I used bellows for the first time today – a bizarre-looking Heath Robinsonish contraption, but they worked. The camera was a modern dSLR, the lens a standard Olympus OM-mount 50mm, and the bellows unit emerged from a Soviet factory sometime in the 1970s. (It still has the factory inspector’s slip, signed in Cyrillic…)

These photographs were all taken in natural light with the bellows extended to around 350mm; I haven’t yet calculated the effective magnification, but from counting threads, my best estimate is that the field of view is on the order of 8mm across. The main problem was successful focusing – even at f/8 or f/11, the depth of field is still very low, and it’s possible to watch the area in focus travel up and down a surface as you move the lens.

These are all “horizontal” shots, with the item held up vertically in front of the lens – the bellows is set up for a tripod mounting, but it’s a very light tripod and the camera doesn’t lock on the mount firmly, so there’s a good bit of vibration in the system. Next time with mirror lock…


The rear of a cork-based tablemat.


Cotton weave on a (very worn) teatowel.


The tip of a pair of nail-scissors.

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