Easiest 120 cameras to convert to 6x6 pinhole

Discussion in 'Pinhole Photography' started by Anupam Basu, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Hello,

    I recently converted a Brownie Hawkeye flash to a pinhole - it takes great pictures and even takes 120 film but the take up spool just HAS to be 620. Which kind of throws the spanner in my plan of only taking a pinhole camera and a small tripod on a trip as I only have 2 620 spools.

    Hence my search for the most convenient 6x6 pinhole camera continues. Ideally it would have the following "features":

    Easy to take apart and remove the lens

    A bulb feature would be nice, but usually I just remove the whole shutter system and device some sort of a lens cap, so preferably the shutter system would be less complicated than my Brownie Twin-20, for example.

    120 FILM in 6x6 (I prefer it to 6x9, somehow)

    A waist level finder would make it perfect!

    Any suggestions, tips would be greatly appreciated. I seem to remember a database that listed brownies by film type, but can't find it now.

    Many thanks,
    -A
     
  2. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    what about a cheap 6x6 folder? Get one with a bad lens and bellows, take the lens out and tape the bellows over. Since I bought an agfa isolete in good condition for 12 bucks from a store, I can't imagine busted ones being too expensive :smile:

    You woulnd't have a WL finder, but you'd have a window to compose if you kept the focal lenght the same.

    André
     
  3. Elox

    Elox Member

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    I have a Kiev 88 with a blown shutter curtain that might work. You would have to use the dark slide as a shutter, but it does include a WL finder. PM if you are interested.
     
  4. tpersin

    tpersin Member

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    folders are great to convert, and if you want a superwide angle you can hack off the bellows part, put a cover over the hole and put a pinhole right on the body.

    heres'a 6x9 conversion:
    http://f295.tompersinger.com/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b=cm,m=1132709228

    could make one from scratch:
    http://f295.tompersinger.com/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b=cm,m=1116615408
    or
    http://f295.tompersinger.com/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b=cm,m=1103650926

    Ansco Sure-Shot
    http://f295.tompersinger.com/cgi-bin/Blah/Blah.pl?b=cm,m=1109524848

    convert a lubitel:
    http://www.creativegalleries.com/duckworth/pinhole/lubitel.shtml

    intructions that work for about any vintage box camera
    http://www.creativegalleries.com/duckworth/pinhole/vintagebox/Converting-a-Vintage-Box.htm

    and one more:
    http://www.creativegalleries.com/duckworth/pinhole/Down-on-the-farm.shtml

    good luck!
    Tom
    f295
     
  5. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    A,

    620 film is still available try J & C.
     
  6. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Polaroid is hard to beat. Below copied / pasted from an earlier post:

    A little more seriously, for a really wide look, get the polaroid back from an old CRT / oscilloscope camera from ebay (they used 108 / 665 film packs) and cobble a pin hole about an inch in front of the film.

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/021502/pinhole0.jpg

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/021502/pinhole5.jpg

    I should add the "Tonopah Nevada" script is on the bottom of an antique Coca Cola bottle about an inch in front of the pinhole.
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    a zone plate fits right into the shutter of a lubitell 166 :smile:
     
  8. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    If you don't donate the camera for pinholes, I remember that the cost to replace the shutter on my old Salyut was not too bad. I can look up the guy who did it (Eddie something in NYC. Rumored to be a former worker in the Kiev factory).

    Matt
     
  9. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    For 6x9, maybe a Century Graphic which seems to be priced much cheaper today then before. Of course it will still cost alot more then your average cheap folder, but lens boards are available undrilled and the bellows can be moved for whatever pinhole FL you want. 6x9 rollfilm backs, cutfilm holders and 2x3 film are available. I've decided to turn mine into a pinhole so thats why I suggest this camera. In the 120 realm of cameras there are it seems a million, so just find something cheap with a good bellows and go from there. A Holga might also be the ticket.
     
  10. k_jupiter

    k_jupiter Member

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    I recently sent a Balda Baldinexxe or some such rubbish to Donald Qualls. I thought it took great pictures when I sent it, He of course broke it down and made it better. The point being is this camera cost about 4 bucks on EPay and has not a bellows to let light through, but a can that pops out with a shutter on the end of it with 'b' settings. The lens was pure crap (unless you like Holgas) and the pinhole gave sharper photos. I took some great picts with it and 50 speed Fuji Velvia. That's the best 120 pinhole I have seen. I have also used my 2 1/4 speed but no better results and a lot heavier.

    tim in san jose
     
  11. Bill Bresler

    Bill Bresler Member

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    I made a couple of pinholes for an old crown graphic. The only trouble is that at the shortest focal lengths the camera focus bed is in the photo, even if it's in the dropped position.
    Bill
     
  12. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    If you're willing to fork over the money, a Bronica S2/S2a is probably the best body ever made for lens hacking like this. (6x6 on 120, by the way, with a waist level finder, bulb, and easy to remove lenses...it meets your criteria well.)

    The best thing about the early Bronicas is the lens mounting system. Most of the lenses went into the bayonet on the focusing helicoil, which was then mounted on the camera. Some lenses mounted directly to the bayonet on the body. You have three places to mount a lens on one of these bodies. The body has a bayonet mount. The helicoil has a bayonet mount. And the helicoil also has threads just outside of the bayonet mount (57x1mm...not the most common threads, but any competent machine shop can help you out if you want to get fancy). For a pinhole, you can just remove the whole lens and helicoil and tape the pinhole over the opening in the body. With very little work, you can mount just about anything on the body...enlarger lenses, LF lenses, loupes, whatever else you care to try. Since the camera has a focal plane shutter, you don't need shutters in your lenses. I've had a blast over the years, attaching various things to the front of my S2a. And when I'm done, I mount up the Nikkor lenses that were made for the camera and get amazingly sharp pictures.

    This wouldn't be your cheapest solution, but it definately gives you a body that's great for experimenting with, and that takes great photographs with the lenses that were made for it.

    Best of luck.
    Dave
     
  13. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll look into some of the folders. However, I don't think I want a 6x6 SLR right now for two reasons - the viewfinder might get too dark if my "lens" is about f256 wide open. Secondly, I am making do with a TLR now, but I know I'll end up spending way more than I can afford on MF lenses once I get a body:smile:

    -A
     
  14. derevaun

    derevaun Member

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    What about a Holga? They're easy to take apart and it's easy to seal up the famous light leaks. The 120n has a bulb shutter; you can just unscrew the lens, tape the pinhole in place, and you're done (after a couple spots of tape for the lightleaks). Its main drawback is that it doesn't take a cable release (a wire nut and some glue fixes that).
     
  15. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    For 6x6, I'd suggest looking at the broad range of pseudo-TLR consumer cameras made by companies other than Kodak. Most had simple rotary shutters that are easy to convert to B-only (or even T-only, by removing the return spring from the shutter release arm), the lenses are simple meniscus that's easily removed and replaced with a pinhole, and it's usually possible, with a little effort, to find a location for the pinhole that won't vignette. I have a Spartus Full-Vue that took me about half an hour to convert, most of that spent figuring out how to remove the lens without damaging the very thin aluminum front plate; it's native 120 and works well.

    Waist level finders aside, a Dacora Digna is another name, a camera that's the size and shape of a Holga and can likely be had for $5 on eBay. The retracting lens Baldixette works pretty well, but it's a little tricky to install the pinhole to avoid vignetting (OTOH, it has an internal baffle that *really* cuts down on flare -- it's now my #1 6x6 pinhole camera). An Agfa Click would work well, and surprisingly the bellows on a Speedex Jr. are usually okay, even though newer and "better" Ansco folders typically have the plastic coated bellows that are virtually guaranteed to leak; as a bonus, the lens glass (double meniscus) is easily removed, and easily reinstalled later if you choose (the two elements are identical, so interchangeable); the camera has a tripod mount and cable release socket, and the shutter has a true T (press once to open, again to close). The pinhole can go on the back of the aperture; conversion ought to take no more than an hour, possibly less than half that.

    Of that lot, I'd suggest the Speedex Jr. if you can get one for less than $10 or so. The ability to fold the camera and put it in a pocket, even after conversion, is priceless...