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Thread: Big, medium and small folding cameras

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  1. #1

    Big, medium and small folding cameras

    I have been busy since Easter re-cycling old laminate flooring into cameras. In size order, the biggest is 8x10, medium is 4x5 and the small is 2x3 (2 1/4 x 3 1/4 really).

    The key objective with all of the cameras was to make them folding, to allow very short focal lengths for pinhole work and to allow plenty of movements for use with a lens.

    First the 8x10.

    The back standard is square and the rear plate can be rotated for portrait/landscape. The rear standard has left/right swing and front/back tilt. The standard is also moved back and fore for focussing. The screen is acrylic sheet I sanded to 'frost' it and it has a fresnel magnifier taped on to brighten the image.

    The bellows are detachable and made from blackout curtain lining on the outside, paper stiffeners and black dress fabric on the inside. The bellows were fun to design as the fold depth starts at 25mm deep at the rear standard, increases to 30mm deep, and then reduces down to 15mm where it meets the front standard. the change in fold depth minimised the number of folds and therefore the compressed thickness, and also allowed me to use a smaller frame for the front standard.

    The front standard has both rise/fall, front/back tilt, left/right swing and left/right shift. It has a 62mm filter ring attached to allow different pinhole plates or lenses to be screwed in.

    The bed of the camera is folding to allow easier transport and the tripod mount can be slid up and down in order to better balance the camera.
    Attached files

  2. #2
    It has been a while since I made any cameras, but I did recently find the pictures I took of the final piece of equipment in this series; the 5x7. The construction is similar and the bellows are made from two layers of craft paper (which is a little scary when it starts to rain!). Hopefully these images will give others a few ideas.

    Best regards,











    Last edited by banana_legs; 12-05-2014 at 08:12 PM.
    More mad ramblings at

  3. #3
    Very nice design, well done. Regarding the craft paper bellows, it's a neat idea. Myself, I've made a test bellows from a single layer of thick black craft paper with 1" wide black gaffers tape applied to all the folds.

    "There was just that moment and now there's this moment and in between there is nothing. Photography, in a way, is the negation of chronology."-Geoff Dyer, "The Ongoing Moment"
    My Writing Blog: Joe Van Cleave's Blog
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