8"x10" Nested Box Camera
This new camera is nearing completion, enough so I was able to achieve "first light" this afternoon.
It's a nested box camera, employing a single-element meniscus lens (diameter ~4") that was salvaged from a photo-lithographic stepper (used in the semiconductor industry to print integrated circuit patterns onto silicon wafers). When finished, the front portion will be fixed to the bottom plate, with the rear sliding in and out for focusing. It employs standard Riteway-style 8"x10" sheet film holders.
The camera is constructed from black foamcore, the front half is laminated on the outside with a thin, wooden adhesive laminate used for countertops. The rear of the sliding portion, made from scrap wood, employs a set of aluminum "L" channel to clamp the film holder, via thumbscrews, permitting an uninterrupted view of the rear, where I will insert a removable ground glass viewscreen, same thickness as the film holder.
There is a removable aperture stop, behind the shutter; I only made two so far, the one used today is 3mm, giving a focal ratio of F/90, a hyperfocal setup needing little in the way of critical focusing. The other aperture stop is ~3" diameter, giving a focal ratio around F/4 wide open. I plan on making a set of various sizes.
The shutter is a simple guillotine shutter made from masonite, covered on the reverse side with adhesive craft felt, as is most of the inside surfaces of the box that aren't black foamcore, to absorb light reflections.
The camera will have two operating modes: 1) Hyperfocal mode, F/90, no critical focus needed; 2) Wide aperture, narrow DOF, taking advantage of the single meniscus lens's abberations to produce soft-focus images, for instance for portraits.
Since there is no mechanical shutter, I have to keep the shutter speeds >1 second, so the hand-operated shutter can be used accurately.
Today's first images were made using preflashed grade 2 paper negatives.