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Thread: Homebrew 4x5

  1. #1

    Homebrew 4x5

    As a new member, I thought I had better post a few shots of my home-brew 4x5. It uses a 105mm Ross Ensign enlarger lens and the body is made from a recycled plank of laminate flooring (hence the wood grain effect). It has been an interesting 'experiment' with lots of successes e.g. the lens has no shutter and is therefore thin and can be tilted to extreme angles. There have also been not so good experiences; my bellows folded to 5mm narrower than I calculated, and I laminated them using PVA glue rather than copydex (a rubber based glue) so I have bellows that are guaranteed not to sag, but they do not compress well either!

    The front standard can tilt forward/back and swing left/right and also shift up/down and left/right. The focussing is all done by moving the back standard which can also swing left/right. The back is fixed in the portrait position so I have to swing the entire camera for landscape (I have decided MK2 will not have to do this!)

    I ground the glass using a diamond paste (I carve granite and had it to hand) and made a folding viewing hood out of light-proof curtain fabric (same as the bellows). The glass is clamped in; it is removed completely and the darkslide bolted in for the shot. The rack is just held in place with wing nuts and I can do just over 1:1 reproduction, although I have a few dioptre lenses that fit on the front for really close work. I shoot on paper negatives (ilford MGIV VC at the moment, glossy for preference as it scans better). I have worked out an equation for exposure that is reasonable up to a few hours, but it does also mean I always shoot with a yellow filter (i.e. just the green layer of the paper active).

    The first image shows the camera in its 'infinity' focus where the bellows are (forcefully) compressed as far as possible; I cannot tilt or shift though here with the bellows so tight. The glass is in place with the viewing hood.

    The second shot shows a bit of tilt for a macro test shot of some coins (darkslide inplace and with the camera on its side for 'landscape'), with the results as the third image.

    The last shot of the orchid is after a few other practices (tinted in photoshop as it looked a bit 'cold') It was f/16, 20 min 28 sec exposure under incandescent light with a yellow filter.

    I have picked up a few other lenses and am modifying the front standard now so I can swap them easily. I am also making a 6x9 rollfilm back. I will post again as I progress with the project.

    I also have a 'floorboard' 4x5 pinhole camera with a 55mm focal length but I will save that for another post too.

    Evan Attached files

  2. #2
    500+ Posts DaCh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Homebrew 4x5

    Hi Evan
    Thanks for coming in to show us your work.
    Excellent camera and nice orchid.
    So now we know what to do with those flooring off cuts.
    And I hope the floorboard was a spare! ;D
    Looking forward to seeing more.

  3. #3
    500+ Posts
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    České Budějovice, Czech Republic

    Homebrew 4x5

    Nice work, and pretty results, too. Congratulations!

  4. #4
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Pittsburgh PA USA

    Homebrew 4x5

    great camera and images! welcome to F295 Evan! great to have you with us!


  5. #5

    Homebrew 4x5

    Great project, thank you for sharing. It's encouraging to see other paper negative shooters. I like the two images you posted, hope to see more of them, perhaps a bit bigger in size.

    Perhaps you can also share with us your formula for calculating exposure.


  6. #6

    Homebrew 4x5


    I have put the results of my latest experiments in a post:


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