Macro with a 4x5 Press Camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Takizawa, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Takizawa

    Takizawa Member

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    Is macro with a 4x5 press camera possible? If so, with what lens/ setup?

    Thanks,
    Takizawa
     
  2. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    yes.
    to get 1:1 you need 2x the focal length of extension...... so 300mm of bellows to get 1:1 with a 150mm lens.
    plenty of info on the web about macro with LF. if you want the best results, get a true macro lens like the nikkor 120mm ed macro.
     
  3. Takizawa

    Takizawa Member

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    Thanks. I found some good info on lens selection. In general, are 4x5 camera movements useful for macro photography? If I need to redirect this conversation to the macro discussion board just let me know:smile: Thanks.
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Yes, with a 75mm lens. At 1:1 that will give the same angle of view as a 150mm lens and will need only 150mm bellows draw.
     
  5. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Have a look at the fisheye shots in my gallery - Both taken with an MPP 5x4 "press" camera. Based on the limited experience gained with those two shots, I would suggest: A rigid and heavy tripod and lots of light. A ring flash would be useful as would some small halogen spots.
     
  6. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Funny you should ask. I do macro with a 2x3 press camera.

    Yes, it can be done. But for subjects that aren't well tied down an SLR is the better tool for the job.

    Paul_c is right that the camera/lens assembly has to be solidly mounted, mistaken about the need for "lots of light." The trick is to use a smallish flash relatively close to the subject. I started out using a Vivitar 283 with VP-1 hand held ~ 12 inches from the subject. I used the VP-1 to set the power level as needed given magnification and the aperture I wanted to use. I now use a pair of very small flashes attached to the lens' front with a Jones of Hollywood macro bracket (rare, very hard to find) set up so that I can get good exposure at the same aperture (set) from around 1:4 to 2:1. Finding the set up took some calculations and a little testing, much of it with a flash meter that reads incident. The very small flashes have a couple of stops of ND gel in front of them.

    I wanted to shoot flowers. Poor choice of subject. If there's any wind at all the flower will have moved between the time I've finished focusing and composing on the ground glass, have close the lens and, depending on the shutter, stopped it down and cocked it, inserted film holder or attached a roll holder and am ready to shoot. Copy stand work is easy, completely static subjects in the field are easy, mobile subjects are impossible. For mobile subjects, an SLR is better. When I was shooting KM with a Nikon I got relatively flower shots with, um, misplaced planes of best focus. With my little Graphics I rarely get a flower shot with the plane of best focus where I wanted it.

    Lens to use? There are many. My lens of choice used to be a 100/6.3 Reichert Neupolar (a hen's tooth) front mounted on a #1 shutter. This is a fine lens, better by test than a known good 100/6.3 Luminar. I've owned one 100/6.3 Luminar; it was a dog, but that's because of abuse post-manufacture. I now use a 4"/5.6 Wollensak Enlarging Pro Raptar (another hen's tooth) front mounted on a #1. Nearly as good as the Neupolar, much easier to use because of more convenient diaphragm control ring location and I can attach the Jones bracket to it.

    Lens to use? There are many. You could do worse than to try a 75/4.5 or 105/4.5 Tominon in Copal Polaroid shutter, usually ex-Polaroid CU-5, or from the Polaroid MP-4 system. MP-4 lenses are in barrel, screw into the front of a #1 shutter. For front mounting, the inexpensive #1 shutter of choice is the Polaroid MP-4 Copal Press shutter (badged Polaroid MP-4); these have an open shutter lever and no diaphragm, are relatively inexpensive because with no diaphragm they're not good for much.

    Movements? Don't be silly. Orient the camera and subject to put the plane of best focus where you want it. You don't need no steenkin' movements.
     
  7. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    if you have an enlarger that can attach the camera (or double as a copy camera)...it's a lot easier...set the magnification with the bellows and set the focus by moving up and down on the enlarger rail....object is sitting nicely on the baseboard.....or use a pipe clamp or some other to mount the enlarger column on a table or tripod---then you can have an "environmental" macro setup. the durst 606 (I think) column has a 3/8 thread for screwing in tripod mounts...you'd need an adapter....polaroid mp4 columns or any regular copy column...check craigslist locally for a copy stand...you may bet one WITH lights
     
  8. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Member

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    Macro with a press camera? Sure! The amount of extension on a press camera, about 12 inches (300mm) is all you're going to get, so you don't need the specialized lenses for higher magnification. My Wollensak Optar 135mm does just fine. I stretch the bellows out to maximum, and then I give it three stops of additional exposure. No problems!