Reversible Macro Adapter for Nikon G Lenses

A huge number of hobbyists using Nikon DSLR cameras have Nikon 'G' type lenses. It is rather difficult to use a reversible macro adapter for macro photography with these lenses for one simple reason - they do not have an aperture control ring. In this article I will tell you how to get around this drawback and shoot “macro” and super-macro with such lenses.

What are G-type lenses and what is an aperture ring - read in section 'Types of Nikon Lenses'. Under each picture in this article there is a short spoiler explanation - just read.

Ordinary simple G-type whale lens for Nikon DX cameras

Ordinary simple G-type whale lens for Nikon DX cameras

For the 'G' type I will use the simplest kit Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM.

This is how the front lens of the lens and the thread under the front filter look.

This is how the front lens of the lens and the thread under the front filter look.

A very easy way to get such a lens to shoot in macro mode is to use the reversible macro adapter. The essence of the adapter is very simple - one part of it is screwed into the thread of the front lens filter, and the other part is installed into the camera mount. Thus, we get the opportunity to install the lens on the camera back and forth, that is, with the front lens to the camera mount, and the rear lens to the subject.

More details about this method of macro shooting can be found in the section 'Reversible Macro Adapter'.

It looks like a reversible macro adapter

It looks like a reversible macro adapter

Such an adapter is also called 'reversing ring', 'reversing ring', 'wrap ring', 'wrap ring', 'macro adapter', etc., but the essence remains the same. I use a Soviet-made reversible macro adapter called KO-N / 52.

The adapter has no additional lenses in the middle

The adapter does not have any additional lenses.

To find the right adapter for your lens, you need to know the diameter of the lens filter. Typically the diameter is indicated by a 'Ø' mark near the front lens or on the lens barrel. All modern lenses have an indication of the filter diameter. The photo below shows where to find these values ​​for Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM.

Lens designation

Lens designation. Diameter is 52mm

When the diameter of the front filter is known, it is enough to find the appropriate adapter, in our case you need to look for '52mm Nikon Reversible Macro Adapter'. I bought my adapter for about $ 5, which is hundreds of times cheaper than buying an expensive specialized macro lens.

Here is the adapter installed in the camera mount

Here is the adapter installed in the camera mount

To use the adapter, you need:

  1. Install the adapter into the camera mount, and then mount the lens onto the adapter. On the adapter there is a label for its docking with a bayonet label. The adapter mounts like a regular lens.
  2. Or, first screw the adapter onto the lens, and then install such a bundle on the camera. With some lenses, the first method will be more convenient, with others - the second.
This is what the adapter looks like, wound onto the lens before mounting on the camera

This is what the adapter looks like, wound onto the lens before mounting on the camera

After installation, the assembled system may look a little funny.

This is how the assembled installation for macro shooting looks like

This is how the assembled installation for macro photography looks like. The lens is facing backwards.

However, if you look through the camera's viewfinder now, you will see only darkness or very dim light. This is because the standard position of the lens aperture is closed, and it opens only when installed in the camera mount using the aperture control lever.

It looks like the aperture control on the Nikon lens

It looks like the aperture control on the Nikon lens

In the normal (not inverted) position of the lens, the camera itself moves this lever, closing or opening the aperture to the desired value. You can move this lever with your fingers as a slider - left and right and make sure that at the same time the aperture blades open and close. This does not harm the lens.

Homemade aperture controller

Home-made aperture controller, which allows you to open the aperture to the desired value.

To open the diaphragm, you need to move the lever slightly to the right. If you move it all the way to the right, then we get the maximum open aperture, which will be useless for macro photography due to the small depth of field. I secured the lever in the middle position with a small piece of plain paper (see photo above). In the middle position in the optical viewfinder, you can already see the subject, and the depth of field will be sufficient to create macro photographs.

Now you can start shooting, here are my recommendations when shooting such a setup with your hands:

  1. You need to put the camera in manual shooting mode M. This is done using the mode dial on the top of the camera, or using the 'Mode' button.
  2. Set ISO to 200 or higher to your liking.
  3. Set the shutter speed, for example, I used 1/160 seconds. The aperture value has already been set using white paper.
  4. In the camera menu, set manual control of the flash power and set there a value, for example, equal to 1/2 of the full power.
  5. Raise the built-in flash. This is done using the button with the lightning bolt icon, which is usually located to the left of the flash on the camera body. You can shoot without a flash if there is very good lighting.
  6. For the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6G ED SWM lens, set 55 mm focal length, in this position it is easiest to shoot.
  7. Bring the camera to the subject. Focus using Live View or the optical viewfinder by moving the camera toward and away from the subject. The focus ring in this position of the lens is not always convenient to use.
  8. To take a photo. If you have not received a sharp image, you should more carefully focus. If you get a picture with the wrong exposure (dark or light), change the ISO or flash output settings

This method of shooting is not very comfortable, but it still allows you to get good macro shots with a magnification factor sometimes greater than specialized macro lenses.

Here's what I got with using such a bunch on the camera Nikon D80:

If you do the control of the diaphragm not with the help of a white piece of paper, which costs nothing, but with the help of special means, then such an installation will cost about 200 cu To do this, you need to buy a special Nikon AR-3 trigger cable, a special Nikon BR-4 or Nikon BR-6 ring for iris control, and a Nikon BR-2 or Nikon BR-2A reversing adapter. The BR-4 or BR-6 ring allows you to control the aperture value on G-type lenses using the AR-3 cable, and the BR-2 or BR-2A adapter is no different from what I used for the review.

Related articles on macro photography:

  1. A bunch of two macro lenses
  2. Macro rings
  3. General Reverse Lens Adapter
  4. DIY macro lens
  5. The use of rangefinder optics on SLR cameras for macro shooting
  6. How to squeeze the maximum macro from the lens?
  7. For macro, focus bracketing will often be useful.
  8. Nikon DX AF-S Micro Nikkor 85mm 1: 3.5G ED VR SWM IF Micro1: 1 review
  9. Nikon 105mm f / 2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor review

If you have questions, ask them in the comments. Thanks for attention. Arkady Shapoval.

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Comments: 25, on the topic: Reversible macro adapter for Nikon G lenses

  • Oleg

    how many perversions. and all you had to do was add a f-stop ring, as Fuji does even on modern lenses

    • Arkady Shapoval

      For a complete picture, I can add that Fujifilm was not able to grow into a modern SLR camera, and those that were - used a bayonet mount and Nikon lenses, for example S5 Pro :)

      • Sergei

        then for completeness, we add that Nikon could not be born into its own matrix, shutters, etc.
        a long time ago Nikon even designed matrices, and in recent years he just bought them on the side. locks were bought along the way, other parts - all according to fashionable OEM / ODM.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          This is already beyond the scope of this article.

    • Lynx

      how to file the “diaphragm ring in order to use the lens as a macro by turning it upside down” is still a perversion.

  • Oleg

    Fuji did everything right - SLR camera in the furnace of history, long live mirrorless (successors of rangefinders)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Let him live, but this does not change matters.

    • Yuriy75

      After Fuji launched the Fujifilm Finepix S3200 ultrasound, it must be sent to the furnace of history along with marketers and engineers. And Arkady thanks a lot for the work, the person shows how you can get an excellent result, using morally obsolete and very inexpensive equipment, free of charge, by the way. Thanks again, Arkady.

  • Andrei

    I use this method with this lens.

  • serghs

    Entertaining experience! Arkady, did you feel any dependence of the macro shooting distance on the MDF of a specific lens instance?

  • Evgeny*

    I rarely use it, but still ... 70-200 2.8 tamron + nikkor 50 1.4. I glued a threaded ring from a light filter to the 77mm reversing ring, removed the glass by removing the spring. The TV set sits on a regular basis and fifty dollars with a coup at the end ... a monster in one word ... a microscope but a strong vignette. Arkady seems to have already written about such a bundle.

  • i-hero-in

    So this is how to shoot with a whale lens ?! And I really thought they weren't good for anything ...

    • Lynx

      I repeat the obvious truth - you are not having problems with the whale lens.

      • i-hero-in

        I agree! Problems are different ... And the whale lies quietly in the box ... Doesn't ask for food or drink ...

  • Nicholas

    There are many ways to shoot macro :) ... this option is budgetary and effective :) ... the second way, for this 18-55mm to buy macro rings or macro lenses, budget and effective :) ... the kit itself is 18-55mm GREAT lens, snow itself started shooting macro :)
    Now I have 105mm :) ... but in some cases these 105mm are not enough :) ... I planted an inverted 105mm Helios on 50mm :)) ... the result, a meager depth of field, but half-millimeter and millimeter insects are great, but it's hard work :)) ...
    well, for a complete perversion, but also a complete positive result, some macro photographs cling to their lenses, objective lenses that are used in the microscope :) ...

  • Sibirayk

    Tell me why the Nikon 3100 does not remove when installing the lens through the reversing ring.
    That is, the click itself is not performed, like I do everything as described here

  • mihon

    Guys, tell me how to make the flash work on the Nikon D5200? I can’t understand, it says install a lens with a chip or something like that. Help

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In the camera menu, set manual control of the flash power and set there a value, for example, equal to 1/2 of the full power.

  • mihon

    Thank you. Do not immediately fill it.

  • Vladlen

    Arkady, well done, thank you very much for your efforts, excellent article and very good advice!

  • Stanislas

    Arkady, hello! What can you say about macro lenses that are wound instead of filters?

  • Natalie

    Thanks! That is, all the settings need to be done upside down? It seems to me that the picture became visible in the viewfinder, more precisely in Lv, the shutter worked, but the memory card is empty, that is, a dark spot ... The picture is not played back ...

  • Natalie

    I also wanted to ask if such twisting-twisting is harmful to the matrix? Does the dust get there?

    • KalekseyG

      each change of lens can help to bring in dust, but also glasses with the effect of a vacuum cleaner also spoil the matrix

      • Sviatoslavkm

        To that very fact profі know on two carcases and two fixi !!))

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