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  1. #1

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    Fixed focus P&S 4x5

    I'm interested in cobbling together a simple, lightweight, compact-as-possible fixed focus 4x5 P&S with a salvaged 120-150mm lens. Something like a pinhole box with a lens. I'm leaning toward aluminum sheet metal construction with a grafted-on front end/lens board from a junker camera, and either front or rear shims for focus tuning. Anybody know of websites with how-to in this area? I've found a few but they were mostly oriented toward using a ground glass back.

  2. #2
    Rick A's Avatar
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    How were you planning to check focus initially? A GG is the perfect way to set up the camera, then exchange it for a film back.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  3. #3
    jp498's Avatar
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    A groundglass back doesn't take up space, and it's nice to show people, and for verifying focus.

    Study up on the gowland aerial cameras for aluminum fixed focus 4x5's. I've got one and it's realllllly light.

  4. #4

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    To get initial rough focus, I was thinking of using drafting vellum taped to a sacrificial film holder (with all but 1/4" or so cut out of the film backing plate), and later doing trial and error tests with thin shims under the lens mount for fine tuning. Obviously I've never built anything like this before, it's just in the pencil stage right now. As for adding weight, I can't see how a GG back could be as light as a simple rear film holder slot (ie., no back at all), though. And of course I want to avoid focusing entirely, and just use a simple viewfinder on top of the body.

    And thanks, I'll look over the Gowlands.

  5. #5
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I built something like this with a 4x5 adapter back. It was for adapting a 6x9 Horseman to take a 4x5 film holder. I just fitted a makeshift lensboard on the front and voila. That was pretty fancy, it had bellows focusing and lots of shift; I put a 65mm lens on it!

    P.S. Okay here is the thread with my gizmo in it...

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum147/...please-18.html
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

    [APUG Portfolio] [APUG Blog] [Website]

  6. #6
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I built something like that using a Graflok back and a 90mm angulon. It was OK with a fixed focus, but I took apart a 35mm lens for the focusing helical and now it focuses down to 5 feet. It's much better than fixed focus.
    f/22 and be there.

  7. #7

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    there was a great article and photos in an old View Camera mag....maybe you or someone here can reference it....built from aluminum
    Best, Peter
    website down for maintenance!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I built something like that using a Graflok back and a 90mm angulon. It was OK with a fixed focus, but I took apart a 35mm lens for the focusing helical and now it focuses down to 5 feet. It's much better than fixed focus.
    Good thought, BetterSense. There are a zillion old 35mm lenses all over the place, too, for either free or nearly free.

    Keith, thanks for the thread, don't know how I didn't see it to start with. Good place to start looking with 280 posts!

    I looked at the Gowland 4x5 minimal version, nice cameras at about $600 new without lens. I understand Mr. Gowland is at the age where he will likely soon have to stop doing what he's doing (95?), but I hope he has family or whatever to carry on. A while back when I sold a Super Speed Graphic I also sold the lenses, and have regretted ever since not keeping the lenses, especially a 90mm Super Angulon, which would have been a nice lens for this project, albeit a little shorter than I'd prefer.

  9. #9

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    I'm building something of the sort, out of an Autographic Kodak that fits the 4x5 holder pretty well. I'm using a 90mm Wollensak to do it, and building the cone out of heavy black paper (much like some of the early Kodaks were made)... but I'm not making a focusing screen for it. Having mocked up the back with cardboard, I've shot with it and it works well.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by picker77 View Post
    Good thought, BetterSense. There are a zillion old 35mm lenses all over the place, too, for either free or nearly free.

    Keith, thanks for the thread, don't know how I didn't see it to start with. Good place to start looking with 280 posts!

    I looked at the Gowland 4x5 minimal version, nice cameras at about $600 new without lens. I understand Mr. Gowland is at the age where he will likely soon have to stop doing what he's doing (95?), but I hope he has family or whatever to carry on. A while back when I sold a Super Speed Graphic I also sold the lenses, and have regretted ever since not keeping the lenses, especially a 90mm Super Angulon, which would have been a nice lens for this project, albeit a little shorter than I'd prefer.
    umm mr gowland passed away last year... rip

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