Summer Start

by VonSchnauzer

submit your photo


Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Take the 2-minute tour ×
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I just picked up a vintage 300mm bellows with a 50mm lens on the M42 screw mount, but the lens is kinda foggy and scratched. What would I gain or lose with different focal lengths for a replacement lens?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Assuming your bellows just allows extension, and does not offer tilt or shift capabilities...then that's all you really get, extension. If your bellows is a full-freedom bellows with tilt and shift (and maybe even rotation) capabilities, then the answer to your question is probably more complex.

With greater extension (elongation of the bellows), you reduce the minimum focus distance of whatever lens is attached. Exactly what that means really depends on the lens. Lenses of the same focal length but different design can have different MFDs, so exactly how much extension you can handle before the focal plane ends up inside the lens really depends. I wouldn't say there is anything special about a 50mm lens, nor shorter or longer lenses.

If your bellows is more capable, then you have to think about more things. Tilt and shift capabilities, while they can be useful for macro to a small degree, put a lot more demand on the lens. You need a larger image circle, so that when you move the bellows, you don't end up vignetting the sensor. Most DSLR/Mirrorless lenses these days have fairly constricted image circles, without much in the way of freedom. You may find that older vintage lenses, especially medium and large format lenses, may offer a LOT more in the way of working image circle for use with a full-freedom bellows. These lenses can be expensive, but they can often handle up to 25° of tilt, where as DSLR/mirrorless lenses may barely be able to handle about 8° at most (given their smaller image circles). At 8° you might not see much in the way of benefit for macro (the distances involved don't lend themselves well to the Scheimpflug principal), however at up to 25° of tilt you might start to see some useful benefit at macro scales.

share|improve this answer
    
I don't have tilt on this one, but I do think I have a line on some affordable vintage medium format lenses. Things work out well, but never exactly right. –  bob May 21 at 14:29

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.