Macro Lens for Large Format : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

A couple of questions regarding macro lenses in LF:

1. What are recommended lenses in this area? Are Nikon/Schneider/Rodenstock, etc. all pretty comparable?

2. How much of an advantage does a macro lens provide over, say, an Apo Sironar-S or Nikkor-W at 1:1?

3. Practical approach to metering and lighting at long bellows extensions?

-- Nathan Congdon (, June 18, 1999


Can't comment on questions 1 & 2.

Regarding Question 3:

Check out:

for good information on bellows factors, etc. Regarding metering, I use incident metering. Reading + bellows factor are my starting point for the first Polaroid. The Polaroids serve as my guide for determining the final exposure (and Type 55 is great for checking your focus, composition, lighting, etc. as well).

Lighting is art, and there is no easy answers. There are however several good books on lighting (Light Science & Magic by Hunter and Fuqua / Matters of Light & Depth by Lowell).

-- Larry Huppert (, June 18, 1999.

RE: # 3, Calumet (and probably others) make a wondeful bellows extension compensation "calculator", a 1" square of plastic that you place by the subject in the focused area and then measure the size of it's image on the G.G. to get a guide of how many stops to add to your exposure. I use it extensively for B&W but haven't tried it on chromes. I have a friend in a studio outside D.C. and I believe they do use that system for chromes, but they Polaroid first of course.

-- Sean yates (, June 18, 1999.

This has been covered in earlier questions & responses, but will probably come up again, so I will give some info I have experience with. In direct comparison of the same subject(jewelry/watches) photographed on 8x10 chromes at various magnifications, about half life size, life size and two to three times life size with a Macro Sironar and Apo Sironar of the same focal lengths, there was a difference that could be seen. The macro sironar was a bit sharper and has an image that looked better to the client and printing house as well at life sized and closer. At half life size the difference wasn't quite as pronounced. That said, the Apo sironar image was able to be used if needed without problem. But, for the client paying for top quality work I would use the Macro lens as it was a better image. With this specific lens(and the test I was seeing compared 3 of each) being designed for one purpose, it performed very well. I haven't seen the results of other macro lenses in a straight comparison so can't say how they would do. But with other formats macro lenses as a general guide, the Macro lenses would most likely be better for the task than any general lens, no matter the maker. Since the makers produce Macro specific lenses, go with them for this use and generally count on results as good as can be made, without compromise.

-- Dan Smith (, June 19, 1999.

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