View Full Version : Replacing a Macro by enlarging lenses

Boulos Isaac
12-Apr-2004, 12:10
Hello, I would like to know how to use an enlarging lens for large format macro photography, how to fit it to my sinar F2 camera I have a copal #0 and #1 with the lensboards.

what is the best focal length


Dan Fromm
12-Apr-2004, 13:02
A short question that wants a long answer.

At what range of magnifications do you want to work? How much working distance (front of lens to subject) must you have? Forgive my ignorance of Sinars, how much extension can you get?

If you have a double-ended enlarging lens with M39x1 threads at both ends (some, not all El-Nikkors are like this), get a female M39x1-to-male #1 adapter. If you want to shoot below 1:1, mount lens normally (rear to film) on adapter, screw adapter into shutter, and off you go. If you want to shoot above 1:1, mount lens reversed on adapter, ... If you don't have a double-ended enlarging lens and want to shoot above 1:1, for most enlarging lenses you'll have to find a way to mount the lens in reverse.

FWIW, several years ago Steve Grimes charged me $35 for an M39-to-#1 adapter.

Some enlarging lenses work well above 1:1 mounted normally. The only way to find out if one will do well that way is to ask it. My 4"/5.6 Enlarging Pro Raptar works very very well from 1:8 to 4:1. I've shot it from 1:8 to 1:1 at f/11, f/16, and f/22, from 1:1 to 1:4 at f/5.6. In all situations on TMX it produces negatives that are hard to tell from ones made with my 100/6.3 Neupolar. I haven't tried it at higher magnifications. On the other hand, my 75/3.5 Boyer Saphir B is great from 1:8 to 1:1, not good above 1:1 mounted normally.

To help focus your thinking, buy a copy of Lester Lefkowitz' The Manual of Close-Up Photography. When it comes, read it.



Bob Salomon
12-Apr-2004, 13:37
"If you have a double-ended enlarging lens with M39x1 threads at both ends"

For instance most Rodenstocks have a Male 39mm Leica thread mount and a 40.5mm filter thread. Rodenstock also makes a reversing ring that works on any 40.5 filter thread lens.

In addition any good, modern, enlarging lens has an illuminated aperture ring. Make sure you tape over the entrance port on the bottom of the lens when using it reversed.

Michael S. Briggs
12-Apr-2004, 14:32
Enlarging lenses are made for imaing a negative of a certain size to a larger print. If you reverse the lens, they will work well to image from a subject of the size of the negative the lens was designed for to a larger image. For example, 35 mm enlarging lenses are designed to do things like enlarge 24x36 mm films to 8x10 inch prints. Reversed, they will be good at imaging 24x36 mm or smaller subjects to 8x10 film (or smaller, or larger). If you think about this, you should be able to work out what you can do with enlarging lenses that you probably already have.

Depth-of-field is small and exposures tend to be long. Don't forget about compenstation for the bellows extension and for reciprocity. The exposure times tend to be long enough that, at least in the studio, you don't really need a shutter. You can control exposures by holding a black film box over the lens, removing the dark slide, waiting for vibrations to settle, then gently moving the film box from the lens. Another way of controlling exposures it to turn the lights on and off. So to start inexpensively, all you might need is a lensboard with a 39 mm diameter hole and a reversing adapter to 39 mm.

I have used the adapter that Bob mentioned to reversed a Rodenstock enlarging lens. It worked very well. Just as a test, I also took the photo without reversing the lens -- the sharpness was very clearly worse. Many Rodenstock and Nikon enlarging lenses have the 40.5 mm filter thread, so the adapter can work with either brand of lens. Nikon also makes a similar adapter.

Here's a previous thread on this topic: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/topic/496111.html.
Someone wrote that Schneider no longer makes the adapter that I mentioned, though it is still listed on their website, so to use a shutter you might have to have one custom made, as Dan did.

Ernest Purdum
12-Apr-2004, 15:26
You might find my article on macro lenses helpful. You can find it by returning to the home page and scrolling down to Lenses. It is the last item listed in that category.

Bob Salomon
12-Apr-2004, 16:16

I see you still have not updated your reference to the discontinued Macro Sironars with the Apo macro Sironars yet.

Bob Salomon
12-Apr-2004, 16:19

In regard to your mention of macro cold lighting systems you infer that flexible light arms have to be clamped in place. Not true for ones like the 3200/5000K Novoflex or the 3200K Kaiser systems. They use very flexible gooseneck arms which hold their position once set in place. You also seem to have left out the focusing spot adapters and the effect filters that fit these arms.

Dan Fromm
12-Apr-2004, 19:11
Bob, the magic words are "illuminators for stereo microscopes." There's a whole universe of optics and other equipment that 'normal' photographers don't run across very often.

Thanks for the news that Rodenstock enlarging lenses are easily reversed.



Emmanuel BIGLER
14-Apr-2004, 02:28
Isaac. Living in France I have ordered from SRB film service England a custom-made adaptor ring to convert a M39x1/26" enlarger thread to a
#1 thread, namely M40x0,75. With a small number of threads on the ring there is usually little risk of damage using a M39x1 ring instead of the true Leica thread M39x1/26".
This is the cheapest way to go if you own a #1 shutter. It works fine for me.
Do not forget that a standard quasi-symmetic non-macro view camera lens will already deliver
excellent results from infinity down to 1:2. Real view camera macro lenses take over between 1:2 1:1 and symmetrically 2:1, but this
is really specialised job. For this there exist special shutterless enlarging lenses, but you do not want to use them actually ; for 1:1 you'd better find a used 150 G-claron or any similar symmetric apo-repro lens. Do not forget that regular enlarging lenses
are not optimised for 1:1 but for 1:3 to 1:10 depending of the lens. Using them to take pictures in their recommended
magnification range works fine, even if the light goes backwards w/respect to their usual enlarging job. Do not forget also that by mounting a lens in front of
a shutter you are at risk of a slight vignetting by the shutter mount if you exceed some tilt+shift values. This is well documented on S.K. Grimes' web site. Good luck, no problem, this will work for you with a $39 ring.

Greg Gibbons
28-Mar-2010, 11:10
Sorry for resurrecting an ancient thread, but:
I have a 63mm EL-NIKKOR lens (from my lf enlarger).
How do I relate draw to image size?
I saw something like 2x1 draw for 1:1, but is that dependent on focal length?
Should I try to mount in in a Copal shutter, or will the exposure times always be so slow it's not worth putting a shutter on?
Is that because I will always shut it down to f16 for DOF?
How much depth can I get at f16 at 1:1 anyway?
I'm such a noob.

Dan Fromm
28-Mar-2010, 11:27
Extension (the distance from rear nodal point to film plane) = f * (1 + m) where f is the lens' focal length, * is the multiplication sign, and m is magnification (size of image/size of object).

Buy the book recommended earlier in the thread.

Ernest Purdum
28-Mar-2010, 17:55
If you run your 63mm lens out to 126mm extension you will be in focus when your subject is 126mm from the lens, and your image will be the same size as the subject. (I'm simplifying a little regarding just where on the lens you measure from.) Were you to run the bellows out another 63mm you would have 2:1 magnification. Each further focal length extension gives you another full number of magnification.

Your exposure time will go up as the square of the increase in lens to film length. Twice the length, four times the exposure.

neil poulsen
28-Mar-2010, 18:06
100mm and 150mm Componon-S lenses will fit into a standard Copal 0 shutter. Of course, you need to adjust the aperture, if the shutter wasn't designed for the focal length for which the shutter was intended.