Macro Photography Practice Using Bellows Extensions

Macro Photography Practice Using Bellows Extensions

I don’t create a lot of macro images. Not sure why, since I had fun taking some today. I mentioned several items I had for sale at the last Linn Area Photo Club meeting . I had lots of inquiries on everything but one: a bellows extension for Nikon. I thought I priced it to sell, so that didn’t make a lot of sense to me because several members mentioned macro photography on the latest club survey.

I thought about it a little more over the last couple days. Maybe using bellows for macro work seems foreign to most of the club members. I decided to take a couple photos to show people the benefits of a bellows extension.

What is a Macro Bellows Extensions

Bellows provide the same macro capability to lenses that extension tubes do, but even more so. You might have used extension tubes; I have a set of three of varying size (2mm, 4mm, and a 6mm). I can stack them up to get 12mm total. Each tube moves the lens farther from the camera and in turns magnifies the image the camera can take. The set of tubes I have give me a nice range. My bellows however gives me up to 200mm of extension. That is pretty crazy. Here is a more complete article if you’re interested.

What Do the Macro Images Look Like?

The following pictures show what bellows do. For scale, I took simple pictures of a US penny. I used the bellows at their smallest setting for the first macro image. I extended them to about about 50% for the second. The last image shows the results at 100%. I included full frame images. Full disclosure: the camera was set at ISO 3200.

Take a look at the photos. Certainly they aren’t award winning, but I’d love to hear your thoughts or see some of your macro images.

Macro image #1 Macro picture with bellows at shortest extension.

Macro image #2 Macro picture with bellows expanded 50%.

Macro image #3 Macro picture with bellows at full extension.