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Moderators: ChrisR, Chris S., Pau, rjlittlefield

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Post by ChrisR »

If considering bellows, be aware there are two basic types.
Some have a "focussing rail" underneath, to allow the camera and lens to be moved as one without changing the magnification.
Even if you don't need it, it can make a much more rigid arrangement than supporting a bellows unit from one end.

The focus rail is often not immediately obvious, such as in Nikon's PB-6 or the Olympus set, which have a sort of X shaped rail.
Here it's clear, on the older Nikon PB-4 and not on PB-5

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Post by rjlittlefield »

Another important distinction: Does the camera mount slide, or just the lens mount?

In the bellows shown above by ChrisR, both mounts slide. This allows moving the lens mount to the front of the bellows rails, even at low magnification.

In the bellows shown below, only the lens mount slides. The camera mount is fixed in position at the back of the rails. When using this bellows at low magnification, and depending on the lens in use, the rails may extend far in front of the lens and interfere with subject positioning.



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Post by ChrisLilley »

Another consideration is whether you want movements (tilt/shift). These may be on the front standard (where the lens mounts), the rear standard (where the camera goes) or both.

Tilt is used to move the plane of focus so that it is no longer parallel to the sensor/film plane, but takes in more of the subject. It therefore is more useful for single shots than for stacking. Shift is primarily used to avoid perspective effects.

In the Nikon PB-4 illustrated above, the front standard has limited movements; it can tilt(on one axis) and shift (also on one axis). If you want to tilt or shift the other way, the bellows needs to be mounted on its side (for example, using a ballhead). The rear standard of the PB-4 has no movements.

Novoflex make BALPRO T/S bellows with single-axis tilt and shift on both front and rear standards.

Hama used to make a bellows with two-axis tilt and two-axis shift on both front and rear standards.


discussion of tilt/shift bellows for photomacrography

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