through the F-Mount -  photography by Jürgen Becker
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Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 review and recommendations for accessories

March 11, 2012

The Micro-Nikkor 55mm was introduced as an automatic lens in 1966, but the optical design was developed in the 50s for the rangefinder Micro-Nikkor 5cm f/3.5. Apart from cosmetic changes there was one importent revision: beginning in 1973 the lens was multicoated. Mine was bought in 1979, just before the successor - the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 - was announced. Today one can get this lens cheaply on ebay. If you are looking for a versatile macro lens: buy one of these!

The Micro-Nikkor 55mm with the life-size adapter (PK-13 tube). The lens itself goes from infinity to a magnification of 1:2. In conjunction with the 27.5mm long tube it goes from 1:2 to 1:1. Above the usual metre and feet scales you can find two scales with the magnification, the first for the lens itself and one the second for the use in conjunction with the PK-13.

The 55mm is a very compact lens. Thanks to the deep recessed front element you need neither a filter for protection nor a hood.

Using the lens at maximum magnification. See below for the result. Please note: the built-in flash of the camera is very usable for macro work with this Nikkor!

Detail of the Nikon F. See below for a 100% crop of this image.

100% crop. The image was just raw-converted by Nikon Capture NX. No further post-processing was done.





Recommended accessories:

Maximum magnification of the combination of TC-16A plus the 55mm f/3.5.

The Lens Scope Converter plus the 55mm gives a great macroscope.

Setup for photographing with 4:1 magnification. Along the optical axis from the right to the left you find the D700, the PB-4 bellows unit, the BR2A reversing ring, the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 and the BR-4 tube (providing a cable release port for stopping down). In the background on the GorillaPod the SB-700, connected via an SC-17 cable. In the foreground an old AR-7 double cable release for the automatic stop down of the lens. The connection from the AR-7 to the camera is made by two adapters: the MR-3 plus the MC-25. I used live view in this setup. After activating it and magnifying the image I took the cable release in one hand and made the fine-focussing on the tripod mount positioning knob (green arrow) with the other hand.

This image is the result of the above described setup.

Sample images:

Lizard at the beach, south coast of Sweden. D200 @ISO200, 55mm, F11, 1/250 sec..

Flower detail. Nikon D700 + TC-16A + 55mm at maximum magnification, F11, 1/250 sec., with built-in flash.

100% crop of the above image.

Purple-coloured Anemone Hupehensis in infrared light. Nikon D70IR @ISO400, 55mm, F8, 1/100 sec..

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