Building an 8x10 fixed box - opinion/advice needed

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by andreios, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. andreios

    andreios Member

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    Hello friends,
    I have in my mind a weekend project of building a simple plywood box-y camera to be used with some 8x10 (well, in fact they are 18x24cm) fidelity holders and I need some opinions/advice.
    One possibility is to make it a pinhole box - which would be the simplest thing and I could just "scale up" a 5x7 pinhole camera I've built before. But what IF I wanted a lens. I've got a 120mm lens that might just cover the desired format, although I use this lens on my other cameras frequently. Or I have a 240mm G claron in a strange big (thick) barrel that I am not using at all - would that be a better fit? Would it be possible to make a point-and-shoot box with this lens?
    What would be your choice?
    Any advice/opinion would be welcome.
    Thank you.
     
  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    A point and shoot box is a possibility and not too difficult to build. I have buily a couple in the past including 4x10 and 8x10. Both had focusing mounts made from threaded sewer pipe connections and threaded cap in which the lenses were mounted.
     
  3. andreios

    andreios Member

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    That's an interesting idea.. I thought originally to make it fixed focus and I think I'll stay at that since all the pipes I have at hand from the recent reconstruction are just to be squeezed one into the other and there are no threads...
     
  4. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    I made a few out of cardboard boxes---they work great---I'd make a simple cardboard fixed focus box WITH a lens---I just built one last night--11x14 box camera with a lens--I use REGULAR camera backs though for these--I use a deardorff back for the 8x10 box camera--I tape it to the box--it provides the support for the cardboard--the cardboard is lightweight and VERY strong when supported with the wood--and you can make it with no sawdust or tape!!!!!

    it works superbly--I recommend cardboard--they are light light light -- PARTICULARLY for larger formats--the cardboard provides an amazing strength to weight ratio--just make sure that the cardboard "box" is supported by rigid plate at rear (wood/metal camera back or other frame/plate) and front (rigid lensboard--or wooden front lensboard mount).

    you can make one for infinity focus for a longer lens and then switch focal lenghs for closer focus--that is better than focusing--sure you can't do fine tune focus, but, for taking around and not caring about it--it's great!

    these are my favorite cameras these days....

    OH_--BE SURE TO put some blackout fabric or foam on the inside!!!!!! wood or cardboard WILL reflect and flare--I used navy blue corduroy on the one last night....works better then bellows--super blackout in there!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2011
  5. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    You also might consider buying an older lens with a rack-and-pinion focusing mechanism. You should be able to pick up a projection triplet fairly inexpensively and a Petzval would set you back more.
     
  6. andreios

    andreios Member

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    Bless me, I've already got a chunky triplet (some 10-12" perhaps) that I've completely forgot about.. I'm not sure about the coverage, but we'll see - the only problem might be the tripod mounting - the lens is very heavy and it could be difficult to actually balance a light camera and a lens that heavy sticking in front of it..
     
  7. andreios

    andreios Member

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    Thanks for all suggestions John! Actually a solid front and some wooden structure covered with cardboard might do the trick.. The most difficult part would be the back - perhaps I'll try to find one - but while looking at all those odd backs from old wooden cameras I am always worried whether they would accept modern plastic film holders..

    As for the black out - I have some black velvet somewhere, but when making pinholes I used to just spray the inside with a matte black spray paint.
     
  8. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    you will LOVE it!!!! I"m playing around withe this 16x16x16 cube right now...the only problem is how LIGHT it is...when you try to insert a heavy film holder...you have to be careful not to move it...I taped it to the table top! that works perfect---set the focus...tape it down...THEN it's good....I'm absolutely knocked out by how good this one works---but it IS big though--8x10---ok still to carry with one hand/one arm...but THIS monster---it's like over 3x bigger---it don't fold unless I want to make it fancy...then I'll always worry aboutlight leaks though.----I originally built it to be a "cat camera" so i can shoot it from the floor / bed level / chair cushion level---my 11x14 back on my regular 11x14 field camera is a few extra inches from the floor--but THIS box one is as LOW to the groundas you can get...and it sits flat and level....now I just have to make a focus pointer in the front---a couple of yardsticks taped to the sides I'll try---when the cat is at the end of the yardtsicks...POP...pic in focus...it's focused close-up.
     
  9. AlanC

    AlanC Member

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    I have a 121mm Super Angulon lens which just about covers 10 x 8 and has lots of depth of field at f45, so I built a fixed-focus 10 x 8 camera for it. The whole thing is very light being made mainly out of very thin plywood. It has a ground glass screen for focussing. The glass is held in a wooden frame that has the same dimensions as a 10 x 8 film holder, and is clamped in place with woden strips. You remove it and replaceit with the film holder to take a picture.
    I use the lens on my 5 x 4 camera, so it too is removeable, on its regular lens board.
    Works very well.

    Alan
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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