Help me design a 6x7 wideangle camera!

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by okto, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. okto

    okto Member

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    So. I want to build a wide angle camera based on an RB67 back.
    I've seen pinhole wideangle cameras based on the RB67 back, so that's kind of the design aesthetic I'm going for (flat), but I want a glass lens.

    My basic criteria are:
    -Wide-ish lens, quality unimportant (low budget and I want somewhat lo-fi)
    -Variable shutter
    -Variable aperture
    -Coverage for 6x7

    That's it. I was thinking I could source a shuttered lens off an old rollfilm folder, but the widest one I've seen is 75mm, and they all require long bellows for focus.
    Can I use a lens intended for a smaller format? Can I just mount some other lens in an old leaf shutter?
     
  2. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    How wide do you want to go? That's the $64,000 question.
     
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  3. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    Well If you get a used RB-67 body pretty cheap (eBay or KEH) and then you could get a 50mm (25mm equiv. in 35mm) or if you want really wide there is always the 37mm (18mm equiv. in 35mm) this seams like the easiest and most reliable way to go. I can speak for the 50mm lens mine is very sharp and contrasty, it's the lens I use the most. You just have to pay attention to the floating element position, it really makes a difference on the edges.
     
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  4. okto

    okto Member

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    For width, somewhere in the range of what a 28-35mm lens does on a 35mm camera, as width=money.
    Also infinity focus is good, but what does that require from the camera design? I mainly will be making images of things within 10m, if that makes any difference.

    I thought about the RB's native lenses, but I don't want the RB in between 'cos I want this to be a sling-it-o'er-your-shoulder-and-carry-it-about camera, and don't particularly need reflex viewing.
     
  5. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I made a nice wide rig from a 4x5 enlarging back. You can put any lens on it. Don't need GG to focus, you can make distance markings on the rails. For now I put a 65mm lens on it, but it can go much wider. Normally I put a 6x12 back on it or shoot 4x5 quickloads.

    The RB lenses are *heavy* and I can't mount them on anything less than a sturdy rig. A crown graphic, for example, can barely take 'em, in terms of stability. So it depends what your vision is for this rig.

    For infinity focus, you must be able to bring the lens quite a bit closer to the film plane than you would for closer-up work. Also, at infinity you will have the smallest useful image circle and are hence most likely to have vignetting.
     
  6. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Okto, the safest way to get a lens that will cover 6x7 is to get one made for a 6x7 camera or a larger format. There's no guarantee that a lens made for a smaller format will cover 6x7.

    As far as coverage is concerned, 10m is as good as infinity. So, for that matter, is 20x focal length.

    For focal length, to get roughly the same horizontal angle of view on 6x7 as on 35 mm with a 28-35 mm lens, you'll need something in the range 50 - 70 mm.

    Just for curiosity I took a look at what www.keh.com has today. Nothing in shutter and really inexpensive.

    It sounds to me like you somehow got a RB67 roll holder and are looking for something to do with it. Is this the case? If so, unless you're a skilled woodworker/machinist, you'll probably be better off buying a used Century Graphic (these will take an RB back) and a 65/6.8 Angulon or Raptar/Optar. Optar is Graflex' house brand, nearly all are rebadged Raptars. These 65/6.8s are the shortest relatively inexpensive lenses for 6x9, will do better on 6x7. Leitmeyr 65/6.8 Weitwinkels (also sold by Spiratone as "Hamburg") are less expensive but much harder to find.

    You might also get a used RB and lens to fit it, as has already been suggested.
     
  7. erikg

    erikg Member

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  8. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Or, possibly a rotating back, a little bit of luck and some hunting on ebay. Personally, I use this approach (though I need to build another lensboard, as Keith just had to have one...)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I know of several 47mm Super Angulons for sale, that are specc'd to cover 6x9. Cheap is relative, figure $3-400 minimum, KEH has a 65mm angulon for around $250, though you could probably find an RB 50mm C for not much more (~$300). I do realize that the image circle on the 50C is restrictive, movement wise, but I bet everything, including the view camera, would come out far cheaper than a used Hassy Flexbody.


    erie
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I was also going to suggest a 65mm Angulon, if you want a lighweight lens that covers the format. It covers 6x9, so if what you want is a light, wide rollfilm camera, you could get a 65mm Angulon and a Graflex 6x9 back and build some sort of box camera, presuming you don't just want to use a 2x3" Graphic.
     
  10. okto

    okto Member

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    A 2x3 Graphic would be a lot easier, but its body is added unnecessary thickness/weight for this application. The Angulon looks like a winner, so the only critical thing to figure out is a focusing method.

    Can retrofocus lenses be used in a unit-focus fashion for this application?
     
  11. rkmiec

    rkmiec Member

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    an old folder,i have an agfa billy that will fit in my back jeans pocket.you arent looking for something expensive and for me my folder fits the bill.and when closed they are tanks.just something for you to think about.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    An Angulon isn't a retrofocus lens, but even if it were, there's no reason it couldn't be used in a unit-focus fashion. Large format type lenses don't have floating elements in general (a few exceptions being certain soft-focus lenses).
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A 58mm/60mm lens for the Koni-Omega would be great, and if it didn't have the accessory viewfinder with it, might be reasonable in cost. The quality might be too high for your criteria though.

    How about a lens and shutter from an old Kodak 1A or one of the many other Kodak folders for film sizes larger than 2 1/4 square?

    Matt
     
  14. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Matt, the old folders usually have lenses that are much longer than the OP wants. Believe me, I've been looking for a Kodak with a 100-110 f/6.3 CZJ Tessar for a while now. They were made but are now very scarce, and they're all normal or longer for the camera's format. My shortest nice lens from an FPK so far is a 130/6.3 CZJ Tessar.
     
  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Dan, of course, is absolutely right.

    (Note to self - engage brain and think it out before typing).

    The Koni-Omega suggestion might still help.

    Matt
     
  16. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I've thought about this a bit....here is the web site you need to look at:

    http://bigcamera.com/

    If you go wide enough, you can zone focus. Then, all you need is something to scavenge a back from and make a lens mount to connect the shuttered lens to the back. Add an appropriate Voightlander view finder (masked appropriately) and that is about it....yeah, easier said than done otherwise I'd have already done it :smile:
     
  17. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    How does this grab you?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    65mm f/4 Nikkor on slightly modified 4x5 enlarging back, with ~3 cm of shift along the long axis. Zone focusing is easy peasy via markings on the rails, no GG required. In the photo, the back is the PA45 Fuji instant packfilm holder. You can put a much wider lens than a 65 on it, of course.
     
  18. erikg

    erikg Member

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    That is the same camera rig that I posted, based on a Graflex XL. If you found one of the XLSW models with the S.A. 47mm in working order you'd be in business pretty fast, just add the roll film back. Most of these bodies can be had pretty inexpensively I think, but I haven't checked prices in a while.
     
  19. larsco2002

    larsco2002 Member

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    A huge Caveat on the Graflex XL cameras......

    I have had three of these and a half dozen parts bodies. The reason there are so many parts bodies is because of the fragile nature of the focusing tabs in the focus ring. MAKE ABSOLUTELY sure that if you buy one of these, that all three of the focusing tabs are present and NOT cracked.

    Your need to "sling the camera over the shoulder and go" which is a respectable need. In fact, it was the need of most of the Press, Journalist, and War correspondents who used them. Consequently, they got thrown around a lot and the tab weakness came home to roost.

    I have often thought that if someone would reman or come up with a strong repair for these tabs, hundreds of Graflex XL's would come out of closets all around the country. The camera and it's lens system were phenomenal.

    In fact if anyone knows of a ready solutions, I'd love to revive 2 or 3 XL's.

    They meet every criteria the OP listed in terms of simple, and yet expandable.
     
  20. erikg

    erikg Member

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    I'm sure SK Grimes can help you revive your cameras but if it is worth the cost, I can't say. The focus ring is the weakness of the system, that is for sure.
     
  21. Colin Graham

    Colin Graham Member

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    Erie, that's very cool. I've always wanted to try mounting RB lenses on a view camera. I've heard some will almost cover 4x5.