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| p.1 #8 · Do people use extension tubes with macro lenses? |
You can use a set of extension tubes with a reversed 20 mm or 35 mm lens to get the magnification needed for your image. I have a set of Kenko 12, 20, and 36 mm auto tubes for Nikon and with a reversed 20 mm f/2.8 lens attached to the set of tubes can get a field approximately 6 mm across on a full-frame camera (F100) or 16 mm with a reversed 55 mm Micro-Nikkor. With the 20 mm, there's about 1.5 inches of working distance between the lens and subject. You may want to get a Nikon BR-2A macro adapter ring and 52-62 step-up ring for the 20 mm, or just use gaffer's tape to attach it to the extension tubes.
I'd suggest using the money you'd spend on a macro lens for a focusing stage, given the magnification you'll be using. Also, G-type lenses don't work well reversed because you want a manual diaphram.
Also, go find a copy of Handbook for Scientific Photography (Alfred A. Blaker, 1977, Freeman) to get some ideas for lighting, exposure, and other info on close-up work.