Stacking lenses, which ones?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by arlon, Aug 9, 2007.

  1. I have a bunch of old nikon lenses and a lens coupler and was going to try
    stacking them in a trial and error fashion. Any thought on what stack might
    work best or is there something online that already gets into this issue?
    Generalities? Use matched lenses or any combo, faster lens in the back or
    front? longer lens in the back or front?

    I was planning to start the stack with the 55 f1.2 on the camera stopped down
    to 1.4/1.8 and add other lenses from there..

    Has anyone used a zoom for the reversed lens and use the zoom for focusing?
    Seems like it may be the perfect solution for a wider range of focus if it
    works at all.
    Lense possibles (all 52mm filter ring, manual lenses):

    200mm f4
    200mm f4 micro
    135mm f2.8
    105mm f4
    85mm f2.8
    55mm f3.5 micro (6 or 7 of these)
    55mm f1.2
    50mm f1.8
    50mm f1.4 (several)
    35mm f2.8
    28mm f3.5
    24mm f2.8

    and a few short zooms and others I'm forgetting at the moment.
  2. Have you discussed your idea with anyone before ?
    What is the purpose of "Stacking" lenses ?
  3. The purpose of stacking lenses is to get high magnification.

    Start by using the 200/4 (non-Micro) as the master lens, having a short lens like the 55/1.2 as the master isn't a good idea but the 105 will work. If combined with a (fairly) long master lens, the 35 and shorter lenses will give impractical levels of magnification and besides that, likely cause a lot of vignetting as well.

    The "secret" behind good combinations is getting a good matching of the exit and entrance pupils of the member lenses. So for example, stacking the 50/1.8 (or f/2) on an 105/4 should work quite well. I've done a lot of work with the 50/1.8 stacked on an 105/2.8 Micro-Nikkor AIS and that combination produced excellent results too. Another excellent combination is the Bellows 105/4 attached (not reversed) to the 105/4 Micro. A K3 ring will allow the Bellows lens to mount onto the front threads of the 105 Micro.

    Reverse-mounting a zoom lens is in general not recommended, but exceptions do exist. The older 35-70/3.5 would work very well reversed, if you attach a 6T close-up lens on it.
  4. You can fnd good information on stacking lenses in the 1979 book The Manual Of Close-Up Photography by Lester Lefkowitz. The used book websites sell this fine book for very little. It is an excellent reference on close-up and macro photography.
  5. I have played around with reversed "stacked" lenses, and found that my zooms did not work very well in this configuration. I did document my results but cannot put my hands on them right now. Metering is a bit touchy unless you use "stopped down" metering. If you mount a short FL lens on the front of a long lens, and the pupil of the front lens is significantly smaller thant the entrance pupil of the rear lens, it becomes (de facto) the entrance pupil of the rear lens. This will give less light to the rear lens and it will attempt to compensate by telling the rear lens to use a wider aperture than it should use.

    To minimize vignetting, I kept the rear (long FL) lens wide open and controlled the exposure with the front (short FL) lens. Stopped down metering is mandatory here. If I remember correctly, using my 35mm f/2 reversed on the front of my 105mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor gave very good results. I used it on my F4 with the PG-2 rack and pinion device. When you get much larger than 1:1 imaging the R&P makes everything so much easier to work with. With the front lens reversed its rear element becomes rather exposed. I carved a hole in a rear lens cap which, when fitted over the lens, gives some protection to the optics.
  6. I'm not sure what advantage adding all that glass would have to the quality (sharpness/contrast)of your images? I would go the bellows or extention ring route for macro.
  7. I also found that stop down metering is good with these combinations but when you stop down the reversed lens you can get image cut-off so I close down the unreversed lens. If you have sccess to a bellows then using enlarging lenses, front forward uo to 1:1 and reversed beyond 1:1, can also get you very close. I sometimes enjoy stacking lenses but I have the whole Minolta Auto Bellows III outfit so if I need really high magnification I will use the 12.5mm f/2 or 25mm f/2.5 Rokkor-X bellows lenses. I recently bought a Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 macro lens (22XXX...) from an eBay seller for $37 so that's another way to go.
  8. I'm not new to getting magnification, just getting it with a stack of lenses. I have Nikon auto bellows, half a dozen enlarger lenses and such. I might take a rainy weekend and see just what I can get. I reversed a lens on the bellows and turned pollen into what looks like rice. I haven't tried a stacked lens on a bellows yet? I guess I'm going to have to do the combo thing just to see how it compares. I'm just looking for ways for people to get quality magnification from their cameras without breaking the bank doing it. There just seems to be a number of paths to the same destination. I just feel like I need to try them all. Have the nikon diopters so I can incorporate them too. Thanks for the ideas. Arlon See if I can get the pollen grains on a lilly anther to post,,
  9. the anther:
  10. try this with the correct image..
  11. and finally they lilly the anther was on..
  12. The magnification ratio achived is (focal length of main lens) / focal length of forward lens), the main lens being obviously the one attached to the body. So 200 mm with a reversed 50 mm in front will give 4x magnification. Indeed, this is a rather practical way of getting to high magnification. In general, try to have the main lens between 100 and 200 mm and try different forward lenses, preferable ones with large apertures, as vignetting often becomes a problem with this method.
  13. I played with a 200mm f4, 135mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4 and 1.8 lenses. Looks promising at the moment. I had some very good shots with a 135 and 50mm "E" lenses. These where $35 ebay lenses and the coupler was less than $10 delivered. So for about $80 I can have a very capable macro set up. I did notice that opening the back lens and stopping down the front lens made much better pictures but was much harder to focus (I was hand holding, be easier when I have time to set up a tripod).
  14. I have had good luck stacking an AF 50 f1.4 on 200 AIS Micro. 52mm to 52mm threads make it pretty easy. Not so good luck (but it sure looked strange) stacking af 17-35 f2.8 on the 200 micro. Sure would have been fun to have 'zoomable' magnification! I can't find my notes but I think that mounting a 35 f2.8 caused a lot of vignette...

Share This Page