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Thread: closeup with normal lenses

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    closeup with normal lenses

    If you have a bellowscamera, can you use any ordinary lens for closeup?

    Is it as easy as extend the normal bellows and there you have it! Thinking Rodies, could I use a HR 40, 50, 70 or 90 for macro?

    If the answer is no. What is the first/best lenschoice for tabletop still life?
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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by danlindberg View Post
    If you have a bellowscamera, can you use any ordinary lens for closeup?

    Is it as easy as extend the normal bellows and there you have it! Thinking Rodies, could I use a HR 40, 50, 70 or 90 for macro?

    If the answer is no. What is the first/best lenschoice for tabletop still life?
    Every lens has a recommended magnification range. Most non macro lenses start to get a bit dodgy as they approach the general range of 1:3. This is obviously a very generalized statement and some non macro lenses' range extend further (or less far) into the macro range as far as optimal quality is concerned.

    So what really matters is what do you mean by "macro" :-).

    For instance 8:1requires specialized lenses whereas a shot of a cereal box at 1:4 likely won't matter much.



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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    Actually, if you REVERSE a normal lens it works exceptionally ewell as a macro lens on a bellows, and most manufacturers offer filter thread to camera mount adapters for this very purpose. Not sure about Hasselblad, but for sure Mamiya even includes the ring and cable to control the lens with their electronic bellows!
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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    Lenses with symmetrical optical designs can work well with a bellows or extension tubes but most work better reversed as Jack has suggested. Rollei also makes a retro adapter that allows the lens to be reversed with all lens function (leaf shutter, aperture, DOF preview). Rollei also makes a 'behind the lens' shutter adapter that allows the use of specialty macro lenses such as the Leica photars, schneider M-componons and Zeiss luminars. Actually pretty much any enlarging lens with M39 mount can be fit to this and many make great macro lenses.

    I like the rodenstock 80 and 90mm apo rodagons for macro work and compared to MF lenses are relatively cheap.

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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    Distortion and also different colours falling at diffenert heights are magnified as you go closer than the recommended distance. Of course each lens is different and the subject matter matters. APO Lenses will be less than fully colour corrected, but may well still be outstanding even at macro magnifications. The consultants answer, it depends...

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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    Sorry I think to actually provide an answer, the best thing is to test the lenses you have. It's trivial to temporarily wedge a lens in a piece of foam core, or thick cardboard and mount it on the bellows. You can then experiment with the magnification you need, reverse lenses (which may increase magnification significantly depending on the design), plus you'll see immediately the quality you can get.

    As an aside many macro lenses tend to be very sharp and quite clinical to a degree that you might just not like them for anything other than absolutely sharp images. It's totally subjective because the OOF areas might less important to your art than say incredibly detailed eyes in a portrait. Or maybe you like the defocus that others find harsh.

    Get some bellows or a view camera and have a play with what you have already.

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    Great stuff all! The reversing of a lens sounds interesting!
    I forgot to mention 'how close' I would like to go. Well, I am not looking into any extreme macrowork, rather being able to fill out the frame shooting a Leica M9 body or a wallet or one tulip....mmmmm, come to think of it, after the investment of a complete mf system the wallet shot will in fact be extreme macro work
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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by danlindberg View Post
    ...mmmmm, come to think of it, after the investment of a complete mf system the wallet shot will in fact be extreme macro work
    Nah, it will be as wide and high as before, just a lot thinner, thus needing less focus bracketing.

    Seriously, Schneider Comparon enlarging lenses are available very cheaply because they do not have the cachet of the better-known Componons; Comparons were intended for enlargement up to X6, while Componons start at X10.

    So Comparons will be better at closer distances than Componons.

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    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    And you can often fit shutters to enlarging lenses.

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    Re: closeup with normal lenses

    Don't know if you considered the 90 macro for the M. I had one for a while and found while it was nice, it was too close for handheld work, and for tripod it was a bit too long a lens.

    Currently using a 90 on a Rollei body, and also a 150 on a bellows. The 150 is fantastic.

    Consider also extension rings. Rollei (and I think Hassy) makes a set of 3 or 4 that you can stack modularly. You can fiddle with different lenses and get amazing results quite simply. The 80 will go from5" to 3' depending on how many extensions you stack together. A 60 mm lens will go as close as 3-4". A long lens gets improved too, say 1' 6" for a 150 with interesting results. But the most flexible is the bellows.... have to pry that one out of dead cold hands.

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