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bellows and extension tubes

Blake Billings , Feb 17, 2013; 02:00 a.m.

i am half in the digital world, half in film,

having macro kits for both sides of the film and digital - now comes the deeper part of this
is there a bellows and extension tubes configuration that will retain af for the nikkor micro 40mm dx lens on the digital rigs?

also, for the film end: am considering the old nikon bellows for my f4s, along with the rings that allow for lens reversal --- any thoughts pro or con?


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Jose Angel , Feb 17, 2013; 05:07 a.m.

As far as I know, bellows units for Nikon cameras doesn`t have AF connections. Nor you need it.
Once you have set the magnification you want (the size you want your subject on the screen), the focus procedure should be performed by moving the whole bellows+camera unit. If you focus by moving the lens, you can have your subject in focus, but also there is a change in the reproduction ratio.

Reversal lenses on belows is an interesting procedure; you have to check them for better performance, or to look for that Nikon chart where they advice about the best position (straigh-reversed), when using bellows, at a given reproduction ratio.

AF on Micro lenses is interesting for fast shooting, or for "normal" reproduction ratios (close-ups, portraits, etc.); once you are in the bellows-tripod-macro illumination paraphernalia, it is way more practical to have a good manual focus sensivity, via focusing rack (if possible).

I think there are third party tubes that alllow some electrical connections, and you can use Nikon teleconverters for that task, too. For sure others will tell you about them.

Frank Skomial , Feb 17, 2013; 05:58 a.m.

Kenko set of auto extension tubes provide mechanical shaft to drive AF lenses, and electric contacts to feed the power for AF-S lenses.

Also latest Kenko auto tele converters have both. Older versions were mechanical AF only.

Michael R. Freeman , Feb 17, 2013; 08:53 a.m.

"...bellows units for Nikon cameras doesn`t have AF connections. Nor you need it."

Unfortunately for the DX 40mm Micro lens (a 'G' lens) he does need it ... and more.

Because the lens has no aperture ring, fully automatic extension tubes with CPU capability are the only practical option. Nikon PK tubes are fully automatic (stopdown), but have no CPU capability to control the aperture. That leaves you with essentially one option ... the Kenko autofocus tubes.

Blake Billings , Feb 17, 2013; 09:20 a.m.

thanks everybody --- i am in the middle of a birthday and decided to use my amazon gift card and killed two birds with one click -- got the cowboy studio ring flash and the cowboy studio nikon af enabled extension rings....

had planned on a new bag, but i also know i never would have bought these without free money on a gift card....
had also considered a new guitar, but realized i'd use the accessories more

everybody gave good advice

Jose Angel , Feb 17, 2013; 11:16 a.m.

Michael, I missed the "G" thing... Thanks :)

Joseph Wisniewski , Feb 17, 2013; 05:41 p.m.

Can you cancel the extension ring order?

The working distance of the 40mm with enough extension to get it to 2x magnification is about 20mm. It is hard to light the subject. The ring light won't really do it.

A reversed macro lens on a bellows will have a better working distance than the 40mm on tubes.

Mark O'Brien , Feb 17, 2013; 08:12 p.m.

One reason to not like "G" lenses.

Sem Svizec , Feb 18, 2013; 04:44 a.m.

AF isn't really useful but auto aperture control should come handy for supermacro with reversed 40mm on bellows or extension tubes. No particularly nice option on Nikon I'm afraid due to the mechanical aperture coupling.
You can set aperture lever on the reversed lens roughly using a piece of rubber, and use a powerful LED for aiming.
You can check BR-6 and a double wired cable release (compatible with big bodies only).

Peter Hamm , Feb 18, 2013; 07:33 a.m.

Yeah, cancel that order. any extension on that 40mm is going to be a waste of effort. You need something longer.

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