Nikon D800 Tests: Spider - 105mm, 2.0x TC, +4 Close-up Filter, Flash JPEG
This was done with a Nikon 105mm f.28, with a 2.0x TC, and a +4 Close-up Filter, using Flash. Unlike my 24-70mm tests using stacked Close-up filters, I did not see any advantage using a close-up filter on the 105mm, either with or without the 2.0x TC. In fact I was unable to use the same "stack" with the 105mm as I did with the 24-70mm f2.8. This is partly do to the below.
When using one or more Close-up Filters the resulting magnification actually reduces the minimum focus distance (MFD) of the lens. This can be an advantage with lenses like the 24-70mm f2.8 which has a MFD of about 0.4m. The Close-up Filter(s) allow you to magnify and reduce this MFD to less than half that.
But when used on a macro lens like the 105mm, the Macro optics actually require you to increase Focal Distance (and reduce magnification) via the focus ring. I find that the magnification increase is reduced by the fact you will reduce the lenses overall magnification by focusing at 1:1.2 or 1:1.3 magnification as opposed to 1:1 magnification you get at the same distance. Yes, you can move closer to the subject, as MFD is still reduced, in order to obtain 1:1, but at this point you are basically at the same magnification (1:1) as without the Close-up Filters, but must struggle with having the lens just a few inches from subject... in other words, same magnification with more setup and focus work.
I also noticed a more blown specular highlights, diffraction, and color aberration (fringing), as you can see along the edge of the leaf and within the translucent legs and at the hairs. Unlike my prior "Stacked Close-up Filter" tests, this one was shot with 2 strobes, as this spider refused to stand still and required a much faster shutter speed. The flash may have contributed to the blown specular highlights & diffraction, but more importantly it made focusing at near 1:1 extremely difficult at the reduced MFD.
In short, I will not be using Stacked Close-up Filters on my Macro lenses, as I see no true advantages, especially on micro subject that are not static.
Camera: NIKON D800 - Lens: AF VR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED - Focal Length: 210mm - Aperture: f36
ISO: 500 - Shutter: 1/100 sec.
Originals Available at: www.geneinman.com/nikon_d800