Converting a Polaroid Land Camera With a 4x5 Lens

SoulfulRecover

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I have a Polaroid LC 420 that's collecting dust. I want to put a 4x5 lens/shutter on it for portrait work and before hand, I want to make sure my thoughts are in order. The longer the bellows, the closer you can focus? Id like to be able to photograph head and shoulders close which is no where near what you can do with the LC 420 "stock". The lens I will be using is a Tominon 135mm and a Polaroid MP4 shutter.

The next issue is the range finder. Is there a way I can still use the stock one or am I going to have to figure something else out? I know how to setup the 4x5 lens to focus correctly at the normal "stock" distances but not for shooting closer.

This company does what I am attempting but I don't want to spend 500 bucks on this which is why I would like to build it myself if possible.

Polaroidconversions.com - Your One Stop Instant Shop!
 

jcdeboever

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Those are kinda of cool.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 
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SoulfulRecover

SoulfulRecover

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Those are kinda of cool.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

Totally agree :)

Would be even cooler if you could set up the front like a 4x5 and get some tilt/swings out of it.
 

jcdeboever

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vintagesnaps

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I was going to suggest Option 8 then realized - that is his website! lol he must have changed/updated it. And I cannot think of his real name.

Anyway those prices I think are if you're buying the camera; he does conversions for customers who send in their own cameras. He posts them on his Facebook page but I don't remember the pricing for just the conversion.
 
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SoulfulRecover

SoulfulRecover

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I was going to suggest Option 8 then realized - that is his website! lol he must have changed/updated it. And I cannot think of his real name.

Anyway those prices I think are if you're buying the camera; he does conversions for customers who send in their own cameras. He posts them on his Facebook page but I don't remember the pricing for just the conversion.

I found him on FB as well. Hes made some seriously amazing cameras. Im much more of a hands on/I like to tinker kind of person, I don't think I could send it out. Id rather try, fail and have the experience and fun of it than to have it made for me. Nothing against the guy or his business, like I said, hes awesome at it.

I don't know. Maybe ill just mount the lens and not worry about shooting so tight or just mount it far out, put in a ground glass and see if I can make a correlation between whats seen on the glass and the view finder and just memorize its framing.
 

vintagesnaps

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You seem to have the ability to experiment and see what you can do. Might be trial and error to try it and see what works.
 
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SoulfulRecover

SoulfulRecover

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You seem to have the ability to experiment and see what you can do. Might be trial and error to try it and see what works.

that's more than likely what will happen. Monday cant come quick enough!
 

unpopular

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I've looked into this, if you're handy sure. But my impression was that it's more trouble than it's worth.

As for rangefinders, I'd imagine that it should be able to calibrate, there are usually set screws that rotate the beamsplitter. On the Mamiya Press, it was under a little cover on top.

If you used a Model 360, you certainly could adjust it, since these cameras used stock Zeiss-Ikon finders.

Lens conversion information for that body can be found here:

Polaroid 360 | lamlux photoblog

The 360 is a fantastic machine with a truly great viewfinder. Reminds me of a larger format Plaubel Makina.
 

unpopular

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(well. how I'd imagine a Plaubel Makina would be, i'm not rich enough to actually know)
 

jcdeboever

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You seem to have the ability to experiment and see what you can do. Might be trial and error to try it and see what works.

that's more than likely what will happen. Monday cant come quick enough!
I like what you post and you seem to have a great understanding of the art form. I also think you are intelligent and creative enough to execute a professional copy of your goal. Go for it, you might be looking at your first customer.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
 

compur

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The longer the bellows, the closer you can focus?

Yes.

My experience with converting packfilm Polaroids is limited to battery conversions so I can't give any intelligent advice on your ambitious project.

But, since you have a specific intended use for your camera (head & shoulder portraits) you really wouldn't need a rangefinder at all since you'd always be shooting at the same approximate distance.

You might even consider converting an ultra simple Polaroid model like the Big Shot (which was made for portraits) ...

polaroid-big-shot.jpg

... by simply hacking off the lens end and mounting a conventional lensboard on the front.

Just a thought.
 

unpopular

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One thing you did not dscuss is the back. Do you plan on just attaching a graflock back onto it? If so, is the film gate large enough or offset far back enough to accomidate a 4x5 frame? This might have a place for some interesting modifation, too. If you put a rear bellows between the back and the body, you could set the rangefinder to focus when the bellows are at minimum, and focus onto ground glass for close focus with the rear bellows extended.
 
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SoulfulRecover

SoulfulRecover

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You seem to have the ability to experiment and see what you can do. Might be trial and error to try it and see what works.

that's more than likely what will happen. Monday cant come quick enough!
I like what you post and you seem to have a great understanding of the art form. I also think you are intelligent and creative enough to execute a professional copy of your goal. Go for it, you might be looking at your first customer.

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

Thank you! I appreciate your kind words. Ill keep this up to date with my progress.

The longer the bellows, the closer you can focus?

Yes.

My experience with converting packfilm Polaroids is limited to battery conversions so I can't give any intelligent advice on your ambitious project.

But, since you have a specific intended use for your camera (head & shoulder portraits) you really wouldn't need a rangefinder at all since you'd always be shooting at the same approximate distance.

You might even consider converting an ultra simple Polaroid model like the Big Shot (which was made for portraits) ...

polaroid-big-shot.jpg

... by simply hacking off the lens end and mounting a conventional lensboard on the front.

Just a thought.

Hmmm. I wonder if I could find the measurement from the lens to the film plain for that camera and just copy it over. Ill do some digging
 
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SoulfulRecover

SoulfulRecover

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One thing you did not dscuss is the back. Do you plan on just attaching a graflock back onto it? If so, is the film gate large enough or offset far back enough to accomidate a 4x5 frame? This might have a place for some interesting modifation, too. If you put a rear bellows between the back and the body, you could set the rangefinder to focus when the bellows are at minimum, and focus onto ground glass for close focus with the rear bellows extended.

wasn't planning on shooting 4x5 images. Ill keep to the standard Fuji pack film. The 4x5 lens will give me a manual control over exposure/DoF and potentially sharper images.
 

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