The manufacturers of the Pentacon Six went to great trouble to facilitate macro photography – the recording on film of very small objects at image scales up to greater than 2× life size on the film. They produced bellows and two principal types of close-up tubes:
macro in this age of scanners?
Scanners are fine for:
In macro photography, depth of field is usually very small, sometimes tiny. Even finding the object in the viewfinder can at times be difficult. It is therefore necessary to work with a good tripod or a copying stand, preferably with a focussing slide (scroll down).
Methodical working is essential, and the
taking of detailed notes will pay dividends in
subsequent sessions. There is a lot of extremely
helpful information on this website that can save you
time – for instance, by telling you at what distance
from your subject you will need to work with different
lenses and bellows extensions or combinations of tubes.
New information and examples, April
Factors affecting exposure times in macro photography
As well as the amount of light
illuminating the subject, two other factors affect
exposure times in macro photography:
Naturally, all normal light sources can be used:
Studio lighting has the advantage of giving you more control of the direction of the lighting, to improve modelling and increase or decrease contrast, and you may be able to adjust the brightness, by one of three methods:
Using flash for macro photography can
allow very small apertures (where the slow sync speed of
the Pentacon Six will not be a problem).
For macro flash photography, you are better off using a lens with a fully-automatic diaphragm pin (most Pentacon Six lenses), instead of a macro lens, where it is necessary to stop down the lens manually before firing the shutter. With wildlife, the appearance of your hand in front of your camera (to adjust the aperture) may startle your subject and lose you the shot.
on suitable lenses
While any lens with a Pentacon Six mount
will fit onto the bellows or tubes, not every lens is
suitable for macro work or for use with long tubes or a
large bellows extension.
(Fuji NPS160, Berlebach tripod, Arca-Swiss B1-G head, cable release, 16 sec f/22)
Image resolution is excellent – but some vignetting and the shadow of the aperture pin lever is the result.
To be fair to the camera and the lens, I have (as often on this website) scanned beyond the frame area, in order to show as much of the lever shadow as possible. In prints (or mounted slides), the black at the top of the image would not be visible, the black at the bottom of the image would only just be visible at the very bottom of the image, and the vignetting and the lever shadow would be a lot less.
|Further, the shadow of the lever can be greatly reduced, and probably eliminated, by folding back the aperture pin lever, which is not needed if one is using a manual lens, such as this one.|
Tubes with an extension of 112.5mm, Tair-33 lens, cable release, 4 sec f/11
|This perhaps a case of exaggerating to
prove a point. Even without folding back the
aperture pin lever, if the Tair is used with just some of
the German tubes – in the example on the left here, the
60mm, 30mm and 22.5mm tubes – the macro possibilities are
substantial, vignetting is a lot less, and the shadow of
the aperture pin lever is only just visible at the edge of
the frame. With a minor vertical crop, all these
effects would disappear. Of course, it is preferable
to have the whole of the frame usable, and
this is where knowing one’s equipment is important.
In reality, using the otherwise excellent Tair lens for
macro work goes against the design specifications of the
lens and the camera.
The 80mm Biometar is recommended for most macro work, possibly mounted in reverse. For greater camera-to-subject distance, the 120mm Biometar is also excellent.
Of course, as lenses are moved further from the camera, for instance, on bellows or extension tubes, they project a larger image circle. The consequence of this is that even lenses designed for coverage of 35mm format (24mm × 36mm) are likely to give complete coverage of the larger “6×6” or 2¼" square format when used on bellows or extension tubes. (“6×6” has been defined by Hasselblad as in fact 54mm × 54mm. See details here.) Enlarger lenses can be particularly good in this regard, and in fact the Macro Componons appear to be precisely that.
The Novoflex bellows offer interchangeable mounts, so with a Pentacon Six mount on the back and the mount of your choice on the front, it is easy to use other lenses for macro work on the Pentacon Six.
Alternatively, companies such as SRB-Griturn of Dunstable, England, can supply or even make suitable mounts.
The 80mm Arsat lens has also been recommened, especially mounted reversed on the bellows or tubes. Arsenal made a 62mm-Pentacon Six reversing ring for this purpose. It can be seen here.
There exist at least two other options for macro photography:
Reversing rings are available with two filter threads on them, for mounting two lenses front-to-front (either with the same or different filter threads). The 250mm f/5.6 Telear/Arsat lens has the same filter size as the 80mm Volna/Arsat: 62mm. If you use a 150mm lens or the 180mm Sonnar on the camera, you will need a larger filter thread for the longer lens. Again, SRB would be a good source for such a reversing ring.
This set of close-up filters comes in powers of +1, +2 and +4 diopters, which used individually or in combination give all values from +1 to +7. This set also includes a much more powerful close-up filter, labelled “MACRO” (here mounted on the lens).
You can see the effect of using these diopter filters here.
accessories for macro and micro photography
For close-up photography, Pentacon recommended two special focussing screens (called “field lenses” in their literature):
Macro photography is one area where a mirror pre-release can be helpful. To find out more information on this, click here.
To read about the Schneider macro lenses for the Exakta 66 (and the Pentacon Six!), click here.
It can be very helpful to avoid stray light getting into the viewfinder when shooting in macro, as this can make it difficult to view the object clearly. This can be resolved by using the viewfinder eye cup.
Links to other
macro sections on this website
3. Viewing aids
video on how to use the Pentacon Six bellows can be seen
The Pentacon Six bellows
© TRA January 2006
Latest revision: October 2019