View Full Version : Lens for Horseman LD SLR View Accessory

27-Nov-2010, 22:16
I frequently do product photography in my job as a technical writer. I'm presently using Canon 90mm TS-E and 180mm Macro lenses. I'm considering getting the Horseman LD View Camera converter for my Canon EOS cameras. I need some guidance in what focal length lens to get for this unit.

Do I want the same focal length lenses I now use or different?



Robert Jonathan
8-Dec-2010, 20:59
Hi Dennis,

There's no reason not to use the same focal lengths you like using right now. However, now that you have the option to use large format lenses with a Canon, you can take advantage of the superior digital optics that are available.

If you like the 90mm focal length, then a Schneider 90mm f/4.5 Digitar, Rodenstock 100mm f/4 HR digital lens, or Rodenstock 90mm f/5.6 Digaron-W HR digital lens (previously called the "90mm f/5.6 APO-Sironar Digital" lens) would fit the bill.

The HR series of lenses from Rodenstock are just about unbeatable. The Schneider Digitars are good, but the Rodenstock HR lenses are in a league of their own for digital capture, and far, far ahead of any Canon lens. Sharper and no chromatic abberation (purple fringing).

If you need macro, there's the Schneider Digitar 120mm M, and an 80mm f/5.6 macro from Schneider as well.

With regard to the Horseman LD accessory, I'm familiar with it, because I bought a Horseman LS 4x5 camera to use it with, but never bought the LD accessory.

My Horseman LS has the removeable frames, so I can use the LD accessory, but I discovered what might be a better, cheaper option, for me at least: a Sinar/Horseman 140x140mm board with a Canon or Nikon mount to mount to the rear frame of my Horseman view camera.

There's a company ( http://www.just-together.de/index_en.htm ) that makes boards to mount a Canon or Nikon to the rear of a Sinar or Horseman, but I'm going to be machining one myself, because I think I can do a better job (and it'll be cheaper). :)

Hope this helps.

10-Dec-2010, 11:05
Thanks, Robert, that's exactly what I'm looking for. I thought that was the case, but I wasn't sure how that would play out considering the lens coverages. This is my first foray into large format work. Probably a good way to get my feet wet.

30-Dec-2010, 14:16
As much as I would love to have the Rodenstock 90, I'm thinking it's overkill for what I need. Are these lenses available without the shutters?

I hope you won't shoot me for asking this question, but how do you think some of the classic 35mm bellows lenses would work for product photography at, say 3 or 4 ft. distances? For instance, an old Nikon 105 bellows lens, or a Zuiko 80/4? I realize they are optomized for macro work, but I'm wondering if they will do for my purposes. Also, I'm thinking they will be easier to use with 35mm type digital bodies with their larger apertures for viewing and focusing.

Jeff Keller
31-Dec-2010, 15:36
Olympus never sold a bellows with tilt-shift capability. The 135mm f4.5 macro can almost surely handle tilts -shifts at close distances since it will work very well as a normal lens and focus at infinity. The 80mm f4 (both versions) was designed for 1:1 copy work. It may have a limited range of tilt-shift. Both the 80mm and 135mm were designed for the Olympus OM bayonet mount. You would need an adapter to mount them to anything not made by/for Olympus. Both lenses are well regarded. Olympus also made some nice, short focal length (20mm, 38mm), macro lenses for greater than 1:1 magnification.

The mounting ring in the Olympus bellows can be easily removed. It might fit the Horseman View Camera Converter.

Robert Jonathan
31-Dec-2010, 21:33
Dennis, for viewing and focusing, you should definitely use a DSLR that has Live-View.

That way, it won't matter what aperture the lens is, because in live-view, you can focus clearly with the lens wide-open, or you can focus at the aperture you're going to shoot at.

Let's say you want to shoot at ISO 100, f/8, at 1/250th, and you're shooting with studio flash units/monolights/strobes/whatever.

In Live-View manual mode, set the aperture to f/8. The view on the screen will probably be dark, because all you have is the modeling lights. So just increase the ISO and/or slow down the shutter speed. Then zoom in on the screen, and focus with pin-point accuracy.

Then turn off Live-View and return to your shooting settings, ISO 100 and 1/250th, and probably mirror-lockup and timer. Then shoot.

You'll have perfect focus, because you focused at the shooting aperture (not wide open), and you focused using what the sensor was seeing, not what you saw through the viewfinder. This prevents "focus shift" as well.

2-Jan-2011, 20:14
Yes, Robert, I already thought of that. It's on my list for future accomplishment. A 1DSIII would no doubt be perfect for the job. I'm trying to move into this in financial bites I can handle.

I think what Jeff is saying is that the angle of coverage may be limited in lenses optimized for macro work, which is why I'm asking the question as to whether these 35mm bellows lenses can be satisfactory for this work. I guess the answer is to get one and try it.

I may have to go for the Rodenstock eventually anyway, but I'll try to find a more economical solution first.

14-Mar-2011, 21:30

Just need advice on this as I have no experience with LF cameras. I note Jeff Keller's post mentions the Rodenstock 80mm f/4 APO-Rodagon N Enlarging Lens would need an adaptor of some sort be fitted to the Horseman LD, if so what lens board/adaptor would I need for this.

I read a lot about custom made live view cameras and from what I read the lens Im referring to is an excellent choice for macro work.

Any information on this is much appreciated.

Would be great to hear from someone with this set up and what they think too.

Kirk Gittings
14-Mar-2011, 21:39
Those adapters are pretty pricey. What are you expecting this to do for you that normal or T/S lenses can't do?

14-Mar-2011, 22:01
Well I wasn't sure how much the adaptor was or even which one it is? I know the LD is $2400 new and I know you can get lens boards for around $80. I know just together make adaptors for this but I cant find any prices, not even sure if their enlargement adaptor will work with this lens?

Anyway their are a few forums/info on the net, noting the great difference between the standard ts lens by canon vs this set up.

I would like it for studio work with jewelry only.

Robert Jonathan
17-Mar-2011, 19:29
Just throwing this out there for the original poster and anyone else:

Don't spend the thousands of dollars on the LD camera package.

Instead, do what I did: Buy a used Horseman LS (it has yaw fee base tilts... the LD and LD Pro DO NOT), OR buy a Horseman 450/450 EM, or older LE models and/or ANY model that has removeable carrier frames (this is important).

Any Horseman model that has the removeable frames can use the SLR accessory (or you can custom-fit some weird homemade accessory).

So pick up a used Hoseman LE, 450 or LS for $299-$600 (LS was $570 with extendable monorail (700mm) extra long bellows and case).

Ironically, the most expensive, top of the line, Horseman LX, does NOT have removeable frames, and neither does some other models.

The SLR accessories are here:

For Canon: http://www.adorama.com/HM23761.html
For Nikon: http://www.adorama.com/HM23762.html

Personally, I've decided not to go this route just yet.

A digital back on the Horseman makes sense... a Canon SLR does not. I just don't need the movements, I'll be limited to a 70mm or so lens as the widest useable lens ( not counting the crappy Schneider 28mm) and I need to save up for a Zeiss 100mm f/2 Makro. :)

In terms of the Canon 90 T/S vs Schneider/Rodenstock digital lenses: The Canon is inferior in terms of sharpness and abberations. That much is true. Whether using a limited, heavy, bulky system is worth the extra performance is up to you to decide.

The 80mm Rodagon is like, $800, right? So why would you go through the hassle of using that lens, when for a little more you can get an 80mm Schneider Digitar Makro with a copal shutter on regular Horseman/Sinar lensboards?

11-May-2012, 15:21
Thanks for that, Robert. I just picked up a Horseman 4x5 on E-Bay. I don't know if it's an LE, but it looks similar to another listing which is described as an LE.

If you don't mind, I'd like to get some more advice. If I get the accessory above for the Canon, do I have substantially the same as the LD? Is the accessory a direct "bolt-on" or will I have to do some surgery? Are there any more pieces I need to put it together?

When using this setup with a Canon DSLR, how do I make the exposure? Do I preset the aperture, and use B(ulb) on the LF lens?

Appreciate any advice you can give. I may eventually wind up with a digital back for it, but the Canon will get me started.

20-May-2012, 08:47
Well, it turns out the slr adapter is not available, so I'm gonna hafta build it. I've found the camera mounts, and now I'm looking for a source for a short bag-type bellows. I'm thinking I can make one from a changing bag.

Jeff Keller
23-May-2012, 15:46
I'm not familiar with the different Horseman models but some will use Sinar pieces. If you haven't already turned your camera mounts into a back, an already made version probably exists
ebay Sinar-EOS adapter (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Canon-EOS-To-Linhof-Sinar-Toyo-Wista-Horseman-Cambo-Arca-4x5-/130694583633?pt=US_Film_Backs_Holders&hash=item1e6e011551#ht_4026wt_1095)

Sinar sold an Olympus zoom lens (35-80mm) for use on it's cameras. I saw a picture of the Sinar lensboard which mounted the Olympus lens. It looked like it had a normal Olympus bayonet mount on the lens board. I've seldom seen them but it might be possible to track one down. You should be able to use the 135/4.5, 80/4, or 50mm Olympus macro lenses if you could find the lens board.

Jeff Keller

You might also be able to use a Sinar bag bellows on your Horseman. With a DSLR as your "film" you probably won't be close to 1:1 except for rings or views of individual gems. You might not need a bag bellows.

23-May-2012, 17:21
I've already bought that mount you referenced, and another, both from Shanghai. I've got the one already. I bought a bag bellows on e-Bay. I have a cheap 105mm lens which I'm using for evaluation. The main problem I'm having is that the lenses of focal length I need are too short focused to use on this arrangement. I've found some recessed lens boards which I have bought on e-bay, and I'll try those when they come in.

I'm actually doing pretty good for a LF beginner so far, it's just that everything is trial and error. Things will be better when the bag bellows gets here because I can start doing some tests.

Thanks for the advice. When I get this rig working, I'll post some pictures, (if possible).

Jeff Keller
26-May-2012, 09:29
If your setup works reasonably well getting a longer lens such as a G-Claron 150mm or 210mm would probably give you enough bellows extension to have plenty of movement.

Even using a 120/220 roll film back on a LF tends to bring up minimum extension problems. Ebony Cameras (SW series) seem to have the shortest minimum extension.

Good luck and I hope you get good results and are able to post some pictures.

Jeff Keller

Robert Jonathan
26-May-2012, 14:49
Hi Dennis,
Was the Canon Horseman accessory attachment not available? That sucks.

If you do happen to get your hands on one, all you have to do is unscrew the two knobs that are on the side of the rear square frame, then remove the frame, and the accessory attaches the same way as the rear frame would attach (just slide it on, and tighten the screws.) Yes, it would be identical to the the LD camera package that costs $2,400 or something.

Robert Jonathan
26-May-2012, 14:55
When using this setup with a Canon DSLR, how do I make the exposure? Do I preset the aperture, and use B(ulb) on the LF lens?

Doesn't matter what the lens' shutter is set to, because you're not using the shutter on the lens, you'll be using the electronic shutter in the DSLR. You just need the shutter to be open, and then set the aperture to whatever you want, and then have the DSLR set to manual, then set the shutter speed on the DSLR (or focus with the lens wide open, then close down to the desired aperture just before you take the exposure).

With a digital back, you WILL be using the shutter on the lens, so you will need to set shutter speed and aperture on the actual lens.

29-May-2012, 16:45
Well, I got the bag bellows, but now the standards themselves bottom out before reaching minimum focus. I've ordered some recessed lens boards to see if that helps. I also remember seeing a bellows for SLRs which had an intermediate lens for use with short focus lenses. I have a 24mm Canon T/S. I think it has an intermediate lens. I'm wondering if I can make use of that as an intermediate lens. But, it looks like I'm gonna be limited to about 150mm as the shortest usable lens as of now.

29-May-2012, 16:48
I notice the LD accessory has a bellows which has a front frame but no rear frame. That should help give more room for movement.

A Sem
19-Jul-2012, 14:08
Just found this thread...wish to read it a couple years ago. It would save me a lot of time.
I think, it is not the best solution for jewelry photography, but one of them. I use it presently.
Here is an example of what "it can do" in pair with EOS camera and apo-componon HM 90mm:


More samples are here:


I shot the most of that pictures using same rig.

19-Jul-2012, 16:27
Well, I have a complete setup now. A used Horseman 4x5, a couple of camera mount boards and a couple of recessed lens boards from Shanghai, a bag bellows I found on e-Bay, and a collection of lenses. One of the mechanical engineers made me an extension plate which mounts the camera with the image plane coincident with the frame plane. (This accomplishes the same as the LD adapter which mounts the camera forward enough to do the same thing).


I found a 105 mm press camera lens which I used for initial tests, an 80mm Rodagon enlarger lens, 135mm and 180mm APO-Rodenstock lenses with broken shutters, but functional diaphragms. The 105 is unusable for quality work, and the 80mm is usable only for very close macro work. The best lens is the 180, as you may be able to see from the attached images of my Chevy Volt model, but the 135 is very usable. Anything shorter just isn't feasible; there just isn't enough room. I wonder if it's any better with the LD attachment. The Canon EOS 1Ds MkII was unusable because the black covering on the handle protruded just enough to keep it from mounting and turning. So I wound up using my 5D, which is a fine camera. I'm thinking about getting a 5D MkII for its Live View feature.

A Sem
19-Jul-2012, 17:34
I got the same situation with this earlier setup:

I used 135mm lens and up, which was unacceptable for studio closeup work.
I do not have a lot of experience with different lenses on Horseman. I use this setup only for tabletop product shots.
If you don't mind...publish here your custom camera mount.