As a follow up to my recent article Using Nikon 1 for Flower Photography, I thought it would be fun to use my Nikon 1 V2 and Nikon 1 CX 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 VR and Vello Auto-Focus Extension Tubes to capture some images of bees and insects in my garden.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge
In order to make this article as relevant as I could for owners of Nikon 1 gear I captured all of the images in this article hand-held and composed them using the rear screen of my Nikon 1 V2. So, whether you own an S-series, J-series or V-series Nikon 1 camera these images are representative of the types of images that can be captured with your camera.
At the outset I actually had an article concept to shoot some macro images with my Nikon 1 V2, FT-1 adapter and my Nikkor FX 105 mm f/2.8 Micro VR lens. It didn’t take long before I dropped that idea.
The auto-focus on my Nikkor 105 mm hunted like crazy and I found the set-up heavy and uncomfortable to use hand-held. I was also trying to shoot with the lens wide open and I found I was getting quite a bit of purple fringing. Since my percentage of keepers wasn’t very high, I decided to shift my approach and use extension tubes instead.
I found the auto-focus performance with the Nikon 1 30-110 mm using the extension tubes was quick and accurate. This allowed me to easily capture images of various bees and insects as they flitted from plant to plant.
I used AF-S with single point AF, auto white balance and auto-ISO. I shot in Manual mode using an aperture of f/5.6 and shutter speeds between 1/1000 and 1/1600. This was to compensate for the breezy conditions and also movement of the subject insects.
In some cases I only had enough time to grab a couple of quick shots before the subject insect moved on. This was certainly the case with the bees. I’ve included a selection of bee images in this article to reinforce the point that with a bit of practice the keeper rate using the Nikon 1 V2/30-110 mm/Vello extension tube set-up can be quite high.
I was shooting under mainly bright, sunny conditions and I’ve included metering information in the EXIF data for you. From time to time I did shoot subjects in dark shade.
In terms of shooting macro-type photographs with my Nikon 1 V2 and choosing between using the Nikon 1 30-110 mm with Vello extension tubes or my FX Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8 VR with FT-1 adapter, the 30-110 mm would win hands-down. Sometimes the best solution isn’t always the most expensive one.
For those of you who have been following my Nikon 1 articles and the use of Vello Extension Tubes, you’ll know that I’ve been experiencing some quality issues with these tubes.
As a result I’ve been having some ongoing communications with the folks at the Gradus Group about the Vello extension tubes.
I was recently advised that they will be acting on my recommendation to redesign these tubes with metal mounts in order to improve quality and durability.
Once this has been done I will be receiving some of the newly designed tubes for a follow-up review.
I think this is great news as owners of Nikon 1 gear can have a ball capturing some very interesting images with extension tubes.
Technical Note: All images in this article were produced using RAW files processed through DxO OpticsPro 10 including PRIME noise reduction. A DNG file was then exported into CS6 and Nik Suite for additional adjustments as required.
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Article and images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.