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Tube vs. bellows

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Pillar Of The Community
United States
2999 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2012  01:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add aladinslamp to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks Ray and Dave, but I have to revert as Doug's lens's are most likely not at the cheapo level...However nicely noted by very nice photo's....
Glass is Glass...there is old glass that is very good...and new glass that is also exceptional and is easier to plug and play with the modern cameras we have. Not needing adapters..but at a much higher price......I think many here at the forum are seeing great "results" with old glass and the encouragement from those here who have both the new and the old.....Gene
Valued Member
United States
188 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2012  02:55 am  Show Profile Check Chute72's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I need help with bellows information.
You have all taught me so much in the last few months, I am happy with my progress. Yet, I have so much more to learn.
I'm using a Pentax K-x camera on one end, and a Nikon EL-Nikkor 105mm, 1:5.6 on the other.
Between the two. I need a bellows system.
Supposing I don't know much is a safe bet. And trusting that the Vivitar systm is quite workable, I have a starting point.
But I am willing to trade a little patience and research for a better deal.

My two questions for the day are...
1) What is a quality of each name brand, in ranking order, allowing for variations in their various models?
2) What bellows system offer the most available adaptors for versitility?

Experience dictates that I reject all Chinese and Russian products.

Zykkor looks like minimal quality.
Spiritone is unclear to me.
Novoflex is also uncertain.
Vivitar is viable.
Asahi looks good, and fairly priced.
Honeywell-Pentax offers good quality and versitility with occasional bargains.
Zeiss, a name I trust, but adaptability uncertain.
Hasselbland is beyond my current needs. Yet impressive.

Miranda Focabell looks like very good quality, but I don't know about camera/lens adaptor availability.

And when looking at each manufacturer's models, I consider the single rail system the least precise. More precise is the dual rail system. And most precise is the dovetail system.

(And though the 1/4" is standard, I consider it inadequate. Better is the 3/8".
But in the end I'll have to design and build my own copy stand.
We'll save that discussion for another interesting thread.)

Thanks all for your thoughts and input.
Reinforcement of my suspicions and corrections are equally appreciated.
Kurt
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1390 Posts
 Posted 01/08/2012  09:29 am  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply


Quote:
...My two questions for the day are...
1) What is a quality of each name brand, in ranking order, allowing for variations in their various models?
2) What bellows system offer the most available adaptors for versitility?

Experience dictates that I reject all Chinese and Russian products.

Zykkor looks like minimal quality.
Spiritone is unclear to me.
Novoflex is also uncertain.
Vivitar is viable.
Asahi looks good, and fairly priced.
Honeywell-Pentax offers good quality and versitility with occasional bargains.
Zeiss, a name I trust, but adaptability uncertain.
Hasselbland is beyond my current needs. Yet impressive.

Miranda Focabell looks like very good quality, but I don't know about camera/lens adaptor availability.


As you have seen, there are many bellows out there. To start the selection process, think of the bellows as a lens. If you were buying a lens for your camera, what brand would you buy? Easiest is to match with the camera, but with Pentax PK that may be tough in anything but Chinese, possibly Novoflex. Once you go outside the realm of your chosen camera mount, you need to think of adaptability. Generally it's harder to mix camera and lens brands since the register distances are different. Usually a mix won't work well for infinity focus, and while this doesn't matter to the potential bellows user it does limit popularity of the various combinations.

So to start, do a quick search on what adapters are available to mount non-PK lenses on PK cameras. I think you'll find M42, T-Mount, and M39 are easiest and cheapest to find. Nikon, Canon, Hasselblad, etc are all going to be harder to find and much more expensive.

Next think about how you will mount the lens to the bellows. From this perspective, think of the bellows as a camera, and look for appropriate adapters. If you get an M39 bellows, you are set! M42 bellows are also easy to adapt. T-Mount are not as easy, but adapters are available.


Quote:
And when looking at each manufacturer's models, I consider the single rail system the least precise. More precise is the dual rail system. And most precise is the dovetail system.


Agreed, but once you lock the mounts down the differences are much less. More important is rigidity of the bellows attachment since it will be the limiting factor most likely.


Quote:
(And though the 1/4" is standard, I consider it inadequate. Better is the 3/8".
But in the end I'll have to design and build my own copy stand.
We'll save that discussion for another interesting thread.)


Once things are bolted down I don't see any reason 1/4" is inadequate. Just make sure you are not using a copy stand that supports the bellows with the 1/4" screw!



Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Valued Member
United States
188 Posts
 Posted 02/12/2012  12:50 pm  Show Profile Check Chute72's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Back on course, and looking for some progress.
In review, I've been using a Pentax K-x with Sigma 1:2.8, 50mm lens.
All mounted on a modified drill press.



Sometimes a pleasing whole coin picture is the goal, other times great detal. Like this die scratch on a 1904 O Morgan dollar.




My next step is the bellows arrangement. Auto-Bellows is almost new, in original box with packing and instructions. Lens is the Nikon EL-NIKKOR 1:5.6, f=105mm, also in excellent condition with plastic case. Picked up the necessary adapters.



The camera was used with owner's manual and a shutter count of less than 1,000. $402. Bellows, lense and adapters $144. Shipping included. (The key to being cheap is don't be in a hurry, and watch e-bay on the holidays, when everyone else is with their families.)

Before I hook it all together, I need to re-think, my stand. It probably won't be tall enough to do all that I want. So how about some suggestions for a full sized tripod. Built like a tank. I'm not climbing Mount Everest with the tripod in a back pack. I may take it outside to photograph the moon, a squirrel, flowers or a motorcycle.
After a little practice, I can design a dedicated coin shoot stand with quick release for the camera.

Thanks All,
Kurt
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1390 Posts
 Posted 02/12/2012  4:03 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I think the modified Drill Press stand should work really well. It is plenty big for the equipment you bought and looks super-rigid. Keep in mind the Pentax Bellows has a built-in focus rail, so can move all the way up if you need it to. Plenty of adjustment distance on your stand. Put it all together, take some pictures, get used to using it, and then decide if it is inadequate but I expect it won't be...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Valued Member
United States
188 Posts
 Posted 02/12/2012  10:17 pm  Show Profile Check Chute72's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Ray,
I'm not sure I fully understandd your last sentence in your post of 1/8/12.

"Just make sure you are not using a copy stand that supports the bellows with the 1/4" screw!"

Because that is what I intended to do - support the bellows with a 1/4" screw. Do you mean that I should mount the camera to the screw (as I've been doing) and let the bellows and lens hang freely from the camera?
If you've read some of my other posts, you already know I break stuff. I just don't want to do anything stupid, and create problems.
Slow progress is generally preferrential to rapid self destruction.

Thanks.
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1390 Posts
 Posted 02/12/2012  10:24 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I've seen some copy stands that have a long 1/4" screw sticking out, and a nut to tighten against the camera. This is not good. What you show in the modified drill press has the camera bolted to a big plate where the drill would mount, and this looks great. Mount the bellows on that drill press platen and it should be rock solid...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Valued Member
United States
188 Posts
 Posted 02/12/2012  10:27 pm  Show Profile Check Chute72's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
God bless you Ray,
Picture to follow in approximately 1/2 hour.
This is why I ask. You saved my butt.
Valued Member
United States
188 Posts
 Posted 02/12/2012  11:01 pm  Show Profile Check Chute72's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
On several occasions, I've made known my concerns that the 1/4" screw mount was not a good idea. Everyone else said it was. The problem is that I used the mount incorrectly, and the way I used it is dangerous. I did not communicate well, or responsible adults would have stopped me long ago.






Fix should be easy. Just move the jam nut to the other side of the platten. And while at it, put a sheet of hard rubber between platten and camera.

PS Screw will travel 16" above pedestal. I may want more travel later, but only need to replace a pipe.

Thanks, Kurt, Out
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1390 Posts
 Posted 02/12/2012  11:23 pm  Show Profile Check rmpsrpms's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rmpsrpms to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yep, gotta fix that but the fix looks pretty easy. And hard rubber, or sticky felt pad, will protect the camera from abrasion. Plan sounds good...Ray
Builder of Custom Coin Photography Setups. Email me with your needs.
Valued Member
United States
188 Posts
 Posted 02/22/2012  12:40 am  Show Profile Check Chute72's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Chute72 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Progress is slow, but is still progress.
Needed a plastic buffer between the camera and drill press platten.
Not too thick and not too soft. Cheap and easily fabricated.



I'll get on with the bellows soon, but I just had to share.



thanks
Pillar Of The Community
United States
4400 Posts
 Posted 02/22/2012  01:08 am  Show Profile Check westcoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add westcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another trick you could do is to mount a solid quick release pate on the drill stand, that way it will be quick to remove the bellows when needed, just make sure it is a good one, and very solid when locked down with no play, even a millimeter of slop matters when you get into super macro, that is the same bellows I had, and am repurchasing, so it will be great for very, very small focus changes, the rail on the Pentax auto bellows is superb!
"Buy the Book Before You Buy the Coin" - Aaron R. Feldman - "And read it" - Me 2013!
ANA Life Member #3288 in good standing since 1982 • EAC Member #6202 • NBS Member • 2¢ variety collector.
Valued Member
United States
438 Posts
 Posted 02/22/2012  4:05 pm  Show Profile Check brg5658's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add brg5658 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Chute72, the CD seems to be working fine for you, but I had a similar problem needing a "buffer" or washer between my camera and the mount also. I ended up getting some polycaprolactone. It is a thermal plastic that comes as pellets -- you heat them up to 140-160F in a glass of water, it becomes completely moldable, and then it hardens back down at room temperatures. IT is sold under the brand names of PolyMorph, InstaMorph, and several others. The stuff is really cool for other uses and prototype building as well. For example, I have also used it to create a stabilizer wedge for between my copy stand and focusing rail. Just search for "InstaMorph" on Amazon. A little bit goes a long way. 4oz can do a lot!
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