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Thread: doing close up work

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  1. #1
    Deadly Ninja
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    doing close up work

    I was reading in View Camera Technique that using shorter lenses is actually better for macro work. Since the focal length is short, the photographer benefits from not having to use long bellows to focus up close.

    So what lenses does everyone use for macro work? Could I use a 105mm or 72mm lens even though these are "wide-angle"? Oh, and happy new year to everyone

  2. #2
    none
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    doing close up work

    Emre,
    I have found that wide angle lens tend to work better for close ups even though they are not what you would precisely call "Macro". If bellows draw is a problem you can use a shorter focal length lense. This may require you to use recessed lensboards and a flexible bag bellows.

  3. #3
    Deadly Ninja
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    doing close up work

    My 105mm Nikkor seems to work really nice. Since I no longer have a monorail (I use a Toyo 45AII), I'm sort of limited to the bellows that came with it. So technically, the shorter the lens, the less bellow extension I should need to focus up close, right? I.e. I'd need even less for a 72 or 65mm lens than my 105mm.

  4. #4

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    doing close up work

    Yes, but that also means that you have to be that much closer to the subject for the same enlargement. That can cause major problems with lighting etc.

  5. #5
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    doing close up work

    Note the point that Jim made above. There are also a host of other problems working close with a wide angle lens. Chief among them being that it becomes more and more difficult to correct distortion of objects as you get closer and closer to them ... the needed movements become more extreme and not likely possible with your AII. So, it all depends on what you mean by macro work. If you mean real macro work (e.g. 1:1 or larger) then you will have problems with a lot of objects and angles with the 72 and some, but less with the 105. For example, if you are shooting a round object at 1:1 or larger with the 72 you will need to be very very careful in terms of both camera and subject placement to avoid any enlongation of the object. Shooting flat subject straight on (e.g. artwork) will not give you that problem.

    The problem is that the Toyo AII, while a superb camera for landscape work, is just not designed for macro work. It is not just the limited bellows extension but also the movement limitations that hamper you. Not that you can't doit but it will require a lot of effort. If I get a chance later today I will set up my AII with a 75mm lens in the studio and see what happens. I can tell you from experience that it is tough. Several years ago I was shooting some restaurant interiors with a Horseman FA and the owner then decided he wanted to do some close up tabletop shots with food, right there and right then. I wanted to go get my monorail or at least my Canham but nope he wanted it done there and then. One of the few times that I ever went out on a local assignment without taking all sorts of seemingly needless gear. I was able to get it done with only minimal distortion of the plates on the table but it wasn't easy and I was not particularly proud of the shots. When I showed them to him and explained how I WANTED to shoot it he then agreed but I wasted a lot of time. Not saying that you will be wasting time but just some warnings. Again,if you are dealing with flat objects you will have no trouble. You will also have no or little trouble if you are working at near macro ranges or just up close. If you are really planning on working at 1:1 and larger and doing it frequently then you may want to think about another solution.

  6. #6
    Deadly Ninja
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    doing close up work

    Ted,

    That explains a lot. It seems that I can get at least 1:1 with the 105mm, with the standard Toyo bellows. I think I will stick with that for now. What lens do people usually use when doing 4x5 macro work?

  7. #7

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    doing close up work

    Now to all of the very good points that Ted made. Those are the reasons that when doing table tops or close-ups I use a cheap, old, Calumet 400 series longrail. Less than a hundred bucks on e-bay and a joy to do that kind of work with.

  8. #8

    doing close up work

    I use a 150 G-Claron on my AII down to 1:1 which the bellows accomodate quite well.

  9. #9
    Jack Flesher's Avatar
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    doing close up work

    I keep a tiny little Tominon 105 out of a Polaroid MP4 specifically for true "macro" work; very sharp and contrasty and even covers 4x5 at infinity with a bit of room to spare, though 1:1 is where it shines. FWIW, this lens made over 60 lpmm in a recent test! I think I paid $100 for it in a Polaroid press shutter on @Bay.

    For more general "close up" work (1:2 ~ 1:6) at more compfortable working distances, I use a 210 G-Claron.
    Jack Flesher

    www.getdpi.com

  10. #10
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    doing close up work

    Emre, when doing true macro work I use the following setup:

    1) Horseman monorail with 1000mm rail
    2) Long bellows (sometimes two bellows with a bellows joiner n the middle for extreme closeup work)
    3) A 180mm Schneider macro Symmar HM or a 105 Tominon (as described above) but usually the 180 Macro as it is much better corrected at the edges and corners for ratios of 1:1 and larger.
    4) Most shooting done on a Kaiser Shooting Table

    Just for kicks I did mount the Toyo AII up on the Studio Stand with a a 75mm Super Angulon f5.6 to see what I could accomplish and it was a total bear to work with. The camera is just not designed for this sort of work. I also put the 105 on and it was a bit easier but still not what you want. In addition to other issues already discussed it is very difficult to get the camera manuvered in a way that you will not get far end of the camera base in the picture (maybe even impossible to do so). You just don't hve much room to move around with a Toyo AII for this sort of work. BTW, the same is going to be true for most clamshell type field cameras; perhaps a little less so with the Horseman FA because of the flipup gizmo at thetop of the camera that makes rise easier with wide lens but see my earlier post for my own experiences with this camera in these situations.

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