Kodak 3a autographic 6x14 panorama

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Kevin Roach, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    I made a 6x14 wide angle camera out of a kodak autographic, 3a model C. It works pretty good. Thought there might be some interest here.

    The camera uses an obsolete film so I made spacers out of dowels to fit 120 film. That has been the only problem. The film transport tends to bind up at the end of the roll.

    I added an ektra 101 lens but the lens on the autographc should work well. I also added an accessory shoe so I could mount a rangefinder on the camera.

    The original film counter window is painted black but i use the "autographic" window instead. It is covered in ruby red film.

    Pretty cool camera for not much money and just a little work. Here's the info:

    http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/postcard.html
     
  2. MenacingTourist

    MenacingTourist Member

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    I have one of these that has the extra back with the ground glass and a few film holders but no lens. This camera has really intrigued me and I found your site fasinating. Thanks for sharing.

    Alan.
     
  3. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Really? Care to trade it away if it's not being used? I have one of the autographic 3a's, but the lack of ground glass has turned me off and I know I won't be able to fashion a new one for it easily/cheaply.
     
  4. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    hey menacing. How's the bellows in that camera? I have a source for a replacement bellows if you're interested.
     
  5. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Hey Kevin, did you try the glass 'film flatness' fix that Bob Monaghan suggests? I have a 3A that's been sitting around waiting for me to get around to this.

    Maybe now I'll get around to doing something with it. I'll ck the bellows and let you know if I need a new one .

    Can you post a photo from that camera?

    Thanks,
    Nathan
     
  6. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    I didn't use the glass fix. I tried but it is difficult to fix properly. If the glass is added then the back won't fit on. The plates attached to the back of the camera touch the glass and prevent it from closing. To do it I'd have to fit the glass so it fits right in the opening of the camera body. Nothing to support it there.

    I guess I could have removed the film plates from the back door but than I'd have a bunch of rivet holes to deal with. Instead I added some foam strips to the door. Between the foam and the tightness of the film roll there doesn't seem to be any flatness issues.

    I have only shot a couple rolls however and they have all been in bright sun at f16 or smaller.

    If I get any problems using a wider opening I might try the glass approach or fashion some sort of supporting strips just on the edges.
     
  7. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    the bellows in my camera are pinholey--what is this source?
     
  8. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I'm also interested in a source for bellows. I have one of these that I've finished the conversion on with the exception of setting up the scale for focusing the lens (a 90mm f/6.8 Angulon), and another that I haven't started because the bellows self-destructed when I opened the camera.
     
  9. HPorter

    HPorter Member

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    I would be interested in the source of the new bellows as well. This thread made me curious about using my Autographic 3A. I found that using the cap off of a bottle of cologne (1-1/4" tall) as a spacer on top of a 120 roll, works real well. Keeping the film aligned at the bottom of the camera body lines up the numbers on the paper backing perfectly. I fooled with it enough to see that lining up every multiple of 3, keeps the frames spaced well.

    I just developed the film I ran through the camera today. The negs are very dense. I have a feeling the shutter speed is well off on the rapid recitlinear. It is an old Kodak ball bearing shutter. I will have to try it with my shutter tester to see.

    I also played with an old Zeiss folder that takes 116 film. I used two nickles on top of the 120 spool, and the same 3 frame spacing. It has a glass plate where the film rides, and makes a unique negative with the corners clipped on the rectanglular negative.

    This is fun! And to think these camera's were just sitting on a shelf!
     
  10. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I believe, in effect, you've gotten a fixed 1.25" rise built into this setup. Not that that's a bad thing...you should be able to shoot straight ahead and get reasonably straight buildings.

    As to the shutters: Every one of these old shutters I've used has run at one speed for all of the marked "instantaneous" speeds, generally the slowest one. You might try a few frames using that assumption to see if your shutter is at least perdictable. Also, you can get a CLA on a LF shutter for a good price. Check out http://www.flutotscamerarepair.com/

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  11. HPorter

    HPorter Member

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    Thanks for the advice.

    I checked the bellows tonight with a flashlight in the dark. Many pinholes! It seems that I received a bit of "extra" exposure that I was not counting on! The funny thing is the front part of the bellows has the outer leather falling off in big chunks, yet it is light tight. The pinholes are all at the rear of the bellows where the outer bellow covering is intact.

    I have a Calumet shutter tester that I usually use immediately on all of my new acquisitions. I never used it on this camera because I never thought I would actually get to use it.

    The front standard has controls for rise/fall, and the base of the standard unlocks like a speed graphic. It looks as though you could shift the front standard - though it did not "want" to and I did not force it.

    I figured that by lining the film up on the bottom, that I was definitely not in the sweet spot of the old rectilinear. But it was sure convenient to use the numbers on the backing paper to advance the film. I am anxious to see how the negatives scan.
     
  12. HPorter

    HPorter Member

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    Dave,

    Out of curiosity, How do you go about setting up the scale focusing on your camera? I attached an old Wollensak 90 on my 3A tonight. I used a old piece of ground glass to focus with the back removed. But with roll film, I can see the advantage of the focus scales.

    Do you just set the camera up on a tripod and focus on objects at various distances while recording the lens position, or is there another way to do it more easily?
     
  13. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    HPorter

    Thats the way I did it. I think it is the easy way.
     
  14. JasonC

    JasonC Member

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    Kevin,

    My 3A needs a new bellow. What is your bellow source? Thanks.

    Jason.
     
  15. JasonC

    JasonC Member

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    Ooops. Found your other thread about the source. Thanks Kevin.
     
  16. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    This is exactly how I've always done scales with homemade cameras. I have a rangefinder that I trust...I pick a few distances that I want on my scale, use the rangefinder to find things that are at those distances, then focus the camera to get the scale for the camera. There may be a quicker way, but I doubt there's an easier one.

    Best of luck.
    Dave
     
  17. dom_70

    dom_70 Member

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    Bellows source

    Hi Everyone,

    Just wandered into this thread while looking for information on the Kodak 3a I just purchased on Ebay. Fortunately my bellows are in good shape but I've yet to decide whether to use the glass fix for keeping the film flat or having a friend who does metal fabrication make me some small thin strips to place inside the back that would narrow the film opening to 120 height. As for camera bellows for those who need them, I can recommend two companies. The most recognized and respected (IMO) is Camera Bellows. They manufacture custom bellows for cameras and are the company I used when I needed new bellows installed on my Fuji GS645 folder. Their website is camerabellows.com. The other company I've heard good things about, but have never used, is Turner Bellows. I don't have their website handy, but it will come up on a Google search. New bellows can be *very* expensive. My GS645 replacement (just the bellows) cost me $75.00. Considering I only paid $30.00 for my Kodak 3a, I hope the bellows never need replacement because it would be hard to justify the probable $100.00 or so it would cost to have them replaced. Keep in mind that if you want Camera Bellows to install the bellows for you, they're going to ding you another $50.00 for the service.
     
  18. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    I am currently in the midst of permanently modifying my Kodak 3A to take 120 film when I started thinking about that metal ridge. Has anyone filed/ground down the metal ridge which appears (when looking in from the back of the camera through the bellows and out the lens) before the bellows do? It looks that each side ~1/4" wide so if you ground this away you would add about ~1/2" in width which would give you ~6x17cm negatives. I'm definitely going to try this as it will also make it easier to use the frame numbers to delineate where to stop advancing the film (use the same system as with the 6x17 LF backs from China). Right now I have a 135mm Graflex Optar mounted on mine, but I can switch this out for a 90mm angulon if I need the wider angle, or a 180mm RR if I need a smaller angle of view. What do you have mounted on yours?
     
  19. Kevin Roach

    Kevin Roach Member

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    Jeremy

    It looks like grinding the metal to the rollers would give another half inch, BUT...The edge of the bellows is in the way. The folds line up with that metal part so removing the edge may not do any good.

    The frame numbers line up pretty well with the "autographic" slot. the area where you can write on the film. I covered the regular round window and use that to see the numbers. I covered it with ruby film and painted most of the film so only the area where the numbers show is actually "ruby." This gives me a 6x12 image with a little overlap on the edges. (each image is actually closer to 6x14 but the usable area is 6x12.

    I'm using a Kodak Ektar 101. I wouldn't cover the corners of a 4x5 but since the corners are cut off it works fine, with just a slight dropoff at the edges. Your Optar should give much better coverage. The angulon would be nice but seems overly expensive for this project.

    The uncoated 170 anastigmat that comes on the 3a is actually pretty good as it is.
     
  20. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Hmm, I just checked the bellows on mine and it seems like I should be able to get at least another 1/4" total and maybe more. Any extra width I get is just a boon anyway, so if I can get anymore I'll be happy.

    The 135 Optar works quite nicely on the camera and gives me extra coverage to utilize the rise/fall and shifts on the front standard. The ground glass (which I'll mask out to only show the are where there is 120 film) will be a definite boon for using the movements.

    I already have the 90mm angulon and it's not a permanent affixment to the camera so I figure it won't be too much to move it back and forth b/w the 3x4 and the 3A if need be.
     
  21. Christopher Nisperos

    Christopher Nisperos Member

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    I received my new bellows for my 3A from Camera Bellows in England several months ago. Excellent job. Even the same color as the original. Since Camera Bellows were the original bellows manufacturer for many of the early Kodak folding cameras in Europe, I'm not surprised the quality was so good.

    For those who aren't yet using their 3a for lack of rollfilm capability, don't forget a quick way to use it in the meantime is to just cut a sheet of film and tape it in. Ok, sure it's only a one-shot deal, but at least you'll be able see how sharp that so-called amateur lens is!

    By the way 616 is just 70mm film. If you can still find 70mm (try Freestyle?), you could perhaps make a project of taping the film to opaque backing paper from developed 120 rolls, then rolling it unto DIY 616 spools made from wooden dowls and metals disks. Have fun.