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Options for 3x4

 
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Kim



Joined: 10 May 2001
Posts: 44
Location: upstate NY

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2001 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok..so Ive sort of gotten the bug...it was all started by a couple of old prop cameras we got as donations that were beat up press cameras...one a 3x4 Speed and the other a 3x4 Watson.

I ended up getting a 4x5 speed on ebay having already collected lots of 4x5 stuff for a homemade view camera i had cobbled up...but anyways i digress...

Surfing ebay I found a 3x4 Speed parts camera that had almost everything that was busted on the 3x4 prop camera (the prop camera had good lens amazingly and working rangefinder) so now I have a 3x4....what options do I have?

I can get some film holders...but I would need to cut the film. The 405 polaroid back is tantalizing close, but not quite, the right size. It looks like i could move the wooden siderails on the 3x4 back out far enough to accomodate 4x5 accessories with the registration bar coming right to the edge of the back....I have not seen a roll film back yet...

I think i would prefer to not monkey with the back (for restoration reasons) and use 3x4 polaroid somehow and 120 roll film

any suggestions ?

Thanks tons

Kim Hartshorn
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2001 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've looked at 3x4 for a long time and pondered all the options I know of. They come down to this.

1. Find a Graflex 3x4 roll holder. These will be knob wind, won't hold the film flat, and will cost well over $100 if you find them, because everybody else with a 3x4 wants it too.

2. Find a woodworker/machinist to modify a Mamiya RB 6x7 back to fit. The early RB back is nothing more than a better made Graflex Roll holder. Holds the film flatter. Now you will have spent more money than had you bought a 2x3 Pacemaker Speed. The neg size will be the same, your camera will accept longer lenses than the 2x3, but is bigger and heavier.

3. Find a woodworker to modify the back to fit the Polaroid 405. This really is the most reasonable option. Then you'll have a camera that's smaller than a 4x5, gives prints and negs larger than the 2x3. And looks cool doing it. Of course Polaroid is expensive and while the prints are instant, cheaper digital cameras will do a better job, though not look near as good doing it.

Oh, and there's rumblings that Polaroid is looking at Chapter 11.

Last. Cut down 4x5 or buy 3x4 film. Cut it yourself and you pay 4x5 prices for 3x4 neg and have the dust demon looking over your shoulder. Buy it already cut down and you'll pay as much for 3x4 as for 5x7 from Kodak.

Sorry to sound so negative but this is what I work through every time I look at the three 3x4 cameras on my shelf I hope somebody else comes up with a more upbeat solution.
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Kim



Joined: 10 May 2001
Posts: 44
Location: upstate NY

PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2001 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well...I searched ebay for other medium format roll holders that might fit and was shocked...SHOCKED! I was anticipating that prolly the best solution would be to modify the back of the 3x4 to accept 4x5 film holders. Then I could use the 405 and maybe the 545 I have and the cut film holders as well.

Let me outline my plan:
I plan on removing the screws from the wooden side rails and simply remounting them at the correct width for the 4x5 holders. The metal stopper bar at the end seems to be a piece of aluminum riveted to the back...if i drill out the rivets I could get a piece of similar dimension only of the correct length and screw it on through the old rivet holes....maybe even a piece of hardwood would be easier. I think at that point the best bet would be to try a 4x5 focusing screen and hood although it may look absurdly funny sticking so far out the right side of the camera. It looks like the light dam at the top of the film holder comes right up against the edge of the back, perhaps some sort of a clip could be attached to the side of the body at that point to help lock in the holders.

if someone has done this adaptation before I would be very interested in hearing how you did it.
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it would be easier to find a 4x5 spring back (or Graflok back) and add the necessary wood to the sides and back to make it fit.

I just drilled out those aluminum rivets, you'll have a hard time finding new ones.

I'm half way completed on a 405 conversion right now. I did some step by step digital photos and hope to put up an article on this site, but it won't be real soon.
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DonH



Joined: 03 Jul 2001
Posts: 33
Location: SURRY SIDE !!!!!!!!!!!

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can do what I did-find a 2X3 roll film back, and epoxy it to a 3X4 sheet film holder with a proper size hole cut in it. Ain't pretty, but it works.
Good luck, and HAVE FUN!
Don
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Dan Fromm



Joined: 14 May 2001
Posts: 1881
Location: New Jersey

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2001-07-11 12:38, Kim wrote:

Surfing ebay I found a 3x4 Speed parts camera that had almost everything that was busted on the 3x4 prop camera (the prop camera had good lens amazingly and working rangefinder) so now I have a 3x4....what options do I have?



I think i would prefer to not monkey with the back (for restoration reasons) and use 3x4 polaroid somehow and 120 roll film

any suggestions ?

Thanks tons

Kim Hartshorn


um, er, ah, there ARE 3x4 Adapt-A-Roll 620s, and they can sort of be used with 120 film. I got one a while ago from Ritz Collectibles (the Ritz in AZ, not the east coast chain) for all of $5 plus shipping. You might try a Google or AltaVista search on "Adapt-A-Roll", that's how I found mine. But beware, the 3x4 Adapt-A-Roll's gate is still 2x3 so you'd be just as well off with a 2x3 camera and a 2x3 roll holder.

Otherwise, as has been suggested, look for a Graflex roll film back for 3x4.
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Kim



Joined: 10 May 2001
Posts: 44
Location: upstate NY

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have appreciated all of the comments very much. Now I am going to ask for some additional advice. One of the pieces of 4x5 equipment that I had collected and forgot about was a 4x5 reducing back for a century 8x10 view camera. As it turns out it would be extremely easy to remove the 4x5 frame and back from the reducer and simply screw it to the stripped back plate of the 3x4 making all 4x5 accessories usable.

The question I have is that I have seen 8x10 reducing backs new in catalogs for hundreds of dollars. Is this reducing back more valuable kept together and sold for profit than as parts for this project camera of mine? Or is the value more a function of finding someone who even wants the 8x10 back?

thanks again

Kim
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2001 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth here's the completed transformation/conversion, plus the first two Polaroids from it. the Dmax isn't great, but this film is at least 1.5 years old, so I expect that to change. I'm not sure how the net will effect it, but the peeling paint looks very sharp in the print. This also opens up the use of Polaroid P/N neg film. And if your in Europe, there's T-606 Sepia pack film.

http://www.ismi.net/~lnphoto/3x4graphicpolaroid.JPG

[ This Message was edited by: Les on 2001-07-12 14:22 ]
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