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Nikon 105mm VR - Tubes or Converter?

dandeakin 10 209 3 England
8 Nov 2010 10:28AM
Having got a voucher to spend I was thinking of getting some Kenko extension tubes to use with my Nikon 105mm VR. The aim being to get 2:1 macro.

And then I realised for the same money I could get a Kenko 2x teleconverter instead.

Has anyone used the Nikon 105mm VR with either the tubes or teleconveter?

Having searched the internet I think both will get to 2:1. I know the tubes should work well, with no effect on image quality, although will of course loose infinity focus. I've got no idea how well the converter would work though. If it did, I could see a number of advantages over the tubes.

And going to camera shop to try both isn't really an option in the near future. Does anyone using this lens (or equivelent) have any experience?

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cameracat 14 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
8 Nov 2010 10:55AM
Hi Dan, I have used the Kenco Tubes with this lens, Works a treat, On my D700 both the AF & VR work with all the tubes attached together too, Though my D70 & D200 struggle to AF in this arrangement on some settings, So its manual for some things, VR can be iffy on these bodies too.....!!!

Have thought about a Telecon, But I'm not sure I would go for a 2X, Many say the image quality is degraded to much, A safer bet would be the 1-4X version.

That said as you have the 105mm VR, You will be aware of how good the image quality is with this lens, The tubes make no difference to the image quality, I'm not sure the same can be said for the Telecon route, Unless you go for Nikon items.

dandeakin 10 209 3 England
8 Nov 2010 11:13AM
Thats what I thought. Thanks.

Presumably TTL flash metering works normally using the automatic extension tubes?

If the converter did work though, and didn't degrade quality too much, it could be very useful - it would achieve the same magnication (2:1) and maintain infinity focus. Presumably this would mean you could vary the amount of magnication throughout the range simply by adjusting the focus ring (as you would do if just using the lens).

Having used extension tubes with prime lens it seems you're stuck at whatever magnifcation the lens combination generates e.g. if you're shooting at 1:1 and you need a wider shot you have to change the tubes around, rather than just simply pulling back and refocusing.

I suspect that the tubes would be better as you say - I can't imagen it's that sensible mixing 150 kenko glass with 600 nikon glass...
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
8 Nov 2010 2:55PM
The Nikon 105 VR works OK, including AF with aproximate pre focus and steady holding, VR and flash with the Nikon "e" tubes and the Kenko Pro 300 1.4x.
I do not own the Kenko 2x.
discreetphoton 13 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
8 Nov 2010 5:38PM
Having tried both, I can confidently say that the extension tubes are a much better option for your intended purpose. The resolution takes a hit with the TC at that magnification. Either way, you're going to need to use flash for lighting.
dandeakin 10 209 3 England
8 Nov 2010 5:43PM
Thanks, that's very useful. I had a feeling the tubes would be better. Ive got a flash already. Thanks again
Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
8 Nov 2010 5:45PM
In my experiences a 2*TC does work well for getting to 2:1 magnification, but at that magnification the longer working distance (because you retain your min focusing distance from before) can be a downside since it reduced your chances of resting the lens/your arm on the ground for stability or using bracing methods like the left hand brace technique (essentially holding the plant the subject is on with your left hand whilst resting the lens on your arm - meaning that any handshake also gets transferred to the subject and its resting point.

Downside of tubes though is that you'll need a good 100mm of length to get to 2:1 with them alone. You might want to consider combining the use of extension tubes along with close up lenses (canon make a good quality 500D and Raynox make a whole range of them in varying powers - the DCR 250 is often a popular choice from their range for price and power rating). A set of tubes and the close up lens would give you more magnification without having the setup grow to a more uncontrollable length.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
8 Nov 2010 7:18PM
Tubes with a ring flash go well with the 105mm VR micro.

If you need even more magnification, don't ignore the simple solution of cropping your image. A fairly hard crop of a first class image (such as you will get with the 105mm, tubes and ring flash) will almost certainly give a better result than no crop with the extra magnification being achieved with either a teleconverter or close-up auxiliary lens.
dandeakin 10 209 3 England
8 Nov 2010 8:48PM
Thanks. I can get to 2:1 just by reversing a 50mm on a set of cheap extension tubes, as in yesterdays upload. The magnification is almost identicle as my 105mm on extension tubes. The image quality is excellent, but the view finder pitch black at permenant f11 or f16, which makes focusing difficult.

The main reason to get 2:1 with my 105mm macro with auto extension tubes/converter instead is the normal view finder brightness when shooting, more working length from the subject and TTL flash metering for the off camera sb900.

It sounds like auto extension tubes would be the better option. Thanks again
discreetphoton 13 3.5k 20 United Kingdom
9 Nov 2010 9:36AM
It's also worth remembering that the normal rules of extension tubes change slightly for non-telescoping lenses like the 105VR. Lenses like this behave differently to apply the extension needed for extra magnification, and reduce the focal length within the lens as you approach 1:1. This allows them to increase the ratio of extension within the lens body. Basically, anything you add outside the lens will count for a bit more magnification than it would when used with it's classic, telescoping counterpart. That's why you're seeing similar results between your two lenses.

Hope that made sense, it's a bit of a mouthful.
dandeakin 10 209 3 England
9 Nov 2010 12:14PM
Thanks, it does make sense. I had wondered about that actually - 105mm + 68mm or so of extension tube shouldn't equal 2:1, but it does. I guess that's an unexpected bonus of a non telescoping macro lens

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