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Thread: 'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

  1. #1

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    read through allen greene's book once, felt confused. decided i'd tackle it anyway, and my 8x10 sliding wood camera is coming along quite nicely! i've got most of two film holders made, plus the camera body. i'll start with a pinhole and build a lens after i make sure everything else is working, and use photo paper for a start.

    so my question is...the thing isn't light tight! this is probably due to my poor woodworking abilities. but there's nothing in the book about problem solving or testing for light-tightness etc.

    anyone built the 8x10? i see a little bit of light coming in where the middle section joins the back section. no doubt it's coming in the same place on the front section too. it's in the corners of the middle section.

    i also see the spec for this camera called for strips of black cloth, but i don't see where they're used. perhaps a typo, meant for the folding camera instead?

    i could just drape a black cloth over it, and make sure the middle of the camera is covered when i'm focusing and taking the exposure. but this seems clumsy and i'll possibly forget. if someone has ideas about how to block this light leak, i'd very much appreciate it.

    i haven't painted anything yet, so there's still time for me to make changes.

  2. #2

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    I can't be of any help on this specific plan, but...

    For light leaks in general; you could try caulking the joint with something opaque? Glazing compound is handy in these situations.

  3. #3

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    the problem is, this isn't a fixed joint. it's where the rear and middle sections come together, and the middle slides into the rear. like two boxes, one inside the other. there's a wooden flange (if that's the right word) to keep out the light across most of the edge, but it's the corners that i'm having problems with.

    i can try and get a picture of what i'm talkiing about, could be a little tricky as it's a tight corner.

  4. #4

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    I have the book, too, and wondered about the possible light leaks. I haven't constructed that camera, but I have used his information as a guide for another that I have built, and for yet another that I am working on. In doing so, I have found that felt (regular or sticky-backed) covers a multitude of sins. If it's possible to glue some felt on those pesky corners, or around the corners, that might effectively block the light leaks while still allowing the boxes to slide properly. If it seems to work, you would have to give it a visual inspection from time to time to see if the felt tends to wear thin with use and replace it if needed.

  5. #5

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    you got me thinking about felt. i was concerned that if i put cloth over the gaps, it would get caught when trying to close up the camera. i'm thinking now that if i folded felt over, and had the fold project over the gap, with would just brush along the wood and not actually slip inside the crack. i'd probably want to do this inside and outside, although if i could get by with just inside, it would look better. this will have to go on after i've painted it.

    here's a picture, with one of the offending corners circled. there is a 1/2"x1/2" piece along the inside of the center box, not shown, which keeps it from falling apart. also keeps most of the light out, except in my poorly-built corners. Attached files

  6. #6

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    Best loose suggestion I have is some sort of overhanging baffle in the rear-most section, as you noted, to allow movement while blocking light.

    Too late for redesign, but one approach to sliding box is rear-section-fits-into-front-section, so any light leak from behind has to bounce off the front to reach the film/paper insde the rear section. You can try and make the front as antireflective as possible.

  7. #7

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    It sounds like your plan with the felt could work. I wish I could see inside the camera to see exactly where and how big the leak is, and also how tight the fit of the middle section into the other 2 is. Pesky light leaks will drive you to acid abuse. Glacial acetic or citric, your choice.

  8. #8

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    i bought some felt yesterday, and will give it a try once i've painted it. thanks everyone!

    jk, the gap in question is only about 1 mm / 1/32", and it's really just at the corner (because that upright support on the mid section is cut just a tiny bit short). at least that's the light leak i can see so far.

  9. #9

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    Painting the sliding surface of the front section black as well as all interior surfaces might help. Velvet has long been used for light traps. It seems to slide easier and be more resilient than felt.

  10. #10

    'primitive photography' 8x10- mine lea

    Here are several examples of sliding box cameras, from the online museum at the George Eastman House website:

    http://www.geh.org/fm/mees/htmlsrc/m999900012_ful.html#topofimage
    http://www.geh.org/fm/mees/htmlsrc/m9999100005_ful.html#topofimage
    http://www.geh.org/fm/mees/htmlsrc/m999900009_ful.html#topofimage
    http://www.geh.org/fm/mees/htmlsrc/mP73300001_ful.html#topofimage

    They all look like they've nested the rear portion into the front. I didn't see any nested box cameras in this collection that did it the other way around.

    BTW, this website is a great place to get ideas for designing your own box cameras.

    ~Joe

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