Constructing a 10x8 camera - Stanford style?

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by pdeeh, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Has anyone here constructed a foamboard pinhole camera à la Stanford (http://pinhole.stanford.edu/foamcore.html) ?

    I've long wanted to do some 10x8 pinhole work, and I've finally acquired a couple of 10x8 backs at not-too-excessive a price, so I now need to make a camera on which to mount them.

    I have nothing remotely approaching a workshop, so am limited to what I can build on my kitchen worktop with the most basic tools - in essence, an Xacto knife and a steel ruler. The Stanford approach has the merits of requiring only the tools I have and inexpensive materials, plus it has step-by-step instructions that it appears even an oaf such as myself could follow.

    SO ... the question is simply, is there any reason why I should not be able to simply scale up the Stanford dimensions (for a 5x4 camera) up by a factor of 2 to build myself a 10x8?
     
  2. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Actually, the article you link to already has film back dimensions for 5x7 and 8x10 versions. So I would think it should scale up nicely. The pinhole will presumably scale up also and the calculators around the Internet can handle that.

    I have more or less scaled up from 4x5 to 8x10, although the actual construction details are different. My 4x5 is pretty similar to that foamcore camera, but made with plywood and some reinforcing framing.. The 8x10 is fancier, but I have a fair accumulation of woodworking tools. For me, the camera building is almost as interesting as the photographic results!
     
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  3. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    thanks.

    Yep, I assumed that as they had bothered to put the 10x8 dimensions for the back, it would be OK ... but you never know, this LF stuff can be a bit voodoo so I thought I'd ask :smile:

    I've been shooting lots of rolls in my Zero45+Horseman 6x7 back, which has produced some marvellous results, but really what I want to do is make big contacts,though I'll start with paper negs.

    Off at a small tangent and off topic for this particular subforum, but just tonight I found a blog page where someone describes building a lensed (and focusable but without bellows) 10x8 out of foamcore too ... this has Given Me Ideas ... with a barrel lens it could be possible to go 10x8 for <£100 and the darkslides would be the biggest part of that cost ...
     
  4. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    fun guys

    You guys are fun. I am putting together a FrankenGraphic, a Crown Graphic from various parts, so I will have a 4x5. But what I really want is to make my own 8x10 camera. Including making my own film holder. Or maybe it will be a one-shot camera where I load a piece of printing paper in the darkroom and have one shot. I want each 8x10 to be a original, not a neg.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    :smile:

    lots of fun to be had making cameras

    hope ypurs is cheap as dirt and a blast to use!
     
  6. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    If I can find the patience to experiment properly once I have the big pinhole camera together, I'm going to have a go at reversal processing the paper negatives. The process is the same as doing film reversal, but I can imagine needing a bit of planning and a lot of trays for the different stages. Much easier when just pouring chemicals in and out of a tank ...

    The blog post about making a foamboard lensed 10x8 is here by the way http://grahamvasey.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/my-10x8-camera/. He seems to have been posting on APUG at one time, but not for a few years now.

    I might change my name to Miroslav ... :whistling:
     
  7. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    I was going to do an 8X10 version of this camera, but decided to go for the 4X5 when I found some 4X5 film holders for under $5 each. They are wooden, but since I'm doing paper negs, as long as they are light tight it will be OK.
     
  8. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Yes. My son and I built the 4x5 from these plans some years ago. He made a very simple pinhole (literally) in a piece of aluminum foil. It worked very well and made beautiful photos. I could probably dig up a few examples if you're interested.
     
  9. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I did one sorta similar last year for the same reason. I didn't find the Stanford instructions, so I made mine kinda by feel (and with lots of tape and glue). It worked ok, but wasn't very sturdy so I haven't used it much. It's still in the PA house, but if I can find a picture of it or with it, I'll post back. I had a thread on here about it, so there might be a photo of it in there, but I'm not sure.
     
  10. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Thank you everyone for your enthusiastic and encouraging responses.

    The DDSes arrived today, and I had failed to visualise properly just how big the damn things are (yes, yes, I know there's a clue in the name "10x8", but that just means a sheet of paper to me ... )

    So I've doubled my order of foamboard, and I think I'm going to need a bigger roll of duct-tape ...
     
  11. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Well ... all done. Not very elegant (well, a bit rough round the edges tbh), but perfectly functional

    In the end I found the Stanford instruction sheet only partly useful. It seemed easier just to start by taking one of the DDS and build the rest around it.

    Took me about 2 hours including tea breaks and wouldn't have taken that long had I not made a basic error of measurement and had to find a way to rescue myself from it. Or had less tea maybe.

    Almost the trickiest bit was making the "groove" in the backplate.

    It's surprisingly rigid (although I did end up adding an extra layer of foam board as part of my rescue tactic, so that probably helps), very light, but also slightly off-balance once the DDS is in - needs a bit of extra weight at the front to sort out the moment.

    The bungees to hold the DDS in tight are made from scrunchies tied together, and the pinhole from a can of Dr. Pepper someone had thrown over my garden wall.

    Pinhole is ~0.57mm (measured with an enlarger), focal length is ~150mm, so ~f/260.

    The next mod will be to epoxy a couple of 3/8" nuts to pieces of board, made flush with more foam board and glued to bottom and side, so I can use a tripod.

    It's enormous. I can't imagine walking down the street with it under my arm ...

    Here's a pic of the beast, plus the first negative I got out of it (on MGIV RC, EI6, developed in paRodinal 1:50) - scanned and inverted. I'll get round to trying to print it next week.
     

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  12. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Nice! I just won an ePrey auction for three 8x10 holders, added to the two I already have that should encourage me to try harder to get out there!
     
  13. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Hey, I have a few questions about your build. I just did the 4X5 version.

    1- I'm using a can as well for my pinhole. I did the dimple and sand method. I tried using my enlarger to measure the pinhole, but didn't have much success. How can this be done somewhat accurately?
    2 - how did you secure the pinhole? I opted for some tape right now because I don't know if this is my final pinhole. The can is curved though. so it lifts the tape.
     
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  15. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    1. I just did the plastic-ruler-in-the-negative-carrier trick: Rack the enlarger up to the top, get a sharp image of the ruler's lines, measure what a 1cm line projects to on the baseboard/easel and the ratio 1:whatever is your enlargement factor. then put the pinhole in the same position, it'll project a white circle on the baseboard/easel, measure that and divide by the enlargement factor. The higher you can rack your enlarger the more accurate the final calculation will be. I think. I'm no engineer :smile:

    2. I secured it with double-sided tape, in a piece of thin card folded in half, and then taped the whole thing to the inside of the camera with duct-tape. Didn't have a problem with curve. Perhaps Dr. Pepper cans are thinner in the UK than in the US?
     
  16. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Great! Have fun!
     
  17. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    1- thanks. Thats basically what I did, but I'll give it another shot.
    2 - great idea. I just tried taping my pinhole directly inside the camera. Sandwiching it between some cardstock would solve the problem.
     
  18. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    After a bit of reflection, I've realised that it would be pretty straightforward to make filmholders good enough for pinhole work out of layers of greyboard or styrene.

    You wouldn't have to worry about the "T-distance" so tolerances are not at all critical.

    I imagine for the price of a single 10x8 holder (mine cost about £35 each, and that was a pretty decent price for the UK) I could make half a dozen more.

    It also means that making ULF pinhole cameras a rather more manageable prospect ...
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I'm sorry. I don't understand this bit!!


    Steve.
     
  20. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Had I had fewer breaks for tea, it would not have taken quite so long ...
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Sorry. I was experimenting with humour. An Englishman cannot possibly take fewer tea breaks!


    Steve.
     
  22. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    no need to apologise, It's always a disappointment when one sees one's wit fly heedlessly over the head of the audience, isn't it?
     
  23. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    Keep us up on progression on making film holders. 8X10 film holders have been cost prohibitive for me as well. I've seen some for decent prices, but it never coincides with times when I have money.

    This happens all too often with me.
     
  24. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    It may be quite a while before I get round to trying to make film holders, so don't hold your breath :smile:

    But in principle I don't see it as being very difficult. What occurred to me as I held one and looked at what it does and how it does it is that it only looks complicated.

    Once I visualised it as a sequence of layers of material stacked up (rather than a complex monoblock) it became much easier: consider each required element separately, and it becomes much more apparent that one can be made by glueing together the parts in layers.

    So for instance, the groove in which the darkslide runs looks impossible - how do I make a groove like that? But considered as three strips of material stacked up with the centre one a little less wide than the ones above and below, it's suddenly quite straightforward.

    Working out how to build the loading end seems the most complicated part, but only if one only tries to copy the way that it is implemented in a standard film holder. One has to make it light-tight and secure, so we can let form follow function. Having said that, I haven't given that bit much thought yet.

    Maybe if I have a wet afternoon to fill, I might try prototyping one in foamcore. It'd be about 4 inches thick, but it would be a proof of concept.

    I've no doubt others have had similar thoughts and probably if I looked hard enough I could find a few similar designs on the interwebs, but so far I only found ones built by damn clever home woodworkers with a garage full of tools. Whereas I have only a knife, a mat and steel rule :smile:
     
  25. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Try mat board, not foam core, for the film holder. Single weight mat board should suffice. Building up the film holder with slots for thin metal dark slides and slots for the film should result in a light and compact holder. Standard holders have a ridge that fits into a grove as a light trap. Draping a large black cloth over the back of the camera while manipulating the dark slide and exposing the film may eliminate the need for this. Taping a tab made from the same mat board as the holder to the film can serve as a handle for inserting the film as well as a light trap. A step on the tab makes an even better light trap. The tab and the adjacent surfaces of the film holder should be blackened to better block light. When loading film, you may first have to insert a piece of paper in the slot opposite the loading slot to guide the film into that slot. A knife, a steel rule, and a keen mind are most of what one needs for making pinhole cameras.
     
  26. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Thanks Jim.

    I wasn't thinking of making the final article from foamcore - far too bulky. Mat or greyboard seem the right sort of stuff.

    As it happens I prototyped one this afternoon out of corrugated cardboard, just to see how it could work, and it really will be eminently possible with the right materials. I found a few ways of doing it, some more wasteful of materials but "tidier", others more fiddly but less wasteful.

    Trying to make a "folding bottom" (as in a commercial film holder) seemed far too much bother. One solution is to forget about doing so, and instead simply leave the bottom of the film slot "open", but with a couple of layers of velvet ribbon as light traps. Good enough perhaps for paper (if one takes care), rather less sure about film. The bottom end of the darkslide slot can made sealed of course.

    It also occurred to me that this would be an excellent project for some clever dude/dudette with a 3D printer ...