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Supporting bellows with heavy lenses?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:26 am    Post subject: Supporting bellows with heavy lenses? Reply with quote

I've never owned a bellows before, but before I buy one, I have a question:
How do you support a heavy lens, and the bellows, and the camera, at the same time? Question

Usually, if you have a heavy lens, it comes with a tripod mount and you let the camera body "hang" from the lens. It is assumed that the lens mount is strong enough to hold the weight of the camera body.

It appears as though most bellows units also have tripod mounts - meaning that with a light weight lens, you can mount the bellows on the tripod and again the camera body is fine holding on by the mount.

But what do you do if the lens is heavy, and has its own tripod mount? Question Do you still put the lens on the tripod, and let the bellows AND camera body hang off of the lens? Question


PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could try something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Bogen-Manfrotto-Telephoto-Lens-Support/dp/B0000AE669


PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Want to use 4.5/500 on bellows? Me too! Laughing

Length of 0.25" x 1" (or 0.5cm x 25mm) wide aluminum bar stock with 1/4-20 hole for tripod mount, three 1/4-20 bolts poking through for mounting lens, bellows, & camera; tripod hole(s) positioned to balance rig(s).


PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Close - a 4/356. Wink

Thanks for the suggestions, but the problem I'm seeing with both is that the three pieces have to move against each other when adjusting the bellows... so assuming that the camera body hangs, you still end up with two heavy parts, each with a tripod mount, that need to be free to move towards or away from each other.

It almost seems like you need a big rails system - sort of like the bellows tracks themselves, but free sliding?


PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think my bellows is strong enough, if tripod mount is moved under the lens board, to support camera at full extension on the other end. Then bar stock mounts on tripod with lens & bellows mounted on top. Front of lens is stationary during focus.

The rails idea is interesting; I recently looked at cnc rails thinking they would make good rails for a 16x20" camera Very Happy


PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:49 am    Post subject: Re: Supporting bellows with heavy lenses? Reply with quote

Scheimpflug wrote:
I've never owned a bellows before, but before I buy one, I have a question:
How do you support a heavy lens, and the bellows, and the camera, at the same time? Question

Usually, if you have a heavy lens, it comes with a tripod mount and you let the camera body "hang" from the lens. It is assumed that the lens mount is strong enough to hold the weight of the camera body.

It appears as though most bellows units also have tripod mounts - meaning that with a light weight lens, you can mount the bellows on the tripod and again the camera body is fine holding on by the mount.

But what do you do if the lens is heavy, and has its own tripod mount? Question Do you still put the lens on the tripod, and let the bellows AND camera body hang off of the lens? Question


Are you speaking of an SLR with an extension bellows or a large format camera?


PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:19 am    Post subject: Re: Supporting bellows with heavy lenses? Reply with quote

lulalake wrote:
Are you speaking of an SLR with an extension bellows or a large format camera?


Sorry, I should have specified - SLR.


PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Supporting bellows with heavy lenses? Reply with quote

Scheimpflug wrote:
lulalake wrote:
Are you speaking of an SLR with an extension bellows or a large format camera?


Sorry, I should have specified - SLR.


I have a couple of them. They are built on a metal frame. Go to ebay and search "Pentax Bellows" and there are a bunch for sale with pics which will explain far better than I could.

Jules


PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:18 am    Post subject: Re: Supporting bellows with heavy lenses? Reply with quote

lulalake wrote:
I have a couple of them. They are built on a metal frame. Go to ebay and search "Pentax Bellows" and there are a bunch for sale with pics which will explain far better than I could.

Jules


Thanks, but I'm still not quite seeing how they are different? Is this the sort of one you were thinking of? Click here to see on Ebay

The part I'm having trouble with is how you support the assembly, when you have a lens that is too heavy to hang from its lens mount. So it would seem as though you would need a bellows which has three mounts on the rails- one for the camera side, one for the lens side, and one for the lens mount.


Here's a quick drawing:


..and the breakdown of the tripod mounting points:
A- Camera Body - Not necessary, since the camera can hang by its lens mount
B- Bellows Endpiece (camera side)- Seems like every bellows set has a mount here, even the cheap ones
C- Bellows rails - It seems like only the larger bellows sets have a mount here
D- Bellows Endpiece (lens side) - Seems like *some* bellows have a mount here, but not all, and it isn't necessarily size related...
E- Heavy lens - This is the tripod mount which needs support, as the lens is too heavy to hang by just its lens mount
F- Bellows rail extension - This is a hypothetical mount location which would seem to be the only real option for supporting the lens... I haven't seen any bellows setups that have this...


Does that help describe what I'm thinking? I could build something or have something custom made, but the costs would likely be well in excess of my hobby budget. I'm just surprised that this issue is so rare? I've done a fair amount of searching, and can't find that anyone else has faced it...


PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm following this thread closely. I'm looking to do the same thing, except my lens will be a Spiratone 400mm f6.3. Depending on how it does
I might also add tubes.


PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recall EMO of Wetzlar had produced such a support in the past, it was kind of a long bar offering sliding ability to at least one of the mounting points (i.e. for the bellows mount in this case).
I've only seen one sample of this product, listed for sale a long time ago, it's not in the current EMO products list anymore.
I guess a good alternative would be to use the rail bits from a large format (view) camera together with accesory (or custom-made) mounting blocks.


PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Scheimpflug


Quote:

Thanks, but I'm still not quite seeing how they are different? Is this the sort of one you were thinking of? Click here to see on Ebay


It says removed from ebay.
Is it the same thing from the picture you have posted?
Should be interesting to get one and attach this lens for macro Smile



PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

std wrote:
It says removed from ebay.
Is it the same thing from the picture you have posted?
Should be interesting to get one and attach this lens for macro Smile


Whoa... nope, mine was an auction for some generic Pentax bellows. I was trying to find the ones that lulalake was referring to.

But what is that monster of a lens that you posted?? I wouldn't mind one of those either! Very Happy


PostPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's a tele for Salyut medium format camera.

Tair-3 (300/5.6) decent tele from late 50-ies - the times when the Soviets were thinking they can compete the western market.

Optically maybe nothing special but mechanically looks like real.


PostPosted: Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

walter g wrote:
I'm following this thread closely. I'm looking to do the same thing, except my lens will be a Spiratone 400mm f6.3. Depending on how it does I might also add tubes.


So I've thought about this a bit more, and I've come to the following conclusions:

  • siriusdogstar is right, you can simplify the bracing by leaving the front of the bellows stationary while focusing, and having the camera and back half of the bellows move. How you do this would depend on your bellows:
    • If you have a large set of bellows with an independent tripod mount ('C') and/or a lens endpiece mount ('D'), you could make a bracket to support the lens ('E') off of this, with the tripod mounting to the bracket. It would also require that the bellows has the capability to move the camera endpiece ('B') independently of the bellows rail(s), something that only seems to be the case for larger bellows units.
    • If you have a smaller bellows set, which is lacking the required mounts ('C' or 'D'), or has a fixed camera endpiece ('A'), you will have to "reverse" the bellows so that the lens mounts to the camera end, and the camera mounts to the lens end. This is not a new concept, as the "focus stacking" crowd also have a need for re-focusing without moving the lens. You can find an example of one such conversion here:
      http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=29118#29118
      (Note that some machining will be required, but not quite to the extent of their conversion.)

  • If a stationary camera body is desired, then there is little choice but to have two moving points. A stationary camera body would definitely be helpful when focusing, as you wouldn't have to keep moving your head and refocusing your eye on the viewfinder screen. Wink For this setup, there seems to be two options:
    • Have three mounts on a long common rail (or rails), such as in my illustration, with the lens mount point 'F' being a free sliding mount. SVP hints that this may have been commercially available at one point, and siriusdogstar is right that you could probably have a rig like this custom built to your specifications. This will certainly end up with the strongest, most versatile, and probably most compact & lightest end result of the full-support options... however, I expect it would be prohibitively expensive. Neutral
    • Use a standard bellows, anchored to a long intermediate support piece, and create a "separate" sliding mount for the lens. The best idea I have for this is to use a commonly available linear "Macro Focusing Rail", with the focusing knobs/gears/cogs/etc. removed to permit free sliding movement. This would probably be the cheapest of the DIY solutions, but also one of the bulkiest. It also doesn't guarantee that the two sliders (bellows and focusing rail) are collinear, so there is a possibility of binding, or even *adding* stress to the lens mount if not careful!

  • Finally, there is a third category, which had not occurred to me before. The concept is simple- instead of buying a heavy and well supported bellows unit, you could instead go to the opposite extreme - buy the smallest and lightest bellows unit possible, then allow the full bellows plus the camera body to hang off of the lens mount. The heavy lens would therefore be the only part supported by the tripod. This setup would be the simplest and cheapest for sure, as well as the lightest and most compact... but with the downsides being that you have a bit more weight on the mount of the lens, much less stability in the bellows, a shorter maximum extension, and a camera body that moves when focusing.



Hope this helps anyone else considering this setup. Cool Let me know if I can clarify anything I wrote above.