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neoro
4-Feb-2010, 07:44
Hi,

I'm new to LF and still doing my share of research. I want to shoot primarily macro 1:1< or >1:1 and have narrowed down my lens to probably a Schneider 180mm HM.

For bodies, I have seen that the Shen Hao and Chamonix 4x5 gives a pretty decent bellow length.

Anyone able to comment on the easy of precise focusing using Shen Hao or Chamonix 4x5s? Any other models / brands to recommend? The more the movement the better, weight isn't an issue at the moment :p



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http://www.flickr.com/photos/tang_yiming

Dan Fromm
4-Feb-2010, 08:52
Um, when working in the range of magnfications you want most of us set magnification by setting extension, then focus by moving camera and lens as a unit. You should think about a really sturdy focusing rail.

You should also reconsider what you're trying to accomplish. If you don't need to print large a 35 mm SLR (or perhaps an MF SLR) is much easier to use for macro than a view camera.

FWIW, I shoot a fair number of flowers using a Nikon, 105/2.8 MicroNikkor, and a couple of small flashes. The flash rig is calibrated, tells me the aperture to use given magnification. I just walk up to my flower, frame it, check aperture, reframe/refocus and POW!

I also shoot flowers between 1:6 and 2:1 with a 2x3 Graphic and a suitable lens and a flash or two. Subject motion is a killer, one can never be sure that what was in focus before the lens is stopped down, shutter closed, film holder inserted, ..., will be in focus when the shot is taken. Wind!

Ken Lee
4-Feb-2010, 09:19
A 180mm lens requires 180mm bellows extension at infinity. To shoot at 1:1, we need 2x the infinity extension, or 360mm. For this reason, it is good to use a shorter lens in many cases, if bellows draw is limited. View camera movements are difficult when the bellows is very extended.

Option 1 is the Rodenstock APO Macro Sironar (http://www.linos.com/pages/mediabase/original/e_Rodenstock_Analog_Lenses_27-42__8226.pdf) or Schneider Macro Symmar (http://www.schneideroptics.com/ecommerce/CatalogSubCategoryDisplay.aspx?CID=167) which come in different lengths: 120mm for 4x5, 180mm for 5x7/8x10, and 80mm for Medium Format. At 1:1, a 120mm lens will require only 240mm of bellows extension, and will not produce a strain on your 4x5 camera. To get closer than 1:1, you need even more bellows extension.

Option 2 is a 180mm Fujinon A (https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=162), but it is a bit long.

Option 3 is possible for non-macro lenses that sit in a Number 1 shutter: reverse the lens. This will improve performance for macro shooting. Screw the rear element into the front, and screw the font element into the rear. Keep the shutter in the normal position, outside the camera.

Option 4 is to use a process lens like the APO-Ronar (http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=apo+ronar&_sacat=See-All-Categories), APO-Nikkor (http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=apo+nikkor&_sacat=0&_trksid=p3286.m270.l1313&_dmpt=Camera_Lenses&_odkw=apo+ronar&_osacat=0), APO-Artar (http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=apo+artar&_sacat=0&_trksid=p3286.m270.l1313&_odkw=apo+nikkor&_osacat=0) which were designed for close work, but mounted in barrel, with no shutter. You can use a Sinar camera and a Sinar shutter, or...

Option 5 - Some process lenses are available in shutter, either because someone put them into a shutter, or they were manufactured that way. You will see some of them on eBay.

Option 6 - Have a process lens mounted into a shutter by an expert like SK Grimes (http://www.skgrimes.com/fits/index.htm).

(Some of us like option 4: a Sinar camera, and a Sinar shutter. This lets us shoot any lenses we want: in barrel, or in shutter. The disadvantage is that the Sinar camera is heavier than a wooden field camera).

Arne Croell
4-Feb-2010, 10:04
Option 3 is possible for non-macro lenses that sit in a Number 1 shutter: reverse the lens. This will improve performance for macro shooting. Screw the rear element into the front, and screw the font element into the rear. Keep the shutter in the normal position, outside the camera.


I assume you meant " lenses that DO NOT sit in a number 1 shutter"... since the one shutter where front and back cell have different threads is the no.1. I never understood why the shutter industry did that.

Peter K
4-Feb-2010, 10:28
I assume you meant " lenses that DO NOT sit in a number 1 shutter"... since the one shutter where front and back cell have different threads is the no.1. I never understood why the shutter industry did that.
Don't ask the shutter industry but the lens- and camera-makers.

The "older" dial-set Compur shutters had the same threads front and back. But the "newer" size #00, #1 and #2, introducted in the Twenties, have different threads. Possible to save weight because nearly all rear-cells are smaller as the front-cells.

Peter

Ken Lee
4-Feb-2010, 10:55
"I assume you meant " lenses that DO NOT sit in a number 1 shutter"... since the one shutter where front and back cell have different threads is the no.1. I never understood why the shutter industry did that".

Oops :)

Ken Lee
4-Feb-2010, 10:59
I guess another option is to use an enlarger lens.

Ivan J. Eberle
4-Feb-2010, 11:00
OP may well have his reasons for thinking that 1:1 will be worth the trouble. But to me LF beyond about 1:4 ratio just seems absurd; this is coming from someone who's been shooting macros as a substantial part of his revenue stream for 20 years. Reason being that the 1:1 detail will be the same size on film. But 35mm macro lenses routinely resolve 105-110 lp/mm on film and that kind of resolution is unavailable to large formats for a variety of reasons. From 35mm on either film or a 20+ MP FF body, a single exposure yields an image nominally capable of a 20x30" inch print that will withstand close scrutiny. If that won't get it done, stitching would be far, far more satisfying than chasing after better detail through larger formats.

rdenney
4-Feb-2010, 11:08
I would strongly consider a modular monorail for this application instead of a field camera. Shorter focus distances lead to more extreme movements, and a modular system will allow the rail to be extended. The downside is bulk and weight, which do not seem to be your driving issues.

I think the monorail that fits your needs might be a Sinar F2. They came with a 12" rail, but it is easy and cheap to get 6", 12", and even 18" extensions, which can be stacked end-to-end as necessary. Bellows can be stacked with an intermediate multipurpose standard, but the standard square bellows is probably long enough to focus a 180mm lens at 1:1. Two stacked end-to-end would be long enough for any reasonable lens in that application. The system also provides a range of macro-useful features, including film-plane metering solutions and viewers designs for very low camera positions. The F2 has geared focus on both standards, which allows you to adjust focus while maintaining the same magnification, or to adjust position to alter magnification, pretty easily.

Rick "thinking this application can use the modular versatility of a good monorail" Denney

Arne Croell
4-Feb-2010, 11:11
The "older" dial-set Compur shutters had the same threads front and back. But the "newer" size #00, #1 and #2, introducted in the Twenties, have different threads. Possible to save weight because nearly all rear-cells are smaller as the front-cells.

Peter
Its true that the old dial set Compurs where different. However, I have several number 2 Compurs here, both dial set and rim-set, but all with lenses from after WWII (Voigtlaender Ultragon 115mm, Heliar 180mm, Apo-Ronar 360mm) and one 00 (Repro-Claron 55mm). All of them have the same threads front and back. So which models of the no.2 and 00 had different threads front and back??

Peter K
4-Feb-2010, 12:47
So which models of the no.2 and 00 had different threads front and back??
The early ones from the Twenties. Front 22,5 x 0,5 mm and rear 21,0 x 0,5 mm for Compur size #00. Front 49,0 x 0,75 mm and rear 43,0 x 0,75 mm for Compur size #2.

But Compur shutters size #00 and #2 buildt after WWII have the same threads front and back. 22,9 x 0,5 mm size #00 and 45,75 x 0,75 mm size #2.

Peter

ki6mf
4-Feb-2010, 13:46
I have a shen hao user and don't shoot Macro. Shen Hao will take a 180 mm lens and also has extension tubes if needed to extent bellows. I think I agree with the comment about the view camera with a rail for this type of work as they tend tho have more extension than the field cameras. I have a Cambo for studio work and they can be had on the used market for a reasonable cost.

r.e.
4-Feb-2010, 14:26
Anyone able to comment on the easy of precise focusing using Shen Hao or Chamonix 4x5s? Any other models / brands to recommend? The more the movement the better...

Six keys to precise focusing:

rock solid tripod
rock solid tripod head, preferably with geared movements
rock solid camera at the extension you need to get to 1:1 (360mm or 14" for the lens that you propose to use), preferably with a geared rail
a good ground glass
a good focusing loupe
wait for the camera and subject to settle before you take the shot

If you are doing this indoors, try to minimize floor vibration; if outdoors, try to minimize the effect of wind both on the camera/bellows and the subject.

Christopher Broadbent has pointed out recently on this forum that there is something to be said for shooting with the camera mounted directly on the tripod, without using a head, if you are not shooting at an angle.

Regarding options, it would help to know what kinds of things you want to photograph at 1:1, whether you want to do this indoors or out and why you want extensive movements.

P.S. I've just looked at your Flickr page. You obviously have a fair bit of experience with macro, using both 35mm and medium format, and across a broad range of subjects.

If I can, I'd suggest that you focus, if you are going to try large format, on the solidity of your gear. Otherwise, you're liable to become quite frustrated. For the kind of subject matter that seems to interest you, a rail camera with a geared rail is in my respectful view a better idea than a field camera. Personally, I use an Arca-Swiss, but Sinar, Linhof and others are just as good and tend to be less expensive.

There is a participant in this site named B.A. Bosaiya whose work might interest you. His web site is at http://www.knockoutproductions.com/KO/index.html Click on the insect to see some extraordinary large and medium format photographs.

neoro
4-Feb-2010, 18:18
Um, when working in the range of magnfications you want most of us set magnification by setting extension, then focus by moving camera and lens as a unit. You should think about a really sturdy focusing rail.

You should also reconsider what you're trying to accomplish. If you don't need to print large a 35 mm SLR (or perhaps an MF SLR) is much easier to use for macro than a view camera.

FWIW, I shoot a fair number of flowers using a Nikon, 105/2.8 MicroNikkor, and a couple of small flashes. The flash rig is calibrated, tells me the aperture to use given magnification. I just walk up to my flower, frame it, check aperture, reframe/refocus and POW!

I also shoot flowers between 1:6 and 2:1 with a 2x3 Graphic and a suitable lens and a flash or two. Subject motion is a killer, one can never be sure that what was in focus before the lens is stopped down, shutter closed, film holder inserted, ..., will be in focus when the shot is taken. Wind!

Hi Dan,

Thanks for your reply. I too, like yourself have done a fair share of 35mm Macro photography from the Canon MP-E65 1x-5x shooting to funky bellow setups with multiple strobes. Truthfully, I do not print most of my stuff, but when I saw pictures made from enlargements in dark room, I was sold!

Also the movements of tilt and shirt, etc, has always tempted me

On the medium format, I shoot most of my stuff using a 120mm Hasselblad on extension tubes (64mm to 80+mm). Flowers are my main subjects mainly


A 180mm lens requires 180mm bellows extension at infinity. To shoot at 1:1, we need 2x the infinity extension, or 360mm. For this reason, it is good to use a shorter lens in many cases, if bellows draw is limited. View camera movements are difficult when the bellows is very extended.

Option 1 is the Rodenstock APO Macro Sironar (http://www.linos.com/pages/mediabase/original/e_Rodenstock_Analog_Lenses_27-42__8226.pdf) or Schneider Macro Symmar (http://www.schneideroptics.com/ecommerce/CatalogSubCategoryDisplay.aspx?CID=167) which come in different lengths: 120mm for 4x5, 180mm for 5x7/8x10, and 80mm for Medium Format. At 1:1, a 120mm lens will require only 240mm of bellows extension, and will not produce a strain on your 4x5 camera. To get closer than 1:1, you need even more bellows extension.

Option 2 is a 180mm Fujinon A (https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=162), but it is a bit long.

Option 3 is possible for non-macro lenses that sit in a Number 1 shutter: reverse the lens. This will improve performance for macro shooting. Screw the rear element into the front, and screw the font element into the rear. Keep the shutter in the normal position, outside the camera.

Option 4 is to use a process lens like the APO-Ronar (http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m38.l1313&_nkw=apo+ronar&_sacat=See-All-Categories), APO-Nikkor (http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=apo+nikkor&_sacat=0&_trksid=p3286.m270.l1313&_dmpt=Camera_Lenses&_odkw=apo+ronar&_osacat=0), APO-Artar (http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=apo+artar&_sacat=0&_trksid=p3286.m270.l1313&_odkw=apo+nikkor&_osacat=0) which were designed for close work, but mounted in barrel, with no shutter. You can use a Sinar camera and a Sinar shutter, or...

Option 5 - Some process lenses are available in shutter, either because someone put them into a shutter, or they were manufactured that way. You will see some of them on eBay.

Option 6 - Have a process lens mounted into a shutter by an expert like SK Grimes (http://www.skgrimes.com/fits/index.htm).

(Some of us like option 4: a Sinar camera, and a Sinar shutter. This lets us shoot any lenses we want: in barrel, or in shutter. The disadvantage is that the Sinar camera is heavier than a wooden field camera).

Hi ken,

Thanks for such a comprehensive input!
My pick would still be running a 180mm lens. As much as I like to do >1:1 I do shoot a fair share of 1:1< shots :)

I will couple the LF with my MF when I shoot (oh, this is going to be one heavy trip :) ), so at those right moments, I'll draw the LF some macro snaps

Also, I would like to upgrade to a 5x7 sometime in the distant future, and the 180 Macro seems to be a pretty ideal focal length imho.


I guess another option is to use an enlarger lens.

Will definitely explore this, however at the moment, I am really considering a proper macro lens to start off my Macro LF Experience.


OP may well have his reasons for thinking that 1:1 will be worth the trouble. But to me LF beyond about 1:4 ratio just seems absurd; this is coming from someone who's been shooting macros as a substantial part of his revenue stream for 20 years. Reason being that the 1:1 detail will be the same size on film. But 35mm macro lenses routinely resolve 105-110 lp/mm on film and that kind of resolution is unavailable to large formats for a variety of reasons. From 35mm on either film or a 20+ MP FF body, a single exposure yields an image nominally capable of a 20x30" inch print that will withstand close scrutiny. If that won't get it done, stitching would be far, far more satisfying than chasing after better detail through larger formats.

Hi Ivan,

Thanks for your input. I think I have receive the same input when I told a few friends that I want to do 1:1 or >1:1 on medium format. Month later, the satisfaction from all the trouble seems to pay off. The results are just, satisfying...


I would strongly consider a modular monorail for this application instead of a field camera. Shorter focus distances lead to more extreme movements, and a modular system will allow the rail to be extended. The downside is bulk and weight, which do not seem to be your driving issues.

I think the monorail that fits your needs might be a Sinar F2. They came with a 12" rail, but it is easy and cheap to get 6", 12", and even 18" extensions, which can be stacked end-to-end as necessary. Bellows can be stacked with an intermediate multipurpose standard, but the standard square bellows is probably long enough to focus a 180mm lens at 1:1. Two stacked end-to-end would be long enough for any reasonable lens in that application. The system also provides a range of macro-useful features, including film-plane metering solutions and viewers designs for very low camera positions. The F2 has geared focus on both standards, which allows you to adjust focus while maintaining the same magnification, or to adjust position to alter magnification, pretty easily.

Rick "thinking this application can use the modular versatility of a good monorail" Denney

hi rdenney,

This is a very valuable information. I have been researching into the Sinar F2 after reading your recommendation and the pricing seems to be reasonable for such a camera!

Curious, from these pictures http://cgi.ebay.com/Mint-Sinar-F2-4x5-View-Camera-Latest-w-Shift-Locks_W0QQitemZ260519015339QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item3ca824b3ab#ht_16016wt_732 is the giant knob on the first picture, the know which would be mounted on my tripod? Was wondering how can I place a ballhead on this setup.


I have a shen hao user and don't shoot Macro. Shen Hao will take a 180 mm lens and also has extension tubes if needed to extent bellows. I think I agree with the comment about the view camera with a rail for this type of work as they tend tho have more extension than the field cameras. I have a Cambo for studio work and they can be had on the used market for a reasonable cost.

Thanks Ki6mf,
Now i'm rather sold to the rail setup, however I will still keep your inputs in mind on the Shen Hao


Six keys to precise focusing:

rock solid tripod
rock solid tripod head, preferably with geared movements
rock solid camera at the extension you need to get to 1:1 (360mm or 14" for the lens that you propose to use), preferably with a geared rail
a good ground glass
a good focusing loupe
wait for the camera and subject to settle before you take the shot

If you are doing this indoors, try to minimize floor vibration; if outdoors, try to minimize the effect of wind both on the camera/bellows and the subject.

Christopher Broadbent has pointed out recently on this forum that there is something to be said for shooting with the camera mounted directly on the tripod, without using a head, if you are not shooting at an angle.

Regarding options, it would help to know what kinds of things you want to photograph at 1:1, whether you want to do this indoors or out and why you want extensive movements.

P.S. I've just looked at your Flickr page. You obviously have a fair bit of experience with macro, using both 35mm and medium format, and across a broad range of subjects.

If I can, I'd suggest that you focus, if you are going to try large format, on the solidity of your gear. Otherwise, you're liable to become quite frustrated. For the kind of subject matter that seems to interest you, a rail camera with a geared rail is in my respectful view a better idea than a field camera. Personally, I use an Arca-Swiss, but Sinar, Linhof and others are just as good and tend to be less expensive.

There is a participant in this site named B.A. Bosaiya whose work might interest you. His web site is at http://www.knockoutproductions.com/KO/index.html Click on the insect to see some extraordinary large and medium format photographs.

Thanks r.e.;555943,
I have a markins M20, hopefully this ball head is reliable and strong enough to suit my needs. After much though thanks to yours and the many above's recommendation, rails seems to be the way to go eh...

r.e.
4-Feb-2010, 18:35
The Markins may be fine for flowers, at least larger ones, and I would think about Christopher Broadbent's suggestion for that subject. You'll find out soon enough if the Markins works for you. I have an Arca ballhead and a Manfrotto 410 geared head. I find that the latter is easier, and more pleasant, to use when I need fine focus.

jeroldharter
4-Feb-2010, 18:46
You might go for an 8x10 monorail with a 4x5 reduction back so that you can use the longer bellows without piecing together multiple bellows on 4x5.

Drew Wiley
4-Feb-2010, 18:58
I strongly agree with Rick. The Sinar rail and bellows can be extended as long as you wish, and it is easy to balance the rail just by sliding it. If necessary, two rail
clamps can be used for extra stability. I personally put a 28 inch Horseman bellows
on my Sinar F2. Combined with my set of 190, 240, and 360 Fujinons, there's very
littel I could do well - except maybe ultra precise tiny jewelery or bug shots. But the 360 is better for 8x10 work. And Sinars are the best deal going in the used market
right now.

Drew Wiley
4-Feb-2010, 19:00
Sorry, the phone rang! I obviously meant, that there's very little that I couldn't do
well with this setup, not "littel that I could do", but I guess that's a matter of opinion.

rdenney
4-Feb-2010, 21:28
Curious, from these pictures http://cgi.ebay.com/Mint-Sinar-F2-4x5-View-Camera-Latest-w-Shift-Locks_W0QQitemZ260519015339QQcmdZViewItemQQptZFilm_Cameras?hash=item3ca824b3ab#ht_16016wt_732 is the giant knob on the first picture, the know which would be mounted on my tripod? Was wondering how can I place a ballhead on this setup.


In that picture, the tripod clamp is at lower right. Next to it is a 12" extension rail. You can tell it's an extension rail and not the base rail because of the red knob. You turn that knob to screw it into either end of the base rail, after unscrewing the end cap. And extended rail has all the structural integrity of a solid rail--it's an excellent system.

The tripod clamp has a 3/8" thread in the bottom and can be mounted directly to tripod legs or to a head with a 3/8" bolt. You can use a bushing, too. If you want to mount it on a ball-head, then use a universal camera plate with a 3/8" screw. But I would not recommend a ball head for a camera like this--you'll have the devil of a time leveling the camera properly. I use an Arca-Swiss Monoball with medium format, but I use a Sinar tilt-head under my tripod clamp. (I have used the Sinar on my Monoball, so I have learned that this isn't ideal.) You could easily use any geared head or focusing rail, if you choose. You can also use two tripods with two clamp, or two clamps on a stronger crossbar, to make the mounting even more rigid with long bellows extensions.

The big handle on the tripod clamp tightens the clamp to the camera rail.

You can also get an F or Normal multipurpose standard and put it between the lens and film to connect two sets of bellows together.

I also own a Cambo and it's pretty modular, too. But it doesn't have that extendable rail, and that's what makes the Sinar really useful in this application.

The F2 in the ad is pretty nice, probably at the upper end of what's on the used market, both in appearance and in price.

Rick "thinking this kit would focus a 12" lens at 1:1, but with the bellows tuned to middle C" Denney

neoro
4-Feb-2010, 22:33
Hi guys,

How does a Horseman LX perform and feel compared to a Sinar F2 ?

Dan Fromm
5-Feb-2010, 01:38
Folks, the OP asked about working out-of-doors. Rather more problematic than working in a studio or lab. Wind, in particular, is a killer.

And he wants to shoot flowers. Unless he uses a subject holder than ties his subject down wind will ruin most of his carefully composed high magnification shuts. It doesn't take much movement to shift the plane of best focus.

Neoro, camera movements aren't used much closeup. Its easier to adjust the subject than the camera, if you see what I mean.

IMO, most of the advice given in this thread is well-meant, good, and irrelevant. Neoro, you say you've worked closeup with 35 mm and 6x6. That's great, but you haven't told us what what you know. If you don't have it, you might want to buy a copy of Lester Lefkowitz' book The Manual of Closeup Photography.

Cheers,

Dan

neoro
5-Feb-2010, 01:55
Hi Dan,

I'm interested particularly with the precision movements of the camera when I want to do my close up work.

From the pictures I see, I do notice there weren't much movements, however I would like to leave this as open as possible as I would surely like a camera with lots of movements rather then restrictive one. As weight and bulkiness becomes a trade off for this, I have other means of shooting medium format should I want portability at this junction.

If I recall a thread mentioning on specific books authored for close up macro photography, there isn't one specifically written for large formats, however the basic principals and concepts such as exposure compensations due to lost of light from extended bellows are well understood.

Out in the field, I do shoot my flowers at 2 seconds at F22, and sometimes taking between 15-30 minutes for a short, just to wait for the wind to calm down. Factoring the size of bellows, I would have an additional item to balance and stabilize.

My initial thought of getting a chamonix / shen hoa was later diverged to a Sinar F2 and now I also saw a Horseman Lx and I am curious on user experiences. I know this differs greatly from one to another, however every critical feedback just adds to a point or 2 to my consideration.

Being IN singapore, even though prices of such bodies are reasonable, I might end up paying 1/4 or 1/3 its price for reasonable shipping and handling. So as much as I would like to just grab one from Evil Bay, I greatly appreciate the time and effort put forth to help me make my final decision :)


Folks, the OP asked about working out-of-doors. Rather more problematic than working in a studio or lab. Wind, in particular, is a killer.

And he wants to shoot flowers. Unless he uses a subject holder than ties his subject down wind will ruin most of his carefully composed high magnification shuts. It doesn't take much movement to shift the plane of best focus.

Neoro, camera movements aren't used much closeup. Its easier to adjust the subject than the camera, if you see what I mean.

IMO, most of the advice given in this thread is well-meant, good, and irrelevant. Neoro, you say you've worked closeup with 35 mm and 6x6. That's great, but you haven't told us what what you know. If you don't have it, you might want to buy a copy of Lester Lefkowitz' book The Manual of Closeup Photography.

Cheers,

Dan

Greg Lockrey
5-Feb-2010, 02:00
I shoot some macro 4x5 of jewlery and pottery and the like for artists, but in reality for all the effort you need to do with a 4x5 at 1:1 you can still fit a pack of cigarettes in the frame. I'm not sure it's worth all that effort.

Take a look at this site if you want to see macro at it's finest.

http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/index.php Some of these guys photograph plant life at near 1:1 with Mt Rainer in the background all in sharp focus (called macro panoramics) ultilizing focus stacking methods that make single capture archaic. Just my 2c.

Dan Fromm
5-Feb-2010, 04:08
Neoro,

Thanks for the fuller explanation.

I think you'll want a camera with geared movements. And you'll want a monorail with a knob that moves the rail fore and aft in the tripod block. I have a little 2x3 Cambo SC; one of its attributes that makes using it for closeup harder than I like is that moving the rail in the tripod block isn't easy. A focusing rail would solve that, but is one more piece of gear to carry and anyway most of the rails available were made for 35 mm cameras and aren't strong enough for a 4x5.

I don't know what you can do about moving the camera laterally, besides a (second) rail, am not sure that shifts will solve that problem well enough often enough.

I suggested Lefkowitz because he's very clear about depth of field.

A common fantasy about using large format for macro work is "I can fill a huge frame with a tiny subject." Been there, tried that, wasn't pleased by the results. Nil depth of field, difficult working. Stopping down to increase DoF isn't that useful, alas.

For me, 2x3 is sometimes preferable to 35 mm for flower shots because I can get more subject in a 2x3 frame at the same magnification. I can have better detail in subject and setting than I can get with 35 mm. If working at relatively low magnification -- 1:8 to at most 1:1 -- is what you're after, go for it. If you seriously want to work at higher magnifications in the field, think hard, do the DoF calculations, before spending serious money.

Cheers,

Dan

r.e.
5-Feb-2010, 05:13
Here's an example of a close-in 4x5 photograph of part of a flower. It was done rough and ready in about 15 minutes (indoors, regular lens, instant film, about f22 if I recall) and involved pronounced but straightforward camera movement.

You might find it useful to get a copy of Jack Dykinga's Large Format Nature Photography. He touches only briefly on close-ups, but it is a good introduction to large format generally, including choosing equipment for field use. Dykinga mostly uses Arca-Swiss, but what he says has application to other rail cameras. Lefkowitz's book is fine (I have a copy), but you already know this stuff, and John Shaw covers the material just as well in books that are up to date, clearly written, nice to look at and still in print. If you want a technical manual, in my view Strobel's View Camera Technique remains the bible.

rdenney
5-Feb-2010, 06:16
My initial thought of getting a chamonix / shen hoa was later diverged to a Sinar F2 and now I also saw a Horseman Lx and I am curious on user experiences. I know this differs greatly from one to another, however every critical feedback just adds to a point or 2 to my consideration.

I've never owned a Horseman, but they are well-regarded. The LX is bigger, heavier, and bulkier than an F2, and not quite as interchangeable. It uses the same bellows and lens boards as the Sinar, but doesn't have the rail-extension capability, which I think is key to your application.

At some level, Dan is right about the difficulties of using large format for macro. The depth of field will be even less than with smaller cameras because of the longer focal lengths involved. But these disadvantages are there for many large-format applications, and here we are using it anyway, in many of those applications, and thinking of ways to work around or make use of those limitations. Having been warned of those issues, and knowing your own requirements more intimately than any of us can, you are now empowered to proceed as you wish.

Personally, I can think of lots of reasons to use large-format for closeups, but there are still those potential problems. As to usinig a Sinar F or F2 in the field, I've done it and it makes a decent field monorail. It packs fairly small for a monorail, and it's pretty light, for a monorail. Geared movements would be nice but at the expensive of bulk and weight (and price). The F2 has geared focus front and rear (unlike the F, which is rear only) and that's the main thing useful in your situation. With geared focus, you can adjust both the lens and the back for and aft a small distance without moving the rail at all, though you'll have to refocus after doing so.

Rick "relevancy depends on more detailed requirements than those presented here" Denney

Tom Monego
5-Feb-2010, 06:23
I have used a 120 f5.6 apo-Nikkor Am doing macro in a studio. I was photographing medical instruments, having movements was huge. This is a great lens set in a "0" shutter. I used it mostly with a Calumet Cambo monorail 4x5. I bought an extra long rail but never the bellows as I could get a 4:1 mag with the standard bellows. The disadvantage in this set up is you have to get very close to the subject at these mags. I used a fiber optic lighting set up in the studio. A 210 will increase your working distance. This maybe the way to go, any longer and you are getting into massive bellows extension, which becomes a sail outside.

Tom

r.e.
5-Feb-2010, 06:46
Tom, I have that Nikkor. Agreed that if one doesn't need more working distance, it is a terrific lens, and not expensive.