35mm frame spacing modification?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by ilikecameras1010, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. ilikecameras1010

    ilikecameras1010 Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2013
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I love shooting 6x6 medium format, and prefer square format images. I thought it might be fun to attempt to modify a 35mm SLR to take square images on 35mm film. I assume the masking of the viewfinder and film plane will be quite straightforward, but I'm unsure as to how I might be able to go about adjusting the frame spacing.
    Can anyone recommend a particular 35mm SLR I should seek out which has easily adjustable frame spacing? I have a Pentax ME Super and a Canon Rebel X which I'm willing to modify, although I imagine I should get a simpler, fully mechanical camera.
    Any tips on the general workings on film advance mechanisms or how to adjust them?
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,930
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Welcome to Apug!

    On a older type SLR (with transport/cocking lever) you would have to change the gearing.
    On a model with integrated motorized transport you would have to cope with the counter fed with the film advance signals (from perforations or toothed spindle).
     
  3. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The most sensible suggestion that comes to my mind is buy a TLR and forget about modifying a 35mm camera with all its inherent limitiations of resolution. A 6x6 negative would be getting close to 360% larger than 35mm and packing a substantial amount more detail in your photos.

    A few Canon SLRs have IR/LED sprocket counters linked to drive, shutter, mirror and computers. I wouldn't dream at all of tinkering with these. Back to the suggestion of a basic 6x6 to play with. :smile:
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,930
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As you said modifying the viewfinder would not be a problem to you (I think of a mask or square lining), I would go that way.
    (However take into account that by using a mask you might cut oof part of the rays going to the meter sensor.)

    And leave it by that. The hassle involved in modifying film transport should not be outweighed by the savings in film. For enlarging modify the film gate in your enlarger, or mask the film gate in the camera.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2013
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

    Messages:
    6,241
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    Southern USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There are several 35mm cameras that have square format. The one that comes most readily to mind is the Robot but there are others which other readers may suggest.
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,930
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I know only one 35mm (nearly) square format SLR (modified 24x36 model), and that is very simple, rare and has neither masked viewfinder nor modified film transport.

    Are there advanced 35mm square format SLR's?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2013
  7. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

    Messages:
    1,925
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    you could always mask the finder for assistance in shooting, and print cropped
     
  8. henry finley

    henry finley Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Marshville N
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I wish I had a comfortable financial position in life as to even think of an idea so pointless and trivial.
     
  9. summerbee

    summerbee Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm
    for what i can remeber 4 * 4 cameras were "quiete common" in the '50s / '60s
    i am not sure but some of them did not use 135 but 126 and similar other cartridges that are no longer available.
    for the sake of it you could simply mask film and finder and waste a few of any roll. quiete useless, imho.
     
  10. summerbee

    summerbee Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2012
    Shooter:
    35mm
    PS:
    even any camera with interchangeable focusing screens could do: on one you trace the proper lines and place it at work when needed...
     
  11. stormy_weather

    stormy_weather Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Location:
    Cologne, Ger
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Keep in mind that the the cocking lever does two things, it transports the film and cocks the shutter. If you modified the film transport to stop at a shorter length of film, you would end with a half cocked shutter. So this is nothing that can be done without a change of the gears, so cannot be done by us tinkerers, I believe.

    Regards,

    Sven
     
  12. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,381
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    And you wouldn't want to go off half cocked :wink:
     
  13. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,711
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    +1
     
  14. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,374
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes I agree with simply just buying a 6x6 camera. I am wondering if the new advanced model like the Nikon F5, F6 can be done by simply changing the firmware? These cameras have separate shutter cocking motor and film advance motor.
     
  15. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,930
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    See post #2. But how much would one gain by doing so? I think the aspect of saving film is neglectable.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2013
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,473
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i'd Just mask the finder and the film gate of a 35mm camera.
    If you want a real project, try converting a (the only) 126 Instamatic SLR to use 35mm film. That way you will have the correct lenses for the format.