Bellows

Have questions about the equipment used for macro- or micro- photography? Post those questions in this forum.

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chrisiieeg
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Bellows

Post by chrisiieeg »

Hi All,

I am about to embark on the next stage of acquisition :), wife & budget willing and all heh.

Little history, I started with extension tubes, followed by reverse lens, followed by objective+tube, and now will like to add Bellows into the mix. And possibly better lighting after this :)

From what I gather, most members would prefer to use an older auto bellows, say Pentax, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Canon. Particularly, one that has adjustments to both front and rear ends of the bellows, and to the base of the bellows. And after looking closely at a cheap chinese options, I can see why.

Question is, with all that is and isn't available with adapters and etc, what experiences and feedback members have had with various bellows ? price vs available adapters vs usability vs etc ?

Thanks in advance for your input. I am sure it will go well towards helping me make a informed decision.

Cheers

Chris

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

It obviously depends what camera you have..

Olympus are OK, but getting anything to fit the front female bayonet is hard. There are OM reverse adapters and T2 mounts, but that's about it. M42 is hard, unless you force a T2 female to take M42. Some go in easlily though the thread pitch is different.
The "X" shaped rail is ok though the nylon shoes can split.
Camera end, Canon is easy, Nikon is not.

There's Pentax version, which was discussed recently. (eg eBay 111288655107 )

Nikon bellows are fairly easy to adapt to, both ends, but (eg) the PB4 is inconveniently long at minimum setting. More substantial than the Olympus type.

Vivitar made quite a good unit, with attachable focus rail and macro stand. If I remember correctly it's T2 rear and M42 - would have to dig one out to check. Can be cheap - or not.

Chris S.
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Re: Bellows

Post by Chris S. »

chrisiieeg wrote:. . .followed by objective+tube, and now will like to add bellows into the mix.
Chris, you're probably well-aware of this, but just in case--the objective shown in your equipment set on Flickr isn't the kind to be used on an empty tube or bellows, as it's an "infinite" objective, best-used on a converging (aka "tube") lens. That proviso out of the way, you're no doubt asking about a bellows for some of the other optics in your "mix."

From Flickr, it appears that you shoot with Canon bodies?

I shoot with Nikon bodies, and use a Nikon PB-6 bellows (as do quite a few others, here). As ChrisR said, it's easy to find Nikon-Canon adapters for the camera end, as well as a wide range of adapters for the lens end. I'm quite happy with this bellows, but I'm sure it's not the only good choice.

You're wise, I think, in your choice to avoid cheaply-made bellows units, and those that only move at one end. And when purchasing a second-hand bellows, be sure to inspect the accordion-portion for pinholes and delamination, as the materials used can break down over time.

--Chris S.

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

I've tried most of the available bellows out there (not the newer Novoflex, they're outside my pay grade) and my recommendation is the Vivitar. It gives the best combination of flexibility and price, with T-mount adapters quite easy to come by. The minimum length is good, so you can use fairly short lenses and get reasonable magnifications. It has a metal-metal rack and pinion, so is super robust. Used horizontally it is quite smooth, though vertically it's a bit choppy in movement.

The Canon is a good choice but the mount only has 90-deg rotation capability. You can remove the alignment screw to allow infinte rotation, but it's a bit finicky. It's longer than the Vivitar so short lenses have higher minimum mag. The Canon is a "high rise" size.

The Pentax is superb to use, but has plastic pinions that can break fairly easily. Long as you're willing to be careful it's a good choice. It has infinite rotation but not much room for the camera so practically only 270-deg unless you add extensions. Is fairly short like the Vivitar. The Pentax is a "medium rise" size.

PB6 is also superb, but you're locked into a 90-deg range of motion. If you shoot Nikon, it is a great choice since you don't need adapters. It's fairly long, so not great for the shorter lenses at lower mags. Also a "high rise" like Canon. PB4 is older version and includes tilt/shift on lens standard. Wish it was tilt/shift on camera standard, would be much better.

Minolta AB3 is like PB4 but has separate focus rail. Minolta mount is more difficult to adapt to.

All the above have adjustable front and rear standards and focus rails (Vivitar focus rail is available as accessory) so have great range of front/back movement.

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

Be wary with the availablility of "a wide range of adapters for the lens end."
Other than M42, T2 and reversed (ie via filter thread) lenses, it's hard to get anything onto a Nikon female bayonet. You can use a combination of "Chinese" extension tubes which add undesirable length, Leitax adapters and maybe other things, but it's not the same degree of off-the-shelf simplicity available to Canon, for example.
Specifically, Nikon to Canon and Olympus to Canon, are easy.
Edit - also available are Pentax PK, Contax/Yashica, Praktika B, Leica R and Voigtlander to Canon.
There is a small number of rear lens-plates to adapt lenses to female bayonets about too (inc for Minolta MD to Canon, Olympus to Nikon, Voigtlander to Nikon) though they won't fit all lenses or tubes.

It's also hard to put a non-reversed camera lens onto an M42 bellows front end.

Canon FD bellows has possibilities but isn't easy, Minolta I don't know, but I'd have severe doubts about its utillity.

A strange thing is the old Pentacon 6 bellows, which is tall and mighty. Some find it suits their needs.

One other thing missing from my knowledge (a known unknown..) is about Canon EOS bellows.

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

ChrisR wrote:...

It's also hard to put a non-reversed camera lens onto an M42 bellows front end.

Canon FD bellows has possibilities but isn't easy, Minolta I don't know, but I'd have severe doubts about its utillity.
My assumption is that use of bellows generally comes with use of enlarging/duplicating/objectives/reversed lenses rather than normally mounted camera lenses. Few normal mount bellows lenses are available, and most are not particularly good, so I think of bellows as enabling these alternative lens choices and mounting options. From that perspective, the considerations are how to mount your particular camera to the bellows, and how to get M39/M42/RMS or reverse adapters for standard filter threadings. Thus the T42, M42, NF, and CFD mounts are all quite flexible, with Minolta lagging slightly behind.

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

My assumption is to try to be helpful to any visitor. That's not quite the same as a choice for my personal use, where I might want to use a particular lens.

Folk will have all sorts of lenses, which were highly regarded in their day and are still pretty darned good by many a measure. Specifically there are quite a few Olympus Macro lenses out there. I remember posting a comparison where an Oly 20mm f/2 beat a Nikon 4x NA 0.2 Apo, for example.

ray_parkhurst
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Post by ray_parkhurst »

ChrisR wrote:My assumption is to try to be helpful to any visitor. That's not quite the same as a choice for my personal use, where I might want to use a particular lens.

Folk will have all sorts of lenses, which were highly regarded in their day and are still pretty darned good by many a measure. Specifically there are quite a few Olympus Macro lenses out there. I remember posting a comparison where an Oly 20mm f/2 beat a Nikon 4x NA 0.2 Apo, for example.
I stated my assumption so the perspective of my post would be clear. There are many, many more non-camera mount lenses available vs camera mount bellows lenses, so choosing a bellows such that those few lenses can be accommodated may be a mistake. Other considerations, such as minimum length, seem more important. But only the OP can say what lenses he plans to use.

jjphoto
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Post by jjphoto »

Chris, you haven't stated which lenses or cameras you will be using which may be quite relevant.

I use a Canon 5D2 with a range of enlarging lenses and this suits my needs. I like the Nikon PB-4 so much I bought 2 of them, although I might be selling one of them. Having front tilt (swing actually) and shift is very useful for controlling the plane of focus however the PB-4 has it's limitations. I've used it with dozens of different enlarging lenses on cheap Nikon to M42 or M39 adapters, and a few custom made ones too. It's very solid, no play, and easy to make fine adjustments. These things are rock solid.

Image

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

Know what you mean :) . That's the one I pick up first. I was going to say I have a couple of other makes/models, but, well, it's less than ten...
(Probably.)

If you get a cheap a PS4 slide copier you can take it to pieces, to make a small x-y adjustable stage rigidly attached to the camera. Works well with any of the (cheap and good) 55mm micro Nikkors which are of course widely available, not a mistake to use, and Nikon mount so fit while keeping the focus helicoid.

marceppy
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Post by marceppy »

Hi Chris,

I modified a Minolta auto bellows III rail with 2 slide copiers for a Canon 1D series but a non-1D series would be much easier to work with.

To make this work, I used two old slide copiers that fit the same rail, cut the slide copiers off at the base, and mounted a quick release plate to hold (sit rather than hang) the camera on the rear copy-base and attached a small piece of sheet aluminum to the front copy-base to hold and attach the lens. This allows the camera to sit on the rail and is much sturdier. You can articulate both the rear and front copy-bases.

By the way, the Minolta AB III and AB IV rails are fully compatible. I believe the Konica AR Bellows rail is also compatible with the latter and much cheaper. These are very stable systems.

http://www.buhla.de/Foto/Konica/Zubehoe ... utoAR.html

Out of town at present but can send an image on Sunday.

enricosavazzi
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Post by enricosavazzi »

This is a bit outside the original scope, but might be interesting to know anyway:

The Ilford/Kennedy Instruments Monobar camera, from the film era (mid-20th century) was essentially built like more recent hybrids between DSLRs and studio cameras. It needs modification, but with some machining or custom adapters should not be very difficult to adapt it to a modern DSLR/mirrorless body. Expensive, but not totally out-of-reach. eBay n. 370999580274.
--ES

g4lab
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Post by g4lab »

What a wonderful camera. I have lusted after that camera since reading a review of it in Shutterbug , probably 25 or 30 years ago. I think written by Rodger Hicks.

I wonder how you would attach your digital camera. Will be interesting to see how much it brings. 16 watchers.

jjphoto
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Post by jjphoto »

Interesting camera, but not cheap. Here's more:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Kennedy-Instrum ... 5660a920d4

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Kennedy-Inst ... 417b2097b6

But at those prices you might as well look at view cameras, if size/weight is not an issue.

Image

Peter De Smidt
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Post by Peter De Smidt »

I've owned quite a few Sinar cameras over the years, and I did make a mount for my D200. (I once photographed the moon using a 600mm apo lens on a Sinar P 8x10 with my D200 on the back, using two tripods.....what a fiasco. The moon is fast!) The big issue is vignetting by the camera lens mount, which is exacerbated by using an extension tube to mount the lens to the camera.

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