Making Specific Macro 8x10 camera

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Philip Taylor, Apr 21, 2007.

  1. Philip Taylor

    Philip Taylor Member

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    Hi, I'm looking to make a specific 8x10 camera solely for the purpose of photomacrography. Hopefully set at 2x life size. My idea is to create the camera out of PVC pipe with a small bellows on either end to allow for camera movements, connected to the front and back standards. Not needing shift, just tilt and swing (both front & back) so I plan to use some fairly simple mechanism for that (ideas?).

    What I'm wanting to know is where do I go for info on coverage of lenses. I plan to use an enlarging lens (better characteristics for Macro), I've been told a 150mm may be about right, and I'm obviously after a small f-stop. I'll be using quite large tilts, especially front tilts to change plane of sharpness. Any info greatly appreciated.

    And the biggest issue, what do people use when building their cameras to ensure plane of lens is parralel to plane of GG/Film? Is there some mechanism to measure this any better than using a tape measure?
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    First I must commend you for your idea and your questions. Second I don't believe your idea will work because the diameter of the PVC pipe will limit the coverage of the film plane. That is unless you use fourteen inch diameter PVC pipe...(not sure that such an animal exists). The diameter must be equal to the dimension of the hypotenuse of the right angle triangle that is formed from the 8 inch and the ten inch diameter of the 8X10 format. (2/H equals 2/a 2 plus b 2)
     
  3. Philip Taylor

    Philip Taylor Member

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    This is exactly what I hoped to use...however, I don't know if it exists yet either:rolleyes:

    Thanks. I understand this will end up a very huge beast!

    Also, many people say getting the GG in the same position as the Film plane is the hardest thing to do, however, if I find a ground glass to fit in the slot the film would go in, in a film holder, then cut out the middle section, take out dark slides etc, this should fix the problem completely shouldn't it?
     
  4. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    There is already a system camera which is so expandable that it is ideal for macro shoots!
    Sinar has the easiest way for expanding a camera for what ever it is used!
    A Sinar P 8x10 with the long bellows is perfect for your needs!
    My 2 cents, but if you like to make it complicat just do it!
    Armin Seeholzer
     
  5. Philip Taylor

    Philip Taylor Member

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    Yep, I understand this, in fact there are a few systems available, but unfortunately I'm a uni student who is already spending thoudands each year and I'm trying to cut costs, as well as learn how to build a bit of stuff.
     
  6. Justin Cormack

    Justin Cormack Member

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    Why dont you start without movements? This would get the basics going. Fixed focus is ok, just fix the lens at the right distance for 2x enlargments and move the camera for focus. You could sort out the gg issues and then you could sort out movements in Mark 2?
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Used 8x10 monorails aren't too expensive. I bet you can find something that could handle a 150mm lens for not much if any more then the cost of materials to cobble together something.

    150 at 2x is what 300mm of extension? Even 450mm shouldn't challenge any normal 8x10. Some of the older wooden 8x10s don't cost much more then $200 and the old monorails are similar in price.

    If that is still too much. Screw the pipe. Make a box camera. Not that hard to make a open ended box.

    Depending on how you connect back/front tilt wouldn't be that hard. Or swing. Adding both gets harder.
     
  8. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    On the coverage issue nobody is likely to have published coverage for enlarger lenses used this way.

    You can do the math. The coverage IIRC should still come out fine if you sub in the new distance instead of the focal length. So instead of using 150mm for the formula use 300mm.

    Also why not consider a process lens? 150mm process lenses that don't fit shutters are cheaper usually then even enlarger lenses.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I agree with Nick. If you can't afford a cheap 8x10" camera (yes, they're out there, though maybe not so many in Australia, and shipping could get costly), then a sliding box camera is probably an easier, more useful thing to make than a PVC pipe camera.
     
  10. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Philip,

    "Also, many people say getting the GG in the same position as the Film plane is the hardest thing to do, however, if I find a ground glass to fit in the slot the film would go in, in a film holder, then cut out the middle section, take out dark slides etc, this should fix the problem completely shouldn't it?"

    Too complicated, just locate an 8x10 camera back that takes modern holders, any brand will work for this.

    Any enlarger lens will cover 8x10 film, it's the size of the target that will determine the focal length you will need. Think in reverse, you will be using it that way.

    A box-in-box is cheap and easy BUT a box with 2 bellows will give you the movements you want.

    Have fun with it all.
     
  11. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    http://www.sonotube.com/

    Made out of cardboard, so you can paint it black inside. Diameters up to several feet, though 14 inches might be hard to find, I know you can get larger though. Nice thing is you should be able to buy it in 3 to 6 foot lengths and longer.

    Now my question would be, wouldn't a large bag bellows work better and be lighter? You could make a frame out of 1/4 inch wooden dowels to help hold the bag so that it doesn't droop into the frame. Seems like this would have much less impact on your tripod and head than the Sonotube or PVC. And it's probably easier to make light tight and non reflective inside.

    Just a few thoughts from someone who has never tried to build anything like this, so they might be worthless ideas.
     
  12. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    Black Foamcore Sliding Box

    If budget were your main concern, and wanted to tackle the problem with a DIY approach, you may want to look to camera designs from the formative years of photography, specifically look at the George Eastman online museum. Here you will find lots of good ideas you could borrow, among the easiest being the nested, sliding box design.

    I built such a camera from black foamcore, including my own version of a sheet film holder, similar to that illustrated in the book "Primitive Photography". I used a removable view screen frame, built to the same thickness as the sheet film holder, with a sheet of translucent plastic at the same location as the film plane would be in the holder.

    I use an objective lens cell from a pair of 7x50mm binoculars for the camera lens; my lens will cover 5"x8" format fine with no movements. I use the lens wide open (at F3) for focus and composition, then stop down to around F50 with a simple black disc, with central aperture, placed over the front lens.

    For the shutter, I happen to be using paper negatives or APHS ortho lith film, which has a 'speed' of around 5, so a simple lens cap shutter, timed manually, works fine. For faster film, a mechanical shutter would have to be used.

    For your application with macro photography, just ensure that the nesting boxes will telescope out to the proper focal length with adequate overlap to ensure good mechanical stability. Of course, most nested box designs from the 19th century use a baseplate, with the 'fixed' half of the box permanently attached to the plate, and the moveable half of the box sliding in and out on grooves; such a design can be very stable.

    Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

    Edit: For a more permanent material than foamcore board, you may want to consider multi-laminate model aircraft plywood. Using two layers of such plywood, with the sizes of both layers staggered at the edges of the panels, you can get a rabbited joint that's a very good assembly method in terms of both strength and light-tightness, without the need for fancy router tools.

    Also, I'm assuming for macro-photography, you may be wanting a rather wide aperture so as to isolate your subject with a somewhat narrow DOF; in which case the resulting shutter speed will definitely necessitate the use of a mechanical shutter, even for slow ortho media such as what I use.

    ~Joe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2007
  13. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    BE CAREFUL with the model plywood! It is NOT a light proof material!!!!! Even two layers of 1/16 inch think plywood transmit light far better than you want! I found this out first hand when making my pinhole camera. All you need to do is hold a flashlight behind the plywood and look at the orange glow coming out the other side. You need about 4 coats of heavy black paint to eliminate the light leaks, or line the inside with black felt or other light proof material.

    Also, do not use the urethane wood glues! They expand to fill the cracks in the wood, and penetrate down into the grain. This glue also conducts light very well, and doesn't take the type of paint that I used very well. The glue I used was Gorilla Glue brand, but Elmers and several companies offer the same thing. Gap filling Cyano-Acrylate glue might be better (untried) and should speed up the construction process.
     
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  15. Philip Taylor

    Philip Taylor Member

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    Thanks for all the useful replies!

    I may opt for a sliding box design of some kind, just a huge bag bellows of some kind sounds better (lighter) but I do need at least front tilt. At 2x depth of field even at f45 would be very small so I need to use front tilt to use any DOF I have for my advantage.

    Thanks again. Will keept you posted.
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Um, Philip, at 2:1 nominal f/45 turns into effective f/135. For contact printing, you'll want to think about DoF for a CoC of perhaps 0.1 mm, that works out to around 7 mm. And at f/135 effective 10 lp/mm is about what diffraction will allow you. So maybe you'll be able to shoot at that small an aperture without losing anything to diffraction if you contact print. If you want to enlarge, you'll have to shoot at a larger aperture.

    Why tilt the lensboard when you can reorient the entire camera or the subject? The only reason to use tilt is that the film plane can't be made parallel to the desired plane of best focus.
     
  17. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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    So are you saying that we are almost in the realm of a pinhole camera?
     
  18. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Philip,

    "I may opt for a sliding box design of some kind, just a huge bag bellows of some kind sounds better (lighter) but I do need at least front tilt. "

    Why not build a 'Frankenstein', attach a box to the rear of a Graphics View I. You get fine focus and all the front movements possible. Your film holders will give you all the specs for a GG insert and rear frame size. Cheap,fast and easy.


    Just a thought.
     
  19. User Removed

    User Removed Guest

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    The lens you want for extreme macro photography with an 8x10 camera is a Wollensak 3 1/2" (90mm) F/4.5 Graphic Raptar.

    It's a little tiny process lens about the size of a quarter. It could probably be fit into a Copal 00 or 0 shutter.

    It has the flattest field and sharpest focus from side to side.

    With about 30" of bellows, I could photograph a large ant and fill the whole 8x10 frame with it.

    Best,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net
     
  20. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Why not save yourself a lot of trouble and expense and just buy an ancient 8X10 Folmer & Schwing camera that I have in the garage. It has 3 or 4 removeable bed extensions and max bellows is 42 inches. It's ugly as hell but the bellows are near new so it will soldier on indefinitely. It isn't worth much. $275 plus some shipping. Have you priced 14" pipe?? Contact me offline if you're interested. With 42" bellows you could get to 2:1 with a 240mm G-Claron.

    Get a copy of the latest issue of Emulsion Magazine where I have an article about macro with 8X10.
     
  21. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    150 mm lens at 1:1 is 300 mm bellows extension because 150 mm at 150 mm is infinity focus.

    I haven't figured out the math for 2X - whether it's double the 1:1 (600) or just 1 more f.l. longer (450 mm).

    All nominal numbers above...

    Use that equation that looks like a bunch of fractions something like 1/f = 1/s + 1/o

    Uses image and object distances,

    Circular tubing, while sturdy, is a lousy match for rectangular filmholders insofar as the diameter needs to be much larger than the sides of the filmholder.

    If black plastic plumbing pipe is available (ABS?), it is supposedly visible-light-opaque, unlike PVC pipe.

    I got a lead from an architect to look for roof drain pipe rather than conventional plumbing pipe - apparently the very large diameters exist there. But the big stuff is heavy and expensive...and good luck finding a short length.

    If you are doing table top macro and don't care about field lightness, you'd be surprised how well a simple wooden box construction works with regard to rigidity and cost.

    Fitting moveable standards, probably rectangular, onto a round tube, is beyond my imagination's capacity.
     
  22. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For a fixed 2x magnification, you need an extension of 3x focal length.

    Make your camera 405mm long with +/- 5cm wiggle room, get an old Schneider Symmar 135/5.6 convertible, unscrew both cells and put them back on the opposite side of the shutter.

    In that magnification range there's little (at least affordable to a student) that outperforms a reversed Symmar. Get the 135 in a #0 shutter, not the 150 in a #1 shutter: The #0 has the same threads front and back, and you need to reverse the lens. The 135 has an image circle of 190mm at infinity, thus 380mm at 1:1, and 570mm at 2:1. That should be sufficient, I believe. :smile:
     
  23. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    I see that you haven't looked at that little spreadsheet I gave you. It contains all of the relevant magic formulas and does the calculations up to 2:1. Look in the flash on lens tab.

    You're back on my lazy brainless blockhead list.
     
  24. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Yah, I took a look, and I realized it took more than a look, so I haven't studied it yet.

    LBB list, huh? Flattery...indeed.
     
  25. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    But my response DID include a correct answer behind one of the curtains...

    Whatchoo doing reading myreplies, anyway? ...you know they're gonna give you an ulcer...
     
  26. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    I'm afraid you're going to spend a bunch of money on this project and end up with an unusable POS. Believe me, I know it's tough but come up with the jack for a Calumet C1. The heavy ones are cheap, like $200 for a beat up job. Patch the bellows and you'll have 34 inches of bellows extension and a solid camera that you can actually transport and use for non macro work as well. Unless building it is really important to you... Good luck whatever you do. Best. Shawn
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 8, 2007