View Full Version : Reverse LF lenses for macro?

08-15-2007, 03:37 PM
I was wondering if anyone's in the habit of reversing their LF lenses for doing macro work. Is it still worthwhile, assuming one isn't going to enlarge anywhere near as much as one would with a smaller format? If it is worthwhile, anyone have any tips for the best way to go about it?

08-15-2007, 05:01 PM
Hmmm, seems the most practical way would be to cut a lensboard to accept an adaptor ring that will fit the front filter threads on the LF lens in question. This will allow access to the aperture, shutter and cable release and will incidentally add a bit more extension for the lens.

08-15-2007, 05:26 PM
The most practical way would be to use a lens in a #0 or #3 shutter, and just swap the lens cells.

The old convertible Symmar lenses were optimised for 1:3, and a 135mm or 240mm Symmar would be my first choise for reversing: The 135mm is in a #0, the 240mm in a #2 shutter, both of which have the same threads on both sides. Reversing one of these will give a lens optimised for 3:1, with decent performance from 1:1 to 10:1.

08-15-2007, 06:08 PM
A reversed enlarger lens makes an inexpensive macro lens, except that they usually only stop down to f/22. I put a nikkor EL lens in an inexpensive press shutter for that purpose. That is the rig I used until I discovered that the Nikkor 120 AMED lenses are a dime a dozen and they work well with closeup diopters. The only issue is that some enlarging lenses allow some light in on one side to illuminate the aperture scale, but you can put black tape over that.

With a bellows system, you can get almost any enlargement you want... though of course the exposures can become quite long. That can be good- when your exposures are long then you don't need any shutter at all.

08-15-2007, 06:31 PM
Ole, how do you handle it when the cells are differing size threads in the preferred lens? And out of the usual array of focal lengths a 4x5 shooter might have, which usually works the best?

08-15-2007, 06:49 PM
Ole, how do you handle it when the cells are differing size threads in the preferred lens? And out of the usual array of focal lengths a 4x5 shooter might have, which usually works the best?

Simple - I don't handle it.

Symmars are quite decent down to 1:1 without reversing, so that would be my first choise. At least it was my first choise until I got myself a Nikkor 120 Macro...

If I should need enlarging I'd probably use a shorter lens than normal just because of the bellows extension. A reversed 90mm Angulon, or perhaps a 105mm enlarger lens...

Dan Fromm
08-15-2007, 07:46 PM
Remember, folks, that there's no need to reverse when shooting below 1:1. Its only when shooting above 1:1 that one should reverse the taking lens.

08-15-2007, 08:17 PM
swapping the lens cells...

what if one of the cells can't be screwed in all the way in reverse because it bumps into the aperture blades? What effect will that have on the lens?

(that's the situation I have just now with my 100mm WF Ektar)

08-15-2007, 08:42 PM
No answer to that one either, I'm afraid. The "normal" is that the shutter should be symmetrical enough that this will not happen - and if it does, cell spacing will change and thus sharpness will suffer. :(

Dan Fromm
08-16-2007, 06:04 AM
laverdure, if you're going to work at magnifications in the range 1:6 to 6:1, look for a 105/4.5 Comparon in #0 shutter. They can be found, usually for < $50 and according to Schneider work better in that range than the equivalent Componon and Componon-S. See, e.g., http://www.schneiderkreuznach.com/archiv/pdf/cp_cpn_cpr.pdf I have one, and it is easily reversed by swapping the cells front to rear.

If you can afford a 100 WF Ektar you can afford a 105 Comparon too.

08-16-2007, 02:30 PM
It was a very cheap 100 WF Ektar. But thanks, if I get into LF macro in a big way I'll be sure to look those up.

As to swapping cells, I was hoping that changing the spacing would just do something like changing the focal length a tiny bit, but no such luck, huh? As to a "normal" shutter, Ole, mine is a Kodak Flash Supermatic. I have a Wollensak (X) Synchromatic shutter with the same thread size, but I suppose there's no way to say whether it's spacing would be same as the lens requires.

Really I suppose the question of reassembling lenses should be a new thread anyway. Thank you all for your replies, you've been very helpful.