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Thread: Macro Lenses for LF

  1. #1

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    Macro Lenses for LF

    Hello and thanks for helping out.

    I'd like to do an ultra-macro project (10:1 or more) and and pondering how to go about it. I have a few cameras with extensive bellows draw, so that's not a problem. I'm just wondering what lens I should use. From what I understand not all LF lenses perform well at 1:1 or closer, that's why there are special macro-designated ones, but they are crazy expensive. From modern glass that comes to mind I have the following:
    Fujinon-W 360 6.3
    Fujinon-W 210 5.6
    Sironar-N 180 5.5
    Nikkow-SW 90 4.5

    Once racked out super far I'd imagine they will all cover pretty big (and I'm not set on the size I want to make my images, so I can just see how mig a particular lens covers at magnification I want and then adapt to that size), but which one do you think would be best and also, do you know of any affordable non-macro lenses that are known for good macro performance?

  2. #2

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    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    Anton, here's how to calculate extension (film plan to lens' rear node; for most LF lenses the rear node is very close to the diaphragm) distance given magnification:

    extension = focal lenth * (magnification * 1)

    If you want to shoot at 10:1 with a 360 mm lens, you'll need 11 * 360 = 3960 mm of magnification. [sarcasm] Go for it! [/sarcasm]

    Your best bet is to use a shortish lens. 35/4.5 and 17/4 Tominons, in barrel and intended to screw into the front of a #1 shutter, aren't the best but are quite usable and often not very expensive. If you have money to burn, learn about Zeiss (Oberkochen) Luminars, Carl Zeiss Jena Mikrotars, Nikon MacroNikkors and Leitz Photars.

  3. #3

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    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Anton, here's how to calculate extension (film plan to lens' rear node; for most LF lenses the rear node is very close to the diaphragm) distance given magnification:

    extension = focal lenth * (magnification * 1)

    If you want to shoot at 10:1 with a 360 mm lens, you'll need 11 * 360 = 3960 mm of magnification. [sarcasm] Go for it! [/sarcasm]

    Your best bet is to use a shortish lens. 35/4.5 and 17/4 Tominons, in barrel and intended to screw into the front of a #1 shutter, aren't the best but are quite usable and often not very expensive. If you have money to burn, learn about Zeiss (Oberkochen) Luminars, Carl Zeiss Jena Mikrotars, Nikon MacroNikkors and Leitz Photars.
    And M-Componons.

  4. #4
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    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    At that magnification, just about any small-format lens, reversed, should do a decent job. A regular lens is optimized for the subject being at least 10 times the focal length from the lens. At 10:1 magnification, the film will be 10 times the distance from the lens that the subject will be, which turns that formula around. Reversing a conventional lens should work pretty well.

    Any 28mm prime lens, for example, (or shorter) for the 24x36 format should work, if you can get it in front of a shutter. Maybe someone like Grimes could make a reversing ring to mount the lens reversed onto a large enough shutter not to clip the image. Both Nikon and Pentax made adapters that provided a filter ring on the back side of the lens just for reversed applications, to allow a shade or filter.

    1:1 is where you need a lens optimized for macro, in my experience.

    Unless you are using carbon-arc lamps up close, you are going to need a very rigid setup with a long shutter speed. The exposure adjustment for 10:1 will be about seven stops.

    Rick "small-format lenses have plenty of coverage at that distance from the film" Denney

  5. #5

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    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    Rick, symmetrical lenses are preferable. Short focus lenses for 35 mm SLRs are anything but. I'd have suggested using a reversed 55/2.8 MicroNikkor but its a bit long for the OP's intended range of magnifications.

    The 35/4.5 Tominon I suggested is a reversed tessar type (absolutely not symmetrical) but is optimized for working at magnifications above 1:1.

  6. #6

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    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    You may want to wade through the information here: http://www.macrolenses.de

    As an example, the Leitz Aristophot system was a 5" x 4" macro camera system with a long bellows so the lenses were usable on this format but are relatively old designs now.

  7. #7

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    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    Quote Originally Posted by pgk View Post
    You may want to wade through the information here: http://www.macrolenses.de

    As an example, the Leitz Aristophot system was a 5" x 4" macro camera system with a long bellows so the lenses were usable on this format but are relatively old designs now.
    Macro Nikkors that were used on the Nikon Multiphot are excellent lenses but rarely do you see them being offered for less than a grand each. Leitz Summars were the equivalent optics that were used on the Aristophot. Summars go for a lot, lot less money. I just couldn't pass up on recently getting an 8cm for a hundred dollars and change. While back found a 12cm at a bargain price. Side by side the Macro Nikkors and the Summars produce superb images that are hard to tell apart unless you're very anal and go by resolution tests. In practice the Summars I have actually found to have less diffraction when stopped down, which I have never figured out why. I actually prefer using the Summars for shooting 3D objects.

  8. #8

    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    Read this previous discussion about macro-microscope imaging and resolution.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...contrast/page6

    Leitz Aristophot, Zeiss Ultraphot remain excellent macro-microscopes to this day for a host of reasons. 4x5 sheet film for microscopes was common back in the day. There were many offerings that used 4x5 film format.

    IMO, if one is going to try making images at magnifications greater than 1x, seriously consider a proper macroscope-microscope set up. While there is SO much attention paid to lenses, camera and such, the real problem is lighting. One of the best macro photographic tools is the Wild-Leica M400-M420 then later Leica Z6 system. The other excellent system is the Zeiss Ultraphot.

    Visit this web page for more info on macro-microscope image making.
    http://www.savazzi.net/photography/default.htm


    Bernice

  9. #9

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    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    I've been doing some 5x4 macro work with Rodenstock APO Rodagon's front mounted on a Copal 1 Press, so far i've used the 50 and 105mm and at macro distances both cover 5x4.

    Sharpness is excellent, and vibration, depth of field and focus issues are by far a bigger problem then any lens limitations, i'm using a wooden Shenhao at the moment but i've been tempted by some of the somewhat affordable Cambo Ultima 45's that pop up on ebay recently.

  10. #10
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Macro Lenses for LF

    I did 3/1 with a 210mm onto 11X14 X-Ray well lit with 2 very close strobes.

    The target was the Watergate Hotel ashtray my mother stole back in the day.

    It filled the film and is posted here under macros somewhere.

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