Simple off-the-shelf stacking setup

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morfa
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Simple off-the-shelf stacking setup

Post by morfa »

Hey everyone,

I just put up a post on flickr describing a relatively simple stacking setup that I put together to serve as a demo rig for use in a recent studio stacking workshop. For this purpose, I wanted something that met the following conditions:

a) did not cost a lot of money
b) did not require some exotic but vital component that requires weeks of hunting around on eBay
c) did not involve any elaborate DIY project

Now let me address the obvious question ("why on earth would I want anything like that?") right away, by assuring you that I can deeply appreciate a setup that goes against every single one of those criteria. Nevertheless...

In the flickr-post I elaborate in some detail on several of the components. I will not repeat everything here but I will give you the very condensed version:

Image

And here is a live view recording I put up on youtube which gives a feeling for the setup "in action":

Image

The entire post can be read here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnhallmen/6689335483/

Cheers!
Last edited by morfa on Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:00 am, edited 2 times in total.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

I love that "vertical positioner"! Beautifully done, as always.

--Rik

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Wonderful, John! Both this approach and your explanatory materials on it. I can imagine quite a few people finding this a big help.

--Chris

Perl
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Post by Perl »

Excellent John !

Regards
Pär
****** Seeing is Believing ******

Craig Gerard
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Post by Craig Gerard »

John,

Nice and simple, but effective!

Possibly one omission, a lens hood/shade for the reversed Konica.

The Proxxon looks very smooth in the video.

Thanks for uploading.



Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

Oskar O
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Post by Oskar O »

Nice description, I think it's valuable to present options that do not require hunting on eBay and do not cost an arm and a leg.

I have some questions and points to make. First, is the Jansjö light used for subject illumination? Isn't that a bit limited in terms of capabilities (and color rendition)?

Second, is the Proxxon basically a simplified Velmex, i.e. the stage moves in one dimension in steps dictated by some cog? I'm a bit interested in something that permits rapid movement in the mm and cm range, could possibly be automated (although this is not a must have) and doesn't shift or rotate when moving and was wondering what would be suitable (precise positioning done by linear stages).

A somewhat related note, I got a big and heavy cutting board from Ikea to use as a simple block to put a setup on (it wasn't expensive...) This was a mistake as the workmanship is rubbish; I noticed a few days later that it isn't flat (in fact, none of the ones Ikea had were flat) and having forgot to oil it immediately, it started cracking. Do not buy that! Something similar properly made (i.e. glued woodblocks, oiled/waxed) or MDF board would be better alternatives. I think your setup could benefit from a slightly heavier base, but that shouldn't be too hard to work out.

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

John,

Good ideas merged together here. I certainly will refer people who ask me of a cost-effective stacking setup to this info.

One thing you may want to correct: The bellows and rail are not "Asahi" which would make one think of a Japanese Pentax product.
Actually, it's the Großes Balgennaheinstellgerät (Balgenaufsatz + Einstellschlitten) that was made by the East German VEB Pentacon of Dresden, and is the successor of a similar but heavier bellows of that size manufactured by Ihagee, Dresden.

--Betty

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

Oskar,

This Proxxon milling table allows for movement in two dimensons via two lead screws, so I am not sure if it will be up to the rapid movement you want as you can screw along the X and Y axes with the wheels only.
For some more info you may want to look in the thread that first mentions it here aboard. :) :wink:

--Betty

edit: corrected my grammar
Last edited by Planapo on Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

morfa
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Post by morfa »

The bellows and rail are not "Asahi"
Thank you Betty, I will certainly correct this! Ironically I realize now that it was reading the very post you linked to too fast that tricked me into thinking it was an Asahi unit :lol:
First, is the Jansjö light used for subject illumination? Isn't that a bit limited in terms of capabilities (and color rendition)?
Yes and no. I've used the Jansjö spots (usually one or two) as the only source of light for my for studio stacks for some time now. I was a bit skeptical about their ability to provide sufficient illumination (mainly from a color spectrum stand point) but I have not experienced any problem with it so far. I've decided not to scratch this itch before I actually feel it – these are just too darn convenient to use.

naturephoto1
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Post by naturephoto1 »

John,

Thanks very much for posting this. I had been considering some options for an XY stage and the Proxxon table looks like a very viable option. I have it listed in my Wish List for Amazon.

Rich

RogelioMoreno
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Post by RogelioMoreno »

John,

Thank you for sharing.

Rogelio

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

Nice exercise John!

The Proxxon is perhaps the ONLY part of this which is hard to substitute something else for.

FOr people looking at using the example as a startoff, don't sweat about lenses. I think it bears elaborating, that there's a huge number of "standard" lenses for obsolete camera mounts, which therefore come up at low prices, which where good, and could be used reversed for respectable results. Minolta, Olympus, Canon FD, Topcon, Miranda, Yashica, Fujinon, Pentax, Praktica, Mamiya, Konica, Chinon, Exacta, Voigtlander - off the top of my head.
All that one really has to watch is that there's some means to "stop down" the lens manually. Some have a lever, some don't need one, but some have nothing and it would be necessary to press a pin or lever on the lens. In some cases that's easy with a small wedge, and for some such as the M42 Pentax/Praktica/Fujinon types, a device with cheap extension tube, or rear lens cap, could be used to help (while acting as a lens hood)..
The wider aperture standard lenses ( f/1.4, say) may not particularly good because they aren't so sharp when used this way. I suppose I've played with a mixture of 6 or 7. Picking a large aperture to avoid diffraction only works if the lens is designed for macro use, it seems.
And of course - the enlarger lenses come into their own (again, reversed). Anything from about 80mm, and shorter, will give good results, but there are so many it's worth going for one of the better ones, which usually means f/2.8 rather than f/4 say.

Almost any bellows unit will do. If you don't have one then go for one with a moving rear standard. The one John shows is useful because it allows the camera to go vertical, but has become popular so unlikely to be available for a low price now.

For the vertical movement, again a "standard" lens will do for closer macro because the subjects are small. A typical 50mm f/2 will have at least 8mm of travel. I've used a "pancake" type because it was thin to start with! Extension tubes extend the range in steps.

Perhaps the least obvious component is the adapter to fix the bellows base to the board. While there's a plethora of "Arca" compatible rails and quick- release adapters around, they can be surprisingly expensive. One way round that is to use a 1/4 inch x 20 threads per inch bolt screwed up into the tripod bush of the bellows, through a piece of board, and simply screw that piece to the main board. Not quick, but cheap!

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Post by rjlittlefield »

BTW, I already added this to the list of setups in the FAQ.

--Rik

Oskar O
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Post by Oskar O »

Thanks Betty, I had missed that original link about the Proxxon. Seems that it's a handy item, but does something that my equipment can already pretty much do.
morfa wrote: Yes and no. I've used the Jansjö spots (usually one or two) as the only source of light for my for studio stacks for some time now. I was a bit skeptical about their ability to provide sufficient illumination (mainly from a color spectrum stand point) but I have not experienced any problem with it so far. I've decided not to scratch this itch before I actually feel it – these are just too darn convenient to use.
OK, I'm always a bit skeptical about Ikea-quality, but the obvious part -- a flexible gooseneck with a tiny light at the end -- is very convenient and thus compelling. I've been thinking about getting something similar, but felt than Jansjö wouldn't be sophisticated enough.

pierre
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Post by pierre »

Cheap and effective :shock:

A nice way

Thanks for this John !
Regards

Pierre

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