Best MF set up for macro.

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by JBrunner, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi everybody,

    I've got this little macro project bouncing around in my head, and I'd like to shoot it on MF. The only camera I have except the 6x17 that shoots MF is the Mamiyaflex, which isn't exactly my first choice for attempting macro stuff, and my busted Kiev (no speeds under 1/30) I have extension tubes for the Kiev, but I would need to get it fixed, and I don't know if that would be worth it or not. Any favorite set ups? I can't break the bank.
     
  2. elekm

    elekm Member

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    One of the best is the Rolleiflex SL66. In addition to bellows that rack out for 1:2, you can also reverse the lens to get 2:1 magnification.

    This camera works best on a tripod, which is what you would want to do if you're shooting macro.

    As far as breaking the bank, inexpensive is a bit of a relative term. What's your budget?

    The Rolleiflex SL66 with the f/2.8 80mm Planar will run from $550 to $800. Other lenses are very expensive.

    Another choice might be the Praktisix or Pentacon Six with extension tubes. The cameras seem to sell for about $200-$250.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2008
  3. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    You already have 4x5 right? How about a roll film back, 6x7 or 6x9? Maybe a little tough with some field or press cameras, but a studio monorail would do nicely.

    Any more info on reproduction ratio, need for movements, etc?

    Lee
     
  4. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    For macro I use a 4x5 crown graphic with 135 optar fully racked out but if you need MF, maybe you could get a 6x7 roll film back for your crown?

    Also, I know it's not the prettiest solution but what about hacking a lens extension tube onto a board so that you could use your kiev behind your crown? You'd get a lot of extension, could shoot MF through the kiev and could just set the kiev to bulb and use a shuttered lens on the crown.
    I've no experience with real macro lenses, but i've shot a lot of things close up with a 135 optar and it works well for my style.

    Otherwise my vote would be an RB/RZ.
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    The ultimate macro machine, IMHO, is the mamiya rb67. Almost everything that counts against the rb for quick street work (big, heavy, bellows focusing, fully mechanical) becomes a pro for macro. I use it with all manner of lenses for macro, from fisheye to 360 with various extra tubes. It's a weapon for macro, I tell you. Now with my rz tilt 'n shift gizmo adapted to it, it's even more so. My next choice is the rz. I did use a fuji gx680 once and I think that would also be a strong contender, though I am not as familiar with the lens family and I am a big fan of batteryless operation when I am working with a camera for hours on end.

    P.S. The rb is also veeery inexpensive. Just be sure to get a dual cable release... and why not get a metering prism too, which is very convenient for macro.
     
  6. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thanks guys, lots of food for thought already. The objects I'm thinking of shooting would be 1:1 or larger and enlarged to 10x10 (if square) I know I could do it with 35mm, but I also know I will like the results of 120 better, and I'm flat out better at handling MF in the darkroom. I'm not terribly concerned about movements,but perhaps the Crown might be the ticket if I could find a roll film back that fits the Graphlock. I don't want to shoot sheets as I want to shoot in a manner that gives me a lot to choose from, rather than the methodical plodding the sheet film enforces. I want to shoot enough and loose enough in the approach to occasion some happy accidents. Rut busting I guess.
     
  7. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    RZ67 with extension tubes. Talk to me about it saturday.
     
  8. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    rb67 with extension tubes. no guesswork on exposure compensation, dirt cheap these days, and superior optics. I don't thing there is another option in it's class. Use two single cable releases instead of one expensive double.

    tim in san jose
     
  9. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Get a paramender for the Mamiyaflex, use a wide angle to normal lens, and "make out like a bandit".

    Matt

    P.S. what does "make out like a bandit" really mean????
     
  10. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Like elekm, I would say that the SL66 is the ultimate medium format camera for macro work, especially if combined with the S-Planar. What else should I recommend:wink:

    greetz, Benjamin
     
  11. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Little or no work for good pay.
     
  12. xtolsniffer

    xtolsniffer Member

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    I'd put in another vote for the RB67. It's a beast with the no.1 and no.2 tubes on together and a 140mm Macro with the bellows racked all the way out, and you'll need a whoppper of a tripod, but that combination will get you to about 1.2x lifesize on 6x7 that you can enlarge to 30"x40" easily. RB prices are just silly at the moment, and the camera will last you a lifetime.
     
  13. ChrisC

    ChrisC Member

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    Half you tried shooting your 4x5 with an enlarging lens mounted backwards? Opened up my eyes to an amazing world of macro shooting.

    The lens (which it sounds like you'd already have) with a rollfilm back would be very modestly priced.
     
  14. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Another vote for the RB67. Even just with a No. 2 extension tube and the standard 90mm lens you get 1:1 and a lot of fun. I spent an hour today peering at dandelions with mine.
     
  15. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    If I were starting with a clean slate, I'd choose the RB/RZ, if I wanted to use the camera for more general work later on, I'd go with the Rollei.
     
  16. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Most roll film backs should work for you. I have two of these http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/con...&A=showItemLargeImage&Q=&sku=800496037&is=USE Wista backs (6x7 and 6x9) made for spring back cameras, but they also fit on Graflok backs. They are Graflok backs with metal "wings" to catch the spring back frame.

    4x5 gives you a wide range of lens choices. I was given a Polaroid camera designed specifically for oscilloscope photography a long while back with a 75mm f:1.9 Ilex lens designed for 1:0.85 reproduction. Covers 4x5 at that reproduction ratio, and roll film with good movement room. That may be too big for your Crown lensboards (No. 3x shutter), but there are many options out there.

    The RB/RZ and SL66 recommendations are also very sensible. The Fuji 680 came to mind when you first mentioned the project, but I'm not sure prices and availability are what you'd like to see. Hasselblad and Bronica pricing are probably also worth looking into if you want to cover your options.

    Lee
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Jason, I have a crown and have done some macro with that, it's quite good. Really nice for travel macro. Actually kinda light and not so stable as one might like. But anyway I normally use the Nikon 120 AMED for macro with the crown, and a diopter from time to time. Here are what I see as the disadvantages of the crown: GG composition at large mag with slowish lenses is not a pleasure for my eyes. Also there is no really convenient way to meter; bellows factor becomes a real headache. However you can go to high mag and get beautiful results, no question about it.

    Now, a fair amount of the flower macros I've done involved subjects that just aren't sitting still for long periods, so I find myself grabbing the rb and happily giving up a bit of WLF brightness for the TTL metering.

    Lens wise, I just don't think you can get any better than the newer RB lenses, and anyway, for macro you are often stopping down appreciably so it's kind of a wash. Having said that, the floating element rb lenses are quite a thing. My *only* gripe is that I wish they'd have put longer speeds (2 sec, 4 sec) into the macro lens and I wonder about slip-in aperture disks for improved bokeh.

    I do use a 612 back with the crown, it's good. But I think if you look at the cost of a rollfilm back for 4x5... and the cost of a motorized 6x8 back for the rb....
     
  18. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you can find all the requisite parts and really want an SLR for macro, I like my Bronica S2a setup with the Type 2 bellows that has full view camera movements and can focus from infinity to the macro range, kind of like a 6x6 version of the Fuji GX680 system without some of the modern conveniences. The classic Bronicas are known for their complex and loud shutters, but I think any MF SLR needs a substantial tripod and head for macro, at least if you're not using strobes. I find myself using LF cameras more for macro these days.
     
  19. benveniste

    benveniste Subscriber

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    I've had very good results from a Pentax 645n, their 120mm macro lens and extension tubes. As usual with MF macro, the biggest challenges are supporting the camera and lighting the subject.

    And before you ask, no, I haven't noticed any issues with mirror slap, but I'm sure it would be a problem at some speeds.
     
  20. craigclu

    craigclu Subscriber

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    I don't do much macro and have owned various P67 135mm macro lenses that I accumulated with systems purchases, etc. Anytime that I have duplicates, I take time to shoot some careful comparison shots and cull the loser (if I can tell a difference). I've had 4 of these go through my hands over the years. Not one of them has been tack sharp. In other focal lengths in the system, I've seen differences but always seem to find one that is very sharp and trustworthy. It seems odd that I've had a string of 135's that all look soft. Have I just had an incredible streak of bad luck or have others had the same experience? None of mine have been the very latest and the sharpest one that I kept has the old style grooved metal focusing grip.