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Another Velmex Rig

 
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Hokan



Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 59
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:21 pm    Post subject: Another Velmex Rig Reply with quote

Folks,
First off thanks for sharing your solutions, tips, tricks and photomacrography rigs. My Velmex is a direct result of what others have shared so generously in our forums.
I designed my Velmex Rig specifically for field photomacrography. It is portable, (portable being defined as packing everything into a camera backpack and hiking about a mile or two in easy walking terrain, or just walking out to my backyard.). It can be used for macro lens, bellows, flash, and stacking work. All parts are interchangeable, giving me a almost infinite number of configurations. Given reasonable care my rig will be passed on to my grandkids. I designed it from a drawer full of Arca-Swiss quick release gear, that I have be collecting and using for the last 10 years. Mostly Really Right Stuff, a company that is just a few hours drive from my home. I had not given to much thought to using Arca-Swiss configured gear for stacking until I started reading what so many other members were doing.
By inclination and age I prefer to set up my Velmex field rig in one spot. I do all of my shooting from a tripod, from the on the ground tripod seen in my photos to a heavy duty tripod left over from my large format camera era.
I wanted a field rig that would allow me to do some photo stacking. Four to twenty stacks usually. According to my math. (Always subject to some question.) The calculated DOF of my highest magnification lenses, 19mm Macro-Nikkor, and 16mm Zeiss Luminar is about .1mm (100 microns) at largest aperture.
I picked up a Velmex A4009P40-S4 on Ebay for $135.00 USD. It came with all sorts of attached metal gear that I immediately removed. Anyone looking for some thick aluminum plates, gearing, etc.? The specifications of the A4009P40-S4 met all of my needs. Horizontal load 45 kgs, vertical load 22 kgs. Screw travel is 40 turns per inch or 2.54 cm. The knob is graduated in 25 divisions, and I can routinely sub-divide each division into 9 or 10 segments manually. I calculate, (be suspicious!), the Velmex gives me a controlled movement of 2.54 microns. Hurray! I can do stacking in the field, given some cooperation from my specimens, and some serious control of my lighting. The Velmex, because of its size, and mass easily supports my lens and/or bellows for stacking movement while keeping my lighting fixed. Please note my 48 cm long bar I use to attach my flash gear, and support my Velmex slide. It also makes a great handle/guide for adjusting everything when positioning the ballhead. I have a number of quick release parts, risers, slides, swivel heads, plates, etc. that I can add should a new configuration and inspiration so dictate. It takes me back to my childhood when playing with my Erector set was the thing to do.
Thank you again, everyone for sharing your knowledge.





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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19712
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hokan, thanks for the detailed post. The rig looks great!

I confirm your calculation of 2.54 microns controllable movement. The DOF calculation looks off: for the 16 mm Luminar at 10X, I calculate more like 15-20 microns depending on assumptions. But in any case you have plenty of control to avoid focus banding.

--Rik

PS. I've added this thread to the FAQ on how to focus, HERE.
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Eric F



Joined: 11 Nov 2008
Posts: 246
Location: Sacramento, Calif.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hokan,

It looks like you have assembled a fabulous portable rig for macro and stacking work.

Eric
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anaksatawo



Joined: 13 Nov 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hello, I've been following the different macro rigs thread posted by rjlittlefield and was esp. intrigued by this setup. I was wondering if you can tell me more about the rails that you use here, where to get the parts and how much each cost. I assume that these are custom built?

thanks in advance. Smile
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rjlittlefield
Site Admin


Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19712
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hokan has not posted here in several months, so I'll take the liberty of tackling this question.

The key ingredient in Hokan's setup is "I picked up a Velmex A4009P40-S4 on Ebay for $135.00 USD." This appears to be one of the A40 series Unislides described on the Velmex site HERE. The bellows appears to be a Novoflex Balpro, HERE. Most of the other components can be found on the Really Right Stuff web site (http://reallyrightstuff.com).

If this does not answer your question, please let us know more specifically what you're interested in.

--Rik
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Hokan



Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 59
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,
Actually only one part of my Velmex rig is custom. Everything else you see, and everything I used to assemble the rig is off the shelf, (Sometimes a somewhat expensive shelf) standard items.

I wanted a rig that would be a extremely rigid platform in the field for photomacrography. It also makes a excellent platform for field stacking.

My intent was to design a "Buy once use forever" field photo rig. So far I have not been disappointed. I have as yet to find any need to modify my rig or exchange it for some other photomacrographic rig.

I used Velmex, and Really Right Stuff accessories. There are also a number of other companies who manufacture and sell similar quality Arca Swiss accessories.

The parts from the tripod up:

1. RRS TP-243 Ground Pod Tripod, (I also use a Bogen 3236 tripod for specimens higher up from the ground, i.e. bushes, trees, etc.

2. RRS BH-55 Ballhead with B2 AS II Clamp. (I have a 1960's Sinar large format camera ballhead that I also use. It rotates, 360 degrees and has a very large sturdy 140 degree hinge with a RRS B2 LLR II clamp mounted on the top hinge arm. Great for tilting the camera and/or bellows for oddly placed specimens.)

3. The only custom designed piece is a 7.5cm round, 4.5xm thick piece of aluminium, milled down on my table mounted router. I milled a matching dovetail on one side of the 7.5xm round to mate with any RRS Clamp. I also installed a 3/8" center screw and two inline metal studs on the other side. They were drilled inline with the 3/8" center screw one on each side of the center screw. I originally used it to mount my 4x5 Sinar camera body using Arca-Swiss clamps.

4. I then disassembled my Velmex A4009P40-S4. Drilled a thread hole for the 3/8" center screw and two holes for the two metal studs in the bottom plate of the Velmex Slide. Being very careful to center and keep everything inline. Very important for stacking!! I permanently mounted the 7.5cm milled aluminium plate. Then I permanently mounted a RRS B2-Pro clamp on the top of the Velmex movable slider. Reassembled the Velmex A4009P40-S4.

5. I clamp in various RRS clamps, (My favorite is the PCL-Panning Clamp w/dovetail screwed into the bottom of it base) , DSLR camera plates, and assorted macro rails depending on my configuration.

6. The Novoflex bellows conveniently has a rail with a Arca-Swiss sized dovetail on the bottom of the rail.

7. I also mount the RRS CB-18 18" camera bar wherever it makes the most sense, depending on my rig configuration. It makes a great hand grip for pointing and angling the entire rig. It can be somewhat unwieldy with everything mounted unless you have the needed leverage and control the 18" bar gives you.

8. The RRS B91-QR B Series Flash bracket is mounted on the end of 18" bar. I use a small RRS MPR-113 multipurpose rail, a RRS B2-mAS clamp, and clamp mounting adapter to mount the bracket onto the end of the 18" bar.

9. After everything is assembled I spend hours in my backyard, neighbor's front yard. at our summer cabin taking photos. At least until my wife reminds me I have to do my chores. or I have to come into the house to be social with whomever is visiting us.

"Living gets in the way of my hobby"

regards,
Hokan
_________________
SOM, (Son Of Multiphot), a DIY macro/micro rig.w/120, 65, 35, 19mm Macro-Nikkors, Nikon AZ100 1X and 4X objectives. Nikon Plan Fluor W objectives, 10X, 20X, 40X.
Zeiss Axiomat, incident BF, DF, DIC, Pol, Phase. With Zeiss infinity objectives, LD, Epi, APO, Plan types.
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Hokan



Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 59
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik,

Oops! Didn't realize how long I had been inactive.

If anyone is interested in further details, more photographs just let me know and I'll do my best to comply.

Hokan
_________________
SOM, (Son Of Multiphot), a DIY macro/micro rig.w/120, 65, 35, 19mm Macro-Nikkors, Nikon AZ100 1X and 4X objectives. Nikon Plan Fluor W objectives, 10X, 20X, 40X.
Zeiss Axiomat, incident BF, DF, DIC, Pol, Phase. With Zeiss infinity objectives, LD, Epi, APO, Plan types.
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hokan,

The more images the better Smile

One detail for clarification; the Novoflex bellows featured in your images appears to be the BALPRO T/S, not to be confused with the Novoflex BALPRO 1; both are excellent items, but the required adapters can be expensive.

Question...not that it makes much difference with the BALPRO T/S, but did you have a particular preference or reason for mounting the camera on the 'front' flange of the bellows rather than on the 'rear' flange?




Craig
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anaksatawo



Joined: 13 Nov 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

w0w, I have to say, that is a rather quick and detailed response from the seniors here. Smile that was actually my first post.

@Hokan,

thanks for the details. I have already searched about that velmex item of yours and unfortunately, I couldn't find a similarly priced one, at 135usd. waaaaah!

personally, I am super newb with regards, to high mag macro, having only decided to get serious about it after scoring a Minolta ABIII T/S from ebay this week. I have already bookmarked this thread for future references.

thanks rjlittlefield and craig. Smile

PS

I think I should be posting a separate thread for my intro as well as general questions. please bear with me guys... Sad
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Hokan



Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 59
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:40 am    Post subject: Another Velmex Rig Reply with quote

Craig,

Okay be careful what you ask for! More pictures, details coming up. (Looking busy while waiting for my wife to go shopping! Wink ) Give me a bit.

Aha, Craig, didn't think anyone would notice my switch. You are correct my bellows is the Novoflex Balpro T/S. In short I swtched them around because the front flange can be dialed back and forth on the rail while the rear flange is fixed at its end of the rail.

I wanted the ability to adjust my camera body rather then moving my lens. Once I frame my object/specimen I try to keep my lens/objective fixed and adjust everything around my framing. It is very time consuming and sometimes frustrating for me to frame the image exactly as I want and then lose my desired framing because of "adjustments".

The Balpro T/S is a fairly capable tilt and swivel bellows. Once it is mounted on my Velmex slider lens movement is controlled by my Velmex.
Mounting the camera body on the movable flange gives me a "bit" more flexibility in adjusting for magnification, framing, and the bellow's Scheimpflug capabilities. I use DSLR D300 and D700 interchangebly. And of course my 35mm camera body. With changing sensor/film size mounting the camera body just makes things easier all around when taking photographs with whatever camera body.

I intentionally designed my system around the notion the only components I will be changing over time will be camera bodies. Since the Balpro T/S can can mount both 35mm and medium format lenses I couldn't resist acquiring it. Again my buy once use forever philosophy influencing my choice.

Anaksatawo,

Don't give up! I have drawer full of Velmex/Zeiss/Olympus parts and about 19 months or so of experimenting/discarding/adding and re-designing before I had the "best" Velmex Rig for me.

I'll post more information, possible substitutions, tips and tricks. I'll try a somewhat different approach and address the mistakes I made along the way. Actually the mistakes I made were most beneficial to the design of my rig. I say that in hindsight I wasn't so accepting when I made my mistakes. Shocked

Not meaning to detract from this thread but I just finished bringing up my studio. I'm more of a equipment junkie then a photographer. Slowly ever so slowly making the transition to full time photography.

Be back,

Hokan
_________________
SOM, (Son Of Multiphot), a DIY macro/micro rig.w/120, 65, 35, 19mm Macro-Nikkors, Nikon AZ100 1X and 4X objectives. Nikon Plan Fluor W objectives, 10X, 20X, 40X.
Zeiss Axiomat, incident BF, DF, DIC, Pol, Phase. With Zeiss infinity objectives, LD, Epi, APO, Plan types.
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hokan wrote:
Mounting the camera body on the movable flange gives me a "bit" more flexibility in adjusting for magnification, framing, and the bellow's Scheimpflug capabilities.

Both the front and rear standard of the BALPRO T/S can be adjusted independantly, or at the same time....I'm still learning to drive my unit.

Hoken wrote:
I use DSLR D300 and D700 interchangebly. And of course my 35mm camera body. With changing sensor/film size mounting the camera body just makes things easier all around when taking photographs with whatever camera body. I intentionally designed my system around the notion the only components I will be changing over time will be camera bodies. Since the Balpro T/S can can mount both 35mm and medium format lenses I couldn't resist acquiring it. Again my buy once use forever philosophy influencing my choice.

Good philosophy! Those bellows are well built, lightweight and accommodating in so far as camera systems and lens combinations are concerned.



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



Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Posts: 59
Location: Sacramento, CA, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:17 pm    Post subject: Another Velmex Rig Reply with quote

Craig,
You are right both flanges can be moved but only the front flange, (now my rear flange) has the large knurled knob to easily move the flange forward and backwards.

Hokan
_________________
SOM, (Son Of Multiphot), a DIY macro/micro rig.w/120, 65, 35, 19mm Macro-Nikkors, Nikon AZ100 1X and 4X objectives. Nikon Plan Fluor W objectives, 10X, 20X, 40X.
Zeiss Axiomat, incident BF, DF, DIC, Pol, Phase. With Zeiss infinity objectives, LD, Epi, APO, Plan types.
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Craig Gerard



Joined: 01 May 2010
Posts: 2877
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Another Velmex Rig Reply with quote

Hoken wrote:
You are correct my bellows is the Novoflex Balpro T/S. In short I swtched them around because the front flange can be dialed back and forth on the rail while the rear flange is fixed at its end of the rail.

Saying the rear flange or standard of the BALPRO T/S is 'fixed' may possibly be misleading to some readers. The rear standard can be positioned on the rail, albiet, somewhat reluctantly; but it's not 'fixed' by design. This potential lack of adjustment capability of the BALPRO T/S had me puzzled and was on my list of things to contemplate, hence the reason for my initial enquiry.

Hokan wrote:
Craig,
You are right both flanges can be moved but only the front flange, (now my rear flange) has the large knurled knob to easily move the flange forward and backwards.

Hokan

True Smile

I like your rationale Cool

Thanks for the explanation. I've now swapped my camera and lens flanges; but they can be easily swapped back should the need arise.


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



Joined: 13 Apr 2012
Posts: 475
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice rig! I noticed that the Arca-swiss stuff appears very versatile. Lots of companies are producing rails and such. Building up a collection of bits and pieces over the years is something I'll have to consider. For now I'm working with a MUCH less portable, 2 foot long Newport rail.

I'm particularly interested in the circular attachment for your flash heads. What is that? It looks amazingly useful!
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