Replying to a message from MERLIN (Mike) from a Macro photography post in the Nikonians Ladies section...
Mike, tell me more about this PB-13. I have never used an extension tube. (nor have I seen one)
Where do you attach? What do you loose in terms of sharpness or apperture? Focus speed, although this lens is one that usually is set to manual? Can you still use the lens as a general purpose lens while the tube is attached? How big?
Finally, what all is gained?
Sorry for the barrage of questions, but as you can see, you have my interest and attention!
If you're able to find a nice 55mm Micro Nikkor, you'll be able to get up to a true 1:1 with it by adding a PB-13 auto extension tube. Not only that, this wonderful lens also works well for general purpose photography, and still gives you a pretty bright viewfinder. Since the front element is safely recessed, you even get a free lens hood!
We used the 55 for copying camera-ready art to slides in the days before scanners, and frankly the results were better than any other flat-field lens I've worked with and only very high end scanners can hold a candle to it. A true classic built to last for ever!
Fine Art Wedding Photojournalism
#1. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 0frankie Basic MemberThu 14-Dec-00 02:18 PM
The PB series is a Bellows unit...
If it is the PB, you must remove the retainer ring from the bellows and mount it on the camera. Then the whole camera gets mounted on the bellows unit. Your lens gets mounted on the other side. You then get a special dual cable-release, when you press it, it first pushes a plunger to stop down the lens, then the shutter...
I think you mean the PK-13... Which is just a tube...
Take the lens off the camera. Connect the Ring to the lens and then put the whole she-bang on the camera.
You cannot use the lens normally on the camera... It'll pull what the lens considers "Infinity" way too close to the lens. So unless you want portraits of peoples faces mashed against the front element, you're going to have to remove it when you do normal stuff.
I have the M2, a much older extension tube. I use stop-down metering with it... Check out my "wet berries" picture in "A Picture I Took" on this system.
#2. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 0Thu 14-Dec-00 03:27 PM
Hi Brian! How's life in the sunny part of the world? Raining like hell here...
Yes, the PB-13... I've got one somewhere, but we're on our way out the door to see the latest Schwarzenegger movie. I'll hunt it down later.
It's an extension tube, and unlike a teleconverter, it has no glass inside. The idea is that as you focus closer with a normal lens, the front element moves further away from the film. At about 45cm with most lenses, you run out of travel. To get closer, the lens has to be moved further forward. It's basically just a tube, but in this case the PB-13 was specifically designed for the 55mm Micro Nikkors, so the AI coupling connects the aperture on the lens to the notch on the bayonet.
The 55mm Micro Nikkor gets pretty damned close on its own - 1:2, I think, meaning you can fill the frame with a subject 72mm wide and 48mm tall. But with a PB-13 in place between the lens and the bayonet, it adds enough extra travel to extend the range to 1:1 - 24x36mm. It also works nicely with the Micro Nikkor 105mm - a dream lens! Naturally, with this thing attached you can't focus on infinity, but you have quite a useful range for close ups with no optical loss whatsoever.
The extension tube method doesn't give you the range of a bellows, but it's a lot cheaper and a great way to photograph stamps, coins etc. Another plus is that, since the meter is still coupled (unlike a bellows) your on-board meter can handle the exposure automatically. This is worth knowing, because the greater the distance between lens and film, the greater the light loss. It's called bellows extension factor, and without TTL metering you have to work out the magnification and look up the factor in a table - a pain.
I'll get back to you in the morning, when I've found my own extension tube.
Don't tell me Schwarzenegger's body count for this movie...
#3. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 0Thu 14-Dec-00 05:08 PM
The 55mm f2.8 Micro Nikkor is simply an outstanding lens. While a "macro", I use mine in the normal ranges just as often... if not more so. The close range correction (CRC) assures high performance from the minimum focusing distance to infinity. The short throw of the focusing ring in the normal ranges makes focusing fast... the image "pops" into focus.
The PK-13 makes up the additional 27mm required for the lens to go to 1 to 1 reproduction ratio, the rest is from the helicoil of the focusing ring. The basic formula for reproduction ratio is for any focal length, you need the same amount of extension for 1 to 1. This is the traditional route, the newer lenses use optical correction (magnification) to reduce both the extension and light loss.
One good thing about extension tubes is you don't have to limit the use to the macro lens. I use mine all of the time on my 300mm lens to reduce the closest focusing range. They have a mechanical linkage to relay the dialed in f-stop from the lens to the body... retaining the TTL metering function and open aperture.
#4. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 3Thu 14-Dec-00 07:41 PM
sorry, guys, getting old! PK it is! I know I've got one somewhere, because I used it for something recently.
Body count for Sixth Day was well up to Arnold's standards, but they kept coming back! Not only that, we saw the movie in German, and although they dub movies really well, it's just not the real thing! "Ich komme wieder!" isn't quite "Ah'll be back!"
Al, as Nikonians' resident AI expert, is on the money as usual. The 55mm is one of the sharpest, finest Nikkors ever built, and one of the most useful to have in your bag. To be fair, the AF 60mm Micro Nikkor we have in the office for the D1 is nice, too, but I haven't had the chance to do a side-by side comparison of the results.
#5. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 4Fri 15-Dec-00 09:26 AM
Thanks, guys. You have my interest. I think I will be either looking for one of these, or looking for a micro 105! That is what I'd really like, but it is good to hear everyone say how much they like the 55. I was thinking about a trade in, but maybe I should hold on to it?
More little questions, is it expensive? Is it easy to take on & off (just like a lens?) Does it stay attached to the lens if you want to store it in your bag that way?
Any suggestions on where to get them, or is it at the standard places like B&H, KEH, etc?
Thanks again for the reliable input.
Fine Art Wedding Photojournalism
#6. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 5Fri 15-Dec-00 09:32 AM
There's a couple of PK-13 extension tubes on eBay
At fifty bucks or so, money well spent! You attach it to the lens first, then attach the whole rig to your SLR. You'll love it!
Even if you buy a 105 Micro-Nikkor, you'll still want to hold on to the 55. I've heard of people selling them, just to buy another a year later to replace the heartbreaking loss!
#8. "RE: Arnold" | In response to Reply # 7Fri 15-Dec-00 06:19 PM
No, they never do that! Arnold, being a native of Austria, speaks German with a rich accent that most Germans would only be able to follow with subtitles - I heard him once giving a TV interview. So he has a German speaker dub his voice into German. Austrians and German-speaking Swiss have unique dialects. My German is fluent, but I've met very few Germans who really speak accent-free "Hochdeutsch". I guess a French-Canadian would have a similar situation being understood in France, and my American colleagues always have a hard time with my neutral Oxford English. As for spelling... COLOR! I would have been thrashed for spelling COLOUR like that at school!
I'm familiar with Arnie's "English" voice, and his vocal double really comes pretty close in tonal range and level. But that trace of Austrian in his original English voice is unique...
Good movie, if you don't mind seeing a '57 Cadillac being demolished...
#9. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 3
These may be really dumb questions, but I'll ask anyway:
Al, you mention the PK-13 making up the additional 27mm to take the 55mm micro to 1 to 1 reproduction. Assuming that I'm willing to sacrifice the further end of the focusing range of a (non micro) lens, how do I determine the amount of extension that's necessary to get a specific reproduction ratio?
Are the micro lenses special in any way other than their ability to focus over a wider range than normal?
What's the relationship between the amount of extension and the closest focus a lens can achieve?
What effect does using an extension tube have on exposure?
#10. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 9Sat 16-Dec-00 09:13 PM
I'm sorry, I was not too clear in my answer. For ANY lens, the extension required to reach a ratio of 1 to 1 is equal to the focal length, (assuming no optical tricks are used like in the 60mm Micro Nikkor). For example, a fifty millimeter lens requires fifty millimeters of extension to reach a one to one reproduction ratio, a 100mm lens needs 100mm of extension. Again, this is pure theory based on mathematics... not taking into account optical shifting and other tricks of the newer lenses.
The 55 micro Nikkor on its own extends 27.5mm, just over an inch of travel on the focusing helicoil. The PK-13 tube is a fixed 27.5mm... for a total of 55mm of extension... or a distance equal to the focal length, thus we have a ratio of 1 to 1, or life size on film. What you lose with an extension tube is any fine tuning... it is fixed. I almost never use mine (on the 55), finding that I rarely go tighter than one half life size. Using the focusing mount, I have an infinite amount of focusing range from infinity down to one half life size. If I needed say, three quarters life size, I would use the PK-13 and some of the focusing travel. The lens has the reproduction ratios marked for with and without the PK-13, so it is quick to dial in the size you desire, and then focus by moving the camera in and out until focus is achieved.
As for the advantage of a true macro vs. an extended regular lens... the macro would be better corrected for flat field, and would be better for copying things such as documents, stamps or coins... flat things. For three dimensional subjects, like a bug on a tree branch, the extended lens would be fine assuming you close it down quite a bit. Depth of field is very thin in the macro range. Even at f16, we are talking millimeters at full life size. The 55 micro goes to f32. Another factor that can make close-ups easier or harder is that a longer lens will allow the same ratio as a shorter lens, but with more space from the front element. This is important for placement of a flash or reflector. It is also important if your subject might run away if you get too close. As a general lens, the 105mm micro would probably be more useful than the 55mm if you spend a lot of time in the extreme close-up range.
As far as light loss for extension, it is all part of the mathematical formula of lens opening divided into the focal length... and extension alters the marked focal length. For the 55 at life size it is about two f-stops. If I use the PK-13 on my 300mm lens, I only lose about a third of a stop. I am a real control freak and can go out all day with a meterless Nikon F and conventional lenses... no problem. But for close-up photography, I just use my F3 and let the meter do the work. I would have to spend all day with a calculator, or a bunch of charts factoring in extension light loss for all of my lenses. In real life the TTL meters of my F3 and FM2 do very well.
If I was not clear on any point, just let me know.
#11. "RE: Micro 55 & PB-13" | In response to Reply # 10AlanC Basic MemberSun 17-Dec-00 12:26 PM
Thanks for such a comprehensive reply - you got everything I was uncertain about there.
Looks like a macro lens is going on my wish list - and probably staying there for quite a while: the 80-200 zoom did far too much damage to my savings
Does anyone have any experience with the 70-180mm zoom micro? It's an interesting looking lens: OK, you loose out in terms of maximum aperture, but it does spectacularly well in the optical quality ratings on Photozone (http://www.photozone.de) and it's not that much more expensive than the 105mm micro.
#12. "RE: 70-180mm" | In response to Reply # 11jrp Charter MemberSun 17-Dec-00 09:11 PM
LAST EDITED ON Dec-18-00 AT 00:21 AM (GMT)
If I remember, the micro feature only works at the lower focal length setting, therefore at 70mm, not at 105. The difference in focusing distance for macro work may be important to you.
On the other hand, although not with micro at all lengths, with the 70-180mm you get a nice zoom lens for closer close-ups. Being that the case of preference, then why not also look at the 70-300mm?
The Nikkor Zoom Tele 70-180mm f/4.5-5.6 Micro ED "D" Auto Focus Lens (GREY), brand new is US$700, (USA) is US$1,000. On the other hand .....
The Nikkor Zoom Tele 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Micro ED "D" Auto Focus Lens (Grey) is only US$280, (USA) US$300.
Performance has been reported as (surprisingly for it's price) damn good. Just remember to use fast ISO film or a tripod.
Have a great time
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#13. "Micro 55 & PB/PK13" | In response to Reply # 12Fri 05-Jan-01 11:47 AM
During this thread, I think you were all talking about the Micro 55mm Nikkor MF, not AF. Sorry to be so late noticing this, but if I am not mistaken, the MF version goes 1:2, but the AF version goes 1:1. I have the AF version and it does go 1:1. What would adding this tube/bellows do to the reproduction of a AF lens that already goes 1:1?
Fine Art Wedding Photojournalism
#14. "RE: Micro 55 & PB/PK13" | In response to Reply # 13Fri 05-Jan-01 01:30 PM
You can still add the tube to your lens. It will allow even more close focusing ability and thus more magnification.
The limit will be that after so much extension, you will be too close to the subject for inserting light (flash or reflector) or if the subject is alive, like an insect, you would scare it away.
The basic formula is: focal length divided by extension equals reproduction ratio. It doesn't matter how you get the extension... tube, bellows or simply the focusing helicoil...
They all add up to a single number... the extension in millimeters.
50mm lens with 50mm of extension... life-size reproduction
50mm lens with 25mm of extension... one half life-size
50mm lens with 100mm of extension... twice life-size
The term of "lifesize" refers to the actual on-film size. If you enlarge that even further, which you would for a print, you can have a very large blow up... 8 times lifesize for an 8 X 10 print.
The formula works for any lens, so just substitute the focal length and the extension. Usually, a longer lens is more usable in real world close-ups of natural things... because of the working distance.