The Printing Nikkors: Images and Range


Michael Erlewine

The Nikon industrial Printing Nikkors are exemplary and highly corrected lenses, but for whom? Who wants to use them because, for the most part, they are restricted to a particular narrow field of view. There not only is no infinity available, but in general they are highly restricted as far as view. 

 

Worse (much worse) is that the higher the f/stop, the less sharpness and resolution. So, we can’t just dial up the f/stop to f/11 or f/16 and expect spectacular results. The Printing Nikkors are optimized wide open or close to it.. They may be better than ordinary lenses, but the sharpness and resolution are confined to the lens either wide-open or nearly so. And that is a very thin depth of field. Who uses that?

 

And so, there is no sweet spot for standard photography unless... and here it comes, we stack focus. That’s where these lenses come into their own and earn their high prices, at least in my book. Using focus stacking, we can paint on focus just where we want it, a razor-thin layer at a time.

 

Yet, even for focus stackers, the reproduction rate for most is very limited in range. It’s a kind of “take it or leave it” proposition, i.e. use this limited field of view or forget about it. Most Printing Nikkors only come alive on a bellows system, some work only well on a focus rail and none work well on the camera itself without a rail or a small helicoid. There is no native helicoid or way to focus other than the rail, which as focus stackers know, is the least preferred way to stack focus.

 

Why do I bother with these lenses and invest hard-earned cash in finding them? That’s a good question, but the answer is: I like the quality in these lenses and I only wish that kind of correction was the standard in lenses. The closest I come are the Zeiss Otus lenses, (and the Zeiss 135mm) which I consider an Otus.

 

With the above in mind, let’s look at the main Printing Nikkors (95mm, 105mm, and 150mm) and see what their field of view IS like. Forget about macro range and above. These lenses can go there, but I don’t. Someone else can check that out.

 

The 95mm PN standard magnification range is listed as 1/3x~1/1.5x, while the 105mm PN standard magnification range is listed as 1/1.5x~1.5x, and the 150 PN standard magnification range is listed as 1/x. Other than there, we are going outside their optimum qualities at our own risk IQ-wise.

Since I don’t usually do macro, but rather close-up photography, that tells me that the PC 95 is going to be the most useful (all around) for me. It does not mean that the others (or the 95mm) don’t go higher in f/stops, but that they don’t go higher at their sharpest. 

 

What’s the point of having a $3K lens if I am not going to be able to shoot at the range I want to shoot at and get top IQ? Unless I want to stack focus, I am kind of limited to “arty” photos, ones with just a hint of field depth. It’s nice, but for only once in a while.

 

The 95mm PN can be used mounted directly to my Nikon D850, provided that camera is mounted on a focus fail. I could also add a very small helicoid to the lens, but the moment I do that I immediately lose some of what I most need, range. This lens is designed for something like 1:2 magnification. I find the 95mm very sharp, easy to use, and probably gives me the best bang for the buck, so to speak.

 

The PN 95mm has 45mm outer threads. The lens mount M45 x 0.75 and there are 12 blades.

 

The 105mm PN pretty much has to be on a bellows or view camera and, even then, the range is limited to about one view and (for my work) that is not even at its sharpest.

 

The PN 105mm has 43mm filter threads and the lens mount is M45 x 0.75. There are 12 blades.

 

There are two PN 150s (actually three), but the one not mentioned here follows the lead of the PN 150, 2nd version, and I don’t have it.

 

The 150mm PNs are advertised for 1X magnification range, but it will work wider, but of course at a loss in IQ I would imagine.

 

The PN 150mm (first version) has front and rear threads of 62mm. I’m not an expert, but this earlier version of the 150mm has an additional ring that compensates for the magnification, insuring sharper images over a wider range of magnification. This is perhaps what makes this version the most useful to me. It actually works and is kind of amazing to watch. You just dial it in and it is sharper.

 

And the PN 150 (version 2) has a filter thread of 58mm and 12 blades. It can’t go much above f/4.5 and not lose quality. It does not have the extra ring to compensate for magnification.

As far as mounting the Printing Nikkors to the Nikon-F mount, it is not difficult, but you do have to match up adapters. I have enough laying around here to mix and match until they all are ready to go. 

 

I post here two stacked photos for each of the four Printing Nikkors I have. These photos give you a rough idea of the kind of reproduction-ratio that I can get with these lenses. I am sure if you want to go 1:1 and above, you would with some get better results. However, I do the best I can with what I have.

Below are shown two sets of four images, the first four are simple stacks of 2 layers, one each focused around the center of each flower. This lets you see each lens with little stacking.

The second four images are all stacked liberally. They will show you what a stacked image looks like with each lens.

 

I’m not sure what you will get out of these, but you can take a look. Meanwhile, I continue checking out these interesting (to me) lenses, the Printing Nikkors.
 

XLabel_MEB8291-PN150-1-f-11-777.jpg

XLabel-_MEB8242-PN150-2-F-11--777.jpg

XLabel-_MEB8188-PN95-F-11-777.jpg

XLABEL_MEB8185-PN105-F11-.jpg

 

 

 

 

_MEB8245-2-PN150-1-777.jpg

_MEB8191-2-PN150-2-777.jpg

_MEB7927-2-PN105-Bellows-777.jpg

_MEB7727-2-PN95-on-Rail-777.jpg




Comments


Another sweet set of limited-range macro lenses are the Olympus OM Zuiko macro series, but they seem to be much cheaper. These include 20mm ƒ2, 38mm ƒ2.8, 80mm ƒ4, and 135mm ƒ4.5.

 

Like the Printing Nikkors above, they don't focus to infinity, and require an extension in order to be useful. Unlike the Nikkors, Olympus made a nifty Telescoping Extension Tube that has a speedy "twist, slide, twist" method of extension, much more nimble than the "crank, crank, crank" of either a macro helicoid or a bellows.

 

Olympus also made the T-8, a unique sideways-firing ring flash for getting soft, even, 360° macro light. It which works well with the longer three lenses, and they made a Lieberkühn reflector for soft 360° illumination with the 20/2. I have converted the T-8 to work with the Olympus Digital FC-1 flash controller, for TTL camera control of flash.

1 person likes this

Share this comment


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Michael Erlewine
      On my seemingly-eternal search for interesting lenses for close-up work I could not help but come across the Schneider Kreuznach Macro Varon 85mm f/4.5 CAS lens, if only because Schneider promotes the Macro Varon all over the place. And that’s a lot of promotion for a lens most photographers have never heard of.
       
      Well, I heard about the Macro Varon and searched it down to its price tag of $4500 and that set me back on my heels a bit. I don’t need a new lens THAT much. Well, perhaps a Zeiss Otus or two would be alright, which I already have. I did make some calls, sent out some email requests, and finally found that the Macro Varon could be had for somewhere in the mid $3K range brand-new. Well, of course that just sent me to Ebay looking for used copies. However, while it has happened, the Macro Varon does not show up used on Ebay very often, in fact hardly ever. And that limited my searching. I did find out that one sold on Ebay some time ago.
       
      Again, I spoke with Schneider reps about the Makro Varon on the phone and finally just let it go. It’s not that I don’t have other lenses that I might buy. LOL. And for those of you foolish enough to think I’m rich, guess again. I sell old equipment to buy new equipment as I go along. I just do it methodically.
       
      To make a long story short, recently a good friend sent me a message that there was a Makro Varon actually on Ebay for $1500. Well, that turned the corner for me and I bought it in about a minute from receiving the message. It came from China, was used, but looked in decent condition. When the lens finally showed up at my door, it was obviously brand new or in mint condition. However, it came in a strange industrial lens-mount which held the lens captive with three very tiny screws.
       
      I exhausted my collection of tiny screwdrivers, flat, Phillips, and torx (star). Then I called the local optician and gear-heads and discovered that no one had a tool that small. Well, that was disappointing, since I had no way to mount the lens without first removing this big clucky adapter that gripped it. Then I went salvaging through dozens of boxes of camera-related stuff and finally found a set of tiny torx drivers, but none of them was small enough to work. However, there was one (tiny) hole where a missing torx wrench should be. Where was it? And sure enough, in the bottom of my box of Cambo Actus parts was the tiny torx screwdriver and to my surprise, it worked! I had the lens mounted in a few minutes and was good to go.
       
      Now, I wanted to find out if this lens is best mounted directly to the camera and the camera placed on a focus rail, or should the lens be mounted directly on the camera with a small helicoid to focus with. The lens itself has no way to focus. It has six aperture blades (I wish there were more) and it has f/stops from f.4.5 through and including f/8. It does have something special, however.
       
      The Macro Varon has an additional ring on the barrel that allows me to adjust the floating lens parts in the lens to fit a particular magnification ratio from 0.5x to 2.0x. This compensates and suppresses aberration depending on the magnification ratio. The only other lens that I have that has such a ring is the first edition of the Nikon Printing Nikkor 150mm APO f/2.8. And these rings actually work.
       
      Another rather unique feature of the Macro Varon is that on each individual lens, during final adjustment, a tiny drop of red paint is placed on the rim of the barrel that allows (when the M42 adapter is screwed on tight) me to orient the particular lens to the camera sensor orthogonally, at right-angles. This red dot is calculated and optimized at the factory for each individual lens. They differ.
       
      Anyway, I soon figured out that (at least for now) I get the most play out of mounting the lens on the Cambo Actus Mini View Camera. Next, I had to decide what kind of hood would be best, since my first shots (made without a hood) lacked a bit of contrast. I tried both flared and narrow-tube hoods and finally fashioned one from the Nikon K-Ring set, one K5 plus two K3s all screwed together. They made a nice tubular hood that seems fine so far.
       
      Mounted on the Cambo Actus Mini, I soon found out that the large (special order) cambo bellows I normally use prevented me from getting as much field of view as I wanted with this lens, so I substituted a short bellows, which is fine because I do not need as much room with the Macro Varon anyway. That helped a bunch.
       
      I could also look into using a tiny extension/helicoid mounted directly on the camera, but I doubt that I would gain much, and moving the rear-standard on a view camera is better for stacking than using a helicoid. Anyway, I am up and running.
       
      Here is a quick photo of my setup, the Nikon D850 on the Cambo Actus Mini. On that is the Schneider Macro Varon 85mm f/4.5 lens adapted to Nikon mount, with a hood made of several K-rings. So far, so good. And I include a few early shots taken with the Makro Varon to give you an idea of what this lens can produce.
       
      This setup is not hiking-material, but certainly can go outside to the fields and meadows, at least if there is easy access so that the gear does not have to be carried far. The lens itself would be easy to carry for hikes, but would have to include some form of helicoid to focus or be happy with a DOF at F/8 and fixed focus.
       
      Anyway, I’m checking out the Schneider Macro Varon 85mm and would be interested in any other user’s experience.
       
      A fine review of the Scheider Macro Varon is this one by Robert O’Toole:
       
      https://www.closeuphotography.com/macro-varon/schneider-macro-varon-lens







    • By Michael Erlewine
      On my seemingly-eternal search for interesting lenses for close-up work I could not help but come across the Schneider Kreuznach Macro Varon 85mm f/4.5 CAS lens, if only because Schneider promotes the Macro Varon all over the place. And that’s a lot of promotion for a lens most photographers have never heard of.
       
      Well, I heard about the Macro Varon and searched it down to its price tag of $4500 and that set me back on my heels a bit. I don’t need a new lens THAT much. Well, perhaps a Zeiss Otus or two would be alright. I did make some calls, sent out some email requests and finally found that the Macro Varon could be had for somewhere in the mid $3K range brand-new. Well, of course that just sent me to Ebay looking for used copies. However, while it has happened, the Macro Varon does not show up used on Ebay very often, in fact hardly ever. Well, that limited my searching. I did find out that one sold on Ebay some time ago.
       
      Again, I spoke with Schneider reps about the Makro Varon on the phone and finally just let it go. It’s not that I don’t have other lenses that I might buy. LOL. And for those of you foolish so think I’m rich, guess again. I sell old equipment to buy new equipment as I go along. I just do it methodically.
       
      To make a long story short, recently a good friend sent me a message that there was a Makro Varon actually on Ebay for $1500. Well, that turned the corner for me and I bought it in about 15 seconds from receiving the message. It came from China, was used, but looked in decent condition. When the lens finally showed up at my door it was obviously brand new or in mint condition. However, it came in a strange industrial lens-mount which held the lens captive with three very tiny screws.
       
      I exhausted my collection of tiny screwdrivers, flat, Phillips, and torx (star). Then I called the local optician and gear-heads and no one had a tool that small. Well, that was disappointing, since I had no way to mount the lens without removing this big clucky adapter that gripped it first. Then I went salvaging through dozens of boxes of camera-related stuff and finally found a set of tiny torx drivers, but none of them was small enough to work. But, there was one (tiny) hole where a missing torx wrench should be. Where was it? And sure enough, in the bottom of my box of Cambo Actus parts was the tiny torx screwdriver and to my surprise, it worked! I had the lens mounted in a few minutes and was good to go.
       
      Now, I wanted to find out if this lens is best mounted directly to the camera and the camera placed on a focus rail, or should the lens be mounted directly on the camera with a small helicoid to focus with. The lens itself has no way to focus. It has six aperture blades (I wish there were more) and It has f/stops from f.4.5 through and including f/8. It does have something special, however.
       
      The Macro Varon has an additional ring on the barrel that allows me to adjust the floating lens parts in the lens to fit a particular magnification ratio 0.5x to 2.0x. This compensates and suppresses aberration depending on the magnification ratio. The only other lens that I have that has such a ring is the first edition of the Nikon Printing Nikkor 150mm APO f/2.8. These rings actually work.
       
      Another rather unique feature of the Macro Varon is that on each individual lens, during final adjustment, a tiny drop of red paint is placed on the rim of the barrel that allows (when the M42 adapter is screwed on tight) us to orient the particular lens to the camera sensor orthogonally, at right-angles. This is red dot calculated and optimized for each individual lens.
       
      Anyway, I soon figured out that (at least for now) I get the most play out of mounting the lens on the Cambo Actus Mini View Camera. Next, I had to decide what kind of hood would be best, since my first shots (made without a hood) lacked a bit of contrast. I tried both flared and narrow-tube hoods and finally fashioned one from the Nikon K-Ring set, one K5 plus two K3s all screwed together. They made a nice tubular hood that seems fine so far.
       
      Mounted on the Cambo Actus Mini, I soon found out that rather than the large (special order) cambo bellows I normally use that prevented me from getting as much field of view as I wanted with this lens, so I substituted a short bellows, which is fine because I do not need as much room with the Macro Varon anyway. That helped a bunch. I could also look into using a tiny extension/helicoid mounted directly on the camera, but I doubt that I would gain much, and moving the rear-standard on a view camera is better for stacking than using a helicoid. Anyway, I am up and running.
       
      Here is a quick photo of my setup, the Nikon D850 on the Cambo Actus Mini. On that is the Schneider Macro Varon 85mm f/4.5 lens adapted to Nikon mount, with a hood made of several K-rings. So far, so good. And I include a couple of early shots taken with the Makro Varon to give you an idea of what this lens can produce.
       
      This setup is not hiking-material, but certainly can go outside to the fields and meadows, at least if there is easy access so that the gear does not have to be carried far. The lens itself would be easy to carry for hikes, but would have to include some form of helicoid to focus or be happy with a DOF at F/8 and fixed focus.
       
      Anyway, I’m checking out the Schneider Macro Varon 85mm and would be interested in any other user’s experience.
       
      A fine review of the Scheider Macro Varon is this one by Robert O’Toole:
       
      https://www.closeuphotography.com/macro-varon/schneider-macro-varon-lens
       

       






    • By Michael Erlewine
      The Printing Nikkors: Images and Range
       
      The Nikon industrial Printing Nikkors are exemplary and highly corrected lenses, but for whom? Who wants to use them because, for the most part, they are restricted to a particular narrow field of view. There not only is no infinity available, but in general they are highly restricted as far as view. 
       
      Worse (much worse) is that the higher the f/stop, the less sharpness and resolution. So, we can’t just dial up the f/stop to f/11 or f/16 and expect spectacular results. The Printing Nikkors are optimized wide open or close to it.. They may be better than ordinary lenses, but the sharpness and resolution are confined to the lens either wide-open or nearly so. And that is a very thin depth of field. Who uses that?
       
      And so, there is no sweet spot for standard photography unless... and here it comes, we stack focus. That’s where these lenses come into their own and earn their high prices, at least in my book. Using focus stacking, we can paint on focus just where we want it, a razor-thin layer at a time.
       
      Yet, even for focus stackers, the reproduction rate for most is very limited in range. It’s a kind of “take it or leave it” proposition, i.e. use this limited field of view or forget about it. Most Printing Nikkors only come alive on a bellows system, some work only well on a focus rail and none work well on the camera itself without a rail or a small helicoid. There is no native helicoid or way to focus other than the rail, which as focus stackers know, is the least preferred way to stack focus.
       
      Why do I bother with these lenses and invest hard-earned cash in finding them? That’s a good question, but the answer is: I like the quality in these lenses and I only wish that kind of correction was the standard in lenses. The closest I come are the Zeiss Otus lenses, (and the Zeiss 135mm) which I consider an Otus.
       
      With the above in mind, let’s look at the main Printing Nikkors (95mm, 105mm, and 150mm) and see what their field of view IS like. Forget about macro range and above. These lenses can go there, but I don’t. Someone else can check that out.
       
      The 95mm PN standard magnification range is listed as 1/3x~1/1.5x, while the 105mm PN standard magnification range is listed as 1/1.5x~1.5x, and the 150 PN standard magnification range is listed as 1/x. Other than there, we are going outside their optimum qualities at our own risk IQ-wise.
       
      Since I don’t usually do macro, but rather close-up photography, that tells me that the PC 95 is going to be the most useful (all around) for me. It does not mean that the others (or the 95mm) don’t go higher in f/stops, but that they don’t go higher at their sharpest. 
       
      What’s the point of having a $3K lens if I am not going to be able to shoot at the range I want to shoot at and get top IQ? Unless I want to stack focus, I am kind of limited to “arty” photos, ones with just a hint of field depth. It’s nice, but for only once in a while.
       
      The 95mm PN can be used mounted directly to my Nikon D850, provided that camera is mounted on a focus fail. I could also add a very small helicoid to the lens, but the moment I do that I immediately lose some of what I most need, range. This lens is designed for something like 1:2 magnification. I find the 95mm very sharp, easy to use, and probably gives me the best bang for the buck, so to speak.
       
      The PN 95mm has 45mm outer threads. The lens mount M45 x 0.75 and there are 12 blades.
       
      The 105mm PN pretty much has to be on a bellows or view camera and, even then, the range is limited to about one view and (for my work) that is not even at its sharpest.
       
      The PN 105mm has 43mm filter threads and the lens mount is M45 x 0.75. There are 12 blades.
      There are two PN 150s (actually three), but the one not mentioned here follows the lead of the PN 150, 2nd version, and I don’t have it.
      The 150mm PNs are advertised for 1X magnification range, but it will work wider, but of course at a loss in IQ I would imagine.
       
      The PN 150mm (first version) has front and rear threads of 62mm. I’m not an expert, but this earlier version of the 150mm has an additional ring that compensates for the magnification, insuring sharper images over a wider range of magnification. This is perhaps what makes this version the most useful to me. It actually works and is kind of amazing to watch. You just dial it in and it is sharper.
       
      And the PN 150 (version 2) has a filter thread of 58mm and 12 blades. It can’t go much above f/4.5 and not lose quality. It does not have the extra ring to compensate for magnification.
      As far as mounting the Printing Nikkors to the Nikon-F mount, it is not difficult, but you do have to match up adapters. I have enough laying around here to mix and match until they all are ready to go. 
       
      I post here two stacked photos for each of the four Printing Nikkors I have. These photos give you a rough idea of the kind of reproduction-ratio that I can get with these lenses. I am sure if you want to go 1:1 and above, you would with some get better results. However, I do the best I can with what I have.
       
      Below are shown two sets of four images, the first four are simple stacks of 2 layers, one each focused around the center of each flower. This lets you see each lens with little stacking. However, these are at f/11, which is the opposite end of where the lens is sharp. It still is pretty good.
       
      The second four images are all stacked liberally. They will show you what a stacked image looks like with each lens.
       
      I’m not sure what you will get out of these, but you can take a look. Meanwhile, I continue checking out these interesting (to me) lenses, the Printing Nikkors.
      I will have to post the other four images in a second post. Won't fit.
       
       








    • By Michael Erlewine
      I’m sure this will interest few, but any is better than none. If we are looking into apochromatic (APO) lenses, then the Printing Nikkors can’t be avoided as candidates because they were designed to copy motion-picture film at the highest resolutions. To do this, they had to be highly corrected or our movies would all be fringe-tainted. We can’t have that.
       
      These are largish, somewhat heavy (the 150mm), lenses that require special mounts, which are not too hard to find. Yes, these lenses are a pain in many ways, but they produce great photos, some of the best if you are looking for lenses that have really been corrected. The term APO is not a standard and has been used to label lenses that are hardly apochromatic, but the Printing Nikkors are highly corrected and they are expensive too!
       
      One problem with obtaining the Printing Nikkors is their prices, which have been coming down as film companies abandon them in favor of all-digital projection. Still, they are said to have originally cost something like $12,000 apiece, so I have been told. Today, they sell on Ebay for much less, but still enough for my pocketbook. Anyway, we might want to know which of the Printing Nikkors (there are at least five varieties) does the most for us, so to speak, if we only buy one.

      Thanks to the website CoinImaging.com, the coin-photo folks have been kind enough to compare some of these lenses and graph out the results. What I present here are some of those graphs and results, for which I thank them very much! I failed to find the name of whoever is doing all this testing, but I thank him or her. This site uses IMATEST to test out lenses, which gives us a base.
       
      I am not going to spend time here on the history of the Printing Nikkors or their resale value, etc. You can find that on the web, if you look hard. The point of this article is to drill down on which of these lenses does what and the enclosed graphs will very much help with that. If you don’t like reading graphs, here is a shortcut to the best of the points, but you really have to study the graphs. This is just the tip of the top, so to speak, a generalization.
       
      Compared here are:
       
      Printing Nikkor 95mm f/2.8
      Printing Nikkor 105mm f/2.8
      Printing Nikkor 150mm f/2.8 (150-1)
      Printing Nikkor 150mm f/2.8 (150-2) [later]
       
      [There is a 75mm Printing Nikkor, but I have never seen one, even for sale. And there is a 3rd version of the Printing Nikkor 150mm, but I don’t have one, but it is a later version and I am told is similar to the later version of the 150mm, titled here “150mm-2.”
       
      QUICK RESULTS
       
      Chromatic Aberration vs. Aperture
      Note: All good, minimal, aberration, but the 95mm PN is best.
       
      Chromatic Aberration vs. Magnification
      Note: 95mm best at 0.5, 105mm best at 0.75-1.50
      150-1 not so good.
       
      Corner Resolution vs. Aperture
      Note: All very good, but 95mm is outstanding.
       
      Corner Resolution vs. Magnification
      All fairly good, but the 95mm is outstanding at about 0.50
       
      Corner Sharpness vs. Aperture
      Note: All very good, but the 105 is best.
       
      Corner Sharpness vs. Magnification
      Note: The 95mm best at 0.50, but the 105mm best at around 1.0 to 1.25.
       
      Resolving Power vs. Magnification
      Note: The 150-2 mm is way better than the rest at 0.50.
       
      Resolution vs. Aperture
      Note: All good, but the 95mm is best.
       
      Resolution vs. Effective Aperture
      Note: The 150-1 is the best at f/5 to f/8. Rest also very good, with the 150-2mm only good at around f/5.6.
       
      Resolution vs. Magnification
      Note: All pretty good, but the 150-1mm is the best of the lot from 0.50 to beyond 1.5.
       
      Sharpness vs. Aperture
      Note: The 95mm is hands-down the best. All pretty good, with the 105mm the worst.
       
      Sharpness vs. Effective Aperture
      Note: All good within a particular range, with the 150-1mm the best of the lot from f/5 to f/8.
       
      Sharpness vs. Magnification
      Note: All good within their best range, but the 150-1mm the best of the lot from 0.50 through 1.25.
       
      Working Distance and Magnification
      Note: The 150.1 is the best of the lot.
       
      TOTALS of “Bests”
       
      095mm = 7
      150-1mm = 5
      105mm = 3
      150-2= 1
       
      What this says is the 95mm is the best as an “all-around” lens, followed by the 150-1mm. Of course, this could depend on what you are doing. For example, the 150-1mm is best for close-up work, but the 150-2 is best for macro, etc.
       
      I hope this interests at least one other person! LOL.



    • By Dallas
      I discovered a feature of the software I didn't know existed before and have implemented it in the page footer of all posts where tags are in use. So, for example, having tagged this post with Nikon and Olympus, readers should see shortcut links to several posts with the same tags in the footer. 
       
      Enjoy! 
    • By Luc de Schepper
      This post is kind of a mixed bag, it's about the quality of images with a cheap kit lens and about the shooting experience.
       
      It's a tradition for me to visit and photograph the annual Christmas Market at our local garden centre.
       
      In the past I took my Nikon Df and Olympus E-M10 cameras with fast lenses, useful because the event is indoor and quite dark.
      This time I took my D5500 with the El Cheapo (only € 69 for a white box version in Holland) variable/slow aperture Nikon 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AF-P lens.
      I also planned to use the Jpeg images and apply minimal post processing.
       
      The end result imo is quite ok but the shooting experience was less of a pleasure.
       
      The D5500 has a tiny dark viewfinder, viewing the focus point was very difficult if not impossible and after a while I had a headache from tunnel vision.
      I also had to correct exposure quite a lot (due to Jpeg + minimal post processing) and I dearly missed the live view of the exposure in the EVF of a mirrorless camera. For some shots I switched to live view on the D5500 but the camera then is more prone to camera shake so this was not ideal.
       
      1.

       
      2.

       
      3.

       
      4.

       
      5.

       
      6.

       
      7.

       
       
    • By Andrew L (gryphon1911)
      Here is a little quick tip for you this holiday season. The bonus gift is that you'll get something that is useful all year long as well.

      If you've ever shot with a Nikon camera before, you'll know that it is very easy to blow out the red channel in your images (overly bright and saturated). It gives you what you see below:
       

       
      Lovely image of this little boy telling Santa what he wants for Christmas, but Santa's suit is a not right in the red sections. A quick way to rectify this in either Lightroom or Adobe Camera RAW or other post processing software is explained within.
       
      Shoot in RAW if you can. You'll have more latitude in processing. If not, you may still be able to get this to work quite well with your JPG files.
       
      Your RAW image should look something like this when you first begin:
       

       
      The colors are muted and the image is low contrast(nothing strange here for an unprocessed RAW). So the first thing you'll want to do is start bumping up the contrast, exposure if necessary (hopefully you got the flashes at the proper power to make this a non-issue), vibrance, sharpening, etc.
       
      Problem is, if you use the TONE controls, they work on an image in an overall way, affecting everything. So in order to get the boys shirt/jeans and the background to a level you like, you end up having the blown out reds like you see in the first image
       
      Here is the fix.
       
      Scroll down to the section HSL/Color/B&W. Select the word Color. You'll see a box like the one below.
       

       
      After I got all the other colors the way I wanted them, I can now use this to fix Santa's red suit color.
       
      Each one of the colored boxes isolates the color properties in the image. It no longer will affect every color in the image. Click the far left box, which is the Red. Bump the Saturation down to -10 and the Luminance down to -40. The real game changer here is Luminance. Once you start sliding that down, you'll see the reds immediately start to lose that blown out look, the detail will return. Those values worked for this image, yours will be different. The take away is that you are just reducing the Luminance of the red colors.
       
      That gives us our finished image below:
       

       
      There are other methods of dealing with this, but I found this one to be one of the quicker ways to do it.
       
      My setup was 2 strobes (Alien Bee B400) one to camera right and above the subjects, and a fill/hair light to camera left parallel the where Santa was sitting. Power on main light was 1/4, fill light was 1/16 power.
       
      Nikon D700 and Nikkor 24-70/2.8G lens was used. Settings were 1/60 @ f/5.6 ISO 200 WB set to flash in camera.
       
      Here are the other settings I used in Lightroom.
       

       

       


      View full article
    • By Michael Erlewine
      The Printing Nikkors for Close-Up Work
      Since the term apochromatic has no standard definition, various ideas of what is apochromatic exist. Finding apochromatic (APO) lenses that are really outstanding is difficult. By now, most of us know that the three new Zeiss APO lenses (135mm, 55mm, 85mm) are corrected apochromatically to a high standard, but finding lenses of similar quality (as to APO) is difficult without delving into the various industrial lenses, lenses designed for enlarger work or for various film-scanning operations.
      One good set of APO lenses are what are called the “Printing Nikkors,” a series of four Nikon industrial lenses designed for or use in film transfer (copy) machines, making accurate copies of 35mm cinema films and the like. These machines cost upward of $100,000, and the lenses individually cost (I am told) some $12,000 each. They are very highly corrected. To achieve this, chromatic aberration is corrected not only for the red, green, and blue range of the visible spectrum, but for the entire wavelength range (400 ~ 800nm).
      These four Printing Nikkors were each designed for a particular usable magnification range. Of the four Printing Nikkors (75mm, 95mm, 105mm, and 150mm), I have managed to find three of them, being the 95mm, 105mm, and 150mm. Here is a list along with what reproduction range they were designed for, and the general range suggested for use.
      75mm = 1/4x (usable 1/6X ~ 1/3X)
      95mm = 1/5x (usable 1/3X ~ 1/1/5X)
      105mm = 1x (usable 1/1.5X ~ 1.5X)
      150mm = 1x (usable 1/4X ~4X)
      I don’t use the Printing Nikkors for macro or higher magnifications, but primarily for close-up photography. This particular Printing Nikkor, the 150mm is of no use to me mounted directly on my Nikon D810 camera. Rather, it needs a bellows, and I generally use the Nikkor PB-4 for that. Since I mostly use this particular lens for focus stacking, the bellows works well for the close-up range.
      As a quick sidebar, to take advantage of the available focus-stacking software (I use Zerene Stacker), there are three main ways to stack focus and they produce different results, so it is important to use the most efficient method if you can. I give them here, starting with the best solution on down to the least efficient. The ranking is in terms of avoiding unwanted artifacts in your resulting stacked images:
      (1) The best way to stack is on a bellows, by fixing (locking) the lens to the front standard (so it does not move), and then focus with the rear standard on which sits the camera body (and sensor). So, we fix the lens, and only move the camera to focus.
      (2) The second best way to stack photos (and easiest) is by turning the focus barrel of the lens itself. This is why it can be important to purchase a lens with the longest focus throw you can get. For example, the famous Coastal Optics 60mm APO f/4 forensic lens (which is highly corrected) only has a focus throw of about 210-degrees, way too small (IMO) for stacking photos. You really have to use it mounted on a camera, mounted on a focus rail, and that is not good. On the other hand, the legendary Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar Macro lens has a focus through of some 610-degrees. What a difference!
      (3) And lastly (and worst-ly) is to mount the camera-body and lens on a focus rail and move the whole combination to focus. This is not recommended, but I still have to often revert to it.
      (4) And there is the concern that spherical objects are the hardest to stack because you must take even smaller incremental layers with spheres, since there is no flat surface. To capture a sphere without artifacts takes some very fine increment-steps to stack properly.
      The above choices (themselves) each involve problems of their own, of course. Not all lenses will work well on a bellows, not all lenses have a decent focus throw, and the third option of using a focus rail should be avoided, if possible. These three options were first explained to me by Rik Littlefield, the author of Zerene Stacker, the focus-stacking software that I find to be the best for my work.
      I must say that my choice of flowers here is not ideal. In my experience the color yellow (and red, for that matter) are not as easy to capture correctly compared to the greens and blues. But this is what I have in the studio, so I am using it.
      Here are three different images, the first two images are stacked images shot with the Printing Nikkor 150mm wide open (f/2.8), and one at its narrowest aperture (f/11). The third image is a non-stacked traditional one-shot photo at f/11. My thoughts?
      My first thought is that I have to learn to better master the color yellow. Second, I feel this lens is very unforgiving, perhaps even a little aggressive or “forensic,” as in: what you see is what you get. And thirdly, I continue to wrestle with the question of to-stack-or-not-to-stack at all.
      The traditional one-shot photo is not bad. Why bother to stack, when stacking means artifacts of one kind or another (visible or not to the average viewer) will be present?
      It seems to me that the three new Zeiss APOs are not, well, so “forensic,” and have a softer feel to them. The bottom line is that I have to learn to better use the Printing Nikkors or….. just stick with the Zeiss APOs.
      Now, the industrial enlarger-lens, the El Nikkor APO 105mm, does not seem to have a “forensic” look. This is not to mention that maneuvering a large lens like the Printing Nikkor 150mm, mounted on a bellows, mounted on a quick-release clamp, in the field is no easy trick.




      View full article
  • Best Of Fotozones


  •  

    Fotozones Account Dormancy Policy

    As from 1 July 2018, any user account that has not been logged into for the past 3 years will be removed from our database and all posts made under that account will be accredited to a guest account (prefixed with the author's user name). We will be continuing this policy every year to keep our user data more manageable and also current. If you have any concerns about this policy please use the contact form to get in touch with us.