View Full Version : 4X5˝ Folding Camera

06-08-2011, 05:36 AM
Good day to all, I've just finished my second large format camera http://f295.f295.org/uploads/Blah.pl?m-1261954623/s-0/ this one was the first one, and thought I should share.

So having learned that I need a smaller cam I did some research on the internet and found some nice plans for a LF 4x5˝ folding camera. The plans were in Italian and, I had some trouble of translating everything into an undestandable language. After that I preceded to make a computer model in Solidworks, made my own adjustments to the design and went forward with constructing it. The first picture is a rendering of the model.

It uses standard 4x5˝ dark slides, has a rotating back and is quite compact compared to my first camera that was not compatible with anything whatsoever, she just looked good.

The lens used is an old Carl Zeiss Jena, Tessar 1:4,5 f=15cm DRP, from a broken down enlarger. Just need a packard shutter for easy operating but for now a piece of black paper, with relatively long paper negative exposures, is working fine.

The camera was constructed for a project that I'm planing in the near future. I want to take my camera a bunch of direct positive harman photo paper a portable darkroom and put everything on my bike. Travel around europe and make enough money selling the pictures to tourists, to keep me going indefinetly. That's the plan at least.:)

If anybody would like to have the plans, I can make a pdf. file with all the plans and drawings, sw.3d files are allso available.

Thank you, Elvis.

Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/2_5728.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/2_5728.jpg)

06-08-2011, 05:42 AM
The actuall camera still needs a bit of brushing, sanding and cleaning.

Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/4_f295_9939.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/4_f295_9939.jpg)

06-08-2011, 05:46 AM
Tilt, shift, rise and fall possibilities.

Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/5_f295_2580.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/5_f295_2580.jpg)

06-08-2011, 05:53 AM
Front view.

Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/1_f295_4047.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/1_f295_4047.jpg)

06-08-2011, 05:56 AM
Back view. Here you can see that the ground glass is still being held in place with duct tape. I'm unable to find a metal strip suitable for the spring back assembly. Any suggestions wellcome. On the bottom of the camera you can allso see the "precise" focusing turning knob, that's conected via threaded rod to the front lensboard and assembly.

Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/11_f295_2732.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/11_f295_2732.jpg)

06-08-2011, 06:01 AM
And the first test shots, this one was a few stops overexposed, hence the dusty look.
Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/8_f295_945.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/8_f295_945.jpg)

06-08-2011, 06:03 AM
Second test shot.

Attached files http://f295.f295.org/uploads/9_f295_7785.jpg (http://f295.f295.org/uploads/9_f295_7785.jpg)

06-08-2011, 06:29 AM

That is a beautiful camera. It looks like it has plenty of movements. I love the threaded rod for the focus.

I have heard that folks have used the steel from a common leaf rake for the spring steel on a camera back. I don't know if this type of rake is used in Europe, but they are common in the US. Now that I look on the internet, it looks like they are all made of plastic these days. I have one in my shed with a bunch of broken tines . . .

06-08-2011, 10:52 AM
That's fantastic. I'm impressed with how similar the 3D design and the finished product are. It looks like a lovely camera to use. THe idea of travelling around with a bike-borne darkroom is wild :) I wish you well. Someone should make a documentary about it. 8)

06-08-2011, 11:15 AM
This is beautiful and I would like a copy of the plans if that's possible. What about adapting the back standard to accept the attachment of a Graflok back?

06-08-2011, 03:58 PM
A great camera design and very well built. I hadn't the patience to draw a model in Solidworks. Usually I make a few drafts on a piece of paper and start then immediately to build the camera.

06-08-2011, 05:15 PM
A sweet design and a nice approach to achieving the movements. Great quality, I wish you all the best with the project. Your approach to making and selling prints in the street goes back to the beginning of photography.
I am working at the mobile darkroom idea also; I am using normal paper (or film) in a 10x8 camera and making contact prints. Mine goes on the back of a bike also.
I will send you a pm rather than go on and on here.

06-08-2011, 05:46 PM
How about nylon strip or fiberglass board (printed circuitboard) instead on steel for the spring back. You could also try the steel that is used for strapping packing cases too. But that may be a bit wide.
Love a copy og the plans for later reference too if possible

06-09-2011, 02:08 PM
Looks like a great design! I would like a copy of the PDF file as well.

06-10-2011, 05:01 PM
Really nice.

Does it fold down to pack?

Best regards,


06-12-2011, 06:36 AM
Thank you all, for the ideas and suggestions about the back. I think I'll try the cicrutboard, or I was allso thinking of using saw blades for this purpose. But for now duct tape works fine.:)

For the pdf. I'll try to make it as soon as possible, still finishing my last exams, it will be a step by step file with all the plans for the camera. I'll post them as soon they are put together.

@scheimfluger_77 I don't have access to a Graflock back so I can't tell, but probably it is probably doable.

@banana_legs yes, I forgot to make a picture but the camera does fold to a pack size aboiut 20x20x18.

Thank you again, the plans will follow soon.


06-13-2011, 11:39 PM
A really nice camera! For the spring back I use metal from what is sometimes called "flexible sink and drain cleaners” (a long flexible spring with a ball on one end used for cleaning stopped kitchen drains etc.). The metal is excellent for a spring back. See my description in my book here: http://home.online.no/~gjon/jgcam.htm

Jon Grepstad