metal spiders and close-up photography


Toronto. I bought Herbie over a half century ago in this fair city. Herbie is a lucky Danish spider and once had a thread from its tummy for hanging it vertically.

Spider legs (and filaments) were also used in photography. The filaments acted as a fine focussing cross in fancy gadgets such as those that joined a camera body to a microscope.

On the other hand, spider legs once allowed rangefinder cameras to frame and focus small objects down to life-size (1:1). Leitz made and sold many varieties that took advantage of the 5cm and 3.5cm lenses. The design allowed extension tubes to adjust the camera to lens distance while the legs of the spider device set the lens to object distance and framed the area captured. Some could be used with either a screw mount or bayonet mount camera; others were limited to one lens mount design.

Even booklets and brochures that showed how to use these marvellous gadgets, complete with various tables.

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