Macro Bellows

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TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2361
Macro Bellows

Just thought I'd share this pretty fun and cheap way to do some macro. It's definitely a little finicky and not for insects or anything that moves quickly! But I got "macro bellows" for Christmas from a family member, and I'm pretty impressed with how well it works for $40. I just actually got it yesterday and there's a bit of a learning curve, but here are some of my attempts with it. The shots aren't fantastic, but they do show what this thing can do.

These are little tiny cake sprinkles, probably no more than 1/5" wide, shot at f/14.
Macro Bellows Experiments

And this is a more pulled back shot of some candy (about 3/4" wide), shot at f/14.
Macro Bellows Experiments

This is just a piece of twine, shot at f/8.
Macro Bellows Experiment

The finicky part about it is that there is no proper camera connection, so you have to set your aperture prior to putting the lens on the bellow, and given that the depth of field is so shallow, it is hard to predict a reasonable aperture for what you're shooting. The candy shot is an example; I thought f/14 would be adequate but it clearly wasn't enough to get a whole single piece of candy in focus at that angle. So if you have to change the ap, you need to take the bellows off, put the lens back on the camera body, change the ap, then remove it and reattach it to the bellows. Also, it requires manual focus, and fully extended it would generally require a tripod since the focal length is so long.

Anyway, just thought I'd share, because it's kind of a fun toy for that price, and if you're interested in macro stuff, a much cheaper "entry" into that type of photography than a $1000 macro lens! Definitely not a replacement for a proper macro lens, but a fun toy nonetheless.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

What an awesome toy! Does sound a like a bit of a pain to adjust settings, but hey, you just got some macro shots without a macro lens! I'd love to get a macro sometime. I'm wondering if I'd like doing nature photography a little better if I had one Wink

EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

100 mm lens still for sale Smile just to entice you gals... Smile

reeveslady's picture
Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 1423

That's really interesting! I had only heard of reverse mounting and extension tubes. Looks like bellows are probably a bit more adjustable (? that's not really the word I'm looking for, but I think it gets the point across) than extension tubes. Nice.

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2361

Yes, extension tubes are great, but more expensive, and the bellows are very adjustable. You can set the focal length to precisely what you want it to be.

tialee80's picture
Joined: 02/04/12
Posts: 394

very cool! I have a macro adaptor and your post makes me want to pull it out:) Love the sprinkles!

KatieWillis's picture
Joined: 07/01/07
Posts: 1441

Wow, pretty impressive for $40! My bday is coming up, so I might have to look into this Wink

sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6186

Very interesting! I love these! Great shots! Love #2.

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2361

LOL, I am SO thankful for my DH! I did those poinsettia shots and told him it was at f/14, and both of us had been surprised at how shallow the DOF was even at F/14. Well, he did some reading and discovered that you have to hold down the DOF preview button while removing the lens, before mounting it on the bellows; otherwise, it won't retain the aperture you set. So now I know how to get some shots without quite the DOF being quite so extremely shallow. Very helpful!!