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  1. #1
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Movie Lenses for Macro - Looking for information

    I have often wanted to experiment with high magnification photography with reversed movie lenses. They are mentioned in passing in many books including Shaw and in slightly more detail in Lefkowitz (pp. 133) but apart from names like cine raptar and switar I know next to nothing about them. So any source of information about movie lenses would be appreciated - especially in the context of macro photography with 35mm equipment.

    What are the 'normal' lenses for the various movie formats - 8mm, 16mm etc. Does anyone have any experience using them for macro photography. Do you use bellows or extension tubes. Any input would be welcome as it would add to my non existent knowledge on the subject.

    Thanks,
    -Anupam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
    I have often wanted to experiment with high magnification photography with reversed movie lenses. They are mentioned in passing in many books including Shaw and in slightly more detail in Lefkowitz (pp. 133) but apart from names like cine raptar and switar I know next to nothing about them. So any source of information about movie lenses would be appreciated - especially in the context of macro photography with 35mm equipment.

    I was unaware that anyone made a specialty of using motion picture lenses for still micro work; guess it makes sense...

    The Cine Raptar is a Kodak lens, depending upon generation, probably went on a Cine Kodak Special, K100 or Reflex Special 16mm or Kodak Super 8 or Regular 8mm camera. The Switar is a Kern Palliard Lens by Bolex of Switzerland and can be 16mm, Super 8mm or Regular 8mm.

    The body of information on cine lenses is staggering; a trip to any major metro library should harvest at least a few sources like the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Handbook; published since the late 1920's I believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
    What are the 'normal' lenses for the various movie formats - 8mm, 16mm etc. Does anyone have any experience using them for macro photography. Do you use bellows or extension tubes. Any input would be welcome as it would add to my non existent knowledge on the subject.

    Thanks,
    -Anupam
    It's the same going down in gauge as it is going up; 25mm is "normal" for 16mm, 12.5mm is pretty much normal for both Super 8 and Regular 8mm (I am sure purists will argue, but close enough for government work).

    I have no experience in using them for STILL micro/macro, but on a 16mm camera, you can use extension tubes or a microscope "T" adapter ultra close ups IF the lens is not natively a macro lens like some Cine Lenses are...

    Most early 16mm lenses are "C" mount screw threads, but there are variants on the "C" mount; Bolex uses regular "C"s on their rangefinder cameras, but reflexed cameras like the Rex 3, 4 and 5 use a modified "C" mount lens with a longer backfocus to make it through the reflex beamsplitter prism and are usually designated with the "RX" moniker.

    Most early 8mm lenses are "D" mount screw lenses; I am unaware of any variations on the D-mount, but then again, I didn't shoot much Regular 8mm film.

    When you start getting into proprietary bayonet and compression mounts for 16mm lenses... well, I could type for days, but wont!

    Here's a few other facts that might come in handy...

    Circle of confusion:

    S8mm Cine -- .00055 inch
    16mm Cine -- .002 inch

    Field of View (full aperture) 16mm -- .402 inch by .292 inch

    I used to have a ton of this sort of information in little spiral notebooks when I used to DP a bit on 2nd unit and commercial shoots, but since I took the archive job, I've let it migrate back into the file cabinets and bookshelves. I can attempt to dig it back out again if you're interested, but what exactly are you looking for?

    I have recipes for flat pack explosives (bullet hits), exposure formulas for Sunset for Sunrise, Sunrise for Sunset, Day for Night, fake blood formulas, Scale model frame-rate calculations for proper apparent mass in high speed cinematography...

    Ha! Another obsolete old fart...

  3. #3
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Great! I am planning to use the lenses reversed to go about 7x life size upwards, so the lens mount isn't important. I'll look for books but most of the stuff my preliminary search at my university library turned up was hopelessly technical for me and about motion picture stuff. Any comments on sharpness of these lenses - some seem to be quite cheap on EBay but I guess I am unaware of some brilliant lenses simply because I've never heard of them.

    Another question, what is the film to flange distance for these cameras? I ask because for reversed lenses that is usually the working distance for macro photography.

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    Kino, Day for Night shooting? It would be nice if you could dig it some (or all) of that old info, not all of us want it to be forgotten. Assuming you have got the time and all.

    Anupam, a quick google search turned up, for c mount lenses 17.526, and 12.29 for D mount. It doesn't say what units but my guess is MM.

  5. #5
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Although you might find a good bit of information on these lenses in standard applications for movie cameras, you probably won't find much hard information on using these lenses reversed on larger 35mm format film. Most are in the C and D mounts that Kino mentioned, and you can find those dimensions on the web with a little searching. But since you're reversing them, you'll probably have to make a custom setup for each one.

    The best source for them that I'm aware of is drying up fast, and those are old-line photo stores that haven't cleaned out and tossed stuff from the junk boxes and drawers in the back room. Currently you might have better luck at second-hand thrift shops finding them on cameras. I got a handful for a few dollars about 20 years ago, but haven't put them to much use except in front of a web cam or as telescope eyepieces. I did get a used bellows a month or so ago, so I now have a better way to utilize them.

    Sorry I can't give you any hard info, but I think the best you can do is scrounge some and experiment to see what gives you the best results.

    Lee

    Edit: just saw the last post, and the reason for the odd mm sizes is that the mounts were specified in inches IIRC. I believe the C mount was 1 inch x 32 tpi and the D mount was something like 5/8 inch, but I don't recall the thread spacing. But my memory may not be too reliable, so check good sources.

    And I just found this: A C-mount lens produces a focal plane 17.52 mm behind the camera's flange, and a CS-mount lens produces a focal plane only 12.52 mm behind the lens flange.

  6. #6
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Since these seem to be categorized as junk by most people I would gratefully accept any that someone might want to give away for the cost of shipping

  7. #7
    KenS's Avatar
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    macro work

    Quote Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
    Great! I am planning to use the lenses reversed to go about 7x life size upwards, so the lens mount isn't important. (snip)
    The greatest difficulty you will have using reversed lenses in smaller formats at that magnification, is the lack of working distance from the (now) front element of the lens... as well as having the distance to allow the "light" to reach your subject. (we will not say anything about the severe curtailment of DOF and curvature of field) One easy cure might be to reverse mount a wide angle lens to the front of a longer lens mounted on the camera in the normal position. I have a book hidden away (somewhere in a pile of boxes) for the calculation of effective f-stops.

    Ken
    Quando omni flunkus moritati (R. Green)

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    Quote Originally Posted by egdinger
    Kino, Day for Night shooting? It would be nice if you could dig it some (or all) of that old info, not all of us want it to be forgotten. Assuming you have got the time and all.
    egdinger,

    Hmmm, it's not exactly what this site is for but I will throw out the Day-For-Night information...

    (Hmmm... Wonder if there could be a category of APUG for STRICTLY photochemical cinematography and processing or is that just too far off the beaten path for this site?)

    You want DFN for color or b&w?

    Color: Shoot tungsten balanced rawstock without the #85 Wratten filter but do use a 81F Wratten to somewhat reduce blue-cast; you want the convention of "blue light" from the moon, but not to the point of being overly monochromatic, assuming a somewhat realistic style of shooting. Underexpose by 1.5 to 2.5 stops and tweak colors in answer print at lab (the timer/grader is your friend).

    B&W: Shoot in bright, harsh, three-quarter light (early morning or late evening) and use a #23A or #25 + #36 Wratten filter -- 23A kicks blue sky to black (won't work on overcast days) and the #36 restores the facial tones to a believable value. Close-down 1.5 to 2 stops from ideal incident exposure and try to shoot toward a clear, blue sky.

    It's great fun shooting day for night; you can see to hit your marks!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
    Since these seem to be categorized as junk by most people I would gratefully accept any that someone might want to give away for the cost of shipping
    Junk? Not by me! A good performing C mount lens on Ebay still easily sells, but I can look around see if I have one laying in a drawer.

    (I have sold off most of my 16mm outfits, except for a Auricon 1200 Pro with a Kinescope shutter (sentimental keeper), Fastax 16mm camera system (5000 frames per second) and my Konvas 35mm crystal sync Reflex; a tractor-rugged camera from Ukraine.)

    What about getting a "T" adapter and a nice Lomo microscope on Ebay if you are going in that close? Reversing C mounts would be a PAIN...

    My 2 cents.

  10. #10
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenS
    The greatest difficulty you will have using reversed lenses in smaller formats at that magnification, is the lack of working distance from the (now) front element of the lens... as well as having the distance to allow the "light" to reach your subject. (we will not say anything about the severe curtailment of DOF and curvature of field) One easy cure might be to reverse mount a wide angle lens to the front of a longer lens mounted on the camera in the normal position. I have a book hidden away (somewhere in a pile of boxes) for the calculation of effective f-stops.

    Ken
    I am aware of the limitations with working distance, lighting, DOF and field curvature. Currently I can go upto a maximum of 6x with my equipment using a combination of extension and coupled lenses with about an inch WD. I am just looking to push the envelope with these lenses and see what can be achieved.

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