View Full Version : Photographers, a macro question.

Loose rivets
20th Jan 2014, 06:46
On the Seiko web site, they have some stunning macro photography. I can't invest much in hobbies right now, but I wondered if I could adapt my beautiful Pentax Spotmatic 1:1.4 lens via a M42 macro adapter.

I don't care about the automation, just the nearness and the quality. Any advice?

Topic: Main plate repair - Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers (http://www.seiko7a38.com/apps/forums/topics/show/11822640-main-plate-repair)

Better still

Topic: We're going in ........ deep inside the 7Axx - Seiko 7A38 - by the numbers (http://www.seiko7a38.com/apps/forums/topics/show/7709682-we-re-going-in-deep-inside-the-7axx)

20th Jan 2014, 07:12
I can't offer much in the way of advice of converting your camera, but for good macro shots you'd better have a technique or the results will be less than pleasing (out of focus/blurred etc). The modern cameras of today can accomplish a great many things, especially with auto-focus and image stabilisation, yet if the shot hasn't been thought about with regards to light/indoors/outdoors/handshake it will negate said technical wizardry.


20th Jan 2014, 07:26
In the absence of any more info, the answer is "yes". Since you say "spotmatic" we're talking old kit, so I guess you have the Takumar 50 mm. Check the top pic SMC/S-M-C/Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 Reviews - M42 Screwmount Normal Primes - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database (http://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-S-M-C-Super-Takumar-50mm-F1.4.html).

Windy Militant
20th Jan 2014, 12:30
Not sure if the M42 adaptor will work but you can get "filter lenses" which will thread onto the existing lens if it has a filter thread on it. We use close up sets with X1 X2 and X4 lenses which can be combined to give some good results.
We also We use Leica Mono zoom and Navitar close up lenses on our kit. The Navitar lens will, with all the amplifier lenses go down to just over a micron resolution so really needs to be stable.
For this kind of work you need to have a decent tripod preferably with a rack and pinion adjuster on the centre post and a focus rail at least. If not it's impossible to get the camera to the proper focus distance and keep it steady enough to take a decent image.
We also use Fibre Optic lights to be able to get enough illumination on the target without melting the lens or setting fire to stuff. ;)

20th Jan 2014, 13:00
That's very old kit you have there, but you should be able to find a simple set of extension tubes, or a bellows; either one will enable you to do macro shots. Have a look at websites or else ask at a shop selling used camera equipment.

I am sure you will be happy with the quality of the shots after a little bit of practice.

The Spotmatic uses stop-down metering anyway, I think, so that should not be a problem. Otherwise, just stop down to set exposure; set the lens on 1.4 to compose and focus and then close it all the way down to 16 or whatever the biggest number is to measure the exposure and take the shot.

You will need a good tripod because you will want to stop the lens fully down to achieve good depth of field. Then, camera motion becomes a problem due to the slow shutter speed, hence the use of a tripod to hold the camera steady. I don't think the Spotmatic has it, but using "mirror lock-up" is another way to minimize camera motion, along with using a cable release instead of pushing the shutter release by hand.

You might want to read up on "reciprocity failure" because that can cause problems at longer exposures, depending. If you find that your shots are under-exposed, that might be the problem, not the camera's light meter. You can probably find "reciprocity tables" by going on-line to the film manufacturer's website.

"Slow" film (small ASA numbers) will give better detail than "fast" film (big ASA numbers), all else being equal, and you will probably want film that is color-balanced for artificial light, what you will need to use.

A useful trick to keep the subject perpendicular to the lens, to look at it "flat" so to speak, so that the subject is at about the same distance from the lens at all points; that will help when you have low depth of field.

20th Jan 2014, 13:51
in addition to chuks' point you should use one of these...


chuks, ASA? They still use the ASA moniker? I thought we went to some new, international ISO thingy. Now a DIN number, there is nostalgia...

A A Gruntpuddock
20th Jan 2014, 14:45
The main ways of doing it are -

1. buy another lens with macro capabilities

2. reverse the lens and screw it back on with a reversing ring

3. put a set of extension (preferably automatic) rings between the lens and camera

4. put a bellows between the lens & camera

5. put a bellows between the lens & camera but reverse the lens

6. put a longer focal length lens on then reverse your standard lens in front of that

Lenses & adaptors for all of these are available on ebay.

Lots of discussion on the advantages/ disadvantages of the various methods in Flickr, or see

Macro photography - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_photography)

PPRuNe Towers
20th Jan 2014, 15:19
Simplest solution of all to try out macro is the old lens reversal ring.

It puts your lens on the wrong way around and focuses far closer. The age and simplicity of the Spotmatic really lends itself to this method.


20th Jan 2014, 15:27
If you want to see some really stunning watch photography go here (http://ninanet.net/watches/launchpad.html) :ok:

John Hill
20th Jan 2014, 16:33
Hi Mr Rivets, this is with a Pentax DSLR, sorry I dont recall the lens I used with a long extension, a foot or more.


Computer RAM, c1960's.

I am not sure what you are proposing. If you are using a Spotmatic camera, or any camera with M42 lens, and your Pentax lens all you need is a tube to extend the lens away from the camera, there are sets of short macro tubes that screw together or you can get a bit more up market and use a set of bellows which are commonly available used.

If you want to do it yourself a simple length of cardboard or plastic tube between the lens and the camera will get you magnification depending on how long the tube is but this method is somewhat tricky in that you need to eliminate any light reflections inside the tube (mat paint, light baffles etc) and of course everything has to be carefully aligned.

If you are using a camera with non changeable lens I am sorry I dont have any experience of that.


20th Jan 2014, 17:14
For macro photography you need oodles of light.

As has been mentioned your camera is perfect capable - I used older equipment than yours when I was doing macro in the late 1950s/very early 1960s.

Can you still get your films processed?

20th Jan 2014, 18:41

Computer RAM, c1960's.

We called this "core" not RAM...

20th Jan 2014, 20:00
We're just trying to keep it simple, Dushan, when ASA is what an old Spotmatic will show; the numbers are the same as for the current ISO; ASA 400 = ISO 400.

DIN won't come into it for a Spotmatic. That's for Leica fetishists, yes?

You should be able to get a set of extension tubes, a bellows, or a reversing ring from a vendor of used equipment for not very much money, and then just take it from there. (I don't think making an extension tube is a very practical idea, because you need to keep the lens perfectly square to the film plane, and the tube must be light-tight.) Such things are cheaper and better than these lenses that fit in front of the normal lens to enable macrophotography. Those are used more for cameras that have the lens fixed to the body, not the case with the Spotmatic.

It's nice to have a copy stand, but not really necessary, especially if it's something small such as a watch that you want to photograph. Bear in mind that the usual tripod will not point the camera straight down, so that you will need the subject on a vertical surface. A plain old desk lamp or two will do for illumination.

20th Jan 2014, 20:04
All this makes One wonder what Chuks has been photographing.....doing shots for his Personal Ad at Adult Friend Finder or something are you Chuks?:=

John Hill
20th Jan 2014, 20:35
An example shot:


taken with this rig.


The camera is a Pentax K5 and the lens is a Pentax lens which was supplied with the bellows.

The stand is made from an old drill stand attachment and the lighting is a simple arrangement of white(ish) LEDs.

20th Jan 2014, 20:37
As has been advised stop down the lens to get the best available depth of field (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_photography#Depth_of_field).

John Hill
20th Jan 2014, 20:37
We called this "core" not RAM...

That would have been because you did not know its proper name was 'random access memory'.

20th Jan 2014, 21:42
That would have been because you did not know its proper name was 'random access memory'.

Oh we did, don't you worry, the entire 64k of it, but we also knew it was made of magnetic core "donuts" with wire running through it...

A A Gruntpuddock
21st Jan 2014, 00:30
Adapting old film enlarger stands are another way to mount the camera.

Most just get thrown out nowadays since nobody wants them.

21st Jan 2014, 00:38
Chuks, so you think there is still hope for my Gossen Lunasix III? I think it only has DIN markings. Oh and it takes the evil mercury batteries (yes I do have a six page write up on how to adapt the current batteries with miniature resistors, form the mad Swede. Or is he Norvegian).

Loose rivets
21st Jan 2014, 05:52
Gosh . . . thanks everyone. One is stunned at the exponential increase of knowledge being implanted in my headbone.

It's been a long day. Six hours of dust, brush and nodding donkeys, but I'm now back in the land of palm trees and cactus. Two more watches have turned up. One had no works - but that's okay - the bloke told me first. Funny, an empty watch costing far more than a decent time-keeper. Seiko have a lot to answer for, but it seems their 7A** or 7T** are becoming collector's items - to the point there are dozens of bods all bidding for them around the world. :uhoh:

I hadn't realized I had failed to mention I wanted to use my old Nikon D50. The 6.1 MP puts a serious limit on the cropping/electronic zooming, but the low noise matrix still allows a fine picture up to say, 24" on my HD monitors.

Rob, reversing lenses! I see quite a bit mentioned about that but would never have guessed it being an option in a million years. Trouble is, carrying stuff has become an issue now we're limited to so little baggage, so my 'normal' lenses are back in the UK. I have nowt but my 72mm 18 - 200 general purpose lens and that's a lump of glass.

Thanks for the link Bush, that is indeed the one I purchased in the mid 70s for my first visit to Texas. 76 quid secondhand on the Pentax Spotmatic.

Holding the lens to the open D50 gives encouraging results. However, not only do I need an M42 adapter, it needs to be about 2" long. That seems to be all I need, and right now, bellows and stand would be just another thing I'd have to leave behind. My mum would have made one out of toilet roll tube. She used those for all sorts of inventions. :)

John, that light ring is just the job for watches and some of the sample shots are a perfect range. AAG, yep, enlarger stands. Just one - no two - of the things I threw out when selling up. As you say, it would have been just the job.

As I've said before, looking at those details on a 24" screen makes it look easy. Walking over to the bench and not being able to see the innards without X10 magnification, rather subdues the confidence. Still, I've received one watch that does all the functions . . . except tell the time.:hmm: Exciting. Can't wait for the detective work to begin - though again, there's a lot to learn. It seems the chip, all part of a flexible PCB layer, might be susceptible to UV. Many a trap a'waiting. :uhoh:

EDIT: The point of this ramble was to ask if anyone sees M42 - Nikon D50/90 converter with what looks like a 2" spacer, please let me know cos I haven't see exactly that anywhere.


John Hill
21st Jan 2014, 09:06
Mr Rivets, as far as I can see you just need a set of macro tubes and an adapter and you will be able to mount your M42 Pentax lens on the Nikon, easy as that!

M42 macro tubes are very common M42 Macro Tube | eBay (http://www.ebay.com/bhp/m42-macro-tube)

Also the M42 adapters are not difficult to find either M42 Nikon Adapter | eBay (http://www.ebay.com/bhp/m42-nikon-adapter)

Hey! Look at this one! I am almost tempted...
Pentax Super Multi Coated Macro Takumar 1 4 100mm M42 Lens Ext Tubes Mint | eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/PENTAX-SUPER-MULTI-COATED-MACRO-TAKUMAR-1-4-100mm-M42-LENS-EXT-TUBES-MINT-/350980078884)

The stand or tripod might be a challenge, as you saw I use an old drill press stand which is super suitable but you might have to arrange something else. I doubt there is any strong rule that says the camera must be pointing down as I expect you could mount the camera in the conventional attitude and hand your samples on a vertical card!

Lighting has been my greatest challenge and my ring light works very well however before I had that I used natural daylight in our little green house which had opaque white glazing. Generally speaking an overcast day is better than bright sunlight.


Loose rivets
21st Jan 2014, 15:03
Yes, thank you for the info. I was going to say I'd have to be more careful about assessing the length, but the one marked 1 - 2 - 3 (sections) would be ideal, if they'd make it clear just what the output coupling was. M42, yes. But so often I'm searching for the other end's details. The heading clearly shows it's right, but the image seems to have two M42 threads. Also, I'm of the mindset that if I want something, I want it yesterday. China free shipping means waiting for . . . a ship full of stuff. :ugh:

One will be calling locally and if needs be, pay more now I'm better informed.

John Hill
21st Jan 2014, 18:02
Those M42 macro tubes usually have M42 each end (male/female of course) and yes the set of three seems to be the 'standard', you can couple them together in various combinations to get the desired length, of course if that is not enough you can pick up another set and get even more length.

If I understand correctly you have a Nikon camera and you want to use a M42 (i.e. 'Pentax screw') lens with it for macro? If so, you need the Nikon/M42 adapter which allows you to mount M42 stuff on that camera** and you need the macro tubes to get the focussing length.

**Some of those adapters will not allow you to focus the M42 lens to infinity which for your application is not an issue however other adapters may include a lens so that you can (focus to infinity). Either type would be suitable for your purposes but the focus to infinity ones are likely more expensive.

Thats how I understand things and I trust I am not 'putting your crook'.


Loose rivets
21st Jan 2014, 20:44
Yes, I've had to order the adapter as well. On the big river site it was two different sellers and the cost was just plain silly. :ugh:

Again, this site presented me with a bizarre total and I saw there were two of each item plus two lots of handling as default. I'm having to watch them like a hawk as it is now 3 times this kind of thing has happened.

I went to Hong Kong - well, you know what I mean. Cheaper and NO H/Shipping. I'll just have to curb my enthusiasm.