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Thread: How does one do Macro work in LF?

  1. #1

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    How does one do Macro work in LF?

    Special lenses needed? Extra bellows draw?

    What considerations and kit is needed to do macro work?

    I'm thinking insects, plants, things I find outside, etc.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    One way is to use dedicated macro lenses like Luminars or M Componons. Another way is to use reversed enlarging lenses. Another way is to use dedicated LF macro lenses like the Macro Sironar and Apo Macro Sironar lenses. Lastly is to use regular lenses for LF totally out of their optimization ranges.

    First and second ways use less bellows but will put the lens very close to the subject which may make lighting very difficult unless you have dedicated macro cold light lighting like the Novoflex or Kaiser or Zeiss systems. Third and fourth systems will need considerable bellows extension and will pull the lens far further away from the subject so, depending on focal length, lighting would be easier.

    First and fourth choices will deliver the best results optically, second would be next best, third would deliver inferior results optically compared to the other choices.

    First and second choices will deliver the highest magnifications with the least bellows draw.

  3. #3
    Ed Freniere
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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    First and fourth choices will deliver the best results optically, second would be next best, third would deliver inferior results optically compared to the other choices.
    Bob, by my count you got "third" and "fourth" reversed in this comment.

    Ed

  4. #4

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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    Indeed. One way, another way, yet another way and lastly - Bob, do you think that somebody will count your ways to see which you mean by the first, second, third and fourth one? Even you yourself got lost in your counts!

  5. #5

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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by photog_ed View Post
    Bob, by my count you got "third" and "fourth" reversed in this comment.

    Ed
    Sorry, you are correct, thanks!

  6. #6

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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    OP, shooting closeup out-of-doors with a view camera is very difficult. Unless the subject is very steady, as in well nailed down, and the camera and support are very steady the plane of best focus will move between the time the shot is focused and composed and the time it is taken. Remember all that happens between focus and compose and shoot. If the subject isn't well nailed down wind will move it. The slightest breeze will do it. And stopping down, cocking the shutter, inserting the film holder and withdrawing the dark slide can all shift the camera.

    On the whole you'd be better off doing macro work in the field with an SLR.

    If you insist on trying to do it in the field with a view camera, work on technique and master it before worrying much about equipment.

    And before you start working on technique go to the literature on closeup and photomacrography to learn what you need to master. I've posted a list of links to useful information that includes a list of books on these topics with brief reviews. The first post in http://www.largeformatphotography.in...mainly)-lenses has a link to it.

    Before you spend a penny on gear buy a copy of Lefkowitz or Bracegirdle. I have both, think Lefkowitz is better for beginners.

  7. #7

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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Sorry, you are correct, thanks!
    You might be sorry, but it won't do. If you really want to be comprehensible and correct, edit your post again, number the "ways" and don't let the future readers read, count your ways, then read the whole tread, find out you made a mistake and go back and try mentally to correct your count and your mistakes. In your shoes, I would be deeply sorry for the readers if I forced them to do so. But that is maybe just me.

  8. #8

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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    OP, shooting closeup out-of-doors with a view camera is very difficult.
    On the whole you'd be better off doing macro work in the field with an SLR.

    If you insist on trying to do it in the field with a view camera, work on technique and master it before worrying much about equipment.

    And before you start working on technique go to the literature on closeup and photomacrography to learn what you need to master.

    Before you spend a penny on gear buy a copy of Lefkowitz or Bracegirdle. I have both, think Lefkowitz is better for beginners.
    I agree, LF macro makes more sense in studio conditions where it is unfortunately limited by the "natural" reasons. Small format macro can achieve much easier excellent results that a view camera can just dream about, in the best case.
    There are good reasons that nature macro photographers do not choose LF view cameras as they tools. (The best exception was the guy-Wilson A Bentley-who was photographing snow flakes, though... even if he died from it )

  9. #9
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    I posted this in the FoV thread, but will repeat it here:

    Hi 6x6TLL,

    That's correct. You can do macros with any lens.

    The only difference is that the optical design of a Macro lens is optimized for close work, while the design of regular lenses is optimized for more distant subjects. The difference in the image quality on film will vary from slight to not significant at all.

    The bellows extension from infinity focus to full-size (1:1) image on the film equals the lens focal length, for all lenses regardless of design or type.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  10. #10

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    Re: How does one do Macro work in LF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    That's correct. You can do macros with any lens.

    The only difference is that the optical design of a Macro lens is optimized for close work, while the design of regular lenses is optimized for more distant subjects. The difference in the image quality on film will vary from slight to not significant at all.
    Close, but no cigar. That any lens can be focused at any distance is true. But that's not enough. Way back when I tested a number of lenses to find out how well they performed at magnifications > 1:1. Short answer, most have a range of magnifications at which they perform best and even in their best ranges some lenses are basically unusable.

    The best lenses for photomacrography -- the ones I tested included Luminars, Mikrotars (not all all that good, but some are), one projection Summar, MacroNikkors, a 100/6.3 Neupolar -- are significantly better than everything else. I didn't test any relatively low magnification macro lenses like the ones Bob suggested above or any Photars. I b'lieve that Photars are as good as Luminars and MacroNikkors.

    OP, don't even think about buying any lenses for closeup work until you've read and understood Lefkowitz.

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