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Thread: New cameras

  1. #1

    New cameras

    G'day all

    I've not visited f295 as much and as I'd have liked recently but I've never stopped building and using my cameras.

    In another thread a generous member suggested I start a thread about my latest builds.

    So for those of you who are interested;

    I've recently built two more sliding box cameras to add to my collection. Though I did kind of promise my beautiful and patient wife that my obsession had run its course, I couldn't stop myself.


    Both cameras are nested sliding box tailboard simple lens cameras constructed from 7mm pine plywood. These are my first attempt at using plywood to built cameras. I very much enjoyed working with this material.

    The camera on the right was built first. The original concept was to build a camera to expose half sheets of 8x10 film, both 5x8 and 4x10 in homemade film holders. Given that I shoot lots of paper neg I also slightly altered the design of the back to accommodate homemade 5x10 holders.


    5x8/4x10/5x10 camera and homemade film holders.

    At the beginning of the build the camera on the left was to be a 5x7 revolving back camera designed to accept standard DDSs. When nearly completed it occured to me that such a large camera could possibly fit an 8x8 homemade film holder and after I made that a 5x4 reducing back was an obvious accessory.


    As yet I've had little opportunity to shoot anything other than test shots, a few of which I'll include here.




    With thanks to the site and Joe van Cleave.
    "The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself", Edward Steichen, in Arthur Rothstein 1986, 19.

  2. #2
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Sonoma County, California
    Hi Ray,

    Those are wonderful. I like the use of the same size film holder for 1/2 sheet of 8x10 cut either way.

    At the interface between the camera and the film holder, how is the seal made? Is there foam, or is there an inset to help trap light?
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

  3. #3
    500+ Posts
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    České Budějovice, Czech Republic
    Beautiful cameras, good job.
    The world is not black and white. It often looks good in grayscale, though.

  4. #4
    Gorgeous cameras...AND holders. Well done Ray. Your ingenuity is astonishing!

  5. #5
    Thnx Ned.

    I use a lot of Velcro loop for light tightness.
    "The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself", Edward Steichen, in Arthur Rothstein 1986, 19.

  6. #6
    Thnx for the interest and comments Martin.
    "The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself", Edward Steichen, in Arthur Rothstein 1986, 19.

  7. #7
    Very ingenious and practical designs, Ray. I do have two questions. Tell us about your lenses, and also more details on the view screens and how the film backs fit in. Do the view screens remove, or do they use spring backs.

    Very inspirational, as I'm at the point of needing a 4x5 field camera lighter than my Speed Graphic. I have a home made bellows already, but would like more ideas around the film back and view screen.

    "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
    My Pinhole Blog: Obscure Camera
    Visit my F295 Gallery

  8. #8
    Thnx for your interest and questions Joe.

    Most of my lenses are of the single element simple type. They are cheap magnifying glasses mounted in 90mm PVC storm water pipe fittings.

    The magnifying glasses I buy at various cheap and nasty shops and never pay more than two dollars for a twin pack.

    The PVC pipe fittings are a standard item sold at all hardware stores.

    Aperture discs and lens mounting discs etc are cut from black plastic notebook covers. A few of my later lens designs incorporate my version of a waterhouse stop whilst my earlier constructs use an aperture disc placed in the front of the lens.


    I have also created two element lenses mounted in the same pipe fittings. The best so far is a 210mm derived from one of two elements from an overhead (OHP) projector lens mounted behind a complete multi-element OHP lens. To do the math, which luckily is quite simple; the single lens element is approximately 670mm or 1.5d the complete lens is 305mm or 3.3d. Add the d (dioptre) values together = 4.8 then divide 1000 by 4.8 to get back to a mm value for focal length; 210mm.

    As for my view screens they are spring backs but use round elastic and wooden dowel pegs instead of springs and rod and levers.

    The ground glass is actually lightly ground 3mm perspex sheet.


    As I wrote in another thread I'm not too good at designing but rather make it up as I go. These cameras incorporate design elements I tried out in previous builds and I'm quite pleased with the results.
    "The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself", Edward Steichen, in Arthur Rothstein 1986, 19.

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