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Bellows for Canon EOS
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MNBoldone



Joined: 23 Mar 2016
Posts: 7
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 10:21 pm    Post subject: Bellows for Canon EOS Reply with quote

I am building a macro rig to use microscope objectives on my Canon EOS cameras (currently 6D and 7D, but may be other bodies in the future). I foresee using my 6D as the primary camera for at least the near future.

I have spent considerable time the past two days looking for used bellows. I thought I would seek comments regarding some of the options I found.

The models that seem to be currently available on ebay are; Nikon PB-4, Nikon PB-6, Canon Bellows FL/FD, Asahi Pentax, Olympus OM, and Soligor.

My initial impresion is that the Nikon bellows are in high demand, the ones currently available seem to show more wear than some options available from other brands and they are higher priced. I assume much of the demand is because Nikon is still a common camera brand. My initial inclination is to look at other options and leave the nikon bellows for the nikon users. They are priced over $100

I never used the Canon FL/FD mounts. But those bellows just strike me as a situation where I may run into trouble and expense converting them to EOS - especially without significantly increasing length. This is based mostly on a visual impression. Again, my initial inclination is to look elsewhere. They are bid items that are minimally priced at $30+.

The Asahi Pentax for sale appear to be in good condition, except for a missing screw. They are more expensive than most of the other items I am considering at ~$105. They are probably my best option - based on comments in this forum(?). My biggest reservation against them is that they are in Japan and I am in the US. I have never purchased internationally using ebay.

The Olympus OM bellows also appear to be in good shape. They are around $90. I think adapting them to accept an EOS camera and an M42 objective would be rather straight forward. However; in reading n this forum I don't think I have seen many mentions of Olympus bellows.

Lastly, are the Soligor. They are also missing a screw. They are listed as fitting a pentax M42. They are priced at $70.

My inclination is to pursue either the Asahi Pentax, the Olympus, or the Soligor. I would be interested in any comments about the suitability of these brands to be converted and used between an Canon EOS and a microscope objective. I would also be interested in any feedback about appropriate prices (all prices above include shipping). Also, if you have any comments about ordering internationally.

Thanks,
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Pau
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Joined: 20 Jan 2010
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Location: Valencia, Spain

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use the Pentax "Auto Bellows" M42 mount and it is very good and easy to adapt. The Pentax K mount is the same and the Olympus OM seems very similar although adapting the lens side to microscope objectives could be less easy.
In all this kind of bellows pay attention to the Nylon blocks that connect the bellows to the rail because they can be broken more often than other parts
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lonepal



Joined: 28 Jan 2017
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pau wrote:
I use the Pentax "Auto Bellows" M42 mount and it is very good and easy to adapt. The Pentax K mount is the same and the Olympus OM seems very similar although adapting the lens side to microscope objectives could be less easy.
In all this kind of bellows pay attention to the Nylon blocks that connect the bellows to the rail because they can be broken more often than other parts


+1 for Pentax "Auto Bellows" M42 mount.
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RDolz



Joined: 28 Aug 2017
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Location: Valencia (Spain)

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi. I have a Fuji X-T1 and I use an Olympus Bellows, .. it is very solid and works perfectly.

To adapt to the Olympus mount on the front of the bellows, there are adapters on eBay for mounting lenses with 49mm filters in reverse mode (many Zuiko have this thread diameter). For example at the moment I have found two:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/OLYMPUS-OM-MOUNT-49MM-LENS-REVERSAL-REVERSE-ADAPTER-RING-MACRO-MICRO/152429342140?hash=item237d7f2dbc:g:vSUAAOSwnHZYmy93

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Kalt-Reverse-Macro-Adapter-Ring-49mm-for-OM-1-Olympus-Camera/254555106246?hash=item3b44aaabc6:g:qEwAAOSwX2tegUNG

Here I show you an example on my camera (several time ago). Now I hardly ever use it since in my setups I don't need to vary the distances gradually, so I use metric 42 extension rings.



Best
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dickb



Joined: 05 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a couple of different ways bellows can be designed and which one is best depends on your needs/wants and the lenses and cameras you want to use.

One major point is whether the rear standard is fixed or can be moved. On compact and lightweight bellows the rear standard is often fixed. A potential problem with that is that the rails can stick out in front of the lens, if you use a small lens and little extension. This can interfere with your subject.

With rear standards that can be moved it is easy to move the rail or rails out of the way, towards the camera. This may cause a problem if you want to rotate the camera mount, as modern DSLRs may be larger than the cameras the bellows were designed for and the camera may hit the rails.

Another problem may be protruding pentaprisms/flash housings on the camera. These can interfere when trying to mount your camera on the bellows. This can be solved by using an extra extension tube, but then you limit the minimum extension of your bellows system.

Some bellows have integrated focus rails, these tend to be heavier.

Almost all bayonet mount adapters introduce a little bit of rotational play into the system. Canon FL/FD breechlock is an exception, but those adapters introduce more extension (certainly don't get one with optics in it).

So you need to decide whether you need a moveable rear standard, an integrated focus rail, what the minimum and maximum extension must be, whether you prefer a large heavy extremely sturdy bellows or a more compact one.

I use several bellows, a sturdy Canon FD Auto Bellows, an old Pentax M42 and a Minolta autobellows III indoors and a lightweight Novoflex or Minolta Compact bellows for quick and dirty field work.
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MNBoldone



Joined: 23 Mar 2016
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 11:34 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks all.

I appreciate the tips. It looks like I have some good options.

Just a note that all the bellows I was considering had movable rear standards, movable mounts on the bottom, and integrated focus rails (if I am understanding the terminology correctly). I think all would require at least a small extension tube on the camera end to enable mounting the camera.

Interesting to know about the Canon FL/FD locking connection.
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Macro_Cosmos



Joined: 15 Jan 2018
Posts: 632
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recommend these:
Nikon PB-6
Canon FD Bellows
Pentax Auto-bellows A
Pentax 67 Auto-bellows
Novoflex Balpro-1

I personally think the bottom translation part isn't useful enough to keep. First 4 has those. Makes centre of gravity too high. Replace the geared rail with a long arca-swiss rail, they usually use the same 1/4''-20 screws, and then repurpose the geared rail for something else. Works well as a vertical stage for specimens.

There's lots of tilt-shift-rise ones out there, they are usually expensive and feel kind of flimsy IMO.
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viktor j nilsson



Joined: 01 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Replace the geared rail with a long arca-swiss rail, they usually use the same 1/4''-20 screws, and then repurpose the geared rail for something else.


I can't envision how you would replace the geared rail with an arca rail. Could you show an example?

I'm using one of those giant Pentacon M42 bellows and I don't like that the bottom rail has some sideways play. I also don't feel that it's necessary as I can do coarse movement using the bottom arca plate. So I'm grateful for ideas to replace it!
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viktor j nilsson



Joined: 01 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found this, Enrico drilled and tapped some holes. That makes sense.

http://www.savazzi.net/photography/bellows.htm

Actually, i just had a go at my Pentacon bellows and realized that I could tighten it more than I had previously done. I guess I had hot a "false stop" created by hardened grease. I applied quite a lot of force and it suddenly made a cracking sound and a could finally tighten it fully. Oh gosh, can't believe I hadn't fixed that before now. But I might still want to switch it out for an arca rail anyway.
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Macro_Cosmos



Joined: 15 Jan 2018
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

viktor j nilsson wrote:
Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Replace the geared rail with a long arca-swiss rail, they usually use the same 1/4''-20 screws, and then repurpose the geared rail for something else.


I can't envision how you would replace the geared rail with an arca rail. Could you show an example?

I'm using one of those giant Pentacon M42 bellows and I don't like that the bottom rail has some sideways play. I also don't feel that it's necessary as I can do coarse movement using the bottom arca plate. So I'm grateful for ideas to replace it!

Sure.
I am going to assume that not every single rail on the market can be converted that easily. The PB-6 can be converted with ease, as the bottom rail separates. I've even seen a pb-6 that has the part missing sell for $30, too bad I wasn't the buyer.
Example here: http://www.alldigi.com/2012/01/modified-pb-6-bellows-units-focusing-rail-nodal-rail/

This mod isn't possible with Canon's FD bellows. The dovetail rail is a one piece extrusion. Not sure about the pentax bellows.

Another I recommend is the Soligor Multiflex bellows. It's compatible with the Pentax bellows and my Mamiya bellows, which tells me that Pentax and Mamiya simply takes their bellows and paint a logo on.

Here's the Soligor: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/36-sold-items/378791-sale-sold-soligor-multiflex-bellows-pentax-k-body-m42-lens-original-konica-ar-w-macro-stand.html

Notice how the focusing rail looks almost exactly the same as the one I'm about to show? The bellows itself looks incredibly similar too, it's just that mine is for medium format and has tilt/shift/rise. Some bellows makes taking the camera off near impossible when it's extended mid-way. Not an issue with the bigger medium format ones.

Here we go:



Hope it helps.
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dickb



Joined: 05 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Another I recommend is the Soligor Multiflex bellows. It's compatible with the Pentax bellows and my Mamiya bellows, which tells me that Pentax and Mamiya simply takes their bellows and paint a logo on.


/Edit/ Close but not exactly. My guess is that the same factory made all the bellows but in two series, the cheaper Soligor/Hoya/Petri and the more expensive Minolta/Contax and presumably Mamiya. The dimensions are very close but not exactly the same, the Soligor bellows standards will fit the Contax/Minolta rail, but with a fraction too much play. The Contax/Minolta bellows just won't fit the Soligor rail smoothly, as their rails and matching nylon inserts are a bit more rounded on the edges. I haven't used the Mamiya 645 version but my guess is they also use the more round edged version. /Edit/

I was talking from memory here, and I just tested this once more. I was incorrect, all the standards of my Contax /Minolta/Unitor (yet another brandname for the Soligor) bellows will mount all rails. Maybe I had tested a standard with a broken nylon insert (a common failing in these bellows) in my previous test long ago.

Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Here's the Soligor: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/36-sold-items/378791-sale-sold-soligor-multiflex-bellows-pentax-k-body-m42-lens-original-konica-ar-w-macro-stand.html

Notice how the focusing rail looks almost exactly the same as the one I'm about to show? The bellows itself looks incredibly similar too, it's just that mine is for medium format and has tilt/shift/rise. Some bellows makes taking the camera off near impossible when it's extended mid-way. Not an issue with the bigger medium format ones.


I know only of the Mamiya 645 version as a medium format bellows from this series of bellows. The higher front and rear standards are nice for convenient camera mounting when the rear standard is midway. It does result in a higher centre of gravity though.

Some of the camera brand versions of this bellows have a swing option for the front standard, the Minolta Auto Bellows III, the Contax and one of the Mamiya ZE ones, others like the Minolta Bellows IV don't.


Last edited by dickb on Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Macro_Cosmos



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dickb wrote:
Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Another I recommend is the Soligor Multiflex bellows. It's compatible with the Pentax bellows and my Mamiya bellows, which tells me that Pentax and Mamiya simply takes their bellows and paint a logo on.


Close but not exactly. My guess is that the same factory made all the bellows but in two series, the cheaper Soligor/Hoya/Petri and the more expensive Minolta/Contax and presumably Mamiya. The dimensions are very close but not exactly the same, the Soligor bellows standards will fit the Contax/Minolta rail, but with a fraction too much play. The Contax/Minolta bellows just won't fit the Soligor rail smoothly, as their rails and matching nylon inserts are a bit more rounded on the edges. I haven't used the Mamiya 645 version but my guess is they also use the more round edged version.

Macro_Cosmos wrote:
Here's the Soligor: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/36-sold-items/378791-sale-sold-soligor-multiflex-bellows-pentax-k-body-m42-lens-original-konica-ar-w-macro-stand.html

Notice how the focusing rail looks almost exactly the same as the one I'm about to show? The bellows itself looks incredibly similar too, it's just that mine is for medium format and has tilt/shift/rise. Some bellows makes taking the camera off near impossible when it's extended mid-way. Not an issue with the bigger medium format ones.


I know only of the Mamiya 645 version as a medium format bellows from this series of bellows. The higher front and rear standards are nice for convenient camera mounting when the rear standard is midway. It does result in a higher centre of gravity though.

Some of the camera brand versions of this bellows have a swing option for the front standard, the Minolta Auto Bellows III, the Contax and one of the Mamiya ZE ones, others like the Minolta Bellows IV don't.


They did come out of the same factory for sure, there's far too many similarities. Yeah the M645 bellows is pretty nice and convenient, adaptors can be taken off the market for the corresponding cameras, but it does have a raised centre of gravity and since there's tilt/shift/rise, it is kind of flimsy. After using the tilt and shift, I have to make sure it's absolutely locked down. Without geared movements, resetting and finesse is... annoying.

Since it uses nylon inserts, I suppose it's possible to just 3D print and make it compatible? The focusing rail of my bellows look identical to that pentax one. Maybe it's slightly different, not sure if anyone's taken precise measurements though.

The entire thing is very modular. Mount can be taken out, the carries come out... everything can be assembled and disassembled with ease. Pretty nice, I do like these mechanical pieces.
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Deanimator



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used the Pentax bellows and was pretty happy with the results.

I got a pretty good deal on mine a few years ago (eBay, don't remember the price).

I use mine with the Amscope 4x (good results) and 10x (mediocre so far) finite objectives.

I don't think I have, but I should be able to use my old Vivitar 50mm manual on them, as well as my Minolta 50mm reversed.
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ray_parkhurst



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO the easiest and most stable bellows to mount onto an Arca plate is the PB5. It has extreme front and rear tripod mounts that are coplanar and fit nicely on a 300mm plate.

I personally use a PentaxAB, but modified to take CFD lenses. I swap lenses frequenty, and have found having to remove/replace screw-in lenses in-situ to be extremely tedious. The CFD bayonet is quick to change out, and CFD-M42 or M39 adapters allow each lens to be kept on its own adapter for quick mounting, or if you want you can swap the lens on one adapter. It's much easier to swap in-hand rather than in-situ. Same bayonet philosophy can be used for Nikon bellows if you go with a PBX type.

I found with the PentaxAB that the limiting factor for system stiffness was the focus (bottom) clamp, so I removed the clamp and mounted the rail to a bar attached to my KR20 vertical rail. Actually, I have two PentaxAB rails mounted to the bar, screwed together end to end. This gives a wide adjustment range for setting heights for different focal length lenses, and in the rare case I don't have enough extension from a single bellows, I mount two in series. For a visual on this, take a look at a system I built for a fellow coin photographer using this concept:



The modified B&L A-Stand gives focus adjustment once you get the position of the bellows standards "close". In my own system I have a KR20 in place of the A-Stand for this purpose.

There is also a consideration of rotatability of the camera. For my coin photography, this is extremely critical since I want to frame coins such that their mottoes are flat, ie not rotated in clock position. With the PentaxAB, the camera mount adapter has a set screw to hold it in place, and by loosening the screw just a bit, the camera can be rotated 360-deg (assuming there is clearance between camera and bellows). I generally place a coin on the stage as close to correct rotated orientation as possible, center it using xy stage, then rotate the camera to "rotate" the coin into correct orientation. The PentaxAB is the best bellows for this work because the mount adapter is steel and does not gouge easily from tightening the thumb screw. The Vivitar has aluminum adapters which are a bit more delicate.

If rotatability is important to you, then the Nikon bellows are not as functional. They can be rotated, but only over a 90-deg range. I wish they had made them able to rotate 180deg, but alas it must have been difficult to do. I have been successful at making the CanonAB work well for rotation using EOS mount, but it does render the bellows useful only for EOS. Next system I build for myself will be CanonAB-based, probably with two rails like I did with the PentaxAB. This will be triggered by my eventual shift to FF camera, since the M42 PentaxAB vignettes a bit on FF unless you add significant adapter extension between bellows and camera.
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MNBoldone



Joined: 23 Mar 2016
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:55 pm    Post subject: Thanks everyone Reply with quote

I picked up a used Soligor and a Pentax Auto-belllows. Both should be M42 and both are in good condition. They look new. I ended up paying only $30-$40 each on ebay.

I just next is getting adaptors. They should be straight-forward - I hope.

I am a litte surprised bellows don't come with lense caps standard. I think I will pick up some caps to help keep them clean when not in use.
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