There are several different ways to do macro photography. Macro lenses are the obvious way, but there are also extension tubes, close-up filters, and reversing rings. Yet another way to do macro photography, and do it really close-up, is to use microscope objectives. In this article, we will discuss using microscope objectives with Nikon DSLRs for extreme macro photography.
In addition to cameras, Nikon also makes other types of imaging products as well, including many different kinds of microscopes. You can take a look at the different types of microscopes they sell at this part of their website: https://www.nikoninstruments.com/Products. Microscope objectives are the parts of the microscope that sit right above the object you wish to view. In quality microscopes, they are detachable, and you can buy them new or used. There are many different kinds, for many different purposes. They run in price from under $50 USD, to thousands. My small collection is pictured below.
Figure 1. Microscope objectives. The black ones on the left are infinity-corrected, denoted by the infinity mark on them. The chromed ones on the right are finite objectives. The 20x on the left and the 3x on the right are not by Nikon. The rest are Nikon. The lens cap is there to keep them from rolling around while the photo was being taken.
The chrome Nikon Objectives come from 1960s to 1970s era Nikon S type microscopes, pictured in figure 2.
Figure 2. The Nikon S microscope. Note the chromed objectives. You can read more about this microscope at https://www.microscopyu.com/museum/model-s-microscope. These microscopes were of extremely high quality, and many are still in use today, decades later. You can find objectives from them online for sale.
The black tinted Nikon microscope objective is designated as “BE Plan.” That coding means and that it is planar, or flat-field, focus and it comes from the model E100 microscope, shown below.
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