Macro work with Bellows

paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
edited April 2015 in Nikon DSLR cameras
We read lots of information regarding macro lenses and which one to use, however, how many members still use bellows and of course a lens, not necessarily a macro lens to get images. Since Nikon seem to have lost interest in making bellows for their cameras, last one being the PB-6. Is this becoming a lost form of Macro Photography.

Macro work with Nikon Bellows
Nikon D810 PB-6 Bellows Nikon 105 Bellows lens

Image of a very small Tomato plant just starting to grow.
Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits


  • tganiatstganiats Posts: 131Member
    Decades ago (pre-my Nikon days) I used a bellows, but lately I haven't had one, so I use extension tubes. They are very nice, just not as convenient as bellows...but more portable, less bulky, and a whole lot less expensive.

    I look forward to reading what others think.

    Inside a white rose, 20 mm extension
  • tganiatstganiats Posts: 131Member
    edited April 2015
    Sorry for small to Flickr works, though

    Post edited by tganiats on
  • tganiatstganiats Posts: 131Member
    Another thought/question. My understanding is that bellows all require manual exposure, where extension tubes can be automatic. Depends on your preference, but for me that is an advantage. Is that a limitation of bellows?

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,545Moderator
    For me the biggest shortcoming of bellows is the huge light loss along them.
    Always learning.
  • funtagraphfuntagraph Posts: 265Member
    That light loss is the same with extension rings - or were you talking about extensions in general?

    My only experience with bellows is large format. When I tried a bellows for 135 I found it somehow flimsy although I like the results. Maybe I should try one day.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Spraynpray said, " For me the biggest shortcoming of bellows is the lights loss along them".

    Here is the solution.

    FotoDiox Ring lamp for Macro work
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 5,751Member
    Yup, the ring lights address that short coming. I purchased an inexpensive ring light late last year and it works well with my macro lens.

    I wonder if the bellows went the way of a lot of tools because of the complexity and lack of time to become an expert. A macro lens was so much easier to use...remembering from many many years ago. LoL
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • ThomasHortonThomasHorton Posts: 323Member
    You can still get a good quality Pentax bellows and a nice reversible enlarger lens for not a lot of bucks.

    I think my entire macro bellows was under $250 and I could have gotten it cheaper if I were not in such a hurry.
    Gear: Camera obscura with an optical device which transmits and refracts light.
  • NoXiNNoXiN Posts: 123Member
    Before I switched to Nikon I had a nice bellow that was affordable and had a two cable release so it would actuate the shutter and stop down the aperture to get the right exposure. I look at the cost of a used PB-6 and feel it's pretty steep for how much I would use it. I'm still considering one of the cheap alternatives.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Taking bellows to the extreme.
    Fotodiox 411 with Macro Capabilities
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,398Moderator

    Difficult to see, but I can assume the lens is mounted in reverse, front element toward sensor?
    Msmoto, mod
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Msmoto Actually no, It's the Nikon 105 F4 Bellows lens, the bellows has the PB-6E extension coupled to it and at that tine a Nikon 1 series camera, now sold
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
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