I want to build a LF camera

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Fast14riot, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. Fast14riot

    Fast14riot Member

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    Hey folks!

    New member here, been wanting to get into larger format photography and was thinking about MF, but knowing myself, I am bound to build a camera sometime in the future. So, why not kill two birds with one stone ad build a larger format camera. I have a very well stocked shop, I am a knife maker by hobby, have years of experiance in composite work as well. I would like to utilize Carbon Fiber and Titanium in whatever I build. I am also trained as a metrologist, so working in tight tolerances is nothing new to me.

    In short, I am looking for a simple design to cut my teeth on, so to speak, likely from more simple materials like quarter sawn red oak or teak, and that is acceptable for field use as well as studio. The more complete the plans, the better as I really don't know what I don't know yet. I fully admit to being a "I can do that" kind of guy, usually ending in some sort of success. My wife usually calls it stubborn as a fence post and never admitting failure, lol!

    So, if someone has any recommendations on where to start my research, that will be fantastic!


    Cheers!

    -Xander
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I've given this idea a fair amount of thought also. I think it would be some amount of undertaking.Obviously some pretty fine measurement tolerances would be necessary. For that, I would think a bench disc sander would be necessary. Everything is going to have to have their time on this tool. Backtracking from there, I would think a decent table saw would be needed. Certainly a router with a lot of jig fabrication at the least. Calipers, clamps, hardware...
    The most important thing needed is a past record of finishing the projects you start, even if you get partway through and realize you could have done it a better way. This stalls a lot of workers and results in unfinished projects. Unfinished projects are the bane of my existence, personally. Gratefully, I am one who generally finishes them.
    So this is the question one needs to ask himself before proceeding. Just my thoughts. GL
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Do a Google search for Rayment Kirby Cameras.

    And I have some plans in CAD form which might be of some use.


    Steve.
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Whilst they would be useful, people used to make cameras before these power tools were invented.

    I have plenty of those myself!


    Steve.
     
  5. Fast14riot

    Fast14riot Member

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    Thanx for the info! Tom, I do have a variable speed 9" disc grinder, calibrated surface plates, several sets of micrometers and calipers, drill press, belt grinder, like I said, a well stocked shop. I am pretty good about finishing up my projects, only have a few still kicking around.

    Steve, thanx for the tip. I'll check that out for sure.


    -Xander
     
  6. ChrisK

    ChrisK Member

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  7. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Building a view camera is really a piece of cake, and just takes desire and a willingness to experiment until it works. First I suggest going to the following website . . .

    http://piercevaubel.com/cam/sco.htm

    . . . go through the menus for each manufacturer and take note of the types and variations of cameras made. Everyone approached making a camera differently, an some models are quite elegant. The cameras I chose to make were styled after a camera such as this . . . http://piercevaubel.com/cam/scovill/elite.htm

    The cameras I built where 8x10's, and I built them around a modern standard film holder. I simply replaced the View Screen with the Holder to make an exposure. There where no movements beyond focusing. I used a B&L Rapid Rectilinear lens/shutter from an old Kodak 3A Model C folder. Removing one of the lens sets (front or back) allowed it to cover 8x10 perfectly.

    A bellows can be challenging. But if you build it over a form of the proper shape it can really speed up the process. IMO

    O.F.
     
  8. Fast14riot

    Fast14riot Member

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    O.F. thanx for the info! That is what I was thinking for my first project, build around a film holder and lens. I'm not put off by building a bellows, but it is an involved process and exposure to error is far greater.

    ChrisK- thanx!


    -Xander
     
  9. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Oh, and one thing I learnt from DIY cameras . . . weight should be considered "before" you build. I once found myself with one of those 8x10's between a herd of longhorn cattle and their watering hole. They were very thirsty. And that camera weighed way too much.
     
  10. Fast14riot

    Fast14riot Member

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    Haha, I have been charged by a herd of cattle as well!

    I just finished reading the build-along on Rayment Kirby and that project sound perfectly feasable for my abilities.

    Now, I am thinking of something in the 5x7 size range, maybe smaller like a quarter sheet. What would be a good lens for general landscape or urban landscape. Basically, I need a bit of hand holding to find the starting bits of kit to build a camera around.

    Appreciate all the info thus far!


    -Xander
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    And some of us start a camera and abandon it half way through two or three times before settling on a design we actually want.

    If you're not sure, start building one out of MDF and when you are happy with it, progressively replace the parts with pieces made from your chosen wood.


    Steve.
     
  12. DannL

    DannL Member

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    There's a simple chart at the top of the page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_lens

    It lists the normal "Focal Lengths" for common formats. Converting the mm to inches may help you find and old brass barrel lens of the correct focal length. But, I'm going to guess you really want a mechanical shutter for starters? Ebay is your friend. And you might find a decent starter lens/shutter here on APUG or at http://www.largeformatphotography.info/

    You can also start the camera and use a pinhole as your lens. Once everything is up and running, replace the pinhole with a standard lens/shutter.

    O.F.

    Some bellows info: http://books.google.com/books?id=P-...ge&q=Popular mechanics bellows camera&f=false

    Hand holding ;-) . . . in eBay's "Cameras & Photo" section try a general search for "lens shutter" or "brass lens" etc. See what pop's up.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2013
  13. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I checked the Kirby link and it looked nice. But everything was 4x5's and other little cameras. I'd love to get my hands on a good 8x10 plan that was light, substantial, and easy to make.
     
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  15. Fast14riot

    Fast14riot Member

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    Thanx again, O.F. Just knowing what common search terms to use helps a bunch. I am not incapable of doing the research myself, just need to be pointed in the right direction! I think I have enough now to get me started in the right direction.

    I will start putting a plan together and digging through my materials on hand. I'm thinking a carbon fiber laminate for the frontand rear standards, possibly a wood base.


    -Xander
     
  16. smieglitz

    smieglitz Subscriber

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  17. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Making bellows. Hmmm. Never considered that. Wonder how hard it could be. Life's getting shorter for me. Having to curtail my new learnings. Don't want to croak with a lot of unfinished projects. You know what happens to old guys who kick off with a bunch of unfinished projects around my town? They end up at Hall's Auction and your whole life has a net worth of about 2 or 3 thousand dollars in old worthless junk. When I take on a project, it has to get done.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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  19. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Oh yeh! All those great bellows ideas spurred another. In lieu of a standard bellows, and to speed up building a camera, one could design a simple "bag bellows" which could be replaced at a later date. I know I lose motivation when there are "objects in the road" that slow down a project. Just chucking out ideas.
     
  20. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I'm currently making an 8x10 based on the phillips/chamonix design. I'm using baltic birch (fiberglass cloth/epoxy coated) and aluminum. Pretty simple for the most part but I'm brand new to working with a milling machine so it's slow going.
     
  21. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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  22. Fast14riot

    Fast14riot Member

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    Lol, ^^^

    Yeah, having a laser cutter makes the job so much less tedious!

    I really like the 4x5 field camera on the Kirby site, but he doesn't mention what the bellows dimensions are or where he got them. I'm thinking for my first, it might be best to get an off the shelf product to keep things simple. I'm currently looking at the Rodenstock Ysarex 127mm lenses, I am wondering if I can put enough travel in the Kirby design to use it. I saw a bunch of these lenses for sale for cheap, but not many 150mm lenses under $100. The cheaper to start with, the better. Seems the Rodenstock lens covers 4x5 just fine, anything I should be aware of or reasons I should avoid these lenses?


    -Xander
     
  23. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Every household needs a laser cutter and a CNC router. I keep mine at work - they think that they own them but they're mine really!!


    Steve.
     
  24. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    My construction efforts so far use matboard, cardboard, scissors, a big swing-arm paper cutter, tape, glue, time, effort, patience and the recycling bin. Someday I'll graduate to wood.:smile: Current project is an 8x10 paper negative camera using the B&L rapid rectilinear lens from an old Kodak 3A ( with one element removed to get coverage. )
     
  25. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Oooo, Oooo don't forget the 3D printer.
     
  26. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I'd second the idea of building it in matboard or foamcore first particularly if you are making a folding camera.....particularly if you aren't modeling it in CAD. Also, do consider the wood you use. Quarter sawn oak is crazy strong and stable.....and heavy. Straight grain cherry is a pretty reasonable compromise. Carbon fiber and cherry would make a nice combination.

    Also, I think everyone needs a water jet cutter also. How else are you going to cut out those titanium parts? Actually, it is pretty cheap to have parts waterjet cut if you have the 2D cad file.