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lukefeeney
5-Jul-2018, 15:10
Hi,

Looking for some advice regarding lenses for a project I want to start working on. I'm going to shoot macro wet plate on an 8x10 camera.

I've been inspired by Karl Blossfeldt with his amazing macro images. I really enjoy how he has managed to capture his subject.

So, this leads to the big question about lenses. If you have shot macro on 8x10 I would really like to hear from you and what lenses you have had success with.

I've done some research and these seem to be the best so far?? If you have other suggestions for 8x10 I would be very interested to hear.

Rodenstock APO Macro Sironar
Macro-Symmar HM
Macro Nikkor-AM (ED)

I have read that the G-Claron is another option or the Fujinon A for close up work.

Looking forward to help.

Regards

Luke

Drew Wiley
5-Jul-2018, 16:12
I've used the Fuji A 360 quite a bit for around 1:2 or 1:1 closeups on 8X10 color film with superb results. But I don't know if that counts as true macro. The
G-Claron should yield similar results, at least is has for me in 4X5 closeups, where I've used both a 240 A and 250 GC.

Dan Fromm
5-Jul-2018, 16:13
Luke, a question and two suggestions.

Why do you think Karl Blossfeldt used wet plate? He was active long after dry plates and film completely displaced wet plate.

Suggestion 1. You shouldn't want to replicate the gear that Blossfeldt used. There's now better equipment than he could have obtained.

Suggestion 2. Go to http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?138978-Where-to-look-for-information-on-LF-(mainly)-lenses, click on the link in the first post, download the pdf and look at the section on books on closeup photography and photomacrography. Buy a copy of Lefkowitz, its available from vendors on abebooks.com. alibris.com, amazon.com, bn.com, ... at reasonable prices.

If you're going to shoot at 30:1, as Blossfeldt sometimes did, any old lens for LF should do the job if reversed. But and however, specialists who work at such high magnifications these days use specialized lenses from microscope makers and microscope divisions of merchant lens makers such as Leitz, Nikon and Zeiss. There has to be a good reason why they do this.

I don't use https://www.photomacrography.net/ but you should go there and look around the site.

Good luck, have fun, and worry more about technique than about lenses,

Dan

Greg
5-Jul-2018, 16:21
Back then, Karl probably used a common 6 inch Tessar at f/64 or f90. I have a highly specialized 120mm Micro Nikkor (used with Nikon's Multiphot). I've used it stopped all the way down to photograph images similar to what Karl was shooting. Enter diffraction to an extreme degree which destroys resolution... images taken at the same very small f/stop with a $50 Tessar would be no better to worse that those taken with my modern $1,000+ 120mm Micro Nikkor.

lukefeeney
5-Jul-2018, 18:04
Thanks Drew,
Appreciate your input from experience.

Dan Fromm
5-Jul-2018, 18:57
Greg, re shooting at f/90, see H. Lou Gibson's books, full details in the list. He makes the point, and strongly, that stopping down at high magnification reduces depth of field. He includes photographs that show the effect.

Basically, when shooting at high magnification there's no winning. The only way out is focus stacking, possible with film but usually impossibly expensive.

robshepherd
5-Jul-2018, 19:13
Guys, I'm interested in this as well - not to make wet plates, but rather pt/pd or gum prints in 4x5. I recently acquired a 4x5 camera with substantial bellows that is mounted on two rails with a movable stage on the same two rails. Dan, I ordered the Lefkowitz book on Amazon. Got a copy for less than $10. You mention that "any old lens for LF should do the job if reversed", so that's a starting point for sure. Greg mentions that "diffraction to an extreme degree which destroys resolution", and I am wondering to what degree said diffraction shows up in a contact print?

I have done some digging on Blossfeldt's methods, but I've never found much info that I could apply. My gut tells me that he kept thing simple. I have not seen an original print - just repros in books. I'll keep following this thread and see what can be gleaned! Thanks guys. -R

lukefeeney
6-Jul-2018, 01:55
I was doing some more research today and it sounds like an enlarger lens could also work for shooting macro on 8x10. Something like the Schneider Componon or Wollensak Raptor. I think it was actually written by Dan Fromm. It was a great article about macro photography but on a smaller format. But again it was hard to find any examples of photos shot on 8x10 with different lenses to visualise comparisions.

The research I have done on Blossfeldt techniques have told me it was all with natural north facing window light and he used a super simple set up. His backdrop was just white, grey or black cardboard. The reason I'm drawn to his photos is because of how he managed to take photos with a some what very basic set-up. Yes his camera had a meter long bellow to help with the micro aspect, and I don't think his lenses were from some fancy microscope company. His stuff was mostly home made or modified. His images are amazing mostly because of how he set up his shots! He did shoot over 6000 plates.

A great article to read if interested is https://www.moma.org/interactives/objectphoto/assets/essays/Murata.pdf and it talks about the camera sizes he used. It also mentions how he used to actually draw on his plates or scratch off bits he did not want. It's a great read for any Blossfeldt fan.

sepiareverb
6-Jul-2018, 04:06
I shot arrangements of leaves and grass on 810 at 1:1 for years with a Nikkor W 240. Printed them at 20x24, a couple at 30x40 and one at 40x50 with wonderful results. Delta 100 in XTOL 1:1

Dan Fromm
6-Jul-2018, 05:01
Rob, the generally accepted rule of thumb is that a print has to resolve at least 8 lp/mm to look sharp at normal viewing distance. The diffraction rule of thumb is that it limits resolution to ~ 1500/effective f#. So if you need 8 lp/mm in the negative then the effective f# can't be larger than 1500/8 = f/187.5. That's effective f/#, not f/# as set, and that's where magnification kills. For a lens with pupillary magnification = 1 (that's many, not all, enlarging lenses and LF taking lenses) effective f/# = f/# set * (magnification + 1). Getting to the OP's dream, at 30:1 the diffraction limit is reached at f/6.

Luke, if Blossfeldt shot at 30:1 with one meter of extension he had to have used quite a short lens.

About using an enlarging lens. They're typically optimized for printing at 8x - 12x. Lenses for printing murals are optimized for printing larger, some, e.g., Schneider's Comparons (enlarging Xenars) are optimized for printing smaller. Taking lenses are typically optimized for 1:20 or smaller magnifications. This is why I suggested any old taking lens reversed for shooting at 30:1.

consummate_fritterer
6-Jul-2018, 05:57
Place your subjects on a very stable platform that can me smoothly raised during exposure and pass light through extremely narrow slits at 90 degree angles from the plane of focus. Shoot at optimal aperture for the magnification. Raise the subject through the slits of light at appropriate speed for correct exposure. Laser levels would be easier to implement but the color would work effectively as a very narrow band pass filter. I can't remember what this procedure is called.

Greg
6-Jul-2018, 06:20
Place your subjects on a very stable platform that can me smoothly raised during exposure and pass light through extremely narrow slits at 90 degree angles from the plane of focus. Shoot at optimal aperture for the magnification. Raise the subject through the slits of light at appropriate speed for correct exposure. Laser levels would be easier to implement but the color would work effectively as a very narrow band pass filter. I can't remember what this procedure is called.

Deep field (scanning) photomacrography, technique first developed by Nile Root when he taught at RIT. Later called Scanning Light Photomicrography and written up by William Sharp and Charles Kazilek.

Tin Can
6-Jul-2018, 06:44
Shiitake Macro 3-1, f64, Sironar N MC 360 mm. Scan V700 of 11X14 X-Ray Kodak CSG cropped to 8X8" Bellows about 45" Deardorff S11. Strobes. Contact printed after the scan for the Internet.

Just another experiment. The 11X14 S11 has 72" of extension and can shoot at any angle.

I really got to get it setup again even if the studio floor falls in...:)

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7326/27356595552_68745b3346_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/HFpGLy)Shitake 3-1 8X8 scan of 11X14 X-Ray (https://flic.kr/p/HFpGLy) by TIN CAN COLLEGE (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tincancollege/), on Flickr

consummate_fritterer
6-Jul-2018, 06:52
Deep field (scanning) photomacrography, technique first developed by Nile Root when he taught at RIT. Later called Scanning Light Photomicrography and written up by William Sharp and Charles Kazilek.

I 'invented' this process when I was fifteen years old, only to discover it was patented a year before I was born. Always "a day late and a dollar short".

robshepherd
6-Jul-2018, 18:55
Luke, if Blossfeldt shot at 30:1 with one meter of extension he had to have used quite a short lens.


Dan, thank you for your comment regarding diffraction. So, this evening I got around to reading the PDF that Luke linked to above. It's quite interesting in general, but the meat of it for the purpose of this discussion is this: The author indicates that Blossfeldt used a 500mm Aplanat 1:36, and that he had bellows of approx. 1 meter long. Exposure times ranged from 8-12 minutes (no surprise there!). Does this even make sense? A 500mm lens would need 1 meter of bellows just to do 1:1. That's a far cry from the 20:1 or 30:1 magnification exhibited in his prints. Can you or anybody else help make some sense of this? Dan, your comment about a shorter lens resonates with me (and is supported by the basic math) because when I've done close-up work with my 4x5 and run out of bellows, I reach for a shorter focal length lens.

Tin Can
6-Jul-2018, 19:29
Maybe he enlarged?

robshepherd
6-Jul-2018, 20:50
Randy, he did enlarge as far as I can glean from what's been written. But a negative taken at 1:1 does not yield the detail of 1:30 magnification through enlargement. Still contemplating how to go about this - and I still believe it's going to be a rather simple affair.

Jim Noel
7-Jul-2018, 13:27
I have made several experimental images of this type - usually of dead flowers. Most of these have been made with a 135mm but I am getting ready to try a movie lens designed for 16 mm cameras. I believe it should work well on my 5x7 Deardorff, as well as the Wehman 8x10. I will begin with it positioned in normal manner, and then the same images with the lens reversed. I believe wide open will work best as stopping these small lenses down is likely to introduce diffraction. If I had a lens designed for 35mm movies I certainly would use it.
Yes, he did enlarge his negatives which I strongly suspect were glass plates which produce sharper enlargements than film negatives. I probably will not use glass negatives even though I do have the equipment to do so.
I normally use single sided X-ray film for such images and will do so with these new experiments.

Dan Fromm
7-Jul-2018, 14:36
Jim, the killer is magnification. Makes the effective aperture smaller than the nominal aperture set.

When I was testing lenses for work above 1:1 I found that the really good ones, e.g., Luminar, MacroNikkor, were best wide open, lost central resolution when stopped down at all. This wasn't quite true for a 25/1.9 Cine Ektar II. Superlative around 15:1, but better at f/2.8 than at f/1.9. Below f/2.8, the mush just got worse. Similar results for a reversed 55/2.8 MicroNikkor AIS. Best at f/4, central resolution was worse at smaller stops.

Peter De Smidt
7-Jul-2018, 14:47
Not that he needs any help from me, but my experience matches Dan's.

Jim Noel
7-Jul-2018, 15:33
Jim, the killer is magnification. Makes the effective aperture smaller than the nominal aperture set.

When I was testing lenses for work above 1:1 I found that the really good ones, e.g., Luminar, MacroNikkor, were best wide open, lost central resolution when stopped down at all. This wasn't quite true for a 25/1.9 Cine Ektar II. Superlative around 15:1, but better at f/2.8 than at f/1.9. Below f/2.8, the mush just got worse. Similar results for a reversed 55/2.8 MicroNikkor AIS. Best at f/4, central resolution was worse at smaller stops.

Your statement concerning aperture and magnification is well known to me.
I do not plan to use modern lenses. I will use some of my collection from the Blossfeld era.

Tin Can
7-Jul-2018, 16:01
Now I gotta reshoot my Shitake!

But first reassemble the S11 stand by myself. Not so easy.

I think I can.

Dan Fromm
7-Jul-2018, 16:09
Your statement concerning aperture and magnification is well known to me.
I do not plan to use modern lenses. I will use some of my collection from the Blossfeld era.

Jim, a lens is a lens is a lens. The same rules apply to all of them. Even cine lenses.

Josh
13-Jul-2018, 07:16
Jim, a lens is a lens is a lens. The same rules apply to all of them. Even cine lenses.

True, but older lenses won't be sharp wide open. All lenses will be softened at smaller apertures, but for many, they'll get to their sharpest at f/16 or so. If the lens is sharpest at f/2.8 then stopping down will soften it. Presumably, you'd want to use the lens at its sharpest aperture, so I think Jim's point is very resonable.

Dan Fromm
13-Jul-2018, 07:34
Josh, what matters is the effective aperture, not the aperture set. Effective aperture = aperture set * (magnification +1).

At 1:1, f/16 set is f/32 effective. At 30:1, f/16 set is nearly f/500. You might as well use a pinhole that's too small.