Phyllis was kind enough to take the kids to school this morning. I spent my free time in the garden photographing water drops in the morning sun using my Kirk Low Pod and a new toy, a Nikon PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8 lens. This is an 85mm macro lens, roughly 127mm in 35mm terms. The “PC” isn’t short for “politically correct”; it stands for “perspective correction.”
In a way, this lens is back to the future for my thoroughly modern digital SLR. The Nikon PC Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/2.8 provides some tilts and swings, like an old-fashioned view camera. But there’s no automation. Auto-focus doesn’t work. The light meter doesn’t work. This is a manual exposure affair (instant feedback via the LCD makes manual exposure a snap).
The lens doesn’t even stop itself down automatically. You set the f/stop manually, then press a lever to view and focus through the lens wide open (so you can see what you are doing). When you are ready to make an exposure, you press the little lever again first to stop the lens down.
The point of the lens are the tilts and swings, which (among other things) help with the depth-of-field problem of extreme close-ups. In addition, the lens is designed for maximum depth-of-field with an f/45 smallest aperture and an iris with more than usual blades, leading to an attractive bokeh on out-of-focus items at small apertures.
Using this lens does remind of those good old view camera days.
These images of water drops on our alstroemerias (Peruvian Lilies) captured with the rig I’ve described and and a 36mm extension tube. Each exposure approximately 0.4 of a second with the aperture set to f/45 for an effective aperture including the tilt and extension tube of about f/60.
View this image larger.