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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Post Your Set Up!


I feel like this kind of post comes around now and then, but it sure is helpful for those just getting into macro--get's the creative juices flowing I'll start it off with my crude rig (without tubes), nothing fancy...

1DIII, Sigma 150mm Macro, 580EXII, Adorama flat/straight bracket, Canon OC-E3, Giottos MH 1004 mini ball head, JD Flip-it Jumbo.














Jun 07, 2009 at 08:21 PM
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KHatfull
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Post Your Set Up!


Recently upgraded to an E-M1, here's the big bug rig:

Olympus OM-D E-M1.
Olympus HLD-7 grip.
Olympus 50-200 SWD.
Olympus FL-50 flash.
Westcott Micro Apollo soft box.
Kirk FB-8 macro bracket.
Vivitar off-camera shoe cord.
Manfrotto 190XPROL tripod w/ 496RC2 head.

The padding on the tripod legs is pipe foam mummified in camo Gorilla tape.











Jun 21, 2017 at 12:20 AM
hayath
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Post Your Set Up!


The current macro setup


A C bracket mounted flash on a small ballhead for flash direction, focused towards the on-lens diffusion (tracing paper and foam sheet)
Some results -





Jul 03, 2017 at 02:57 PM
Sharks123
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Post Your Set Up!



2017 Mixed Light Macro Setup (Automated) by Can Tunçer, on Flickr

Biggest version for detailed look: https://www.flickr.com/photos/-can-/36253760771/sizes/o/

I continue to develop the macro setup i use. In this new setup, i an use both flash and continuous light (two different LED types). Thanks to the telescopic drawer rail, i can move the lights easily. I use a plastic cup for the flash to soften the light and a plastic cup for the constant light.
 
Other equipments in the setup;
 
1: Canon 6D
2: Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5x and
3: Nikon CF Plan 10x 0.30 WD 16.5
4: Lomo 3.7x
5: Yongnuo YN-560III
6: 2 x Ikea Jansjö
7: WeMacro Automated Macro Rail
8: Home made specimen holder
9: 2 x LED Light
10: Canon FL Bellow
11: Raynox DCR-150 (Tube Lens)
12: M42 Iris Diaphragm
13: M42 Extension tube



Aug 05, 2017 at 02:54 PM
Stokesey
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Post Your Set Up!


Current crazy set-up

Decided to take some macro of the Lily stamen

D500 + PB-6 + PB-6e + 180mm f2.8 Ai + MC-30 + SB-800 + 8x SB-200

Told you it was crazy !!

Steve





Stokesey 2017


Crazy Micro set-up .... on the hoof !!





Stokesey 2017


Stamen of the lily taken with Nikon mf kit




Aug 12, 2017 at 12:10 PM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Post Your Set Up!


Stokesey wrote:
Current crazy set-up

Decided to take some macro of the Lily stamen

D500 + PB-6 + PB-6e + 180mm f2.8 Ai + MC-30 + SB-800 + 8x SB-200


Sadly, you just missed the focus. It has potential.

Harold



Aug 12, 2017 at 12:40 PM
JohnK007
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Post Your Set Up!


Sharks123 wrote:
https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4360/36253760771_99f2e1ca19_b.jpg
2017 Mixed Light Macro Setup (Automated) by Can Tunçer, on Flickr

Biggest version for detailed look: https://www.flickr.com/photos/-can-/36253760771/sizes/o/

I continue to develop the macro setup i use. In this new setup, i an use both flash and continuous light (two different LED types). Thanks to the telescopic drawer rail, i can move the lights easily. I use a plastic cup for the flash to soften the light and a plastic cup for the constant light.
 
Other equipments in the setup;
 
1: Canon 6D
2: Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5x and
3: Nikon CF Plan 10x 0.30 WD 16.5
4: Lomo 3.7x
5: Yongnuo YN-560III
6: 2 x Ikea Jansjö
7: WeMacro
...Show more

Very thoughtful and innovative set up. Congratulations



Aug 12, 2017 at 01:03 PM
JohnK007
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Post Your Set Up!


Stokesey wrote:
Current crazy set-up

Decided to take some macro of the Lily stamen

D500 + PB-6 + PB-6e + 180mm f2.8 Ai + MC-30 + SB-800 + 8x SB-200

Told you it was crazy !!

Steve



I have the Nikon PB-6 Bellows ... and am still waiting to purchase a mint copy of the PB-6 E Extention Bellows.

In my own work, just with the PB-6 (let alone the E Extension) I have found diffraction sets in very quickly using a bellows system ... and the only exception seems to be when microscope optics are deployed, rather than reversed lenses.

98% of the time, when I see (or have used) extenders (or bellows), I see some pretty garbled diffraction as the end result ... again, unless microscope optics are implemented (as for instance, Can's setup above).

The only exception, in my experience (or limited knowledge) anyway, has been to shoot under 5x, using no higher than an f/4 aperture, and to use image-stacking to achieve depth-of-field, rather than stopping-down. Allows for more light too.



Aug 12, 2017 at 01:10 PM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Post Your Set Up!


I made a video of my current setup (it is a copy of the setup described here: http://makrofokus.se/blogg/2015/9/24/nonac-40mm-f28.html)

Have a look at my setup and sample photos:




Aug 13, 2017 at 09:37 AM
JohnK007
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Post Your Set Up!


micaelwidell wrote:
I made a video of my current setup (it is a copy of the setup described here: http://makrofokus.se/blogg/2015/9/24/nonac-40mm-f28.html)



Very nice video and beautiful images.



Aug 13, 2017 at 02:17 PM
 


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JohnK007
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Post Your Set Up!


micaelwidell wrote:
I made a video of my current setup (it is a copy of the setup described here: [url]http://makrofokus.se/blogg/2015/9/24/nonac-40mm-f28.html[/url])

Have a look at my setup and sample photos:
[url]

[/url]


Hello again

FYI, after reviewing some of your claims, and while freely admiring (and admitting) your images are excellent--as is the information in Mr. Hallmén's link--some of what has been said is actually incorrect.

You claim your DIY high-mag macro is the lightest lens setup possible, but actually it is not.

Adding up the weight, the Meike MK-C-UP Auto Macro Extension Tube you need weighs 250g, the Canon Pancake weighs 130g, and your 36mm extender weighs 125g. The Metabones adapter is another 203g.
According to my calculations, this means your lens setup weighs 708g ... and the MP-E itself (which you say is 'too heavy') weight 710g. Here is sum total your setup (which gives you 2.4x):



This is actually nowhere near as light a lens configuration as is possible to have.

Case in point: The Nikkor 28mm only weighs 250g, the reverse-ring weighs only about 60g, and the BR-3 weighs 40g. That's it! That's all you need
According to my calculations, my lens setup is only 350g (about half the total weight of yours).
No extra 'stuff' is required: no Metabones needed, no Meike electronic gadgetry necessary (the 28mm has a manual aperture), nothing else. Here is my setup:



Now, I admit my camera is bigger than yours, but my reverse lens setup could be put on a Nikon D7200 ... or even ON your camera ... with a different adapter, thereby adding weight, but it would still be less weight overall than what you're using.

A Nikon enthusiast could selece the D7200 (675g) + the 350g lens setup I use actually and would only be carrying 1025g total ... compared to your 1124g setup (708g complex lens configuration + 416g A7 camera). Even using my bulky D810, the weight only totals 1230g, because the lens setup is so light by comparison. If you used a different adapter, and a simply Nikkor AI-S lens, your total weight would drop to 969g.

My point is, because Nikkor AI-S lenses have manual apertures, all of the added electronic gadgetry you're using to gain aperture control (by selecting a Canon lens) is unnecessary expense/baggage IMO.

If I want to go to 3.4x, I could use a 20mm AI-S (270g) lens. If I didn't want to bring another lens, I could use the same 36mm extender as you, add another 125g to the existing 28mm, but it would still be far less weight than the lens setup you're using. (Both Nikkor AI-S lenses are 7-blade also.) The bokeh of Nikon's best AI-S lenses is at least as nice as in a budget Canon pancake offering:

















Mind you, the purpose of my post is not to suggest that your (or Mr. Hallmén's) methods are wrong or bad ... they are TERRIFIC! ... and it is a great setup

However, it is neither the lightest nor 'the best' (if there is such a thing) ... it's just another very, very good option.

Lots of Canon/Sony users have no clue about Nikon, so I just wanted to clarify.

Cheers



Aug 14, 2017 at 10:40 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Post Your Set Up!


I used legacy Nikon mount (Kiron) lenses when I was doing a lot of reversed lens macro.

I don't have my sound linked up so I am unsure if the Meike in the video is one which does AF confirm. Very nice if it does but I find AF of decreasing value as I go up the magnification scale. One of the models without that would probably weigh less.

The only reversed lens I use these days is a Schneider enlarger lens and it has no auto function anyway. Mostly, I like to avoid reversed lenses as I like to change magnification an distance frequently.

But that is a handsome rig!

Harold




Aug 14, 2017 at 11:00 AM
JohnK007
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Post Your Set Up!


e6filmuser wrote:
I used legacy Nikon mount (Kiron) lenses when I was doing a lot of reversed lens macro.

I don't have my sound linked up so I am unsure if the Meike in the video is one which does AF confirm. Very nice if it does but I find AF of decreasing value as I go up the magnification scale. One of the models without that would probably weigh less.


Agreed. AF has zero use in high-mag macro.

The contraption is to allow aperture control, which is lost when you reverse an AF lens.

However, this is irrelevant when using a Nikkor AI-S prime ... which has a manual aperture ring ... that works regardless of how the lens is oriented.



e6filmuser wrote:
The only reversed lens I use these days is a Schneider enlarger lens and it has no auto function anyway. Mostly, I like to avoid reversed lenses as I like to change magnification an distance frequently.


Two things in regards to this ... (1) you can reverse select Nikkor AI-S *zooms* ... which give you 1x to 3.4x magnification

Beyond 3x magnification, John Hallmén makes an excellent point on his page with which I agree: (2) when using the MP-E 65mm ... whatever is gained by the 5x magnification is lost through diffraction. Hallmén states (convincingly, I might add) that if you take a super-clean image at 3:1 ... and crop it down to a 5:1 equivalent ... you will actually get a better result (because of less diffraction) than if you used the MP-E at full 5x due to the drastic reduction of quality at this magnification, amplified by the corresponding diffraction.

I would imagine this would be especially true if you're using a world class sensor, like the D810 at Base ISO. You're better off sticking to around 3:1, and just cropping-in.

Or, if you really want the best possible 5:1+ quality, then you're better off getting a bona fide studio setup, with microscope optics.

For the field, 3:1 is all that is really necessary ... or practicable.



Aug 14, 2017 at 11:21 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Post Your Set Up!


JohnK007 wrote:
Beyond 3x magnification, John Hallmén makes an excellent point on his page with which I agree: when using the MP-E 65mm ... whatever is gained by the 5x magnification is lost through diffraction. Hallmén states (convincingly, I might add) that if you take a super-clean image at 3:1 ... and crop it down to a 5:1 equivalent ... you will actually get a better result (because of less diffraction) than if you used the MP-E at full 5x due to the drastic reduction of quality at this magnification, amplified by the corresponding diffraction at that magnification.

I would imagine this would
...Show more

An intereting one this, in terms of optics theory. The old idea that the light gets bent around the edges of the diaphragm causing diffraction has been replaced by one that the concentration of light rays/electrons in the middle of the aperture jostle each other. The small aperture selects the part of the image with the highest concentration of such goings-on. Those will always be there and cropping will also select them The principle is no different from that of DOF being greater with a crop sensor.

Harold



Aug 14, 2017 at 11:38 AM
JohnK007
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Post Your Set Up!


e6filmuser wrote:
An intereting one this, in terms of optics theory. The old idea that the light gets bent around the edges of the diaphragm causing diffraction has been replaced by one that the concentration of light rays/electrons in the middle of the aperture jostle each other. The small aperture selects the part of the image with the highest concentration of such goings-on. Those will always be there and cropping will also select them The principle is no different from that of DOF being greater with a crop sensor.

Harold


Well, the Canon MP-E is a zoom: a reverse, doctored zoom, specific to macro photography.

All zooms have a 'sweet spot' ... and all zooms have a focal length weak point.

Likely, the MP-E's weakest point, optically, is at the 5x setting.
If you add that deficit to the other reality of diffraction, you come out with non-optimal 5x images (compared to a microscopic objective) ... or, as the author suggests, even compared to a really good image taken at 3x, that is simply cropped.

This makes the Mitakon Zhongyi 20mm f/2 4.5x Super Macro all the more attractive. It is (essentially) a microscope objective doctored to perform as a lens.

Even better it's a prime, which means (optically) its at its sweet spot by default.

CORRECTION: This lens is a zoom also (4x - 4.5x). Here is more info: http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32786

There are also some videos on Youtube, but it looks rather crude and unrefined. Image quality is so-so.

Laowa is supposed to be coming out with a 5x also, but doubtful it's going to be like an Apo macro objective, either.



Aug 14, 2017 at 03:26 PM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Post Your Set Up!


John,

My error. I let myself be distracted from the particular to the general.

I agree with you in this case.

It is said that the MPE is not a zoom, although the definition has varied over the decades.

When zooms first hit the film camera market it was the general wisdom that the shorter the zoom range the better. Anything more than a 3x was not desirable. (Now they have far wider ranges).

Where I might have use an MPE-65 I use a Schneider Kreuznach 40mm f2.8 Apo Componon HM enlarging lens (version with variable aperture, f2.8 –f16)., reversed for above 1:1. It is on a long extension (220 mm I think).

From the seller:

"I am extremely experienced with the 65mm MP-E having shot it literally since its release in the 90's. I have probably shot in excess of 500,000 frames, film and digital with the MP-E 65mm. Actually I own 2 copies of the 65mm.... In spite of all that experience I did EXTENSIVE testing with these 2 in addition to several other lenses. I found that in forward mounting position the 40mm is superior from 1:1 to about 1.75:1 at which time reversing the 40mm brings about superior image quality versus the 65mm at the same magnifications. The IQ differences are significant, quite significant, particularly in the corners and particularly in the area of micro contrast. Many don't take contrast issues seriously simply believing it can be taken care of in post processing. True to some degree, but the better IQ you start with, the easier PP is and the less PP is necessary. Most importantly corner image quality with the 40mm AT ALL MAGNIFICATION is superior. It just is. My testing proved that quite conclusively. Furthermore working distance is better because you don't have that big fat obnoxious front of the 65mm to deal with. I can more effectively light my subject with the 40mm. AND if I am shooting natural light it is easier to use reflectors and diffusers with the 40mm. The downside of the 40mm is the fact that on the rare occasion I do handheld in the field macro shooting. The 65mm with its auto aperture is ideal for that and the 40mm is essentially unusable in that genre. Furthermore I know I have good copies of all my lenses. My 2 65mm MP-E lenses were cherry picked from 12 copies. And my 40mm apo-componon was cherry picked from 6 copies in addition to comparisons with various 44mm, 45mm and 50mm apo componon, and rodagons. ONLY the Nikon 105mm printing el-nikkor is superior at 1:1.”

(At 1:1 the Printing-Nikkors would be superior).

Harold



Aug 15, 2017 at 01:06 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Post Your Set Up!


Here is a shot of a tiny mushroom ca 2mm across, shot with my reversed Scneider HM 40 at f16 (f32 effective),:

Harold







Aug 15, 2017 at 02:08 AM
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Post Your Set Up!


e6filmuser wrote:
John,

My error. I let myself be distracted from the particular to the general.

I agree with you in this case.

It is said that the MPE is not a zoom, although the definition has varied over the decades.

When zooms first hit the film camera market it was the general wisdom that the shorter the zoom range the better. Anything more than a 3x was not desirable. (Now they have far wider ranges).


The MP-E is absolutely a zoom. It goes from one magnification, to the next, and it does so by extending the front element. That's what zooms do.

It is essentially a ~15mm - 50mm zoom, reversed.

I know this because a 50mm lens, reversed, is ~ 1:1.
A 28mm lens, reversed, is ~2x.
A 20mm reversed, is 3.4x.
There are no 15mms, I am aware of, that reverse ... but my 18mm does just over 4:1.

There are also Nikkor zooms which, when reversed, go between 1x and 3.6x .

With the MP-E, Canon simply took reverse-mounting a zoom to the next level, doctoring the appearance/function of the MPE to be 100% for macro purposes, also adding a tripod ring. Wish Nikon would do the same.



e6filmuser wrote:
When zooms first hit the film camera market it was the general wisdom that the shorter the zoom range the better. Anything more than a 3x was not desirable. (Now they have far wider ranges).


I agree with this. In fact, in testing 5 Nikkor zooms, reversed, the best image quality came from the shortest zooms: the 25-50 AI-S and the 28-50 AI-S. Each reverses to around a 1-3x macro zoom.



e6filmuser wrote:
Where I might have use an MPE-65 I use a Schneider Kreuznach 40mm f2.8 Apo Componon HM enlarging lens (version with variable aperture, f2.8 –f16)., reversed for above 1:1. It is on a long extension (220 mm I think).

From the seller:

"I am extremely experienced with the 65mm MP-E having shot it literally since its release in the 90's. I have probably shot in excess of 500,000 frames, film and digital with the MP-E 65mm. Actually I own 2 copies of the 65mm.... In spite of all that experience I did EXTENSIVE testing with these 2 in addition to several other
...Show more

Not sure who this person is, but I agree with him in some senses, disagree with him in others. Also don't know his experience with a wide variety of leneses either.

To begin with, the MP-E wasn't even available in the 90"s" ... it came out in exactly 1999.

I do agree with him that micro-contrast is either there, or it isn't. You can't make a silk purse out of a pig's ear, and you can't produce subtle color/contrast nuances that were not captured by superior lenses/sensors in the first place.

For me, however, I place ZERO importance in "corner sharpness" in a macro lens. Unless a person is shooting absolutely flat subjects, and filling the frame with them (coins, for example), corner sharpness doesn't mean a thing in an arthropod portrait (where there is a huge emphasis on bokeh and blurring of background anyway). Landscape photographers are another group to rightfully-worry about "corner sharpness," whereas portrait photographers do not. Same principle. Indeed, as mentioned, a gradual softening as the image extends out to the corners can actually enhance bokeh in a portrait image.

I absolutely agree with him (in general) that a 40mm lens (or 50/28/20mm, as I use) allows more light to come in. I personally used the MP-E 65mm, for over 6 years, and I can attest to the dismal light allowance of the front element compared to using a reversed wide-angle lens.

I totally disagree that a person can't use reversed lenses in the field. Maybe that was true with his Schneider, but it is absolute nonsense with respect to AI-S lenses, reversed. If anything, small primes like this are far lighter, less cumbersome, and are more user-friendly (for multiple applications) as opposed the 'macro-only', 3x-heavier, won't-fit-in-a-side-pouch behemoth MPE. This eBay seller must have been speaking from a 'Canon' perspective, or talking about a 40mm lens that did not have manual aperture control. I agree that, without aperture control, a 40mm lens is useless reversed, but Nikkor AI-Ses have full aperture control, so auto aperture control is not needed.

Can't comment about his opinion as to the rest. It sounds like most of his comments are about studio stacks.

In the field, with 1:1 being a limiter, I can say (having shot both), that the the MP-E at 1:1 is not anywhere near the level of the Voigtländer SL 125mm f/2.5 Apo-Lanthar in the 1:1 department. I have not shot the Schneider 40mm f2.8 Apo, but it seems to be more of a stacking lens than a nature lens. This guy's comments confirm. As a fixed optic, requiring extremely-close proximity, it would not be a very handy thing to have on a hike, except for very limited purposes, providing it has aperture control. As an enlarger lens, its very design demands a studio, and for this I would imagine it to be a great choice. However, if the Nikon version comes with an aperture ring, like Zeiss iterations do, then I could see it making a great reverse lens also.

By contrast, the Voigtländer is a true nature photographer's lens. It can capture *anything* from infinity to 1:1, it has a good working distance, an exceptional 9-bladed bokeh (rivaled by few lenses on the planet), very subtle contrast/color transfer, and it has 630° of focus throw, allowing for more absolutely precise focusing than any other macro lens I have ever heard of, save the Leica 100mm f/2.8 Apo Macro Elmarit.

There are but a few macro lenses that can touch the Voigtländer 125 Apo as a macro lens ... its degree of focus precision and its rendering. Those few that can, invariably can only do so only in very limited applications, and pale in comparison as an overall field companion. That is not just "my opinion," or the opinion of a nameless eBayer, but of a whole host of other well-experienced lensmen. Within the limitations of 1:1 macro lenses, and speaking of a field lens, especially under the conditions of natural light, I can't think of a single macro lens that is more universally-revered.

For other purposes, however (high-mag macro, diffused flash, etc.), there better choices.



Aug 15, 2017 at 11:37 AM
JohnK007
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Post Your Set Up!


e6filmuser wrote:
Here is a shot of a tiny mushroom ca 2mm across, shot with my reversed Scneider HM 40 at f16 (f32 effective),:

Harold


No offense, but there is nothing in focus and everything is severely diffracted.

Using 220mm of extention at f/16 wouldn't be something I personally would do as it's impossible to get a clean result.

I, too, have been practicing with taking single-image shots with reversed lenses, using a flash ... trying to achieve depth-of field @ f/16 ... but that's only at 2x, not 10x.

At 10x, I would only shoot wide-open.

Even at only 2x, athough I have got some sharp results with single image + flash @ f/16, I do not like the background rendering anywhere near as much as shooting wide-open (f/2.8-f/4), stacking, using natural light and a low shutter ... as my above images.

Much-much cleaner IMO. (Albeit, much-much more labor-intensive.)



Aug 15, 2017 at 11:56 AM
e6filmuser
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Post Your Set Up!


JohnK007 wrote:
For me, however, I place ZERO importance in "corner sharpness" in a macro lens.


I agree entirely.

JohnK007 wrote:
I totally disagree that a person can't use reversed lenses in the field. Maybe that was true with his Schneider


It is the ONLY way I use mine.

Harold



Aug 15, 2017 at 12:58 PM
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