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12-09-2010, 05:04 PM   #16
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Lots of good suggestions, thanks for the input everyone.

QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
For a fraction of the cost of one top-of-the-line AF macro lens, you can get bellows and several fine flatfield enlarger or bellows-macro lenses. Macro tubes are also useful for some setups. You'll lose P-TTL or ring flash capability and must exploit controlled lighting.

I recently (2 weeks ago) fleshed-out my bellows collection: a small M42 Bellowscope mounted with a Steinheil Culminar VL 105/4.5 bellows-macro lens for US$41 shipped. The Bellowscope's rails are calibrated with magnification factors, 105mm on one side and 50mm on the other, so it's a good home for an EL-Nikkor 50/2.8. And I have a big Schneider Betavaron 50-125/4.5 enlarger zoom (US$70 marked down from $3500). Normally it's on 30mm of tubes for general non-macro work, but on bellows it allows incredible flexibility for close shooting.

If money is no object, forget that I suggested this.
RioRico - I've never used a bellows. Strangely enough I have one that came with the huge kit of stuff that I go with my Canon F-1 at an estate sale. Any suggestions on a good place to find out information on how to set up and use one? Also, any idea if a Canon bellows would be usable with a Pentax. As you can see I know nothing about this, but would like to learn more.

Unfortunately money is always an issue... Wish Santa would bring me a full set of Limited primes, but don't see that happening. Oh well...

12-09-2010, 05:32 PM   #17
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I guess conditions are ripe for my regular chime-in for the Cosina 100mm 1:3.5 macro:

Cosina 100mm F1:3,5 MC Makro Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database
Cosina AF 100mm f/3.5 macro (Pentax) - Review / Lab Test Report

This has been also been sold as Phoenix, Promaster, Vivitar (at least, some say even Pentax?). I found the Promaster MF version new-in-box on Ebay for $82; IQ-wise it is worth much more IMO. Build is very plasticky, but this has presented no real problem, even the focus ring is nice enough. By itself this provides 1:2 but includes a "matched adapter" (achromat) for 1:1. 1:2 should be plenty for jewelry, most of the time though? I suppose this has not been made for a while and so Ebay, the site market place and such are the sources; one seems to turn up every now and then on Ebay at least. Another cheapish 1:2 macro would be the Pentax-M 100mm 1:4, which is much easier to find.
12-09-2010, 05:40 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by chasintrail Quote
Lots of good suggestions, thanks for the input everyone.



RioRico - I've never used a bellows. Strangely enough I have one that came with the huge kit of stuff that I go with my Canon F-1 at an estate sale. Any suggestions on a good place to find out information on how to set up and use one? Also, any idea if a Canon bellows would be usable with a Pentax. As you can see I know nothing about this, but would like to learn more.

Unfortunately money is always an issue... Wish Santa would bring me a full set of Limited primes, but don't see that happening. Oh well...
No. Using a bellows, while not entirely difficult is a whole new game. You must go Full Manual with it which again, not difficult and once you've dialed in your settings, no need to change them. What a Bellows does, as you probably know, is move the lens further away from the camera. The only difference between the Bellows and say and Extension tube, is that the bellows is Variable so you can use IT to finely adjust the focus.With a bellows, you are now mounted to a tripod for stability. I don't know what your lens lineup looks like but if you have a 50mm lens, 2 relatively cheap options are available. The first is a set of those $4 extension tubes that can be found on ebay. Again, with these, Full manual. Another option is the Vivitar Macro focusing 2x Teleconverter. These typically go for around $60 or so if they are the PK/A (with contacts for passing lens info), perhaps a little more.

Most bellows available will have an M42 screw mount. Pentax Did make one for the K mount but they tend to be up there in price and more difficult to find. If your purpose is to use them like a variable extension tube then just about any set will do. You'll just need an M42-K mount adapter and an M42 50mm lens to make the best use of the unit (and a tripod).

There are other, even less expensive options available. You can get a Pentax M50 f2.0 for about $20 (don't pay more than $25 or so, inclusive).and a suitable reverse ring to couple the 50 to the front of one of your existing lenses. You can also get a reversing ring that will flip the lens around on your K mount. This, is the least cumbersome of them all and may actually be your best bet. ASee below.. The adapter can be had for about $5 on ebay.

By the way, the lens shown is the A50 f1:1.2, I'm not suggesting you go there. The 2.0, the 1.7, and the 1.4 all have 49mm threads rather than the 52 shown. Before suggesting you go the 1:1.2 route for your purpose, I would suggest the DFA100 f2.8. Jolepp is correct to suggest one of teh less expensive options. The Cosina (Vivitar, Pheonix, etc) AKA The Fantastic Plastic is a decent lens and the M100 f4 is a fantastic lens for the money. Both are 1:2 magnification (without the front adapter) but would more than suit your purpose.

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Last edited by JeffJS; 12-09-2010 at 05:48 PM.
12-09-2010, 07:53 PM   #19
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IF it's still available when you see this..

Pentax-A Promaster (Vivitar) Macro lens 100mm f3.5 Dslr - eBay (item 230561410008 end time Dec-14-10 18:41:45 PST)

A Fantastic Plastic. If you go for one of these you want to make sure it comes with that front closeup lens. The buy it now ($139) is what I got for mine 3 years ago when I sold it. For all I know, it's the same one



12-09-2010, 11:56 PM   #20
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An M 50 macro would do you pretty well, I think, for under $100.
12-10-2010, 12:35 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by chasintrail Quote
RioRico - I've never used a bellows. Strangely enough I have one that came with the huge kit of stuff that I go with my Canon F-1 at an estate sale. Any suggestions on a good place to find out information on how to set up and use one? Also, any idea if a Canon bellows would be usable with a Pentax.
I have no experience with Canon SLRs so I can't comment on Canon bellows usage. A Canon bellows *could* be use with Pentax gear, but only with surgery and/or adapters. As in, remove the Canon mounts and replace them with Pentax mounts. I don't know if that is feasible.

My Chinese-made PK bellows cost around US$35 used; my two old M42 bellows, one German, one Japanese, were a bit less. Pentax-made bellows cost more so I haven't checked their market prices -- I'm cheap. Using either mount system with non-camera glass, like enlarger and projector lenses, involves about the same number of adapter rings, which are all pretty cheap. But if you will use reversed camera lenses, a PK bellows would be more straightforward.

Here are some possible setups:

* enlarger lens -- M39-M42 adapter -- M42 bellows -- M42-PK adapter -- camera

* M42 camera lens -- M42 tubes -- M42 bellows -- M42-PK adapter -- camera

* weird lens in PK body cap -- PK tubes -- PK bellows -- more tubes -- camera

* reversed camera lens -- PK mount-reversal ring -- PK bellows -- camera

I include tubes in those setups for use with longer lenses, or for more extension than the bellows alone can provide. Tubes can go on either side of the bellows, maybe on both sides if you use a VERY long lens. (I've a 300mm large-format anastigmat that requires nearly every tube I own.)

The right M42-PK adapter is the cheap safe flanged non-infinity focus sort, not the Official Pentax adapter nor its worrisome clones. A mount-reversal ring must be matched to the front threads of the lens you're reversing -- but it needn't be a Pentax lens! ANY brand of lens with matching threads can be reversed! That's how I recycle some otherwise useless Minolta glass. Reverse anything and you have Yet Another Macro Lens (YAML). So I have 49mm, 52mm, 55mm, and 58mm mount-reversal rings. I am ready!

Don't confuse mount-reversal adapters with thread-reversal rings, which are used for 'stacking' lenses for extreme magnification. That's a whole 'nother can of worms which I won't open now -- it's bedtime, in the morning I'll take off for a few days, so I'll be back here early next week. Cheers.
12-10-2010, 02:29 AM   #22
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100mm smc macro takumar is great for this type of work.
12-10-2010, 03:19 AM   #23
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I echo the recommendation for the Sigma 70/2.8 EX. There were great product shots of a watch in this thread but they seem to be gone. Too bad. They highlighted how well the Sigma can render metal.

For jewellery photography it would probably best to get a light tent or build one your yourself.

12-10-2010, 02:19 PM   #24
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Wow, thanks for all the great information guys! Sounds like the 100 has a lot of fans. I'll have to head to the local camera place and see what they have in used inventory this week.

I'll probably leave the bellows and extension tubes for another time. I'm still in a learning curve with the lenses themselves, so adding another degree of difficulty at this point would be hard.
12-10-2010, 05:40 PM   #25
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Chasintrail

If you still have the canon bellows and lenses perhaps there is something simple you could do

Specifically modify the breach mount connection for the body side of the bellows and replace it with a flanged M42 to K mount adaptor. I did that with a Miranda bellows to use it on my pentaxes
12-10-2010, 05:48 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Chasintrail

If you still have the canon bellows and lenses perhaps there is something simple you could do

Specifically modify the breach mount connection for the body side of the bellows and replace it with a flanged M42 to K mount adaptor. I did that with a Miranda bellows to use it on my pentaxes
IF it comes out, you could also set up a modified T mount adapter. I've done it a few times, all it takes is replacing the inner tube of the adapter with some thing that works in the bellows. The problem also becomes what mount the other side is If you want to use Pentax lenses.

12-10-2010, 06:09 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
IF it comes out, you could also set up a modified T mount adapter. I've done it a few times, all it takes is replacing the inner tube of the adapter with some thing that works in the bellows. The problem also becomes what mount the other side is If you want to use Pentax lenses.

To some extent yes, but a second M42 to K mount could let him convert it to M42 front, or he could cannibalize a K mount TC for the mounts
12-10-2010, 06:24 PM   #28
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I'm sure there are any number of ways of doing it. Of course, Canon (anything I'd bet) to M42 adapters for the lens end are readily available if one wanted to go that way. If a person has the Canon lenses to fit the bellows, then all the better. So all that really would remain would be converting the rear for the camera mount. This is all for discussion sake and future reference anyway as chasintrail has decided to go with a regular lens rather than the bellows route. By the time one spends the money and time converting the Canon bellows, a cheap M42 bellows can be had ready to go without going the Frankenstein route.

12-10-2010, 07:11 PM   #29
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Hmmmm, that brings up an interesting idea. I have a Canon 50mm 1.4 that I'm flat out in love with. Since all of this is '70s era Canon gear, would probably be easiest to just stick with those lenses. May be playing with the bellows sooner than intended. Still going the lens route initially, but this will be a fun project for the nasty winter days ahead. Of course I'll probably get into it and discover that the bellows hasn't survived the years well.

BTW - I'm a her.
12-10-2010, 08:24 PM   #30
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Must admit have not done a lot of jewelry, but as you have discussed a light tent helps.

This was taken with a 135mm enlarging lens on a bellows (tubes will work as well).





You can get several focal lengths and some inexpensive strobes and you will be set - and under a few hundred.

This is an article on inexpensive macro with enlarging lenses. https://sites.google.com/site/inexpensivemacrophotography/
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