View Full Version : 4x5 film back for 9x12 Bergheil, Avus, and compatible cameras?

05-20-2014, 08:23 PM
Has anyone tried one of these to use 4x5 film on a 9x12 Bergheil, Avus, or compatible camera?

I suppose it would fit the Recomar 33 and Zeiss Maximar based on discussions here and at largeformatphotography.info

Looks like an interesting solution,

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Adapter-to-turn-Voigtlander-Bergheil-Avus-9X12-into-4x5-cameras-/261482063870?pt=US_Film_Backs_Holders&hash=item3ce18ba7fe (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Adapter-to-turn-Voigtlander-Bergheil-Avus-9X12-into-4x5-cameras-/261482063870?pt=US_Film_Backs_Holders&hash=item3ce18ba7fe)


peter k.
05-20-2014, 09:06 PM
I'm sorry I can't help you with information about a 4x5 back for either camera, but I do have a question for you!
Why not use the first solution?
Cut 4x5 down to the size that is needed and keep these classic camera's as they were and are.
It's not difficult, I cut 4x5 for my '46' 3x4 speed and 9x12 Zeiss.
Just a thought...

05-20-2014, 09:56 PM
Thanks Peter
and cheaper!

05-20-2014, 10:03 PM
I should add, the reason this interests me is to use color reversal film, that I do not want to develop myself, at least not yet.

And I thought it would be easier to get a lab to develop 4x5 reversal film in the US than 9x12 cut down film.

05-21-2014, 08:23 AM
It looks like with this back you would need to slide out the ground glass and replace it with the film holder. Does that sound correct? Similar to removing the normal focusing back and replacing with a slide in film holder. But in that case the ground glass has some protection after removal. With this back you would be handling the glass directly and it would be easy to damage or get finger prints on.

05-21-2014, 08:38 AM
Looks like a nice, well thought out unit. A little bit of a hassle to use, but not much. One thing you'll have to remember is that infinity focus will not be the same. Another words, when you pull the bellows out to click into the infinity stop it will no longer be at infinity the way it was set from the factory with the factory back. You can unscrew/drill out the rivets that hold the focus scale/infinity lock plate and move it to where it now registers infinity according to the 4x5 ground glass. Just drill and re-screw! Or you can just use the camera and focus every time using the ground glass since the focus scale settings will be void and unusable with the new back. JW

05-21-2014, 10:39 AM
It's impressive, but given the change of focus plane I think I'd prefer the existing rollfilm backs. 6x9cm is still a pretty good-sized transparency.


Ian Grant
05-21-2014, 11:06 AM
It's impressive, but given the change of focus plane I think I'd prefer the existing rollfilm backs. 6x9cm is still a pretty good-sized transparency.


It should have its own focus screen holder.

9x12 film is readily available it's a standard size made by all the manufacturers colour as well as B&W. You may need to buy it from Europe though. Film inserts for plate holders are also easy ti find I bought a box of new Kodak ones last year for very little.


05-21-2014, 12:19 PM
It should have its own focus screen holder.

Yeah, but as others have noted, it changes infinity focus so the scale no longer works, and the arrangement for inserting/removing the ground glass looks a little iffy. It's not *unusable*, you'd just be accepting certain compromises for the ability to use 4x5.

9x12 film is readily available it's a standard size made by all the manufacturers colour as well as B&W.

Sure, but not in E-6, which I believe was the OP's interest. I think it would be interesting to try to get 9x12 C-41 commercially developed in the States, too; and by "interesting" I mean "likely impossible".

Over here in Leftpondia, the only readily available 9x12 emulsion is Fomapan 100; the other Fomapans turn up sometimes, and the Ilford emulsions and the new CHS II 100 can be ordered from Europe. It's a perfectly feasible format for b&w, but for American purposes I think it's pretty much dead as a color format.


Ian Grant
05-21-2014, 02:28 PM
Yes, I just checked and Fuji has dropped E6 9x12 films.

I wouldn't be bothered losing the use of the focus scale if I used a 5x4 back on any of my 9x12 cameras. I shoot with a Super Graphic and Crown Graphic and never use the focus scale or the rangefinders (I often use a touch of front tilt anyway), and with my 9x12 cameras I always focus using the GG, However I have fitted new brighter screens to all my older cameras which makes them far more useable :D

If you haven't seen the film Henry & June then you've missed the superb re-creations of Brassai shooting some of his famous Paris by Night images with a 9x12 camera, he did use the focus scale and a tape measure. (Brasai was a friend of Anais Nin & Henry Miller).

There's no reason you couldn't make a new focus scale if you fitted a 5x4 back. I've just found a length of L shaped brass I bought last year and it would be ideal to use to make an adapter back to take modern 5x4 DDS, it slips into the groove that takes the plate holders. I may make an adapter back but for a Quarter plate camera, the criteria is the same.


05-21-2014, 02:54 PM
No question, it could be done. I just think it'd be kind of a hassle as compared to a Rada back, or to "go out and find a working Graphic" if 4x5 (or 5x4; why don't you guys say "12x9" as well?) is crucial.

For what it's worth, I've had a little luck with scale focus on 9x12 plate cameras. It's not the most natural way to use them, but I convinced myself that the wire sports finder isn't a complete joke. In good enough light, I can imagine setting the scale at the hyperfocal distance and using a 9x12 like a press camera: f/22 and be there.


05-21-2014, 03:32 PM
Ian is right there is no reason you couldn't focus to infinity with the new 4x5 ground glass insert and mark the bed where the lens panel infinity lock stops and then move the focus scale to that spot on the bed. But that's just me and I've taken Tinker 101 and I shouldn't assume you're a Tinker also. JW

08-29-2014, 01:07 PM
I made an adapter a couple of years ago, using a junk 9x12 back and joined a Graflex spring back to it.
It fits my 9x12 Ihagee Zweiverschluss (which was the main point of the exercise), and a couple of others, allowing them to use normal 4x5 filmholders and a Polaroid 405 back.
The results were ok, more out of interest than anything else, and the slight frisson of having Pola/Fujiroid in a camera made thirty years before they existed.
On a related point raised here, I tried treating a Welta 9x12 as a point and shoot, using the scale focus. It was ok, up to a point, but the minimum aperture of f:12 hampered the exercise a bit; meaning I got about 80% useable shots out of a 6x9 rollfilm back. That's a bit of an oddball camera, having a 15cm/f:3.5, which was likely for low-light use, in theatres, perhaps.
P&S in more pedestrian 9x12s was perfectly normal back in the day, anyway.