Using the Olympus auto-bellows with Canon EOS cameras
For a while I had been using the Canon MP-E 65/2.8 , EF 100/2.8 USM, and EF 180/3.5 L USM macro lenses to cover all my macro photography work. Then one day in a camera shop I saw the Olympus OM Zuiko 20 mm f/2.0 bellows lens and thought: "Hey, that might be used also on an EOS camera to extend the maximum magnification even further". This old little lens was designed to work in the 5X to 12X magnification range in conjunction with the Olympus Auto bellows on OM cameras. So I bought it.
My original intent was to use the lens with my two Kenko extension tube sets. At the end this turned out not to be a workable setup for a lot of reasons, so, there was no way around getting an Olympus Auto bellows to go with the lens, and luckily I soon located a used one on the web.
To mount a EOS camera on the Olympus Auto bellows of cause some sort of adapter is needed. See here for descriptions of how to make or buy an adapter
Now, using a manual cable release fitted into the auto bellows the lens can be stopped down "remotely" just prior to activating the camera using an electronic remote control.
This is how the setup looks like - without any flash mounted anywhere. Since the entire setup can now be mounted using the macro focussing rail at the bottom of the bellows vibration is reduced to bearable levels. Due to the extra extension provided by the mount converter the setup now provides magnification in the range of 6X to 18X according to my initial experiments illustrated below. In addition the Kenko extension tube sets could be used to provide additional extension between camera and mount converter, but I have not tried this yet.
Since the Olympus OM Zuiko 20 mm f/2.0 may be hard to get hold of now a days, other short focal length lenses may be considered as alternatives for extreme macro. CCTV lenses are good options as that are physically small, come in focal length down to a few millimetres (i.e. 5 mm), and they are cheap and easy to get hold of. To get the best possible image quality they should be mounted in reverse - see here for a simple mount adapter
Of cause it would be able to adapt other bellows for the EOS system as well - and even to make a bellows capable of working with EF lenses.
May 26th, 2004
Edited December 4th, 2005, January 19th, 2006, June 11th, 2007.