Nikon Small World photomicrography competition

House spider's face by Harold Taylor of Kensworth, UK

For 38 years Nikon has been running the Small World photomicrography competition. The Dailymail and Popular Science have published an amazing selection of Small World photographs. The entire gallery can be found here. The deadline for the 2012 competition is April 30th, 2013.

The contest now includes also videos. Here is the 2011 video winner - ink injection into yolk sac artery of 72 hour-old chick embryo to visualize the beating heart and the vasculature:

Nikon Small World 2011 top 10 photographs:

More Small World videos can be found on one of Nikon's YouTube channels.

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  • Art

    And people wonder what the incredible cropping factor that is available in the D800 is for …..


  • Jabs

    OK – let’s fire up our D800E’s plus 105 Macros and enter this contest to lose your copyright and become famous or infamous – LOL

  • number 3!

    That is pretty amazing! Any objections from animal protection groups?

    dont forget to stop down to f22!

  • CJ

    It’s a small world alright, small sensors, smaller still compacts, smaller and less costly lenses, small AF tracking areas, small selection of DX lenses, smaller choices of services points….big profit

  • Jeremy

    Geez, and I thought bugs were ugly from far away.

  • Damn good image. Now I know where the horror film guys get their ideas.

  • Pablo

    I’m not an animal activist or anything… But who chosed that as the winner???
    I actually had to stop watching the video!

    • Aldo

      I have to agree with you. I thought it was pretty cruel myself. You are a sick bastard if you play with a fertilized egg. If you are not gonna eat it, leave it the fuck alone.

      • legion515

        The person who did it was almost certainly an embryologist: a scientist who studies developmental biology.

        I suppose you and others will call me a cruel bastard, but during my PhD research I probably experimented on over 500 dozen chick embryos and hundreds of pregnant mice and pups (baby mice). If you think stem cell biology and regenerative medicine are good things, this research is necessary to drive advances in those fields. If you don’t, well, then you can turn it down if presented as a therapeutic option to you in a few decades.

        And I did eat the extra eggs that I did not need for my research. Fresh fertilized eggs are so much better than what you can buy in a grocery store.

        By the way, the injection was into a vein; arteries transport blood away from the heart.

        • Aldo

          How many lives did the ink injection saved? Necessary evil is one thing… but to showcase it deliberately is against certain ethics that a nerd will never understand, that’s why they are in a lab taking orders from someone who doesn’t know what “c” means in e=mc^2.

          • PhD

            It saved mine! Now I know not to inject ink into my veins

            And everyone knows the “c” stands for cucumber, we’re not all stupid.

  • Jon

    This is disgusting… Shame on them…

  • Minimum cropped, available light, single 250watt bulb,

    • Funduro

      Nice capture. I see your lens on this shot was the 105 f/2.8 VR did you use a TC or tube, or just the DX setting plus cropping ?

      • Thanks, I used 2x TC (210mm), and cropped away about 20%.

        • Héhé . nice tip .. the 2x TC … will try it

  • Troll number one

    9 comments and no one has mentioned the D400 yet?

    That must be a new record.

    • D400

      D400 :O)

  • c

    that is kind of a nasty thing to do to a living thing don’t you think? maybe if michael vick injected ink into the dog’s heart instead of fighting it he wouldn’t have ended up in jail.

    • The Mayans are right

      The world ends in 64 days anyway. What kind of a life would the chicken have had?

      Getting a little die injected into you veins is mild discomfort compared to getting an astroid in the face.

    • Abraham Collins

      Abortion debate ensuing in T-minus 60 seconds.

  • I am always amazed by these pictures. They are quite remarkable, but they are so often pictures of insects/spiders. I can see the logic of it, but hasn’t it become a bit of a cliche?

  • tengris

    “Nikon Small World photomicrography competition”.

    Well, what a sarcasm. I still have the 80s catalogues anywhere, full of professional quality lenses and special equipment for macro- and microphotography. Today the “Small World” ends at 1:1 magnification. Not even a fucking AF(-S) extension ring by the former premium provider in professional photography.

    So what about a “Nikonos Wet World underwater photography competition”? The winner gets a Coolpix in an ewamarine plastic bag. Or an outdoor cellphone. What about that android toy, is it waterproof?

    • legion515

      I share your frustration. However, you must realize that Nikon also makes high end microscopes and microscope lenses used by scientists around the world. While some of the photos are made only with DSLRs, many are made by mounting a camera (DSLR or otherwise) to a microscope.

      Those are the customers that Nikon promotes this contest to, not people that like to shoot macro photos with their DSLRs.

      But yes, I’d love to see Nikon make a new lens that is made for better than 1:1 magnification.

      • tengris

        Well, macrophotography and photography through a microscope is not exactly the same thing. If you adapt your camera to a microscope, the optical system is still a microscope. Microscopes are intended to be used for more or less transparent or semitransparent objects. Microscope lenses do not have an aperture, the aperture is in the codensor lighting below the object table. If you want to shoot details of small insects that way, you need to bleech them in some chemical stuff und prepare them for microscopy. In short words, that’s mainly a job for white collar scientists, not for us photographers.

        What’s missing is the range from 1:1 to 5:1 or 10:1, where the classic Macro Nikkors or Luminars or Photars resided. I still have two microphotograpy lenses from Minolta and Olympus, but that’s technology of the 70s. Of course they still work, as well as many other vintage lenses work well, but technology would have evolved a bit meanwhile.

    • Here’s one I took at higher magnification than 1:1 with a Nikon D7000, Sigma 105mm f/2.8, 68mm of extension tubes, and an off-camera SB-600 flash:

      Laboring Ant

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