Macro in 8x10

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Hi:

I’ve slowly been getting used to the 8x10 workflow over the last year and a half, and am now comfortable enough to take on the next technical curiosity: still lifes and macro abstractions.

I suspect a lot of people will come out and say 8x10 is a poor choice for this type of work, but I’d be curious to explore what the technical realities would be. For example, what is the smallest object that can be enlarged to 8” on the film? What would the bellows draw need to be, or rather, what’s the smallest object or area that can be photographed with the length of my deardorff V8 bellows? What focal lengths and optics are recommended for best results? My other lenses are sironar s and apo-Ronars, so sharpness should be in the near neighborhood. Or does compounded diffraction at such long bellows draw make this impossible?

Any other general thoughts?

I have some 2” figs I’d love to split in half and photograph but I don’t know if this is fantasy in this format.

Jarin
 

AgX

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Macro-work actually is part of the routine of many 8x10 photographers.
As a head portrait already falls into the macro-range.
 

Lachlan Young

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Hi:

I’ve slowly been getting used to the 8x10 workflow over the last year and a half, and am now comfortable enough to take on the next technical curiosity: still lifes and macro abstractions.

I suspect a lot of people will come out and say 8x10 is a poor choice for this type of work, but I’d be curious to explore what the technical realities would be. For example, what is the smallest object that can be enlarged to 8” on the film? What would the bellows draw need to be, or rather, what’s the smallest object or area that can be photographed with the length of my deardorff V8 bellows? What focal lengths and optics are recommended for best results? My other lenses are sironar s and apo-Ronars, so sharpness should be in the near neighborhood. Or does compounded diffraction at such long bellows draw make this impossible?

Any other general thoughts?

I have some 2” figs I’d love to split in half and photograph but I don’t know if this is fantasy in this format.

Jarin

Don't be afraid to use shorter focal lengths - a 150mm Symmar (or shorter) might not come anywhere near coverage at infinity, but at 1:1 or beyond it'll do just fine. It's what the G-Claron's & similar lenses were designed for - and Apo-Ronars, Artars etc. Main thing is making sure that you can light your object without the camera getting in the way! From what I recall, diffraction at the necessary apertures tends to rather zero out the differences in 8x10 between dedicated close range corrected lenses & normal range lenses. If you're contact printing, this is obviously less of an issue than if you want to make razor sharp 30x40's!
 

Dan Fromm

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OP, this link http://www.largeformatphotography.i...to-look-for-information-on-LF-(mainly)-lenses will take you to a link -- it is in the first post -- to a list of links to information on, mainly, LF photography. The list has a section on books about closeup and photomacrography. Follow the link, buy one or two of the books -- Lefkowitz for sure, probably Gibson too -- and study them. Used copies are available inexpensively through on-line booksellers. You can find the booksellers on abebooks.com, alibris.com, amazon.com, bn.com, ...

You asked some apparently simple questions that want book length answers. Get the books, read the books.
 

ic-racer

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The smallest object that can be resolved will be limited by diffraction. Realistically something about 1 to 2 cm can be made sharp. The issue is small apertures on micro lenses below 25mm and the great magnification. The degree of diffraction is determined by the effective aperture and this gets smaller as magnification goes up.

Most people have a 50mm enlarging lens. Try and see. You should be able to image something about 40mm if you have 400mm of bellows draw. See if it works for you.
 
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J 3

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I've never tried it, but you should consider mounting the lens backwards like they do for 35mm macro work. It's often the case that wide angle lenses (relative to the working format size) work well for macro work because (I think) of all the corrections used to get them to focus correctly in the corners. Wide angle f/9 and f/11 reproduction lenses are the maybe best bet for something cheap. Like all macro work you'll be limited by depth of field but at least you have camera movements. Your photos will probably end up diffraction limited with higher f-stops trying to get sufficient depth of field. Combined with lighting challenges your looking at long exposures and potentially reciprocity issues. Strobes could help. Camera / subject shake become major issues with such small subjects and high magnifications. Hope to see your macro work on the board.
 

AgX

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Some universal-use LF lenses are near synmmetrically built, like the old Symmar versions. Twisting these likely has not much benefit.
 

J 3

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Some universal-use LF lenses are near synmmetrically built, like the old Symmar versions. Twisting these likely has not much benefit.
True and a good point. When a lens is listed as symmetrical they usually mean that the rear elements correct the distortions of the front group but there are a lot more actually geometrically symmetrical lenses in the large format world than there are in 35mm as you suggest. Embarrassingly the high f-stop repo lenses I mentioned are the most likely ones to be truly symmetrical. I guess you have to take it on a case by case basis. Thanks for correcting my oversight.
 

Daire Quinlan

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In theory, given that macro is technically anything imaged at 1:1 on the film plane, there's a lot of leeway with 8x10 :-D These are some macros I've made, 300 mm process lens, 600mm draw, it gets unwieldy. Imaging even smaller subjects would get pretty awkward pretty quickly I'd imagine.



 
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I think what I might do is save up for a macro apo sironar 180mm. At around full draw on my camera (31”/787mm), this should achieve nearly the 4:1 enlargement I am after while not crushing the camera as close as a 120mm.

At 4:1, what is the diffraction equivalent/conversion to “normal” photography? If I usually try to limit myself to f/45 or less, what is the equivalent at this scale? If I am working at 5x the normal bellows draw, does that translate to a 5 stop diffraction equivalent, ie: f/8 = f/45 level diffraction?

J
 

Dan Fromm

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Jarin, get the books I recommended. Read the books. You'll learn more that way than by asking random questions and getting random answers.

The magic formulas you need are:

effective aperture = aperture (f/ number) set * (magnification + 1). Example. f/22 set @ 1:1 is f/45 effective.

diffraction limit is approximately 1500/effective aperture.
 

Lachlan Young

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I think what I might do is save up for a macro apo sironar 180mm. At around full draw on my camera (31”/787mm), this should achieve nearly the 4:1 enlargement I am after while not crushing the camera as close as a 120mm.

At 4:1, what is the diffraction equivalent/conversion to “normal” photography? If I usually try to limit myself to f/45 or less, what is the equivalent at this scale? If I am working at 5x the normal bellows draw, does that translate to a 5 stop diffraction equivalent, ie: f/8 = f/45 level diffraction?

J

Rediscovered this Howard Bond article a few days ago on macro 8x10 - it might answer some of your questions both about diffraction & lens choices
 
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Jarin Blaschke
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Jarin, get the books I recommended. Read the books. You'll learn more that way than by asking random questions and getting random answers.

The magic formulas you need are:

effective aperture = aperture (f/ number) set * (magnification + 1). Example. f/22 set @ 1:1 is f/45 effective.

diffraction limit is approximately 1500/effective aperture.

Yes, I will have to look into these, although I feel like with this basic starter information, i’d Be ready to start accumulating information through practice, ie when prints start to look soft to me personally at which apertures, etc.

Thank you for these formulas. So apparently f/11 on the lens will equate to f/55 as far as diffraction and exposure (T stop). I’ve seen the other formula before, I believe to calculate lp/mm in regards to diffraction limit?

J
 

jim10219

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I've heard of a technique for large format macro that uses a dark room, a sliver of light, and a table on a track. The idea is kind of like focus stacking for digital photography, only instead of shifting the focus of the camera and recombining the image in software, you keep the camera's focus fixed, light only the area in focus, and drag the subject through the slit of light. Apparently it works best with lasers instead of regular light. That way your only exposing the film to the subject while it is in focus. I've never tried it and never seen it done, so I'm not sure if I have all of the details right.
 

Mr Bill

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I've heard of a technique for large format macro that uses a dark room, a sliver of light, and a table on a track. The idea is kind of like focus stacking for digital photography, only instead of shifting the focus of the camera and recombining the image in software, you keep the camera's focus fixed, light only the area in focus, and drag the subject through the slit of light. Apparently it works best with lasers instead of regular light. That way your only exposing the film to the subject while it is in focus. I've never tried it and never seen it done, so I'm not sure if I have all of the details right.

Yep, sounds about right except for the laser part, I think. And it doesn't have to be large format. I first read about it in an older issue of Kodak Tech-Bits, a sort of scientific publication that was not too well known. It's been on my list of things to try out someday when I get ambitious enough.

In the article, as I recall, the author used a slide projector(s) with a narrow slit of some sort for the slide. The slit is projected so as to be perpendicular to the lens axis, so that no matter what part of the subject the light beam strikes it will be in the focus plane. I vaguely recall a macro shot of a beetle used as an example - it was crisply sharp from front to back. (Obviously the subject cannot be alive, or at least must be immobile.)
 

Dan Fromm

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Yes, I will have to look into these, although I feel like with this basic starter information, i’d Be ready to start accumulating information through practice, ie when prints start to look soft to me personally at which apertures, etc.

Thank you for these formulas. So apparently f/11 on the lens will equate to f/55 as far as diffraction and exposure (T stop). I’ve seen the other formula before, I believe to calculate lp/mm in regards to diffraction limit?

J
Jarin, there's no substitute for book larnin'. Buy the books and read them.
 

jim10219

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Yep, sounds about right except for the laser part, I think. And it doesn't have to be large format. I first read about it in an older issue of Kodak Tech-Bits, a sort of scientific publication that was not too well known. It's been on my list of things to try out someday when I get ambitious enough.

In the article, as I recall, the author used a slide projector(s) with a narrow slit of some sort for the slide. The slit is projected so as to be perpendicular to the lens axis, so that no matter what part of the subject the light beam strikes it will be in the focus plane. I vaguely recall a macro shot of a beetle used as an example - it was crisply sharp from front to back. (Obviously the subject cannot be alive, or at least must be immobile.)
That's right! I seem to remember that too now. I think in the article I read, they had three projectors (maybe?), one at top and one on each side. I believe they used them to culminate the light, so that it didn't spread out so much after the slit. They didn't use the lasers for that article, but I thought I read somewhere that scientists would sometimes use them, as the light from a laser won't spread out hardly at all. But then again, it could have been because they were scientists, and lasers were easier to come by than projectors. A laser would be a terrible choice for color photography, and depending on the color of laser, it may not be a great choice for black and white. So it's probably more complicated than it's worth.

You might could use a condenser enlarger head too. They culminate the light, much like a projector.
 

Mr Bill

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You might could use a condenser enlarger head too [as light source for slit scan macro photography]. They culminate the light, much like a projector.

Yep, this is the method I was planning to use; perhaps a couple of them. For the tracking motion, probably a cheap drill press vice with 2-axis movements ("dovetail" guides, and driven by a screw). I'm sure I would have done it by now if I had a severe interest in insects, or whatever, which I don't. So it's been on the back burner in my head for 20 or 30 years or so.
 

E. von Hoegh

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You asked some apparently simple questions that want book length answers. Get the books, read the books.
Perfectly said.
Thirty odd years ago I wanted to become proficient with camera movements, the tools available were a Deardorff V8 and a 300mm Symmar, (the prewar Dagor type). I had reference books, a good deal of cheap film, and patience, but not a lot of room so I did tabletop stuff - some of it was macro, I photographed a lot of small tools, files (very fine detail) etc and some was larger than 1:1, kind of a challenge with 300mm on eighty square inches of film.
 

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Perhaps close up diopters are an option. At one point I had a Wollensak Optar 135mm for 4x5 and ended up with some old Kodak diopters (called "Portra" filters) that fit the series VII adaptor, so I tried them out. The diopters tend to shorten the focal length. Here's an example with the +1 diopter (not full frame, about 1/4 of the frame). I imagine for something as small as a fig with the long focal lengths for 8x10 you would need to cascade several strong diopters and would probably want more expensive multi-element corrected versions.

Orchid Macro by Howard Sandler, on Flickr
 

jim10219

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Yep, this is the method I was planning to use; perhaps a couple of them. For the tracking motion, probably a cheap drill press vice with 2-axis movements ("dovetail" guides, and driven by a screw). I'm sure I would have done it by now if I had a severe interest in insects, or whatever, which I don't. So it's been on the back burner in my head for 20 or 30 years or so.
It's only been on my back burner for about a year now, so I'm at least 19 years away from attempting it!
 
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