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12-17-2019, 04:42 AM   #1
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Another Macro option

I would like to share a slightly different Macro technique than what seems to be the norm of common types of Macro.

I have found with a full set of "Step Up & Step Down Rings" ranging from 37mm to 67mm, and a "M32x0.05 female to M42x1 male" adapter ring, I can place my "Schneider-Kreuznach Comparon 105mm 1:4.5 enlarger lens" on to any lens I own with a front filter thread between or within that 37 to 67mm range.

This has allowed me to be able to take ultra macro shots better than 5:1 magnification both hand held (with some limited degree of success because of the tiny depth of field) and also in a home studio with a tripod and lighting. Using this setup with a 2x converter & a 100-300mm sigma lens (extended to 300), I have achieved somewhere between 5.731x or 5.875x magnification without a microscope or an actual macro lens and at a much cheaper cost than buying a specialized 5x macro lens. I am unsure about the exact magnification as I think it is between 4 and 4.1 mm on the ruler when the picture is taken (see below)

For the 5.73x or 5.875x magnification, I have used the following setup from front to back :-
Schneider-Kreuznach Comparon 105mm 1:4.5 enlarger lens.
M32x0.05 female to M42x1 male adapter ring.
M42 to M52 Step down ring.
55mm to 52mm Step down ring.
58mm to 55mm Step down ring.
55mm to 58mm Step up ring.
Sigma Zoom 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 for Pentax.
2x converter for Pentax K-mount.
Pentax K-70.

I have tried reversing the enlarger lens on front of other lenses but I get little or no difference in magnification without being reversed.
I tend to get better image quality when not reversing the enlarger lens. I am guessing this is because the enlarger lens is designed to be a flat lens with zero distortion or curvature.

I have also used a JJC intervalometer (Timer remote series) plugged into the K-70, & a sliding macro rail on a tripod so as to avoid camera shake as the depth of field is extremely tiny. For extra lighting I used a "Godox LED M150" solid light and another LED light from a soldering station (which was holding the ruler) and was measured to be 89mm from the front of the enlarger lens and 352mm from the sensor center line (marked on top of the k-70).

I am quite happy with the Schneider lens helping to make an cheap and ordinary zoom into a mighty macro tool at almost 6x magnification.
I aim to post some interesting macro pics in the nearby future once I find suitable targets (I am open to suggestion).
I hope this also helps others aiming for similar results or those on a budget wishing to get into macro relatively cheaply.
The ruler used for the photos is showing millimeters

This is a pic of the setup used :-

Extreme Macro (5.731x) with enlarger reversed (1 second shutter speed) :-

Extreme Macro (5.875x) with enlarger non reversed (1.5 second shutter speed) :-


I am happy to answer any questions that people may have also and will respond as soon as practicable for me.

---------- Post added 12-17-19 at 11:22 PM ----------

Quick Update

I just placed a set of 3 extension tubes (1,2 & 3) between the 2x converter and the Sigma 100-300mm lens for an even better result.

Pentak K-70 sensor width = 23.5mm
Picture shown = 2.3mm
Magnification = 10.21x

I am now just amazed at this new result.
From Extreme Macro to micro-photography without a microscope is just awesome.




Last edited by VILLAINofOZ; 12-17-2019 at 04:45 AM. Reason: missed info
12-17-2019, 07:54 AM   #2
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That's pretty cool. I like a bit of extreme magnification.
12-17-2019, 08:15 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I like to mess around with macro and have most of the toys - extension tubes, bellows, reversing rings, etc. But I have never tried an enlarger lens. Your post leads me to think it is time to try. Thanks! I think one will make a good stocking stuffer.
12-17-2019, 09:39 AM   #4
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Interesting technique. Thanks for sharing. It's given me some ideas to explore.

12-17-2019, 11:08 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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Well, it does not look so different from what is commonly used by macro fans.

For example, in 2011 I used this setup: Pentacon six lens (80mm F/2.8) on a "PK to Pentacon six" tilt adapter, step-down rings, reversed enlarger lens (Componon 28mm F/4)



You can easily reach 8:1 and more with that kind of setup, what is important is to use very good optics (sharp). In this case the Pentacon was not so good, using the reversed 28mm on long extension rings was preferable
12-17-2019, 12:41 PM   #6
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A year or so ago I was poking around a macro photography website (don't remember which now) and reading how-to articles. There was a strong consensus that a certain Nikon enlarger lens was one of the sharpest lenses ever made. I don't remember its specs, but I do recall that there were two versions. The f4 version was considered to be far superior. The images on the site were just stunning. I briefly considered buying one of these lenses and the reverse mount adapter ring required. There were plenty of both on e-bay, and the lens was affordable even on my tiny budget.
12-17-2019, 02:17 PM   #7
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I'll have to try this combination. The enlarger lenses I've got are 50's rather than the 105 you're using. I've got all sorts of ways to get greater than 1:1 macro, with more (a Raynox 250) on the way. The one that was most eye-opening for me was reversing a cheap, old film era kit lens (28-70, 35-80 sort of lens) onto my camera. 18-55 APSC kit lenses work well in reverse too, though stopping them down is trickier without aperture rings.
12-18-2019, 09:53 AM   #8
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Coming over from your post on another thread. "Macro by any means necessary" is great fun. I've spent many hours experimenting with different rigs. As to subject matter, much extreme macro is used on insects or other small arthropods, many of which have fine structures only revealed at magnifications well beyond 1:1. I'm not so interested in insect photography per se, but I do find butterfly and moth wings to be fascinating, beautifully abstract subjects. It also helps that they're relatively flat, although focus stacking is still required at high magnifications. I've tried various botanical subjects also, some of which do reveal interesting detail in the 2x to 4x range. (Others, such as individual pollen grains, are definitely in the realm of micro rather than macro.) Bank notes can also have tiny details worth exploring, and some of the modern anti-counterfeit features can respond to light in surprising ways. I guess snow is not something you see a lot of, but individual snowflakes are also excellent subjects.

As I mentioned in that other thread, it's probably worth trying your rig without the 2x, and with different focal lengths on your 100-300 primary lens. Also different aperture settings on the secondary, to find out which gives the sharpest results. (As a rule I prefer to keep the primary lens wide open.)

12-18-2019, 11:23 AM   #9
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It can be useful to remind the basics: We have few means in order to increase magnification:
1. increase focal length thanks to a teleconverter.
2. decrease focal length.
3. increase the "lens to sensor" distance without decreasing focal length.

Solution 1 is practically limited to 2x teleconverters, and if you want to keep full sharpness you should limit to 1.7x (it depends on the lens sharpness and teleconverter sharpness).
Solution 2 is achieved with long focal lenses and diopters (a diopter and a reversed lens are mostly the same thing). This solution may not be a good idea with a short focal length lens because when you decease the focal length, you also decrease the working distance and the latter may tend to zero.
Solution 3 is achieved with bellows, extension rings, helicoid rings, etc. It is easier with short focal length lenses because the needed extension is proportional to the focal length.

You could mix solution 2 and 3: decreasing the global focal length and increasing the "lens to sensor" distance.
Remember one more thing: the focal length of a lens is true when focused to infinity. Most lenses have variable focal length, for example my Tamron 90mm macro, at 1:1, is in fact a 75mm lens. My Irix 150mm, at 1:1, is in fact a 90mm lens.

At the end of the day, you will find that long working distance = long focal length. It is just mathematical.



You can reach 1:1 with a Rodagon 135mm using a 21.75 cm extension ring, the working distance is huge: 26.25 cm (see photo above).
You can reach 1:1 with a Rodagon 105mm using a 16.25 cm extension ring, the working distance is big: 19.25 cm.
You can reach 1:1 with an APO Rodagon 50mm using a 5.75 cm extension ring, the working distance is short: 6.75 cm.

Last edited by tryphon4; 12-18-2019 at 11:34 AM.
12-18-2019, 11:57 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tryphon4 Quote
It can be useful to remind the basics: We have few means in order to increase magnification:
1. increase focal length thanks to a teleconverter.
2. decrease focal length.
3. increase the "lens to sensor" distance without decreasing focal length.

Solution 1 is practically limited to 2x teleconverters, and if you want to keep full sharpness you should limit to 1.7x (it depends on the lens sharpness and teleconverter sharpness).
Solution 2 is achieved with long focal lenses and diopters (a diopter and a reversed lens are mostly the same thing). This solution may not be a good idea with a short focal length lens because when you decease the focal length, you also decrease the working distance and the latter may tend to zero.
Solution 3 is achieved with bellows, extension rings, helicoid rings, etc. It is easier with short focal length lenses because the needed extension is proportional to the focal length.

You could mix solution 2 and 3: decreasing the global focal length and increasing the "lens to sensor" distance.
Remember one more thing: the focal length of a lens is true when focused to infinity. Most lenses have variable focal length, for example my Tamron 90mm macro, at 1:1, is in fact a 75mm lens. My Irix 150mm, at 1:1, is in fact a 90mm lens.

At the end of the day, you will find that long working distance = long focal length. It is just mathematical.
And also remember there's no free lunch. As you go beyond 1:1, depth of field gets shallower, and at higher magnifications, closing down doesn't buy you much more. Diffraction softening sets in at smaller apertures too, robbing your image of critical of clarity, though depending on your use, you might have more or less tolerance for it. At higher magnifications, indicated aperture is no longer effective aperture once you start stacking lenses or adding tubes. Your lens might be set at f8, but you will really be shooting through something much smaller. More math and optics.

Focus stacking gets around a lot of this (you're using the lens at its best aperture, taking multiple shots through the depth of the subject, and combining the focused bits of each shot to produce a composite image that is in better focus over more of the subject than is possible with a single shot) but is more complicated and not as easily done in the field with living or moving subjects.

Like I said, no free lunch.

Last edited by Thagomizer; 12-18-2019 at 12:02 PM.
12-18-2019, 02:49 PM   #11
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Indeed! I would love to avoid focus stacking, because this technique is a pain for the shutter. I am looking forward having a global electronic shutter on my DSLR!
12-18-2019, 03:26 PM   #12
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I did notice that the higher the magnification, the more that movement, or camera shake was an issue.
Viewing the object in live view showed a much clearer picture. My house is on floor boards and not a concrete slab and is approx 100 years old.
I noticed that even my breathing was causing some minuscule movements through the lens.
Trying to take a photo that was the same as the live view for me seemed to be difficult because of this movement.
Would taking video of the subject and then taking frames from the video be similar to focus stacking?
Am I silly for thinking this?

By the way guys, I have taken into consideration all of what you have said and I appreciate it very much.
12-18-2019, 05:48 PM   #13
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I'd say the simplest solution to camera shake is to use flash. A small diffuser for the flash works wonders at macro distances.
12-18-2019, 11:09 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by VILLAINofOZ Quote
Trying to take a photo that was the same as the live view for me seemed to be difficult because of this movement.
Would taking video of the subject and then taking frames from the video be similar to focus stacking?
Am I silly for thinking this?

By the way guys, I have taken into consideration all of what you have said and I appreciate it very much.
Taking video frames is not silly at all. I've already considered this possibility. It could be achieved, thus the camera movement should be smooth (no vibrations means heavy setup) with stops at intervals (the Stackshot system, by Cognisys, can be an excellent motor-driven setup), in order to have sharp frames.

Last edited by tryphon4; 12-19-2019 at 11:03 AM.
12-28-2019, 02:52 AM - 1 Like   #15
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After reading another thread on this topic I had a quick play with adding in a teleconverter to the usual lens/extension tube mix. I was surprised by the outcome as it increased the magnification, but that just showed me I'd need to invest in more lighting.

I also tried the teleconverter on my bellows and got some interesting results there, but the bellows is hard mounted onto the table top so I'm afraid any attmept at focus stacking would be down to moving the object very small amounts!

I have a focus rail but found with the teleconverter, full set of extension tubes and the lens that it was putting quite a strain on the front of the camera body, so I had to improvise a lens support. Good job I still have that big box of lego.....

Tomorrow I plan to try adding on some magnifying lenses that screw on the lens itself and see what that does, I picked up a grab bag of screw of filters and things very cheaply form a company called Neewer last year which included the magnifying lenses, neutral density filters of various strengths and a couple of specialist filters whcih I haven't really tried.
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