El Cheapo lens for 4x5 / Graphic Kowa 150 f/9

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by VPooler, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. VPooler

    VPooler Member

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    Hi one and all! My name is Vallo and I am new to both this board and LF.
    First, I am familiar with view cameras, I made one for myself out of scrap parts but it is mere 120 film format with a 6x7 frame. I want bigger. Ideally I want to reach 8x10 but until then 4x5 will do.
    Since I come from a less economically able part of Europe, I don't have much cash to throw around for a decent camera, so I will make one myself. No biggie. Now, the lenses can be quite expensive. I have my eye on Tominon 127 and 105, both which allegedly cover 4x5 and go around cheap sometimes. I have a 75mm version myself but that doesn't cover nearly enough at infinity. But the Tominons are getting scarce and expensive and a good, cheap Raptar is also a bit hard to find.
    Now, I got a nice metal plate from a neighbour of mine and that metal plate has 4, yes, 4 Graphic Kowa 150mm f/9 lenses mounted on it, without shutters unfortunately. But I like what I see on ground glass so I'd really like to utilize one for a 4x5 camera. It has a nice coverage, too. I am unfamiliar with the terminology but I believe these are barrel mounted? How could one attach a shutter to this lens?
    Alternatively, I could offer a trade - one of the Kowas for a shutter for this lens or some other shuttered lens I could use for my project. All of the Kowas are in good condition.

    All the best,
    -Vallo
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    The 127/4.5 Tominon should just cover 4x5. The 105 won't cover 4x5.

    If your Graphic Kowa lenses' elements are mounted in barrels with diaphragms you should be able to unscrew the cells from the barrel. The cells might (great stress, might) be direct fits in a shutter; if so, the most likely is Compur/Copal #0. See http://www.skgrimes.com/products/new-copal-shutters for dimensions.

    If the lenses are in barrels with diaphragms and the cells won't fit a standard shutter, you may be able to mount a lens in barrel in front of a shutter. This will need one adapter, will cost less than having adapters made for the two cells.

    If the lenses are mounted in straight tubes with no diaphragm, you'll have to try dismantling one to see whether the glasses are in cells. If so, fine, if not they're essentially useless.

    Your best bet, either way, is to offer the lenses for sale on ebay. The lenses should be quite small, so international shipping won't be prohibitively expensive; the best place to offer them is probably ebay.com.
     
  3. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    The 150mm f9 Graphic Kowas are supposed to cover up to 5x7 or 4x10 inches, so they are good options for 4x5. I think they would need a professional shutter installation - not all barrel lenses can have a shutter substituted by direct exchange. You will need to research that. You could look at using a Packard shutter or even fabricate a drop blade type. http://www.largeformatphotography.info/ is the place to ask these questions.
     
  4. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    Welcome, Vallo!

    Some barrel lenses can be mounted directly in shutters, like G-Clarons and some enlarging lenses, while the others are nearly impossible (Zeiss Jena Apo-Germinar W for example), because the lenses are mounted directly in the barrel. Those barrel lenses that have cells that easily go into shutters have basically just an iris mount in place of a complete shutter.

    The cheapest way might very well be for you to find a strong neutral density (gray) filter for your lens so at an aperture of f/22 or smaller you can expose for a few seconds in broad daylight with the aid of a black hat or black paint can cap, or an empty small paint can that is painted black: anything you can cover your lens with without touching it.

    If you intend to use paper negatives, you might just as well get away without a shutter.

    Using paper developer for your film will also reduce your film speed, which can help.

    After these come Packard shutters.

    Or you can just take out the shutter from an old battered Pentacon Six, put it in a housing and use it right behind your lens.

    There are many possibilities but at the end, it's worth putting aside for a lens in a shutter in your standard focal length if you're certain LF is for you.
     
  5. VPooler

    VPooler Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far!
    ND and a hat wont work for me, might as well shoot pinhole :tongue:
    That Packard shutter or cannibalizing some other camera for shutter would be a good last resort!
    However, it seems to me that I can screw out the cells but I don't have the proper tool to do that yet.
    I attached some pictures of the actual lens. The barrel measures 38mm measured from the threaded part for us metric folk. The "screwable" part that looks like a cell to me measures some 33mm. Ignore the wide metal mounting piece, that comes off if I were to apply enough force.
    There also seems to be a fixed iris right in the middle, so my guess is that if it really consists of cells, it could gain a stop in a shutter?
    I gave a call to my neighbour, he said it was from some sort of complicated copying apparatus they used at the hospital in the old days.

    By the way, I really like Tominons, even at low magnifications. Despite being reverse-tessar macro lenses, they draw good at my opinion. Here is a shot I took with a 75mm one, stopped down to 8: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moribundworld/8996062632/in/photostream/
    And here's the beast that I built around the lens: https://www.flickr.com/photos/moribundworld/8962444804/
    The vignette fairy visits me quite often, though :tongue:
     

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  6. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    No.

    Not all of the Tominon macro lenses made for Polaroid are reversed tessars. And there are better macro lenses, some of which are f/6.3 reversed tessars. Two such are the CZJ (DDR) 90/6.3 Mikrotar and the Reichert 100/6.3 Neupolar. These two are among the best ~ 100 mm macro lenses.
     
  7. VPooler

    VPooler Member

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    Well, reverse Tessar or not, I like them. I don't do much macro anyway and scoring one for peanuts is more probable than getting a Raptar/Optar.
    But I am more intrigued to somehow mount the Kowa. I really like DIY and the challenges it inheritly gives me. Besides, having the best does not make your work the best, just my philosophy. I like making stuff out of what I can get my dirty little hands on and then having fun with the outcome.
     
  8. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Well, there's always the joy of tinkering and the joy of doing what the wise old heads say can't or shouldn't be done. But the wise old heads may have good reasons for thinking that what you want to do just isn't worth the trouble even if possible. They may even have done what you intend to do.

    Decent lenses for LF can be bought, with patience, for surprisingly little money. And not off-brand crap, either. Decent LF cameras can be bought, with patience, for surprisingly little money. Be patient. Watch for opportunities on the various ebay sites and on the various "free ads" sites. Be patient.

    Remember that haste makes waste, also that many apparent gifts are in fact poisoned. In particular, very special circumstances excepted, putting a lens in barrel in shutter usually costs more than the equivalent lens in shutter. Been there, done that, recommend it only in special circumstances.
     
  9. VPooler

    VPooler Member

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    Yes, I've seen the Copal price list...it deeply saddens me. But I am still hoping to either score that 127 Tominon or a shutter for my Kowa lens. I also have a few plate cameras in my watch list. I am ok with refurbishing them and modifying the backs to accept a more standard film holder if necessary.
    But I am stubborn enough, I want to use that Kowa lens. Actually I've been hunting a lens or a shutter for about half a year now. My best chance is American eBay but people tend to prefer the ultra-super-mega-expensive shipping option what costs more than the actual item on about 95% of the things I've considered

    EDIT: I managed to disassemble the bastard, it unfortunately is purely a barrel lens, no separate cells :/ just a 38mm thread
     
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  10. Steve Goldstein

    Steve Goldstein Subscriber

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    Graphic Kowas are a real mixed bag. Some can be completely unscrewed from the barrel mounts, these (in 150mm) are direct fits to a Copal 1 (not 0) shutter. I have one. Others can't be removed at all, and I've seen some where the front cell could be unscrewed but not the rear cell, or maybe it was the other way around.

    Assuming they can be unscrewed from their barrel mounts, the longer focal length (210mm, 240mm, 270mm, 305mm, 360mm) Graphic Kowa, Kowa Graphic, and Computar fit a Copal 3S shutter, which is a little smaller than the much more common Copal 3. And to confuse things even further, some Copal 3S shutters are simply marked "3".
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2013
  11. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

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    Hello Vallo, I admire your willingness to improvise, these guys keep telling you to spend money, which cannot be avoided sometimes, but if your have more time and skill than money, you will still get there.
    I have a 135 mm Tominon in a shutter marked Polaroid MP-4, but the shutter is stuck open. The glass is perfect, lenses are spotless.
    If you think that you can find a repair guy who knows how to work on shutters, I will send it to you.

    Chris
     
  12. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

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    And, on the rim of the shutter, it says Copal.
     
  13. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Um, Chris, y'r Polaroid MP-4 shutter has no diaphragm, so is somewhat of a poisoned gift.

    I know this question might be taken as insulting, but it has to be asked. Your MP-4 shutter has two levers sticking out of it. One has a button at the end with a silver face. This fires the shutter. The other, whose little button has a black face, flips between two positions: shutter open (can't be fired) and shutter closed (can be fired). Are you sure it is in the "shutter closed" position?
     
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  15. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

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    Yes, I have been shooting LF since the 60"s, am familiar with a "preview" lever. This shutter also has a diaphragm, as indicated by the presence of the numbers 4.5 -32 and when you stop it down, the little thingy in between the elements gets smaller :smile: This shutter is
    STUCK.
     
  16. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

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    Thank you though
     
  17. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Chris, thanks for the reply.

    I've had a number of Polaroid MP-4 shutters (so marked), have one in front of me, and have the catalog. There's not a diaphragm or diaphragm control lever in any of the shutters and the only place on them that the word Copal appears is on the shutter speed strip on the side of the shutter. All self-cocking shutters, top speed 1/125. The catalog says nothing about a diaphragm but the illustration shows a shutter with no aperture control lever.

    You have have a different Polaroid Copal shutter that's had an MP-4 shutter's face plate put on it. Or, perhaps, a non-Polaroid Copal Press #1 with, for some odd reason, and MP-4 face plate.
     
  18. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

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    Who knows ? Perhaps it's a conspiracy to confuse us all. I have been the victim of many :smile: If he can deal with shutter repair, it would work for him. I had an identical one that was functional, bought both on Ebay and the seller threw the stuck one in the box for free.
     
  19. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member

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    I loaned the other one to an APUG member, and after 3-4 months he sent me 40 bucks to buy it. He was very happy with it.
     
  20. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    I might have something that might be of use. I will take a look tonight.
     
  21. VPooler

    VPooler Member

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    I wouldn't say that the shutter&lens combo offered by Chris nor the Kowa is poisoned. I can use both with some tinkering. Nobody can stop me from mounting a curtain shutter behind it, the barrel is quite compact so there wouldn't be much clipping of the image circle, besides it covers a lot. I don't even have to cannibalize a MF camera for it, any old thing with a working shutter works. But I'll tuck this one aside for the future, for some other crazy contraption. Doing this keeps me passionate about photography and also teach a lot about how stuff works, much needed for a young person like me, and keeps me away from the sometimes boring technical stuff like lpmm and reciprocity and so on. Build it, shoot with it, modify as necessary. And the scavenging around for parts is never dull! I feel like MacGuyver, fitting together things to an unholy mess that somehow works. Lens barrel made of drain pipe, anyone?
     
  22. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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  23. VPooler

    VPooler Member

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    Ah, simple yet elegant! I should order some glass from Surplus Shed and make my own soft focus!
     
  24. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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  25. xya

    xya Member

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    I have the mp-4 user manual in front of me and it shows a mp-4 shutter with diaphragm set-up from 4.5 to 32. I have my mp-4 stowed away but I'm quite sure that I have several of theses shutters. please have a look http://www.cameramanuals.org/pdf_files/polaroid_mp-4-1.pdf page 7

    you have to have the corresponding lenses of course as the blades are in the lens. maybe it's mesleading a bit.
     
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  26. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    xya, thanks for the reply. Please read the second part of the user manual, which is here: http://www.butkus.org/chinon/polaroid_cameras/polaroid_mp-4/polaroid_mp-4.htm Go to p. 25, which states explicitly that the lens' diaphragm control ring is used to set the aperture.

    The aperture control you pointed out is used to adjust the lens' aperture when the lens is mounted behind the shutter using the Reduction Kit. You'll have to scroll down the document to find this text.

    Haste makes waste. Or something.