Robert / Robin Hills cloud camera

Discussion in 'Plate Cameras and Accessories' started by Samuel Hotton, May 29, 2007.

  1. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    Has anyone here had the good fortune to examine a Robin Hills cloud camera as manufactured in the 1920s by R&J Beck Ltd. London?
    Has anyone examined a negative exposed with one of these cameras?
    I realize that a 8mm fisheye lens on a 35mm camera will give a 180 degree circular image.
    Supposedly, the Hill Cloud Camera had a f8 lens with a focal length of 25mm and a Circle of Definition of 2.5 inches.
    If one wanted to make a "Cloud camera" today in a larger format than 35mm. Is there a lens that is available today that will provide horizon to horizon coverage of 180 degrees and that will give a circle of definition of 2.5 inches or larger?
    With thanks,
    Sam H.
     
  2. AgX

    AgX Member

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    A medium-format full-format fisheye-lens used however at full circle could yield the result you are looking for.
    I say could, as there is the chance that the lens barrel vignettes the full circle. I don't know those lenses.
     
  3. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe a 15mm fisheye for 35mm cameras could be adapted to a MF camera? The zenitar gives 180 degrees corner to corner, so the full circle should be 43mm in diameter. The "hood lugs" would need removing, though - but compared to the rest of the adaptation, that should be easy!
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Sam,

    A friend of mine made just such a camera about 10 years ago, and was kind enough to lend it to me: I reviewed it for one of the magazines (I forget which one). You need the Kiev-fit fish-eye (ARSAT? I've forgotten) and a thin shutter. The image circle fits neatly inside 4x5 inch film. The nerve-racking bit is sawing off the 'petal' lens shade, which is best done by coating the lens with Opti-Clean and then stick LOTS of masking tape over the top. I'll see if I can find pictures of the camera, and pictures taken with it, to post on www.rogerandfrances.com. If I can find it, I'll post a reminder on APUG -- it'll take a few weeks.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Roger,

    Actually I thought of any rectangular form of the film-side barrel (though not that probable). Any form of front side vignetting due to some form of lens shade should be easy to be removed, even if it involved milling.
     
  6. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Easy, but nerve-racking...

    The other end is, as you surmised, not a problem.

    Cheers,

    r.
     
  7. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

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    I had a Kiev 60 outfit for a while. This was a thoroughly AWFUL camera, which never worked reliably (shutter problems). I got rid of it and replaced it with a Pentacon 6 (which is the camera it was a rip off of.... same lens mount). I kept the lenses, though, which were not too bad.

    The fish eye lens was the only one I didn't like.

    Google for : Arsat 30mm F3.5 full frame fisheye.

    I just couldn't see the reason for bent pictures so I let it go for a very poor trade in deal on a LF lens :-(

    Only after getting rid of it did I here about the 'cloud camera'. It isn't that I wanted to build one, it is just that I read that you could use the fish eye lenses in reverse to make undistorted 'cloudscapes'.

    I never thought of trying the fisheye under the enlarger to correct the distortion and really wish I had. Has anyone else ever tried this?

    Steve
     
  8. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Other than having a 180deg field of view, is there anything else notable about the cloud camera. (I ask because i have a vision of a camera on a kite or balloon taking pictures from the sky)
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Of course one can do a lot of things with a cloud camera.

    But the most interesting to a meteorologist would be to place the camera on the ground with its optical axis vertical to gain a great as possible view of the sky and its cloud formation.
     
  10. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    Good evening darin,
    They were used for photographing the tree canopies in forests.
    Sam H.
     
  11. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    "But the most interesting to a meteorologist would be to place the camera on the ground with its optical axis vertical to gain a great as possible view of the sky and its cloud formation."

    -ahhhhhh that makes sense!