PN-11 or Standard extension tubes for Nikon AI 105mm f/4.0 MF Macro lens

Started May 23, 2013 | Questions thread
Joseph S Wisniewski
Forum ProPosts: 34,025Gear list
PN-11 all the way...
In reply to Gpruitt54, May 24, 2013

Gpruitt54 wrote:

Does it make since to purchase a PN-11 extension tube for this lens?


I have a set of extension tubes that I use with my lens.  Is there something special about the PN-11 that makes it worth buying?

Here's seven reasons why it makes sense. The first three of these have already been pointed out...

  • It gets you exactly to 1:1 (Added bonus, for anything scientific, you get to use the magnification scale on your 105).
  • Tripod collar. A fully extended 105 on a tube hanging off the front of the camera is not the most stable thing in the world.
  • It's tight and sturdy.
  • 360 degree rotating tripod collar. I cannot stress how useful this is. Macro isn't like landscape or portrait. There are no "Dutch angles", no crooked horizons. Subjects fill the frame, and the background is a blur. You are free to pick whatever angle works for your shot. The PN-11 facilitates this, easily and smoothly.
  • Wide optical path. This doesn't mean anything right now, because you're shooting on a D200, but someday, you might end up with FF. An FF sensor has a 43mm diagonal. My Kenko three-tube-set, love it as I do, does not have anywhere near a 43mm internal diameter. Longer macro lenses, or long extensions from stacking the tubes, leads to vignetting. I like my images to have those, oh, what do you call them, where the edges meet? Oh yeah: corners.
  • 360 degree rotating tripod color, redeux. If you've ever worked low, with your center column inverted and the camera hanging upside down, it's a pain. Rotate that tripod collar 180 degrees, and you can have a camera hanging right-side-up. You can put it on a side arm and still have a camera right-side-up. (added bonus. I have, on more than one occasion, mounted a little flash on the PN-11 when using it hand-held.
  • It works in front of Nikon teleconverters. Nikon's TC-14E, 17E, 20E, and 201 (a great converter for macro) have protruding front elements. The rear opening of the PN-11 can accommodate that element. You can, believe it or not, stack a 200mm f4 AF-D, a PN-11, a TC-20E, and a camera, and get up to 2.7x at a working distance of over 200mm. That is incredibly handy. Get your hands on a TC-201 or 20E, and you can take your 105 right up to 2x.

To borrow from Aaron Sussman, having a 105mm micro Nikkor and not having a PN-11 is a little like having a leash but not a puppy.

OK, it's not that quite bad, but it's bad enough.

I am using a Nikon D200 camera with older and newer lens.  My other lenses are 50mm AF 1.8, 18-70mm AF DX, 200mm MF AI-s, 300mm MF AI.

You can have a lot of fun with a PN-11 and a 300mm.

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Rahon Klavanian 1912-2008.
Armenian genocide survivor, amazing cook, scrabble master, and loving grandmother. You will be missed.
Ciao! Joseph

 Joseph S Wisniewski's gear list:Joseph S Wisniewski's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Nikon D90 Nikon D2X Nikon D3 Nikon D100 +43 more
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