Nikon question from a Canon guy!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by joseph_dickerson, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Hey all you Nikon folks, can you help out someone whose last Nikon was a Nikonos III?

    I'm setting up to digitize a ton of slides and my Canon 100mm macro is a bit heavy and unwieldy for this application.

    So I'm thinking to adapt a 55mm Micro Nikkor, easily done but which 55mm?

    F/3.5, f/2.8, pre-AIS, or are the later AIS versions better than the older ones.

    Obviously all questions that most of you will have answers to...but I'm totally clueless!

    Take pity on an old man won't you?

    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  2. I copied slides using my 55 f3.5 Ai with the slide mount adapter and PK-13 extension tube on my former d700. Worked like a charm. I've had the micro nikkor since new and it remains a favorite lens.
  3. I have the pre-AI and AI versions. I don't see much difference aside from the AI version probably having better coatings.

    I will go out on a probably somewhat unpopular limb and say that I'm not wild about the AI-s 55mm. I had one and sold it. I may have had a bad example, but I found the AI version(3.5) to be better at macro distances, although the AI-s was(is-it's still made) better when focused further away than 1 ft. or so. Poking around on the internet shows I'm not the only one who came to the same conclusion about the AI vs. AI-s versions.

    Used 55mm AI-s lenses also deserve scrutiny as they are known for oily blades.

    Honestly, off the bellows I use the 105mm 2.8D for most of my macro work. I do use the 55mm AI on the bellows.
  4. The 3.5 versions are "supposed" to be marginally slightly better at close focusing distances vs the 2.8. I should borrow my neighbor's 2.8 to compare to the 3.5 that I use some day. As Ben mentioned, the 2.8 versions seem more prone to slow oily blades (which would not matter for your project). The 55/2.8 is probably a better all purpose lens if there can only be one 50mm lens in a kit, but I would go with a less expensive 3.5 for your project. I have not noticed much difference between pre-AI and AI 3.5 versions I have.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Are you really unable to find a suitable Canon lens to do this job?
  6. That's an excellent question...the answer is obviously...yes.
    But FD lenses don't work as well as Nikon lenses when adapted to EOS bodies due to the body depth.
    The Nikkor Micro Nikkor is just one of the options I'm investigating.
    I really appreciate all of you who took the time to educate me!

  7. FD lenses don't work well on EOS body but can you just get an EF macro lens with focal length around 50mm?
  8. BeBu,

    Thanks for the suggestion, it was one of my options, and the one I'm leaning towards.

  9. SCL


    Since you'll probably be copying at around f/5.6-8 I don't think it really matters - they all even out in this range.
  10. I don't have the 55/2.8, but I do have the first version of the 55/3.5 with metal ribbed focus, a later version with rectangular rubber rectangles focus ring, and the 60/2.8 AF-D. I tested them extensively just for this purpose, and ended up using the earliest one not because it was sharper but because they were all virtually equal. f/7.1 was best on all of them.
  11. A bit late to the party, but a couple of observations:
    For slide copying I would opt for a solidly-built metal MF lens, like the Micro-Nikkor, over a sloppy plastic AF model any day of the week.

    Subject distance is irrelevant for slide copying, and in fact a shorter FL is probably better for eliminating vibration between slide-holder and camera.

    I doubt that the difference between the f/3.5 and f/2.8 versions of 55mm Micro-Nikkor will be visible. I have both versions and their performance is practically indistinguishable in practise. The f/2.8 model has Close-Range Correction (CRC) optics, and so should actually perform better at macro distances. Both versions need a PK-13 to focus to 1:1.

    Personally I wouldn't bother with a pre-AI model. They tend to command a premium as collector's items, and will likely have inferior AR coatings and have accumulated more wear and scratches.
  12. One would think that, but in the real world it's actually not the case.

    BTW, here's a recent photo taken with a D800 and a pre-AI 55mm on bellows. If I measured correctly, this is 6x lifesize. It was at a marked 5.6 on the aperture ring(I'm too lazy to figure out what it really is) Granted this is a 3D subject and not a slide, but it is absolutely tack sharp even at 100%. I used my trusty Normans with a couple of umbrellas way overhead to light this.

    balance wheel-web.jpg
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  13. Why not get the Canon EF 50mm macro? I have the cheapest s/h Nikkor 55mm f3.5 and like it very much, but in your shoes I really do not understand why you don't use your Canon 100mm which will go to 1:1 without any requirement for bellows or extension tube.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    That is essentially my point earlier.

    If one already has a certain Nikon lens, or you are contemplating a unique Nikon lens that has no equivalent in the Canon EF mount, I can understand the idea about adapting it to your Canon EOS body. A 50-60mm macro lens is quite common. Canon itself and some third-parties must have a number of options available in the EF mount.
  15. Before I "made the switch" I had the older non-USM 100mm 2.8 Macro. I consider a 100/105mm Macro essential for a lot of my photography, and it was one of the few EF lenses I had(and also one of the first big Nikon purchases I made). I think I paid around $150 for it at KEH(the USM version will cost a bit more) and I never had a reason to complain about the image quality.

    There again, one big advantage of most AF macros(vs most MF equivalents) regardless of the maker is that you can get them to 1:1 without an extension tube. The old FD mount 50/55 and 100mm lenses came with the corresponding 1:1 tube in the box, and of course the Nikon tubes are common as well.

    Speaking of lenses that one company offers and the other doesn't-I do alright with bellows but I would love a Nikon equivalent of the Canon 1x-5x.
  16. Yes but they do so by shorten the focal length at close distance thus your working distance at 1:1 is closer.
  17. Huh. For some reason I'd never done the maths to notice this. There's still a bit of (186mm) working distance with the 150mm macro I tend to use, but in thin lens equation terms it should be 300mm (plus 300mm from the sensor plane to the optical sensor). That the lens isn't that long is a clue, though I'd figured it was just telephoto. There's a helpful table of minimum focus distances for several macro lenses on the digital picture of anyone's interested.

    I've got to say I'm mildly tempted by the 20mm Mitakon "super macro" (4.5-4x). And the Laowa 24mm with the big snoot, although that's a bit pricier.
  18. On an AF camera the aperture displayed in the viewfinder is the effective aperture and they do display a smaller aperture when focusing at 1:1. If the lens focal length stays the same it should be 2 stops less but if you notice it's less than 2 stops then the focal length is shorten.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  19. Canon actually doesn't do this-they display the real aperture rather than the effective aperture.
  20. Ben, it's time to try focus stacking on that beautiful mechanism........;)

    I guess there's going to be an interesting 'place' in the aperture range after which more DoF is going to make actual sharpness worse.... and I guess that's the 'real' aperture, ie size of hole, before diffraction appears.

    I've never actually measured how much deflection there is in an un-popped slide. Anyone know? 1mm maybe?
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018

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