Author Topic: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE  (Read 9101 times)

Bjørn Rørslett

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Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« on: June 30, 2015, 19:20:52 »
[ Posted 21 January 2014 - 21:25 Edited and reposted by agreement ]

People are always interested in the hidden gems amongst the Nikkors. Sometimes these goodies remain hidden because they are frowned upon as low-end items. Well, you might be mistaken and surprised.

No better example are the Nikon SE lenses created for the humble low-end Nikon EM and FG of the early '80s. Nikon aimed at relatively inexpensive lenses but not necessarily simple designs. They cut down on sophisticated coatings and tried to make the lenses simple to manufacture, leading to some strange practical solutions. For example, some of the lens mounts were integrated into the lens barrel in shape of a layered metal 'cake'. I won't even elaborate how tricky this makes inserting a CPU chip in such mounts.

Here is a true gem, the very humble Nikon SE Zoom 36-72 mm f/3.5. These lenses are plentiful.Thus you can easily pick up a mint sample for < 50 $. Do note that the SE  lenses  are denoted 'Nikon' not 'Nikkor'. People label them erroneously all the time.



Here, I'm just driving by the city streetcar with the 36-72 SE at the ready. Snapshot through the side window of my little red car.




The 36-72 SE does well in IR as well. Its major drawback is the 1.2 m near limit that can be an occasional issue. Add an extension ring and the problem is nicely sidestepped.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 19:28:29 »
 Posted 22 January 2014 - 11:56

Not ready to move off the humble Nikon SE 36-72 mm f73.5 Zoom lens yet. Among its lesser known capabilities is applying it  as a true 'macro' lens. Because the lens can be had so cheap I prefer using a copy of it as a dedicated 'macro' setup. Another  $30 wasted? Read on to learn more.

What you need is the 36-72 itself, and paraphernalia such as a +4T achromatic close-up lens, a few K4/K5 rings to act as spacers, a BR2/2a or equivalent , and preferable something to act as lens shade in front. Even better, combine the shade function with the ability to steer the aperture. I use a BR-4 for this purpose, since I found it first in the odds-and-ends bin, but an E2 or BR-6 would serve the same purpose.




Here all parts are assembled and exhibited alongside the standard 36-72 SE on my Df.



A yardstick familiar to any Nordic DIY enthusiast.



The 100% crop reveals you get unsurpassed 'macro' quality from a $30 lens :D




Do note how difficult it is to line up the camera exactly parallel to the subject when you shoot it hand-held. Thus a properly supported camera is better if the highest level of performance is desirable.

Another aspect of this set up is you can easily change magnification of detail merely by zooming the host lens. The configuration shown here covers the approximate range of 1-3X, which is very convenient in the field.

 

stenrasmussen

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2015, 21:09:33 »
I had to, of course, try this setup and while I skipped the K-rings I reversed the lens with a +4 close up filter attached.
Here's a shot of my Timex:

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2015, 22:32:48 »
K-rings are mandatory accessories in your tool box, Sten. They act like "Lego bricks" for the keen photographer.

That point aired, your adaptation apparently works. Stopping more down might have increased depth of field ever so slightly though.

stenrasmussen

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2015, 23:22:42 »
The K-set was left sitting on the shelf while I played 😀
Yes, a click or two more on the aperture ring would be better.
I wonder if I should attempt make the lens focus closer than its native 1.2m? Did this to a 35/2.8 Ai-S and it worked.

pluton

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2015, 07:57:25 »
Was the diopter attachment in front of, or behind the reversed lens?
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2015, 12:33:48 »
Was the diopter attachment in front of, or behind the reversed lens?

As seen from the lens photo, the 4T is in front of the lens, then the lens is reversed and some extra extension is added. K4 + K5 in this case, then the "F" mount which here is attached directly to the K4. In "front" of the entire contraption, I added BR-4 + step-down rings to make an improvised lens hood to cut down on stray light and avoid a hot spot, plus having a lever to open the pre-set lens aperture to focus at the widest aperture for a brighter finder view.

John Koerner

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2017, 20:08:46 »
This is a most interesting article. It has ultimately prompted me to search for the highest-quality AI-S zooms, for reversing purposes, rather than the lowest-quality.

According to Nikon literature, and your close-up, the 36-72 mm has a maximum reproduction ratio of just under 2:1 (1.8x), not 3:1.

To get to 3:1 (12mm on your ruler), you'd need a 20-24mm lens, reversed.

The 35mm lenses fluctuate from 2.1x (17mm on the ruler) to 1.8x (20mm on the ruler), according to Nikon literature, as well as clip you posted, depending on the model.

That said, I have ordered a 28-50mm Zoom-Nikkor f/3.5 AI-S (which offers 2.5x to 1.1x lifesize), the 28-85mm Zoom-Nikkor f/3.5-4.5 AI-S, which offers similar, as well as the 25-50mm Zoom-Nikkor f/4 AI-S, which offers 2.6x to 1.1x, when reversed.

This last lens is, by far, the most expensive (and the largest), but supposedly it has the best quality, with almost zero CA, as well as the broadest macro range, reversed.

Time will tell, but this article here is what prompted my interest in a field-adjustable zoom, so thanks for writing it.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2017, 21:05:09 »
You forget the close-up lens, which is an integral part of the set up. Plus the extra extension.

With sufficient extension added, 3X is attainable.

John Koerner

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2017, 21:14:32 »
You forget the close-up lens, which is an integral part of the set up. Plus the extra extension.

Yes, I did not factor-in a close-up or extension. I was speaking of the lens itself.


With sufficient extension added, 3X is attainable.

You changed this part here, before I could respond :)

What is shows is 1.8x magnification (top) and a crop from it (bottom).

Sure, with extensions (extra lenses, etc.) this can be improved upon.

I was speaking only of the lens itself.

I have a range of 1:1 to 4:1, with four prime Nikkors, but I am trying to get a ~3:1 range with just one high-quality lens, for field convenience.

I am going to order, and try, 4 different zoom-Nikkors (and this E-Series lens), measure them myself, and compare the differences.

I am suspecting the 25-50mm Zoom-Nikkor f/4 AI-S will be the one I keep, but time will tell.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2017, 21:16:25 »
(changed because I initially thought a 3X example was shown, which it obviously wasn't)

The close-up attachment acts as a field lens besides its influence on system magnification. Plus the extension reduces the abuse of mismatching conjugate distances. Thus both components are required for the best results.

John Koerner

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2017, 21:25:17 »
Do you know what the reproduction ratio is of the 36-72 is, at closest distance, when properly-oriented?

Roland's page says ?? in this regard, but curious what it is.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2017, 21:27:54 »
It only focuses to 1.2m thus hardly better than 1:20.

John Koerner

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2017, 21:37:02 »
That is the weak point of the 25-50mm f/4 Zoom-Nikkor: its reproduction ratio is only 1:5 @ 0.6m when properly-oriented.

By contrast, the 28-50mm f/3.5 Zoom-Nikkor has a slightly better reproduction ratio (1:4) @ a close-focus distance of 0.23m.

The 25-50, however, will allow greater magnification, when reversed, so it's a trade-off I suppose.

That said, I saw the min focusing distance of the 36-72 mm f/3.5 Series E as being 1.2m, properly-oriented, so I figured the ratio was going to be worse, but I wanted to get an exact figure.

Cannot find any literature on it, so figure I will just order one and test it myself. Thanks.

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: Lens "porn" with the Df: 36-72 mm f/3.5 Nikon SE
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2017, 22:17:47 »
The max. magnification of the 25-50 is 1:10. Just checked.

For the 28-50, in normal mode, it is 1:11 max., whilst it will manage 1:1.4 in 'macro' mode. Thus for once, the 'macro' designation has some merit.

The 36-72 scarcely does better than 1:15.