Nikon BR-2A - How to use?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by dalvin200, May 13, 2007.

  1. dalvin200 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #1
    Hi,

    I've done a quick search and couldn't really find any info, hence posting..

    I have a nikon D50 and the other day wanted to shoot some real close up shots (maybe about 5-10cm away from subject) but the macro mode wouldn't allow me to do this using the 18-55mm kit lens.

    Then i remembered that maybe I need a macro lens (being new to this of course!), but while i was searching around the net I came across a "Nikon BR-2A", which is very cheap - around £30..

    it allows you to screw the kit lens backwards giving you the close up macro functionality that a macro lends would, for a very very cheap alternative.

    Has anyone used this? And is is worth it?

    Does it work?

    How do you use it? You screw this thing onto the camera, and then screw the 18-55 lens (reversed) onto it?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. juanm macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    Fury 161
    #2
    A few things.

    On a reflex (aka SLR), all those modes (Night portrait, landscape, Macro) are pretty much useless. On a point and shoot, the macro mode allows the lens to actually focus much closer by "physically unlocking" the lens.
    On an SLR, the lens is the same, and if it doesn't have a real macro mode, it doesn't have it. Period. The infamous "macro" setting is just a comercial feature to prevent you to say, if it wasn't there "Hey, how is that the D40 doesn't have a macro mode and the Canon rebel has it? I'll take the Canon".
    I suspect it has another purpose. In every picture you take in program mode, the camera takes in account a lot of factors.
    For instance, it will measure the light in different areas of the frame. If, to take a simple example, it detects that 1. the upper part is very light, 2. the bottom is dark. 3. In the center it's dark too, it'll compare this to its internal database, and probably come up with a result like this:
    The data are the same that in the reference picture number 34398, ergo this is probably a portrait of somebody (the dark center of the frame) in front of a landscape, because the sky is light (the upper part of the picture) and the ground is darker (the bottom).
    In this equation (comparing the image in front of the lens to its internal database) it takes in account the subject distance too. For instance, in the previous example, it would have seen that the center of the frame (the people) was 9 feet away, and the upper portion was at infinity (the sky).

    WARNING! DON'T READ THIS IF YOU'RE -VERY- EASILY OFFENDED! ;)
    With the idiot modes, you are only giving a tip to the camera even though in P it works generally fine, she's "smarter" or "savvier" than the average user 99% of the times. With the macro, you might be overriding the camera-subject distance... But again, she's already smart enough to know it!
    On the other hand, those modes just give the user the feeling he's doing something, and he hasn't paid 600 $ for a point and shoot camera.
    It's the same thing with the manual mode. Often, people just set the mode dial on M to feel like they've chosen the exposure. Alas, when they do so, it's often only to make the exposure arrows match the 0

    + l l l 0 l l l -
    _<-----l
    "How, that's overexposed!"

    *turns the dials*

    + l l l 0 l l l -
    ______l
    "Now, that's better, let's press the shutter!"


    Sadly, the meter on the camera is just saying what the camera thinks is the correct exposure (what she'd have set if it was in P mode) so by doing this you are only manually turning the dials to get exactly what the camera'd have done automatically, but she's still deciding!
    The correct way to use the manual exposure is looking at your scene. Deciding which part you want to be well exposed (or not, you may want to overexpose intentionally), set the spot or, if you don't have it the center metering. The smaller is the metering area, the better you can narrow the area you want to expose correctly. Once you've decided the area you want well exposed, you point exactly at it with the spot metering, and you turn the dials to get the 0 mark. Now, you can reframe, and press the shutter with total confidence of having done it yourself.
    An alternative (not he only one) would be setting the P mode, the spot metering, pointing where you want, pressing the AE-L button (locks the exposure), reframing, and shooting.

    Now, have fun. :)
     
  3. juanm macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    Fury 161
    #3
    Wow, I didn't notice I had offended a semi-god!

    *Bows down respectfully*

    Well, I'll try to answer more directly.
    The inverters were a good idea quite a few years ago. Today, you wouldn't be able to set the aperture, because the 18-55 is a G lens (no diaphragm ring). You'd have to keep retaing the small aperture tab with one finger, or working only at f/22 (as the lens has a natural tendency to close the diaphragm when idle).
    The best options are close-up lenses (+2, for instance, look on bhphoto.com) you'd put on the front of your 18-55, or a true macro lens. I think the D40 can't take old non-G lenses, so you'd have to go for the 105 VR (which is a marvel, btw!). I'm not aware of third party lenses, but my advice usually goes against them. The problem is the 105 is expensive (around twice the price of you camera, I think).
    For now, unless you live in Japan and can find it cheap, go for the close-up lenses...
     
  4. dalvin200 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #4
    Nikon 4T?

    Hey Juan,

    Thanks for the response :)

    Even though I didn't quite understand a lot of it (a bit too technical), I understood that it's better (ie, cheaper) to go for a macro attachment lens thing..

    Maybe like the Nikon 4T?

    Does anyone know if the 4T fits the d50 kit lens (18-55mm)?

    And how close uop can you get? I mean, can you take a pic of an ant (insect) right up close so you can actually see the detail on it?

    Thanks

    PS: I did kind of think the photo modes (portrait etc..) are mostly a gimmick thing :D
     
  5. juanm macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    Fury 161
    #5
    You're welcome

    Read my replies again, I'll be happy to answer your questions about what I wrote. I'm thinking about doing a technical part on my website, so any input is welcome. What did you understand? What wasn't clear?

    About the close-up lenses, I don't think they'll be enough to get real close ups of ants (unless they're really big, and in this case, you should call 911 :D) But it depends on the combo lens+close-up you're using, so I cannot say for sure.
    Avoid Nikon expensive brand for things like this. Do a search (close-up) on BHphoto.com and you'll find much more choice (and cheaper) in other brands. You can find kits +1/+2/+3 which look interesting.
     
  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    Front-of-the-lens magnification adapters need to have the same diameter as the lens, or you'll need step-up adapters for them. Extension tubes really want a lens with an aperture ring on it (but you can use lots of cheap used lenses since you're not going to be using AF for macro anyway. Macro lenses say what magnification they go up to.

    The Tamron 90mm macro is one of the sharpest, I think the latest version is ~$500 and it goes to 1:1. This is the lens I'd get if I wanted to do lots of macro work (even over the 105mm Nikkor and 60mm Nikkor.)

    A full set of Kenko tubes is about $170, throw in another $120 for a 50mm f/1.8 lens and you're around $300, but it'll be more difficult to focus than a dedicated macro lens.

    You can get cheaper 3rd party macro lenses, it all depends on how much shooting you'll want to do. You might want to browse KEH for lenses in the Nikon mount that are in whatever price range you're interested in. Focal length will equate to working distance, so a 60mm will have a shorter working distance than a 200mm does.

    Edit:

    For ants, you'll want the 50mm and a full set of Kenko tubes. Here's a link with someone using Canon's 50./1.8 and the full tube set:

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=312085
     
  7. dalvin200 thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    #7
    The stuff about M and that diagram you drew :)
    I mainly use my d50 on P with ISO of 200-800 depending on light etc..
    and sometimes on Auto, but this is where I have to learn more about photography and the different settings etc..

    Yeah, maybe the close up of the ant was a bit exaggerated ;) What about Bees in flowers? or even close ups of flowers/plants for example?
    Would that be acheiveable with good results?

    Like I said above, I have the Nikon D50 using the Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens.

    Thanks compuwar, but what I dont want to have to do is:

    1) carry lens around with me
    2) spend more than £50 (~$90-100)

    The add-on lens will be small and light and will cost a lot less.. ok, it won't yield as good as results as a dedicated macro lens itself, but it should do the job?

    This is what I am hoping some of you guys will help me out on please :)
     
  8. juanm macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    Fury 161
    #8
    It should work great for bees, flowers, and such.

    The problem, compuwar, is that the D50 only takes G lenses, I think. I'm not sure it would accept the ones you said (I could be wrong, I'm not aware of other brands offerings!) Besides, I love my 105 VR! I didn't like the old 105, though.

    It's true, I forgot to tell you about the filter size. Make sure of your filter diameter (it's marked inside the lens front cap (it's probably around 58 mm). You could use a step-up ring (aka filter size adapter ring :D ) which would allow you to use bigger filters. Go to a good photography shop and they'll help you. Then, you can buy at bhphoto.com! :D

    The M stands for Manual mode: you manually chose the shutter speed and the diaphragm opening.
    The diagram represents the exposure meter you see in the viewfinder of your camera. ;)

    Use P with auto iso and, if you're not sure, bracket! Read you camera manual for this!
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    1. You can't reverse a G lens, there's no aperture ring to set the aperture by.
    2. You could use a Canon 500D if the lens diameter is right.
    3. The 50/1.8 is (a) small (b) cheap new and (c) useful for shooting in low light anyway.

    Maybe look for a used 50mm/1.8 (you'll want that 1.8 for the light loss the tubes will bring.)

    You could also search for 3rd party lenses that'll do macro.
     
  10. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #10
    Nope, the D50 is perfectly happy with AF-D type lenses.

    http://www.nikonians.org/nikon/slr-lens.html

    Nothing wants G-only lenses, the D40 wants AF-S for autofocus. You cannot reverse a G lens, there's no way to set the aperture without the contacts on the body.
     
  11. juanm macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Location:
    Fury 161
    #11
    I just looked, and it look I was wrong, and you should be able to use non G lenses. (Ask somebody who knows about low end Nikon bodies to be sure.)
    But the close-up lenses should still be the best option.

    comp, you beat me! :D
     

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