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Thread: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

  1. #11

    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    Nikon Nikkor 120mm AM ED. Covers 4x5. There is a 210mm version that will cover 8x10 but for 4x5 I would recommend the 120mm which I have. B&H sold the 120mm version for over $1100 but I guess that nobody was buying them so they liquidated their stock at something like $275 ea. Sold out overnight - both the 120mm and 210.

    Thomas

  2. #12

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    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    With the still-life objects you describe, you may not be working as close as you think. Here are a couple of general observations to mull over:

    For just "close-up" work and not "macro," you may find that a standard 135mm - 150mm lens suits your purpose just fine. If you have a lens in one of these focal lengths already, you might want to try it out and see how the results are before you start spending a lot on top-of-the-line macro lenses that are really intended for work closer to the 1:1 magnification range (or even higher). I get more-than-acceptable results at intermediate distances with a regular 135mm Plasmat.

    Enlarging lenses make good macro lenses. They just don't have shutters. However, if you're using natural light, a small aperture, lots of bellows extension and figuring in reciprocity failure, you may find you don't need a shutter at all. Most of my table-top work is in the 2-20 minute range. I just pull the darkslide, remove the lens cap and tiptoe around for the exposure time.

    Lenses without enough image circle for 4x5 at infinity will often work well at close distances since the bellows draw effectively enlarges the image circle. You may have some lenses around that will work well for close-up work when repurposed.

    The shorter focal length you can use, the less you'll have to extend the bellows for a given magnification. I found that doing table-top work with a 210mm lens was just a bit too awkward for me. Sure, lens position determines perspective in the scene, so you may want to work nearer or farther from your subject depending on artistic choices. That said, I find that ~135mm is a really convenient focal length for me. (The 120mm macro lens would be in the same ballpark.)

    Unrelated to lens choice, but important too: Focusing at very close distances becomes more a matter of moving the whole camera around. Moving both front and rear standards together on the rail is my preferred method once I've found the rough distance from my subject to get the magnification I want.

    Best,

    Doremus

  3. #13

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    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    With the still-life objects you describe, you may not be working as close as you think. Here are a couple of general observations to mull over:

    For just "close-up" work and not "macro," you may find that a standard 135mm - 150mm lens suits your purpose just fine. If you have a lens in one of these focal lengths already, you might want to try it out and see how the results are before you start spending a lot on top-of-the-line macro lenses that are really intended for work closer to the 1:1 magnification range (or even higher). I get more-than-acceptable results at intermediate distances with a regular 135mm Plasmat.

    Enlarging lenses make good macro lenses. They just don't have shutters. However, if you're using natural light, a small aperture, lots of bellows extension and figuring in reciprocity failure, you may find you don't need a shutter at all. Most of my table-top work is in the 2-20 minute range. I just pull the darkslide, remove the lens cap and tiptoe around for the exposure time.

    Lenses without enough image circle for 4x5 at infinity will often work well at close distances since the bellows draw effectively enlarges the image circle. You may have some lenses around that will work well for close-up work when repurposed.

    The shorter focal length you can use, the less you'll have to extend the bellows for a given magnification. I found that doing table-top work with a 210mm lens was just a bit too awkward for me. Sure, lens position determines perspective in the scene, so you may want to work nearer or farther from your subject depending on artistic choices. That said, I find that ~135mm is a really convenient focal length for me. (The 120mm macro lens would be in the same ballpark.)

    Unrelated to lens choice, but important too: Focusing at very close distances becomes more a matter of moving the whole camera around. Moving both front and rear standards together on the rail is my preferred method once I've found the rough distance from my subject to get the magnification I want.

    Best,

    Doremus
    So there is no confusion.

    The 120 and 180mm Apo Macro Sironars were corrected for 1:5 to 5:1.

    The older 210 and 300mm Macro Sironars were corrected for 1:3 to 3:1. They were replaced by the 120 and 180mm above.

  4. #14
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    For example only 300mm Plasmat at 2.5-1 on 11X14 X-Ray cropped during V700 scan

    another of a mushroom at 3-1 at this link

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ages-SHOW-THEM
    sin eater

  5. #15

    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    From the Nikon brochure:
    The Nikkor-AM (Apo Macro) lenses are exclusively designed for macro photography and provide
    outstanding performance at 1:1 reproduction. ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass reduces chromatic
    aberration at all settings, and completely symmetrical lens construction ensures that the lens is 100% free of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration at 1:1 magnification. Combined with Nikon Super Integrated Coating, the result is outstandingly sharp images, free from flare and ghosts.


    Specifications for 120 and 210 lenses:

    Nikkor-AM ED 120mm f/5.6S Nikkor-AM ED 210mm f/5.6
    Focal length 120mm Focal length 210mm
    Maximum aperture ratio 1:5.6 Maximum aperture ratio 1:5.6
    Minimum aperture f/45 Minimum aperture f/64
    Lens construction 8 elements in 4 groups Lens construction 8 elements in 4 groups
    Covering power (f/5.6) 47 Covering power (f/5.6) 41
    Covering power (f/22) 55 Covering power (f/22) 51
    Image circle (f/5.6) 210mm Image circle (f/5.6) 310mm (M=1:1)
    Image circle (f/22) 250mm (5" x 7") Image circle (f/22) 400mm (10" x 12") (M=1:1)
    Shutter No. 0 (Copal *) Shutter No. 1 (Copal *)
    Shutter speed 1 ~ 1/500 s, T, B Shutter speed 1 ~ 1/400 s, T, B
    Sync socket X-contact Sync socket X-contact
    Front mount size 54mm Front mount size 70mm
    Attachment size ı 52mm x 0.75mm (P) Attachment size ı 67mm x 0.75mm (P)
    Rear mount size 42mm Rear mount size 70mm
    Flange attachment size 32.5mm x 0.5mm (P) Flange attachment size 39mm x 0.75mm (P)
    Flange focal distance 115.9mm Flange focal distance 202.7mm
    Overall length 64mm Overall length 104.5mm

    Thomas

  6. #16

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    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    From my Burke & James 1962 catalog. Some of these lenses, despite their age, are quite excellent optics and since few photographers are looking for them or even know how to use them, when they come up at auction, they go for bargain prices.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails CUlenses.jpg  

  7. #17
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    Some of the lenses suggested are very expensive at the moment. I agree whole-hardheartedly about giving regular, enlarging, or graphic arts lenses a try. Working at 1x magnification is challenging, and the depth of field will be very shallow. I've done a lot of this with dslrs, but only a little with LF. When I did, my 150mm g-Claron worked great. It's in a youngish Copal shutter, and it was very cheap. If you fall in love with that type of photography, you can always keep your eye out for some of the fancier lenses.
    Please stop feeding the trolls.

  8. #18

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    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    "As for subjects, I am thinking maybe bowls of fruit, table ware, family heirlooms like antique Christmas decor pottery or individual ornaments, and even as small as the watch face in post #3"

    These are not really "macro" they are more still life size subjects. Macro (IMO) would be the watch face and smaller. That 150mm APO Ronar will do great on 4x5 table top. Is sort of covers 4x5 at infinity, but once you at table top distances with the items you're planning to image, image circle should not be a problem at all. Often not considered, larger the image circle, the more internal flare from light bouncing off the sides of the bellows and camera internals can affect contrast. This is why using a lens with an over sized image circle for table top to macro is not always a good thing.

    Hint with table top set up, position the taller-larger items towards the rear of the set up and the lower-smaller objets towards the front of the image. This can go a ways to help keep them in focus as camera movement is applied.

    What will be done for lighting?

    Keep in mind to add bellows factor correction or the film will be under exposed.

    Do use an adjustable lens shade to reduce and prevent flare / contrast reduction due to flare-stray light.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by JMO View Post
    John (or Bob?), Some time back, and after some research here on the Forum and thinking for these purposes, I purchased a nice 150mm APO Ronar. It has an IC of only 135mm at infinity, so doesn't cover 4x5in, but when used at 1:1 the IC is 270mm. What do you think of this APO Ronar versus the G-Claron?

  9. #19

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    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    Enlarging lenses make good macro lenses. They just don't have shutters.
    Y'know, many of Schneider's enlarging lenses have cells that are direct fits in standard shutters. And some were sold in shutter.

    OP, I've used 105/4.5 and 150/5.6 Comparons for closeup work. I mention them because according to Schneider propaganda they're optimized for lower enlargements, i.e., lower magnifications as taking lenses, than Componons. In both lines, 105 and 150 mm lenses' cells fit Compur/Copal #0 shutters. This makes reversing the lenses for work at magnifications > 1:1 easy, just swap the cells around.

    Comparons and Componons aren't the best macro lenses but they're not very expensive and are usable.

  10. #20

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    Re: For macro lenses on 4x5in cameras, what focal length is most useful?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    "As for subjects, I am thinking maybe bowls of fruit, table ware, family heirlooms like antique Christmas decor pottery or individual ornaments, and even as small as the watch face in post #3"

    These are not really "macro" they are more still life size subjects. Macro (IMO) would be the watch face and smaller. That 150mm APO Ronar will do great on 4x5 table top. Is sort of covers 4x5 at infinity, but once you at table top distances with the items you're planning to image, image circle should not be a problem at all. Often not considered, larger the image circle, the more internal flare from light bouncing off the sides of the bellows and camera internals can affect contrast. This is why using a lens with an over sized image circle for table top to macro is not always a good thing.

    Hint with table top set up, position the taller-larger items towards the rear of the set up and the lower-smaller objets towards the front of the image. This can go a ways to help keep them in focus as camera movement is applied.

    What will be done for lighting?

    Keep in mind to add bellows factor correction or the film will be under exposed.

    Do use an adjustable lens shade to reduce and prevent flare / contrast reduction due to flare-stray light.


    Bernice

    Thank you, Bernice and all, for your helpful responses and suggestions. For lighting I have not decided yet, but I have some books on details of still life table-top photography and studio lighting (etc.), and those decisions will be part of the journey. I also have a LF friend living nearby who has done a fair amount of this type of photography in his basement, with excellent results. I am aware of the bellows exposure reciprocity considerations, and already have a Linhof Compendium Shade for my TK45S. I also picked up a really nice used Linhof HD Professional tripod with geared column, and then a Majestic 1200 geared head, a couple of years ago. I'm looking forward to diving in on this new phase in my LF journey!
    ... JMOwens (Mt. Pleasant, Wisc. USA)

    "If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." ...Michelangelo

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