D300 & PB-4 Bellows

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by fred_grandinetti, May 1, 2009.

  1. Hi,
    Need your help and advice.
    I was just "gifted" a Nikon PB-4 Bellows and Nikon 105mm-P f/4 short mount bellows lens. It sits here in front of me waiting to be used. But after reading so many posts on the internet that state the D300 and PB-4 bellows will not work together, my happiness has turned to dismay.
    For those of you who are using a D300 and PB-4 Bellows together successfully in your macro photography would you please explain how you were able to get your D300 and PB-4 Bellows to link up successfully. Did you have to use any additional rings or tubes? How do you protect the electronic contacts on the camera body lens mount? Any other information would be very much appreciated. How do you arrive at the correct exposure, is it just by trial and error?
    Your help would be very much appreciated.
    Fred S. Grandinetti
  2. You might want to try and get a Schneider-Kreuznach or Nikkor-EL enlarger lens for flat field and better contrast.
  3. '...posts on the internet that state the D300 and PB-4 bellows will not work together...' That is incorrect. You can mount an extension tube between body and bellows, as noted above, which dramatically increases the minimum extension between body and lens (not necessarily desirable). I've not yet mounted the D300 to PB-4 but had zero problems with D200 by doing this: adjust the bellows body-mount from landscape to portrait before mounting the body. Once the body is mounted you can return to landscape. Notice the small lever on the body mount of the bellows.
    Metering will work just fine. You'll have to enter lens data (focal length and max aperture for matrix). The default metering mode is center-weight. I don't have the owner's manual handy but as I recall it states matrix is not available, which I find odd. Not that the max ap entered in the menu is 'actual' due to extension, but nonetheless, matrix should work just fine (without the 3D feature). I don't find matrix to be critical. In general, macro lighting conditions are rarely tricky and Ctr Weight works well. When in doubt, see histogram.
    The AF contacts are safe. Have you read your manual to review compatible lenses accessories? I'd be extremely surprised if the PB-4 was listed as incompatible.
  4. I don't have a D300 to try it out on my PB4 but as other already said, I see no reason why the D300 won't mount with just a little extension. If you add extension, you do lose that 100mm Nikkor's ability to focus to infinity cool feature. This is not an issue if you plan to use the bellow for macro purpose. If however, you plan to use it as a tilt and shift set-up, you have a small problem. You can use the PB-4 still by switching the 100mm to about 135mm (ie: my guess, 135/5.6 el-nikkor).
  5. Tommy, I think you have to use the PB-6 to get 'movements'. I have both, albeit 5000 miles apart, and to my knowledge the '4' here in the States has only extension ability whereas the '6' in the UK has a lever on the front standard to swivel the lens end side to side.
  6. The PB-4 offers swing and shift on the front standard. Turn the PB-4 90 degrees for rise/fall and tilt. Not sure what the PB-6 offers in terms of front standard movement; not as much as the 4 I am sure. PB-6 owner please chime-in.
  7. Other than the PN-11 are there any other extension tubes that would work just as well if placed between the D300 and PB-4 bellows?
    Thanks for the quick responses so far very much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  8. In fact, you don't need an extension tube at all for D200/D300 cameras on the PB-4. Just rotate the mount on the bellows to the portrait orientation, attach the camera, and rotate back if you intend to shoot in landscape mode. If you have trouble with rotating the mount, put a rear lens cap on it and twist to the left (looking at the bellow unit from the rear).
    If you insist on using an extension ring, the smallest that can be used is the PK-11/11a. The E2 will also do just fine. K-1 will also work but then the camera will not go into the click-stopped positions for landscape/portrait modes. PN-11 is way overkill in terms of length and in fact will make balancing the rig more difficult because of its added leverage.
    Dial in the data for the lens (f/4 max, aperture, 105 mm focal length) and you're good to go. You will be able to shoot at infinity with no problem.
  9. Hi Mr. Rorslett,
    Thanks so much for your reply and clarification. Will the PB-4 bellows lens mount do any damage to the D300 lens mount electronics? Would an extension tube be the "safer" way to go?
    So, the PB-4 becomes a non-CPU lens and IS center-weighted or spot metering possible? Are there any other D300 adjustments that would be required?
    I visited your terrific web site, but could not find any information pertaining to the Nikon PB-4 and D300, unless I just missed finding the correct reference or link.
    Thanks so much for your reply.
  10. 'Will the PB-4 bellows lens mount do any damage to the D300 lens mount electronics?' No.
    'Would an extension tube be the "safer" way to go?' That implies the alternative is dangerous. Both are safe.
    '...and IS center-weighted or spot metering possible?' I mentioned earlier CW metering is the default. Spot is available but only via the center set of brackets in the viewfinder, regardless of which bracket is illuminated.
    '...any other D300 adjustments...?' No.
  11. As other posters have mentioned, you can use the D300 directly with the PB4. The only cameras that cannot be mounted on a PB4 directly are those with the integral vertical grip (F5, D2, D3)
    About other settings on the D300, you can use live view and then zoom in for critical focusing. I would also suggest using a cable release or mirror lock up with Exposure delay mode "on" (d9)
    Just remember that even if you dial in the lens data, the camera will not record the actual aperture since there is no way to do it. The exif data will always have the max. aperture value regardless of the aperture used.
    If by any chance you have a BR-4 auto ring (It allows to focus and compose at full aperture and stop down for taking the picture) remeber to stop down to meter exposure (manual mode)
  12. "Just remember that even if you dial in the lens data, the camera will not record the actual aperture since there is no way to do it. The exif data will always have the max. aperture value regardless of the aperture used"
    True, unless you solve the issue by putting a "G" type CPU into the bellows (I've done that with my bellows devices and extension tubes too).
  13. To all who responded,
    Thanks so much AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And to Lilly,
    Thanks for your replies. My concern stems from the fact I was told that all of my older FTN & F2 Nikon lenses had to be AI'd before they could be safely used on my D300. I just assumed that the PB-4 needed some kind of "conversion" or ring that would prevent damage to the contacts. Honestly, I have really researched the Internet for the correct answers, but could not find any satisfactory replies until I posted my questions on Photo.net Nikon Forum. I guess I'd just rather be (a safe) pest than a sorry one, later.
    Hope you understand!
  14. The problem with the older lenses (non AI) is that their external barrel could interfere or damage the meter coupling lever (used with AI lenses so the camera know the aperture). There is not any issue with the cpu contacts.
  15. Just stumbled on this old thread... what lenses does one use with rhe PB4's tilts and shifts, they would have to have a bigger image circle ?

Share This Page