Reverse ring for a Voigtländer lens on a Nikon camera

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ann_overland, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Hi guys! I need a little help here from you experts. Would the Nikon BR-SA be the correct reverse ring for a Voigtländer 40mm f2 lens with a 52mm filter thread to be mounted on the D300?
  2. Actually, it's the BR-2A, but yes, it's the one. It has 52mm threads on one side and an F-mount on the other.
  3. Yes, I meant the BR-2A. Will I be able to reverse any lens with a 52mm filter thread on an f-mount with this reverse ring?
  4. Yes, that is the exact ring that you need to reverse your lens.
  5. "Will I be able to reverse any lens with a 52mm filter thread on an f-mount with this reverse ring?"
    Yes. Any lens from any maker that has a 52mm filter thread. And you can reverse other sizes (within reason) by simply adding an xx -> 52mm step-up/step-down ring to the front of the lens. For example, with a 49mm -> 52mm step-up ring, you can attach many M42 Pentax Takumar lenses to the BR-2A ring.
  6. Step-up rings sound like a good idea. Maybe I should have a step-up ring from 52mm to 58mm and get a 58mm reverse ring instead. I have trouble finding these things. There is nothing about it on the Nikon product pages, as far as I can tell. Do they even make the BR-2A anymore? I would like original accessories if possible.
    I am on a almost non-existant Internet connection today. Painfully slow is an understatement.
  7. The Nikon BR-2A is still available new. The only size is 52mm, but when used in combination with a filter step ring other sizes can be accommodated.
    There are however non-OEM reversing rings for the F-mount in other sizes. Adorama for example offers a reversing rings for F-mount in 49mm, 52mm, and 58mm sizes. And at a fraction of the cost of the BR-2A. I have no knowledge about the quality or fit and finish of these third party accessories.
  8. Okey. I can't find the BR-2A online in 'local shops'. Will the IQ change when you use the step-up rings? Is it better not to use them? Or is that distant between the sensor and a reversed lens not that important?
  9. "Or is that distant between the sensor and a reversed lens not that important?"
    Keep in mind that the BR-2/2A reversing rings are also (primarily) intended for use on a bellows attachment whereby the distance between the sensor/film and the reversed lens is varied to achieve different magnifications (something that can't be done when mounted directly on the camera).
    The addition of a step ring between the lens and BR-2A would slightly change the (fixed) magnification and the (fixed) focus distance of a reversed lens mounted directly on the camera. Image quality should not be affected.
    Nikon recommends the focal length of the reversed lens be between 20mm and 58mm if the BR-2A reversing ring is attached directly to the camera.
  10. Great to get that manual, Michael! Thanks. Actually I was wondering if I could use my 35-70mm lens reversed. It looks as if there is a 2.1x magnification on the wide end if it is reversed on the camera body. Seems like I need a BR-5 in addition to the BR-2A for that. Cool!
  11. To echo what Michael said, you'll only get one fixed focusing distance and magnification with the BR-2A alone. The lens's focusing helicoid won't do anything when the lens is mounted backwards. To get variable magnification you need to use the reversing ring in conjunction with a bellows unit. At a push, a set of extension tubes will give you a range of fixed magnifications.
    The Voigtlander lens may not be the best choice for macro anyway. Many standard lenses give quite bad field curvature when used at macro distances, reversed or not.
  12. What kind of lenses would be better than the standard lenses reversed, Joe?
  13. The Nikon Micro Nikkor 55mm f2.8 AIS is excellent, reversed or not. It also has 52mm threads. I'd skip the BR-5. I have doubts about IQ of reversed 35-70. That money is better spent elsewhere in your macro pursuit.
    More substantive gear suggestions cannot be made without knowing intended subject matter or required magnification. Options (and magnification) increase dramtically if bellows are part of the program. More durable and compact without the fine-adjustments of bellows are rings and tubes. For focusing at high magnification without bellows, consider a focusing rail.
  14. Lilly, thank you for your suggestions. I finally found the macro link that made me want to try the Voightländer reversed. I see now that he also used a macro ring for some of the shots. I am repeating myself again. Check out these stunning macros

    Here is a cute 2 year old macroing his teddy bear. Check that gear combo with bellows and everything! :)
  15. Ann, the kiddo is using an enlarging lens. Which I'm sure you knew, but I'm pointing that out anyway :)
    If you choose to use the bellows, the enlarging lens may be a better choice. Since there is no focusing helicoid (which won't be used anyway), you may find the setup easier to operate at a variety of distances. Plus enlarging lenses are stupid cheap right now. I just sold a Rodenstock 150 f/5.6 in pretty great condition for something like 80 bucks. Ouch. But compared to a standard lens it will be equal or greater quality, and a little extra working distance.
    Of course if you don't go the bellows route, forget I said any of that :)
  16. Zack, I just happen to come by that photo looking at other things. I checked out which lens he was using, but I didn't know it was an enlarging lens. I haven't planned on using bellows in the nearest future, but that can change.
    I just found some information about Nikon bellows and macro rings. Check out the Micro-Nikkor 2.8/105 mm on double bellows on a F3/T!
    If I were to use an extension ring, there seem to be the choice between PK-11A (8mm), PK 12 (14mm) and PK 13 (27.5mm). I am not sure which one to choose with the Voigtländer. Any suggestions?

    NB: These rings can't be used with any kind of lens or camera.
    By the way, did you check out the other rigs by John Hallmén (the father of the two year old)? There are some good suggestions there.
  17. > What kind of lenses would be better than the standard lenses reversed
    Macro lenses, because they allow close focus. Among standard lenses, those which are good at close focus and have excellent central resolution.
    A standard lens reversed directly on the camera is not in a "proper" position for which it is best corrected because the sensor is closer than the MFD position (min focus distance); at the same time, the object should be at flange distance (where the sensor would be if not reversed). You need quite some extension (bellows) to reach MFD with standard lenses. With short macros, you're almost there with no additional extension when set to close focus.
    A separate problem when reversing on long extension is that the effective aperture decreases with increasing magnification. So at a certain point you get diffraction blur with the aperture wide-open already.
    > Actually I was wondering if I could use my 35-70mm lens reversed.
    Possible too. Also the little 18-55 kit zooms (high magnification at the wide end), save for the poor mechanical construction. But zooms tend to be more sensitive to this "improper placement", mostly more degradation if used with no extension. BR has shown an alternative trick, placing a suitable achromat close-up diopter lens between the camera and the reversed lens.
    The AI-s 20/3.5 is also recommended for higher magnifications.
    Notice the image circle may get much larger than the sensor with reversed lenses, especially on extension, so it is a good idea to block stray light so it does not cause ghosts, hot-spots or veiling blur... by using light baffles in the BR-2A and extension openings, a drilled rear lens cap to act as a hood...
  18. Sem, I might not suggest reversing a macro lens, if only for logistical reasons. Granted, my only experience with reversing lenses involved two 50mm lenses, but I found that I was already incredibly close. I remember talking photos of a toothbrush that filled the entire sensor, which would have been just shy of a 1:1 ratio. But to do that, I has only a few inches away. I should think that were I any closer, I would have a very hard time not casting a lens/camera shadow on the subject. For that matter, I might not not even be able to move any closer without bumping the subject with the lens.
    I realize that there are a lot of other great reversal lenses that can be used, other than my 50mm AIS lenses. For the the next couple sentences, I'm going to pretend that there aren't :)
    I find that when turning a lens that is not a close-up lens into a close-up lens, any attempt to make it focus anywhere near 1:1 results in some serious drawbacks. In the case of the reversal rings, the lack of a (working) helicoid means that your magnification is determined by your focal length. If you want to get closer or stand farther back, you need to change your lens. Otherwise, you can only adjust focus an inch or two in either direction. Ditto for the larger extension tubes. Close-up filters give you some focusing/magnification latitude, but if you use a bunch of them (or one powerful one), then there is visible quality loss.
    If you don't shoot macro often, then go the reversal ring route, and just deal with the fact that it's limited use. That's what I did. But if you're going to use it a lot, then you really need an actual macro lens, or something with bellows. The bellows really cut down on light transmission, but you can get reasonable working distances at very high magnifications, without buying a $1000+ macro lens.
    And if you just want to be a little bit closer ... well, buy a good close-up filter, and be done with it :)
  19. Great answers, guys. Thanks. I do have a macro lens, so I am set to go. But if I should try the reverse thing, which extension ring should I choose from the three I mentioned? It's no big deal if it doesn't work out.
    I like the idea of having a rear lens cap as a hood! :)
    BR-3 = to be attached to the bayonet of reversed lenses on a BR-2 and takes filters and hoods with a 52 mm. thread.​
    The BR-3 is apperently also an option you have to mount filters or a hood to the bayonet end of the lens, which is pointing away from the camera when the lens is mounted reversed (obviously).
  20. I was discussing reversal for supermacro magnifications, considering the photos seen in the OP's link. Ordinary macro lenses are way more convenient for up to 1:1 (24 mm along the long edge of the frame on D300), and the longer ones provide more working distance (and also make technique a bit more demanding). Ordinary macros don't go further than 1:1. A bit more with extension tubes or close-ups or TCs.
    I think a reversed lens, either a short macro or a short prime, possibly on extension (tubes or bellows), is the recommended way for supermacro on Nikon. Of course it is clumsy and there is technique to be mastered. The recommended short working distance of ca 4 cm is still manageable even with some live subjects with suitable lightning (flash head or diffuser next to the lens...). You get a few more cm WD with the lens reversed directly, but you must verify if this is too much of a quality compromise, depends on the lens. A reversed short macro doesn't magnify more (a lens with a shorter FL does, and short macros are not that short in fact); but the close focus should warrant good performance without a long extension between the camera and the reversed lens.
    A reversed zoom should be more flexible regarding magnification, but the couple of "naked" reversed zooms I've tried were only barely useful at the wide end 18mm (highest magnification). BR recomends AI-s 35-70 with a diopter adapter.
    Canon's MP-E 65mm is a more convenient supermacro zoom thing, but there is no such thing for Nikon, and it doesn't get so that much easier anyway, same physics.
    Another supermacro workaround is a short fast prime reversed on top of a tele lens (stacked reversal). Can work very well too, but matching lenses and setting up for best results is tricky, and there may be vignetting issues, and there is no more working distance.
    Yet another one is using a microscope objective (some of them also made by Nikon). Check the Photomacrography forum if you're interested. Unfortunately, 2 cm is considered an ultra-long working distance with these, and there is no aperture control.
  21. > which extension ring should I choose
    First, the BR-2a reversal ring.
    For short extensions, try a set of F-mount extension tubes. "Automatics" will not help with a reversed lens (but are useful to extend your macro a bit); shiny inner surfaces of cheapos may cause issues.
    For longer extension, bellows are great, but not that great while bushwalking.
    For a quick test, you can try handholding the reversed lens in front of the open mount of the camera. You may need good light.
    Further recommended accessories:
    - a speedlight on a bracket; with physically short reversed lenses, even the pop-up flash with a diffuser mounted on the lens mount works (continuous light is better, but then you must do long exposures on a tripod)
    - AR-10 double cable release and BR-6 ring for auto-aperture operation
    - a focus rail
  22. Thanks, Sem. I'll have this thread as a referral in the future. A lot of good information :)
    But which Nikon extension tube do you suggest that I buy with the Voigtländer? They are really expensive here, so one of them will have to do for now.
  23. For the start, you don't need any, just the BR-2A. Cut & strap a diffuser for the pop-up flash and start chasing spiders!
    Then you can experiment with extension, first handheld to get the rough idea. Either a set of tubes for the shorter extension range, or bellows for the longer range (higher magnifications).
    Any F-mount extension tubes will do for reversal, including the $10 sets from the Fleabay (but you may need to improvise light baffles inside). Auto sets with full coupling start at $80, quality varies. The Kenko set is popular at twice the price, but still not perfect. Nikon tubes are the best mechanically, but outdated, they lack electrical coupling; I'd recommend them only if you intend to use them with long & heavy lenses.
  24. Sem, I think it is a good idea to just try the BR-2A first. Thank you so much for your help, and that goes for the rest of you contributors too. Thanks a lot!

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