apo symmar as macro

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does anyone know if it is possible to reverse a normal lf lens (such as an apo symmar) to use at higher mag. ratios as one can do with a 35mm lens? i was thinking of doing this with my 210/5.6 apo symmar instead of buying/renting a special macro or process lens. if poss. how could this be done? would it be better to use a longer or shorter lens?

-- adam friedberg (asfberg@hotmail.com), February 19, 2000


Not a direct answer to your question. I have used my enlarger lens and it gave me much nicer results than using my normal picture taking lenses reversed (magnification ration was about 3X). Normal taking lenses reversed do give better results than just extending them the heck out in the normal way. Lenses are typically designed for the front element to face the larger of the conjugate distances and so at 1:1 and beyond, it probably is a good idea to reverse the lens. It may not always be possible to do so since you might lose your shutter which ends up inside your camera body. Depending on your lensboard design, you may have to actually remove the lens from the lensboard and remount it backwards. Given all these complications, I'm biased towards the enlarger lens - if it is the standard 39mm mount, it should fit into a lensboard designed for a Copal #1. Its small and light (smaller focal lengths should work fine since you're using them at some magnification which should give you a good image circle to work with - in fact, I'm biased towards slightly shorter focal lengths since that way you can avoid having a huge image circle with stray light bouncing around all over the place). Given bellows extension and longer times, the lenscap works fine for timing (if you would really prefer more control, Packards are an option). DJ

-- N Dhananjay (ndhanu@umich.edu), February 19, 2000.

I agree. Use a process lens, like an enlarging lens or a G-claron. These lenses are cheap used. They are small and can be used for general photography. I know you already have an Apo Symmar, but I would prefer a 210 G-Claron. I don't think the focal length of the lens matters in terms of macro-correction.

-- William Marderness (wmarderness@hotmail.com), February 19, 2000.

I used a 150mm Componon-S mounted in a Copal 0 (Schneider's recommendation) and got excellent results at about 1:5 (image:object). At the same time, if you don't have an enlarging lens/shutter combination that works, you can try some tests. Wisner comments in his Q&A section that the apo-symmars have improved performance (over the Symmar-S), even up to 1:1.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@worldnet.att.net), February 20, 2000.

An enlarging lens should also be reversed mounted for macro work and Rodenstock supplies a 40.5 to 39mm reverse ring for theis purpose.

Even more importantly and frequently overlooked is the illuminated aperature on most quality enlarging lenses.

You must block the port or you are letting color filtered light to reach the film through the illuminated aperture scale.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), February 20, 2000.

" Wisner comments in his Q&A section that the apo-symmars have improved performance (over the Symmar-S), even up to 1:1."

But that in no way infers that it is as good as a macro fo 1:5 to 5:1 or even at 1:1.

Simply stated all current versions are better then old versions and none that are general purpose 5.6 lenses designed for 1:10 or 1:20 will work well at 1:5 to 5:1.

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), February 20, 2000.

To Bob's Salomon's comment . . .

Clearly, we would not expect a lens designed for normal use to work as well as a macro. But, I don't believe Ron Wisner would have specified " . . , even up to 1:1" if he didn't think the lens could provide at least passable performance.

The suggestion was to check out the possibility, versus having to purchase or rent additional equipment. In a recent posting, you implied that what's important is whether or not what is available meets the need at hand. I think that same sentiment applies here.

-- neil poulsen (neil.fg@worldnet.att.net), February 20, 2000.

thanks for the response. it seems the apo symmar might be acceptable for my purposes (not quite up to 1:1). which brings up another question. how well does the g claron 240 work as a general lens? is it uncoated? it is much smaller and cheaper than the symmar and i don't want two 210s. extension is not a problem. basically i'd like a lens to pull double duty. any comments or experience is appreciated.

-- adam friedberg (asfberg@hotmail.com), February 20, 2000.

I have a 150 mm G Claron that on a subjective basis seems to work very well at magnifications other than 1:1. I assume the 240 would work equally well. I haven't done any scientific tests however. The 150 is small, light, and relatively inexpensive. It's only downside for me is an odd filter diameter (35.5mm) but I was able to find a 35.5 to 52 adapter ring made by Heliopan.

-- Broam Ellis (bellis@tampabay.rr.com), February 20, 2000.

If you aren't worried about getting another lens & don't want to duplicate focal lengths and have the bellows draw to work with, give consideration to the Nikkor 300 f/9 lens. A nice 52mm filter size that works very well with the Nikon or Canon multi element close up lens for macro work. If you use the lens alone for lifesize work its performance is just fine. It is also a good lens for general scenic work.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), February 20, 2000.

"Clearly, we would not expect a lens designed for normal use to work as well as a macro. But, I don't believe Ron Wisner would have specified " . . , even up to 1:1" if he didn't think the lens could provide at least passable performance. "

Try it and then compare it to a macro.

A lens designed for 1:10 or 1:20 can not do acceptable professional standard work at 1:1.

If your definition of passable includes less than sharp then Ron is correct.

My definition would exclude an optic that compromisis performance optically. Apparently Ron isn't as critical when overall performance is concerned.

Having been dealing with illustrative photographers doing 1:1 and near 1:1 catalog photography of 3 dimensional objects over the past 15 years I can think of none who have actually do professional quality work the way Ron suggests. Whenever they have they have tried the results simply are not critically sharp enough for catalog or advertising. Yes if you are going to do an occassioanl close up of a rock it may be passable. but not if you want to show detail over the entire ar

-- Bob Salomon (bobsalomon@mindspring.com), February 21, 2000.

I have used a 240mm G-claron for landscape shots. It works fine at infinity. The rule is to stop down to f22 (or at least to f16 says Wisner) for use at infinity. The old time great photographers (Adams included) used lenses of the G-claron type (Dagors) all the time at or near infinity. The G-claron are coated, but not multi-coated. I think a G-claron is great choice as a double-duty lens for you. An apo symmar may not be a good choice for macro, but a G-claron is an excellent choice for macro (it is optimized for 1:1) and is great at infinity too. Small size, low price used, and light weight are other benefits. You may want to consider a Fujinon 240mm A. Is comes in a Copal #0 shutter, it is multi-coated, and it is optimized for about 1:5 (I think). I have replaced my 240mm G-claron for the Fujinon because the Fujinon is smaller, lighter, multi-coated, and has even greater coverage than the G-claron (an issue with 8x10).

-- William Marderness (wmarderness@hotmail.com), February 21, 2000.

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