Call me crazy....

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by JamesD, May 4, 2006.

  1. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    I'm a film nut, and there's no denying that. Here's the proof:

    I've decided to design and build--from scratch, not from an existing design or kit--my own 4X5 monorail view camera, and I've actually arranged to start on it, perhaps this weekend, or perhaps the next, depending on how the planning goes. The arts & crafts center here has a wood shop, and one of the technicians is actually a photographer (and a fellow film nut: she owns an enlarger!) as well, with some experience using view cameras. I told her what I was planning, and after she picked up her jaw, she got moderately excited about the project, and promised to help me out as much as she could.

    I've been researching online, and I've come across a couple of designs I think I'll borrow from. The plan is to incorporate all the standard view camera movements, and also construct two or three, or maybe four, backs, permitting 4 to 6 (or 8) exposures before having to reload. Then, of course, a back for the ground glass as well. Since I'll be putting all this effort into it, I'll have to make a padded case for it, too.

    There're a bunch of reasons why I've embarked on this project. For one, it'll be a lot cheaper than buying a "real" one. For another, I've discovered in the process of working with 4X5 pinhole photography that the extra effort that goes into producing an image (as opposed to 35mm format's zoom-autofocus-click) forces me to make better images. And, I like working with paper negatives. And I like the benefits of using sheet film. And I've been constructing and/or improvising a lot of photography and darkroom accessories lately, and this is sort of an "ultimate project." And it'll improve my woodworking skills. And, I think it'll be pretty freaking cool.

    So, what do y'all think, am I crazy?
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Sounds exciting to me. Someday I would like to build my own 4x5 or 5x7 field camera from wood and brass.

    I have a friend who frankensteined 4 or 5 old cameras into one 6x17 roll film camera that actually works and takes fantastic photographs.
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think it'll be pretty freakin' cool, too! :thumbup:

    I'm excited for ya - as time permits, could you show us the work in progress, every now and then?? That would be fun! :)
     
  4. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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    I'll be sure to take a few photographs each time I go in to work on it. Plus, some of the work will be done around the house, such as the bellows, maybe the darkslides, and perhaps some of the final assembly.

    I only have one lens right now, an ancient Kodak of London 150mm job with I forget which shutter. It's in pretty good condition, and I'm planning to use it until I can get some more modern optics. But, anyway, I'll be sure to take some pictures with it, too, and post 'em up.

    Might be a while, though.
     
  5. ThomThomsk

    ThomThomsk TPF Noob!

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    That's very ambitious! I'm thinking of getting one of the new Bulldog 4x5 camera kits, since all you have to do (and this sounds a lot more straightforward than it probably is) is to push out the pre-cut MDF panels and glue them together. In theory even I could manage that, and it's only £150.

    Can someone explain how you use the range of movement on this kind of camera? As I understand it you can move the bellows up and down or left/right, but I can't think what this would achieve.
     
  6. JamesD

    JamesD Between darkrooms

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  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    It's not so much the bellows as being able to move the lens plane and film plane.

    Common uses are to make converging lines parallel, and to move the plane of focus or DOF around.

    EDIT: If you've ever adjusted a slide or movie projector trying to get it to be square and level on the screen, it's sort of like that.
     
  8. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I am seriously looking to make an 8x10. As woodworking happens to be my next favorite hobby to photography. I am pretty busy until after Aug. So have not really started anything yet. Just some searching on the web.
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I don't have the skills or tools to start from scratch, at least at this point in my life. But I'm always on the lookout for my dream fixer-uppers: a 5x7 field camera, a banquet camera, or a Graflex RB 4x5 SLR.

    Has anyone checked out the "Hobo"? 4x5 and 8x10, fixed focus, hand holdable, but the best part to me is that it looks like I could make my own.

    http://www.bostick-sullivan.com/Hobo/welcome.htm
     
  10. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    That is one of the camera that caught my attention. I first saw a version on ebay for sale. At first I didn't think it was real. So I looked into it. But for $500 or so, a used 8x10 could be had on ebay. I really like the idea of an 8x10 p&s though. :)
     
  11. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I read about this camera when I was nosing around that site for bromoil chems last year. :thumbup: It looks cool, and takes some great pictures, too.
     
  12. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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