Larger format, smaller objects

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Kevin Kehler, May 12, 2012.

  1. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    Assume that you want to photograph something small, about the size of a stamp or 1" square. Using a 35mm macro, at 1:1, the frame is filled almost completely. Is there any point to moving up to a 5x7 or a 4x5 camera. Even if you use a macro lens and rack out the bellows, if you get to 1:1, it is still only using a small portion of the film. After all, a 1" subject on 35mm is the same as a 1" subject on 4x5 at 1:1, is it not? I realize one can use close up filters but even if you get 2:1, you are still only using 15-20% of the film surface.

    So, my question is, is there any point of using a large-format for these very small objects? I have these flowers I want to photograph but they are a little under an inch in size.
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Kevin:

    If you want to use movements, the 4x5 camera most likely offers them.

    Otherwise, probably not.
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    You are not limited to 1:1. You can make the image on the film larger than the object. If you have a long enough bellows and focussing rack, you could fill the frame with a 1" subject.


    Steve.
     
  4. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    As an example, take a look at the two fisheye shots in my gallery. Both were taken with a 5x4 camera, a 90mm lens, and plenty of draw on the bellows. Could probably get much closer with a shorter lens, but I was already close to the limit for getting light on to the subject.
     
  5. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    IMHO, 135 format excels at a few things just a couple of which are very close macro/micro and very long telephoto imagery.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The reason to shoot macro on a larger format is to have a larger negative/transparency, and you would want to shoot at higher magnification to fill the frame. Of course DOF will be shorter, and camera movements don't help much for most subjects at very high magnification, unless they are flat and everything that needs to be in focus lies in the same plane.

    I posted an example of LF macro a while back in the gallery--

    http://www.apug.org/gallery1/showimage.php?i=7389&catid=member&imageuser=60
     
  7. Kevin Kehler

    Kevin Kehler Member

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    David, on your macro shot, how much of the actual negative is the resulting picture? As in, would a contact print look the same or is this a significant crop of the negative?

    Steve, are you saying if you have unlimited bellows, you could have 2:1 or 3:1 without resorting to lens "trickery" like close-up filters? I never even considered that but it seems understandable.
     
  8. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I've extended a lens quite long before, and it's flared across the frame, though it was a mamiya sekor 55mm f/1.8 M42 lens.. 35mm. Beyond a certain length.. terrible and uneven.

    Would be much better starting with a dedicated macro lens.

    You can get lenses designed to do more than 1:1 too, like the Canon MP-E (5:1 iirc), very expensive though. Though I imagine this might have some practical ability to be mount on a LF camera.

    In any case, I would get an enlarging lens for LF to use as a macro lens. I think this would work a -lot- better than for those kind of macro enlargements than a regular lens extended to all hell.

    Also on 35mm, I have great results with reverse mounting lenses, 50mm and 28mm, gave longer subject to lens shooting distance, but keeping lens close to camera, and can also be extended for more.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    My macro shot in the gallery linked above is around 90% of the full frame, cropped just slightly for composition given the shape of the original frame. Magnification was about 10:1, meaning 0.4x0.5 inches on the subject appears as 4x5 inches on film.
     
  10. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Actually, you do not need that much bellows extension, as you usually use a fairly short lens for macro work with a large format. It helps if you use a lens corrected for very close up work, but a 25mm lens with 4 inches of bellows draw should produce a 4" image of the 1" subject. (Been a long while, so do not hold me to my math, but it does get the idea across, I think.)

    PS: Zeis Lumitars were designed for this kind of thing, they came in sets of from 25mm to 100mm. An enlarging lens may work well for it.
     
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