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D7100: Macro Evaluation


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RLDubbya Silver Member Nikonian since 24th Dec 2011
Sun 22-Sep-13 07:27 PM

Spent a bit of time playing with macro functionality today. Since I'm really just dipping my toes in macro work, I've never splurged on the latest greatest glass. The older micro-Nikkor lenses are plenty sharp, IMO: you give up convenience. But for somebody like me, who doesn't know if they'll stick with it, it makes a great deal of sense.

I picked up a pristine Nikkor 105/f4 non-AI (probably, what, about 40 years old) with a PN-1 extension from eBay for under $200; had it converted to AI compatible for another $35. I don't have VR; I have only manual focusing, which is what most do in macro work anyhow. Neither of these are big deals when you use a tripod or monopod.

If I use the lens without the PN-1, I get rangefinder focusing - that is, the camera tells me when focus is locked on. However, when I put the PN-1 in the equation, I lose that. I'd have to upgrade to the PN-11 tube, I think.

Anyhow: the big drawback is LiveView / ViewFinder only shows me the amount of light the aperture I have selected is admitting, tube or not. So, my standard approach is to open to f4; try to guess at the center focus point - then crank the aperture down to f32 to get at least some DOF, but shoot basically blind.

The D7100 LV screen is a bit better for reading focus than the D7000.

First image was taken without the extension tube.

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Click to enlarge.

Second image is the same feather as in the first image, however, the PN-1 tube was added, and we're at 1:1 - it filled the viewfinder. I used LiveView to focus in the center spine and get that as sharp as possible at F4, then cranked to f32 and shot.

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Click to enlarge.