5×4 Close Up Photography

Large format cameras permit macro or close-up photography without adding supplementary bellows or extension tubes.

Most view cameras can achieve anywhere from a 1:1 magnification with a 150mm lens, up to 4:1 ratio with a 90mm lens. If additional magnification is needed, usually a supplementary bellows can be added or a shorter focal length lens can be used.

The amount of magnification we can get really depends on what lens we are using and more importantly, how much bellow extension we have available.

The formula is:

M = (B-F) / F
M= Magnification
B Bellows Extension
F= Focal Length

More Exposure Is Usually Required
Film exposure with a view camera is the same as that of any other camera, except that the bellows extension (the distance from the center of the lens to the film) and reciprocity failure more often need consideration.

As the bellows extension increases, the intensity of the light reaching the film decreases.

The formula is:

(bellows length) x2 divided by (focal length) x
= exposure factor

Maths Give Me Headache
Mathematics at the best of times to most people is not that interesting and can lead to frustration and headaches.

Here are two calculators which will work out the 

  • Magnification from a given Focal Length and Bellows Extension and also 
  • Stops of light is required from a given Focal Length and Bellows Extension.

Close Up Examples

Here are two photographs I made using my 90mm lens coupled to my Chamonix 045-N 5×4 camera.

Using the Magnification Calculator above, I worked out that with my 90mm lens and a bellows extension of 270mm, this would give me a magnification of 2x (2:1)

The Compensation Calculator told me that I would need an extra 4 stops of exposure to compensate for this setup. Bear in mind that any Film Reciprocity has also go to be added to the final exposure time.

For the following two examples, I chose to use Ilford FP4 sheet film and you can just see the Neewer LED light I used for the lighting.

Large Format Macro Close Up Photography
Chamonix 045-N 90mm Lens - Bellows Extension

For the metering, I used a Sekonic L-758D meter set to Incident Metering. The film was Tray developed using Kodak HC-110 at a ratio of 1+38 for 6 minutes 45 seconds.

5x4 2:1 Close Up 90mm Lens
2:1 Magnification - 90mm Lens - 5x4 FP4 Sheet Film

This photograph of a belt buckle was again magnified to 2:1 with the 90mm lens

Macro 2x Magnification 5x4 large format
2:1 Magnification - 90mm Lens - 5x4 FP4 Sheet Film

Print For Sale on eBay

This is digital print from the scanned negative of the One Dollar Bill which was photographed using Ilford FP4 anthem 90mm Lens with 270mm of bellows extension.

The print is approximately 12.3 inches x 10.53 inches and is printed on Canson Photographique 310 gsm A3 Paper.

George Washington2:1 Macro 5x4 Large Format
2:1 Magnification - 90mm Lens - 5x4 FP4 Sheet Film

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