Photographic Myth Buster #07

#7. Bellows (short-distance) Corrections

True or False?

Bellows (short-distance) corrections are inappropriate when using a lens capable of three-dimensional metering.


The bellows or short distance correction to exposure that is needed in macro or short-distance photography is calculated with the same expression, (1 – f/us)2 that is used by three-dimensional exposure metering in its calculation of exposure corrected for the distance to the subject, us, and focal length, f. Since a three-dimensional exposure metering already incorporates a distance correction in its calculation of the correct camera settings for a midtone exposure, it is inappropriate to manually include it a second time.

Copyright 2008 Michael G. Prais, Ph.D.

For a readable but in-depth analysis of this concept along with many other concepts associated with photographic exposure, take a look at the book Photographic Exposure Calculations and Camera Operation. This book provides insight into the equations that govern exposure, exposure meters, photosensitive arrays (both solid-state and emulsion) and the Zone System as well as concepts associated with resolution, dynamic range, and depth of field.

The book is available through (ISBN 978-1-4392-0641-6) where you can Search Inside!™.

Check under Photography for the table of contents, an extensive list of the topics and subtopics covered, the preface describing the purpose of the book, and a diagram central to the concepts in the book.

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