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How to build a camera?
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ferlopezperez



Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 31
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi everybody, I have an old schneider xenar that I no longer use, it seems to have some problems in focusing (but also useable) It has a synchro compur shutter (working very fine) and it's mounted on a graflex lensboard, I would like to build a 4x5 camera (as a hobby), anyone of you could help me to find some orientation in this area, I mean, some manuals, books or something to help me to build a useable frankeinstein camera?
Thank a lot
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1889
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-02-16 16:21, ferlopezperez wrote:
Hi everybody, I have an old schneider xenar that I no longer use, it seems to have some problems in focusing (but also useable) It has a synchro compur shutter (working very fine) and it's mounted on a graflex lensboard, I would like to build a 4x5 camera (as a hobby), anyone of you could help me to find some orientation in this area, I mean, some manuals, books or something to help me to build a useable frankeinstein camera?
Thank a lot

Here's a place to start: http://home.online.no/~gjon/

Cheers,

Dan
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do a search for the camera makers mailing list. The archives are full of info. It's pretty easy if all you want is a no movement box camera. It gets more complicated after that.
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worldphoto



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 199
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have built several view cameras and if I was beginning again I would buy an old view camera off eBay. It would have to have light tight bellows! Pretty much everything else you can build.
Harry
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ferlopezperez



Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 31
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everybody, I saw some models in Jon Grepstad page, and in other ones, I guess I'll try some of those books to get started, but really I want a very compact, light and with some movements camera, I'm going to use an old Graflok back I have and the lens I mentioned, the rest is gonna be my creation. I saw some strange models in the S.K. Grimes web site that seems to be like a tube. Somebody knows what kind of camera are those?
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When sanity leaves me I return to thinking about a BIG box camera. I think I've figured out how to give it movements. Basically I'd use something like pegs holding the oversized lensboard to the box. Move the whole lensboard up/down sideways and put the pegs back. Not quick to use but easier to make then a bellows. Those really big film holders are expensive and have seemed a problem. But today I saw mention of using a sheet of glass to aid in film flatness for roll film. I think I could rig something similar up with the film between the glass and the holder. Some sort of clear plastic would be better then glass for weight issues. The final problem is the cost of large film. But I think paper negatives could work. A while back I saw a website of colour prints made in the camera. This wouldn't be a light camera. Or something you'd want to use every day but it would be alot cheaper then commerical ultra large camera. All the construction should be fairly simple. An open plywood box with four wings on each end. The wings drilled for the pegs. Put a tripod mount on the bottom. If it's not square add one to the side to. Not sure when I'll be crazy enough to build it-)
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ferlopezperez



Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 31
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds really crazy Nick, could you draw it? because it's difficult to visualize the entire project. I'm planning to design a tube-like of a flexible material with the lens in front and a Graflok back in the rear. Also a bed with tracks to focus, I'm going to start the drawings and measurements. I think it's going to be a bit difficult but it's going to worth the effort.
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1889
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-02-18 11:29, ferlopezperez wrote:
Thanks everybody, I saw some models in Jon Grepstad page, and in other ones, I guess I'll try some of those books to get started, but really I want a very compact, light and with some movements camera, I'm going to use an old Graflok back I have and the lens I mentioned, the rest is gonna be my creation. I saw some strange models in the S.K. Grimes web site that seems to be like a tube. Somebody knows what kind of camera are those?
Graflex XL.
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-02-18 14:24, ferlopezperez wrote:
Sounds really crazy Nick, could you draw it? because it's difficult to visualize the entire project.


I can't draw that's why I take photos-)) Just take a cardboard box and open the flaps at both ends. That would bascially be the body. The lensboard would be big enough to cover the four flaps. No focussing. The body is built to the size of hyperfocal focus.
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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone considered making a very large camera that would take pictures directly on "Ilfochrome" paper? You'd need a lens or prism to revert the image, as with a Polaroid "SX" or later integral-film camera. There was an odd camera around in the mid-'50s called, I think, "Fotochrome," that worked in the same way, and made just-over-wallet-size images on proprietary rolls of Ansco "Printon Type R" color reversal paper.

"Ilfochrome," when it was "Cibachrome," was used as the imaging material for one of the popular coin-operated photo booths, so the thing isn't inherently impossible.

The advantage would be cost. Large sheets of "Cibachrome" on RC stock aren't exactly cheap, but they look very good indeed when compared with the prices of large sheets of cut film. The processing is fast and straightforward, and the prints can be spectactular.

If one had an old 18- or 20-inch lens lying around, a box of 11x14 "Ilfochrome," a set of color-compensating filters, some plywood, and a good deal of time on one's hands, this might be worth investigating.
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Illfochrome? Is that the positive paper that used to be used to make prints from slides? I thought they stopped making that a long time ago? If it's still available, how difficult is the processing?


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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1889
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-02-23 20:44, t.r.sanford wrote:
Has anyone considered making a very large camera that would take pictures directly on "Ilfochrome" paper? You'd need a lens or prism to revert the image, as with a Polaroid "SX" or later integral-film camera. There was an odd camera around in the mid-'50s called, I think, "Fotochrome," that worked in the same way, and made just-over-wallet-size images on proprietary rolls of Ansco "Printon Type R" color reversal paper.

"Ilfochrome," when it was "Cibachrome," was used as the imaging material for one of the popular coin-operated photo booths, so the thing isn't inherently impossible.

The advantage would be cost. Large sheets of "Cibachrome" on RC stock aren't exactly cheap, but they look very good indeed when compared with the prices of large sheets of cut film. The processing is fast and straightforward, and the prints can be spectactular.

If one had an old 18- or 20-inch lens lying around, a box of 11x14 "Ilfochrome," a set of color-compensating filters, some plywood, and a good deal of time on one's hands, this might be worth investigating.
Go looking for Jeff Goggin, who posts on photo.net and http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lfforum/

I believe he's been shooting straight to Ilfochrome.

Cheers,

Dan
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-02-23 21:01, RichS wrote:
Illfochrome? Is that the positive paper that used to be used to make prints from slides? I thought they stopped making that a long time ago? If it's still available, how difficult is the processing?




If you go to the Ilford website you can download the documents on the process. It looks to be a longer process then Ra-4. But other then all the steps it doesn't seem any more complicated then Ra-4. I'm doing Ra-4 with little more then a picnic cooler and an aquarim heater.
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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2004-02-23 20:44, t.r.sanford wrote:
Has anyone considered making a very large camera that would take pictures directly on "Ilfochrome" paper? You'd need a lens or prism to revert the image,


I think the people doing this aren't worrying about inverting the image.

http://www.netwood.net/usr/jonsmith/


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t.r.sanford



Joined: 10 Nov 2003
Posts: 812
Location: East Coast (Long Island)

PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2004 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I used it, it was "Cibachrome" and the process was called "P12." It was straightforward, tolerant and quite fast, comparing favorably to the Beseler chemistry for "Ektacolor" prints from negatives. The filtration requirements were remarkably forgiving, and one could get very good prints with very few test exposures. I used the stuff to make 8x10s from 4x5 "Ektachromes" taken at a couple of trade shows, and the results were eye-catching.

I see that "Ilfochrome" now uses a process called "P30," and I don't know how that differs from "P12."

The easiest way to revert the image probably would be to find a prism attachment from an old photostat camera lens -- or the lens and prism assembly entire -- and work with the camera at right angles to the subject.

My thought was that it might be fun to consider building something optimized for the purpose. For example, you can imagine a box-shaped camera with a ground glass on top of the box, a method for inserting a sheet of direct-positive material into the bottom, and a first-surface mirror in between, with a lens on some kind of focusing mount on the front. The mirror would pivot centrally on a horizontal axis, and could be rotated through 90 degrees, from slanting up up (to throw the image onto the groundglass) to slanting down (to throw the reverted image onto the sensitive material).

If you didn't want to build a giant horizontally-traveling focal-plane shutter, you'd probably use something like an "Ideal" shutter behind the lens: open to focus, close before swinging the mirror, reopen to make the exposure.

There's no arguing about taste, but it seems to me that if one is going to build a camera, one might want to build something that is not commercially available.
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