Sputnik (medium format stereo camera)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by tjaded, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    I just got a Sputnik camera. I've been wanting one for some time now--I really like 3-D/stereo photography but was never really happy with the half of a 35mm frame size. Unfortunately, the Sputnik is leaving a lot to be desired. I knew I was in for some modification, but frankly the thing is really not made well at all. I ran a roll through today...we shall see if the results are any good. I'm hoping it will be better than I am expecting (I've read really good things about them). Anyway, this is one of my typical posts with no real point. I guess if there are any APUGgers that have a Sputnik I would love to hear any tips/thoughts/etc. I really do wish there was a quality medium format stereo camera!
     
  2. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Nothing to add, but I'm curious to hear about how it works out for you when you do get to review the results of the first roll. I feel the same way---the world really needs stereo medium format---and I've long had a bit of gadget lust towards the Sputnik for that reason.

    -NT
     
  3. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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  4. edp

    edp Member

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    I have a Sputnik, and I think it is my favourite camera, despite its flaws.

    The first thing I did when I got mine was take it entirely to pieces, clean everything, adjust the shutter times, lubricate the self-timer... This thing came out of a Russian tractor factory fifty years ago, and it shows.

    I've added some self-adhesive flocking material inside to reduce reflections, and I've added a pair of lens hoods. The biggest flaw is the light trap around the back doors: it doesn't trap much light. I stuck thin strips of the same flocking material all around, but it's not perfect. I might try gluing a length of black wool into the groove some time.
     
  5. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    If I had the knowledge, I would adjust the shutters and re-lube everything. I did the flocking paper yesterday and I have a few ideas for the body light leaks that I assume are there. I'm working on getting the lens shades, should have them soon!
     
  6. edp

    edp Member

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    Take care to ensure the film is lined up properly with the guides next to the rollers; the first roll I put through mine got a bit mangled.
     
  7. edp

    edp Member

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  8. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    I saw that Chinese camera...a bit high of a price. That's why I went with a Sputnik. Last night I spent a good many hours thinking about how to make one that shoots onto 4x5 film...we shall see if I ever get past the day dreaming phase!
     
  9. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    but that's easy...

    here you can buy stereo lenses:
    http://www.mwclassic.com/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_LENSES_37.html
    (scroll down a little)

    put them in front of a normal 4x5 (or larger) camera - make a septum to devide the inside of the camera, and you're ready to go...

    OR

    find something like the attached image ;-)

    (I have a Sputnik, and I love it - difficult to use, but there is nothing wrong with it...)
     

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  10. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    I just got back the first roll--amazingly there was only one instance of a light leak. Unfortunately, one lens is not focusing properly and the shutter on the same side is slower than the other. Anybody know who works on these in the USA? Assuming I can get those issues figured out, it might be a somewhat usable camera.
     
  11. edp

    edp Member

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    That is amazing.

    If the focus is out of adjustment, resetting it is straightforward. The gears are attached to the lenses with three tiny set screws around the perimeter of each lens. Slacken these (don't take them right out; you'll lose them) and you can remove the gear. Tape a piece of ground glass into the back of the camera to the film plane, open the lenses at the widest aperture (use a locking cable release and the B setting) and adjust the focus until an object at infinity is sharply focused on the glass. Do the same on the other side, and mark the relative positions of the lens elements and the shutters with a scratch or an indelible pen so you can line them up more easily next time. Adjust the viewing lens so that infinity is focused in the middle of the ground spot in the viewfinder (there are two set screws holding the distance scale to the viewing lens; if you slacken those you can focus at infinity, then move the scale by itself so that it reads the correct distance. Gently retighten the scale screws). Reattach the lens gears with the three set screws (don't overtighten them or you'll break one side of the slot off the head). Verify that all three lenses are correctly focusing at infinity, and then verify that they all agree on something close. Simple!

    I suspect the left eye is slower than the right eye. There's not much machinery inside the left shutter; just the shutter blades and a return spring.

    Possible causes of a sluggish left shutter include:

    i) The blades are pushed open by the rod linking the shutters, and they return under their own spring power. If the left-hand mechanism is a bit gummy it might not move freely and could be a bit slow to close. Dismantle and clean.

    ii) The shutter link rod could be a bit loose. The left shutter should be under very slight tension when closed, so that the left eye begins to open as soon as the bar starts to move. Excessive play will make the left eye open late, and possibly not open fully. Slacken the left shutter fixing nut inside the camera and rotate the left lens until the shutter blades just begin to move (but not so far that they don't close fully. They must still overlap and block the light).

    This http://www.kryptosinistographer.com/2008/03/retrofitting-my.html is a useful summary of all the things a Sputnik needs before it's finished. Think of it as a camera kit that you have to build yourself.

    And it is worth it, in my opinion.
     
  12. mgilbuena

    mgilbuena Member

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    Do you guys know if the Holga 120 3D Slide Viewer will work with slides shot on the sputnik? Or is the spacing between frames different?

    Are there any other suggested slide viewers for the Sputnik, aside from the one created for it?
     
  13. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Yes, the Holga ones work. I carry them (I'm in SF, too...) at my store--you can come in and try them out if you would like. I also have the viewer that I use for my Sputnik images at the shop, you can check that out as well.
     
  14. edp

    edp Member

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    I use the Chinese 3DWorld mounts and viewers, and am happy with them.
     
  15. mgilbuena

    mgilbuena Member

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    That sounds good. I may drop by today to check that out (and the record shop!)