6x12 roll film camera any one made one?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by bogeyes, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. bogeyes

    bogeyes Member

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    I have this strange desire to build an affordable 6x12 field camera that will use roll film and can be carried in my rucksack without too much grief. It would be used almost entirely to take landscape panoramas. My first thoughts were to buy a 6x12 chinese roll film back and a quality large format lens, value for money is a priority.Is it feasible to make your own ground glass and bellows or is it better to buy ready made? All advice/ contacts/plans most welcome. The Shen Hao HZX4511A with a 6x12 back looks very tempting but its way above what I want to spend.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Any 4x5 with a graflock back would work. If you don't need a lot of movements maybe a press camera plus the rollback?
     
  3. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

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    We are in the process of converting a 1A Graflex to a 6x12 SLR camera. It's a bit of work, admitted, but it should end up as a relatively light weight 6x12 camera for landscapes. Plus you get to compose on the ground glass without changing the roll film back.

    Yesterday on the fair someone showed me a home built conversion of a roll film camera with a short Schneider lens in a helical mount, topped with a Mamyia Press viewfinder. It works and is cheaper than the brand new top-line versions, like the Horseman Wide (or whatever it is called).
     
  4. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    Starting with the lens, I'd suggest a 90/6.8 Angulon which can be had for under $200 and sometimes under $100. The 90/6.8 WA Optar would probably do just as well. They are nice and small compared to the more modern counterparts as the coverage is much smaller. They will cover 6x12 easily.

    I've built a 6x14 panoramic from a Kodak 3A folder and if you only want 6x12 you could probably use something smaller like a 1A or 2A (116/616) which had a 2 1/2 x 4 1/4 neg. The film is only marginally larger than 120 so you can get it going with fairly minimal modifications.

    Importantly, these will have bellows of the appropriate size. There are plenty out there so you should be able to pick up something in reasonable condition. Do the collectors a favour though and leave the mint condition examples alone. One with a broken shutter or a hazy lens should be cheap and still suit your purposes.
     
  5. bogeyes

    bogeyes Member

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    Paul, the idea of converting a folder sounds good, have you any notes, pics or drawings of your 6x14 you would be willing to post?
     
  6. tpersin

    tpersin Member

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  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    On a budget, I think the best solution would be a camera like a Crown Graphic with a Graflok back and a Chinese 6x12 rollfilm holder as Nick Zentana suggests, with the stock lens and a 90mm/6.8 Angulon, or save up for a 90/8.0 Super-Angulon.

    I have the DaYi 6x17 back, and it's quite functional.
     
  8. WKF20500

    WKF20500 Member

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    Check this link for a description of how to convert an old Kodak folder to 6x12: http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/postcard.html

    Good Luck!!
     
  9. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    I've been meaning to put some photos of the 6x14 up on a page for some time now. I'll try and get it done this week. I got the idea from the medium format list (the link WKF20500 posted) so that is a good place to start.

    The basics are:
    1. How wide will the frame be?
    3a (122 film) is 5 1/2" ~140mm, 1A/2A (116/616 film) is 4 1/4" ~ 110mm (fairly close to the actual size of some 6x12 backs). With a more advanced conversion you could file out the frame a bit or even extend it backwards.

    2. How do I move the film?
    With a 3A you need to extend the wind on mechanism and find a way of holding the supply reel in place. You need a little tension on the supply reel to hold the film flat. You'll also need to reposition the ruby window to see the film numbers. I use the 6x4.5 numbers in the following sequence; 3, 6*, 9**, 12***, 16. Fuji films work better for this because the intermediate circles increase in size making it easier to remember where you are. The kodak ones are all the same.
    With a 1A/2A you should be able to get by with a couple of spacers to hold everything in place. You may need to move the Ruby window and obviously the 6x6 numbers are the one to use.

    3. How do I hold the film flat?
    With the 3A I needed to fix a couple of sheets of brass to the top and bottom of the film gate to narrow it. The pressure plate was made from a thin sheet of brass glued to a piece of rubber. I also had to cut a hole through the pressure plate for the Ruby window.
    With the 1A/2A you may not need to narrow the film gate, or at most add one strip to the top or bottom. The existing pressure plate may be sufficient.

    4. What about the lens?
    The shutter in the 3A is slightly larger than a Copal 0 so the 90/6.8 Angulon is a drop in replacement.
    I haven't measured a 1A/2A but they should be fairly close in size too. At worst you may have a little filing to do.

    Once it is in, put a piece of ground glass (baking paper at a pinch) on the film plane and then move the front standard in or out until you find infinity. Mark this point. If there is space do the same for intermediate distances. In practice while I could establish infinity I found it really hard to differentiate between the closer distances.

    Obviously the 1A/2A looks to be the easier conversion at the cost of a smaller frame size (or the advantage of one extra shot per film!). The 3A camera that I used was horizontal folder that consequently has a much shorter focussing track than the vertical folding Autographics. With the vertical folders you may end up with the focussing track in the shot. This may also be an issue with a 1A/2A if you use a shorter lens like an 80mm or 75mm.

    Hope this helps,

    Paul
     
  10. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    OK, pictures as promised: http://members.optusnet.com.au/~paulewins/resources/3a_panoramic.htm
    It looks more like a contraption than a camera but it works just fine.

    I've still got to scan one of the shots I took last year in the UK and there is probably a few typos in it as well. If there is anything that you want explained feel free to email me.
     
  11. bogeyes

    bogeyes Member

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    Thanks for the information, looks like I will be searching ebay for a kodak 3a and a decent lens. What enlarger do you use, have you made a 6x14 negatve holder to suit, or do you just contact print?
     
  12. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    For some time I've had a spare 90/6.8 lens sitting around (a Roeschlein-Kreuznach Rexagon in a Synchro-Compur-P shutter) and I've always kind of wanted to make a 6x12 camera out of it. At first I was thinking of buying Razzledog's CD on Polaroid 110 conversion, but decided that $50 seemed like a lot for something I could probably figure out myself. Then I read the page on the Medium Format Megasite and that decided to try that route first.

    Looking at the Kodak 1A/2A versus the 3A I ran into some issues though. I have a 4x5 enlarger, so I wouldn't be able to print the whole negative if I went with a 3A, but if I got a 1A/2A I would be getting a somewhat shortened pano format. Then I got to looking at the other Kodak roll film formats on Walker Mangum's Kodak Collector page and saw that the 130 roll film format was the closest to giving a 5" wide negative. There aren't so many Kodak folders that use the 130 format, but I settled on a 2C and got one on eBay for $11. It hasn't arrived yet, but I plan to copy the general ideas I have read so far to narrow the film gate, make a pressure plate, 120 roll adapters, etc. My biggest concern is whether I will have to chop off part of the door to keep it from appearing in the picture. It may not be too pretty by the time I'm finished, but it will be an interesting little project.

    Jerry
     
  13. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    OK, another link, this one to an unfinished project. http://members.optusnet.com.au/~paulewins/resources/6x14_panoramic.htm

    I'm only shooting colour transparencies with these cameras with the intention of scanning and printing via inkjet (still to be bought). I've got a Beseler 45 enlarger and I suspect that it might be possible to file out a carrier to fit 6x14. The diagonal of a 6x14 neg (56x140 actual) is about the same as a 4x5 neg so there should be enough coverage.
     
  14. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    hey paul

    Which agfa or ansco has two of those nifty fold up film holders?
     
  15. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    It was an Agfa Billy Compur like this one:

    http://cgi.ebay.de/alte-Rollfilm-Ka...602207112QQcategoryZ32926QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Note that the winder has a flip up key. Mine was bought in Australia and had a distance scale marked in feet while this one is marked in meters.

    This one looks similar:

    http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Agfa-Billy-C...600966372QQcategoryZ32926QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    but has a solid winder so is different in some way and may not have the flip out spool holders.

    I have no idea if there is a Ansco equivalent.
     
  16. nze

    nze Member

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    There is an article on converting 1A and 2a and 3a in Black and white photography UK n°45 aPril 2005. It is quite interesting and gine good starting point.
     
  17. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    FWIW, I'm partway through construction of a pair of 6x24 on 120 pinhole cameras... :wink:
     
  18. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    Alright! Paul

    I happened to have an unfixable agfa folder laying around. My problem was the spacers would cause binding on the last two frames. So using one of the agfa flip up holders fixed that perfectly. I actually cut the whole end off the agfa and epoxied it in there. No more binding. The other end, the take up spool, works fine with the spacers.

    By the way, I'm using a Kodak autographic 3A for a 6x14cm frame. Your film counting hint works well too. And this camera has the "autographic" slot. I covered that with rubylith and use it as the frame counter. No need to make a new hole.
     
  19. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    Kevin, cutting the end of the Agfa sounds a lot less fiddly than the mucking around I went through to get everything lined up properly. Putting the rubylith in the autographic window is a great idea. Sounds like you're almost ready to go out and take photos.

    Jerry, I've got a Kodak 2C Jr. Autographic that is too nice to modify, but otherwise has great potential. The frame size is 73mm x 125mm (on 130 film) so not too far from 6 x 12 and spacers should work fine. Best of all, the entire back comes off so fitting the reels in looks to be very easy.
     
  20. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    Hi Paul,

    The 2C Pocket I received is in excellent condition; I am starting to think it would be a shame to chop off the door. So first I plan to just modify it to take 120 film and then try out the original lens. I estimate it will have a horizontal angle of view equivalent to a 43mm lens on 35mm film, which is really kind of tight for panoramics I would think. The removable back is kind of nice, plus it already has a built-in pressure plate, so one less mod to make. I had also been thinking about turning the autographic slot into a red window, but the pressure plate blocks access to work on it. I think that if I drill out the four rivets that are visible on the back of the back then the pressure plate will come out, but I will have to get some miniature rivets to replace them.

    If I can get 120 mod to work well, then maybe I'll start looking for another 2C to put the wide angle on.

    Jerry