All the talk recently about making film holders and other craftiness got me thinking (not always a good thing!). For a while now I have been wanting a 7x17 camera. They rarely show up used and the new ones are very expensive with a long wait to get them. Is it feasible to make a wood back and mount it on a Sinar F or P series camera? I guess I know that it is, but am wondering if I've overlooked anything. I use a 4x5 Sinar and already have many of the bits and pieces for another camera. I am a skilled woodworker-I used to own a small cabinet shop. My thought is to buy the film holders first and get all the relevant dimensions from them. I would have the bellows made by someone else; bellows making is not a skill I have the time or desire to learn. I have lots of well seasoned wood and access to a metalworking shop. All in all this seems like a fairly simple project, but I don't see many people doing this which worries me. So, am I crazy?
No... Why not... I'm in the same position. What I can't buy I make. If you have the desire, you can't go wrong. Especially if you take part of a setup and add to it. Get a holder and make a back and an extension and don't let anyone tell you it won't work. If you do run across a problem, just post it here. Someone will have had the problem too and will most often have found a solution. We are the community now. The development and design is with us for the most part because there aren't the Kodak's and Seneca's and Korona's being made anymore. It's a hybrid world. When the image comes out you'll be glad you did.
I have used a Sinar P base for both 8x20 and 11x14 for several years now. Integrating large camera backs and the Sinar system is sound but I don't know where the upper end of size resides since I've only gone to 8x20. You should consider that the 8x10 Sinar standards are a bit beefier than the 4x5 and would probably hold up better. You could buy a Korona (or whatever) that has a bad base becaues this would just get thrown away or sold at any rate - this might be easier than making a camera body from scratch.
You can see the idea at:
Last edited by David; 10-11-2005 at 12:14 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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Glennview even offers such things (www.glennview.com), though the prices are high, and some I gather have had registration problems. I think it would be easiest to adapt something to the 8x10" P/P2 rear standard, and then you could use either a P-type standard on the front for symmetry or an F-type standard on the front for lighter weight.
Iím not sure what is considered a reasonable used price. Quality Camera Co.; Atlanta, GA; tel: (404) 881-8700; in their Sept/Oct. View Camera ad lists a K.B. Canham Camera, 7x17, wood field, in stock, LN, $3,995.
No affiliation. Donít know if it is still in stock. Iíve never done business with them, but I gather they have a good reputation.
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I've never seen a 7x17 filmholder on sale yet... but geee, am I interested in the format!
Sounds like a great idea to me. In fact, my current 4x10 camera is a similar hybrid - only instead of a Sinar, I used an ARCA-SWISS F-Line as my base platform. I really like the ARCA-SWISS cameras and their modular design makes them a great starting point for DIY projects like this. Unlike you, I'm not a skilled woodworker (I tinker and have made a few nice pieces, but leave the tough stuff to those with better skills and a more well equipped shop). Rather than make my own back, I used a 4x10 back and bellows made by Lotus. Here's a pic of my 4x10 Swiss-Lotus.
While Sinar equipment was once very expensive, it's selling for pennies on the dollar on eBay these days as a lot of the high volume product shooters have switched to digital (see, there is something good about digital - it makes really good LF gear affordable for us mere mortals). If you don't already own one, you should be able to get a Sinar cheap off eBay to serve as your base platform.
Given the scarcity and high price of used ULF cameras, I'm surprised more people haven't taken this route. Most of the old Koronas that end up on eBay are pretty beat. The focusing rails are often in pretty bad shape, and weren't all that rigid when new 80 years ago. Rigidity and smooth focusing seem to be the major problems with these older cameras. A solid Sinar (or ARCA-SWISS, or Toyo, or Linhof, or Cambo, etc.) monorail as a base easily solves both problems - and if you use the front standard and rear function carrier from your "donor" monorail, you also get more extensive movements that are more precise and easier to operate. It requires a little bit of work (but less than rebuilding a beat up Korona) and you get the economy of an older ULF camera, but with rigidity, precision and ease of use of a modern high-end monorail.
If you end up building one, please let us know how it turns out and post some photos (both of the camera and taken with the camera).