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  1. #1

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    Building a 120 rollfilm 6x8 or 6x9 view camera

    I've been vaguely thinking of building a 4x5 view camera for some time, but since I don't have a 4x5 enlarger but I do have a B23C II capable up to 6x9, I just began to wonder about building a 6x8 or 6x9 view camera.

    I'm very handy with my hands but I have no experience building anything beyond a pinhole camera (which worked nicely). I would like to design one with full back movements in a package suitable for field use, yaw-free if I can make it (but probably not). I've not seen or held a Shen-Hao, but if I were to buy 4x5 I think that would be my pick; thus I'm tempted to use that as the model. I don't think they are yaw-free but they do have back movements and are field cameras.

    I have two basic questions at this point:

    1) What 6x8 / 6x9 120 roll film backs would be best to fit to such a camera? I'm thinking the parameters would be ease of building a mating part and ease of use (putting on/off, winding film, dark slide).

    2) Materials: I can do very fine work with wood, but I anticipate that a number of parts would best be in metal. I think that I could handle fabricating some small metal parts.

    Thoughts? Or is this a fool's errand and I should just save up for a nice Shen-Hao and patiently wait for a used 4x5 enlarger to pop up at a price I can afford (not many available in this area)?

  2. #2
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    I am guessing you have a few long cold winter nights to spend up north ahead of you, right?

    Have a look around at this page, there are some drawings and example of various LF cameras here:
    http://home.online.no/~gjon/

    Maybe that'll help a bit along the way to figure out if it is worth the effort.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  3. #3

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    IMO the easiest and cheapest back would be a 2x3 Graflex Spring Back (not a Graflok). Then use a 620 Adapt-a-roll holder (with 120 film) with the Spring back. I like the Adapt-a-roll better than the Graflok roll backs because it's easier and quick to swap between Ground glass focusing and the roll film holder unlike a Graflok. Not to mention 2x3 Spring backs are dirt cheap because everyone wants to replace them with Grafloks.

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Build the 4x5" and us a 6x9cm back. Bender kit is $329 but I don't know if the site is still active. You should be able to pick up a used 4x5 monorail for $100.

  5. #5

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    Thank you, Jerevan. That link was a very fruitful source of ideas and experience and information. Thanks too, ic-racer, domaz.

    I have an interest (unexplored) in making portraits on 6x8 sized B&W negative, and stereo 3D photography. I'm thinking about the possibilities of building a pair of little view cameras (one at a time!) to use side by side for stereo. Lots of constraints, too many, so I'll have to scale back, perhaps on some movements, especially if I want them to fit closely together for stereo.

    Still wondering about the rollfilm back. Beginning to wonder if I should build my own back.

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    Mebbeyaorta(Texasism) consider building the 4x5 for the future, and in the meantime use a rollfilm back for 6x7 or larger on it until you get the 4x5 enlarger. Building your own camera is a great way to pass time and kick the boredom of those long cold nights.
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum
    BTW: the big kid in my avatar is my hero, my son, who proudly serves us in the Navy. "SALUTE"

  7. #7
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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    Always thought an acra-swiss 6x9 view was cool.
    Get a baby graphic... I build a sailboat... sometime wish I had just bought one and saved myself from all the cuts and bruises and epoxy stuck in my hair.

  8. #8
    davido's Avatar
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    primitive photography book

    I recently purchased a book called Primitive Photography by Alan Greene . It lays out plans for not only building your own camera but lenses and backs as well. These are quite basic box cameras (circa 1850's) with very little movements. It's quite a good book.

    david

  9. #9

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    Before you consider building a rollfilm back, look carefully at the Mamiya Press R/F backs. They come in 6x7 & 6x9 on 120 formats -possibly 6x6 (?), are fairly common,and adapter plates are available - making it easy to interchange them in use.
    Also a sound design, with good film flatness - which can't be said of some of the raggy old Graflex designs.
    And, with the accessory ground glass back, you have the entire back end sorted.



 

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