DIY - Large Format Camera?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Takizawa, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. Takizawa

    Takizawa Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Have any of you tried making your own Large Format Camera?

    Are there any 'do it yourself' large format camera kits still on the market? Would be great if we could develop a really simple, affordable kit. Something that does not require cutting your own slabs of wood, etc.. Might sound crazy, but even get that funded on Kickstarter.com . What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Daire Quinlan

    Daire Quinlan Member

    Messages:
    153
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  3. Takizawa

    Takizawa Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Thank you for sharing. Fascinating and I love the two photos.
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,678
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Probably be easier to start with an old one and rehab it. There are so many old ones out there that I don't think there is much market for an assemble-it-yourself. Although with a CNC router and a little time, it wouldn't be too hard to knock out a kit....maybe when I retire :smile:

    Like Daire, I also made a foam core camera that could be easily adapted to wood. It is based on the one shown in Alan Greene's book Primitive Photography (I think?):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotofish/sets/72157594320898072/

    I also rehabbed a Calumet C1....it really wasn't all that hard, but I have a ton of images to help out others who want to do the same:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotofish/sets/72157622663052152/

    I'm hoping to start on a hybrid Eastman/Deardorf/carbon fiber Frankencamera this winter. I'll post the result if I ever get around to doing it!

    Mark
     
  5. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

    Messages:
    942
    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've built many--get a standard ground glass spring back and a front standard portion that accepts lensboards...everything in the middle make from cardboard and tape--if you make it fixed focus (or change lens to focus) you will end up with a mainly cardboard aerial camera that is extremely light and extremely strong and extremely rigid. This is my preferred design.

    be sure to line the inside with somethign dark and non-reflective---dark corduroy works nice--this eliminates flare like a bellows.

    Also the cardboard body is basically free--people throw out nice boxes that can be re-purposed....make a mistake--throw it out and start over--costs you a back, a front tape and cardboard....and filmholders and lens of course...
     
  6. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,173
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  7. jodya

    jodya Member

    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    pdx
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    i just started making 4x5 sliding box, chamfered front cameras. The plan is to start offering them for sale as a complete finished camera and as a kit.
    This one is made from hardwood plywood so the materials are not that expensive.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

    Messages:
    942
    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    looks pretty good there--does it slide out the front? what's inside "the door" on the top?
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,101
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i make and sell them out of foam core and paper holders too
    i've made bigger than 11x14 and as small as 2x3
     
  10. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

    Messages:
    876
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've been thinking about making a small LF camera probably in a 4x5 size. What do you do for a simple lens? Don't really know anything about LF and haven't really looked into it very much. Can you use an enlarger lens? Or, is there something else you folks would recommend as a good starting lens?
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,101
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    sure!
    as long as you don't need a shutter ..
    lenses harvested off of folding cameras
    and old box cameras sometimes have shutters attached,
    and are cheap !

    have fun :smile:
    john
     
  12. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

    Messages:
    876
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Oh, yeah, shutter. Duh!

    Ok, starting lens with a shutter. So where do you look? Harvest off something old and used? That could work.
     
  13. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,173
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've extracted some decent lenses in Compound and Compur shutters from Folding Pocket Kodak Specials. The cameras were offered with gazillions of different lenses from different makers. IMO the best relatively common lenses fitted to them are f/6.3 Tessars, which were engraved Zeiss Kodak Anastigmat, Tessar, B&L Tessar IIb. f/6.3 Tessars from #3 and larger FPK Specials will cover 4x5. The 170/6.3 Kodak Anastigmat in Ilex shutter fitted to larger FKP Specials is the same design as the 203/7.7 Ektar, should do very well as a slightly long normal lens on 4x5.

    You can find FPKs at camera shows and on eBay. If you search for them at camera shows, you'll have to open a lot of them (to see what the lens and shutter are) to find a good lens. You'll see a lot of B&L Rapid Rectilinears with horrible balsam in EKCo Ball Bearing Shutters.

    Plan/budget for shutter overhaul.
     
  14. jodya

    jodya Member

    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    pdx
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    "looks pretty good there--does it slide out the front? what's inside "the door" on the top?"


    the back slides in and out to focus. the door on top opens to access the focusing screen and where the plate/film holder goes. I made this one to take a wet plate holder as well as a film holder. it works pretty good and looks great if your into the old style.
    no movements though.
     
  15. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

    Messages:
    755
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    Washougal, W
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

    Messages:
    9,092
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  17. jon_G

    jon_G Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Please note that in October 2015 my webpages on building large format cameras move to: jongrepstad.com


    Jon Grepstad