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04-17-2014, 05:05 AM   #1
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Lens for bellows

Hi!

I bid on a bellows unit and meanwhile I wonder what lens would be the most suitable. I have never used one before.

Do you prefer more light / speed (like my M50/1.7 or M85/2) or close focusing ability (like M100/4 macro)?

Do I focus with the lens or with the bellows unit? Or both?

Seb

04-17-2014, 05:56 AM   #2
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The shorter the focal length the greater the magnification
You will need to have a lens with a manual aperture ring
Focusing is usually done with the bellows. the lens focus is small in comparison to the bellows
An old 50 or 100mm macro lens will possibly provide the best flat field (not sure if my opinion is correct) Your M50 sounds like the perfect lens to start with. I have a 100mm macro lens with an old primitive aperture which requires an aperture lens ring to be turned.
Best subjects will be ones that don't move
There is a large fall off of light as you extend the bellows so the f stop does not provide constant light as you focus

Have fun experimenting
04-17-2014, 05:58 AM   #3
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You can mount pretty much any lens to a bellows, though I have found that 50mm to 100mm works well on account of working distance. The traditional bellows lens was a 100mm with no focus mechanism (e.g. Bellows Takumar 100/4). Lens speed is not particularly important. I generally use my Pentax-M 50/1.7.

Focus is sort of a funny thing. Bellows extension primarily determines magnification. You can use it to focus, but it is sort of hit or miss. The preferred focus mechanism is to move the entire assembly (camera, bellows, and lens) as a unit. As you can imagine this is not done hand-held. To accomplish, you use a separate focus rail or a two rail (over/under) bellows. With the over/under arrangement, the top rail is used for extension and the bottom rail for focus.

Here is a photo of my Pentax Bellows-K with camera and lens attached so that you can see what I mean.



I generally determine my extension first, rough focus using the bottom rail, and fine focus using the top. Ideally, I would like a bellows with a geared bottom rail. I think the Pentax Bellows-M has that feature. As with all macro photography, light and depth-of-field are big concerns. At high magnification there is precious little of either.

The bellows is a fun tool and worth getting to know. Enjoy!


Steve
04-17-2014, 09:02 AM   #4
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The K100/4 Bellows is another option, though with limited use. It’s small for a 100mm macro lens, as it has no focusing ring. Otherwise regular 50mm or 100m macro lenses are preferred.

SMC-Pentax-K-100mm-F4-Bellows-Lens

For magnification over 1x you should reverse your lens, so for that the K28/3.5 is the best I have. (Any 28mm lens works great reversed.)

Phil.

04-17-2014, 09:40 AM   #5
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You can use just about anything. However zoom lenses don't work well and lenses with a focal length greater than 150mm might not even focus. You can find adapters for microscope objectives and most enlarger lenses use the Leica 39mm thread. Macro lenses indeed are normally optimized for flat-field performance. The majority of manual focus and bellows macro lenses are only f/4. Enlarger lenses have excellent flat-field performance too.

The later Pentax auto bellows came with a dual cable release and a clever steel magnification scale (held by magnets). With auto lenses the cable allowed you to focus with the iris wide open and it would stop down the lens and release the shutter. I use a single cable and lock it down to stop down the iris. Much easier than having to count clicks or remember to use the auto/manual switch on M42 lenses.

With some of the Pentax bellows the standard with the lens mount can be reversed and the accordion attached to the filter ring of the (reversed) lens. Many lenses work better for macro when reversed. This can be a problem with enlarger lenses as not all have filter threads or threads that are different than those used on camera lenses.

The Pentax K mount 50mm f/1.7 lenses are supposed to have excellent flat fields. I'm not sure if the is true for all models (M, K and A). The extra speed helps with moving subjects like insects.
04-17-2014, 11:03 AM   #6
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How about the M42 bellows variant? I recently picked up a compact Asahi/Pentax bellows in M42 mount. Can anyone supply information on obtainable Nikon-F and Pentax-K to M42 body mount adapters? I believe I've seen a glassless Nikon to M42 adapter for sale new on eBay. Has there ever been a similar adapter offered for K-mount to M42? I'm interested in knowing about any options.

Also, in reference to the Nikon adapter, the seller claims that focus out to 40 feet is possible on an M42 body (or, I assume, with the Pentax M42 adapter installed on a Pentax digital body). Does this sound largely credible? And for what focal length lenses would that possibly apply (rule of thumb)? Thanks all!
04-17-2014, 12:23 PM   #7
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I have a M42 bellows which I mount to my K-30 using an adapter. It works well. The only fact to observe is that the bellows mount on the other end is M42 so you will have to use older glass. That's not bad. Bellows photography is all manual anyways in my book. AF and auto aperture don't help much.

Just for grins I would say that the best configuration would be a K-mount bellows and you can use a M42 adapter on the other end. That will give you the ability to use both mounts as you see fit.
04-17-2014, 12:30 PM   #8
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For anyone reading these threads do not use the pentax M42 lens adapter to connect the old M42 bellows to a digital camera - it will become a permanent fixture. Purchase a K Tmount to make the connection.

04-17-2014, 12:32 PM   #9
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I have a Lentar branded M42 bellows that I can take on and off. Is the Asahi/Pentax branded unit a bit more cumbersome?
04-17-2014, 01:03 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
I have a Lentar branded M42 bellows that I can take on and off. Is the Asahi/Pentax branded unit a bit more cumbersome?
The pentax M42 adapter has a lock. The temptation is to screw the adapter onto the bellows and then connect it to the camera. The adapter locks and the bellows can't be screwed off because as it rotates it hits the protrusion from the top of the camera which holds the inbuilt flash.
04-17-2014, 02:18 PM   #11
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I have the Asahi Pentax Auto Bellow (M42) and use it with my K10D and OEM M42 adapter. The screw mount on the bellows is removable. The instruction tell you to remove it from the bellow and screw it into the camera then mount it back on the bellows. There is some play using the Pentax M42 adapter and I think a cheap flanged adapter would work better - less play. Because of the design of the DSLR bodies you can't put the camera into portrait mode or mount the camera after putting the adapters on the bellow first. The solution to this is to use a short M42 threaded extension tube between the camera and bellows. This will cut down you minimum magnification and throw off the magnification ruler but big deal.

It works great as long as you mind the play in the adapter and can live with having to turn entire rig 90 to go portrait.

I posted a review in the accessory database:
Asahi Pentax Auto Bellows M42 and Slide Copier reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
04-17-2014, 05:25 PM   #12
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I have a Asahi Pentax Bellows II (M42) and the mount on mine is also removable making it very easy to attach and remove a DSLR with a M42 adapter.
I also use a lot of enlarger lenses, they can be found very cheaply for extremely good quality, focus only with the bellows like a bellows lens and are made
specifically for a flat field like a bellows or macro lens.
Glenn
04-17-2014, 07:56 PM   #13
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Interesting! The M42 mount on my Lentar bellows spins around in a mounting plate. I can hold the bellows stationary and spin the mount off of the camera body with a M42 adapter. The downside is that it is possible for the bellows to rotated off Top-Center.
04-17-2014, 09:57 PM   #14
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I made the mistake of mounting my m42 bellows directly to the K mount adaptor and broke into a sweat when at first it wouldn't rotate out again. Luckily the Hanimex branded bellows had a grub screw on the top of the rear bracket that allowed me to rotate the assembly through a half turn, unlock, turn back, relock and repeat several times until it was freed. So now I use a short extension tube.
To address the original question, I have used both a 50mm macro and 100 mm macro and standard 135mm with the bellows and the longer lenses are a lot more convenient. Pic of my rig:


That is the SMC Takumar 100mm f4 macro, the m42 Hanimex bellows with an extension tube, plus a cheap Chinese 4 way focussing rail. The flash snoot is a home made silver paper lined pair of cardboard tubes with black electrical tape.

Example with this set up:


Macro is very cheap fun.... all the best,
04-18-2014, 01:08 AM   #15
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The other way to mount m42 lenses on DSLR is to get a K-mount bellows (I had a legacy set from my MX days (bellows were Ricoh - so now they have gone home on the K3?) and then mount the M42 adapter at the far end of the bellows.

I used to like using my Osawa 80-205 on the bellows. The only time I used the bellows recently was with the SMC Tak 50/4 macro to get some near fully frame pictures of 1/8W axial lead resistors.
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