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02-24-2009, 07:15 PM   #1
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P67 300/4 EDIF for closeup work?

I've been very impressed by my two latest 67 lenses, the 100/4 macro and
400/4 EDIF, so I'm looking into the 300/4 EDIF. Has anyone used it with extension tubes or on the bellows as a closeup/ macro lens? Or perhaps in conjunction with the 1.4x converter and extension tubes? I really like a longer focal length for this kind of work.

02-25-2009, 08:44 AM   #2
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Now you've got me thinking...I have the M*300. I have the 1.4X and the extension tubes. Haven't ever tried using them all together. May play with them a bit and let you know...
02-27-2009, 01:39 PM   #3
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67II, Extension Tubes and M*300/4 EDIF

OK, played with Macro toys and 67II last night. This is not an on-film appraisal, just an informal look....It's already well known that the lens is a killer ED optic. As an adapted Macro item...well, I learned some very interesting tidbits...

INFORMAL TEST--PENTAX 67 TELEPHOTO WITH AUTO EXTENSION TUBES

Pentax 67II body with M*300/4 EDIF telephoto lens and Pentax auto extension tube set labeled: ASAHI PENTAX 6X7 JAPAN

First, the M*300/4 EDIF lens seems to work very well with the auto extension tube set. With the full set of three pieces of extension tube, the 300mm lens almost gets to full life-size. And the view isn't as dim as I expected. In fact, brightness of the viewfinder is quite workable.

The length of the entire set-up is fairly dorky looking and including camera makes an 18" (45cm) bazooka. And that's without the 3.5" (9cm) hood! Balance on the tripod shoe of the lens is much changed by the extension tubes holding the heavy body back so far from the shoe...

I overtripod in most cases, so it was not too much for the Gitzo 340 with Arca Swiss B1. Adding the Bogen Long Lens Camera Support to the body reduces vibrations as seen through the viewfinder, but probably isn't going to be a requirement for field work as long as Mirror Lock-Up function and remote release are used along with a "significant" tripod.

This set-up is fairly heavy tipping the scales at 8.8 pounds (4 Kg) including L-bracket for the body and QR plate on the tripod collar of the lens. Handholdability would have to be rated marginal at best.

The lens/tube combo magnifies into a view covering 10.5cm wide (just over 4"). That's 3/4 lifesize with a working distance from the front element of appx. 75cm or 2.5ft. That's working distance capable of reptile work which most of us only attempt with 35mm or DSLR equipment. It also would fit well for telemacro flower extractions similar to those done with a 200mm macro on smaller SLR's. You know the shots...sharp flower or flowers with softly defocused background providing a colorwash. I could forsee this also working for butterfly and large insect work in brightly lit circumstances--a situation rarely captured on medium format film.

For those wanting a simple explanation, this set-up covers just a tad larger than a deck of cards from 2.5 feet away. Add in the length of the whole package and the photographer stands appx. 4 feet away.

M*300 PLUS 1.4X TELECONVERTER AND AUTO EXTENSION TUBE SET

The light lost to the tubes plus the light lost to the teleconverter makes this combo a bit dim in the viewfinder. I'm pretty tolerant of dim conditions, but this goes beyond what I prefer.

Rather than check one of John Shaw's books to see how you are "supposed" to do it, I looked at two different combinations of the parts. First the "pieces" were put together in this order: camera, extension tubes, teleconverter, lens. Second they were put together: camera, teleconverter, tubes, lens.

Putting the whole lot together (version one) did not provide as much added magnification as expected. I can't explain mathematically why not...but the magnified image covers 10cm, just 1/2cm tighter view than the lens/tube combo without the 1.4X. That's basically only 5% gain in magnification for the loss of another half stop of light and whatever decrease in sharpness and contrast can be attributed to the teleconverter...not so good. Working distance increased to almost 4 feet (1.3 m) from the front element which certainly factors into the minimal magnification gain.

The second combo--with the teleconverter at the camera--magnifies a bit more. The area of coverage is 8cm (3.5") almost hitting the magical 1:1 lifesize magnification. Lifesize with the 6x7 sytem is 7cm width. Working distance is appx 3 feet or 1 meter.

Both combo's hold the camera body so far back from the tripod collar on the lens that the "ass-heavy" issue is fairly serious. The Bogen Long Lens Camera Support would be highly recommended if you were to try to shoot with this package.

Without film it's pretty hard to assess, but it seems that the 1.4X used in this fashion lowers contrast a bit. It has surprisingly little effect on contrast when used in standard fashion (no tubes) so I don't trust my impression regarding lowered contrast. Someone will need to burn some film to prove one way or the other.

FINAL GUT REACTION
I like the macro possiblities of combining the Pentax M*300/4 EDIF lens with a set of Pentax auto extension tubes. The minimal magnification gains and cumbersome, dim working package with the added teleconverter would suggest that combo of lens, tubes and teleconverter may not be optimal for field work.

DIFFRACTION ISSUES
Without further research on the effect of diffraction on the images, I can't give 100% thumbs up. Am I correct in recalling that longer lens packages and extension tubes increase risks of diffraction effects? Someone help me out on that please (ok, I'll try to pull out a couple John Shaw books and find the answer myself as well). Also, the medium format has reduced depth of field vs the smaller digital or 35mm formats. That necessitates stopping down further to get enough depth of field in highly magnified shots. Thus the diffraction issue becomes important. If diffraction becomes problematic as wide as f. 11 and you need to stop down to f. 16 to get enough depth of field, you have a problem...I'm open to further discussion on this...

FORESHADOWING: I just received a step-up ring that allows me to mount the Pentax S-56 multi-element APO close-up lens (58mm threads) to the 40.5mm front threads on the Rodenstock 105mm APO enlarger lens on the Zork Multi-Focus System--which is a tilt unit capable of 30 degrees of tilt movement on my 67II. OMG the things I'm doing in the livingroom! If we hadn't gotten 14" of snow last night, I'd have to go find subjects...Perhaps another informal test in order...
02-27-2009, 06:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for the work Ron. I had always wanted Pentax to make a longer macro lens. It sounds like the M* 300 EDIF with tubes might be workable for some closeup work. I may just take the plunge and add it to my lens lineup.

03-01-2009, 11:44 AM   #5
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Well, I checked in one of John Shaw's books--for those unfamiliar, John was one of the pioneers of technical macro work 25 or 30 years ago. He has written many books on the subject. Perhaps "pioneer" is too grand...he certainly is one of the best macro educators of our time.

He says that diffraction is increased when you move a small aperture farther from the film plane--as with extension tubes. This necessitates avoiding the smallest apertures--f/22 and f/32 for sure and in some cases avoiding f/16. And he's talking about 35mm format which has more inherent depth of field than medium format.

Due to the razor thin depth of field produced by medium format in general and the apparent tighter depth of field created with telephoto lenses, and the fact of decreased depth of field when magnification increases (Shaw) and my own struggles dealing with shallow medium format depth of field, I'm getting skeptical about the ability of this combo to work as a macro lens. Someone will have to burn a few rolls for tests plus a few rolls in field situations before I'm completely convinced.

Over the spring and summer wildflower season, I'll attempt to burn a shot here and there to compare with other macro options: 100/4 and Zork/Rodenstock tilt unit. Since I've recently run out of prepaid film processing mailers for 120 and 220 film, I'm kind of cheaping out on the tests...(I've been living on a large stock of prepaid mailers purchased in "better times", still have about 30 prepaid mailers for 35mm E6 film, but those will be gone soon too).

Other folks with macro info, please post...
03-01-2009, 02:24 PM   #6
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Hey Ron, If I take the plunge and get the M* 300/4 EDIF (still undecided) I'll do some tests with B&W as this is pretty cheap.
Regarding diffraction, although 35mm has greater inherent DOF isn't it true that diffraction becomes a problem earlier with 35mm? F/16 is pushing the limit with 35mm, but stopping down to at least F/22 with 6x7 is no problem, and I've talked to longtime users of the 67 who don't hesitate to use F/32.
Completely off topic, but seeing that 2009 marks 40 years since the introduction of the Pentax 67, wouldn't it be great if they marked the occasion with the introduction of a couple of new lenses? I'm thinking a tilt lens for landscapes in the 48-50mm range, and a 250/4.5 ED macro that focuses to 1:1. It might not be a bad idea for them to release a 5400DPI dedicated film scanner as well. And as long as we're in the pipedream realm, how about a 108MP 67IID, digital camera. With a resolution of 9,000x12,000, you could print 30x40" at 300DPI with no uprezzing!
It seems that Pentax medium format gear is still being produced, as it can be bought new from Harry's pro shop in Toronto, and Tin Cheung camera in Hong Kong. I think a new tilt lens for landscape use would be quite popular.
03-01-2009, 10:10 PM   #7
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True, 35mm has more inherent diffraction risk than medium format. And digi is even worse for diffraction--smaller format, greater diffraction risk. But the point that Shaw makes is that since diffraction is caused by bending light around the diaphram blades...the farther you move the aperture opening--the diaphram blades--from the film plane, the greater the diffraction risks. Thus, adding extension tubes increases diffraction problems. Basically, instead of the low diffraction risk normally found in medium format photography, by adding extension, the risk increases. And I keep using the word "risk" even though the diffraction effect is actual. Without images to examine, I'm limiting the comment to "risk".

Note that with the 45mm and 100 macro I shoot mostly at f/16 or f/22 (even though the owner's manual warns that diffraction could occur) and I've been VERY PLEASED with the results. Since most of my 300mm shots tend towards "flat field" landscape extractions, I probably shoot that lens more at f/8.

Man a new tilt lens for 67 and another for digi would sure be exciting, but I just can't imagine anything new for 67--well, I can imagine it, but it just doesn't seem realistic in the current economy. When the 67II came out they released a few new lenses: the 100/4 Macro; the M*300/4 EDIF and I believe the 55-100 zoom. I own the first two, and they are both stellar! A buddy owns the zoom and flat loves it for his hand-held street photography work. Someone fill me in if there were other new lens releases or new versions of old lenses released around the time of the release of the 67II...
03-19-2009, 09:17 PM   #8
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I took the plunge, the M* 300/4 arrived today. For closeup work I'm going to try using it with a Canon 500D diopter. I'll experiment with extension tubes and TC's as well. I'll keep you posted on the results.

03-20-2009, 08:25 AM   #9
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Congrats! I'm sure you'll like it.

Didn't know the 500D was available with 82mm threads. I have the 77mm version and it works really well on the end of the "trumpet" shade of the 100 Macro--including in combo with the Pentax lifesize converter.
03-20-2009, 11:09 AM   #10
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The 500D is only available up to 77mm, so I'm going to use it with an 82mm to 77mm step down ring. I don't know if this will cause any problems, but I'm betting that because it's only 2.5 mm on each side it should be OK. Time will tell.
Only one more 67 M* to go...The 800/6.7. It sure would be great for certain wave shots, where the 400 doesn't have enough reach. It's nearly impossible to get information on this beast though.
Have you ever known anyone who used it, or seen pictures taken with it?
03-20-2009, 09:03 PM   #11
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Played with an 800/6.7 once...big geared focus, turn the round knob to rack in and out. You will need a preposterous tripod and support for the camera on the back end as well. I just received a Really Right Stuff Long Lens Support System last week that adds a second support point--in addition to the tripod collar. It may be the finest long lens accessory item I've ever purchased. Haven't tested the extra dampening and support yet, but just playing with it proves it's WAY nicer than single point support. Of course, I haven't played with that particular lens, but with a 600/4; 250-600 zoom; and for 67 the 400/4. All worked better with the RRS item than without it--makes the switch from vert. to horiz. smooth as butter by balancing the lens better.

You should be able to find an 800mm out there for a fairly reasonable price. Good luck with that! Let me know how it works out.
03-20-2009, 10:13 PM   #12
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Hey Ron, The old Canon FD 800/5.6 I had focused the same way. I've got the preposterous tripod, a Berlebach Uni 17. I don't think there's a lens made I couldn't mount on that.
I've found a couple of the M* 800's used, but haven't been able to get the price down to a level that I'd consider it. I'd really like to rent one for a couple of weeks with an option to buy, as I'd like to see how it performs.
If you ever come across one for sale, let me know!
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