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10-29-2018, 11:53 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Tilt-Shift Macro Bellows

Structurally macro bellows are not far removed from large and medium format view or field cameras. So it follows that the tilt, shift and swing functions should find their way into macro bellows design. Except for the Kenlock/Hama/Spiratone Tilt-Swing bellows, other manufacturers limited the movement to the front or lens standard and in only one axis or plane.

Note this discussion is limited to bellows for 35mm format and medium format bellows will not be covered.

Contax, Minolta and Nikon made bellows with tilt-shift functions for their respective mounts. Of third party brands we had the above mentioned Kenlock/Hama/Spiratone Tilt-swing (T2) and Novoflex Balpro T/S bellows with various adapters for different mounts. Edixa/Kopil also offered a tilt shift bellows for M42 screwmount. Of these only the Novoflex is still in production.

Oddly enough Olympus never produced a shift tilt bellows even though they offered the most amount of bellows only lenses and macro flashes than any of the other camera makers. Asahi Pentax seemed content to offer compact bellows without these functions.

The Minolta Auto Bellows III is a fine example of a tilt-shift macro bellows, is readily found on the used market. It is also easy to adapted with a decent quality Minolta SR (MD) to K-mount glassless adapter found on eBay.

Below are some samples using the ABIII, the Minolta Auto Bellows 100mm f/4.0 macro lens, glassless adapter on a Pentax K10D.

Flat shots (no tilt):


Tilt shots:


Shift shots:


The focus point on all these shots was on the return roller under the storage box. Using the tilt required refocusing which on the focusing rail meant the entire rig moved further away from the subject. Since I did not make reference points the magnification was not adjusted, only the focus.

With the flat shot at f11 not drive sprocket and idler wheel are still out of focus but in the tilted image all the suspension parts are in focus.

I couldn't get a good example of using the shift function for perspective distortion so I used a "stitching" example.

Of course with digital imaging you can do some of this with focus stacking but that requires taking multiple images and additional post processing. And you can use a lateral rails to do a shift panorama on standard bellows, macro lens or tubes.

Tilt shift is still an option for DOF and composition adjustments when moving the camera or subject is not possible or inconvenient. Tilt allows you to change the DOF on the subject with less or little impact on background focus than stopping down would have. It also eliminates some of the strange artifacts that sometimes occur with focus stacking.

Note: the model kit was built in the 1970s.

10-29-2018, 06:45 PM   #2
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neat... i wrote something buried on some thread about using t/s for (3:1 and up) macro using more open apertures to avoid diffraction... neat to see someone actually playing around with it.

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