pentax macro questions - lens, bellows

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by sanjay_chaudary, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. Hi,
    I recently got Pentax 67ii camera. I shot a bit of macro in 35mm, but not much , with canon 100mm macro.

    1) I am wondering which macro lens to buy : 105mm macro or 135mm macro for pentax 67.
    I have shot pictures of flowers and some objects ( model cars) and few insects. I still need to figure out on how to get better magnification for insects in my photos.

    2) Do we need flash for macro? Will the 1/30th sync speed of pentax 67ii be a problem for macro

    3) Is pentax auto bellows useful and is it difficult to find? what would be a reasonable price for it?

    4)I have a manfrotto 055 xpro b tripod, which handles 15 pounds approximately. will this be ok, with
    the auto bellows?

    5) is a ballhead needed with auto bellows?

    I currently have the 45mm and 75mm shift lens along with auto extension tubes and prism finder.
    thanks and have a nice one
  2. Good luck, but remember that 1:1 or lifesize on a 6x7 camera means that the subject area is 56mm x 68mm big. You'll need almost twice the magnification to fill the frame than with a 35mm camera. It's far better and easier to stick to small formats for macro work.
    "5) is a ballhead needed with auto bellows?"​
    A ballhead is rarely ever needed, since most pan-tilt heads at a similar price point offer much better stability. ;-)
  3. Hi,
    Let me see if I can address some of your questions:

    1. The 105 is more or less the equivalent of a 60mm lens in 35mm terms, so the 135 will give a bit more working distance, although not all that much more.
    2. Whether you need flash for macro largely depends on what you're shooting and under which lighting conditions. The 1/30 sec synch may or may not be a problem depending on what you're shooting. If you're shooting live insects, then probably yes, if you're shooting anything other than that, then probably no.

    3. Bellows is useful if you're shooting at higher magnifications. It allows you to easily focus and vary your magnification. I don't know how difficult it is to find or how much it costs.
    4. Your tripod will be ok with autobellows.
    5. You don't need a ball head with bellows. I use a standard 3 way pan head, which I find to be a very good fit.
    Hope this helps. Good luck!
  4. The original Pentax67 macro lens is the 135mm f/4, which allows continuous focus to 1:2, half life-size. Your extension tubes will get it in further. The earliest version of this lens was introduced in 1971, optically the same as the later SMC Pentax 67 of 1989 which has the rubberized focusing ring. From tests it seems to be an excellent performer edge-to-edge at f/8 - f/22, best at f/16, with a symmetrical Heliar formula. MSRP is $1150.00

    Equivalent 35mm Focal Length: 66.6mm
    Angle Of View @ Infinity: 36 degrees
    Filter Size: 67mm
    Elements/Groups: 5/3 (Heliar/Dynar/Ektar)
    F-Stop Range: f/4 - 32 with 1/2 stop calibrations and stop-down preview feature; 8 aperture blades.
    Minimum Focus Distance: 0.75m (2.5 ft)
    Dimensions: 95 x 91.5mm (3.7 x 3.6") L x W
    Weight: 645g (22.8 oz)

    The 105mm f/2.4 lens is of course the "standard" lens for this camera, not a macro. The newer Macro is a 100mm f/4 introduced in March 1998, one of the most recent of P67 lenses.
    Equivalent 35mm Focal Length 48mm
    Angle of View @ Infinity 48°
    Filter Size 77mm (49mm on 1:1 adapter)
    Elements/Groups 6/4 (Life-Size Converter is 3/3)
    f/Stop Range f/4.0 - 32 with 1/2 stop calibrations and stop-down preview feature
    Minimum Focus Distance 0.44m (17.4”)- magnification = 1:2, with Life Size Converter - 0.314m (12.6") - magnification = 1:1.
    NOTE: Attaching the Life Size Converter requires unscrewing the front lens hood/filter ring. Once you have done this, attach the Converter and re-attach the lens hood/filter ring.
    Dimensions 77 x 92.5mm (3 x 3.7") (LxW)
    Weight 600g (21.2oz)
    If you shop for this lens, be careful that the Life Size Converter is included, as it seems to get "lost" in resales. I'll guess the owner sets the Converter aside as not often used, then forgets about it when it comes time to sell the lens. Later dredging through his accessories drawer he comes across this curious "magnifying glass"... Note that this Converter comes with a new lens in the box and is not a separate accessory!
  5. 2) Do we need flash[​IMG] for macro? Will the 1/30th sync speed of pentax 67ii be a problem for macro
    In principle flash is very useful for macro work. It stops motion, so can eliminate one source of blur.
    Against this, a maximum sync speed of 1/30 greatly limits the use of flash out of doors. The problem is that to get the benefits of flash most, ideally all, of the exposure has to come from flash, with little or no exposure from ambient light.
    By Sunny 16, with ISO 100 film correct exposure with ambient alone in broad daylight means f/16 @ 1/100, i.e., ~ f/32 @ 1/30. Putting ambient light two stops down then wants ~ f/64 effective @ 1/30. Effective aperture is aperture as set adjusted for magnification. And ideally you'd want to underexpose for ambient by at least three stops. In broad daylight with ISO 100 film and 1/30 this means f/96.
    The diffraction limit at f/64 is a little over 20 lp/mm at very low contrast. At f/96 it is around 15 lp/mm at very low contrast. In other words, why bother?
    If you're going to work with static subjects in rooms with lighting that can be turned way down then macro work at a low shutter speed is viable. But out-of-doors it just won't work well. I used to shoot flowers and such with an FM2n, flash and Kodachrome 25. The FM2n's top sync speed of 1/250 came in handy. When KM went away and I was stuck with ISO 100 E6 I gave up on flowers and insects and ... out-of-doors.
  6. I am looking at my 135/4 Super-Multi-Coated MACRO-TAKUMAR. It does not focus down to 1:2. By itself it goes to 1:3.5. I agree that the slow flash synch speed of the Pentax 6X7 makes using it with flash for macro work difficult. If I need to use flash with a medium format macro lens I can use my 100/4 Zenzanon on an ETR or ERTS. The leaf shutter in the lens will synch with flash up to 1/500. A Mamiya RB67 with the 140 macro will do the same up to 1/400.
  7. "I am looking at my 135/4 Super-Multi-Coated MACRO-TAKUMAR. It does not focus down to 1:2. By itself it goes to 1:3.5."
    Well, that's what I get for getting that spec spec somewhere and not checking for myself! I have the older Super-Multi-Coated Macro Takumar and it's marked down to 1:3.2. The 100mm Macro focus ring goes slightly past the 1:2 mark.
  8. Sanjay -
    Here's my opinion, experience...
    I've worked with the Pentax 6x7, 67 and 67II, using the 135 f/4 macro lens, along with the extension tubes and the autobellows, in the past. I've not used the 105 macro, but have wanted to use it. I now use a Pentax 645Z with this combination of lenses, extension tubes and bellows, but not frequently.
    I feel that these combinations of equipment are difficult to use - but you don't have a lot of choice if you've already made the choice to work with the Pentax 67 system. I find it very difficult to create photographs that have, what I believe to be, a desirable amount of sharpness/focus and are reasonably well lit.
    As you're aware, the Pentax 67II is a heavy beast of a camera body. It needs to be very securely mounted on a tripod that can handle its weight. The 135 macro is not a light lens, but it's not heavy, either. Working with this combination on a tripod is readily doable. Once you feel competent with this system, then start working with the extension tubes...
    Now, add in the extension tubes. The additional length of this combination means that any shake in the system is magnified - you need mirror up on the body, aperture set on your lens and a cable release (but, that's true for using just the lens alone). With the low amount of light that gets through the system, it's difficult to focus. In this situation, I typically use a lot of added, continuous light on the scene - it could be a flashlight, lightbulb and I've even used mirrors reflecting sunlight. With the advent of LED lighting, it's now easier to light the scene and not heat your subject (if that's critical).
    Finally, let's put the auto bellows into the mix. Yes, they can be found on eBay, every once in awhile. Expect to pay $300 to $500 US, I'm guessing. Now the whole system is even longer and more prone to shaking. I use a second tripod - one for the heavy camera body and one to support the bellows. Trying to move, manage and focus this system is difficult, as I hope that you can manage. And, getting enough light through the system so that you might be able to see to focus the lens or focus using the bellows' various tools is difficult. More continuous light is needed. In all of these approaches, it is very useful and possible to use a strobe/flash or more than one, with reflectors, but that 1/30th sync speed can be problematic because of all of the possible shake in the system - anchor the camera and bellow securely! :)
    I'm NOT trying to dissuade you, not at all. I AM trying to give you information so that you walk into this with your eyes wide open. ;) Based on what I know and what I've done in the past, I *know* that it's difficult and frustrating with a Pentax 67II because you don't see your results for a week or so. It's still difficult and frustrating with the 645Z, but at least I get immediate results and can figure out how to adjust by subject, focus and lighting. Even though I have the bellows, I use it only once every other year or so. I can usually get reasonable results with the 135 lens and the extension tubes. I say this mostly because I feel that I rarely get decent results adding in the bellows - there's just too much going on that I need to control and my abilities to control all of these variables haven't been sufficiently refined. If I shot a LOT with the bellows, I believe that I'd be better as I'd figure out to improve my lighting possibilities. For example, I do not own a ring flash and that would make a significant difference. By the same token, I'm usually using multiple flash units and reflectors, so my possibilities are close/similar, I'd like to think.
    I had a quick-turnaround job a couple of months ago where a possible client wanted a detailed macro image of an eye - especially the iris detail. It was very, very difficult. I added a LOT of light to my eye and my daughter's eye while trying to take these shots and it was hard not to blink. I couldn't really see well through the whole system to focus decently because of the low light levels. Every time I'd even lightly touch anything - the camera body, the lens, the bellows - it seemed that I'd mess something up. I must have taken a hundred shots and got five to ten that were decent, and none that were really satisfying to me or the client. HOWEVER, it was a really cool opportunity and I really enjoyed seeing the results. I was amazed at how much detail I could capture in the iris that I'd never noticed before - IT WAS SO COOL!!! :)
    I would LOVE to hear from someone else who has had better experiences with the bellows so that I might learn how to better use mine...
    Good luck,
  9. I have been doing macro work with the P67 since 1989 and have gone through many lenses in my quest to find the answer to macro work. DOF is always a concern with a 67. The 105-- just not enough DOF with its f/22 smallest stop. The 150- also not enough DOF. The 200 Pentax with its f/32 ability does really well. The 165LS (f/32) also does well in macro work. The 135 macro does well also but I like more working distance than it offers. But there will be times when f/45 is necessary. The 90-180 zoom is the answer for that situation. So, in the end, I use the 165LS when I only need f/32 DOF. For that extra depth, I use the 90-180, usually near the 180mm end. It is proven. I don't use the bellows at all so can't comment on that.
  10. thanks for all the replies .

    1) have manfrotto 490 which handles 25.6 lbs and arca swiss z-1.
    using arca swiss - should handle Pentax 67ii and lens .
    not feeling like investing in a pan-tilt head.

    out of curiousity, what is a good pan-tilt head which can handle this weight?

    2) I meant to say 100mm macro, not the 105mm. Is this good for non macro photography too?

    3) thanks for information on life size converter being included.

    4) I think I will defer the autobellows purchase for time being and take a call after I shoot more photos.

    5) what subjects would the 200mm ,165ls ,135 mm , 90-180 be good for ?
    I am also thinking of a portrait/people lens.

    6) will the 135mm be suitable for non-macro work?
  11. When Pentax upgraded their 135 Macro to the 100, I feel they went the wrong direction as far as focal length is concerned. I would have loved to see a 165 macro with f/45 capability. The working distance with the 100 macro is pretty small, though it can be used for many situations. Since you want to use your macro lens for portraits also, I would suggest using the 165LS for both. Using the 100 macro for head shots, you will be too close to the subject. Most of my macro work is with flowers, so take that fact into consideration. But if you can only have one lens for macro/portrait work, I suggest the 90-180 zoom over the 165LS.
  12. Thanks Steve. I am quite new to medium format - just shot two slide rolls so far. yet to get hang of f numbers and depth of field in medium format. had problem with camera and waiting return from keh after service.
    Do you have an online gallery that I could look at ?
    I have the 45mm and the 75mm shift - landscape and architecture. In 35mm, I have mostly zooms - 17-40 mm ( architecture , landscape) , 28 - 105mm (general , portraits), 100 - 300mm. Primes - I use 400mm for wildlife with extender , 100mm macro - not too often, 50mm - rarely used.
    I use the 105mm end of 28-105 mm to take close photos of sculpted panels in temples ( approximately 2-3 inches in height ). In this context, what do you suggest ?
    In Medium format - 6x7 what subjects would the 200 lens be useful for ? would 180mm be sufficient for insects?
  13. Here are a few of my shots--
    For those panels, you could use several different lenses, depending on the depth of field in those panels. You could use the 165LS or the 90-180 or the 200 Pentax with tubes. Those would be my first choices but the 135 would probably work also.
    The 200mm is useful for many macro subjects, due more from the ability to add tubes than the focal length itself. Its f/32 ability is helpful as well. I use mine for flowers and lizards. The 90-180 @ 180 is useful for insects if you added enough extension.
  14. I have the auto extension tube set. would that work with the 200? would the 200 be useful for insects ?
    If I were not looking at macro, what kind of subjects would the 165 LS , 90-180 and 200 be suitable for?
  15. The tube set will work with the 200mm. Yes, the 200 will work for insects.
    "If I were not looking at macro, what kind of subjects would the 165 LS , 90-180 and 200 be suitable for?"
    All of these are well suited for portrait and landscape work.
  16. 1) guess the 165 LS will be suitable for work with flash ?

    2) In 35mm, I shoot more of wildlife ( birds and animals. bird sanctuaries in proximity ). I also shoot
    nature (flowers , less of insects). I use a 400mm 5.6 lens with 1.4 extender.

    I was thinking of pentax 67 500mm in MF, but do not see many reviews on it. I am not sure if this lens is optically that good from the few reviews and whether 1.4 or 2x extender would be good for it . Carrying it around and the 10 frames might be a problem.

    any thoughts on optical quality of this lens?

    3) I also shoot architecture - monuments , older buildings, temples churches : exteriors,elevation , murals , paintings, intricate work

    4) I shoot a little bit of landscapes , when I can get subjects. Portraits - occassional pictures of my sisters kids and family.
    I am not much of a portrait shooter.
  17. 1.) The 165LS was designed for flash work primarily. I use mine for macro and landscape.
    2.) The 500mm is not very well corrected for color aberrations but can be used stopped down. You would have to stop down the lens to use a converter on it as well. Getting high magnification shots with the 67 is a challenge. I use the 600mm with a 1.4X converter for birds but if you have the money, the 400 EDIF with 1.4X converter is much easier to handle because it is a lot lighter. It is also incredibly well corrected for color, so putting a 1.4 or 2X converter on it near wide open is possible. The 800 EDIF is way expensive but an option as well.
  18. There are some good suggestions previously made. I shoot P67 in macro. I agree with the points made and use the 135mm - 200mm + a variety of extension tubes. Also I have a bellows which is a variable extension tube essentially. Occasionally I use flash including ringlite. The LS lenses really are useful in these situations. Frankly, I use smaller formats more for macro assuming the subjects are tiny-er! :)
  19. Hi, thanks for the response. I am not sure if I can handle the weight of 600 mm lens.
    1) On the getting high magnification shots with 67 being challenge- in what way do you think it is a challenge ? The 800 may be quite heavy, apart from being expensive. I am not sure what other equipment I would need to use it in terms of tripods , ballhead .
    2) The 500mm seems lighter than the 400 ,600 and 800. what f/stop does 500 need to be stopped down and with converter what f stop would I need?

    3) jeff, are you using the pentax auto bellow? is there a ringlite for pentax 67?

    I might have carried a maximum of 5 to 5.5 kg of equipment in camera backpack that is approx 11 pounds. My heaviest lens is 1.25 kg ~ 2.75 pounds. I will need to see how easy / difficult it will to be handle those lenses.
  20. Sanjay,
    Ring lights have a niche and many don't use them. Most units are usable & adaptable with lenses via specific rings like 58mm & 67mm etc. Mine is an AF160 and I use it more with 35mm film bodies & soon a new K3ii, but I have used it on P645/P67 lenses. Many independent flash makers have ring lights that may fit & work with the P67 lens collection. My useage is/was specific to commercial small parts photos. Bellows use = manual. The P67 auto bellows is cool -tried it, but cannot justify its cost. I use the P67 auto helicoid tube a lot & love it as a variable tube! It is way more convenient for me, and it was in my bag most of the time.
  21. 1.) High magnification with the 67 can be difficult due to, lens weight, shutter induced vibration and lens cost.
    2.) I don't own the 500mm but it was designed in an era where color correction in the marginal area of the optic was not well controlled. I would guess that stopping down to f/11 would eliminate nearly all color fringing when using a converter or when using the lens by itself. But you would have to experiment to know for sure. The 400 Takumar is way better corrected than the 600, even though they were both designed in the same era.
  22. I agree with you, Steve! Macro work in 6x7cm is considerably "more" in nearly every property I can think of. I used to make a considerable effort with setups & processing for 6x7cm, 4x5" capture of smaller objects. Then I would pickup my 35mm Konicas or Pentaxes and do the same shots as backups. Finally, I succumbed to smaller is easier! :) Although, 1 or 2 spectacular shots done on P67 or good rollfilm totally rock my world when properly displayed!
  23. Hmm, thanks. There are not many reviews on the 500mm on the net. I read a bit on auto bellows and one of user here said that there was a lot of light loss while using it. Is that true?
    I am wondering when auto bellows would be better and when the helicoid extension tube would be better
  24. The reason why I did not buy the 500 was that it had only 4 elements and I didn't feel that was enough to fully correct all aberrations.
    The bellows loses a lot of light because you are extending the focal length and in doing so, changes the focal ratio. The tubes are useful in lower magnification shots--- The bellows is for higher mag shots. There will not be many instances where you would have a choice between the two of them in one shot.
  25. Sanjay -
  26. Sanjay, I agree with Steve's summary of bellows vs tubes. Basically a bellows is a variable long tube. Greater magnifications are achieved easier with a bellows, but tubes are effective when traveling etc. I always seem to have one handy with my Hasselblad bag as I can get tighter portraits etc with the 250mm +1 short tube. Light compensation is minimal with the shorter tubes. The same is true with the helicoid. With P67ii, the meter will compensate for a tube. For the non-TL metering, one uses "math" or a defined table for compensation info. FYI, I have no experience with the telephotos past 300mm on P67 and cannot contribute much. If you are not sure about macro & want lowest cost startup, I would suggest trying an extension tube + normal lens combo and learn from there.
  27. Hi, thanks for the response. I already have the auto extension set of 3 from pentax. Will the helicoid be of any use, taking this into consideration and is there any advantage?
  28. The helicoid tube keeps you from having to change tubes constantly. I use mine more than the regular tubes. However, I do use the two types at the same time on occasion. The helicoid combined with the 90-180 zoom gives you even more flexibility due to the zoom ability.
  29. thanks a lot. I think I will stick to the existing auto extension tube set. happy new year guys
  30. got my camera back from service . going to keep shooting pictures and get a feel of the body and the 45mm , 75mm shift . The 75mm shift seems trickier - never used shift lens earlier.
    How do the 90-180 , 200mm and 165 LS compare optically with each other? I believe that the 90 -180 is quite good?
    Planning to slowly get one of the above and practise with auto extension. It should help me decide on bellows and helicoid
  31. The 200 Pentax and 165LS are the same design type and both are sharp. The 90-180 is very similar in performance but if I had to say which is better, I would say the 200/165. But you would not be disappointed in any of the three.
  32. thanks a ton

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