View Full Version : Hunting for a #10 Cirkut Camera
04-05-2008, 09:48 AM
Just curious, has anyone approched Film For Classics (http://www.filmforclassics.com/) about custom cutting for Cirkut-sized film (or other)? They already cut down rolls from Kodak for a variety of formats, maybe they have the correctly-sized equipment already.
Just a thought. I don't do panoramic myself (yet), but I find this topic fascinating :)
04-05-2008, 10:55 AM
In the data on B&W aerial film, Kodak mentions "dyed-gel backing". I don't know if this is the same as antihalation backing. There is also the phrase "extended red sensitivity ", which may or may not mean something in term of general photography. I recall someone on one of the large format forums using aerial film cut to sheet film sizes and being satisfied with th results. I'll have to search and see if I can find that post.
If I were looking for B&W film right now, I would search for any commercial studio that does aerial photography, and see if they have any outdated film they might sell at a discount. If that turns out to be a dead end, then buying a new roll from Kodak would seem to be the alternative. Actually, the new price of approx. $4/foot isn't all that horrible. I think the last 8" Verichrome Pan I bought before it was discontinued was close to $25 for a 6 foot roll. Of course that was spooled to go directly into a Cirkut. I've seen posts recently that film costs are going up a lot due to the increased price of silver. I wonder if 9 1/2" aerial is still being sold at the "old" price? The B&H price of around $900 for 250 feet may seem cheap a couple of years from now.
I seem to recall Bill McBride showed me pictures of a Chinese pan camera that used 8" to 10" width film. I've always wondered if there is a China source for film used in that camera.
04-05-2008, 11:02 AM
...I asked Simon at Ilford and was told they didn't want to consider it for packaging reasons and quality control because of the packaging (correct me if I have this wrong Simon)....
I am pretty sure that I have the #6 Cirkut Outfit from the pictures that I have been looking at on-line. I will dig it out this afternoon - it was -23C this morning. But now for my question: I have a roll of 10 inch film from J&C. I know this, because I came upon the labelled cardboard box, which is now storing some of my emulsion notes. I put the film, still in the original black plastic, in the freezer when it arrived. As I recall, the film did not seem to be wrapped all that well. Do you, or anyone else, know if there is another layer of light-proof material underneath? It just seemed to be folded into the ends of the roll. I would like to know before I open it in the darkroom.
04-05-2008, 11:17 AM
I remember Jim was selling a 6 outfit at some point. Don't remember if it was a fan or governor model. Ron can still help with gears either way. Don't know about the J&C film question. You can just get some thick black construction plastic that doesn't pass light, and make another bag or two to make sure it doesn't get exposed.
04-05-2008, 12:40 PM
Clarence - I'm almost certain you have a #6 Outfit. I remember Jim advertising one. The #6 Camera is a pretty rare bird. I think only about 100 were ever made. The #6 Outfit is much more common. The #6 Outfit takes 6 1/2" wide film normally. I believe the film spool holder can also be set to take 5" wide film which was used in the #5 camera. So you can split your 10" wide film into two 5" widths, or 6 1/2" and 3 1/2" (maybe usable in a big old folder or Kodak Panoram). It is also possible to make spool adapters to shoot 220 film, so you can learn to use the Cirkut with cheaper film.
I would suggest having Ron make you at least some gears, just so you can get the Cirkut usable. I think the tooth profile needs to be pretty accurate, or you will get banding in the negs from uneven running. You might be able to make a fly cutter bit, but I suspect you really need an involute gear cutter or a hob arrangement to get a smooth running gear. The #6 Outfit usually came with either a double convertible lens, or a Turner-Reich triple convertible lens. So the camera bed should have either two or three focusing scales with gear numbers for different distances. Get two or three gears made for one focal length and you can start using the Outfit. You can have additional gears made later. However, you may not have the original lens. If the focal lengths on the bed focus scales match the focal lengths on the lens aperture scale, it is likely original. You can also have gears made for a modern lens, but that involves finding the nodal point of the lens in order to calculate the number of teeth needed, and making a focusing scale. You can learn to do this, but Ron can do it quicker. Assuming he has time to work on other people's cameras.
04-05-2008, 01:09 PM
Hello Ron and All,
Well I found Jim's photos of the camera. Tell me more. Thank you for all the info so far. Making a hob to make involute gears is not a problem, but there are no gears at all with the camera. I am not against having someone else make gears, it is usually faster (and cheaper). I may have some other sizes (widths) of film. I bought them from J&C to cut down for old roll film formats well before I bought Jim's camera (last August).
Oh yes, thanks for the hints on cutting and testing with 220. I expect a number of disastrous test runs.
04-05-2008, 01:20 PM
Clarence - I looked at some of my old notes and found the gears for the #6 & #8 Outfits and #10 Camera were 32 pitch, with 14 1/2 degree pressure angle. I thought I would post this if you want to check on gear cutters. I used to look on eBay for involute cutters, but I never found any with the right specs. Maybe I gave up too soon. New cutters may be available. I never checked into new ones, thinking they would be really pricey.
Gear sets show up on eBay, but different Outfits and Cameras use different stem lengths/sizes, so you need to know what you are buying. If you have a lathe, you could make new stems to fit your Outfit.
04-05-2008, 01:51 PM
I can machine and harden a custom hob (I have both lathe and mill - actually two of each - don't ask). I also have to make the base (tripod head). By the way, what is the difference between the fan and governor type. That may be obvious when I look at the actual camera.
04-05-2008, 01:59 PM
Clarence - I can't tell for sure, but I think your Cirkut back may be a fan drive, rather than a governor drive. Look on the back and see if there is a flat lever which moves to different marked speeds - 1/2 through about 1/12 (I'm doing this from memory, which is none too good). If there isn't a speed selector, and there is a shaft or two poking out of the bottom of the back (can't see from the pics), then it is a fan governor control. This means you need to make a set of fans, in addition to needing gears. Maybe Jamie has a pic of the fans. Fans should be way easier to make than gears.
eBay #110239245018 shows the bottom of a fan governor Attachment. I suspect your looks like this.
04-05-2008, 02:26 PM
That looks like a fan camera to me. The gears on the fan cameras have holes instead of shafts. I will try to take some pics at some point. I have two fan cameras, a 10 and a 16. Each size can be a little different, but most of my 10 and 16 gears are interchangeable, as they were made at just about the same time. The shafts on the governor cameras tended to be different lengths for the different size cameras
04-05-2008, 04:07 PM
Here are some pictures just taken. This looks like what you describe as the "fan" type. The scale on the bed reads 8" focus on one side and 14" focus on the other, with various pinions. The lens is a 5x7, Centar Series II in a B&L shutter. It is labeled "Eastman Kodak Co. Succ'rs to CENTURY CAMERA CO. The dial set is 1-100, B T with the CCC logo and Century printed on the centre escutcheon. There is only one aperture scale. The cirkut back is labeled "CIRKUT CAMERA, Made by, EASTMAN KODAK Co., successor to, CENTURY CAMERA CO., Rochester, N.Y.
04-05-2008, 06:23 PM
Regarding films, using Google finds:
BHP Photo page on 9.5" films, or rather, aerial films.
Is something like that usable for pics in a Cirkut?
If so, any idea on the long-term availability of such odd aerial films? I guess with Kodak it's anybody's guess. I'm surprised that aerial film is available at all, with satelites....
04-05-2008, 07:14 PM
It's usable. So is 2402. I would find out which B&W aerial films have the antihalation backing if possible.
It's not always clear in the tech sheets The 3404 has the backing but I don't know if it comes in 9.5" rolls
04-06-2008, 12:01 PM
Clarence - Yes, you have a fan governor back. I've been told some Cirkut shooters liked them better than the newer internal governor - they (maybe) run smoother, and you can make larger fans to give slower "shutter speed" effect.
Your lens is the double convertible, not the Turner-Reich triple. I don't know anything about the Centar, but suspect it will be just fine for contact prints. Did you get the ground glass back for the Century body? The Cirkut Attachment can be removed and replaced with a 5X7 sheet film back. so you can do both Cirkut and 5X7 with the same camera. It is also to view and focus when setting up a Cirkut shot. If you have the 5X7 back, you can do a couple of test shots with the Centar lens, if the shutter is somewhat functional.
As to making your own gears and tripod head, it should be an interesting project. Did you see the article a few years ago in "Home Shop Machinist" magazine about making a hobbing attachment for a milling machine? I don't recall if you only need one hob to make all different tooth gears of a given pitch. I know with involute gear cutters, you need several different ones for a range of gear teeth numbers. That would sure make it simple if you only had to buy or make one hob.
My notes show the ring gear for the #6 Outfit is 9 1/16" pitch diameter, with 290 (or maybe 296) teeth. That should give you an idea the approx. size you will be dealing with. I think the original was made of hard brass and nickel plated. You will also have to make a turntable of some sort.
Doug - I have a feeling the aerial film is the only real B&W option right now. You might contact B&H and/or Kodak about "real world" availability of these films. Just because they are listed doesn't mean they are still available, at least anything that is close to being discontinued. I've been curious about the demand for 9 1/2" film for aerial photography. Maybe there is still a market out there for aerial mapping. I've searched on APUG forum for aerial film information and there is some, but there is a lot of unrelated stuff to wade through.
Did you see the #8 Outfit on eBay that ends a week from today? It looks complete, except the lens is missing. The gear set is probably for a 10 1/2"-18"-24" Turner-Reich lens, which do show up on eBay now and then. There is no certainty a different T-R will work with this gear set, but chances are it will. Your original idea of getting a #10 is good, but #8s are easier to find, and usually cheaper by several hundred dollars. 9 1/2" film has to be cut down to fit an #8 Cirkut, which is a drawback. It may be a "#8 in the hand beats a #10 in the bush" choice. And if an #8 sells cheaply enough, that helps make a decision. But if you are willing to wait a few months, or a year or so, a #10 will likely show up. Of course, if you are fated to go down the Cirkut road, you will end up with more than one of them, so starting with an #8 isn't a bad way to go.
04-06-2008, 12:35 PM
Thank you. I have the 5x7 back, etc. Jim sold it as a working 5x7 and as a Cirkut fixer-upper (major). The shutter works smoothly. I haven't tested the speeds yet, but they seem appropriate. The camera needs a lot of work, and I have other 5x7's so I haven't used it yet. I don't know anything about the Centar either. I will check the focal lengths and try some test 5x7's to see what the single element is like. I have a few TR triples around (can't remember what combinations -I know that is a bit pathetic). I will have to give some thought to the turntable. It would help to see one. I will be at George Eastman House in May, and will do some further research. In the mean time, if you know of any useful links it would be much appreciated. I got this outfit last August and am just starting to learn about Cirkut cameras, so pardon my ignorance and requests for basic information.
04-06-2008, 01:13 PM
Thanks for the advice. I've dropped a note to BHP Photo, asking if the 9.25" Kodak aerial film is truly available, and asking what the lead time is on it. Will let you all know what I hear.
Regarding the #8 - I worry that cutting down 9.25" film to 8" would be quite a hassle... and that I'll have enough variables to try to get under my control with a new-to-me Cirkut, that I'm probably better off holding out for a #10 - assuming that a film source does in fact exist. Crossing my fingers....
If film availablility wasn't an issue, I'd go for a #8 for lower price, and easier-to-work-with smaller negs.
04-06-2008, 01:50 PM
Cutting down film IS a hassle. I've done some, will do some more, but if you don't have to start off doing it, then don't. It's a fine option if you have to, but not fun. I feel very lucky that I started off doing prespooled cirkut film. I could tell when things went wrong that it was me and not the spooled film. One thing to look for is outdated aerial film. It can be had relatively cheaply when available. Haven't seen any lately, but it does pop up. Ilford did have aerial film at one point too, and agfa still makes it as well. You could query adox or foma or the other manufacturers on apug as well. If you found someone to cut rolls, I'd take 100 plus feet of 8 or 10" film
I do long rolls on occasion with my 8 outfit and 6 feet isn't enough film
04-06-2008, 01:59 PM
>I seem to recall Bill McBride showed me pictures of a Chinese pan camera that used 8" to 10" width film. I've always wondered if there is a China source for film used in that camera.
I am the person who originally bought the Chinese Cirkut camera that Bill McBride owns. I found the camera in Beijing china in 1985. It came with a roll of Chinese film. As well, the camera only shoots 8 inch film. I tested the film and it was like Plus-X. The camera is an interesting object, but not for a user. I'll bet very few were ever made. When I opened it up to see what made it tick, I found that the gears were hand cut, probably by just using files. The camera ran with weird batteries and odd voltages, It only had one lens (8 inch focal length) that was not interchangeable. Bill has one of the finest collections of cirkut cameras in the world and I knew right away it belonged with him.
I have been trying to get Chinese cirkut film for a while, but my contacts there get stymied by the factory that makes film. The factory keeps telling them they can't make it. If you know how it works in China, you can understand the problem exactly. You have to make contact with EXACTLY the right person. YES, they do make film!!!, I saw more than one cirkut camera and prints made by them while traveling through China.
Ron in Alaska
04-06-2008, 02:25 PM
It would be nice to have a dedicated machine for cutting gears by hobbing, but for cirkut work it really isn't needed. I looked at the same HomeShop Machinist set of plans mentioned above and did some dreaming too but the bottom line is that it would have taken more work to make the machine than I could ever get out of cutting gears not to mention the cost of the hobs. You need two, a 32 pitch and a 48 pitch with 14.5 degree pressure angles for the old cirkuts and probably more for the guys that have some special project with the modern 20 degree pressure angle stuff or metric gears.
I use a South Bend lathe and a mill with a dividing head to make the gears, and cut them with the correct gear cutters that fit a small range of teeth. After that, the gears are lapped using very fine valve grinding compound and running them with another gear that has a prime number of teeth so they mesh with every tooth (unless it has the same number as what you are making so you need to be sure they are different). Then finishing with a polishing compound usually tripoli (something like Brasso will work) I check the fit of the gears with a good set of original gears, comparing the depth of the mesh and making sure it has a good eyeball look to the teeth.
Making the gear is only half the battle, you need to make the shaft or spline depending on the drive. Getting the pinion gear to mate dead even with the ring gear and not wobble takes some precision. I use collets in the lathe and then check everything with a dial indicator. The shafts can be sweat soldered with soft solder, that's more than enough strength and allows removal and adjustment if not perfect. The original gears are swedged in place and the shaft is spun down to give a nice little rounded bump in the center. To remove an original shaft, I have a special holder and use a punch and hammer. They come right out, no soldered joints.
Ron in Alaska
04-06-2008, 02:50 PM
Thank you for the info. My Cirkut back needs a bit of work besides gears and fans. The spring seems to have tension, but I don't know how the release mechanism works, or how to wind it (haven't tried much yet). A diagram would be helpful. I take it from your post that you are interested in selling gears, etc. As I said above, it is usually cheaper to buy rather than make, especially for a one off, although I find that whenever I buy a camera I end up with another one. At any rate I may be in the market for some gears.