Making my first LF camera

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by adrian_freire, May 17, 2005.

  1. adrian_freire

    adrian_freire Member

    Messages:
    66
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    coruña, gali
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was thinking about making my first LF camera using a EL-NIKKOR f5,6 enlarging lens and 10x15cm paper sheets as negative. Will this lens work well for this purpose? Can it cover all the negative area? Could I have enough room for some movements? I suppose that I can do it without a shutter (use a lens cap instead of shutter) due to the low asa of the paper and the f range (f5.4 - f32) of the lens, am I wong?
    I want to start making a simple camera with movements only in the front part of the camera and expending a little amount of money.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That will only work at extreme closeups. I seriously doubt it'll cover at infinity.

    Plenty of cheap LF lenses in shutters for sale if you're only looking at 4x5. If you want even cheaper you can look at process lenses.

    Personally for 4x5 a normal 150mm lens in a shutter is likely your best best. The older ones won't cost very much.
     
  3. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

    Messages:
    4,167
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    That's an enlarging lens for nominal 6x6. It covers at most an 80 mm circle. For 10x15 you need a 180 mm lens, the diagonal of 10x15. Think again.

    As long as you're going to capture the image on paper and use a capping shutter, why not do without a lens and make a pinhole camera?

    Good luck, have fun,

    Dan
     
  4. adrian_freire

    adrian_freire Member

    Messages:
    66
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    coruña, gali
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks to everybody. I'll look for an old lens with shutter as soon as I can. I think ebay is the best place to find it. Do you know what is the asa of the paper (in this case ilfospeed rc deluxe).
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't know about that paper but in general figure around 5.

    Watch Ebay for older cameras. You can often find cameras that are either in not great shape or just not that popular with a lens for less then the lens itself might sell for.
     
  6. 127

    127 Member

    Messages:
    581
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    127 Format
    Just build it with the lens you've got, and watch out on ebay for something better - it should be easy enought to switch in a better lens latter.

    I did pretty much the same, but picked up a few cheap lenses - an ancient ross lens cost $10, and a teletessar about the same. The catch is they don't have shutters. Stopping right down in bright sunlight give an exposure of about 1 second on paper (asa 5-10), so I just put my coat over the lens and used that as a shutter.

    Lenses with shutters are way more expensive - they're cheap enough compared to serious equipment, but more than I wanted to spend on a home build project. I intend to build a falling plate shutter into the body of my camera.

    for my first go I built without movements so it would be an easy build.

    Have fun!

    Ian
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Not really. Plenty of cheap lenses out there. How about getting an old roll camera? The old postcard cameras are pretty close to 4x5 and tend to be cheap. Just takes a little effort to liberate the lens from the camera. Or didn't Polariod make some larger cameras that no longer have film?
     
  8. AllanD

    AllanD Member

    Messages:
    120
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Location:
    Wiltshire,UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If you are into close-up photography, your enlarger lens could be better than a conventional lens. As you get closer to your subject, the coverage of the lens will increase and you will be operating at the sort of distances that enlarger lenses are designed for. I use a 100/5.6 Componon-S in a shutter as a "macro" lens for 6x9 and the lens has performed superbly in this role. It also works rather well at middle distances, up to about 10m (maybe further), but I think your 80mm lens would be running out of coverage at this kind of distance.
     
  9. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Postcard format (3 1/4 x 5 1/2, approximately -- 122 roll film, or "Postcard" sheet film) usually used a 165 mm lens which will easily cover 4x5. Many of the 135 mm lenses used on 9x12 plate cameras will cover 4x5 without movements (Tessar will, just), and you can often find these cameras without ground glass or plate holders, but with (useless) film pack adapter and suspect bellows for $10 to $30 -- with good glass and shutter needing only simple cleaning. The 9x12 are usually cheaper than the postcard cameras, mainly because they're a lot more common. Even the cheapest lenses sold in these will do a fine job stopped down to f/8 or f/11, without movements, and most would stop down to f/32 (I have one shutter, with f/4.5 13.5 cm Tessar, that stops down to f/45). You'll sometimes find a 150 mm or even 165 mm on a 9x12, and these lenses will cover 4x5 nicely and allow for a little movement.

    Removing these lenses is easy -- with the camera folded, the retaining ring is readily acessible through the camera back, and once it's started you can open the camera and hold the shutter from the front while unscrewing the ring the rest of the way. Mind you, I'd hate to see someone pulling the lens and shutter off a usable plate camera, but one that's in junk condition is another story entirely -- and the shutter and glass are likely to be the best parts of one of those.

    The larger Polaroid roll-film cameras (took Type 47 film) made a 3x4 format print, approximately, and most have semi-wide lenses in the 110-120 mm range (the later Model 180/185/195 pack-film cameras made the same size images with a 114 mm Tominon); the Ysarons in the older cameras will cover 4x5 without movements, apparently (judging by the number that are converted), but I doubt the 114 mm Tominon will.
     
  10. gma

    gma Member

    Messages:
    793
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I recommend the website of Jon Grepstad in Norway. He has an extensive collection of pictures and descriptions of home made cameras, including one that I made. You can spend many hours on the website and probably you will discover some construction techniques that you had not considered.
     
  11. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    4x5 box camera

    This is a camera I made a couple of years ago. Working on an article about building this type of camera, but it is taking longer than I thought. Lens is from a Polaroid 110A "Pathfinder" camera. It nearly covers 5x7, as a friend who uses one has shown me. tim

    P.S. Please email me with questions if you have any.
     
  12. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

    Messages:
    863
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ah, is that you who made that? We've seen this thing before somewhere else, can't remember where. Could you post some results as well, am curious to see what came out! And I might not be the only one either.

    Thanks,
    norm
     
  13. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    norm, take a look at the image in my gallery in color. It is a picture of a parade group, St. Patrick's day. tim
     
  14. phfitz

    phfitz Member

    Messages:
    540
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Adrian,

    Look on ebay for a Kodak 116 folder, preferably with a 125/4.5 anastigmat special lens. It has front lens focus and covers 4x5, and being in a folder it should be in very fine shape. CLA for a Supermatic should be easy.

    Noseoil,

    Is 'noseoil' a reference to Fred Picker?

    Just a thought.
     
  15. phfitz

    phfitz Member

    Messages:
    540
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2004
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Hi there,

    Sorry for the typo, that should be a Kodak 616, not 116. Monitor or Vigilant models would have the anastigmat special lens.

    No, I don't have one for sale.
     
  16. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Noseoil, I'm curious why you build with the sliding box inside the fixed one. Seems to me to be more prone to light leaks at the focusing slide than one built with the moving box (and front end with lens board) outside -- the latter would require light that gets past whatever felt or velvet to make at least a couple reflections before it can find film, while the way you have it either requires extra complexity in the form of light baffling or provides a potential direct path for light leaks.

    Putting the lens on the outer box would also facilitate interchanging boxes with different lenses mounted or easily adding macro extensions (though that way, and not far down the road, lies the path to building your own field camera).
     
  17. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Two-fold reason for my design. First, light trap is fuzzy velcro in two differing orientations. Second, it acts as a stop so the inner box doesn't slide out completely.

    The inner box has the gasket attached to the back edge on the outside of the box. The outer box has the gasket attached to the front edge on the inside. In order to remove the inner box, the lens board must be detached, then the box slides inside the camera. tim
     
  18. medform-norm

    medform-norm Member

    Messages:
    863
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks Tim, I did. Did you perchance use a digital back on that camera? The image looks quite pixelated :wink:


    (no - ducking movements, waving of arms - don't hit me!)
     
  19. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

    Messages:
    1,845
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Okay, that's about what I thought. I just don't trust soft light traps much, given that all of my plate holders leak light around the dark slide at least occasionally.