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Thread: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

  1. #11

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    I'm with pdmoylan. A view camera isn't the right tool for photographing mobile subjects at relatively high magnification. Especially in "the field."

    I took up photography with the goal of shooting unconstrained fish in aquaria. This is nearly your problem, David. In 1971 the best tool for that job was a 35 mm SLR with a macro lens. Hand held, focused by moving the camera/lens to track the subject. A major part of that art is arranging the tank so the fish does what the photographer wants to record where the recording is easy.

    The techniques I developed for shooting fish transferred directly to shooting flowers and insects at low magnification -- the highest my usual rig allows is 0.88:1 and shooting that high handheld isn't easy, focus is too easy to lose -- in the field. Multiple flash units attached to the camera body or the lens' filter threads, calibrated so that I know which aperture to use given magnification and flash power settings. No thinking required, just consult the tables, set up, compose, focus, push the button.

    The ancients used focusing frames with non-SLRs to work more rapidly closeup. Most often fixed focus cameras with a + diopter. For an explanation, see Gibson, H. Lou. Close-Up Photography and Photomacrography. 1970. Publication N-16. Eastman Kodak Co. Rochester, NY. 98+95+6 pp. The two sections were published separately as Kodak Publications N-12A and N-12B respectively. Republished in 1977 with changes and without the 6 page analytic supplement, which was published separately as Kodak Publication N-15. 1977 edition is ISBN 0-87985-206-2. Focusing frames are discussed in the Close-up section, -A.

    I've tried to make a couple of focusing frames for shooting flowers with a handheld 2x3 Graphic and electronic flash, haven't yet come up with a design I'm willing to build and try to use. Haven't come up with a good set up procedure either, and am not sure I can see exactly where the plane of best focus will be.

    So you'll know and perhaps reconsider, I have a set of good lenses made for shooting above 1:1 and the adapters needed to mount them on a Nikon, have tried working at 5:1 handheld. Luminars, Minolta Compact Bellows with strings of adapters, supplemental tubes as needed, ... Short answer, don't bother. Keeping focus is very difficult. Perhaps with digital where the incremental shot is free and with a sufficiently powerful repeating flash. But not with my gear.

    pdmoylan's remark about separate flashes for the backgrounds is great. That's the only way to control the background's lighting; flash(es) mounted on camera and lens usually make a black background.

    David, before you proceed further have your sanity checked. You want to shoot a 2.5 mm insect and get a 95 mm image. Fine, wonderful, but that's 38:1. 38:1 requires 39 * f extension. You haven't thought about what that means for the 120 mm lens that doesn't appeal to you. You're nuts or extremely clueless.

  2. #12

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    I'm with pdmoylan. A view camera isn't the right tool for photographing mobile subjects at relatively high magnification. Especially in "the field."

    I took up photography with the goal of shooting unconstrained fish in aquaria. This is nearly your problem, David.
    With respect I do not think you have carefully read what I have said. I have other ways of getting the subject to the exact location I need them to be so I do NOT need to move the camera. The subject will carry out the action I want to record in the exact spot where the camera is pointing. I have done this successfully with 5D remote controlled on tripod. So I know the set up works. the same thing goes for lighting etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    David, before you proceed further have your sanity checked. You want to shoot a 2.5 mm insect and get a 95 mm image. Fine, wonderful, but that's 38:1. 38:1 requires 39 * f extension. You haven't thought about what that means for the 120 mm lens that doesn't appeal to you. You're nuts or extremely clueless.
    The 2.5mm insect to which I referred is the parasite with a bee. I can see you read this as a desire for the parasite to be full frame whereas it would be shown with all or part of the bee. It looks to me as though I can (with my current extension design) reliably expect to work with at least 27inch of bellows plus 3" of tube extension giving the equivalent of 30" of bellows (say 750mm). Now a bee is a little over 15mm. So to show the bee 95mm wide would require 6.33:1. However I do want to do a lot better than that. A 50mm lens would give me 15:1 but at what point can I get a lens which would meet both my magnification requirements with minimal DOF distortion?

    This may mean I need to increase my bellows extension well beyond 7" (this is my calculated stability limit using a single tripod) if so by how much? I reckon the extension system I have designed could be reliably scaled from 7" up to at least 25" (giving equivalent of 48" of bellows using a double tripod arrangement) after which there are some engineering design issues which would need very careful restructuring.

    I would like to feel people were concentrating on my questions about lens choices and leave me to solve the inevitable problems I would face on using them. My original posting put my question much more simply:

    Quote Originally Posted by vizion View Post
    I am wanting to do some macro using with my TK 45 S.

    I am wondering if any macro workers would be willing to tender some advice on suitable lenses and comparative performance. My main interest with macro work is photographing insects.

    David
    I know people want to help and what I am looking for is advice on macro lenses and their comparative performance on a 4x5. I am sorry if I have succeeded in confusing people by answering questions in a way that took focus away from my original very simple question.

    Thanks

    David

  3. #13

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    David, you really need to read a good book on the subject. You think you know what you need to know and are trying to ask about that and nothing else. Your relatively short questions reveal, however, that in spite of your success with a Canon you need to know more than you think you do. Two book suggestions. Lester Lefkowitz' The Manual of Closeup Photography, Brian Bracegirdle's Scientific Photomacrography. Bracegirdle is drier than Lefkowitz, both cover the same subjects.

    Your focus on lenses is silly. There's no rational basis for choice among the better grade of dedicated macro lenses. They are all much better than good enough, differences among them are trivial. You can't make a bad mistake with any of them as long as the one you get is in good condition.

    I'm not referring to the excellent lenses that Mr. Salomon suggested but to lenses made specifically for working above 1:1. The good ones are made by microscope manufacturers, e.g., Zeiss (Luminars), Leitz (Photars), Nikon (Macro Nikkors). Canon and Olympus also make good lenses in this class. Find out which focal length of any of the good brands (a) will cover 4x5 at your desired range of magnifications and (b) whose best range of magnifications includes your desired range. Then buy one and go. Remember that all of these lenses have optimal ranges of magnifications. None is best for all magnifications.

    At the magnifications you want to work at (still not stated clearly) there's one sleeper, the 55/2.8 MicroNikkor AI/AIS. Reversed and shot at f/4 it is competitive with the 63 Luminar at f/4.5. Posters on the French LF forum insist that the 55/3.5 MicroNikkor is even better but I don't know whether they've done the comparison or simply found the f/3.5 good. I have both, have never tested the f/3.5. The f/2.8 is good enough.

    The 55 MicroNikkors aren't significantly better (or worse) than comparable lenses from other makers so I suspect their competitors would be equally usable reversed above 1:1. Subject, for all including the MicroNikkors, to covering 4x5 at the range of magnifications you want.

    You've mentioned DoF distortion a couple of times. What is it? The concept is new to me.

    Re framing and focusing. Get a lens that will focus to, say, 20:1. Doesn't have to be a good one. Set it up on your TK. Focus, frame, etc. Close the shutter -- with the good lenses one always shoots wide open so you won't stop down -- insert a film holder, remove it, open the shutter. Don't shoot, and the film holder can be empty. Then check to see whether you've lost your original framing and focus. Share your findings with us. If you haven't done this experiment you don't know ...

  4. #14

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post

    Your focus on lenses is silly.
    The focus of my question is on lenses but many respondents mistakenly assume I am not thinking of other things. One question one subject is my guideline otherwise - because everything in photography is inter-related the dialogue goes where people want to take you rather than giving you the information you seek. You are not the first person to incorrectly assume I havent read or understood the material to which you refer!



    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    At the magnifications you want to work at (still not stated clearly) there's one sleeper, the 55/2.8 MicroNikkor AI/AIS. Reversed and shot at f/4 it is competitive with the 63 Luminar at f/4.5. Posters on the French LF forum insist that the 55/3.5 MicroNikkor is even better but I don't know whether they've done the comparison or simply found the f/3.5 good. I have both, have never tested the f/3.5. The f/2.8 is good enough.

    The 55 MicroNikkors aren't significantly better (or worse) than comparable lenses from other makers so I suspect their competitors would be equally usable reversed above 1:1. Subject, for all including the MicroNikkors, to covering 4x5 at the range of magnifications you want.
    That is interesting - thank you for sharing with me your personal experience. This is the type of response I wanted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    You've mentioned DoF distortion a couple of times. What is it? The concept is new to me.

    I find different lenses of the same focal length differ in the degree to which the proportions of the part of the subject closest to the lens (and within the depth of field) is increased in apparent size by comparison with the part farthest away (and within the depth of field). Whilst the difference is quite small in macro work the significance of this difference is out of all proportion to its size.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Re framing and focusing. Get a lens that will focus to, say, 20:1. Doesn't have to be a good one. Set it up on your TK. Focus, frame, etc. Close the shutter -- with the good lenses one always shoots wide open so you won't stop down -- insert a film holder, remove it, open the shutter. Don't shoot, and the film holder can be empty. Then check to see whether you've lost your original framing and focus. Share your findings with us. If you haven't done this experiment you don't know ...
    [/QUOTE]

    I did that with and without the stabilisation bar that forms part of my bellows extension system. Without it there is some loss of framing & focus. With my stabilisation bar there is no loss of either framing or focus. My stabilisation bar is far more substantial & rigid than linhof's own tele/macro bracket. I am quite satisfied with that part of the system. I am still limited to the 20" of the TK's standard bellows extension until 7" extension is finished.

    Thanks for your input - it is appreciated.

  5. #15

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    David, I hope you are using a digital back because the amount of film you will use under these conditions before you obtain an aesthetically pleasing image where you have constant movement would, for me in any event, be monitarily wasteful. You also have to calibrate manual flashes, both primary and slave, on subject and background, so that your exposures are on. If you have a predetermined pattern of movement across the film plane, which would seem unlikely, or a series of infrared trip lights your success rate will increase; nonetheless, you will have to keep exacting records of aperture/shutter speed and distances/position/angles of flashes to the subject to perfect final images. And of course it takes time to have the film processed and returned and then you have to evaluate it vis-a-vis your records (I'm assuming you are shooting color). A clear issue for you is keeping track of the exposure and flash distance calculations, angles etc for each sheet. With roll film this is less of a problem since you have an uninterrupted series.

    I do not envy you taking on this project but I respect your desire to experiment.

    BTW, as with Dan, I have the Nikkor 50mm F2.8 micro and can attest to it's value reversed for > 1/1 magnification. But I have not employed it for greater than say 3/1, so Dan's suggestion to calculate your magnification is critical as that will determine which lens is right for you. You should however consider the Olympus 38mm lens as I believe it pushes up to 20/1. OLYMPUS has several now discontinued macro series that are touted very well with excellent color characteristics. Nikon, Zeiss, and Leitz all produced lenses for this purpose as well. They all must be used within 2 stops from wide open aperture to obtain maximum sharpness. Finding one of these specialized lenses may be the biggest challenge. Others have suggested reversing an enlarging lens for jewelry and this may be another avenue for you to consider.

    Good luck and keep us informed of your progress.

  6. #16

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    pd, I've tested all five Luminars. They all lose sharpness when stopped down at all. Whether the small gain in DoF from stopping down a little is worth the loss of sharpness in the plane of best focus is a decision for the user. At higher magnifications stopping down is all loss.

    pd, I've tested my 55/2.8 up to 5:1. It is competitive with the 63 Luminar and, given prices, perhaps the better choice for those of us with limited budgets. I find the Luminar easier to use, though, mainly because it is slimmer.

    David wrote:
    I find different lenses of the same focal length differ in the degree to which the proportions of the part of the subject closest to the lens (and within the depth of field) is increased in apparent size by comparison with the part farthest away (and within the depth of field). Whilst the difference is quite small in macro work the significance of this difference is out of all proportion to its size.
    Thanks for the explanation. I've never seen the effect. Never. And I've shot lenses of the same focal length against each other at the same magnifications.

    David wrote:
    The focus of my question is on lenses but many respondents mistakenly assume I am not thinking of other things.
    I should have been clearer. If you get a good grade of lens designed to work above 1:1 and use it within its designed range of magnifications it doesn't matter which one you have. They're all diffraction limited, low distortion, ... That's why I think your interest in lenses is silly. Just get the appropriate Luminar or Macro Nikkor or Photar and don't look back. Mikrotars can be good too, but in my and my friends' experience used ones are variable in quality; I blame this on their previous owners, not on CZJ.

  7. #17

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    That's why I think your interest in lenses is silly.
    I have tried to be generous but to be honest I find such language arrogant!

  8. #18

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    Quote Originally Posted by vizion View Post
    I have tried to be generous but to be honest I find such language arrogant!
    Excessively blunt, not overbearing. If I had intended to tell you to shut up and go away I'd have told you that as directly as possible.

    There are many popular delusions. One that often surfaces here is that it really makes a difference which first-class lens -- there are many first-class lenses for most combinations of focal length, maximum aperture, and coverage -- is used. In my experience, attention to technique is much more important than which first-class lens is used. Bottom-of-the-barrel lenses are another matter entirely.

    For an account of my experience with macro lenses, go here: http://www.galerie-photo.com/1-lens-6x9-dan-fromm.html If it isn't clear, I obtained and tried all of those lenses because I didn't believe most of the blather written about them. I wanted to see for myself which ones I could use to make a functional equivalent of a Wild Photomakroscope. Now I know. Profit from my efforts.

    In high-magnification photography, no lens will save the photographer whose technique isn't meticulous.

  9. #19

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Excessively blunt, not overbearing. If I had intended to tell you to shut up and go away I'd have told you that as directly as possible.
    You probably would have done and I would have given you short thrift
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    There are many popular delusions. One that often surfaces here is that it really makes a difference which first-class lens -- there are many first-class lenses for most combinations of focal length, maximum aperture, and coverage -- is used. In my experience, attention to technique is much more important than which first-class lens is used.
    Here I agree with your analysis but you had the arrogance to assume I could not possibly have sufficient experience to know that.. despite having been an active photographer for probably more years than you have been alive


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Now I know. Profit from my efforts.
    IMHO this is another demonstration of self satisfied and over weaning arrogant language. I am sure you do not intend to sound so smug but really!!!

  10. #20

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    Re: Lenses for macro on Linhof Tecknikardan

    David, please tell us about your experience. I was impressed by your having a TK, even more by your having made bracing that works. Having a big expensive digital Canon counts for something too.

    That you persist in asking what seem like beginners' questions is puzzling. If you know as much as you want us to think, you have nothing to learn from anyone here.

    Now, about your problem. You harp on lenses. If you knew which lenses would do the job you wouldn't have asked. You must not know. If you knew the relationship between focal length, magnification, and extension you wouldn't have asked the questions you did and you wouldn't be thinking of getting an extension tube for your TK. Again, you must not know or you must not be telling us enough.

    You say its incorrect of me to conclude that you don't know enough about how to reach your goal of photographing bees and their parasites at fairly high magnification. You might well be right. Since you say you do, you are right. That doesn't help me understand why you persist in asking questions whose answers you already know.

    Smug? Probably not. Stiff-necked, yes. Annoyed? Absolutely.

    Cheers,

    Dan

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