Interesting Nikon E-2 extension tube (pre-Ai 14mm)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Paul Furman, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Paul Furman

    Paul Furman Guest

    I made an interesting purchase... my first extension tube... and a
    rather odd one at that.

    A few questions:

    1) since this is pre-Ai, is there any danger of damaging my D200 mount
    or lenses? Apparently some non-Ai lenses are not safe to mount. It seems
    to mount just fine; does not extend deep enough to touch the electrical
    contacts on the body or on the lens. I guess it's too late to ask :) I
    haven't noticed any problems.

    2) Does anyone know if there is a problem stacking more than one of
    these? It's so cheap and sturdy. I haven't got any extension tubes till
    now because I couldn't rationalize the price for essentially a hollow
    tube but this is an affordable way to experiment.

    3) There is a male threaded receptor on the plunger and probably I could
    figure out a way to use that for controlling the aperture on G lenses
    (otherwise impossible without tape). Any ideas how to do this? I'm
    planning to just take it to the hardware store & figure something out
    but maybe there is something better.
    "Nikon E-2 extension tube (non-Ai) 14mm with plunger for opening the
    aperture while focusing, also useful for stopping down newer G lenses
    and opening or stopping lenses when reverse mounting or on a bellows.
    Being pre-Ai there are no electrical contacts and no aperture coupling
    but AF isn't really needed for closeup work and the plunger makes G
    lenses useable on a bellows which is otherwise not possible to stop
    down. It reduces the minimum focusing distance on my 300mm f/2.8 Ai from
    7-1/2 feet to 5-1/2 feet (not much but helpful for chasing butterflies)
    and decreases the minimum focus distance on my 20mm f/2.8 from 0.85 feet
    to about a half inch at about 1:1 magnification. The effect on my 105
    macro is not much but there is no added glass as with a teleconverter or
    closeup lens threaded on the front. It only cost $12.00 and is
    indestructable. A cheap plastic ring would not be able to hold the huge
    heavy 300mm f/2.8."
    Paul Furman, Sep 18, 2007
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  2. Paul Furman

    Paul Furman Guest

    Ah, and here's a use for it:
    The extension tube allowed me to use a 135mm f/2 lens for closeup to
    achieve the graduated OOF background which the 105 f/2.8 macro could not
    match. The 135/2 is not great for closeups but perfect for this task.
    And the lens was cheap... gotta love old Nikkors on a D200.
    Paul Furman, Sep 19, 2007
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  3. Paul Furman

    Wayne Guest

    The E2 ring predated AI by at least ten years, so it definitely is not AI.
    I am always puzzled too about the possible risk, but Nikon spares no
    punches to say forget it. There are of course new exension rings now, and
    in particular, the Kenko rings are fully automatic on the Nikon. As tubes
    go, there is no reason to consider anything other than the Kenko tubes.

    I have an old Nikon handbook (1968) which says you can stack 2 or 3 E2
    tubes, but says Nikon says not to stack more than three.

    Any such long stack of any such tubes is less rigid and tends to bend down
    due to weight and leverage of the lens. True of Kenko too.

    I suppose you are aware that extension tubes cannot do much for the longer
    lenses? Adding 14 mm extension to a 300mm lens gives you 314mm, or nearly
    5% more focal length, which is near nothing. Tubes are used when they
    are closer to the lens focal length... adding 50 mm extension to a 50 mm
    lens (equal) gives you 1:1 size ratio. That is at the infinity setting,
    but focusing has almost zero effect at 1:1. You focus by moving the
    camera or subject instead. Tubes also lose 2 stops of aperature at 1:1.

    But... closeup lenses (basically magnifiers on the filter threads in front
    of lens) work about the same on any lens of any focal length. The camera
    lens basically focuses at the focal length of the closeup lens. Which
    numerically is (1 meter / diopters)... focuses at 1 meter for 1 diopter,
    or at 0.25 meter for 4 diopters. And the camera lens is still fully
    automatic, and there is no aperture loss. But... edge sharpness is a
    serious issue, and they must be used stopped down to near f16, to only use
    the center, so to speak. Smaller digital sensors are a good thing there,
    using center. It is more glass, but there are cheap ones and there are
    good ones (made with two elements of glass).

    You can combine extension tubes and closeup lens too. And you can stack
    closeup lens, the diopters simply add (but it is even more glass - put
    strongest on nearest the lens).

    But the absolute ultimate in every regard is a true macro lens, like the
    60mm Nikon macro. Does anything, focuses from infinity to 1:1. It is very
    easy to promise that it would quickly become your favorite lens. Many
    prefer the 105 mm macro (nearly 2x cost) because the longer lens allows
    more space in front of the lens.. less spooky for the bugs. :) I love my
    Nikon 60mm macro.
    Wayne, Sep 20, 2007
  4. Paul Furman

    Paul Furman Guest

    Thanks for your comments.
    The only lens I *really* wanted to play with is an old Tokina MF Ai
    300mm f/2.8 and as you mentioned 14mm doesn't have a big effect on it
    though I don't want to go to 1:1, closest focus changes from 7-1/2 feet
    to 5-1/2 feet and I thought this old metal one would be more suitable
    than the Kenko tubes because it is sturdy... maybe not great with three
    stacked but I heard the Kenko's would not hold up well with that heavy lens.
    I guess that's how the aperture/light loss occurs; by increasing the
    focal length, then focal length/aperture is effectively more stopped
    down f/stop.
    Ah, OK 1:1 at infinity with equal extension, that makes sense.
    I do have a 105 macro lens and a +2 diopter 2-element closeup lens. Now
    I need a cast iron tripod!
    Paul Furman, Sep 20, 2007
  5. Paul Furman

    Wayne Guest

    Considering that 300mm is quite long for tubes to have much effect, the
    closeup lens really seems much more practical this time. A mild (and good)
    closeup lens shouldnt have a bad problem, at least certainly should be
    suitable for many things (centered subjects, and the DSLR sensor size helps
    too). Use f16 however (and you dont lose aperture with the closeup lens). The
    closeup lens should have much more effect (closer) than even a reasonably long
    extension (on a 300 mm lens).

    Assuming infinity focus setting, +1 diopter should focus at 1 meter, and +2
    diopter at 1/2 meter, and together, 3 diopters focuses at 1/3 meter. My wild
    guess is maybe half of those at closest focus setting.
    Wayne, Sep 20, 2007
  6. Paul Furman

    Paul Furman Guest

    I think one more E2 extension tube would give me what I want.

    With the +2 diopter closeup, the 300mm focuses between 2 feet and 2-1/2
    feet, which is actually too close to prevent spooking a butterfly or
    dragonfly and that's 30-40mm wide (about 1-1/2 inches) in a crop digital
    frame so won't even fit a larger butterfly. The sensor is 23.7mm wide so
    almost 1:1 at 30mm wide.

    With the 14mm E2 extension tube, the closest focus fits about 120mm wide
    (4-3/4 inches) and just the bare lens' closest focus fits about 6-1/2
    inches wide. I suspect the sharpness would be better with more extension
    and not at closest focus but maybe it doesn't matter.

    Here's what that lens looks like with the 77mm Canon 500D +2 closeup
    lens screwed into a makeshift 112mm cap (no vignetting):
    The other shot is with the oversized lens shade attached.
    Paul Furman, Sep 20, 2007
  7. Paul Furman

    Wayne Guest

    Probably would. It is a big lens, but two would probably be sturdy enough.

    Or maybe a +1 lens instead.

    Your lens appears rather experienced. :)
    Wayne, Sep 21, 2007
  8. Paul Furman

    Paul Furman Guest

    I'm not sure anyone makes one large enough.

    Oh, I tried one more thing, the 14mm extension tube plus a 1.4x
    teleconverter and that frames a 90mm (3-1/2 inch) wide image at 6 feet
    but that's 440mm (660mm equivalent) so really hard to hand hold.
    I got it from a sports photog who says the beating is from running
    around with two cameras hanging from his neck. The glass is flawless
    though it was never a $4,000 quality lens so it doesn't hold up to
    teleconverters & such well, but it is handy.

    Actually last time I looked at this, I determined the 105/2.8 macro
    performs best with stacked teleconverters 2x & 1.5x and that gives me
    the same 90mm (3-1/2 inch) frame at 4 feet with 294mm but that's down to
    f/8 although it does retain VR & AF. The big lens with 2 tubes would
    still be at f/3 with no added glass degrading the image... however it's
    really not designed for close focus.
    Paul Furman, Sep 21, 2007
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