Slide copying with the Nikon ES-1, BR-5 adapters and the Nikkor Micro AF-S 105mm f/2.8 ED VR lens

Slide copying by K. Jayaram, a nature photographer from India:

I have used slide films for over four decades. I have been wanting to copy some of the important slides and tried copying and scanning with no satisfying results. After a serious hunt, I came across the Nikon slide copying attachment ES-1. But the problem with it is that it has been designed exclusively for use with Micro Nikkor AF 60mm f/2.8 D lens or with Micro Nikkor AF 55mm f/2.8 with three extension tubes to make 1:1 magnification.

Since I already have a Micro Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/2.8 ED VR lens, I did not want to invest in another macro lens. So, I started experimenting by copying the slides in a crude manner and found out that I can copy the 35mm slides with my 105mm lens with a certain amount of extension in front of the lens.

So, I ventured for the Nikon ES-1 slide copying adapter and Nikon BR-5 adapter ring. It wasn’t sufficient and I still had to push the magnification a little farther away from the lens. So, I bought a cheap non-auto Chinese extension tube and a Nikon BR-2A reverse ring and Nikon BR-3 mount adapter ring (see picture above).

With this array of close up attachments, I was able to copy my 35mm slides full frame and the results are far better than any scanning method with a full frame sensor. I used the following setup for copying the 35mm slides:

  1. Nikon D800 and now D850 body.
  2. Micro Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/2.8 ED VR lens attached to the body.
  3. Nikon BR-5 attached to the front of the 105mm lens (62mm thread).
  4. Nikon BR-2A attached to the Nikon BR-5 (52mm thread).
  5. Cheap non-auto Chinese extension tube set (one model comes with a screw thread adjustment in between) attached to the bayonet mount of the BR-2A mount.
  6. Nikon BR-3 is attached the bayonet mount of the extension tube.
  7. Nikon ES-1 is finally attached to the 52mm screw thread of BR-3 ring.
  8. With this setup, pull or push the ES-1 inner extension tube to set the frame and focusing distance.
  9. Use Matrix metering, Center-Weighted or Spot metering depending on the subject and size of the image, Aperture priority with f/8 or f/11 at ISO 100. I shoot in diffused daylight through the window and the camera mounted on a tripod.  Flash with diffuser in TTL or manual mode is also suitable.
  10. Shoot in RAW so that color, contrast, color cast, scratches and dust can be eliminated either in Lightroom or in Photoshop.
  11. Many are concerned with copying the negatives. A modified plastic mount (please see the attached YouTube video) or a cardboard slide mount (without sealing) can be used as a negative holder.  Recently, a special negative holder for ES-1 has been introduced in Amazon:

Here is the video for more information (make sure your volume is down):

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