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  1. #1
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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    Larger format, smaller objects

    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.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  2. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Kevin:

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

    Otherwise, probably not.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #3
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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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.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  4. #4
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    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.
    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. #5

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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. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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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/showima...r&imageuser=60
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7
    Kevin Kehler's Avatar
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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.
    Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.

    Andreas Feininger

  8. #8
    Athiril's Avatar
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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. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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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.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    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.
    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.
    Last edited by graywolf; 05-14-2012 at 11:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.



 

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