help with monorail modification

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by scott k, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. scott k

    scott k Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Burlington,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm looking for ideas:

    Last year I built a Bender 4x5 and loved the building process and the huge negatives and chromes (coming from 135). The light weight is a plus but the camera seems to take forever to set up in the field. I got frustrated and ended up trying TLRs (love 'em) but really want a 4x5 so I got a Crown Graphic. The Crown is practically a point and shoot compared to the Bender but the Crown weighs a ton and has next to no movements. I could get a Tachihara or Shen Hao but I know a machinist with a metal milling machine who is willing to help me out with a new rail.

    Here is my simple rail design made from aluminum: 1/4" thick, 12" long and 1 or 1 1/2" wide. A hole tapped in the middle so I can attach a quick release plate. Two closed channels running lengthwise milled in the middle, widthwise, just for and aft of the quick release plate, so I can run a bolt through the standard holder, through the channel and into a tightening knob ( it will look more like an elongated 8 than an elongated H when viewed form top or bottom). That way I can slide my standard holders to focus. I would have to have a jig made to keep the standard holders square to the rail while I focus. My other idea is a single channel for focusing and instead of the second channel I could have holes tapped every inch or so that would accept the bolt to hold down the rear standard if I want to focus with the front standard (or hold down the front standard if I want to slide the rear standard to focus).

    When I hike with the Bender I take the camera off the rail riders and it takes me a while to get the camera back on the rail riders when I want to set up a shot. Even though I don't have a lot of play with the rail riders and the friction focus works I think there must be a better way.

    Any thoughts or ideas?

    Sincerely,

    Scott Kathe
     
  2. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

    Messages:
    462
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle Wash
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bender mods

    From reading your post I get the idea that your main problem is getting your bender setup i.e. attaching the camera to the rail again. I don't know what kind of backpack you are using but one solution I heard of is to leave the camera assembled and use a standard backpack with extenal frame. Instead of stuffing the camera way inside simply flip it upside down with the standards pointing down and let the rail be suspended from the outer rim of the pack assuming that the cloth portion of the pack has some kind of stiffener. If it doesn't then a couple of bungee cords attached to the pack frame should do the trick.
     
  3. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,766
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2003
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You might try the Camera Makers List for your question. My initial LF camera was a Bender, and set-up was a bit tedious. A collapsable or telescoping rail design may be a solution; but, anyway, let us know how your solution works.
     
  4. jolefler

    jolefler Member

    Messages:
    420
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Oh
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I absolutely love tinkering with cameras, but there's a point when it takes away from shooting and darkroom time. I have an old 2-D that's not too hard to set up, but still (IMO) takes too long to set up. My solution parallels ronlamarsh's suggestion of a pack frame. I'm able to put the camera on a short freighter frame while mounted to the tripod and focused to infinity. The bag of tricks (meter/holders/etc.) is also attached, but separate. Detach the camera, spread the tripod legs and you're ready to compose. An inverted dry bag keeps moisture & excessive dust off while you're travelling.
     
  5. scott k

    scott k Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    Burlington,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    thanks

    Thanks for the ideas! I actually have a freighter frame and that would be a great solution for short hikes except that the darn thing is too small for me (there are disadvantages to being 6'5" tall). I could modify my old exterior frame backpack that has seen better days though.

    I actually did use the Bender 4x5 this weekend and even though it took a while to set up I could do some perspective control, something sorely lacking on the Crown Graphic. Like any camera they each have their advantages and disadvantages. The negatives look good, I just wish I had some time to get in the darkroom (it's half an hour away from home). I'm toying with the idea of getting an Epsin 4990 so I can do scans as proofs and small prints at home.

    Thanks again!

    Scott