- Bellows & Tubes - Antique and Vintage Cameras

Exakta Bellows (Vielzweck)

Ihagee Kamerawerk AG.


German Democratic Republic

Image of Exakta Bellows (Vielzweck)

For extensions between 35 and 200 mm on a 290 mm long rail.

Version with blue hammer paint finish with a similar finish to the control knobs, levers to clamp front and rear standards. Scales on focusing slide are in inches.


  • f2.8, 50 mm Tessar in sunk mount, manual diaphragm to f22. Serial no. 7189031.
  • Two cream boxes for the bellows unit and Focusing Slide.
  • Swing Angle Top. Cream box.
  • Tripod Plate. Fits to a tripod and provides a short rail to which the Swing Angle Top can be fitted.
  • Right-angle bracket. Fits to a copying stand and changes the camera axis from vertical to horizontal.
  • Lens Reversing Ring. For 37 mm filter thread. Cream box.

The bellows unit was part of the Vielzweck apparatus that was used for close-up and copying work with the Exakta. The parts were interchangeable and could be assembled in different configurations, a copying stand and a specialised microscope attachment were included.

Bellows and Focusing Slide
These were catalogued and sold as two separate items. The front and rear standards move independently along the rail (called the Focusing Slide) and the rail moves with respect to its tripod or other fixing. The front standard carrying the lens is generally positioned at the front of the rail, the rear standard is then moved to obtain the correct image size (magnification), the image is then focused by operating the rack and pinion drive which moves the rail and bellows together. The rail carries two scales, one, marked in black, is for the standard lens, the other, marked in red, is for the 50 mm Tessar in sunk mount. Both scales show the bellows extension. The Focusing Slide was used with other apparatus. The bellows provide for extensions between 35 and 200 mm on a 290 mm long rail.

Early models of the Vielzweck bellows had a black crackle finish with levers to tighten the standards. Later versions had a blue hammer paint finish also using levers, late models have black plastic control knobs.

Swing Angle Top
This attaches the camera to the Focusing Slide or Tripod Plate (a shorter slide), the camera can be turned through 90 degrees.

Lens Reversing Ring
This screws to the filter thread of the lens and to an extension tube attached to the camera, for use with the bellows unit the Reversing Ring is screwed to the rear bayonet connector of the extension tube set which is then attached to the bellows. The front bayonet connector can be attached, along with an extension tube, to the bayonet of the reversed lens to provide protection to the lens.

Tessar in sunk mount
This lens gives infinity focus when used with the bellows unit.

Code Names:
155.10 - Focusing Slide and bellows (Vielzweck), these could be bought separately as 155.01 U7 and 155.02. 155.04 - Transparency Copying Attachment, this could be bought together with the Focusing Slide and Bellows as 155.19. 155.03 - Swing Angle Top (when combined with the Focusing Slide this became the Swing Angle Attachment with a code of 155.08).

References & Notes:
Wurst, Exakta Manual. 'Macrophotography Photomicrography Stereo Photography', Ihagee publication.

Exakta Small Bellows

Ihagee Kamerawerk AG.


German Democratic Republic

Image of Exakta Small Bellows

For extensions between 35 and 125 mm.


  • Cream box for bellows.
  • Autocouple Extension Release. Comprises: 9 cm rod, 15 cm rod, connector to lens, connector to camera, 2 screws to fix connectors to cable release sockets. In cream box.

The small bellows unit was a handy, easy-to-use, alternative to the Vielzweck equipment. The Autocouple rods were Ihagee's alternative to a double couble release, they fitted between the lens release and camera release to give automatic diaphragm operation.

References & Notes:
'Macrophotography Photomicrography Stereo Photography', Ihagee publication.

BPM Bellows

Butterfield Photographic Mfg. Co.



Image of BPM Bellows

Twin rail type of bellows calibrated to 15 cm.

Slide holder. Box.

The rings used to attach the bellows to the camera and to attach the lens are removable allowing the device to be used with a wide range of camera models.

BPM Focuslide

Butterfield Photographic Mfg. Co.



Image of BPM Focuslide

Calibrated to 5 cm for stereo work. When a BPM bellows unit is attached the front of the bellows rails can be clamped to the focusing slide.


A common accessory for use with bellows or other close-up devices was a focusing slide, the camera or bellows were mounted on the slide and could then be moved forwards or backwards to focus or frame the subject without altering the lens to film distance (which determines the magnification). On some bellows units the focusing slide was an integral part of the device. This example is also calibrated for use as a stereo device.

Asahi Bellows

For S3 cameras

Asahi Optical Co.



Image of Asahi Bellows For S3 cameras

Single rail type of bellows calibrated with the magnification for two lenses: 55 mm 0.7 - 2.3; 58 mm 0.6 - 2.2.


Asahi Pentax Bellows II

Asahi Optical Co.



Image of Asahi Pentax Bellows II

Twin-rail bellows unit. One rail carries a scale of 4 - 18 cm. The other rail has scales marked for the 55 mm lens: 1.0 - 3.0 (magnification); 4x - 16x (exposure factor). The scales are engraved twice so that either standard can be used to focus.


The rear standard moves along the twin-rails and clamps into position, the front standard moves by rack and pinion. A slide copying holder can be fitted to the front of the unit.

The twin-rail model was replaced by a model having a large single rail.


Novoflex Fotogerätebau


West Germany

Image of EBAL

Twin-rail bellows unit. Scales of exposure factors for 50 mm (3x - 9x), 105 mm (1.5x - 2.5x) and 135 mm (1.5x - 1.8x) lenses.

Instructions, d. 1961. Box.


Novoflex Fotogerätebau


West Germany

Image of BALCAST

Twin-rail bellows unit with focusing slide. Scales of exposure factors for 50 mm (3x - 10x), 105 mm (1.2x - 2.6x) and 135 mm (1.4x - 1.8x) lenses. 42 mm body and lens flanges.


  • Box.
  • Bellows Hood. Box. BALSON.
  • Slide Copier. Field frame. Bracket to attach to BALCAST. Instructions, box. BALCOP.
  • Flash Bracket. 52 x 0.75 mm adapter. Box. X-SHOE.

The field mask with the BALCOP shows the field outlines for various cameras. With a 50 mm lens a negative supplementary lens, which increases the focal length, was required for 1:1 reproduction. Around 1972 the BALCOP was replaced by the BALCOP-K which was slightly larger and compatible with the new BALSON-K bellows hood.

The X-SHOE flash bracket was intended for close-up work, it attaches to a flange which screws onto the front of the lens. An accessory shoe then carries the flash unit.

Pentacon Six Bellows

Kombinat VEB Pentacon


German Democratic Republic

Image of Pentacon Six Bellows

Single-rail bellows unit. Extension of 20 - 100 mm.


  • Extension Tube Set. Comprising: 15, 22.5, 30 and 60 mm tubes. Automatic diaphragm operation. Box.
  • Double Cable Release.
  • Leaflets on Pentacon Six accessories.

The extension tubes have the early bright finish, later they were black.

Bellows and Reflex Housing

Hans Sperling

Berlin US Sektor

West Germany

Image of Bellows and Reflex Housing

Cable release.

This comprises a set of bellows permanently attached to a reflex housing, total extension is 184 mm. The Blue-Book of 1956/7 shows the name as Proflex but it was probably sold under different names. Fittings for Contax and Leica were listed. The housing carries a label saying that it was made in West Berlin, US sector. The item is poorly made.

The viewing hood incorporates a magnifier, the mirror is released by the cable release and lowered by a wheel on the side of the housing. Retaining rings hold interchangeable attachments for the camera body and lens.

References & Notes:
Blue-Book 1956/7, p. 62.

Optical Near-Focusing Device


E. Leitz G.M.B.H.



Image of Optical Near-Focusing Device

Optical Near-Focusing Device
This was a variable extension tube with parallax compensation to the view-finder and rangefinder. It allowed the standard 5 cm lens of the Leica to focus down to 17 ⅜", the magnification range was 1:6.5 - 1:17.5.

In use the lens is secured to the unit by its bayonet, the focusing mount of the lens is not used. An optical wedge is aligned over one of the rangefinder windows and a mask aligns in front of the view-finder window. The latter automatically adjusts for parallax and reduction in field size but in use was not very precise due to the small finder window.

Pre-war Leitz made different versions of the device:

  • Nooky (1935) for the 5 cm Elmar lens. In 1939 a reproduction scale was added.
  • Nooky-Hesum for the 5 cm Hektor and Summar. In 1939 a reproduction scale was added and the engraving included the 5 cm Summitar.
Early models were available in a black and nickel finish later only chrome were made.

References & Notes:
Leica Cat. 1936, p. 31.

Macrophoto Coupler FL 48

Canon Camera Co.


Image of Macrophoto Coupler FL 48


The Macrophoto Coupler combines a short helical extension tube with a lens reversing ring. It was produced for different lens sizes (filter size).

Soligor Auto Extension Tubes

Image of Soligor Auto Extension Tubes

Three tubes, 8, 16 and 32 mm with pin to operate the lens diaphragm. M42 thread.


Extension Tubes

Two tubes with additional bayonet converters to match the camera body and lens. Exacta fitting.

Soligor Reversing Ring

For reversing the lens when attached to bellows and extension tubes. M42 lens fitting, 49 mm filter thread.

Double Cable Release

Kombinat VEB Pentacon


German Democratic Republic

Image of Double Cable Release

Without an elaborate mechanism being incorporated in the bellows unit an automatic diaphragm would cease to function. To a lesser extent the same was true of extension tubes. A solution was to connect a double cable release to the normal shutter release and to the lens, normally the cable screwed to an intermediate ring attached to the lens mount, as on this example. On some lenses, such as the Edixa range, a cable release socket was built into the lens, a socket could also be part of the bellows unit.

Magnification and Exposure Tables

The tables above show the subject distance and image scale (magnification) for different bellows extensions. The figures are derived by the following formula:
E = Extra Extension
F = Focal length of lens
i = Image Distance
s = Subject Distance
M = Scale
EF = Exposure Factor
Subject distance = ((1 / (E / F)) + 1) x F
Image Distance = E + F
Scale = i / s
EF = (M + 1) x (M + 1)

The magnification is sometimes shown as a ratio as in the table above.

Company Details:


Camera Accessories

Lens - Filters

  - Supplementary

  - Attachments

  - Prisms & Mirrors

  - Hoods

View-finders, View-meters

Rangefinders, Distance Meters

Reflex Finders

Focusing Magnifiers

Delayed-Action, Self-Timers


Tripods and Stands

Flash Equipment


Close Up - Stands

  - Framing & Focusing

  - Bellows & Tubes

  - Lenses

  - Meters & Calculation

  - Microscope Attachment



Film Format Adapters

Film Handling