Many photographers enjoy shooting images of insects, with butterflies being a favourite of many people. I went to the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory to take a few butterfly images, spending a couple of very enjoyable hours at the conservatory.
(NOTE: click on images to enlarge them)
I was intrigued to see how well my Vello Extension Tubes for Nikon 1 would work with the CX 70-110 so I popped the 10 mm and 16 mm tubes in my pocket. For those of you that have read the product review that I did on those extension tubes you’ll remember that I used the 1 Nikon 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 to take all the images in the review.
I took a few ‘standard’ butterfly images and found that the 1 Nikon CX 70-300 was very easy to use and focused quickly and accurately. The minimum focusing distance of the lens is between 3.3 feet (1 m) and 5.2 feet (1.6 m). The aisles in the butterfly conservatory can be quite narrow so the relatively short minimum focusing distance of the 1 Nikon CX 70-300 was extremely helpful.
After taking just a few ‘standard’ images I decided to push my Nikon 1 V2 with the CX 70-300 to see what it could do with the Vello extension tubes attached. I combined the 10 mm and 16 mm tubes for maximum effect and assembled everything.
I must admit that the set-up felt very loose and wobbly but all of the electrical connections worked flawlessly and I didn’t have any focusing or exposure issues at all. I would recommend giving this assembly good support while shooting and in between shots.
Those of you that have used extension tubes in the past will know that they do not affect lens sharpness at all since they do not have any glass elements. However, there is some loss of light depending on how much extension is used. I did a bit of testing to answer a reader’s question to my Vello review and I estimate that when the Vello tubes are combined there is a 2 stop loss of light. This caused an interesting challenge at the butterfly conservatory since it was a partially overcast day and the lighting in the building varies from mainly shade to small areas of sunlight. The result was that I had to shoot all of the images for this article at between ISO-1600 and ISO-6400.
All of the images were taken hand-held in available light, and none of them have been cropped at all. Each is the original full frame capture. I felt it was important to show readers how close a photographer can get to their subject when using the 1 Nikon CX 70-300 lens coupled with the 10 mm and 16 mm Vello extension tubes. You’ll notice that some of the images were taken at fairly slow shutter speeds, a testament to how well the VR works on this lens.
I used my standard post-processing work flow for all of the images in this article. RAW processing done in DxO OpticsPro 9 using PRIME noise reduction, then a DNG file is exported into CS6 for some minor adjustments, then into Nik Collection for some final tweaks if needed.
Based on the results of this particular test with the 1 Nikon CX 70-300 lens on my Nikon 1 V2, I would not hesitate at all to shoot this lens up to ISO-3200, and even ISO-6400 when using the Vello extension tubes.
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Article and all images Copyright 2014, Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, reproduction or duplication including electronic is allowed without written consent.