Building a primitive LF Camera

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Christopher Walrath, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I have ordered a box of P/N 55 from eBay and am going to build a large format camera. Very few movements if any. I'm thinking one box that will slip inside of another (five sided cubes). The smaller up front that will hold the lens. The outer to the back that will hold a ?

    O.K. Where do I start? I'm thinking lens so I know focal length hence how long the camera needs to be. Then, Graflex back? Ground Glass and Polaroid holder? Build the boxes around these. Anyone done anything like this? Any ideas? Anyone have a near junk LF lens that they would be willing to donate to the project?

    Lemme know what you all think. I'm in no hurry on this one. This will be a little by little labor of love, and probably hate as well. You know how it is. Any other design ideas welcome as well.
     
  2. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Check out Alan Greene's book Primitive Photography. Just for fun, I wanted to make the lightest 8x10 camera possible and I did it out of gator board (like foamcore, but with plastic cover sheets) that would have ground glass viewing, uses standard holders and a home made lens. If you are curious, I have pictures of it at http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotofish/ It sounds close to what you are talking about.

    Mark
     
  3. jmcclure

    jmcclure Member

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  4. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    WHOA! Another Delawarean on APUG. HOT DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  5. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    for a sliding boxer, the rear sliding into the front is inherently better for light leaks because the leak would have to enter, and reflect into the rear portion to reach the film holder.

    This doesn't cure all potential leaks, but it's better than front sliding into rear where a loose fit will beam light straight back to the filmholder.

    Graphlok is most desirable (expensive) back, Spring Back I think is possibly most flexible regarding types of filmholders that fit. Ask around here or graflex.org to make sure you don't end up with the awkward combo that requires grooved filmholders, unless you have the matching stuff.

    Junk lens? You could easily MAKE a junk lens. An unwanted slightly better than junk lens? I'll look.

    A Kodak 1A or 2A with rotten bellows probably has a 120-130 mm Rapid Rectilinear symmetrical lens and 2 (read 1) speed shutter with B & T & adjustable iris. Might cover a good portion of 4x5. Unscrew one cell (preferably front) and you have a meniscus achromat of slightly more than 2x the original f.l. and a large enough image circle that you have the advantage of only using the central portion, stop down to correct the lens further & you can use B and long exposures. IF you have excess image circle, do a good job of baffling the interior to prevent internal body reflections. Flat surface w/black paint may not be enough.

    Gatorfoam actually has a wood fiber facing, per the mfr. Per a competitor, it also has formaldehyde in it, so don't inhale dust from sawing or sanding it.

    I made two lenses from reading glasses. Haven't tried them yet, but Sam Wang, a respected and accomplished photographer & photography prof. in S.C., with much better credentials than I , suggested this to me.

    I'll take a photo & post them. Remind me if you get impatient.
     
  6. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Hey, go visit this thread. Get junky.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=35097
     
  7. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Magnifying glasses. I like it. I'm gonna try this out. Keep 'em coming folks. Give me ideas.
     
  8. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Considering the cost of 55, maybe a single non-achromat element (magnifying glass) might not be a good approach.

    At least you get to shoot one sheet at a time & decide whether to use that lens for the crossword puzzle or leave it on-camera.
     
  9. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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  10. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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  11. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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  12. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    George Eastman Online Museum

    For a great resource of ideas on how to build nested/sliding box cameras, visit the George Eastman Online Museum. Here is an example of some cameras. The entire technology section of the online museum is here.

    Here's an example of a sliding (nested) box camera that may give you some construction ideas.

    ~Joe
     
  13. freygr

    freygr Member

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    For a fast lens check out schools for broken overhead lenses. I have a few with the plastic housings which can't be used due to melted and broker plastic housings and they are fast triplets, color corrected, and fills my 11 x14 ground glass test jig. The one's I have are 14 in (327 mm on the housing) there is not any place for stops though. You may be able to find doublets and singlet lenses also most are 14" but some are 12". But some of the older bigger WWII and 1950 vintage overhead had some real nice lenses. Most of the cheap Overheads have the doublets and singlet lenses.