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Thread: Instant Box Camera Project

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  1. #1

    Instant Box Camera Project

    Hi folks,

    Some of you might remember a thread from a few years ago that I started, involving these street photographers who make portraits using paper negatives and a combination camera and portable processing darkroom box. They're known in Argentina and Latin America as camara minutera, or minute cameras. Here's the link to the older thread. Since that older thread is no longer located in any of the F295 sub-forums, I've decided to continue the subject with this new thread.

    I've been working on building a replica of one of these, what I call an Instant Bax Camera. After months of preparation, designing and building, the device is sufficiently complete to permit me some initial tests. I've documented the results of these tests on my blog, here.

    As I make further progress, I'll update this new thread.

    ~Joe
    "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

  2. #2
    Joe - I love the instant box history in the various regions around the world! This is very cool - I look forward to seeing more!

  3. #3
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
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    Hi Joe - not sure why/how that thread got put into a random "comments" categorization. I moved it and placed it into the Misc Equipment Making & Modifying forum:

    http://www.f295.org/main/showthread....ative-Darkroom

    sorry for the issue.
    t

  4. #4
    Thank you all for the comments.

    Several of my test images had a bit of fogging along one edge of the negative. At first, I thought it was stray light leaking in from outside. But a test I did in my shed, with the camera not exposed to direct sun, also had the same fogging, but even more. The difference was that, because my chemistry was a bit cold, I developed for 4 minutes, inspecting via the red LED and viewing port at least 4 times. I'm suspecting it's stray light from the LED system.

    In my previous tests in the darkroom, I noted some faint fogging if the LED was unfiltered. But shining through a frosted white lucite plastic filter, no fogging was apparent in my tests, even after several minutes of exposure. The fogging I saw in my shed test today amounted to perhaps no more than 30 seconds total exposure.

    So to prove it's due to the red LED, I did another exposure, this time in my kitchen. Lighting was natural daylight via a skylight. No visual inspection was performed, development was for 3 minutes. No fogging. Since this latest test, I've applied some black gaffers tape along the edges of the white diffuser filter. Light was able to shine out from the sides of the filter, reflecting off the aluminum focus rods. Another test will prove this to be the light leak fix.

    Here's the kitchen test shot. F/5.6, 3 seconds on grade 2 RC paper.

    Another round of tests is needed to prove this is the fix. It could also be direct light leaking in around my eye socket, when using the viewing port. But the fogging is only on one edge, not over the entire negative; the viewing port is directly above the developer tray.

    ~Joe

    Kitchen001a by jvcabacus, on Flickr
    Last edited by JoeVanCleave; 03-23-2015 at 08:06 PM.
    "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

  5. #5
    Excellent work - I'm really looking forward to seeing what comes out of this

  6. #6
    A final update for today. I used a salvaged cabinet shelf as a support base atop the Bruneau's Pneumatic Tripod. Note the two tripod bushings; the tripod head has three such fittings available.

    P1090944a by jvcabacus, on Flickr

    Here's the underside of the support base, showing the tripod head and mounting hardware.

    P1090945a by jvcabacus, on Flickr

    I did a series of tests today under my back porch. Note the addition of the plate around the arm sleeve, that secures its mounting rings.

    P1090943a by jvcabacus, on Flickr

    My initial tests showed some fogging or flare along one side. After a few tests I determined it was caused by bright light from off-axis flaring inside the old Kodak Ektar lens. I added a makeshift lens hood and the problem was resolved. However, the aluminum focus rods were left unpainted, and they reflect too much light. I'll need to paint them flat black, while ensuring the paint doesn't interfere with their motion.

    Here's the final test image for today. F/22 at 2 seconds, developed for 3 minutes, with red LED-illuminated inspection via the viewing port. No fogging. Next, I'll need to repeat these tests in bright sun.

    Flower003a by jvcabacus, on Flickr

    ~Joe
    "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

  7. #7
    500+ Posts jon.oman's Avatar
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    Joe,

    Regarding the aluminum focus rods. Instead of painting them, use a chemical bath to darken them. I'm not sure what this is called, but people who blue gun parts do this. I have read that you can do this to turn aluminum black.

    By the way, great project!

  8. #8
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    Good point, Jon. Are you thinking of the anodizing process? It's a great way of treating aluminium for extra hardness, corrosion resistance and adding colour. Here is an informative article on the process http://astro.neutral.org/anodise4.shtml

  9. #9
    Administrator Tom Persinger's Avatar
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    beautiful looking camera Joe! I'm really enjoying the updates on your project. Thanks for sharing!

  10. #10
    Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black Touch-Up cost about 6-7 dollars for 3 ounces. Easy and safe to use. This is what will perhaps be the chemical blackening you need. Metal surface MUST be grease and oil free. Like, cleaner than clean to get the proper chemical reaction.
    I am in awe of your wonderful projects and proven results. The knowledge I have gained from your writing and sharing have been inspiring and priceless.
    Sam H.

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