Macro lens recommendations, experience : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread


I'm new to LF, have really loved macro photography in MF, and would appreciate any recommendations, experience regarding macro lenses.


-- James Lewis (James_Lewis@wpgate.cco.CO.SCL.CA.US), March 16, 2000


I use a 135 mm Repro Claron on my 2x3 Horseman and it works nicely. A used repro claron is reasonably priced and the lens is very compact. I understand the possiblilites are greater with a 4x5.

-- Ray Fenio (, March 16, 2000.

I have been very pleased with the 150mm F9 G-Claron. While not a true macro lens it is corrected for 1:1 or greater magnifications. I rarely go past 1:1 and use it often in the 1:5 to 1:10 range. the advantage for me was that I had a lens that would also provide excellent performance at infinity. It is also a very compact light weight lens. Compare this lens to a 120mm Makro-Symmar and you'll see what I mean. The 150mm F9 G-Claron can be found used in mint condition for $300-350.

-- Dave Schneider (, March 17, 2000.

I use a Fujinon 180A and love it. But DOF is a killer for LF macro work for me, and usually the macro subject doesn't have the fine detail that LF is good for, so I find myself doing most of my macro work with fine-grained 35mm emulsion.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, March 17, 2000.

Large format lenses that are labelled "macro" such as the Schneider and Rodenstock macro lenses are somewhat different from 35 mm and medium format macros. With 35 mm lenses such as the Nikon 105 F2.8 macro, and with some medium format macros such as the new Pentax 67 macro lens, a lens can give unassisted 1:1 magnification) and still be used as a good general purpose lens. The large format macro lenses are optimized for a very narrow range, usually something like 4:1 - 1:4, and aren't any good at all outside that range (not to mention the fact that they are very expensive).

-- Brian Ellis (, March 17, 2000.

James: Good results can be obtained by using enlarging lenses for large format macro work. The are corrected for close distances. You can also mount them backwards and use a lens cap for a shutter. Doug.

-- Doug Paramore (, March 18, 2000.

James Before investing in a LF macro lens, run some DOF calcs for macro work.. be sure to use the effective aperture, not the apt used on the lens. You will see, as Glenn correctly points out, the DOF of a 1 to 1 magnification shot is about 1/2". So unless you are shooting a newspaper on all wall, or wristwatches, thin ones, on a flat surface, you will struggle getting many things in focus. If this is for studio work, then of course you have a good chance of meeting your needs, but for nature work, it is very difficult to find anything that flat... Glenn points out the benefit of 35mm in macro work, here is an example of a shot with 8x10 format vs. 35mm for macro work..

Depth of Field / Focus for Macro Photography 45 f stop (fl not needed) 0.2 cc in mm 1 magnification ratio ANSWER BELOW 18.40 mm depth of field 0.72 inches DOF To accomplish the same shot in 35mm, which is say 1/10 the format size, we would need 1/10 the cc and magnification ratio but f stop will need to be lowered to max of f 22 ....

Depth of Field / Focus for Macro Photography 22 f stop (fl not needed) 0.02 cc in mm 0.1 magnification ratio ANSWER BELOW 88.40 mm depth of field 3.48 inches DOF

so to get an equal resutlt to 8x10, 35mm offers 3.5" of DOF vs. .7" of DOF for the same end result 8x10 print. quite a difference. The 10x is not exactly accurate, but for this example it made the math easier... it probably is closer to 9x with cropping. This of course does not take into consideration grain and enlargement potential, however, the first consideration is always focus, everything else is secondary... So pick and choose carefully, this is a very complex area of photography, whereas a little prior knowledge can save you a lot of bucks and frustration! Good luck!

-- Bill Glickman (, March 18, 2000.

"Depth of Field / Focus"

These are 2 different things.

Depth of field is in front of the lens. It is what makes the points in front and behind the focused point appear sharp.

Depth of focus is behind the lens and is where the film must lie for the image to be in focus.

-- Bob Salomon (, March 19, 2000.

The above was a paste and copy from a spread sheet formula that calc. Depth of Field and Focus... however, I only pasted the answer to the DO Field issue, since that was what the post was about. I should have noted to prevent confusion... but as long as the subject is up... Depth of Focus is another major problem in Makro work, specially if the camera is pointed downards. This is why I had started a thread on that subject matter... but the best solutions are the Schneider high end back, the Sinar adhesive film holders or maybe some double sided tape installed in the film holder yourself!

-- Bill Glickman (, March 24, 2000.

Enlarging lenses make good macro lenses; Schneider sells an adaptor ring to put a 39mm-thread lens into a #1 shutter.

I use an 80mm Componon-S occasionally for this, and it works fine.

-- John Hicks (, March 24, 2000.

" Depth of Focus is another major problem in Makro work, specially if the camera is pointed downards. This is why I had started a thread on that subject matter... but the best solutions are the Schneider high end back, the Sinar adhesive film holders or maybe some double sided tape installed in the film holder yourself! "

This is really patently nonsense.

Millions upon millions of razor sharp transparencies and negatives have been exposed on 6x9cm, 6.5 x 9cm, 45, 9x12, 57, 810 etc with standard holders or upscale holders like Toyo, the discontinued Linhofs, etc and the results have always been satisfactory.

Yes there are strange, expensive flat film solutions like the 5' Linhof vacuum roll back, the Sinar holder or the Schneider holder but do you really need them? Or do you simply need good condition new holders?

There are specific purposes for some of these backs. in our case with the 5" vacuum roll back the vacuum is used to hold film flat and within the depth of focus efor an aerial camera as the lower pressure found at higher altitudes when a camera is used for oblique aerials can frequently result is film that is soft in the center and sharp at the edges. The vacuum eliminates that.

It is also useful for archiving of original documents as done by the Library of Congress and the national Archives.

But for general use they are a massive waste of money.

Simply use good holders and forgo used ones if in doubt.

As to the differences between Fidelity/Lisco/Riteway they are all made by the same company with common tools where possible. If you aren't happy with one of these then try T

-- Bob Salomon (, March 24, 2000.

Hi, I work with best result in 1:1 with my APO Ronar 300 mm but I uses more in infinity and as little tele. If you need one almost as a macro then I would prefer the 240mm APO Ronar and You will be happy. Ronars are actually for 1:1 created but they are also very good at infinity. Good luck,James

-- Armin Seeholzer (, August 13, 2000.

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