Camera for Copy Work

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by wfwhitaker, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    I'd like to solicit advice on a camera/viewfinder combination for doing copy work. I'm a bit biased toward Nikon since I still have several Nikon lenses and could use the camera for general photography, too. However, I'm open to suggestions.

    At one time I had access to a friend's F3 and picked up a nice DW-4 6x magnifying finder to use with it. I've considered getting an F3, but having seen some posts about problems regarding it, am having second thoughts. A good F2 with a DW-2 would appear to be a good solution and fits into my Luddite lifestyle.

    Any thoughts? Any idea of what is a reasonable price for an F2/DW-2? Any caveats?

    Thanks,
    Will
     
  2. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have the F3HP with DW-4 viewfinder and the PB-6 bellow. I found a couple of adapters so that I can mount my enlarging lenses on the bellow. Although I have not use it for copying work but I see no problem with such a setup.
     
  3. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Will,

    The camera body is largely irrelevant, especially in 35mm. A good macro lens will, however, make life a lot easier. An accessory focusing rail can also be helpful.

    Luddite?? A 4 x 5 view camera is far more useful and versatile for copying. Using one makes it easier to keep everything squared up. There is also the variance of contrast in the copied originals; being able to adjust processing for individual exposures comes in very handy. The only real disadvantage to using 4 x 5 is that many of the specialized copy films are no longer being produced.

    Konical
     
  4. wfwhitaker

    wfwhitaker Member

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    Agreed, but my output needs to be 35mm for this application.
     
  5. DKT

    DKT Member

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    will--I use a 4x5 a lot for copywork (at work, on a bencher producer stand), but I have used an F3HP for years as well, and have no problems whatsoever with it....lenses used are the 55 micro 2.8 and a 105 micro-nikkor.

    fwiw, I use the 55 micro & F3 on a chromapro slide duper as well to dupe 4x5 chromes down to 35 with CDUII....never had a problem here either. the F3 is a workhorse camera for the studio, and great on the copystand as well.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The choice of camera doesn't really matter that much. If it has reliable shutter speeds for continuous lighting, that's really the only likely issue. I do copy work with strobes, so the shutter speed isn't even important.

    A few things that are nice conveniences but not essential for shooting 35mm copy slides--

    Motor drive with an electric release, so you can work quickly without introducing camera shake or moving the camera when you wind the film.

    Angle finder or chimney finder so you can focus on a copy stand without having to stand in an awkward position.

    If you have the option of a grid screen, that helps keep everything square.

    Spirit level or laser alignment tool for keeping the camera and the work level on the stand.
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I've used my Contax 167mt for doing copy work, with 50 f1.8 or 35 f2.8 lenses (depending on size of original). I sent it in for a repair once and they sent me a free right-angle magnifier finder for some unknown reason. This was always a wonderful combination for doing copy work, as the Contax finders are very bright. Although it is not a true 100% finder, it was close enough that I could count on the slide mount masking to be the same as the viewfinder difference, so I was always spot on with my compositions.

    Another great camera for copy work (if you can find one) is a Minolta XK - it has a 100% finder, interchangeable prisms, like the F2, and it takes the modern Minolta bayonet mount lenses. Highly under-rated.
     
  8. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Here is what I use for 35mm copy stand work:

    Camera:
    Nikon F2 (black body preferred to reduce unwanted reflections in shiny subjects)
    Type E (has grid lines to assist proper alignment of subject in viewfinder)
    Nikon DW-2 6x Magnifier Finder or
    Nikon DE-1 non-metered viewfinder with Nikon Eyepiece Magnifier DG-2
    MD-1, MD-2, or MD-3 motor drive (primarily for added weight to reduce camera vibrations)

    Lenses:
    105mm f4 short mount
    PB-4 Bellows
    55mm f3.5 macro
    Nikon M2 extension tube
    28mm f3.5 (mounted in reverse position for macro work)
    Nikon BR-2 lens reversal ring
    Nikon K extension set

    Misc:
    Nikon Bellows Slide Copy Attachment PS-4
    Cable Release
     
  9. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    My suggestion would be for any SLR body that accepts a right angle finder attachment or a waist level finder. If you are going to make a number of copies then either of these two setups will save you a lot of neck strain.
     
  10. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Hmm. Lotsa answers on cameras and lenses, two mentions so far of a copy stand, a Bencher and "unspecified," to be exact.

    Will, if it isn't obvious to you that any old camera that can be focused through the lens and any old macro or enlarging lens will do, it should be. Or rather, they've all done.

    Positioning the copy and camera matter too. The Bencher stand mentioned is fine. I use the remains of a Polaroid MP-4 with a Nikon and MicroNikkor on the Universal Camera Mount. One of the many nice things about proper copy stands is that they allow lights to be attached. One of my rig's weaknesses is that since I started with a $25 scrap MP-4 baseboard and column I have to improvise lighting.

    Good luck, and remember that you can't do copy work well shooting hand-held,

    Dan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 19, 2006
  11. DKT

    DKT Member

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    the only other thing you might need would be a set of polarizing gels for your lights--they run about 50 bucks apiece for a sheet big enough to cover the output of a tota light or a strobe head. the other alternative would be a set of the old kodak polalights if you can find any. having the ability to cross polarize (lens & lights) is a big help in copywork....

    btw--the bencher is bigger than an MP4 (I've used both the MP4XL and an MP3 as well, and surplused both of them also.) and the lights are better. When I used the MP4, I took the sidearms & lights off and replaced them with either speedotron strobes on stands or lowell tota lights on stands, depending on what I was working with....better coverage & more even.

    in our studio, we use a Linhof copystand as well. it has a shorter column, but the build quality is superb. it's a great stand for shooting small objects--for lights we use strobes or hotlights, it just depends on what we're working on. I use a glass stage on that sometimes to shoot coins as well.
     
  12. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    If you have a lot of flat copying to do, and you aren't talking about 1:1 copying, the Leitz Reprovit II is magic. I've seen them go quite cheaply, but you do need an old M-series body to go with it. The Reprovit should come with a lens and lights.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  13. edz

    edz Member

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    I would not use an SLR.
    If you want to do 35mm copying (for 4x5 there is the MP-4 and then, of course, there are the Linhof copying cameras) I'd just get a good repro-stand and get something like a Robot Recorder with bulk magazine--- made in 10m, 30m, 60m and 150m sizes. The 10 meter back is quite small but still allows for 250 shots in 24x36mm or 370 in 24x24mm. 10 meters is just right the Jobo and LOMO bulk/cine tanks and I think, the longest one might want to process without a roller transport machine--- and especially without a special dryer.
    In a reproduction environment with the Robot, alignment and critical focus is done with a ground glass. The shutter is rotary so the camera stays completely registered in aligment. The MOTOR Recorder runs off 24v (or some as little as 12v). They are faster and provide more acurate frame registration than ANY amateur camera (including all the Leica M-x, Nikon F-x etc).
    The Leica Reprovit-II is good but you need have an MDa or an M-3 (comtemporary Leica M models won't work) and maybe a Focotar-2.. bits that are still traded at comparatively high prices even if Reprovit-IIs can be had for small change.
    I really like the Reprovit-II but but its not quite, I think, to the levels of Robot on a good repro stand (such as an MP-4 frame) or even one of the heavier Kaiser models.
    Today inexpensive but in the days of MDa/Reprovits the Robot repro system was also very expensive. A Document system (WITHOUT Stand or Magzine but with lens, power-supply and flash) would have cost no less than $3000 USD in 1980.
     
  14. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    My II (maybe IIa, I'm not familiar with the differences) works with my classic M6 bodies, but the M7 would probably foul the slide mechanism. I don't know whether or not it was modified before I got it, but I did nothing to it. What should the problem be?

    Thanks,
    Helen
     
  15. edz

    edz Member

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    If you say so. The M4, M4-2, M4-P, M-5 and M-6 normally need a special modification. They used to be available (might still be) from Leica.

    I don't think the M7 will work. Leica also, I think, never offered a modification as it was no longer an issue.

    They might well have been modified. The Reprovits were quite popular and provided (not just by Leica standards) good value, function and quality. Do your "bodies" have little metal studs?

    It won't fit or won't latch.

    To clarify: If one owns a few suitable camera bodies then the Reprovit-IIa is a great piece of kit. The MDa camera is also neat since it allows one to "imprint" data onto the negative--- unfortunately collectors still seem to want these finderless cameras. Within the current give-away (trading at prices below what even low end repro stands might cost) its a great choice. Important is to get a complete one, including the 45 degree tube (to bring the light down to project) and vertical tube (to view). Since these are removable.. as the old saying goes about anything that's not glued or bolted on......
     
  16. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Nah, buy a new F6. Keep Nikon in business. :wink: