What are the options for bellows with tilt?

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jjphoto
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What are the options for bellows with tilt?

Post by jjphoto »

What are the options for a bellows with tilt functionality (for use on a Canon body)?

The ones I know of are the Mamiya M645, Contax bellows, Nikon PB-4, Spiratone Bellows Master. Are there others, aside from the large range of view cameras?

Any DIY ideas?

JJ
Last edited by jjphoto on Fri Nov 18, 2011 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Will Milne
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Post by Will Milne »

Whilst not exactly a bellows option . I have been using a tilt adapter and nikon 20mm and 55 mm lenses. The adapter in combination with short extension tubes works quite well . It offers a fixed 8 degrees of tilt but can be rotated to situate the tilt where you want.

http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/re ... apter.html

I have the Nikon version of the same thing
Works well in the field

hope that helps

Will

jjphoto
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Post by jjphoto »

Thanks Will. I already have some thing similar, the Mirex T/S adapter, but this has some limitations too. I find I use this adapter, with the Mamiya 120/4 macro, quite a lot. It is a very practical and useable setup in the field but the tilt is limited and at close range you really do need more tilt than most dedicated T/S lenses or adapters can offer, hence a bias towards bellows.

Image

Image

JJ

naturephoto1
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Post by naturephoto1 »

Hi JJ,

In addition to those that you mentioned, there is also the expensive Novoflex Balpro T/S:

http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/mac ... t-bellows/

Image

It will require several adapters to use with your camera and lens. An additional accessory for the bellows includes the PROshift+ Adapter:

http://www.novoflex.com/en/products/mac ... t-adapter/

Image

Rich

jjphoto
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Post by jjphoto »

Thanks Rich. That's a beaut!

According to the link, it tilts 15 degrees compared to 25 degrees for the Nikon PB-4.

Ultimately it seems to have the same practical limitation as the PB-4 and Contax, namely that it only has swing (it tilts left/right, not up/down) and you need to rotate the entire setup 90 degrees to get tilt. In practice this is a huge pain in the a... . I use a PB-4 this way and find it very awkward.

But it's very pretty...

JJ

naturephoto1
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Post by naturephoto1 »

Hi JJ,

I have one of the Spiratone Bellows Master SST bellows which I have adapted for my heavy Leica R legacy system (lenses). I purchased this years ago I believe on ebay for usage with my Leica R film cameras (particularly my smaller R4SP and my R7; the R8 is a bit big for this). I had to or ended up using 1 or 2 of the Leica R extension tubes to allow me to attach the Leica R lenses to the bellows. One of the extension tubes also has a pre-set release so that I can view through the lens wide open and then return the lens to the working aperture. I plan to use it with my Panasonic Lumix G1 camera with the Leica lenses.

The bellows is flexible in what it can do, but there are a lot of small controls to operate it. Coming from working with 4" X 5" (Linhof Technikardan 45S in particular, but also a Toho) the controls are tiny and you have to get accustomed to all of the controls and their operation. Additionally, looking through the small format viewfinder (or if you have a larger screen for the camera) is quite different than looking at a large format ground glass. At least with the 35mm or small format camera you don't have to work with everything upside down and reversed (which by the way I always thought was a great tool for composition).

As I said though I am using it with heavy Leica R lenses like my heavy Leica f2.8 60mm Elmarit and my Leica f4.0 Elmar Bellows lens. I can use the bellows with my 2 Rodenstock Apo Rodagon D macro lenses etc.

But, the Spiratone is not nearly as rigid or as stable my Leica Bellows R. There is something to be said for having the camera locked in position as in the Bellows R, but it does not afford the flexibility of a bellows that allows the camera position to be adjusted (as to move the camera forward when using short macro lenses) as in the case of your Nikon PB-4 or my Spiratone.

Borrowed image from this forum of the Spiratone Bellows Master SST (SST stands for shift, swing, tilt) and looking from the rear of the bellows:

Image

The larger chromed/silver knob on the rear standard releases the standard for both rise/fall and tilt. The front standard has these controls separate and the rise/fall on the front standard is through a rack and pinion.

Rich

dickb
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Re: What are the options for bellows with tilt?

Post by dickb »

jjphoto wrote:What are the options for a bellows with tilt functionality (for use on a Canon body)?

The ones I know of are the Mamiya M645, Contax bellows, Nikon PB-4, Spiratone Bellows Master. Are there others, aside from the large range of view cameras?


JJ
There also Mamiya M42 and Minolta bellows (Auto Bellows III) that are extremely similar to the Contax bellows (to the extent that parts can be exchanged), so front swing and shift.

What would you like to do with this setup? Be aware that you need some bellows extension before you can tilt/swing/shift. Many Canon cameras have hand grips that clash with the rear of bellows, so you may need some extra extension rings. I've reversed the rear standard on my Hama/Spiratone bellows so I can get away with less extension.

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

Has anyone experience with the Zörk Multi Focus System?

http://www.zoerk.com/pages/p_mfs.htm

--Betty

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

JJ,

Keep in mind that when you are working in the photomacrography realm of 1:1 and often (much!) higher, finding equipment that provides the mechanical capability of swings and tilts is only one of the problems... finding appropriate optics is perhaps an even greater challenge.

At very modest close-up magnifications (which in this forum would be magnifications less than 1X) it is not that hard to find optics that will work OK. Enlarging lenses that are made to cover larger formats than 35mm are one obvious choice and do a pretty good job here. But as you focus closer (higher magnifications) the degree of camera movements required are much greater than would be needed for distant subjects. It is very surprising how quickly you can run out of image circle when lens movements are used! This means you will often be using the very outer limits of the image circle. Normally you can improve the outer edge performance of a lens by stopping it down. But in the high magnification world you are always fighting diffraction due to the small effective apertures. Stopping a lens down to the point where the outer edge of the image circle gets acceptable can often be counter productive as you start to incur large resolution losses due to diffraction.

Many of us here are using microscope objectives for the magnifications from about 5X on up. These optics will barely "cover" an APS-C sized sensor (some will not) when perfectly squared away and centered. Using lensboard tilts/swings is not an option.

But there is a way that the good old Scheimpflug principle can be used with some benefit in higher magnification close-up work. Most of the bellows options that provide swings/tilts do it through a lens movement. As mentioned above this has some limitations. One thing that can be of value with a SLR/DSLR (or any other camera body with removable lenses) is the ability to tilt/swing the camera body relative to the lens axis. This can help a bit with coverage problems. It is somewhat limited due to the depth at with the sensor is positioned at the back of the "throat" of the camera body. Tilt a SLR body too far, and you will get mechanical vignetting where parts of the mirror box, or lens mount (or sometimes even part of the "arched" bellows) begin to block the lights path to the film/sensor.(Unlike a piece of sheet film in a holder when used in a view camera, where you can usually tilt away to your hearts content (or up to the mechanical limits of the camera). And while I've never looked into it, I suppose at some amount of camera body tilt (using a digital camera) you would be wreaking havoc with the way the sensor sees the light as it passes through the Bayer (and other) filters and things would get...what's the technical term?... weird.

This simplified diagram shows what I mean:

Image

If you look at the center image in this diagram you can see that if the front (and/or) rear standards have adequate "rise/fall" it is possible to raise or lower the camera and/or lens so that you can use lens tilt, but then position the lens and camera body so that the lens axis goes through the center of the sensor/film. if you can do this, the technique becomes more useful. Other than a "view camera" I have no experience with belllows that offer adequate movement in this regard. But they could be out there, so I'm curious what others come up with.

For those reading this that have never used this technique, it is probably worth mentioning what is going on with the depth of field. Some people think that camera movements such as swings and tilts greatly "increase" your depth of field. Not really. It is better to think of it as providing the ability to re-position the DOF that you have so that it better coincides with the general shape or a principle plane of your subject. (And while we generally think of DOF as a sort of "wall" of acceptable sharpness with a parallel front and back (and perpendicular to the lens axis), camera movements such as these actually cause the DOF to take on a "wedge" shape).

Prior to the ability to "stack images" for increased DOF this ability was probably more useful. Now we can use the best part of the image circle, or lenses such as microscope objectives that barely cover the format (via Zerene and others) and get extended DOF.

With very 3D subjects such as a typical insect the ability to re-position your DOF is of far less value than if you are working with very "flat" subjects where the detail is in a single, inclined plane.

In no way am I trying to discourage using this approach for extreme close-up work, just trying to point out some of the "issues" that arise and need to be considered.
Last edited by Charles Krebs on Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

naturephoto1
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Post by naturephoto1 »

Charles Krebs wrote:JJ,

Keep in mind that when you are working in the photomacrography realm of 1:1 and often (much!) higher, finding equipment that provides the mechanical capability of swings and tilts is only one of the problems... finding appropriate optics is perhaps an even greater challenge.

At very modest close-up magnifications (which in this forum would be magnifications less than 1X) it is not that hard to find optics that will work OK. Enlarging lenses that are made to cover larger formats than 35mm are one obvious choice and do a pretty good job here. But as you focus closer (higher magnifications) the degree of camera movements required are much greater than would be needed for distant subjects. It is very surprising how quickly you can run out of image circle when lens movements are used! This means you will often be using the very outer limits of the image circle. Normally you can improve the outer edge performance of a lens by stopping it down. But in the high magnification world you are always fighting diffraction due to the small effective apertures. Stopping a lens down to the point where the outer edge of the image circle gets acceptable can often be counter productive as you start to incur large resolution losses due to diffraction.

Many of us here are using microscope objectives for the magnifications from about 5X on up. These optics will barely "cover" an APS-C sized sensor (some will not) when perfectly squared away and centered. Using lensboard tilts/swings is not an option.

But there is a way that the good old Scheimpflug principle can be used with some benefit in higher magnification close-up work. Most of the bellows options that provide swings/tilts do it through a lens movement. As mentioned above this has some limitations. One thing that can be of value with a SLR/DSLR (or any other camera body with removable lenses) is the ability to tilt/swing the camera body relative to the lens axis. This can help a bit with coverage problems. It is somewhat limited due to the depth at with the sensor is positioned at the back of the "throat" of the camera body. Tilt a SLR body too far, and you will get mechanical vignetting where parts of the mirror box, or lens mount (or sometimes even part of the "arched" bellows) begin to block the lights path to the film/sensor.(Unlike a piece of sheet film in a holder when used in a view camera, where you can usually tilt away to your hearts content (or up to the mechanical limits of the camera). And while I've never looked into it, I suppose at some amount of camera body tilt (using a digital camera) you would be wreaking havoc with the way the sensor sees the light as it passes through the Bayer (and other) filters and things would get...what's the technical term?... weird.

This simplified diagram shows what I mean:

Image

For those reading this that have never used this technique, it is probably worth mentioning what is going on with the depth of field. Some people think that camera movements such as swings and tilts greatly "increase" your depth of field. Not really. It is better to think of it as providing the ability to re-position the DOF that you have so that it better coincides with the general shape or a principle plane of your subject. (And while we generally think of DOF as a sort of "wall" of acceptable sharpness with a parallel front and back (and perpendicular to the lens axis), camera movements such as these actually cause the DOF to take on a "wedge" shape).

Prior to the ability to "stack images" for increased DOF this ability was probably more useful. Now we can use the best part of the image circle, or lenses such as microscope objectives that barely cover the format (via Zerene and others) and get extended DOF.

With very 3D subjects such as a typical insect the ability to re-position your DOF is of far less value than if you are working with very "flat" subjects where the detail is in a single, inclined plane.

In no way am I trying to discourage using this approach for extreme close-up work, just trying to point out some of the "issues" that arise and need to be considered.
I would like to add a few things to what Charlie has mentioned.

The first is in reference to his 2nd diagram. With a film based camera like a large format camera or when using a bellows like the Spiratone Bellows Master SST, providing the camera and at least this bellows affords it, the user can also use rear standard rise. You can do this providing you are not exceeding the lens image circle/projecting beyond lens coverage when using front forward tilt. I would expect the same to be true when using a full frame digital SLR or something smaller like a Micro 4/3 camera like my Panasonic Lumix G1 to do this. But, for myself, I will have to experiment to confirm this with the G1.

Additionally, for those considering tilting or for that matter swinging the rear standard of either a view camera or a bellows mounted camera on something like the Spirtaone Bellows Master SST that you will change the shape of the subject. As an example a circle will become elliptical in shape. But, the subject will dictate how much change in shape and/or elongation is acceptable to the photographer.

Rich

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

Richard,

Good points!

Didn't see your post while I was editing mine to correct some typos and amplifying my response to include mention of the use of rise/fall (as you have done in your post).

How do you like your Spiratone bellows? I know I was initially excited when I got one years ago, but eventually found I used it very little. The overall rigidity was not as good as I would have like, and the small controls seemed too "finicky", but that was in my "view camera" days and perhaps it just suffered in comparison to the big controls and smooth movements of the big cameras. Perhaps I should dust it off and give it another try.

Have you noticed any strange effects using digital due to the way the light can sometimes hit the sensor at an angle if adjusted in certain ways?

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Post by naturephoto1 »

Charles Krebs wrote:Richard,

Good points!

Didn't see your post while I was editing mine to correct some typos and amplifying my response to include mention of the use of rise/fall (as you have done in your post).

How do you like your Spiratone bellows? I know I was initially excited when I got one years ago, but eventually found I used it very little. The overall rigidity was not as good as I would have like, and the small controls seemed too "finicky", but that was in my "view camera" days and perhaps it just suffered in comparison to the big controls and smooth movements of the big cameras. Perhaps I should dust it off and give it another try.

Have you noticed any strange effects using digital due to the way the light can sometimes hit the sensor at an angle if adjusted in certain ways?
Hi Charlie,

I have to admit that I have really for the most part played with the Spiratone on and off over the last number of years. As we have both mentioned, it is not as rigid as I might like, particularly working with heavy Leica R lenses and equipment. As you have mentioned the miniature size of the bellows and its controls really do take getting used to after using the much larger 4" X 5" camera.

I will give it more effort and more of a try now with the smaller and lighter Panasonic Lumix G1.

I am really just getting back into taking photos after a hiatus after a rather unfortunate circumstance with my former photo partner that left a rather bad taste in my mouth.

I am getting together a number of things to now use the Lumix with my legacy Leica R lenses and I have been communicating with and receiving a large of amount of helpful information from Craig. His help has been freely given and is most appreciated. Craig has been particularly helpful in considering and my intent to purchase a Velmex A25 series unit as my focusing rail.

So, give me some time on this.

I wish that the Spiratone had the kind of strength and rigidity as my Leica R Bellows. But, unfortunately it does not. The Leica Bellows is so strong due to the construction and Leitz' decision to fix the camera body in place (though it can be rotated). It also affords the option of using my Leica R 180 f3.4 Apo Telyt which the Spiratone will not support. I can use the 180 Apo Telyt alone, with added extension as well as with my Apo 1.4X and Apo 2X extenders with the Leica Bellows if I should wish.

Rich
Last edited by naturephoto1 on Sat Nov 19, 2011 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jjphoto
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Post by jjphoto »

Rich. Your comments about the Spiratones lack of rigidity are in line with similar comments I've read from various sources. It's the only reason I've not purchased the Spiratone. One sold recently for about $450 on Evilbay. It does have all the functionality I'm after, however, I can't borrow one and try one so I am reluctant to buy one only to find I'm not happy with it.

dickb. Thanks. That's interesting. An M42 version of the Contax would certainly be useful.

Charles. Your explaination about the issues of tilt with macro photography are certainly relevant however I don't shoot macro per-se. I shoot products and I doubt I ever get close to 1:1, at least not very often. I generally shoot cars for magazines so I'm always shooting badges, stereo head units (where you generally do need tilt to get the entire face of the unit in focus when shooting from an open door), various details and often just using tilt for effect (good or bad). Although I generally use the Mirex adapter with mamiya M645 lenses for this (because I can also use wide angle lenses, instead of only longish ones) I also like to use my PB-4 with enlarging lenses for this. The Schneider 135/5.6 Componon-S works like a charm although I have quite a few enlarging lenses for this and other purposes. I also do a lot of 'table-top' stuff, but not in the 1:1 range, and this is where I tend to use a bellows the most. As you've already said, shooting 3D objects is not aided very much by using tilt but the ability to position the focal plane where you want it is always a benefit, even if your depth of field won't cover the subject, it's at least where it has the greatest effect.

Rich. Although I only ever focus with the rear standard I've never used the rear standard to control the focal plane, even on my Sinar, but the technique you've mentioned is something I'll look into and see if it works for me in the future. It's not applicaple/useable with bellows such as the NIkon PB-4 (otherwise I would have been using it already as I've heard of it before) and I don't often use my Sinar P except for more elaborate studio product shots. Ultimately I am looking for something like a small Sinar P for the sort of reasons already discussed. If the Spiratone where built like the Sinar (P, not F) then my search would be over.

Image

Thanks
JJ

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Post by naturephoto1 »

JJ,

There are the baby Linhofs, Linhof Technikardan 23S, and some of the Arca Swiss 6 X 9 cameras as well as other cameras that could work possibly. They are certainly larger than the Nikon Bellows but they are smaller than the Sinar 4" X 5" cameras.

Rich

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Post by Charles Krebs »

JJ,

I've always thought an Arca Swiss 6x9 FC would be a perfect "little" camera to set up with a SLR body (as you show with your Sinar).

I had backs that held my Contax RTS bodies on my view cameras and had a great deal fun with that. Those bodies had a nice flat front with nothing protruding past the lens mount. One thing about many current DSLR bodies is that they often have a prominent "overhang" at the front of the prism so you need to set the body a little further back. This increases the "tunnel" effect. Not a huge deal, but also annoying if you want to try to use shorter focal lengths.

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