Long Lens for a Short Bellows - What do you do?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    For those of you who have a camera with a short bellows.. what do you do for a long lens?

    Do you use an extention lens board?
    Do you use a telephoto lens?
    Do you use something else entirely?

    I'd like to hear what people actually have experience with, as opposed to what they have read about.
    THANKS
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  2. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    A macro lens, which if not enough, extension rings.
     
  3. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I sold the camera and got a chamonix, which takes any lens from my 65 to 450mm easily. Top hat lens boards throw your tilt axis off and depending on the camera design-can put a lot of stress on the front standard, tele lenses don't have nearly the coverage I need.
     
  4. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    My default answer is "use a shorter lens", or failing that, "use a different camera". I've never found all that much use for really long lenses in LF; all the cameras I have can deal with a reasonable portrait/short-tele focal length, and it's not like I'm trying for field shots of distant birds with the 5x7. If I'm really racking out a large format camera, it's usually for macro purposes, not because of the length of the lens.

    Maybe the complementary question is: What do you use long lenses *for*?

    -NT
     
  5. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Darin, the first approach that I reduced to practice was for lenses in barrel. Mount the lens in front of a shutter, if necessary put extension tubes between lens and shutter. There are limits to what can be done and, as has already been pointed out, doing this makes using swings difficult. I haven't done this with lenses in shutter, see clearly how it could be done.

    The second approach I reduced to practice was a tandem camera. Two 2x3 Graphics mounted front-to-back on a rail, with a coupler between them to keep the dark in. That rig works with lenses up to 480 mm. The 480 is front-mounted, requires a short extension tube ...

    The third approach is for a monorail camera, won't work with a flatbed. An intermediate standard with an intermediate bellows or extension tube. I've done both.
     
  6. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    If anything, the standard bellows on my Toyo/Omega 45D is too long (probably because I've only got a 65mm SA, a 90mm SA, and a 135mm Xenar). To that end, I've got recessed boards and I'm going to buy a bag bellows when I find one cheap enough that fits.
    I also wouldn't mind doing portraits, and have played around with a 180 Symmar-S, but there's no trouble there with a bag because most go out to 250mm or so, still more than enough.

    But I still wouldn't mind longer, so I've just bought a 270mm Tele-Arton, allegedly 150mm flange-distance at infinity, so that should also have no troubles using the (eventual) bag bellows at portrait-distances.

    Still, I'm not going to throw out my current bellows, so if I ever need longer I've got it as backup if I get a non-tele 400mm+ lens. And if I ever need a 400mm or something at macro distances, i'll cross that bridge when i come to it...
     
  7. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Member

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    I own a Tachihara wooden field camera with 13" of bellows draw. I wanted to use a 300mm for indoor portraiture so I bought a Sinar P monorail. Each camera works great for it's intended purpose.
     
  8. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    I made a top-hat lensboard for my 300mm Nikkor M on field cameras with only 12" of bellows draw. It saves me camera weight and works fairly well as long as I don't try to focus too close (min. focus is about 8 feet). Also, it is a pain to use front swings/tilts although it is doable to a certain extent (till the top-hat board starts to vignette.

    As 12 inches is almost exactly 300mm, this is not much of an extension. It is just enough to make the lens usable for general work (not too close up) in the field. If you need to put a lens on your camera that is significantly longer than the bellows length and you expect to be using it regularly, I'd either spring for a telephoto if that would meet your needs (however, they are heavy, have little coverage and are a PITA with front movements) or just get a different camera altogether.

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  9. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I have a 4x5 with 16" of bellows, and an 8x10 with 30" of bellows; the 8x10 has a 4x5 reducing back. The longest lens I use is 16 1/2", so one way or another I always have enough bellows.
    Telephotos are problematic if you need movements - they usually have just enough coverage for their intended format, and since the node is displaced forward movements become very complicated. Not to mention the (typically) poorer performance.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi darin

    i use a telephoto lens that the bellows will accommodate
    and the lens that is toolong, i use on a different camera ..

    ( speed graphic + 15" optar instead of 370 converted symmar )
     
  11. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    My Toyo 45AII maxes out at 324mm of bellows extension and I wanted to focus relatively close with a 300mm lens. My 305 G-Claron would not allow that so I did a some research and found the modern 300mm lens which has the shortest flangeback of that focal length (without getting into the big and heavy f5.6 lenses). I then bought a 300mm f8.5 Fujinon C which focuses on infinity at 282mm. That gives me lots of room to play and allows me to focus very close to things without getting into add on items like an extension back or a top-hat lens board.

    I was quite surprised by the difference in focus distance of lenses of the same focal length, even modern lenses. It's definitely something to consider before buying a lens if you're short on bellows.
     
  12. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Years ago for my 4x5 Ikeda I built an extended lens board using a tin can of appropriate diameter and length.
     
  13. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Jim: and how did that work out?

    Shawn: wow, I did not know there was usch a diffrence. I will definately look into that. THX
     
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  15. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    Since my Wista is double extension only, the longest lens I can use in practice is a 270mm (a G-Claron in my case). A top-hat board would help a bit, but that sort of extension only really helps you get closer than infinity for focus. If you cannot really get infinity focus on the base camera your options are limited.

    The MPP VII will accommodate a 400mm lens, so this is my camera of choice for long lenses and closer focusing. On the other hand, the MPP does not give much flexibility at 90mm or shorter, while the Wista will handle a fast 90mm with decent movements.

    If you have a 210mm or a 250mm as your 'long', then look at the possibilities of enlargement. Or use a camera with interchangeable bellows.
     
  16. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    You're welcome. =)

    Here is a great resource for modern lenses:
    http://www.ebonycamera.com/articles/lenses.html

    Scroll down the chart under glossary of terms.

    "The flange focal distance of a lens is the distance from the rear surface of the lens shutter (i.e. the front surface of the lensboard) to the focal plane (i.e. the film plane) when the lens is focused at infinity."
     
  17. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    see above. my solution when faced with that problem. when all else fails... buy another camera or lens.
     
  18. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Are you sure?

    I ask because I sometimes use a 10.16"/9 Cooke Copying Lens on my 2x3 Century Graphic, maximum extension around 196 mm. The trick is to hang the lens on an LTM tube on an adapter on a #1 shutter on the board. Focuses usefully close, too.

    Oh, yeah, the lens is TTH's interpretation of the Apo Tessar, isn't at all telephoto.
     
  19. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I always assumed the flange focal distance was pretty close to the indicated focal length, exept of course for telephotos.
     
  20. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    Me too... It wasn't until I had an issue and sought out more information that I realized how much it can vary.
     
  21. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I use this:
    MediumExtension.jpg
     
  22. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Looks suspiciously like a tandem camera.
     
  23. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    Depends on the camera, I think. Both the Wista and the MPP are using essentially 100mm boards, so that limits the diameter of any extension tube, and thus the rear element size. 30mm or so is doable, after that the geometry gets tight, especially with movements. The Wista is not that rigid at full extension, so putting a lens in a No.1 shutter 30mm or more ahead of the lens panel introduces a lot of stress/flex. And that would just get me to 300mm. I might as well enlarge the 270mm.

    On the other hand, the MPP needs a top hat/cone mount to use a 90mm because of the split focus rail.

    What is it, about 1/10th the focal length of extension for a general focus range from infinity?
     
  24. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Not really. The tube goes between lens and shutter, and in the example I gave the lens is a tiny little thing. I've done the same with a 260/10 Nikkor-Q (= Process Nikkor), a gross huge monstrosity, on my Century Graphic and with a 480/9 Apo Nikkor on a short tube in front of a #1 on my tandem 2x3 Graphic.

    These cameras have, practically speaking, no movements.

    I use multiple standards with, depending on the situation and lens, multiple bellows or bellows and extension tube, to use a 610 Apo Nikkor and a 900 Apo Saphir on my Cambos. Those setups need a crutch to support the lens.

    Right, that range will give magnifications from 0 to 1:10.
     
  25. JamesR

    JamesR Member

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    i just bought this same lens to use on my Wista.. which only has 12" bellows draw..
    im probably just going to buy an extended lens board.
    i also have a Graphic View II which i think has 14" bellows draw, so the lens isn't completely unusable.
     
  26. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    James,

    My homemade extension board is made from Masonite with small square wooden posts in the corners for support. It is about two inches of extension and allows me to use the 300mm for most everything but "close ups".

    There are extended board sets available on eBay, etc. with even more extension (and adjustable extension too) that would make the lens even more useful.

    Best,

    Doremus