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A macro tutorial with bellows
Posted By: Peter Zack, 04-07-2008, 09:03 AM

Bored yesterday (weathers getting nicer here but everything is brown and muddy). So I dug out the bellows with the intention of selling the kit. Started to take some sample shots to show the magnifications of the lenses. Might keep this setup which consists of a 150mm M42 bellows, Helios 58mm, Focal 35mm, a Tele Lentar 105mm f2.8 (which requires a T- mount) and an Accura Anastigmat f4.5, 150mm. The 105 on the bellows has a collar that allows a pair of small flashes to be mounted, made by Spiratone. The 105 and 150mm are dedicated macro lenses with a ton of blades which keeps the highlights pretty smooth. Only issue with these lenses can be some CA if you really pixel peep. It just depends on the subject.

Kit:


150 with full bellows extension


150 again full bellows


58mm with full extension


105mm with full bellows extension. 100% crop of the last picture. Holds up pretty well.


105mm with full extension.


So I thought some of you that are interested in macro shooting might find this interesting. It's not that expensive to do, as all these lenses sell at reasonable prices. The Helios 58mm was $15.00 right here on the forums. The bellows was less than $50 I think. All the different lengths give a number of options. It can be hand held quite easily (thanks t SR) as well but best with a tripod. The 150mm is the best lens for this IMO. It gives about 15-16 inches of working distance and that lets lots of light around the subject. Plus you don't scare off the bugs as easily.

I didn't shoot the 35mm Focal because that is such a close focus lens at about 2x the magnification of the 58mm on a bellows at 150mm. (around 4.28x life sized). But for super close up shooting the shorter lens gets you right there. To calculate the magnification, just divide the extension by the focal length of the lens. So the 150mm here will give a 1:1. The 58mm will give 2.58 times life sized. You have to use stop down metering and I find about 3 stops of underexposure from the meter reading seems to be about right. The 105 has oil on the blades but this is one case where it doesn't matter. You focus wide open and then stop down manually to meter the shot and fire away.

Anyone having any questions, I'd be happy to respond. Others should add macro thoughts/shots here as well.

Last edited by Peter Zack; 04-16-2008 at 06:23 AM.
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05-15-2008, 02:24 PM   #46
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yes I have received it and its great, it is a practically brand new asahi pentax auto bellows M. I have so far only used it for film but I will try and get some good pictures with my K110D and post them up. I had to purchase an extension tube as stated in this thread to actually get it to mount to my K110 so I have been using it on my film cameras.

10-26-2008, 04:17 AM   #47
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Just got a bellows, trying to figure it out, this thread helsp a lot. Thanks! Nick
11-01-2008, 05:28 PM   #48
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Got a good deal on this one and then got it stuck on the camera. Had to remove the setscrews that attach the rear mount to the bellows. I like the idea of using a small extension between the body and the bellows.

Asahi Pentax Bellows Unit Screw Mount - eBay (item 250309988416 end time Oct-23-08 10:29:36 PDT)

Is it better to use a longer lens with this thing or is a plain old 50mm okay?

Last edited by maxwell1295; 11-02-2008 at 05:01 PM.
11-01-2008, 07:54 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxwell1295 Quote
Is it better to use a longer lens with this thing or is a plain old 50mm okay?
Just a word of warning. Don't try attaching any SMC Takumar to this bellows. From what I can see it is the same as one of mine. If you put an SMC or S-M-C Takumar on you'll never get it off again as the lock pin for the meter switch will find a permanent resting place in the screw heads on the front mount.

cheers

Greg

11-01-2008, 09:23 PM   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by maxwell1295 Quote
Got a good deal on this one and then got it stuck on the camera. Had to remove the setscrews that attach the rear mount to the bellows. I like the idea of using a small extention between the body and the bellows.
....
I have the same bellows unit. It was designed for film camera bodies and is indeed difficult to remove it from the digital body. When I was playing with it I managed to use two fingers to turn it from the inside.
11-01-2008, 09:29 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by wirrah Quote
Just a word of warning. Don't try attaching any SMC Takumar to this bellows. From what I can see it is the same as one of mine. If you put an SMC or S-M-C Takumar on you'll never get it off again as the lock pin for the meter switch will find a permanent resting place in the screw heads on the front mount.

cheers

Greg
Thanks for the warning.
I had a look at that pin and find that when the meter switch is in 'MAN' position, that lock pin does not get stuck in the screw head.
11-01-2008, 10:16 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by ddhytz Quote
Thanks for the warning.
I had a look at that pin and find that when the meter switch is in 'MAN' position, that lock pin does not get stuck in the screw head.
Thanks for that. I wasn't game to have a second go but I'll look at this.

cheers
11-02-2008, 05:01 PM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by wirrah Quote
Just a word of warning. Don't try attaching any SMC Takumar to this bellows. From what I can see it is the same as one of mine. If you put an SMC or S-M-C Takumar on you'll never get it off again as the lock pin for the meter switch will find a permanent resting place in the screw heads on the front mount.

cheers

Greg
Thanks for the tip! I was going to try the SMC Tak 55/1.8 on it. I'll definitely use a non-SMC Tak or other M42 lens.

11-03-2008, 03:37 AM   #54
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had a bit fun with my bellows unit yesterday.

this taken with 55mm no bellows


105mm with bellows fully extended


55mm with bellows fully extended
11-03-2008, 06:09 AM   #55
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Anyone used a 50mm Macro lens on a bellows? How does that compare to a regular 50mm on a bellows?
11-03-2008, 06:15 AM   #56
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Syb, The only 50mm macro lens I've tried was the Tak f4. I bought it off Ebay to give it a try with this setup and although a very good lens on it's own, It's a bugger to focus with an extended bellows. The f4 aperture just didn't let in enough light with the added light loss from the extended bellows. Since the bellows can get you (depending on model and extension) 3-5x magnification, the added magnification isn't a great benifit.

If you have a bright subject an f4 lens would be fine but I prefer a lens that I can focus at f1.4 - f2 before stopping down.
11-03-2008, 06:29 AM   #57
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Yep, Syb. I have to agree with Peter. Bigger magnification possible, much shallower DoF, much closer working distance necessary - external artificial light source is a big help.
The first image is taken with a 135mm lens on 12cm of belows.


the second image is with a 50mm Macro Takumar 1:1 on 12cms of belows. It is not a crop! Check out the Dof - it is in focus in some places along the edge of the seed pod.


Both images have been resized, and leveled for clarity sake. Issues of fringing and/or colour shift start to show at these magnifications.
11-03-2008, 07:33 AM   #58
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QuoteQuote:
Both images have been resized, and leveled for clarity sake. Issues of fringing and/or colour shift start to show at these magnifications.
so do dusty sensors. you will find out real fast just how contaminated it is when you use a bellows.
11-04-2008, 04:27 AM   #59
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The dots in the top image were not sensor dust. They were on the paper I had under the seed pods. I tried cleaning everything but as I moved the pods around the crap kept falling from the seed pods. They had been (and still are) sitting on my window sill for months.
Sharpening just accentuated the dots
11-06-2008, 10:42 AM   #60
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Does any of you know, whether there are telescopic extension tubes that could fit Pentax. Olympus produced a while ago (film days) something called OM Telescopic Auto Tube 65-116. It was basically a set of metal tubes that one could pull in and out, changing the magnification. As it was full metal it was more stable than a similar bellows unit and has now the additional benefit of not letting any dust in the camera. The magnification was not that extreme as with longer bellows.

Secondly, as for the resolution and sharpness of older macro lenses, do you think the sensor of K20d out resolves them? Do you think a modern lens, reversed to a camera or attached to some tubes would produce a better quality picture?
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