Lotsa stupid ?'s about bellows and such

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by Wilk, Nov 2, 2005.

  1. Wilk


    Jul 28, 2005
    Hey all,

    I'm considering a bellows attachment with respect to versatility and such in doing macro work and <just> perhaps an aid to UV photography (thinking of more exotic lenses such as enlarger lenses reverse mounted) - not sure about that part.

    OK, I've read the fantastic tute on nikonians, but it still leaves me wondering many things.

    1. they say that you must use an PK-11a extension tube to avoid damage to the electronics on autofocus cams (i.e. between the bellows and the camera mount)... I'm thinking that's more for the PB4 more so than the PB-6? That is, wouldn't nikon engineer their latest to accommodate technology that's been around much longer than digital (e.g. autofocus lenses)?
    1a. While I'm at it... should I be concerned about damage to the camera electronics using series E or AIS lens? I've not heard of this, and I do use a series E 35mm on my regular D70, so I need to know for sure.

    2. I understand the theory of mounting lenses reverse for closer focus (e.g. a 50mm non macro) I do however have both the 60mm and 200mm micro. Lenses like this can be mounted in a standard way on the front of the unit? That is, the front of the bellows unit has a bayonete mount to which you can put a reverse ring on for reverse mounting?

    3. Does anyone know what "perspective" you get by reverse mounting a wide angle, or a tele as a reverse mount? Or is that only practical for near 50mm lenses? (actually, with the FOV crop, "normal" is closer to 28-35mm than is the 50, which is a 75mm with the fov crop). I'm trying to descern if it's at all practical to reverse mount say, a 24mm or 150mm lens on the bellows.

    There are lots of interesting lens types for sale on ebay at good prices that would likely be useless without a bellows unit, so that's why I'm asking. This darned photography crud sure can be cornfuzing!

    BTW, I’ve done a lot of research on the different attachments (reverse rings, extenders and such) so I *may* not need a discourse on that matter… the nikonians tute is pretty full orbed on that matter.

    Thanks any/all for help you can lend. I certainly won't buy until such time as I understand all this better.

    Yours appreciatively,
  2. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    A short note addressing some of your ??

    1. A spacer is needed for modern cameras on most bellows units. This is because the bellows was designed for a camera from the '60s or '70s without the bulges and curves typical for modern cameras. I often use E-2 or M-2, each with a CPU implanted so as to give full matrix metering with all cameras. PK-11(a) may not be wide enough, PK-12 however usually is.

    2. With all the extension given by a bellows, virtually all lenses should be mounted in a reverse position to get maximum image quality. This does not apply to special lenses such as the 105 or 135 mm Bellows Nikkors, which were designed for use on a bellows. Same may hold for enlarger lenses, depending on their design.

    3. "Perspective" is a function of how close the lens is to the subject. With a reversed lens you may be just some cm away from the subject, so the perspective can be steep. However, since the DOF is very limited, this really doesn't matter that much.

    When you reverse mount longer lenses, for example, some 105 mm lenses, you just might be able to focus the package at more distant subjects. In such cases, "perspective" is familiar.

    Do remember that you tend to get high magnification when you reverse-mount 50 mm or shorter lenses, typically a reversed 24 mm will give 5x magnification at a working distance of say 4 -5 cm. Longer lenses may not be suitable for mounting in this position because of their lenghth and weight which leverages and stresses the front end/mount on the bellows. Plus modern plastic lenses can be damaged since their front threads weren't designed to carry the full weight of the lens:frown:
  3. A few more things on high mag photography

    My bellows experience is from some time ago, so correct me if I'm confused. But at least this may be food for thought.

    1. When you reverse a lens, which you can also do by mounting on another lens, the multiplication is the ratio of the focal lengths. A 24mm reversed on a 105mm yields about a 4x.

    2. The Nikon PB-6 may have come out before autofocus. It certainly cannot preserve autofocus. I know I had one a long time before I sold it a few weeks ago.

    3. I agree the extension tubes are primarily needed to allow your particular camera body to clear the bellows apparatus.

    4. I have a PK-11 a? and a PN-11 for sale. The PN-11 is a 52.5mm extension tube with tripod collar built in. This extension tube is half the length of the 105mm f/2.8 AIS micro and is needed to achieve 1:1 magnification ( later built in to the AF version). However this is a handy extension tube.

    5. I like the Kenko AF extension tube set for closer focus ( as well as AF) with long lenses.

    6. Bellows are cumbersome to use, but I bet you will find a good use for one. But there are other ways to achieve high magnification without a bellows, like reversing a lens on another (need special reversion ring). Your working distance with this as well as the bellows approach is generally very small. You may want to add the PB-29s ring light for relatively easy even lighting.

    7. Nikon made a short barrel lens specifically for( I believe) the PB-4 bellows. It's about a 105mm lens. The PB-4 is neat because it has some view camera -like movements. The PB-6 does not.

    8. Short extension tubes can also be useful for stacking teleconverters that have protruding elements. This works well for long lens applications. However, the results may be worse than simply cropping.

    9. My macro approach now is to used a combination of macro lens, extension tubes, and diopters. I just don't like carrying a bellows into the field.
  4. Wilk


    Jul 28, 2005
    Hi Bjørn and Muril,

    Thanks to both of you for your very detailed and thoughtful responses. I guess what I was thinking with bellows is that they would give me more options with respect to mounting and using more exotic lenses, not so much for the magnification factor, rather just as a tool to make said mounting easier. Frankly, when it comes to macro work, I haven't done enough of it to date, much less exploring the ability to magnify well beyond the 1.5:1 both my macro lenses afford me (I'm assuming that the 1:1 listed in the specs is effected by the fov crop factor).

    I would think it would be most logical to just use what I have at this point and get used to doing macro work. It's not that I'm no good at it, really I just have SO many interests competing for my shutter clicks. I certainly did by the 60 and especially the 200 to use for different purposes as well, especially the latter, because it's simply one of the sharpest lenses Nikon makes.

    I'll give the idea a rest and try to get a lot more macro work under my belt before I consider revisiting the issue. At least thanks to the both of you, I'm very well armed with info if/when I decide I need the ability to get those magnification factors.
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