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  1. #1

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    Making Specific Macro 8x10 camera

    Hi, I'm looking to make a specific 8x10 camera solely for the purpose of photomacrography. Hopefully set at 2x life size. My idea is to create the camera out of PVC pipe with a small bellows on either end to allow for camera movements, connected to the front and back standards. Not needing shift, just tilt and swing (both front & back) so I plan to use some fairly simple mechanism for that (ideas?).

    What I'm wanting to know is where do I go for info on coverage of lenses. I plan to use an enlarging lens (better characteristics for Macro), I've been told a 150mm may be about right, and I'm obviously after a small f-stop. I'll be using quite large tilts, especially front tilts to change plane of sharpness. Any info greatly appreciated.

    And the biggest issue, what do people use when building their cameras to ensure plane of lens is parralel to plane of GG/Film? Is there some mechanism to measure this any better than using a tape measure?

  2. #2

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    First I must commend you for your idea and your questions. Second I don't believe your idea will work because the diameter of the PVC pipe will limit the coverage of the film plane. That is unless you use fourteen inch diameter PVC pipe...(not sure that such an animal exists). The diameter must be equal to the dimension of the hypotenuse of the right angle triangle that is formed from the 8 inch and the ten inch diameter of the 8X10 format. (2/H equals 2/a 2 plus b 2)
    Art is a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

    Visit my website at http://www.donaldmillerphotography.com

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald Miller View Post
    That is unless you use fourteen inch diameter PVC pipe...(not sure that such an animal exists)
    This is exactly what I hoped to use...however, I don't know if it exists yet either:rolleyes:

    Thanks. I understand this will end up a very huge beast!

    Also, many people say getting the GG in the same position as the Film plane is the hardest thing to do, however, if I find a ground glass to fit in the slot the film would go in, in a film holder, then cut out the middle section, take out dark slides etc, this should fix the problem completely shouldn't it?

  4. #4
    JohnArs's Avatar
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    There is already a system camera which is so expandable that it is ideal for macro shoots!
    Sinar has the easiest way for expanding a camera for what ever it is used!
    A Sinar P 8x10 with the long bellows is perfect for your needs!
    My 2 cents, but if you like to make it complicat just do it!
    Armin Seeholzer
    Good light and nice shadows!

    www.artfoto.ch

  5. #5

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    Yep, I understand this, in fact there are a few systems available, but unfortunately I'm a uni student who is already spending thoudands each year and I'm trying to cut costs, as well as learn how to build a bit of stuff.

  6. #6
    Justin Cormack's Avatar
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    Why dont you start without movements? This would get the basics going. Fixed focus is ok, just fix the lens at the right distance for 2x enlargments and move the camera for focus. You could sort out the gg issues and then you could sort out movements in Mark 2?

  7. #7

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    Used 8x10 monorails aren't too expensive. I bet you can find something that could handle a 150mm lens for not much if any more then the cost of materials to cobble together something.

    150 at 2x is what 300mm of extension? Even 450mm shouldn't challenge any normal 8x10. Some of the older wooden 8x10s don't cost much more then $200 and the old monorails are similar in price.

    If that is still too much. Screw the pipe. Make a box camera. Not that hard to make a open ended box.

    Depending on how you connect back/front tilt wouldn't be that hard. Or swing. Adding both gets harder.

  8. #8

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    On the coverage issue nobody is likely to have published coverage for enlarger lenses used this way.

    You can do the math. The coverage IIRC should still come out fine if you sub in the new distance instead of the focal length. So instead of using 150mm for the formula use 300mm.

    Also why not consider a process lens? 150mm process lenses that don't fit shutters are cheaper usually then even enlarger lenses.

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I agree with Nick. If you can't afford a cheap 8x10" camera (yes, they're out there, though maybe not so many in Australia, and shipping could get costly), then a sliding box camera is probably an easier, more useful thing to make than a PVC pipe camera.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  10. #10

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    Philip,

    "Also, many people say getting the GG in the same position as the Film plane is the hardest thing to do, however, if I find a ground glass to fit in the slot the film would go in, in a film holder, then cut out the middle section, take out dark slides etc, this should fix the problem completely shouldn't it?"

    Too complicated, just locate an 8x10 camera back that takes modern holders, any brand will work for this.

    Any enlarger lens will cover 8x10 film, it's the size of the target that will determine the focal length you will need. Think in reverse, you will be using it that way.

    A box-in-box is cheap and easy BUT a box with 2 bellows will give you the movements you want.

    Have fun with it all.

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