Homemade 4x5 camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Greg Heath, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. Greg Heath

    Greg Heath Subscriber

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    I don't have a large format camera, but after doing some enlarging on a negative last week and running the Beseler 45 all the way up for a Pinhole image I was working with, and seeing it I started to think that I wanted to look into large format. Looking at all the camera's and such and the price tags I was suddenly brought back to my senses.

    Then surfing around this morning on a site for rebuilding bellows cameras, I found out how to make a 4x5. Not that I'm going to build it...but it sure does look interesting...and relatively cheap. I thought I would pass it on..

    http://www.rolandandcaroline.co.uk/homemade4x5/homemade4x5.html

    Greg
     
  2. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Looks like it might be a fun project, but truthfully, there are scads of fixer-uppers to be had for a song which, for no more labor, will reward you with a much more useful camera in the end. The thing that usually makes them cheap is a bad bellows, but if you're planning to build a bellows anyway then no problem. Just my dos centavos.
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    This is another site worth looking at: http://www.raymentkirbycameras.co.uk/

    Have a look through the workshop section.

    I have re-drawn some of his sketches in Autocad if that is any help to you.


    Steve.
     
  4. kirkfry

    kirkfry Member

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    If you are into building camera's rather than taking pictures, super, otherwise go buy an old Calumet CC400 (~$100) and take pictures....
    Just my 2 cents. K
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Some of us like doing both.

    However, if you're not too good at woodwork and mechanical engineering, it is a good point.


    Steve.
     
  6. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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  7. Greg Heath

    Greg Heath Subscriber

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    I love taking pictures and I'm pretty handy. I didn't realize that I could find a large format camera for like $100. I don't let anything get in my way because of not having the cash. I appreciate the information!

    Greg
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    You can pay even less.

    Building a ULF or a non standard smaller format or even if you want something special makes sense to me. OTOH 4x5 and to a lesser extent 5x7 and 8x10 are fairly common and can often be bought for less then the cost of the parts to build one.
     
  9. ElrodCod

    ElrodCod Member

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    I wonder where Daguerre and Talbot bought their cameras?
     
  10. ragc

    ragc Member

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    Cost is one thing, wanting the experience of building is a different one. I respect both. You can buy and modify cameras for almost nothing. I built 4x5 and 5x7 backs for a Japanese-made half-plate, English style camera and it works perfectly in both formats. I also made a swing/tilt lensboard for my 5x7 Korona. The Japanese half-plate cost me $140.00 US and the Korona, with lens, six holders and 15 sheets of good film, $300.00 US.

    [​IMG]
    Asanuma Shokai King 1 with home-made 5x7 back

    [​IMG]
    Tilt/swing lensboard on a 5x7 Korona
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2008
  11. Greg Heath

    Greg Heath Subscriber

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    Sweet Cameras!
     
  12. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    More plans please... Especially with detailed drawings or downloadable files, including if possible, hardware templets for metal pieces.

    Eli
     
  13. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    They got 'em used on eBay.

    :tongue:
     
  14. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Check out our own Camera Building and Modification forum, there's 34 pages of threads full of excellent information. Again I've never built one, but I'm a self confessed ambitious, uneducated tinkerer.
     
  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Send me your e-mail address and I will send you what I have. It's not a complete set of plans but there is enough to get started and work out the rest yourself.


    Steve.
     
  16. eli griggs

    eli griggs Member

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    Thank you, Fleath and thank you Steve, PM sent.

    Has anyone here tried the white, rubber? backed "blackout material" sold by fabric shops for curtain making, to use as bellows material? It's fairly thin, durable and sewn to a piece of black fabric, makes a great dark cloth.

    Eli
     
  17. freygr

    freygr Member

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    The "blackout material" I purchased is to thick for small bellows but it may be usable for 8 by 10 bellows. I'm using it for my dark cloth and even then it's a little to heavy.

    I have made some so-so bellows using 4 mil black vinyl. The reason there were so-so was the cloth I used for the out side cover, made the bellows too stiff, and I did not get the folding looking good because the stuffiness of the bellows assembly.
     
  18. Venchka

    Venchka Member

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    Flip side.
    My bargains:

    1953 Speed Graphic, 2 lenses, 5 holders, flash. Everything working. $100
    Kodak 4x5 Master View, 1 lens, 4 holders, case. $50. Working. A monorail wasn't for me.

    I have seen folks take a beater Crown or Speed Graphic and cobble together a pinhole camera that accepts cut film and roll film holders. I have also seen the results of taking 3 beater Speed/Crown cameras and assemble one working "Borg" camera. It works quite well.