Nikon PB-6 Focusing Bellows Unit User Manual

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by guts80, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. I'm looking for an online user manual for this bellows unit. My friend lent this item to me, so I want make sure I can fully utilize the bellows unit (first time using one) and make sure I don't damage the unit or my camera / lens. I remeber seeing one posted at the MIR site (Maylasian photography site), but I can't locate the url for it anymore...That aside, the most criticle question I have is one setting the extension length. For the unit that connects to the body, do I align the zero with the sloped side, and for the unit holding the lens, do I algin it so that the flat side of the unit is at the marked distance? (refer to attachment)
  2. Hello
    When you look at the distance markings from the top, you see that the zero markings do not start at the edge of the rail, and that the distance markings are reversed on the two sides. Now: the minimal extension the bellow is capable of is close to 50mm (you can eaysily check that by measuring the distance between a certain point on your lens and a certain point on your camera, e.g. the edge of the focusing ring and the front of the body or anything like that, once measured without the bellows and once with the bellows completely unextended).
    With that knowledge, you can easily see that if you move one of the units (it doesn't matter which one, the one with the lens or the one with the body) all the way to the edge of the rail, LOCK IT SO IT DOESN'T FALL OFF!! and push the other one all the way close to it (so that you have the minimal extension), you can read on one of the distance markings that you currently have about 50mm of extension (you see that on the sloped side of the unit that is not sitting at the edge).
    Now you can simply move that unit and you always get the amount of extension by reading the marking the same way you just did.
    As you can position the body- as well as the lens-unit at the edge, you can avoid having the rail being in the way with objects that end up very close to the lens.
    Now something else: always make sure that the one unit close to the edge is locked (with the screw that tightens it), and that the little round plastic cap that screws into the ends of the rail sits at the opposite end of the locked unit. This way nothing can fall off the rail, which could happen if you look through the viewfinder and extend without knowing where you are, or if you mount the assembly vertically with a heavy lens and loose the tighten-screw and your lens is drawn downward. Lens or body "falling off" is a death warrant for the bellow, as it will most likely rip.
    The MIR site can be found at
    Also do a search here in the forums for pb-6, there is a wealth of information.
    Hope this helps!
    jeff h. likes this.
  3. A small addenda to Daniel's excellent reply........
    If you wish to have either end of the bellows not at the far ends of the rail (zero
    positions) and in a more balanced intermediate position, then read off the difference
    between either external end of the panels (you can use either the white or yellow scale)
    and subtract 22 to get the actual bellows extension.
    Sounds complicated but isn't really - the difference between the two end pnels when fully
    compressed is 70mm - 22mm = 48mm (the minimum extension distance as Daniel
    Good luck
  4. Ah, I get it now. Thanks for the replies!

    Oh and btw, when you reverse a lens, to calculate the magnifaction ratio the "extension/focal length" formula still applies correct?
  5. Hi Shing
    Once the lens is reversed I believe it all turns to custard............
    If you really have to know the reproduction ratio in this case the easiest way is to place a
    ruler in the same plane as the subject and read off the length that is in focus.
    Divide this number into 36 and you'll have the repro rate with your F3.
    (so say if you have a viewfinder image of 12mm length you will be working at 3X)
    Useful or more confusing???
  6. Hi Shing
    Once the lens is reversed I believe it all turns to custard..........
    If you really have to know the reproduction ratio in this case the easiest way is to place a
    ruler in the same plane as the subject and read off the length that is in focus.
    Divide this number into 36 and you'll have the repro rate with your F3.
    (so say if you have a viewfinder image of 12mm length you will be working at 3X)
    Useful or more confusing???
  7. Heh, yep. I guess I could skip all the math and just figure out the Reproduction Ratio that way. =P
  8. Hello, I have a real similar question about this setup. I can't get this to focus, and I think I might be missing a piece of hardware, like a "focusing ring" or something. I'm super amature, so pardon the newbie question here. Thank you! I can almost get it to focus without the PB-6 bellows, handheld with a larger Nikon 18-300 zoomed all the way in at 300, but the shutter needs to be at like 2-3 seconds makes it impossible.

    You can see in the pic, it's a Nikon DSLR 3100. The lens is a 35mm primary.
  9. The bellows is the focussing 'ring'.

    Sorry, but that 35mm DX lens just won't work on the bellows unit to enable slide copying. The minimum bellows extension makes the 35mm lens focus too close to the front element. You need a different lens.

    I use an old manual focus 55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor. They can be found quite cheaply in well-used condition, as can the more recent f/2.8 version.

    The 55mm manual Micro-Nikkors or the AF 60mm Nikon macro are the right lenses for this job. Anything else either won't give a suitable magnification, or will give poor image quality. The 18-300mm zoom will definitely not give the best results.

    Also, I don't think you can control the aperture of G type lenses on that bellows unit. Old MF lenses are the best choice.

    Using flash for illumination is easy. You just need an A3 or larger piece of white card for the camera's popup flash to reflect from. If you set the card about 2 foot (600mm) in front of the slide copier and slightly sloped to catch the flash, that'll give you a good even illumination. You can even use iTTL flash control.... maybe with some flash compensation dialled in.
  10. Correction.
    I just realised you're using a DX camera that needs only a 1:1.5 magnification ratio. So even a 55 or 60mm lens might not allow the full slide frame to be copied. It'll definitely focus though. :oops:

    Looks like the Series E 100mm lens is your best bet for duplicating full-frame slides on a DX camera with the PB-6. They should be cheap enough as well. Or an old 90mm f/2.5 Tamron - if you can find one.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  11. Nope. The 90mm f/2.5 Tamron's a no-go too! Not on my PB-4 bellows anyway.

    It looks as if DX slide copying using the PB-6 might not be possible at all.
  12. It's been a while, but I think I made an adapter for a good 80 mm enlarging lens for slide copying on the DX camera.
  13. Here is one (click on this link).
  14. I will get a hold of a 18-55mm lens and see if I have any luck there.
    Mary Doo likes this.
  15. As posted before - just two posts above, the PB-6 manual is here. Haven't heard from OP. Maybe he does not need it any more.
  16. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    The OP has not been seen since 2009 - the reanimator is new member drewkerlee.
    drewkerlee and Mary Doo like this.
  17. Oh my goodness! The original question was dated April 2004 - 15 years ago! :eek::oops::rolleyes:o_O
  18. [SOLVED] Alright, project completed!

    I realized this was a super old post: but it was the first thing I found from a google search with the hardware I was working with. I hope other people with this hardware setup can find it and shortcut the experimentation for predictable results.

    What ended up working was the 18-55 kit lens Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-55 1:3.5-5.6G II ED. That guy was zoomed in to the 55mm mark. I focused with the aperture all the way open, then dialed it down using the fobs on either side of the slide. I modified the shutter speed depending on the wide range of exposures that my folks gave me.

    There was some cropping that happened as I wasn't able to mess with the bellows and focus that much. I had the focus all the way to one end with the lens, kept the bellows at minimum distance from lens to camera (essentially only using bellows to hold camera steady), then slowly moved camera/bellows/lens in and out until I got the focus as large a frame as I could. Now that I'm typing this, I think somehow fixing the camera and PS-6 to the same surface, and leaving the lens on the camera probably would've been a better setup with more focus options and probably no cropping in the end at all.

    I didn't end up using the smaller bellows (accordion thing) that was on the PS-6 at all. It's got a round mechanism for grabbing on to the front of a camera lens, but it didn't fit the 18-55 lens cap area. I taped that PS-6 bellows to the front of the lens, and found zero noticeable difference; so I proceeded without it.

    I think that pretty much covers everything. If I do this project again, I will probably fashion some mount using only the Slide Copying Adapter PS-6, a piece of plywood, and affixing the DSLR with lens to the plywood.

    A video of how the stuff fits together

    cropping example.jpg
    Final version overlaid on the slide so you can see the crop that happened.

    Final version of digitized slide

    Holding slide in front of the incandescent lamp, pic snapped with smart phone only meant as reference for the crop comparison

    A comparison of the Nikon DSLR setup vs holding a slide in front of a lamp while snapping best pic I can with my Pixel 2XL. I'd say it was worth it!

    IMG_20190309_103856.jpg IMG_20190309_112829.jpg IMG_20190309_112847.jpg IMG_20190309_112918.jpg
    Mary Doo likes this.
  19. The Nikon bellows slide copier was definitely only designed with 1:1 full-frame copying in mind.

    IME, a front of lens attachment fitted to a macro lens works much better for copying 36mm x 24mm slides/film to a DX camera.

    I modified a Nikon ES-E28 that I bought cheap as new-old-stock, but the ES-2 does the same job. Being able to mount negative strips in a moveable filmholder makes copying a lot swifter.

    If you search the web you can find similar devices to the ES-2. Most have a dioptre built in, and in some it's removable. Those are the type you want, so that you just use the device as a hollow tube + filmholder in front of a decent macro lens.
    Gary Naka likes this.

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