverter. This was (is) a conventional teleconverter with the addition of a focusing helix that extended the main lens away from the converter element, and so allowed close focusing down to 1:1 with a 50mm lens attached. It worked brilliantly with very little drop in image quality.
    However there was a downside. The Nikon AI version used a plastic AI follower ring that expanded over time and was prone to jamming. The first time it happened I dismantled it and rubbed the stupid ring down with sandpaper; and the second time. When it jammed for a third time I turned a new ring out of brass and replaced it. Hence mine is still working, but I suspect not may of them are still useable as intended. Pity!
  17. RJ, I wish the images above were better. I was trying to get something usable out very quickly, and failed to adjust for WB, and did these hand-held. The DoF is so shallow that these are not as sharp as they would have been on a tripod. My other experiments have shown the 2x combined with the 55mm to be an outstanding combination for macro. I love that the D7100 has a feeler for the older AI lenses.
  18. As well as I know it, the 55mm lenses (3.5 and 2.8) are optimized for close distances, unlike most normal lenses.
    Also, that with no added lenses (from the teleconverter) the image quality is supposed to be higher.
    But I agree, the added distance is likely useful, and the image quality should be good enough.
  19. Here is a much better full frame (in DX) using the Micro Nikkor 55mm/2.8 AI from 1977 with a Tamron 2x teleconverter, mounted on a D7100. Teleconverter has AI indexing which connects the lens to the AI feeler on the camera body. Aperture priority auto exposure. I set this combination up as its own non-CPU lens so the camera would automatically correct for the effective reduced aperture. Note that resolution on the sensor is slightly better than 1:1 (per millimeter scale on right side of frame), while still allowing useful working room between the front of the lens and the subject. At full resolution, flaws in the printing are readily discernible. I would save extension rings as a stop-gap macro system with standard lenses.
  20. Nice posts David Triplett. Thanks for sharing!
  21. The 2X converter effectively makes the 55mm f2.8 lens into a 110mm f5.6 lens. I believe you get the same working distance as you would using the lens alone, i.e. greater than with the lens and extension tube. One issue is that you are placing some extra (non-Nikkor) glass in the light path. You can expect some degradation of the image from that. The question is: Is the image better using the 2X TC or using the lens alone and cropping to get the same image size. I haven't tested this myself, but I have been reading about using TCs with telephoto lenses. The consensus seems to be that certain TCs, such as the TC-14E, don't degrade the image too much, while others such as the TC-17E do. Opinions seem to be split with the TC-20E, and there are different versions in that series. I am taking it as a given that you will get a sharper image with the ext. tube than the TC, assuming you can get enough light on the subject.
    I have found that filling the frame and getting the highest close-up ratio isn't always the best solution when photographing insects with the very sharp Tamron 90mm f2.8 AF lens. By shooting at ca 1:2 vs 1:1, I got more depth of field, with plenty of detail in the cropped image. Of course, that also gives more distance to the subject, which is already longer than with a 50 or 55mm macro lens.
    One other issue: I believe a non-AI lens or ext. tube, such as the M2 or PK-3, would damage the AI tab on most of the cameras we're using. Soon after the switch, some cameras came with a tab that folded up for use with a non-AI lens.

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