View Full Version : Suggestion on macro lens for 14x17

Marco Annaratone
9-Feb-2019, 01:16
Hi all,

I will soon be starting a series of projects that will keep me busy for the next three or four years, so it makes sense for me to invest in the best possible lens for these projects.

The photos will be all black and white, on my Lotus 14x17, with a reproduction ratio between 1:1 (very few) and 3:1 (i.e., three time life size). I do have a 360mm apo-ronar CL in shutter, but my understanding is that the ronars are optimized for 1:1 reproduction; for higher reproduction ratios they do not perform as well. Same considerations apply to the apo-Germinar, apo-Nikkor, etc

I am therefore oriented to buying one of the “real” macro lenses for LF, i.e., Nikkor-AM, Macro-Sironar, Makro-Symmar HM. 210mm or 180mm. In terms of covering the format I believe they should be OK at 2:1 and above (not so for 1:1 but I do not foresee making a lot of photos at this reproduction ratio, I could use the ronar). My bellows goes to almost 1200mm, so I am ok as far as bellows extension is concerned. The appropriate (powerful) lighting should also be taken care of.

It would help me a lot to hear from someone who has gone through this already, i.e., practical experience as opposed to internet hearsay. Issues with shutter-induced vibration, maybe? Are the three macro lenses mentioned above performing well at 2:1, 3:1 .... 4:1? Considering that I will contact-print the negatives, is this search for high performance lenses an exercise in futility, and a good-old ronar is all I need?



Dan Fromm
9-Feb-2019, 08:44
Marco, ApoRonars are symmetrical, therefore as good at 1:3 as at 3:1 facing normally and reversed. A 360 won't quite make 3:1 with 1200 mm of extension.

If you're contact printing, you'll need at least 8 lp/mm resolution in the negative. All of the lenses you mentioned should give you more than that as long as you control vibration. See Lefkowitz and Bracegirdle (both discussed in the list) for advice on this.

Tin Can
9-Feb-2019, 08:58
Look at St Petersburg. https://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?133358-2024-quot-enlarger&p=1469216&viewfull=1#post1469216

They are doing it

Marco Annaratone
13-Feb-2019, 01:12
Thank you Dan and Randy for you replies.

13-Feb-2019, 02:07
Given the format and the length of bellow extension you are planning to work with, film flatness and camera stability will play a much bigger factor in your end result. I have tested regular lens Vs Macro lens on 8x10 in close to 1:1 situations and if there is any differences I am not seeing it.