Close up lense : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am interseted in doing some close up work with sea shells in 4x5 format, roughly 1:1 magnification. Would an enlarging lense in a shutter work well for this, or would I be better of to buy a G Claron. The latest macro lenses are out my reach financially. Thank for your help. art Nichols

-- Arthur Nichols (, September 18, 1999


You can use your normal lens, 150mm or so, and get pretty close to 1:1 with the maximum extension of your camera. I did some small flowers recently with my system configured like this, and things came out great. The caveats to watch out for are an extremely short depth of field, and the bellows-extension factor (light fall-off). Most 150mm lenses are pretty sharp to begin with, so a special macro lens is really only necessary if you want the ultimate results. If you want to get even closer, use extension tubes to put the lens way out there. Since sea-shells don't flop about in the wind like flowers do, shutter speed isn't an issue. Just make sure you have plenty of soft light and use a small aperature to get a reasonable depth of field. Polaroid test photos are always a good idea to make sure you have everything set up right.

-- Ray Dunn (, September 19, 1999.

I just finished doing some macro work (photographing jewelry) using my standard 150mm & 210mm Nikkor W lens. Magnification was in the range 1.5x life size. The results were extremely crisp. If you have the bellows capacity you should be fine with any modern lens from the big 4 (Nikon, Rodenstock, Schneider & Fujinon). You'll need at least 2x the focal length in bellows length, more if you will using camera movements. The long focal length lenses made it possible to create interesting lighting as well as easier. The camera I used was a Canham DLC.

-- Ellis Vener (, September 19, 1999.

I once had a G-Claron 305mm and I did not like it, despite the fact that it has its strong range from 1:5 through 5:1. It's not what I call a Schneider lens. The whole rendition of colors and contrast did not satisfy me, kind of sterile, I don't know. It's a reproduction lens originally, maybe that's the flaw.

-- Lot (, September 19, 1999.

Try something like a Nikkor 300 f/9 with a screw in multi element/multi coated 52mm magnifying lens in front. Works very well with the lens and gets rid of a lot of problems associated with bellows extension.

-- Dan Smith (, September 19, 1999.

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