New Bellows - Dust, filters, Adapters Questions

Just bought that first macro lens? Post here to get helpful feedback and answers to any questions you might have.

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MaxRockbin
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New Bellows - Dust, filters, Adapters Questions

Post by MaxRockbin »

2 Questions RE a new bellows purchase:
Briefly:
1. Dust and sensor protection (rear mounted filter) for Bellows: Necessary/Smart/Dumb/Superfluous?
2. If a rear filter is a good idea, how to adapt a Canon FD mt bellows with that rear filter between a Canon camera & bellows.

Not as Briefly:
1. I'm in the market for my first bellows (again... failed ebay adventure), to be used with a reversed enlarging lens on an EOS 70D and later once it's all set up, with a Nikon 10x CF Plan Infinity objective to be used from 6-10x with a Raynox 150 & 250 as tube lenses (already have the Raynox "Explorer" kit which includes both of those.)

I've read in various places that bellows are dust pumps and your sensor will be speckled pretty quickly. Since I've already had more sensor dust than I expected, I'm concerned about this. One solution seems to be to put a UV filter between the camera & bellows. Some have said that causes problems with sensor reflection and the filter ought to be mounted at a slight angle - possibly by putting it between two extension tubes? (that wouldn't work with either of the 2 sets of tube sets I already have. But some apparently are conveniently built so as to be able to hold a filter between segments - at a slight skew.)

SO: The question is... is this sensor dust/bellows thing really something to be concerned about? It seems like most people don't bother. IF it is something to try to deal with, what's the best way? If it is with a filter mounted somehow...

2. If I buy a Canon Autobellows (FD/FL mount), what would the full adapter/etc stack look like including whatever the best method is for mounting that dust protection filter (if that's not a dumb idea)? That filter mounting is the bear. I can figure out other reversing rings and adapters to mount to the camera & lens to the bellows sans filter. That's straightforward - I think). If you have links handy to any esoteric parts needed (Female-Female adapters seem really rare), that'd be very helpful.

I very much welcome any suggestions about any part of this equipment planning. I'll probably end up getting a Stackshot too. Though the dearth of insects with the cold weather is slowing my equipment splurging.

Thank You!

For any other newbies reading this considering a first bellows purchase, here are some things I've absorbed from several very useful postings in pm.net:

A good bellows ought to have:

Both front (lens) and rear (camera body) standards should be adjustable.

A lower focusing rack is nice. (Maybe not necessary if you already have a nice focusing rack?)

Metal rack/pinion/gearing tend to hold up better. Especially with vertical mounting with substantial weight on it.

Some mounts (Nikon, Canon FD/FL) are easier to work with and adapt to than others (Olympus, for example) because of the availability of adapters.

The most popular bellows I've seen on PM.net is the Nikon PB-6. Relatively expensive at about $250-350 on Ebay. I have seen the Canon Autobellows also recommended. Not as beefy as the Nikon, but with metal gearing and the above features featured.
About $50-$150 on Ebay and other places. One member suggested it's a little easier to deal with Canon-Canon, that's what I'm likely to buy. Though Nikon on Canon adapters don't seem rare.

(I have a very nice Pentax M42 autobellows from ebay that was practically new, but turned out to be missing the camera mounting ring. Easily obtained. You just have to buy another Pentax Bellows (which I did for cheap! But it was a different model and the rings weren't compatible. So no more Pentax)
If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

NikonUser
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Post by NikonUser »

Nikon PB6 with a Nikon DSLR requires some form of spacer between bellows and camera for clearance reasons.
I have a UV filter in this "spacer". I can see no effect on the images; does keep dust off sensor.
No idea how to fix such a filter on a Canon.
NU.
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” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
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Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
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Tecumseh
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Post by Tecumseh »

NikonUser wrote:Nikon PB6 with a Nikon DSLR requires some form of spacer between bellows and camera for clearance reasons.
I have a UV filter in this "spacer". I can see no effect on the images; does keep dust off sensor.
No idea how to fix such a filter on a Canon.
Hello NikonUser. I know that this post is a month old but I have a few questions regarding this "spacer" that you mention. I'm looking at using the PB-6 with my Nikon D810. First question:

1. Will I need another adapter to mount my D810(without grip) on the PB-6 ?
2. Will the PB-6 handle the weight of the D810 ?

Thank you and Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas!

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Tecumseh wrote:1. Will I need another adapter to mount my D810(without grip) on the PB-6 ?
2. Will the PB-6 handle the weight of the D810 ?
Tecumseh, welcome to the forum! :D

I'll jump in here, because I'm not at all certain you need that spacer.

What NU said is widely reported, and I used to believe it myself. During that time, I used a short extension tube as a spacer. (Be warned: "automatic" extension tubes that actuate the iris may cause dark corners on full frame, but a simple, manual extension tube should not vignette.)

But it turns out I don't in fact need a spacer for my Nikon D700, D200, or D7100 bodies on the PB-6 bellows. While I can't speak for the D810, there's a good chance that it will fit this pattern. There's a trick involved in avoiding the spacer, but it's a pretty simple one.

The only reason you'd need a spacer is that during the process of mounting the camera on the bellows, the camera's built-in handgrip hits the bottom of the bellows standard and prevents proper alignment. If you could get around this problem, you could easily use the bellows, because once the camera is mounted, it has been rotated enough that handgrip is nowhere near the bellows standard.

The trick is to take advantage of the PB-6's capability to rotate the camera between landscape and portrait orientations. If you mount the camera while the bayonet on the rear of the bellows is rotated into portrait orientation, there is no issue at all. Then you can rotate the camera to landscape if you wish. No muss, no fuss. :D

In boring detail:
  • 1) Looking at the PB-6 bellows from the back, the bayonet is silver in color. It has a red index mark on the edge. When this index mark is at 12:00 o'clock, the camera would be in landscape orientation. For this exercise, rotate the bayonet counterclockwise a quarter turn so that the red mark is at 9:00 o'clock. (The rotation is normally locked, but at 3:00 o'clock, there is a black button that unlocks it.)

    2) Looking at the camera body from the front, there is a white index dot next to the bayonet, at 2:00 o'clock. Align this dot with the red one on the bellows, and insert the bellows into the camera. Then turn the camera counterclockwise until you hear the click you would hear when mounting any bellows or lens.

    3) The camera is now mounted on the bellows, in portrait orientation. If you want to work in horizontal orientation, depress the rotation locking button (again, this is at 3:00 o'clock on the bellows), and rotate the camera 90 degrees counterclockwise.
I'd be interested to know if this also works for NU's D610.

And yes, the PB-6 should easily handle your D810. It's a nice, sturdy bellows.

Cheers,

--Chris

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Let me add another post to address one of Matt's original questions. I don't find my bellows units to be dust pumps in any way. I don't place glass between bellows and camera, though both NikonUser and Charlie Krebs have indicated that doing so seems to cause no harm. So if you want to do this, go ahead.

If I did this, I'd be inclined to mount thin, very flat glass from Edmund Optics or a similar provider inside the bellows, on the rear standard. To do this, probably I'd drill and tap a few holes, make a simple bracket, and cut gaskets out of spongy material to make an airtight seal between the glass and the metal surfaces.

But my own approach is much simpler--I just keep the interior of my bellows units clean. This means keeping caps on the front and back bayonet mounts of the bellows, when not in use. If you don't have the requisite caps, consider putting the bellows inside a zip-type polyethylene food storage bag. I also, from time to time, blow air through my bellows units, in case any dust has gotten in. To do this, I crank out the bellows to nearly full extension, and hit it inside and out with the blast from a Metro Vacuum ED500 DataVac Electric Duster. This $55 USD unit provides a stream of air much more powerful than cans of compressed air and avoids these cans' moisture and propellant issues. (For me, it has also saved money, as I used to run through an awful lot of canned air.)

--Chris

--edited typo
Last edited by Chris S. on Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

The older Nikon PB-4 may be cheaper. The rails are quite different but robust. The trick with the landscape/portrait adjustment sounds the same, ( with a D700 anyway) though things can be easier if you have a tube in there.
A potential advantage of the PB-6 is that you could get hold of a second "foot", possibly from the rare (and therefore too expensive) PB-6E Extension bellows unit, so you could clamp the rail to something at two positions.
(Canon, Pentax, and Olympus also used a modified "X" shaped rail, I wonder if they happen to be compatible.)

I have three Nikon to Canon adapters, which vary in quality quite a lot. They tend not to be very tight, or become looser with use. The "chipped" ones I have seem to be better made. I don't benefit from the chips for what I do, but you/your camera might.

MaxRockbin
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Post by MaxRockbin »

Ebay Wisdom:
The PB-4 is significantly more expensive than the PB-6. That's probably because of the swing/shift capability which would be fun to try but maybe not that useful for people who use focus stacking.

Some say the PB-4 is a little more heavy duty than the PB-6, but I've never seen them side by side.

The PB-5 is an interesting alternative. Much less expensive (and otherwise supposed to be similar to the PB-4 with no tilt/shift), but it does not have the lower focusing track. If you're planning on mounting it on a stackshot or other focusing rail setup, the lower focusing track may be redundant.

Manuals for all 3:

http://www.butkus.org/chinon/nikon/niko ... ellows.htm

In the manual for the PB-5, the diagram shows two tripod "heads" attached to the front and back standards. That could actually make it the best of any of these bellows for firm attachment to another rail.
If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. - Robert Capa

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

When I bought my PB-4 is was cheaper, hey ho.

Yes certainly the PB-5 is rigid if you fix it to something - I have one on a 3/4" MDF board. The whole bellows base is 208mm long, and the two tripod threads 169mm apart. You could use a double "Arca-Dovetail" plate which woud be better than a board, as you could clamp it both ends but also slide it. You would need to think of height, to swing the body to portrait, though.

The "foot" on the PB-4 is 40mm long, which isn't particularly long. The Olympus one is 50mm, I don't have a PB-6. Pentax somewhere...

Look out for Vivitar bellows. They made a few models, one or two of which were pretty good. I have one with a removable lower rail.

The Daddy is for a Pentacon 6. Very high, and adapters apparently are available.

One dis-factor with the Nikon PB 4 and 5 bellows is that they're quite "thick" when compressed, at about 49mm between faces.

I take Chris S's point about bellows hygiene, but if you're moving them, air has to go in somewhere. I think with my 650d/T3i using a Canon 100-400mm old style dust pump, I can feel it around the eyepiece.

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

ChrisR wrote:A potential advantage of the PB-6 is that you could get hold of a second "foot", possibly from the rare (and therefore too expensive) PB-6E Extension bellows unit, so you could clamp the rail to something at two positions.
The availability of the PB-6E extension for the PB-6 bellows was a reason I chose the PB-6. Nicely, the dovetail "foot" for the PB-6E is extra long and has two clamping points, rather than one. It's very solid, so I routinely use it under the PB-6 bellows, even though I rarely use the extension bellows itself. My arrangement can be seen here. You’ll notice an Arca-style rail attached beneath the foot, which makes for more convenient use.* The foot of the PB-6E is 5.5 inches (140mm) long; the foot from the PB-6 is 2 inches (50mm) long.

As ChrisR described, one could use both feet together. But I use the long foot alone and find it very solid. For that matter, the regular 2-inch foot from the PB-6 also works quite well on its own.
MaxRockbin wrote:In the manual for the PB-5, the diagram shows two tripod "heads" attached to the front and back standards. That could actually make it the best of any of these bellows for firm attachment to another rail.
ChrisR wrote:Yes certainly the PB-5 is rigid if you fix it to something - I have one on a 3/4" MDF board. The whole bellows base is 208mm long, and the two tripod threads 169mm apart. You could use a double "Arca-Dovetail" plate which would be better than a board, as you could clamp it both ends but also slide it.
Very good illustrative images of this approach can be seen in this post by Craig Gerard. Be sure to scroll up a few posts, to see this from underneath, and down, to see a visual comparison with the PB-4.

At the end of the day, we’re probably splitting hairs. Any solid bellows that fits your camera and has front and rear standards that both move can probably serve your needs.

Cheers,

--Chris

*Many serious photographers use Arca-standard components on all of their gear: Arca-standard L-brackets on camera bodies, Arca-standard clamps on tripods, monopods, and other camera holders, and Arca-standard plates or rails on collared lenses, bellows, etc. For anyone who has not adopted this practice, it makes life much easier.

Tecumseh
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Post by Tecumseh »

Mr. Chis S. Thank you very much for your very detailed posts. All these information and equipment terminology is making my head spin. i.e. bellows, extension tubes, microscope objectives, enlarging lens etc. etc. etc..............

I wanted to start doing some macrophotography and I was so glad I stumbled upon this website. But now, whew. I feel like if I didn't take a very detailed picture of a fly's eye then I'm just not really doing macro right.

Chris S.
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Post by Chris S. »

Tecumseh, you're very welcome! :D

I sympathize with the head spin--reading PMN can be, at first, like putting one's lips to a fire hydrant. Here at PMN, we have by far the best information about photomacrography available anywhere--and it just gets better and more advanced by the day. On the other hand, there is a lot to learn here, and our information is scattered as if contained in a room-full of researchers' laboratory notebooks, rather than collated in an efficient, teachable form. This makes sense, as PMN is a gathering place of macro and micro photography pioneers, who are sharing things as they learn them.

Something that I've found to often help a newcomer is a phone conversation, which seems to clear the fog much faster than written communication. I enjoy speaking with other photomacrographers (including beginners). So PM me if you want to exchange phone numbers/Skype names. Once the new year holiday is past, I'd be happy to chat.

Cheers,

--Chris

Tecumseh
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Post by Tecumseh »

Chris S. wrote:Tecumseh, you're very welcome! :D

I sympathize with the head spin--reading PMN can be, at first, like putting one's lips to a fire hydrant. Here at PMN, we have by far the best information about photomacrography available anywhere--and it just gets better and more advanced by the day. On the other hand, there is a lot to learn here, and our information is scattered as if contained in a room-full of researchers' laboratory notebooks, rather than collated in an efficient, teachable form. This makes sense, as PMN is a gathering place of macro and micro photography pioneers, who are sharing things as they learn them.

Something that I've found to often help a newcomer is a phone conversation, which seems to clear the fog much faster than written communication. I enjoy speaking with other photomacrographers (including beginners). So PM me if you want to exchange phone numbers/Skype names. Once the new year holiday is past, I'd be happy to chat.

Cheers,

--Chris
And that was just from reading the 2 posts in the FAQ thread and this one. My head is still throbbing. RMS thread to m27, m42 adapter.........m27 to m52.......m39 to enlarger lens...................................................................
:smt119 :smt119 :smt119 ....................................................................
:smt100 :smt100 :smt100 ....................................................................

I will be taking you up on your offer. Thank you very much.

Almblad
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Post by Almblad »

Tecumseh wrote:
Chris S. wrote:Tecumseh, you're very welcome! :D

I sympathize with the head spin--reading PMN can be, at first, like putting one's lips to a fire hydrant. Here at PMN, we have by far the best information about photomacrography available anywhere--and it just gets better and more advanced by the day. On the other hand, there is a lot to learn here, and our information is scattered as if contained in a room-full of researchers' laboratory notebooks, rather than collated in an efficient, teachable form. This makes sense, as PMN is a gathering place of macro and micro photography pioneers, who are sharing things as they learn them.

Something that I've found to often help a newcomer is a phone conversation, which seems to clear the fog much faster than written communication. I enjoy speaking with other photomacrographers (including beginners). So PM me if you want to exchange phone numbers/Skype names. Once the new year holiday is past, I'd be happy to chat.

Cheers,

--Chris
And that was just from reading the 2 posts in the FAQ thread and this one. My head is still throbbing. RMS thread to m27, m42 adapter.........m27 to m52.......m39 to enlarger lens...................................................................
:smt119 :smt119 :smt119 ....................................................................
:smt100 :smt100 :smt100 ....................................................................

I will be taking you up on your offer. Thank you very much.
I know it's much to take in, I have spend the last week just reading and wondering how I can put all this information to good use. Well I just have to walk outside and experiment.

I have tried PB-6 with a D300s, and it worked without the spacer. But you need to put it, as Chris said, in portrait orientations. I haven't tried it with my D810, I can to it tonight and report the result. But I don't see why it wouldn't work. And the weight problem is nothing to worry about.

Update: Nikon PB-6 with a D810 works just fine, but you need as NikonUser said before a spacer between the bellow and the camera if you want to have a batteriepack attached to the camera.

austrokiwi1
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Post by austrokiwi1 »

As a relative newbie I have been going through old threads in my question areas and reviewing them. I have a Minolta Auto Bellows III, Tilt shift version. A few things I have learnt. the "bushes"( is that the right term?). that slide over the bellows rail seem very prone to cracking. I am not sure if it is age related or a design/operator error combination. I ended up getting a spare MInolta III ( non-tilt shift) bellows for spare parts. To make sure those bushes don't crack ( both Bellows had one cracked bush each luckily they were the same bushes in each case. Now I only tighten the locking screws enough to stop the standards moving. I also discovered as others here have reported that a bellows with a moveable rear standard is indispensable.

The minolta tilt shift bellows is as expensive as the canikon counterparts. The only issue I have had with it is finding an adapter for my Olympus Zuiko 135mm bellows lens. I currently have a self assembled adapter which adds a considerable amount of extension to the lens. I am in the process of building a narrower adapter by replacing the OM camera mount on a 14mm Extension ring with a M42- Minolta MD adapter.

{Thats the other thing I have learnt: M42 mount adapters are very useful for adapting lenses to other mounts}
Still learning,
Cameras' Sony A7rII, OLympus OMD-EM10II
Macro lenses: Printing nikkor 105mm, Sony FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G, Schneider Kreuznach Makro Iris 50mm , 2.8, Schnieder Kreuznach APO Componon HM 40mm F2.8 , Mamiya 645 120mm F4 Macro ( used with mirex tilt shift adapter), Olympus 135mm 4.5 bellows lens, Oly 80mm bellows lens, Olympus 60mm F2.8

JohnKoerner
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Post by JohnKoerner »

Chris S. wrote:
Tecumseh wrote:1. Will I need another adapter to mount my D810(without grip) on the PB-6 ?
2. Will the PB-6 handle the weight of the D810 ?
Tecumseh, welcome to the forum! :D

I'll jump in here, because I'm not at all certain you need that spacer.

What NU said is widely reported, and I used to believe it myself. During that time, I used a short extension tube as a spacer. (Be warned: "automatic" extension tubes that actuate the iris may cause dark corners on full frame, but a simple, manual extension tube should not vignette.)

But it turns out I don't in fact need a spacer for my Nikon D700, D200, or D7100 bodies on the PB-6 bellows. While I can't speak for the D810, there's a good chance that it will fit this pattern. There's a trick involved in avoiding the spacer, but it's a pretty simple one.

The only reason you'd need a spacer is that during the process of mounting the camera on the bellows, the camera's built-in handgrip hits the bottom of the bellows standard and prevents proper alignment. If you could get around this problem, you could easily use the bellows, because once the camera is mounted, it has been rotated enough that handgrip is nowhere near the bellows standard.

The trick is to take advantage of the PB-6's capability to rotate the camera between landscape and portrait orientations. If you mount the camera while the bayonet on the rear of the bellows is rotated into portrait orientation, there is no issue at all. Then you can rotate the camera to landscape if you wish. No muss, no fuss. :D

In boring detail:
  • 1) Looking at the PB-6 bellows from the back, the bayonet is silver in color. It has a red index mark on the edge. When this index mark is at 12:00 o'clock, the camera would be in landscape orientation. For this exercise, rotate the bayonet counterclockwise a quarter turn so that the red mark is at 9:00 o'clock. (The rotation is normally locked, but at 3:00 o'clock, there is a black button that unlocks it.)

    2) Looking at the camera body from the front, there is a white index dot next to the bayonet, at 2:00 o'clock. Align this dot with the red one on the bellows, and insert the bellows into the camera. Then turn the camera counterclockwise until you hear the click you would hear when mounting any bellows or lens.

    3) The camera is now mounted on the bellows, in portrait orientation. If you want to work in horizontal orientation, depress the rotation locking button (again, this is at 3:00 o'clock on the bellows), and rotate the camera 90 degrees counterclockwise.
I'd be interested to know if this also works for NU's D610.

And yes, the PB-6 should easily handle your D810. It's a nice, sturdy bellows.

Cheers,

--Chris

This is great information.

At first, it took me a minute to figure out how to do this.

When I did, I realized I had to dis-assemble my RRS L-Bracket + Cotton Carrier adapter off my D810.

After doing all this, then the tip worked ... so thanks, and clever trick :D

Jack
Last edited by JohnKoerner on Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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