Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Setting up with the Nikon Bellows PB-4

Hi there, its been way too long between posts and now I am not even going to be talking about my jewellery, doh! I am taking a little time here to show the set up with my recently acquired PB-4 Nikon Bellows. I thought I would show you while I remind myself how everything goes together and now I have it down I can come visit myself if I forget!
I ended up with two Nikon PB-4 Bellows after I found a second one for sale on eBay with the Nikkor-P 1:4 f=105mm lens that I had been hunting for. It was too late to buy the lens on its own so now I have the two Nikon bellows. Not a totally bad thing as originally I started looking into the Nikon bellows unit for my partner to dabble with. But then when the first boxed Bellows arrived I decided I wanted to play too so I started to research into the bellows lenses etc and here I am today with MY setup.

Please excuse the iPhone pics, I don't have a second DSLR, the D90 is in the shop being converted to IR so the iPhone it is.
So here is the set up with the camera in portrait. If you are connecting the camera directly to the bellows you have to do it in this configuration. As I had read on the web about the importance of this and the possibility of damaging electronic connections I grabbed the recommended Nikon PK-11A auto extension ring to place between my camera and the PB-4 Bellows. I have the Nikkor-P 1:4 f=105mm lens attached.

It works a treat and makes it much easier to get the camera body on and off the Nikon Bellows. I place the PK-11A on the bellows and then connect the camera to the extension ring. There is a little leaver on the bellows that allows you to change between landscape and portrait camera positions very easily, just keep it pressed in while you move the camera and PK-11A.


Phew first step done, I can pop my camera on and off without a worry.
I use the Nikon D300s without battery grip. If you have a battery grip or one of the large pro models then you may need to use the PB-6 bellows with the PB-6D spacers as mentioned on the nikonians website to gain enough clearance.

Now I had to connect the bellows to the new Manfrotto tripod and head I had specifically purchased for my macro bellows work. Its a heavy set up and apart from possibly taking it outside in the garden or the bush right outside our back gate I don't think this rig is travelling much.
Now I am a huge and I mean HUGE fan of Really Right Stuff, I have been using them since my Nikon F70 days and all my gear is set up based around the Really Right Stuff system. For the first time I had a Manfrotto geared head as opposed to my beloved Really Right Stuff ball heads that I love so much for landscape work. You need that extra precision though for macro so I grabbed a Manfrotto 410 Junior Geared head after reading some reviews on line.
I have attached the B82 to the Nikon PB-4 Bellows.

I have the B2-Pro: 60mm clamp with dual mounting on the head, and this is how it all goes together.


My new Really Right stuff B150-B Ultimate Pkg has arrived, this gives me X - Y axis for close up work with my macro lenses and when reverse mounting a lens. However using one of the Really Right Stuff focusing Rails with the bellows also gives me a X-Y axis to work with.

Finally here is a very and I mean very quick shot taken with this set up, hmm I think I need to dust my office! Haha just joking, like that is going to happen anytime soon :)

Hopefully if you are setting up your own rig and you are a really right stuff fan this has helped a little bit. I did read where someone used a L bracket for the Bellows so they could tilt/shift on both axis without using the head. I will wait to see if that is something I would find useful as I start using the setup.

If you are looking to attach a Nikkor-EL lens I can tell you that both the 135 and 105 will work with a M39 to L39 Nikon F adaptor that is easily purchased via eBay. I have the older model lenses with chrome 39mm threads, pictured is the EL-135mm enlarger lens with adaptor.

I can say that you need to watch the lenses on eBay, I ran into several issues with fungus and one with scratches. I gave up in the end and settled with the 135 with slight scratches on the front element, the 105mm lens couldn't have the fungus removed so I lost out there.

If you want to reverse the lens get the EL 135mm Nikkor and use a 43mm - 52mm step up ring and Nikon BR-2A

Now I know this is not a great thesis and these are not great images, however it still takes time to grab an image, adjust the sizing and load it on the blog and write up the text. So please if you want to share this info do the decent thing and link to my blog and don't just link to images or steal content.

Cheers Y.


  1. Nice article. I've just started research into a bellows system for my DSLR and you covered all the important points. I'm wondering how big of an extension tube I need for a canon 5d to clear the Nikon bellows. And that is genius how you created a mock shift with the geared ball head. Thanks for posting the pics of your rig.

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