close up photography/choosing a lens : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

My interest in close up photography has me wondering what lens would be suitable. I have compared the Rodenstock APO Macro Sironar N, Rodenstock APO Ronar, and the Schneider G Claron lenses with the discriptions in the B&H Professional Photo Source Book. The Ronar is a "telephoto" lens, so I was confused to see it in a 150mm. I didn't understand the Sironar N being macro at 120mm. What would be a comfortable focal length for close up/macro? The G Claron is corrected for flat field design. If my subject is not flat ( I know depth of field is minimal ) how will this effect my image? My monorail is either 16" or 18". I don't recall right now. I do own a Schneider APO Symmar 150mm for the field. Any imput on a second lens for my new interest would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Raven

-- Raven (, September 27, 2000


Assuming you have at least one enlarger lens, give it a try. A standard 39mm-thread enlarger lens will press-fit into the front of a #1 shutter with a wrap or two of paper tape around the threads; Schneider sell an adaptor ring with which you can put the lens in the shutter securely.

If you don't have enlarger lenses but have a #1 shutter at least, give some consideration to doing it that way, especially since enlarger lenses are usually _lots_ less expensive than camera lenses.

Beware that the back end of some enlarger lenses may protrude into the shutter too far and interfere with the blades.

-- John Hicks (, September 27, 2000.

The Ronar is originally a process lens and is corrected for flat field, too. It is not specially optimized for close up beyond 1:1. But it is suitable for macro work, because of the smaller image circle. The smaller the image circle the less resolution you will loose with macro work. A normal (telephoto) lens will have a huge image circle at macro bellows extensions. So you will be using only a small fraction of the optical performance of the lens. The Ronar is the more general lens and has also a good performance at infinity. Since you already have a Schneider 150mm, I would not recommend the APO Ronar 150mm. Either take the Macro Sironar or a Scheider Macro Symmar. On the other hand, an Apo Ronar 300mm would be a good and cheaper choice, because you can use it for many things, e.g. portraits and even landscapes. But you will need an extenstion rail to do macro work. If you want to get real close, e.g. beyond 5:1, you should consider buying a loupe lens like the Zeiss Luminar. They are out of production, but you can find them on the second hand market or on Ebay from time to time.

-- Thilo Schmid (, September 28, 2000.

A 300mm lens will require a 24" bellows extension to give true macro at 1:1.
I second the vote for using an enlarging lens. At 1:1 or greater you can use an 80, 90, or 105mm focal length.
A process lens would be my second choice, but these mostly turn up in longer focal lengths than would be useful with a limited bellows extension.

-- Pete Andrews (, September 28, 2000.

Just an idea, does anyone know if you reversed the standard lens would it focus closer for macro photography. As for lens recomendation a 90mm will (I think though I may be wrong) near 3x magnification. I my self use a 89mm Wray, and it seems to perform well, if a little dark, but thats partially down to a mukky ground glass.

-- David Kirk (, September 29, 2000.

If you reverse a lens, how can you control the shutter?

-- Aaron Rocky (, September 29, 2000.

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