I think that guy who uses a Speed Graphic and an Aero Ektar for politician's portraits has already done this. Can't think of his name though...
David Burnett? If that's the person you're thinking of, I wasn't aware..
Originally Posted by athanasius80
The side-mounted Kalart with Focuspot, i've never used.
The top-mounted RF one I have. Even with a good unused bulb and fresh batteries, clear glass and mirrors; It can be difficult to see at times.
The laser dot is much easier to see. There are laser modules that will accept 3-6vdc and are very conveniently sized (so as to replace the lightbulb inside the top rangefinder).
Also there are dot, line and cross beams. I've only tried the dot.
For the side-kalart, a piece of yellow acetate over the window helps to focus too.. Gives contrast to the double image.
I can say though, if you are using an aero ektar and 4x5 speed handheld (can be done!), you want to make it as quick as possible unless you are like strong like Thor.
I am strong like computer geek, I can only lift it up so many times before i'm throwing my back in to it.
At one point I had it calibrated to the rangefinder. Perfectly spot on. Then I realized that any swaying back and forth, movement, anything.. and the dof would be off. Essentially I was shooting the thing at f4.
Beautiful color pictures though, i've some 220 portra vc that I forced through my graflex rh12 back.
I got a lot of blurry ones back, but the ones that are sharp are sharp.
To me, the laser is the best deal for calibrating those damn side-mounted kalart finders.
Why not use just high intensity LEDs and not LASER LED's? I would imagine the net effect would be the same without loosing a retina...
David Burnett! Yes thank you. I read about him in college. In one of his interviews he joked that he was suprised the Secret Service didn't manhandle him after he used a laser beam in his sidemounted Kalart. I want to say that was for the John Kerry pictures, but I can't remember.
I have used a laser to do a quick calibration of the side Kalart rangefinder on my Busch Pressman at portrait distance. Works fine.
I just replaced the 50/50 glass in my kalart.. it was extremely easy and cheap. I recommend it to anybody that has a faded range finder.
You can fix a lot of rangefinders with this little piece of glass:
I have also used a laser pointer to calibrate my rangefinder and it works great.. Been looking for a way to mount it on my graphic for a while..
Best i have been able to come up with is to mount a small prism on the top hole of the kalart rangefinder and then mount a tube going across the top of the camera (with the viewfinder taken off). The laser pointer would then be mounted on the left side, so that the button is where your thumb rests when your left hand is in the strap.
I wouldnt worry about blinding anyone as long as you dont point it in their face.
Sounds fun. Just don't focus on eyeballs or airplanes!
They make laser modules that are so small.. you could most likely mount one in place of the bulb in a kalart focuspot, or in place of the bulb and one battery. I believe there are tiny laser modules that can function off of 1.5V (if the focuspot takes two AA's, i'm not sure)
Make sure it's one with an enclosure and lens.
For a top-mounted rf, you could most definitely stuff one of these laser modules (look on ebay) in place of the bulb. A little bit of bluetack/putty whatever.
It's also possible that you could find some narrow tubing, pvc or the like, maybe even an elbow/right angle that has a diameter which would fit the Kalart hole and jam it in there. If you look at the threading of the hole and the focuscope, it's very simple and you could probably rig something pretty easily. Anyhow, you could put a laser module and battery in the tubing, or at least hold the module and wires to a separate batter pack mounted on top of the camera.
What i'd really like is a DIY focuscope with optics as finding a focuscope on ebay is painful (almost easier to buy a camera with one!)
Originally Posted by darinwc