GG in a pinch

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Jim_in_Kyiv, Jul 17, 2005.

  1. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

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    What do you do when you need an equivelent to a ground glass in a hurry? I had to jury rig something recently when playing with an old camera. I took a 10cmx13cm piece of glass and glued a piece of translucent plastic to it - not the greatest thing in the world, but it worked. Normally, I wouldn't go that route, but it worked in a pinch.

    So what would you use? Forget the 'I wouldn't' option, or FEDEX. The mail people here in Ukraine like the tinkle of glass in boxes and shake it all the harder, and FEDEX won't cover the remoter areas I'll be going to around here.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If I were in a remote part of Ukraine and wanted something that I was really planning to use, I'd get a sheet of glass cut to size and figure out how to grind it myself as best I could with whatever abrasives were available.

    If I just want to see what the image looks like and if the focus is in the ballpark, I've used waxed paper.
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    We have shipped to the Ukraine with out any problems.

    But in the mean time, if you have access to some translucent tape, that works well also.

    Dave
     
  4. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    Some very experienced people can focus upon the aerial image using just plain glass and an 8x (some say 10x) magnifier and crosshair. It is possible to do it without the glass if you can fix the magnifier in place. To show how this works, use your groundglass normally, and when you think you have an object in focus, move left and right a tiny bit. If the object moves, it is not in focus.
     
  5. User Removed

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    The day before I left on my photography trip to Hawaii...MY GROUND GLASS BROKE in my 8x10 camera. I went to a glass store and thought a "Frosted" glass would work, but it was just sandblasted and was WAY too gritty, I could not focus.

    I remember an article I posted here on APUG under Large Format on HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN GROUND GLASS. So, I simply made it myself!

    In the article I posted, it said to use Aluminum Oxide 600 grit, but I could not find that ANYWHERE! So, I went back to the glass store and asked them for this powder stuff called CARBERENDIUM (spelling might be off!). It is a fine powder that they use for putting on glass when they have to cut a hole into the glass.

    I then took an 11x14 peice of glass, set it on a table, sprinkled abit of carberendium on it with a few drops of water. You then lay your correct size ground glass on top, and start rubbing it around in a circle. Keep adding more powder and water every few minutes between the two sheets of glass. You grind them together for about 15 minutes, and you got yourself a BEAUTIFUL peice of ground glass. Every 5 minutes or so, go wash it off and dry it to see how it is coming along and see how even the frosting is.

    Do a seach for my article on How To Make Your Own Ground Glass, and read it.

    Trust me. Make your own! Its VERY easy and you will be so pleased with yourself for doing so.

    ALSO---Try to find a peice of glass for your ground glass, that is about the same thickness as what was in your camera.

    Ryan McIntosh
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sure you can focus on the aerial image, but composing can be tough!

    Ryan, the abrasive you are thinking of is probably Carborundum.
     
  7. User Removed

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    Dont mess around with tape and plastic and all that crap. It will cause you problems when you go out shooting. Take my suggestion and make your own ground glass. If your going to be away for awhile and afraid of another one breaking, MAKE TWO! It only takes about 10-20 minutes to make. The more you grind on the glass thought...the brighter it is.

    The only place to get Carberendium grinding compound is at a glass store. They use it with there saws and drills when cutting glass. If for some reason you cannot find it, I have about a cup left that I can quickly send to you.

    Goodluck! Its very simple.
     
  8. User Removed

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    Whew. Thanks for the correct spelling. That would be it.
     
  9. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    Indeed! And correcting perspective would be just crazy.

    This kind of leads back to an opposite point for the LF photographer who shoots distant landscapes, for example sunsets, sunrises and claims he needs to see the GG due to "changing light". I don't understand that. The frame is known, and a separate viewfinder or wire frame would work. Unless he has a lens that shifts focus when stopping down, he doesn't have to focus, either - marking a rail will do.
     
  10. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Some years ago I had a local speciality glass store sand blast (with a very fine oxide) a large piece of 1/8 acrylic. Then I cut this to size for all of the formats I use and always carry it in the same carring case as the camera, or in one of the boxes where I store exposed film. The acylic adds very little weight and is almost as good as regular ground glass.

    Sandy
     
  11. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Carborundum-thats the ticket......I got a 4 x 5 inch by 1/2 thick piece of plate---like the use to engrave trophies etc....put your ground glass on a towel larger than your ground glass wet the ground glass, spread the carborundum and lay your 4 x 5 glass on it and move in a circular motion...in this was you dont have to move your whole ground glass...


    I made my own 20 x 24 glass like this for my 20 x 20 camera-the glass is beautiful.......the camera project however is pathetic! I gave up...bought a camera....glad I did....should have done it in the first place.....might put the glass on a box set up to focus for a pin hole.....never know....
     
  12. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

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    Thanks for the ideas. Here in Kyiv I could probably go with the Carborundum route or get something in from SatinSnow if the customs people are being nice that day - or get it sent to my father in Delaware and have him forward it. But I was at a Black Sea nature reserve last week and the nearby village didn't have its own glass place. The nearest town would be an hour or two away on one of those lovely diesel buses that make you want to start smoking on your own again. It did have its own grocery stores and so the translucent paper could work.
    Bringing a spare might be a good idea, and in acrylic at that. Next year's trip will be on horseback to an even remoter part of the country.
    The loupe/air route was a new one for me - exactly what I was looking for! So let me try again and see if there are any other ideas lurking. Pitcure yourself being stuck in the middle of nowhere, no Carborundum, no FEDEX until you get home several days later. What would you use for a quick and temporary GG replacement and what would you NOT use? Let's narrow it further and put the priority on focusing and not composing.
     
  13. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

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    When you're in the field, you're not going to be grinding much glass. When you break it, just head for the nearest hardware store. A piece of glass from a cheap picture frame and a can of No Vue window spray is all you need. If some nice hardware person will cut your glass to size, so much the better.
     
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Even if there is no Carborundum, there should be some fine abrasive available that will grind glass--metal polish or whatever. This is low tech stuff.

    Isn't there actually an optical factory in Kyiv?
     
  15. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

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    I'll bet that every auto garage has a can of valve lapping compound in a drawer somewhere - that'll do in a pinch.

    cheers eh?
     
  16. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

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    The lower tech the better, so the valve lapping compound idea fits, too. There's got to be plenty of it, since in those places most people still drive things based on the Fiat 125 or a '64 Falcon (4 cyl, not a 289). Thanks!

    Kyiv does have an optical factory - it's one of the reasons why Mamiya is so popular here instead. OK, I'm kidding, but only about the glass itself.
    And when I'm in Kyiv, there's no problem. It's more when I'm in places that have never even had Pringles potato chips/crisps that thinking low-tech can be useful. Vinegar-instead-of-Kodak-stop-bath type of thinking. Carrying a spare of some sort makes sense when the destination is a castle that can't be reached by 4x4. This is for the in-between times, where they have vinegar and wax paper, but might be short on many things I took for granted in the US.
    Maybe it seems like a fruitless mental exercise, but a friend here called this place 'a friendly Twilight Zone' and it fits. Great light, but whenever you turn around, whatever you need next and most is either missing or called something unpronounceable.
     
  17. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    In the spirit of the question, you could cut a piece of plexiglass with a carpet knife and cover one side with scotch magic tape edge to edge.
     
  18. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Jewelry supply catalogues and supplie stores, carry all the abrasives you would need. Rio Grande in Albuquerque is just one of them.
     
  19. User Removed

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    If there is an auto repair place, they probably have Valve grinding compound. You can use that also to grind your own ground glass. Works well.

    I guess you COULD get some scotch tape and go that route, but I promise you that it will take just as long to stick 50 strips of tape on a peice of glass, as it would if you made a REAL ground glass yourself.

    Good luck!
     
  20. sanking

    sanking Member

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    To return to the original question, if you need a replacement ground glass in a hurry it is probably because you broke it in the field. This is why I recommend carrying on your person, or in your camera bag, an acrylic glass ground glass that you can immediately place on the camera and continue your work.

    Trekking off to the nearest Auto Supply Store, or Jewelery Store, is really not an option in many real life scenarios, especially if you happen the break the ground glass in a remote area, say about 1/4 mile off-road halfway between Mexican Hat and Hanksville, Utah.

    Sandy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2005
  21. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    You might carry a small can of dulling spray or hairspray and a cleared out sheet of film.
     
  22. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

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    When I first posted this, I didn't really see a difference between 'the middle of nowhere' and 'the middle of nowhere, leave the paved road and make a left, then go over the hill'. But it does make sense now to carry something acrylic when going further out and then doing something else - if need be - when I get 'back into town'. Or, if weight and space really is an issue - and any horse carrying me will have an issue! - then cleared film could even be rolled up. The only problem would be whether anything applied to it previously would crinkle or move.

    Thanks for all of your ideas! Along with an extra black T-shirt in case the bellows gets holed, I'll be better prepared.