4x10 metal?

Discussion in 'Panoramic Cameras and Accessories' started by Bruce Watson, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    I'm searching about looking for a 4x10 camera that I could live with. The closest I've found so far is the Canham wooden 4x10.

    What I'm looking for is a camera that I can toss in the pack and hike with. Mostly landscape, mostly horizontal but some vertical. If I have full front movements I can live without any rear movements at all. I'd like it to be metal and designed for light weight.

    The Fotomans won't do it - no movements. The new Shen-hao is considerably too heavy. The Lotus weighs about the same as the Canham. I've never seen a Wisner in the wild, and I don't think I could muster up the courage to order one considering Wisner's apparently checkered history.

    I'm probably just chasing my tail here, but you never really know what's out there until you look. All pointers welcome.
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    Have you thought of contacting Canham to see if they can provide you with a 4X10 all metal camera?
     
  3. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    oooh, get thee behind me, Don
     
  4. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    I did think of that. The Canham website indicates that they don't want us talking to them directly, they want us to go through our dealers. So I asked Jeff at Badger Graphic Sales to ask, he came back and said they had no plans to make such a camera.

    Just for fun, I sent a request to Toho in Japan also. I haven't heard back from them yet (and I'm not holding my breath).

    My theory was with at least four active manufacturers making 4x10 cameras that somebody would make a metal 4x10. Hmmm.... maybe not.
     
  5. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Not really chasing your tail. I have been giving a lot of thought about putting together a stainless steel 4x10 that I can use in all kinds of weather and if it gets hit or dropped so what. I had a lens guard in mind with rubber shock absorbers so the lens would be protected in a minor tilt. Wood is great but something that could go as luggage in a plane or in a back back is what I need too.
     
  6. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    Why not aluminum? 6061-T6 would work fine - strong and light, and anodized it would be basically impervious to the weather. While stainless (any of the hundreds of metals in the stainless family) tends to have better strength, it also tends to be more of a pain to machine and weld. Given two structures of similar strength, one aluminum and the other stainless, the stainless one tends to be heavier.

    Another thought would be to make the lens guard an option so people could opt for light weight or ruggedness.

    There are at least four companies actively making 4x10s, none of them metal. There's clearly a market of some level for 4x10s. Let me know if you decide to proceed. I for one am interested.
     
  7. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    This is true for the aluminum, I thought about it and I was going for a camera that could get wet or be near the salt water. I think a bellows that can be changed often would be good too. I don't think a camera should cost two grand either. Aluminum is fine also and is light and easy to machine. I want one that has a nice range of movements and if something happens to it I can make another or change the bellows quickly. It's a little hard to type right now because I sanded off a finger while fixing a large belt sander. The first shop accident I have had in eight years.

    I recently started drawing some designs and it was apparent that cameras can be too complicated and too expensive. There are some givens though, like rack and pinions, which run about a hundred dollars for one camera. Other than the bellows, everything else is available and design choices are endless. After all what's a camera? A lens at one end and film at the other with the absence of light in between. The in between connectons are the design and style of the maker to provide the features. A "Tropical" camera would be very useful. Rugged and easy to maintain.

    Curt
     
  8. claytume

    claytume Member

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  9. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Wow, that looks really nice... I wonder if I could do the same thing for a 5"x12" camera to add the ease of making my own film holders.

    Hrm... food for though.
     
  10. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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  11. claytume

    claytume Member

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    Rich

    yes, you're right, for wide angle lenses it's just fine. The guy that owns it also has a 4x10 Canham, he built it because he found the Canham slow to setup. I think too he wanted something that would take a beating in the field without hurting the pocket too much.

    I was inspired by the design to build my own.........I collected the bits but sadly haven't had time to put it all together...........well that's my excuse!


    Clayton
     
  12. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Holy crap! I hope that means you sanded off the skin or "boogered-up" your hand, NOT actually removed the finger?
     
  13. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    Thanks, no just the skin down to the "meat" so to speak. I am enjoying some Kentucky Bourbon right now and I don't feel a thimg. It took hours for the blood to stop running. An abrasion always feels worse than a plain old but. Got three finger tip sides and I am just learning to type and get the middle finger to hit the "I" key. I guess it's time to go camping again!
     
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  15. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  16. fotoman

    fotoman Member

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    Please don't discount our Fotoman 410PS camera so quickly. We will have a shift adapter available by year end with 65mm of both rise and fall. Remember, at 2.5:1 4x10 is clearly panoramic, with less forground/background. As such most lenses (certainly wide angles) will offer enough DOF to assure sharp images once you shift away the unwanted foreground and/or background... tilt is not as important as it is with a more square format, like 4x5 or 8x10... unless you'll be shooting at large apertures.
     
  17. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    Sorry. If I didn't want the movements I would probably be happy with a 6x17. Smaller, lighter and considerably cheaper to operate.

    Part of what I want out of a 4x10 is to be able to shoot some near-far vertical panos. For that, I need a full set of movements somewhere - all on the front standard would be fine by me.

    I'm sure the Fotoman products are fine products, they just don't fit my application.
     
  18. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    Way too heavy for what I want, and way too bulky in the pack as well. What I'm looking for is light weight 4x10.
     
  19. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    Last night I mounted an excavation project (my desk is, um, less than neat) to find the correct View Camera magazines. The September and November issues from 2005 contain Kerry Thalmann's excellent and exhaustive review of the entirety of 4x10. History, current state-of-the-art, lenses, film holders, film, everything.

    Had I actually read these articles when they came out, I wouldn't have started this thread. But then, just a year ago I wasn't interested in panoramic photography at all. Sigh...
     
  20. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    Bruce,

    I'm glad you found the articles informative. I'm also glad you started this thread. As you know, I've had an on-again-off-again love affair with the 4x10 format for several years. I believe the more people learn about the 4x10 format, the more people will be enticed to give it a try. And, the more people shooting 4x10, the better it will be supported by the manufacturers. Therefore, I'm eager and willing to talk about 4x10 any chance I get.

    Also, the Fotoman 410PS is a new product that has come to market since my articles were published. Even if it isn't the perfect camera for your needs, discussing it here has brought it to the attention of others who may find it perfect for their needs. Again, the sharing of information is a good thing for all of us.

    Whatever camera you decide on, whether it's an off-the-shelf solution, or a custom made model, I hope you give 4x10 an try and find it as satisfying as I do.

    Kerry
     
  21. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    For the benefit of those who'd like to know a little more about the nifty 4x10 Graphic conversion, it was built by Wayne Firth. I've exchanged a number of emails with Wayne on the 4x10 format. He has also posted a little more info about his 4x10 Graphic in these two threads:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=10041

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=11661

    It's a great concept. The camera is very light, but I believe it is non-folding like the Altview 410WA discussed here. It certainly looks to be very fast to set-up and fast and easy to use - which were his design goals.

    Kerry
     
  22. uraniumnitrate

    uraniumnitrate Member

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  23. steve

    steve Member

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    I don't know any welder that would think that it is more difficult to weld stainless steel than to weld aluminum. Stainless welds like regular steel with stick, MIG, or TIG. In fact, you can weld stainless with E70 if you don't have 308 rod or wire available. The only problem is the weld will rust. You can weld stainless to regular steel with 309L. The ONLY problem with stainless is that some alloys require back purging of the weld with argon during welding for the best weldment strength.

    Aluminum requires higher amperage for the same thickness of metal because of the heat transfer characteristics, the metal has to be brushed, cleaned, and AC TIG welded for best results.

    Also, aluminum has the nasty characteristic that, when welded, the weldment is at the base metal strength and not at the treated strength. In the case of a T-6 treatment, the weld area is about T-2 after welding and will slowly age back to about a T-4 level. The weldment is never as strong as the surrounding metal. The only way to guarantee the welded area will be as strong as the base metal is to make the weld from both sides; or to heat treat the entire piece after welding.

    Stainless has NONE of those problems. You just setup and weld it.

    As for machining, stainless is no more difficult to machine if you use cobalt tooling. Aluminum has the nasty habit of "pushing" (compressing) if the tool feed rate is a bit too high or the tool is dull. This means the cut will slowly change dimension as the metal decompresses after it has been machined. In my experience, this can be as much a .001 - .002 inch.

    While you can hog more metal faster with aluminum using high speed steel tooling, the cleanup cuts required for the final dimensioning make it nearly as time consuming to work as stainless steel.
     
  24. ReallyBigCameras

    ReallyBigCameras Advertiser Advertiser

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    And, I'd still choose aluminum if I was building a camera. It's much lighter, cheaper, plenty durable and corrosion resistant when anodized. Of all the metal cameras I own and have owned in the past, none are/were made from stanless steal and not one has had a single welded joint.

    I believe Walker is the only current LF camera maker that uses stainless steel for anything larger than fasteners - and even he doesn't use it for the camera body. If you look at the metal-bodied large format cameras currently available from Linhof, Canham, ARCA-SWISS, Wista, Toyo, etc., they are all made out of aluminum. It is a perfectly suitable material for camera building.

    Kerry
     
  25. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    Welding? I was thinking more along the lines of a punch press and a CNC milling machine. Hadn't considered welding. I've destroyed a fair amount of aluminum with a heliarc rig - I never could seem to get the hang of it. ;-)

    I didn't consider stainless largely because of the weight issue, and the idea that aluminum is plenty strong enough for the application.

    But don't let my poorly preconceived notions stop you. Thinking out of the box is a good thing. Using stainless is an interesting idea. I'd love to see it if you decide to build one, and I'd certainly consider it if you decide to sell them.
     
  26. steve

    steve Member

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    I never said stainless would be a better choice for making a camera - you're projecting whatever you want into my response. My comments do not address making a camera from the materials only the base working characteristics of each material. The statements made in the original post about stainless versus aluminum weren't accurate, especially the comment on welding - and that's what I was addressing.

    If you had the money to make whatever camera you wanted, a rough casting from a magnesium alloy would be the best choice for weight versus strength. It's also not difficult to machine (actually easier than aluminum), you just have be careful with the cutting rates and chips so you don't start a fire.

    When weight and strength are balanced against cost, aluminum would be a very good choice for building a view camera. The 6000 series being relatively inexpensive; and some of the 7000 series being stronger but more expensive.