View Full Version : Macro Lens on Linhof Technika IV

Scott Rosenberg
24-Sep-2004, 12:02
good day...

i got a sastifactory body of lenses for general field photography, however, i have found lately that i miss my macro lens from my 120 setup.

my camera has just enough bellows draw to accomadate my 300mm lens, that said, what are my options for macro photography with this camera?

i currently own:
110 super symmar xl
150 siranar-s
240 fujinon-a
300 fujinon-a

would any of these lenses work well as macro lenses? i'd like magnification of around 2:1.


Dan Fromm
24-Sep-2004, 12:32
To get to 2:1, extension has to be about 3*f. I say about because when we talk about extension we usually mean flange-to-film distance, but the extension given magnification formula means rear nodal point-to-film distance. The formula is extension = f*(m + 1).

So the only one of your lenses that will get close to 2:1 on your camera is the 110, and you should reverse it for best results. You might be happier with an ex-Polaroid CU-5 75/4.5 Tominon in Copal (not sure whether they're in #0 or #1, not that it matters) Press as turn up often on eBay and usually sell for < $35.

Good luck, have fun, enjoy all the conflicting advice you're about to get,


Scott Rosenberg
24-Sep-2004, 12:42
thanks, dan... conflicting advice is why i read threads on this forum! i appreciate the suggestion of the polaroid lens.


Scott Rosenberg
24-Sep-2004, 12:48

Neal Shields
24-Sep-2004, 15:21
I haven't tried this yet but it is on my to do list.

I saw a view camera on Ebay one time that had a lens and shutter from a Kodak Signet 35mm camera mounted on a lens board.

At first I thought it was some kind of scam but then realized that while that lens only covers 35mm at infinity at higher magnifications it will cover 4x5. It gives the added benifit of not putting more light into the camera then you need for the image.

The shutter and lens unscrew quite easily from the camera and can be mounted on a lens board.

I went so far as to remove mine from my camera and then found a good deal on a Polaroid Tominon on Ebay so canceled the project but sometine in the future I might do some compairisons. Kodak Signets can be picked up for around $10 if you watch close.

Dan Fromm
24-Sep-2004, 16:17
Scott, its the very thing. The MP-4 version will cover 4x5 from 2:1 to 4:1, which is the range that's possible on the MP-4. I have one (MP-4 flavor, screws into a #1). Mine isn't the best lens I have for that range of magnifications on my 2x3 Graphics but it ain't shabby. IMO, Tominons are about the best values going BUT their QC is somewhat variable. I have a pair of 35/4.5s, one is great, the other only ok.

Neal, there are all sorts of taking lenses around that will cover 4x5 given enough magnification. The thing to remember when using them is that taking lenses are designed to have the big object in front and the small image behind. So when using them to shoot at high magnification, its best to reverse them. The same is true of enlarging lenses, which can work well as macro lenses. There's an important exception, 50/4.5 and 75/4.5 Enlarging Ektars. According to EKCo these work well as macro lenses facing normally, with the film behind 'em; my experience with a 50 is consistent with this.



Ernest Purdum
24-Sep-2004, 16:21
Dan's idea of the 75mm Tominon is a very good one. They are quite a bargain at anything like the price he mentions and you would be using the lens in very much the magnification range for which it was designed. Neal's thought about the Signet lens needs a little elaboration. I don't have data on the Signet at hand, but I am guessing it is something like a 50mm Tessar type, or at any rate a highly asymmetric design. These produce poor results when the "front" cell is pointed at a subject smaller than the film. As Dan mentioned, reversing the lens is sometimes an answer to the problem. Most shutters (but not most size 1's have the same threads front and rear, so unless one cell winds up pushing against the diaphragm, the cells can be swapped. The diaphragm scale will no longer be correct, though. A lens of this sort will work better at high magnification than low.

One point to keep in mind is that the shorter the lens the more difficult it becomes to arrange your lighting.

24-Sep-2004, 16:57
As mentioned - the shorter the lens, the more difficult to light something. If using a reversed enlarging lens, try a 105mm or more.

Scott Rosenberg
24-Sep-2004, 18:12
thanks for all the information, fellas.

enrico, to achieve 2:1 magnification, using dan's formula, the longest lens i could use would be a 100mm, as that would put me right at the 300mm limit of my camera.

i think i'll give the tominon a try... if it's a bust, i haven't invested all that much in the project! i did see one of these lenses from rodenstock, not polaroid... am i to assume they are the same (ie, caltar)?

thanks again, scott

Dan Fromm
24-Sep-2004, 19:07
Scott, the ex-Polaroid Tominons and Rodenstocks aren't quite the same thing. Each maker had its own designs. Rodenstock is still in operation, I think its parent company is named Linos. Tomioka is part of the Kyocera empire.

Polaroid Rodenstocks shorter than 127 mm are mainly lenses for the Polaroid MP-3. Most were delivered in Prontor Press #1. I've had only one of them, a 35/4 Eurygon made to screw into a #1 shutter; when I got it, it was on a Prontor Press. Mine was a striking lens not very good, other examples may be better. I've heard good things about Ysarexes, including the 75/4.5 MP-3 lens, but have no experience with them. If the price were right, at worst an Ysarex wouldn't be a bad mistake.

You might also look for an 80 mm enlarging lens, although one of these would have to be reversed above 1:1 and doing that may require a custom ($$) adapter. FWIW, I've tried 80/5.6 Minolta C.E. Rokkor E. and 75/3.5 Boyer Saphir B enlarging lenses as macro lenses between 1:1 and 1:8. Shot 'em at f/11, f/16, f/22. The Boyer, which cost around $9 delivered, is noticeably better than the Minolta, but there's no easy inexpensive way to reverse it. And mounted normally it isn't that good above 1:1.

If you can live with a 4" lens that probably won't cover 4x5 below 2:1, look for a Wollensak 4"/5.6 Enlarging Pro Raptar. I've shot one wide open from 1:1 to 4:1 and at f/11, f/16, and f/22 from 1:8 to 1:1 against a known good 100/6.3 Luminar. The Luminar was marginally better wide open above 1:1, but not enough better to justify the difference between the going rate for them and the $12 plus delivery that I have in the Pro Raptar. Below 1:1 they tied. All these tests on TMX and Delta100, the results differ with a sharper emulsion. Note that I use the Pro Raptar mounted normally, rear to film, at all magnifications. Oh, yeah, my 100/6.3 Neupolar beats Wolly and Zeiss from 1:8 to 4:1. The Luminar scores high on coverage, though, Zeiss claims 4x5 from 0.8x up.

Tominons, in shutter and for front mounting, are a lot easier to find than Wollensak's last hurrah.



Scott Rosenberg
25-Sep-2004, 03:52
i don't mean to come off as snooty, but what would my options be if i were to spend a little more $$. i'd be willing to put more money towards the lens if there was an appreciable difference in quality. are these <$50 lenses being mentioned because that's all that's available, or because there's no reason to spend any more, as the gains in sharpness is not enough to offset the difference in price?

if there were some options in the $200 - $300 range that were significantly better than those mentioned, i'd certainly consider them as well. again, i'm just attempting to ascertain all of my options before making a decision.

thanks, fellas,

Dan Fromm
25-Sep-2004, 06:44
Scott, I don't want to come off as rubbing your nose in my hard-to-repeat good luck that you probably can't match -- nothing personal, times have changed and the good deals have got a lot scarcer -- but there aren't many 75 mm +/- macro lenses that are much better than the 75/4.5 Tominon and that can be found for < $300 in a reasonable length of time. Luminars and Photars and MacroNikkors are too well-known these days for it to be easy to snatch one via eBay and I think innocent vendors' web sites have been picked clean. I've picked a few m'self.

If you're willing to spend money on an adapter and have a shutter you're not using, I think -- don't know for sure, never had one -- that a 75/4.5 Enlarging Ektar with and adapter to hold it in front of a #0 or #1 ($65 from SKGrimes, according to my last discussion with Adam) will probably do a little better than a 75/4.5 Tominon. I used to have a 50/4.5 Enlarging Ektar that shot better than the 50/4.5 Tominon I still have. Note that the 50/4.5 and 75/4.5 are the only heliar type Enlarging Ektars. All of the others are tessars and Kodak didn't recomend them for use as taking lenses.

I suggest you avoid B&L MicroTessars. I've had a couple of 32s and 48s (still have one, if you want it to play with, $10 + postage) and a 72, all were worse than the equivalent Tominon. Any of these will require an adapter to go in front of a shutter. 16, 32, and 48 are all in RMS thread, longer ones are in something larger, varies by lens.

Back to adapters. It is fairly easy to put a lens in barrel some distance in front of a shutter. This is how I use some pretty ridiculous lenses (210/9 Konica Hexanon GRII, for example) on my 2x3 Speed and how I get > 2:1 with my 100 Neupolar on the Speed. The Neupolar is in an adapter to #1; to extend it, I attach a female #1-male M39, add M39 extension tubes is needed, followed by a female M39-male #1.

I just posted a formual for finding how much coverage can be obtained with a front mounted lens, look for my recent posts here.

I wouldn't put y'r 110 SS-XL on an extension tube, but I would put my little 4" Enlarging Pro Raptar on one. If you wait long enough, one of them will turn up on eBay.

But as long as we're thinking about front-mounting and adapters and more money and all that, note that the 105/5.6 El-Nikkor is threaded at both ends, so is easily reversible. Good lens too, I'm told. I believe it is in M39. If so, you can use my extension tube trick with cheap LTM tubes and will need only one adapter.



Ernest Purdum
25-Sep-2004, 08:04
Supply and demand. The Tominons are inexpensive because the availability is good and many people don't know how to use them, which keeps the demand down. Going to one of the prestige name macro lenses is a very big jump dollarwise. Their availability is low because they were made in much smaller numbers than the Tominon. They were very expensive new because of the limited market. Today,the number of potential buyers is small, but those buyers know that they will have to pay high prices to get good ones.

As Dan mentions, there are, of course, other possibilities, most of which require some work and/or ingenuity to use on your camera. There are Nikon reverse mounting rings for their excellent enlarging lenses. The part numbers are 2641 NCP, 2656 NCP and 2640 NCP. They fit Nikon lenses of 50, 63, 75, 80 and 135mm focall length and would, no doubt fit other lenses also. Most of these lenses are optimized for 5x magnification.

A word about shutters. I'm partial to self-cocking types. The less I have to stick my fingers in between the camera and a macro subject, the better I like it. The easiest to use is the Copal Polaroid shutter used on the MP-4 cameras. You use one locking type cable release to open it for focusing and another release to take timed exposures. If one is fabric covered and the other plastic covered you won't get them mixed up. All the Tominon MP-4 lenses just screw into the front. Unfortunately, their mounting threads are just a millimeter larger than the 39mm size common on enlarging lenses. I've heard that one was adapted to 39, but I can't imagine how. Other than these, a big old Wollensak Alphax or Ilex Universal is probably the best alternative.

Bob Salomon
25-Sep-2004, 08:47
On a Technika macro ratios of up to 14:1 were possible using various macro lenses like the Zeiss Luminars, Rodenstock Apo Rodagon D and Schneider Macro Componon lenses, although only the Zeiss would get you to the highest ratios. To do this the lenses would mount into the old version of the Linhof Macro Shutter system (Zeiss) or the newer version that accepted 39mm Leica thread directly (both now discontinued). These shutter/lensboards had the shutter mounted at the end of a long, tapered tube to make lighting close to the lens axis possible to show texture. None of these lenses needed to be reversed for optimal quality and all are a major improvement over other lenses discussed above. However you will not find these for $25.00 or $100.00.

If you have questions about these sysytems I can answer them after Photokina as I probably will be off line until then.

25-Sep-2004, 09:40
scott, yeah thats about right, 300mm or so extension with the 105 I have (rodenstock). I tried the tominons - I must have ones from a bad batch. In great condition and using them in the correct way still didnt deliver.

I cant help specifically with any Technika related advice but I asked a question concerning LF macro and recieved some very helpful advice from Dan amongst others...

check this: http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=007dA5

Dan Fromm
25-Sep-2004, 10:05
Ernest, I have to take mild and polite issue with you on self-cocking shutters.

I agree with you that ex-MP-4 Copal #1 Press shutters are the best values going for front-mounting. I have a couple and use them. FYI, ex-MP-3 Prontor Press #1s also take two cable releases for, respectively, opening the shutter to focus and firing it. So there's another opportunity. The MP-4 Copal has, the MP-3 Prontor lacks, an open shutter lever.

I tried a couple of ex-oscilloscope camera Ilex Universal #3s, sold them. There's nothing wrong with them, larger Universals, or similar Alphaxes and Betaxes. But I've never seen a 'scope camera lens with a shutter that didn't need a CLA, including mine. That's more expense. And 'scope camera Ilexes are threaded internally at the back but not externally, so mounting one to a board requires an externally threaded flange (more expense) that reduces the shutter's diameter at the rear. In use, 'scope camera shutters aren't quite as big as they seem.

I now use a fully-speeded cock-and-shoot Copal 1 for all of my front-mounted lenses, including the macros. I was spoiled by shooting macro with flash illumination on KM. 35 mm only, using cheap Nikons with sync speeds of 1/125 (Nik'mat) and 1/250 (FM2n). I got all of my illumination from flash, ghosting wasn't a problem in broad daylight at f/11 and 1:2. But with EPP or EPN and flash, my press shutters' highest top speed of 1/125 sometimes forces a smaller aperture than I want to avoid ghosting. This matters in the field, not indoors where I can control ambient light. Another reason to use the slowest film possible.

Unlike you, I can get away with fiddling with the shutter before shooting because I rarely shoot above 2:1 with my 2x3 Graphics and usually use my 100 Neupolar. The Neupolar's mount adapter holds it out in front of the shutter and to get it to 2:1 I put it on a short extension tube. So I have ample space to grope around the shutter without disturbing the subject. Things would be different with a shorter lens in shutter.

My lens of choice for the Graphics between 2:1 and about 5:1 in the field is a reversed 55/2.8 AIS MicroNikkor. Like the Neupolar, it sits a good distance in front of the shutter. Unlike the Neupolar, it won't cover 4x5 much below 4:1. I rarely shoot at 5:1 in the field, its too difficult.



Scott Rosenberg
26-Sep-2004, 04:08
thanks for all the great information fellas. i think the simplest thing is going for me to pick up one of the tominons in a copal shutter. if that isn't satisfactory, i can always start to try some of the more exotic suggestions made here.

i really appreciate all the help!

Scott Rosenberg
26-Sep-2004, 12:54
dan... thanks for the inputs. i don't know if i have enough bellows draw to use a 120mm lens. i will look into the nikkor macro line to see if they have shorter options.

Dan Fromm
26-Sep-2004, 14:34

And I warn you, if you pursue this seriously you'll find yourself in deep water. Fascination with gear is a major obstacle to using it.



Scott Rosenberg
27-Sep-2004, 03:20
dan... thanks for the resource on the nikkor lenses. happily, i do not suffer from the dreaded 'magic bullet' syndrom. a decent lens in hand is better than a hundred under consideration.

thanks again everyone.

Scott Rosenberg
27-Sep-2004, 06:29
WOW, that's some crazy stuff on that page, dan...

"The two MACRO Nikkor 12cm F6.3 lenses are having an enjoyable dream on the desk."

my brother is stationed in korea and he's always sending me link to pages with strange english on them... i think i have one to show him for a change.

Dan Fromm
27-Sep-2004, 08:58
Now that I think of it, Scott, I have what Akiyama-san calls a "Supernatural Grand Lens" in a drawer waiting for me to pay the price of making it usable. Odd name, but it fits.

SKGrimes' price for a mount adapter to fit the SGL isn't low. In fact, its so high that it induced me to buy a 10.16"/9 Taylor Hobson Copying Lens for which I already had the necessary adapters. The Taylor Hobson is much smaller, somewhat lighter, neither grand nor supernatural. Its a stop-gap, and a good one.