Lensboard DIY and wide angle lens use - a couple of Bender 4x5 questions

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Anupam Basu, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    I am almost set with my new Bender 4x5 but have a couple of questions before I can go out and shoot.

    [1] I need to mount my lens which is in a copal 1 shutter onto the lensboard and am wondering if this could be a DIY project for someone who has never done any woodwork or should I go to a local camera repair company to get it done. I ask because the bender lensboard seems to be essentially a piece of 4x4 acrylic/wood and it seems feasible that even a woodworking beginner could use a $25 drill to make a 1 5/8" hole in it for the Copal 1 shutter. I have read that one needs to go slow to prevent the acrylic from melting but assume that with a little care it can be done.

    Secondly, I could just buy cheap plywood and make experimental lenboards for my enlarger lenses etc which I probably would not if I had to fork out for each lens hole. The drill would also probably come in handy for other quirks like drilling through 35mm body caps to install pinholes etc.

    So all in all, it looks like a swell plan - but I want to be aware of any potential pitfalls that might pop up.

    [2] As far as I can tell the minimum distance between the standards on a bender is about 135mm. That kind of spoils my plans for a wide angle because even if I were to get a bag bellows, the standards wouldn't get any closer. One solution might be to put the bit that attaches to the tripod not in between but to one side of the standards but I would like to hear opinions as to whether this is a good idea and how it affects stability.

    Thanks,
    Anupam
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    1) No idea about acrylic but with wood it's fairly simple. OTOH big bits and hand drills aren't the best combination.



    2) That's pretty standard method. No worries.
     
  3. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Do you keep the tripod attachment to the side for other lenses too? Otherwise just switching to a wideangle for one shot would be a nightmare in the field. What is the maximum extension with the bag bellows - I am wondering if it can handle a 90mm as well as a 150mm or so for non close up shots.

    -A
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Anupam,
    It's a pretty simple job. The only problem may be using hole saws since you'll need one for each different size hole you want. Usually you can get inexpensive ones at Harbor Freight Tools for 2-4 bucks apiece. You only need one arbor & an assortment of saws of appropriate size.
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    No you'd only use it for wide angle lenses. No idea with the bender but it's a normal method with other monorails.

    How hard depends on the design of the tripod mount. Many are pretty quick to change over.
     
  6. scott k

    scott k Member

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    recessed lens board

    Anupam,

    You can easily drill out the lensboards yourself.

    The trick I used to mount the 90mm Angulon on my Bender was to put the lensboard on the back of the front standard so it is sandwiched between the back of the front standard and the front of the bellows frame. I should add that I use two countersunk screws (top and bottom) that go through the lensboard 'ridge' in the front standard and into the front bellows frame instead of the 'L' screws provided in the kit. It is a simple matter to drill two matching holes in the lensboard. This works well but I got a short very flexible cable release (from Gepe it think) so I can use a regular cable release.

    Scott
     
  7. fparnold

    fparnold Member

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    Bender himself recommends just adding two extension pieces to the front of your front standard. I used that method, + moving the middle piece to use a 75mm on the Bender (w/ bag-bellows).
     
  8. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Could you explain a little more what you mean by this - especially "adding two extension pieces to the front of your front standard." Or maybe an illustration would help (I don't have the manual).

    -Anupam
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Hardboard, such as Masonite, might be less elegant than plywood, but is readily available and easy to work with. If the Bender uses a board 1/4 thick with a 1/8 rabbet around the rear edge, it can be fabricated of two squares of 1/8 inch hardboard glued together. Even foam core from a hobby shop or Walmart will do for temporary use. Any lens board, especially foam core, should be painted black at least on the back side to prevent light transmission or light leaks. Some spray paint may dissolve some foam core.

    My cheap set of hole saws like John K. describes has 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 blades, but no 1 5/8. The smaller hole could be rasped or whittled out to fit the shutter. A fly cutter is adjustable to any size, but is best used in a drill press.

    Some shutters don't readily mount in a board as thick as 1/4 inch. In this case, a large cleareance hole can be cut in the back layer of the board before it is glued to the front.
     
  10. scott k

    scott k Member

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    Anupam,

    I'll give a shot at describing what Jay Bender does to use a wide angle lens with the bag bellows. Two pieces of wood with Tee-nuts are glued on the front lens standard right in front of the regular Tee-nuts. When the new Tee-nuts are used this shifts the front standard back closer to the rear standard. When a bag bellows is used this allows the front standard to be moved closer to the ground glass since you don't have the thickness of the compressed normal bellows in the way. I haven't used this set up but the front standard is smaller than the rear and maybe it will actually fit inside the rear a bit.

    The method I described previously works well with the 90mm Angulon but the normal bellows are completely compressed and doesn't allow for any movements which is ok for me since the Angulon doesn't allow any movements. In fact it is all ok because I use a Crown Graphic now for the most part. I really like the Bender but the Crown is almost a point and shoot in comparison:smile:
     
  11. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    My local Ace Hardware Store has a 1 5/8 hole saw for $6. I don't remember if it comes with the necessary center bit, though.
     
  12. Dug

    Dug Member

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    Here are some photos of the extension plates I built to use wider angle lenses. The design allows for some front tilt. I have used it sucessfully with 75mm and 65mm lenses. The 90mm works fine with only the bag bellows and the two standards to the front of the tripod block. It has never been a problem. The materials cost about $8 US.

    Have fun with your Bender! Let me know if you have other questions. I have been using mine for about 9 years and have found that having a setup that is light and fits into a daypack increases the chances that you will have it with you and will take more pictures.

    Doug
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Great! Many thanks for posting the pics. I guess my woodworking skills have to improve quite a bit before I can attempt that but it certainly seems doable.

    -Anupam
     
  14. Scott Peters

    Scott Peters Member

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    Go to HOBBY store, ask for birch plywood. They should have stacks of it. It comes in small sheets perfect thickness for sinar lens board. Cut to size. Then place retaining ring on the board - eyeball center, then use pencil on inner circle and where screws go. Drill a small hole on the inner circle line. Then insert a coping saw blade (you must remove one end and insert the blade and then reattach) and cut out the circle. This can even be somewhat sloppy. Attach retaining ring with small wood screws and WALA! A sturdy, cheap lensboard. place black tape on back of board screws for safety and perhaps light tightness. I have made several this way.
     
  15. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    Shot my first 4x5

    Just wanted to thank everyone for the help and tips. Got the drill and mounted the lens on the lensboard - wasn't difficult at all. The wideangle adapter will probably be a later project - maybe in a few months.

    In the meanwhile, I shot my first sheet of 4x5 film today - YAY!

    -A