Nikon Bellows

Started Nov 2, 2019 | Questions
G Pik Regular Member • Posts: 443
Nikon Bellows

Hi, If there are past questions about this could someone point me in the right direction.

Q. Thinking of trying some real close up photography. I have 3 Nikon Micro lenses which go to 1:1 (200, 105 and 60) and ext tubes but if I want a much higher magnification I am presuming I need something like a PB6 bellows.

If this is the case, the best lens, and extras needed? Will be using D850 or Z7.

Thanks in anticipation.

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Nikon D850 Nikon Z7
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Ray Parkhurst
Ray Parkhurst Forum Member • Posts: 50
Re: Nikon Bellows

G Pik wrote:

Hi, If there are past questions about this could someone point me in the right direction.

Q. Thinking of trying some real close up photography. I have 3 Nikon Micro lenses which go to 1:1 (200, 105 and 60) and ext tubes but if I want a much higher magnification I am presuming I need something like a PB6 bellows.

If this is the case, the best lens, and extras needed? Will be using D850 or Z7.

Thanks in anticipation.

Adding a 2x teleconverter will double your magnification, so with your 1:1 lenses you can get to 2:1 without a change in minimun focus distance. A teleconverter like the Vivitar Macro Focusing 2x also has some focus helicoid built-in, so at least for your shorter lenses you can get quite a bit more magnification. Aperture will cut in half so you'll want to run the lens as wide as you can.

For 3x - 5x I would highly recommend the Lomo 3.7x microscope objective. They typically run ~$50 on eBay. You'll need a NF to M42 adapter, and a M42 to RMS adapter to mount the objective. The quality is high, so depth of field will be very shallow, and this may force you to focus stack if you need better DOF.

OP G Pik Regular Member • Posts: 443
Re: Nikon Bellows

Thanks Ray, I've been looking into this a bit more, I'd really like to get up to 10x or so, tilt shift bellows look as though they could be good be fun and obviously with this can move the focus area. Trying to find out if the Nikon PB4 or similar which will fit the D850 or Z7.

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Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,522
Re: Nikon Bellows

G Pik wrote:

I've been looking into this a bit more, I'd really like to get up to 10x or so, tilt shift bellows look as though they could be good be fun and obviously with this can move the focus area. Trying to find out if the Nikon PB4 or similar which will fit the D850 or Z7.

I occasionally use a PB-4 with a D800 and I believe the process would be the same for a D850 or Z7. While you can, in theory, attach it by rotating the bellows to "portrait" orientation, attaching it, and rotating it back, I find it a lot easier to use place a PK-13 extension tube between the bellows and the camera.

That said, without additional extension, a teleconverter, or perhaps an accessory close-up lens, you won't be able to get to 10x with any of the lenses listed in your profile.  With a PB-4, you'd need something like a 20mm lens.  I've had less than satisfactory results using my 20mm f/2.8 (reversed), but you could try a lens like this one.

I have no experience using microscope objectives, but from the reviews I've seen at coinimaging.com you may face issues with the image circle size.  Instead, I use a pair of enlarging lenses -- a 50mm APO Rodenstock and a 28mm Schneider, but neither gets to 10x.

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OP G Pik Regular Member • Posts: 443
Re: Nikon Bellows

Thanks Michael, the last time I used bellows was with 5x4 monorail cameras many years ago. Have to admit I'm very much a novice re macro with bellows, I'll look into the lens situation a bit more now.

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mmalkin15 Regular Member • Posts: 292
Re: Nikon Bellows

For magnifications above about 5X you will want to look at completely different methods.  Specialized lenses like the Zeiss Luminars, Nikon Macro-nikkors, some microscope objectives, mitutoyo Plan APO LWD objectives, will be more suitable than large photographic camera lenses which are large physically and not optically optimal.  Very short focal lengths like the Macro Nikkor 35mm ( these are microscope-style objectives with diaphragms and very different than the camera based Micro-Nikkors)  35mm, ( there are 4 - 20mm, 35mm, 65mm, 120mm) Luminar  100mm, 65mm, 25mm and 16mm will give you the magnification without requiring very long bellows extensions.

Even more important is a stand and focus system that can keep the equipment steady and allow precise viewing, focusing and suitable lighting.  Nikon made a system known as the MultiPhot which was a bellows camera system on a large stand - and the set of macro-nikkor lenses was part of that system.  Leitz and Zeiss offered similar systems.

One of the best systems is the Swiss made Leica ( formerly Wild) M400 Makroskop - basically a microscope style stand and fine focus mechanism with a variety of illumination systems.  It is binocular and optimized for photography in the 5-50X range.  Originally very costly but still available on the used market at reasonable costs.   I have been using and modernizing these makroskops ( M400 and the later M420) for many years and feel they are a bargain for their amazing quality and precision.   For these higher magnifications positioning , viewing, and photographing the subject  is far easier using equipment like this.

OP G Pik Regular Member • Posts: 443
Re: Nikon Bellows

Sounds a brilliant setup but I'm starting small!! Just got a s/h Nikon PB4 bellows and have started to have a play. The 105 f2.8G won't fit as its too fat. The 60mm f2.8D works well as does the 200mm f4 but this is a bit heavy!

Another general question, when using the 60mm the front element to subject distance is only an inch or so, how can I increase the working distance?

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Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,522
Re: Nikon Bellows

G Pik wrote:

Sounds a brilliant setup but I'm starting small!! Just got a s/h Nikon PB4 bellows and have started to have a play. The 105 f2.8G won't fit as its too fat. The 60mm f2.8D works well as does the 200mm f4 but this is a bit heavy!

Even if the 105mm fit, you would have to add a way to control the aperture.

Another general question, when using the 60mm the front element to subject distance is only an inch or so, how can I increase the working distance?

If I remember correctly, you can get slightly more working distance by reverse mounting the 60mm using a BR-2A and a 62mm->52mm adapter ring.

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Ray Parkhurst
Ray Parkhurst Forum Member • Posts: 50
Re: Nikon Bellows

Michael Benveniste wrote:

G Pik wrote:

Another general question, when using the 60mm the front element to subject distance is only an inch or so, how can I increase the working distance?

If I remember correctly, you can get slightly more working distance by reverse mounting the 60mm using a BR-2A and a 62mm->52mm adapter ring.

Yes, the "proper" way to use a lens like the 60mm is to mount it normally up to 1:1, and then in reverse above 1:1. If you operate the lens at 2:1 reversed, you would set the lens extension as if you were shooting at 0.5:1, and so on. This maintains the correct optical conjugates so that all the lens corrections work correctly.

Mounting in reverse should indeed give you more working distance. In fact the working distance for any of the macro lenses should be similar when operating at their conjugate distances since it is determined by the mount-sensor ("register") distance of the camera.

The Lomo 3.7x I recommended has a very large image circle which should cover FF sensor down to 3x or maybe lower, and well beyond FF at 3.7x and higher mags. One issue is that it is not a flat field objective, so in addition to the depth of field being shallow, the corners are not at same focal plane as the center. Stacking fixes this problem nicely.

Macro guy
Macro guy Veteran Member • Posts: 5,382
Re: Nikon Bellows

mmalkin15 wrote:

For magnifications above about 5X you will want to look at completely different methods. Specialized lenses like the Zeiss Luminars, Nikon Macro-nikkors, some microscope objectives, mitutoyo Plan APO LWD objectives, will be more suitable than large photographic camera lenses which are large physically and not optically optimal. Very short focal lengths like the Macro Nikkor 35mm ( these are microscope-style objectives with diaphragms and very different than the camera based Micro-Nikkors) 35mm, ( there are 4 - 20mm, 35mm, 65mm, 120mm) Luminar 100mm, 65mm, 25mm and 16mm will give you the magnification without requiring very long bellows extensions.

Even more important is a stand and focus system that can keep the equipment steady and allow precise viewing, focusing and suitable lighting. Nikon made a system known as the MultiPhot which was a bellows camera system on a large stand - and the set of macro-nikkor lenses was part of that system. Leitz and Zeiss offered similar systems.

One of the best systems is the Swiss made Leica ( formerly Wild) M400 Makroskop - basically a microscope style stand and fine focus mechanism with a variety of illumination systems. It is binocular and optimized for photography in the 5-50X range. Originally very costly but still available on the used market at reasonable costs. I have been using and modernizing these makroskops ( M400 and the later M420) for many years and feel they are a bargain for their amazing quality and precision. For these higher magnifications positioning , viewing, and photographing the subject is far easier using equipment like this.

Do you by any chance have a link to this type of a setup?

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Bernard Delley Senior Member • Posts: 1,630
consider ultra macro lenses

G Pik wrote:

Hi, If there are past questions about this could someone point me in the right direction.

Q. Thinking of trying some real close up photography. I have 3 Nikon Micro lenses which go to 1:1 (200, 105 and 60) and ext tubes but if I want a much higher magnification I am presuming I need something like a PB6 bellows.

If this is the case, the best lens, and extras needed? Will be using D850 or Z7.

Thanks in anticipation.

Laowa 2.5 - 5 macro

I only occasionally do macro beyond 1:1, which is frequently used in dia slide copying. I experiment indeed with a bellows. A old 20mm lens with 52mm front thread is convenient to get to around 10x magnification.

test setup for 10x magnification  AI 20mm f/3.5 reversed on old third party bellows.

Note that modern macro lenses use floating element to achieve the engineered correction as 1:1 size is approached.   When you insert an extension tube, the floating elements cannot do their tricks and the high order correction is lost.

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Ray Parkhurst
Ray Parkhurst Forum Member • Posts: 50
Re: consider ultra macro lenses

Bernard Delley wrote:

Note that modern macro lenses use floating element to achieve the engineered correction as 1:1 size is approached. When you insert an extension tube, the floating elements cannot do their tricks and the high order correction is lost.

This is part of the reason why it's best to use the lens only up to 1:1, then reverse it above 1:1. Careful use of extensions and lens helicoid adjustments can keep the reversed lens in its optimum configuration versus magnifications above 1:1.

Bernard Delley Senior Member • Posts: 1,630
reversed lens and close range corrections

Ray Parkhurst wrote:

Bernard Delley wrote:

Note that modern macro lenses use floating element to achieve the engineered correction as 1:1 size is approached. When you insert an extension tube, the floating elements cannot do their tricks and the high order correction is lost.

This is part of the reason why it's best to use the lens only up to 1:1, then reverse it above 1:1. Careful use of extensions and lens helicoid adjustments can keep the reversed lens in its optimum configuration versus magnifications above 1:1.

I agree with the proper use of modern, close range corrected, lenses: as reversed lenses above 1:1 and with 'distance' setting for the inverse of the magnification sought with the bellows.

BTW, here is an example with an old 20mm lens reversed on the bellows

15 x magnification of an Apple mac book 15 retina screen using a bellows and the old AI 20mm f/3.5 lens.

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OP G Pik Regular Member • Posts: 443
Re: reversed lens and close range corrections

Thanks for all the advice but I sent the bellows back. The dust on the sensor from bits of bellows was not acceptable. I've now bought a s/h Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro to play with.  Also bought a motorised rail which looks fun!!

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klondiker
klondiker Regular Member • Posts: 360
Re: reversed lens and close range corrections

G Pik wrote:

.... Also bought a motorised rail which looks fun!!

Which one did you buy, if you don't mind to ask?

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gregn

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OP G Pik Regular Member • Posts: 443
Re: reversed lens and close range corrections

Went for this https://www.wemacro.com/?product=wemacro-rail bought from https://www.ultramacro.co.uk

Haven't tried it out yet just haven't had time. Will spend time on Monday.  Also going to download the Helicon software as that can operate it automatically - I think!!

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Geniet Regular Member • Posts: 101
Re: Nikon Bellows

The Nikon PB6 bellows has an interesting feature which possibly is of use.

PB6 Aperture Control.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ywKcPMOjG8

Kind regards,

mawyatt2002
mawyatt2002 Contributing Member • Posts: 502
Re: Nikon Bellows

Geniet wrote:

The Nikon PB6 bellows has an interesting feature which possibly is of use.

PB6 Aperture Control.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ywKcPMOjG8

Kind regards,

Geniet,

Thanks for the link showing the PB6 "Hidden Features"!

Best,

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