Nikon Bellows

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Matt Clara, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. Matt Clara

    Matt Clara Guest

    There's been some talk of Nikon bellow units here as of late, raising my
    interest in them, but I'm not sure of the exact differences between the
    units, and which are "best". All I want to do is some macro work for now,
    but I might be interested in slide copying eventually. Also, I realize the
    PB-4 has swings and tilts, but how effective a tool is it for architectural

    Here are all the facts I have found so far:

    Bellows II - (re-modeled rangefinder bellows for Nikon F)
    PB-3 - (round bellows rather than square)
    PB-4 - dual, twin rail frame (built-in focusing rail), independent movement
    of body or lens standard, swing and shift of lens standard. Body standard
    allows for horiz. or vert. shooting posistion. Needs BR-4 ring and AR-4 or
    AR-7 double cable release* to get semi-automatic diaphragm action, and BR-2
    ring to shoot with lenses reversed.
    PB-5 - Simplified PB-4. Single twin-rail frame, no focusing rail -- tripod
    mounts at front and rear of unit. Horiz. or vert. shooting. Needs BR-4 ring
    and AR-4 or AR-7 double cable release* to get semi-automatic diaphragm
    action, and BR-2 ring to shoot with lenses reversed.
    PB-6 - Double dovetail rail, independent movement of body or lens standard,
    built-in focusing rail. Built-in semi-auto. diaphragm ring - still needs a
    double cable release for semi-auto diaphragm action. (But you don't need to
    buy a BR-4 ring, the lens standard reverses, eliminating the need to buy a
    BR-2 reversing ring to shoot with a lens reversed.)

    The PB-5 is readily available for around $100 (that I've seen), but it seems
    to be missing some features many of the others possess.

    Matt Clara, Jan 27, 2004
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  2. Not useful at all - unless you count photographing tabletop
    models as architectural. Architectural subjects are in the infinity
    range, and the bellows only allow focusing to infinity with
    special bellows lenses (such as the old Nikkor 4/105 bellows
    lens) and even than only for forcal lengths starting with 100mm
    because the bellows has a certain minimum extension.
    With these focal lengths shift effects are limited.

    For tabletop and macro work, the tilt is very useful,
    and less expensive than the 2.8/85 PC Nikkor.

    If you need the tilt/shift feature get the PB-4.
    Otherwise I'd go for the PB-6. If you really want
    an automatic diaphragm, I'd check out the Novoflex
    bellows, which does not require the special cable
    release (unless the lens is reversed).

    Christoph Breitkopf, Jan 27, 2004
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  3. I use a PB-4 with an F4 and an old Ftn. Because of the battery "bump" on
    the grip side of the F4, I use a small extension tube on the camera to mate
    to the bellows so that the mount will clear the body. I do not use the semi
    auto aperture adapter, but TTL metering stopped down works fine for me. The
    setup isn't useful for architectural work at all, but since the depth of
    field can be very shallow in macro work, the feature is useful in macro to
    get some objects in focus. The best feature (for me) is the double rail
    system - one set controls magnification, the other focus. With a single set
    of rails like other units use, it can be a real challenge to get both the
    degree of magnification and focus desire. It involves moving the camera and
    the lens simultaneously, and almost requires a copy stand or similar to
    achieve good results. I just use my tripod and a PB-4. The double rails
    allow for a good range of fine adjustment.
    Pieter Litchfield, Jan 28, 2004
  4. Matt Clara

    Rudy Garcia Guest

    The PB-4 swings and tilts are not very useful (with 35mm lenses) due to
    the very limited coverage circle of the lenses.

    The PB-6 is the best of the bunch. It was designed by Nikon to be a
    "system" bellows to which you can add almost anything in the bellows

    In my opinion the PB-6 is it.
    Rudy Garcia, Jan 30, 2004
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