Guest post: Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens review (part 2)

This is just a continuation of the previous guest post with some setup and real life pictures. More photographs taken with the Nikkor 19mm f/2.8 Macro lens can be found on under the "Macro" section.

Equipment used:

  • Nikon D3s
  • Nikon PK 11-12-13
  • Nikon PB 6
  • Nikon PB 6E
  • 3 Nikon PB 6D
  • Nikon RMS-39 adapter
  • Nikon 39. F-mount adapter
  • Nikon AR 10
  • Nikon MC 26
  • various Bowens lights

This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses, [NR] Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • mshi

    Where can I rent this lens for a test drive?

  • HDZ

    Can that set do a stack images? ^^

    • Chris Lilley

      Yes, any setup like this can be used to make stacked images. Given the extremely small DOF even at the low magnifications shown in the article, its the only way to use it for practical purposes.

  • The invisible man

    I find my Af-s 105mm f/2.8 VR a little bit more convenient to use….

    • Jabs

      @The Invisible man.
      BUT, can it get to the high magnification of this setup?
      Reread the original article AGAIN!

      • jdsl

        So, you mean to say you want this kind of setup too?
        Yes, it’s interesting but don’t brag about it especially if you’re not planning to have one, which I think you don’t.

        • Jabs

          Sorry but not some little child into trying to play the game of my rig is better or more complicated than yours.
          The real point of the article seems to be the photographer’s ability to SOLVE a glaring problem of how to shoot accurately at HIGH magnification – lost on most here.
          If I was hired to do this type of photography, then what?
          WHAT would you do to replicate this?
          People used in the past El-Nikkor enlarging lenses reversed on Nikon made bellows and thus try and learn that yourself.
          It is not about the size or complexity (or lack of it) that counts but it is getting the JOB done and most here seem to fail to realize that MICRO-Nikkors cannot do this even when reversed.
          Seems like many did not understand WHAT a MACRO-Nikkor is versus a MICRO-Nikkor.
          A Macro-Nikkor is a screw mount microscope lens made years ago by Nikon and NO longer in production.
          A Micro-Nikkor lens does NOT go to such high magnifications EVEN when reversed on a bellows = the point.

          To answer your question – I would use whatever I have to if someone pays me to do so.

          • jdsl

            peace on that, bro.
            nice info though 😉

  • Jabs

    Nice series and very informative.
    Kudos to the photographer too.
    Perhaps we can expand this with some more on say, the old Nikon ring light system and bellows shooting in digital?

  • Jabs

    One more thing – I would enjoy a series on underwater photography using the current Nikon digital cameras in housings or even the old Nikonos series, especially one with the last Nikonos RS cameras.
    I love coral reef shots and the tropics.

    • I have an upcoming guest post about underwater photography but unfortunately it is not with the Nikons.

      • Jabs

        Did you mean that the upcoming article does NOT use Nikonos underwater cameras or not Nikon’s?
        Looking forward to that.

        • it does not use Nikonos, but it does use Nikon with an underwater housing – I haven’t seen the article yet

          • JorPet

            Oh, that is going to be so cool. Not only will it be a great subject, it is one that I can see myself moving into. Would love to take pictures while diving off of Hawaii.

  • Dweeb

    Not my thing but a very interesting and different article. That’s some wild looking rig too.

  • Jabs
  • m35g35

    Why not just use a microscope, faster and probably a lot cheaper. I am with the you IM, AF-S 105mm VRII is a lot easier.

    • Jabs

      Ever tried aiming a microscope or have you forgotten what a microscope is and how it is used?

  • Colin

    Zoom my 18-105 to 105mm, take my 50/1,8 AI-S, flip it around, hold it on the front of my lens, and get the exact same picture.

    #boring #macro

    • sd

      50mm Ai-s flipped around was exactly what I thought.

  • I’m really glad to have such articles on NR – something I think the admin may actually take clear advantage of as this site’s street cred skyrockets.

  • Nice equipment! 🙂

  • clam

    If you read the previous post, the 19mm f2.8 can do 20x magnification. Reversing a 50mm f1.8 in front of a 105mm lens will only give about 2x magnification (correct me if I’m wrong). Getting 20x magnification with reversed lenses would be very difficult.

    • Jason

      How do you calculate the magnification of stacked lenses?

      • Chris Lilley

        To a first approximation, its the ratio of the focal lengths. 50mm reversed on 200mm gives 4x.
        The easiest way is just to shoot a photo of a mm ruler, know your sensor size in mm, and go from there. If you see 6mm across the long side of the image and your sensor is 24mm across, you have 4x.

  • alienated

    Yeah,what a bunch of idiotic opinions here. The true power of this setup is in its abilities of the max resolution…


    I also like nikkor 105/2.8, but that´s a different league…

    • Jabs


      You beat me to it – lol.

  • Jabs

    Just a little note here:
    You can tell that many of you do not read the ‘headline material’ here or do not understand photography or worse.
    Tell me one lens that can do by itself 10X or 20X magnification of an image and then see your folly.
    Bellows and small Nikon Microscope MACRO-lenses plus adapters were used.
    Micro-Nikkors cannot do this by themselves, so perhaps you thank the Administrator and the guest blogger before showing us your ignorance.

    Perhaps you read first, eh?

    • Mock Kenwell

      Christ on a bike, Jabs. Could you please dial back the patronizing and confrontational attitude? One or two posts are skippable, but when you fire off a dozen posts and dominate the topic, you’re hard to avoid. We all know you know quite a bit, but do you have to take others down a peg with every post as well? You’re going to scare some of these poor people off.

    • Chris Lilley

      @Jabs, since you ask for “one lens” that can can do 10x by itself, there are of course many of them. Personally, for that I use the following lens.

      Nikon CF M Plan MI 10/0.25 210/- Microscope Objective

      on bellows. I don’t have one that does 20x yet, since vibration and stability and movement of camera in precise steps for stacking is already enough of an issue at 10x.

  • Why not just use a cheaper macro lens? With a bellows you hardly have to use a Nikkor on a Nikon……since you dont care about infinity any lens should work. And there are a hella of a lot cheaper macro lenses than that out there. Obscure glass from 40 years ago that isnt as rare can be had for a good deal these days………

    What magnification is the above image posted at? Doesnt look like 20x to me

    • Jabs

      Look here – from the original post.
      AND we are not discussing the artistic merit of the images.

      Macro-Nikkors comprises four lenses made for the Nikon Multiphot: 19mm, 35mm, 60mm, 120mm. Each lens is optimised for a restricted range of magnifications and together they cover the entire range from 1:1 up to 40:1. The optics are designed to yield top results wide-open and stopping down only serves to increase depth of field (and diffraction effects). Within their specified magnification range the lenses will cover up to 4×5″ format with ease.

      Got it???

      • Chris Lilley

        @Jabs: You quoted the rated magnifications, but didn’t answer the original question of what magnification these images are taken at (which is much lower). You also correctly quoted the sort of image circle the lens covers, while not wondering what the impact of that would be on design. Which would have led you to why the images are not taken at 20x – because they would be very soft, on an FX or DX sensor.

        @ChrisSin – yes, there are clearly better lenses to use for this and yes they would be less expensive. The basic setup with bellows would be much the same though, if a finite 20x microscope objective was used. Alternatively, a 200mm lens with an infinite 20x microscope objective could be used. Either way we are talking about 200-400 USD for the lens.

  • jdsl

    We are waiting for your guest post.

    You can display “Hello World!” (minus the quote) using COM/DCOM, STL, ODBC, SQL
    but it’s just one line in C.

    printf(“Hello World!”);

    • Jabs

      No thanks – I am too expensive for guest posts – LOL.
      I also do not like publicity.

  • Interesting piece of lens!
    That whole setup looked like some bulldozer though 😮

  • martimbac

    I find these articles intriguing. I don’t have any preconceived notions about what a photographic set-up should look like, or any preference for a particular lens, or any pseudo-philosophic stance about the nature of photography. I agree with a previous poster. You build what it takes to render an image. Thanks, Fabrizio, for broadening my concept of photography.

  • Would not be easier and much productive if we just lay down and appreciate what this dude did?

    This setup it is at least some “inspiration” for us to go for something different.

    Take what fit’s you, keep bad critics to yourself, share some good words.

    • martimbac

      Yes! And I love your work Igor.

  • talking about microscopes – does anyone remember this:

    it gives you up to x66 magnification

    • Chris Lilley

      Yes I remember it and you have to consider how magnification is calculated there. Its not really comparing like with like. The Fabre is an expensive toy.

      Nikon do make good microscope objectives which can be used (with bellows, or on a tube lens) for really great results on an slr.

      This is an interesting pair of guest posts, by the way and please do continue with them. My comments should be seen as comments on the detail of which lens to use on a setup like this, not on the usefulness of the setup in general.

  • Mock Kenwell

    Very cool lens. The article is fairly interesting if not incredibly informative. Part two has helped a lot. Thanks Fabrizio!

  • Leo

    I have that bellows and extension bellows, and tubes but not that fancy lens. When I tried that stuff in the past of course I could not get that magnification, but I still had a huge length of equipment that produced a not so great result. So maybe that lens with all that other stuff is the trick. One thing I do know from my past cameras, the S3IS Canon was wonderful for macro when used with some high quality closeup lenses in front of it, maybe not the tack sharp that Nikon users would demand, but I felt that the diffraction limiting still produced some very nice bug pictures at high magnification, far superior to my foot long lets stack all these bellows together thing. And I could hand hold it and actually let the image stabilizer help me. The key to that magnification is that tiny sensor. Sticking a bug on a full frame sensor is not impressive magnification at all, and the smaller sensor has naturally more depth of field. The best compromise may be some camera with a 4/3 sensor stabilized camera with good glass.

  • Johnny Sweeper

    What a waste of time to post this article

  • JorPet

    Fabrizio, thanks for taking the time to post this follow-up. Truly awesome set up there and the results are amazing. Haven’t had a chance to go through your gallery yet, but will when I have a few minutes.

    Thanks again for a great set of articles.

  • ja

    hi im from the uk and iv been trying to obtain the nikon below system this year and i was told by who by the way sell everything else except the PB-6 go figure that one, anyway they told me that the PB-6 is discontinued, which is isn’t good news!
    does anyone have any info in regards to nikon replacing the bellow system with an updated system or have they dropped totally and will i be forced to obtain a less professional looking setup, for as always i do try to maintain loyalty to brand as you wouldn’t buy a super sports car and then go to a back street mechanic for a service now would you ???
    so help is needed and if anyone knows its admin cheers
    and Merry christmas to all and all the best for 2011

    • @ja,
      I too went looking for the PB-6 and was also disapointed about it being discontinued. A quick search on the internet reviewed something interesting. The even older Nikon Bellow PB-4 was the better product because the front standard had swing/shift capabilities horizontally and tilt/shift when mounted vertically. Your best bet is to look on eBay, but be warned…they are very expensive and difficult to find. Fortunately NOVAFLEX (German Company) makes a bellows to do macro work. I believe they make a Canon version with the electronic connections being extended as well for autofocus and aperature.

    • Chris Lilley

      Nikon seems to have abandoned their high-power macro systems. Your best bet for a Nikon bellows is second hand, a PB-4 or PB-6. If it has to be purchased by your university against a purchase order (so ebay won’t do) then Novoflex (note spelling) is, as mentioned by Dr Sci, your best bet for a new bellows. see here.

  • Nihilist Sage

    What tripod head is that?

    • Manfrotto Gear Head I believe.

  • *gear envy*

  • Smudger

    Nice try.

    Unfortunately, this review is way over the heads of most folk here as the comments demonstrate. Misleading pictures & inacuracies in the text don’t help. – f1!!

  • dochamilton

    I have a Nikon bellows setup and it’s extremely difficult to use with my D3. I had abandoned all hope of taking interesting photos using my setup, but this post has rekindled my thoughts of putting my setup together and trying it out again. One thing I know is, a TON of light is needed =-)

    Thanks NR for posting this… now where are the spyshots of a D800?

  • dochamilton

    … so a follow up from my previous post – I checked out his website – awesome work all around!

    … now about those D800 spyshots?

  • Simon

    I’d love to see the author shoot some jumping spider eyes with this rig! Or maybe moth antennae. Or even the noses of the presidents on our currency…

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