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  1. #1
    donbga's Avatar
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    Building a view camera, what component is the most difficult to make?

    I've been trying to do some brainstorming about building my own view camera and it seems to me that the two most difficult steps are building a back and the bellows. I wouldn't even consider building a film holder.

    Or am I missing something here? I know the whole project requires a lot of sweat equity but being to build a back precisely enough seems to be a show stopper. The bellows I think I could do since I'm good a drafting the old fashioned way and have all the drafting tools so laying out a pattern seems doable.

    Also has anyone used any CAD packages to create camera specs? I'm thinking about using turbo cad to generate drawings from sketches though I've never used the software.

    Thanks,
    Don Bryant

  2. #2
    Shinnya's Avatar
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    Don,

    What format are you making? I am just curious...

    Warmly,
    Tsuyoshi
    ----- P R O J E C T B A S H O -----
    Re-introducing Photography to Philadelphia
    Summer '11 Photography Workshops

  3. #3

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    actually, the hardest part is to just get started. The back's quite easy, I'll post a link to some drawings and pics in the morning. if you have a table saw and a router, it shouldn't take more than an hour or so to make a back. An air brad nailer helps quite a bit with the clamp up (or not needing to)

    erie

  4. #4
    Curt's Avatar
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    I like DesginCad having used it for drawing a House/Garage and addition. I thought the back was the most complex too when I made a field camera twenty years ago. At that time I had not seen a field camera and went only by some pictures in magazines, pre Internet. I used thin, 1/8-1/4" cherry and brass cut by hand and finished by hand. It holds up to the best out there. I made the bellows too and it is showing some pin holes now after all these years. The best thing about using it is; I made it. It's a 4x5 and I didn't make the ground glass. I would get a Satin Snow for your model, they are very nice. I made the springs out of bankers stainless steel clips cut to provide four springs. Works great and looks great. You can do the same, improvise, invent and see what develops.

    Regards,
    Curt

  5. #5
    narsuitus's Avatar
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    Unless it is a pinhole view camera, I think that the lens is the hardest.

  6. #6

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    I've been REbuilding a few. Backs are almost always gone when I aquire them. So that's where I start. I don't have the skills or knowledge to use sophisticated software or precision power tools. Using a coping saw, knives, plane, rasps & files and hardwood/brass/aluminum stock I'll get a passably facsimile of the original. Start with a film holder and build the back around it.

    To address the original question, I find it most difficult to mill out the ground glass seat to the proper depth with hand tools. A router should accomplish this in seconds....takes a little long by hand! There's a lot of stop and measure.

  7. #7

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    I'd say that the back is the most difficult: the filmplane and ground glass plane need to be in the same position and in registration.

    G

  8. #8
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Building a view camera, what component is the most difficult to make?

    A good picture.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  9. #9
    eclarke's Avatar
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    Bellows...EC

  10. #10

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    I'd say the ground glass is the hardest.
    One of the easiest sets of plans to follow (IMO) are from Ed Hoover.
    http://home.earthlink.net/~eahoo/camera.html
    I've built several from his plans. You can see them on my blog.
    www.greyhoundman.blogspot.com

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