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View Full Version : Should I build a LF TLR? What would it take?



Fr. Mark
27-Apr-2016, 11:21
I would love to have a close look at one of those cameras for a while and take pictures and measurements. I've tried some LF portraits maybe from too close therefore too little DOF and definitely w/o strobes indoors is not enough light for sensible exposure times. Between the two, it's hard to get focus where I want. I rather doubt I will ever have $$ for buying a Gowlandflex but there are days I could imagine building one. But, I'd want a chance to see one up close so as not to reinvent the wheel. Might also be smart to see what I could do with a MF TLR first, too.

Randy Moe
27-Apr-2016, 13:25
I would love to have a close look at one of those cameras for a while and take pictures and measurements. I've tried some LF portraits maybe from too close therefore too little DOF and definitely w/o strobes indoors is not enough light for sensible exposure times. Between the two, it's hard to get focus where I want. I rather doubt I will ever have $$ for buying a Gowlandflex but there are days I could imagine building one. But, I'd want a chance to see one up close so as not to reinvent the wheel. Might also be smart to see what I could do with a MF TLR first, too.

Look here. Simple really...http://glennview.com/sinarTLR.htm

jnanian
27-Apr-2016, 14:03
I would love to have a close look at one of those cameras for a while and take pictures and measurements. I've tried some LF portraits maybe from too close therefore too little DOF and definitely w/o strobes indoors is not enough light for sensible exposure times. Between the two, it's hard to get focus where I want. I rather doubt I will ever have $$ for buying a Gowlandflex but there are days I could imagine building one. But, I'd want a chance to see one up close so as not to reinvent the wheel. Might also be smart to see what I could do with a MF TLR first, too.

if you have the energy it wouldn't be hard to build a 8x10 slr camera.
the only thing that would be difficult to fabricate is the roller blind shutter ( if you want one )
you can get away WITHOUT the rollerblind shutter like
ron wisner did when he made his 4x5 wisner slrs IDK 13 years back.
it would just require ground glass a the top, a 45ºmirror
film in the back and a shuttered lens and a focus rack.

probably can be made in a weekend if you are fast :)

Fr. Mark
27-Apr-2016, 18:50
I hear what you are saying about the SLR.

On the other hand, Based on zero real TLR experience I think I'd like the fact I could watch the subject and click the shutter whenever I wanted and not monkey around with the mirror moving or the blackout period.

I see this as analogous to target shooting where you take a mental picture of the sights when the shot breaks and if you are good at it you know the score and position your shot will score. And if it didn't land where you saw it going, you adjust for the wind.

I'd like to see the photo as the flash pops or the shutter clicks or both if appropriate.

Before I go to all the trouble of building a TLR from scratch I probably ought to spend some time with a 35 mm or MF one. But then again, I do like large sheets of film. My family puts up with my LF obsession but on trips together it's really obvious it's not fair to set up the Busch press camera or the Sinar etc., a Rollei probably makes more sense (or just the iPhone).

I've thought that sheet film suits me more than rolls of film because you can develop at any time w/o the inhibition of using up or wasting exposures that I've also thought about making a 2x3 or 3x4 TLR for a walk around camera. Or if really ambitious, make tiny film holders for 6x6 or 6x7 sheets. Now you are sure I'm nuts!

Oren Grad
27-Apr-2016, 21:55
Discussion spun off as its own thread.

Dan Fromm
28-Apr-2016, 04:34
Hmm. Granted that you're a good enough machinist to fabricate a TLR, what are you going to do for lenses? You'll need a pair whose focal lengths match. Since actual focal lengths aren't always equal to design (what the prescription realized perfectly would give) or to engraved, can you accumulate enough lenses to select a well-matched pair and can you measure focal length well enough?

Jac@stafford.net
28-Apr-2016, 05:45
Why not use a 4X5 rangefinder camera?

Dan Fromm
28-Apr-2016, 06:00
Jac, don't be so practical.

More seriously, when I was a child we made an annual trek to the photo studio for portraits. The photographer had a set up -- stand or sit here, young person, now look at the camera -- that included a 4x5 view camera. He adjusted focus while under the dark cloth, did mysterious things that I didn't understand at the time, and watched the subject until he saw the expression he wanted, then pressed the cable release. If I recall correctly, he exposed two sheets of film for every subject, always got at least one shot/subject that pleased.

My point is that the OP's idea is essentially an answer looking for a question. The commercial art he seems to want to practice was at one time highly developed. If he's too young to have seen how it was done, there are books and since he has the gear he can experiment and invent it all over again.

jnanian
28-Apr-2016, 06:26
I think I'd like the fact I could watch the subject and click the shutter whenever I wanted and not monkey around with the mirror moving or the blackout period.

you'd just need a linkage between the mirror button and the shutter.
no black out period .. but the mirror would be kind of big, unless you used
"dollhouse" mirror they use to repair TLR mirrors and side view mirrors.
the thing about a graflex slr is that it is easy to use and easy to carry around
and you don't need a tri/mono pod a 8x10 one would be kind of heavy and a real pain to use.

ic-racer
28-Apr-2016, 06:29
The focal spread for an 8x10 camera with a 5.6 lens wide open is about 1 mm. Maybe the lenses on your 8x10 TLR that are marked the same and focus differently were disassembled and put back together wrong.

DrTang
28-Apr-2016, 07:10
parallax is what you will be fighting

now...unless you just picked a subject/film plane distance you liked and built the camera just for that.

4x5 would be pretty easy..

8x10 is another matter just because of the size


note: I own a Cambo TWR twin lens 4x5 with parallax correction and cams for different lenses and yes..it's a joy in the studio

Drew Bedo
28-Apr-2016, 07:18
Start with two B&J cameras.
Build a frame to hold them with the upper one inverted.
Limk them via a joint or shred lens board.

Does not address parallax adjustment like the Gowlands, but it is a start. Saves you all the fun of building vuew cameras fright off and lets you become aquainted with the design issues involved.

When you are done with this preliminary project, you can sell the cameras for additional development funding.

jp
28-Apr-2016, 07:27
Definitely gain an appreciation for MF TLRs before proceeding. You can get an Yashica with a CLA for $100-300 or a Rolleiflex automat for nor much more, and sell it a few months later if it's not for you. I use a Rolleiflex automat more than a DSLR or LF camera and can't help evangelizing for it a little bit.

pierre506
28-Apr-2016, 07:27
http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160428/ea0093bfbbd1ee02ccc1cbc84d1e75fd.jpghttp://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160428/63f5940c0c66de4491406d41a6d1bd85.jpg
Linhof Twin-lens 4x5 camera

http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160428/ed10b9ac674320b05cdc92b25ba10ac1.jpg
http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20160428/c15e829793095268da1bcaa6005d0ad2.jpg
Cambo TWR 54

通过我的 SCH-I959 上的 Tapatalk发言

Ron (Netherlands)
28-Apr-2016, 13:46
Big enough? a coffeeshop as TLR or is it a TLR used as a coffeeshop....

http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2014/03/The-Dreamy-Camera-coffee-shop-8.jpg

or one that fits in your studio:
http://www.galerie-photo.com/kiel-johnson-twin-lens-reflex.html

LabRat
28-Apr-2016, 15:00
I also was going to mention parallax, but others have posted, too... But here's the rub... Not only is the framing off, but with a big camera, everything is shot with a different viewpoint... Say you are trying to shoot a headshot up close... Say that the distance between the two lenses is 6 or so inches... That means that at an eye level angle, your angle will be 6" lower all the time, so now the lens will be aiming up the sitter's nose and shooting upward...

I think a camera like this would take a lot of getting used to... It will be a large beast, heavy, balky, bulky, clumsy, image always reversed in finder, fairly slow to operate, and limited movements for a big camera... And if someone made one for their own use, the shakedown period would take a long time (with many frustrations)... Probably end up not shooting with it much...

Maybe a more doable project would be to build a large camera version of one of those DeMornay/Budd waist level finders they used to clip on the top of Leicas in the 30's/40's, with a GG, reflex mirror, and viewing lens... It could mount closer to the lens, as it wouldn't have to be full size as your camera format, could pivot a little for some form of parallax correction, if a small one you could use smaller format focusing mount (interchangable???) lenses that (about) match the angle of your main lens, so not the same as a TLR, but at least you can have a finder that you can check the subject's face while shooting, while you have done the focusing/framing beforehand and set the finder to (about) match the shot on your GG... Maybe getting an old Leitz Visoflex or Kilfitt reflex finder and an old lens, and the matching focusing magnifier for it as an viewing aid???

Muse, muse, muse...

Steve K

Bob Salomon
28-Apr-2016, 15:15
First of all, the Linhof shown is not an SLR. It was a police camera that took booking photos. A full length, a profile and a head shot.

If you want to make a 45 TLR you could buy 2 old Linhof monorail cameras from the B or later, except for the ones with a telescoping rail or a fixed bellows.

Take one and unscrew the caps on top of the 4 posts, 2 for the back standard and 2 for the front. Buy 2 sets of the Linhof standard extenders and attach one to each of the 4 posts, they just screw in. Take the bellows off the second camera, it just unsnapped. Unscrew the caps on top of each post. Loosen the rise control on each side of the front and rear standards. Lift the back standard off the rear posts and slide it on to the extended posts on the first camera. Repeat with the front standard. Screw one set of rail caps on to each post. Reattach the bellows and now you have a 45 TLR. You can do this much faster then reading this.

Just make sure that your lenses are matched so when you are in focus on the gg of the top body you are actually in focus on the film in the bottom body. That means that the lenses have to have the same focal length and the same flange focal length distances.

The Sinar Norma also was able to do this the same way but while the Linhof post extensions are still made you would have quite a job finding 4 of them for the Norma.

Bob Salomon
28-Apr-2016, 15:18
I also was going to mention parallax, but others have posted, too... But here's the rub... Not only is the framing off, but with a big camera, everything is shot with a different viewpoint... Say you are trying to shoot a headshot up close... Say that the distance between the two lenses is 6 or so inches... That means that at an eye level angle, your angle will be 6" lower all the time, so now the lens will be aiming up the sitter's nose and shooting upward...

I think a camera like this would take a lot of getting used to... It will be a large beast, heavy, balky, bulky, clumsy, image always reversed in finder, fairly slow to operate, and limited movements for a big camera... And if someone made one for their own use, the shakedown period would take a long time (with many frustrations)... Probably end up not shooting with it much...

Maybe a more doable project would be to build a large camera version of one of those DeMornay/Budd waist level finders they used to clip on the top of Leicas in the 30's/40's, with a GG, reflex mirror, and viewing lens... It could mount closer to the lens, as it wouldn't have to be full size as your camera format, could pivot a little for some form of parallax correction, if a small one you could use smaller format focusing mount (interchangable???) lenses that (about) match the angle of your main lens, so not the same as a TLR, but at least you can have a finder that you can check the subject's face while shooting, while you have done the focusing/framing beforehand and set the finder to (about) match the shot on your GG... Maybe getting an old Leitz Visoflex or Kilfitt reflex finder and an old lens, and the matching focusing magnifier for it as an viewing aid???

Muse, muse, muse...

Steve K

Not really, if done as I posted with the Linhof Kardans. Both bodies would have rise/fall capability on the front and back bodies so it would not be difficult to have them seeing the same object from essentially the same viewpoint.

Fr. Mark
28-Apr-2016, 21:07
Definitely gain an appreciation for MF TLRs before proceeding. You can get an Yashica with a CLA for $100-300 or a Rolleiflex automat for nor much more, and sell it a few months later if it's not for you. I use a Rolleiflex automat more than a DSLR or LF camera and can't help evangelizing for it a little bit.

This sounds eminently sensible. I consistently underestimate how hard it is to make good tools. Concept is easy, execution, hard. Very hard. The difference between my cobbled together 8x10 and the Sinar P is Astronomical.

Fr. Mark
28-Apr-2016, 21:11
Big enough? a coffeeshop as TLR or is it a TLR used as a coffeeshop....

http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2014/03/The-Dreamy-Camera-coffee-shop-8.jpg

or one that fits in your studio:
http://www.galerie-photo.com/kiel-johnson-twin-lens-reflex.html

Both were fun, thanks!

Fr. Mark
28-Apr-2016, 21:19
Someone mentioned the rangefinder approach and you know that's not such a bad idea especially since the Busch Pressman D I have has a range finder that works, but just needs adjusted to the lens that's on it.

Meanwhile, I recently heard about this idea called the "wheel" I'm given to understand it's a bit like a square with the corners knocked off, I've got a prototype going based on an octagon...

Drew Bedo
29-Apr-2016, 11:47
Octagon? Pretty radical . . .and far-off from a simple square. Think of the wasted material in all those cut off corners.

Back to photography:

Maybe a bracket could be made to fit a high-end model LensBaby to a Tablet.

Drew Bedo
29-Apr-2016, 12:01
OK: Seriously now (sort of)

I actually think it could be possible to put a digital mini-cam on the inside of the lensboard aimed back at the film plane. it would be wired or bluetoothed to a smart phone or tablet. A film holder with a white surface at the film plane would be inserted. The image projected by the LF lens would be seen by the mini-cam and shown on the device. Composition and focusing would be seen on the device. No problem switching out reading glasses , bifocals or using a loop; magnification to confirm focus is just a matter of twitching two fingers.

When ready, just swap the holder for a film holder and shoot.

I really think that some techy millennial could get this done.

Could be made to work on a TravelWide too.

EdSawyer
5-May-2016, 08:07
The Cambo TWR is the best place to start for 4x5 TLR experimentation, I'd say. They are not super easy to find, but there is/was one on ebay not long ago, may still be there. IT handles parallax and differences in focal length without trouble (one lens board is adjustable, usually). I have one and it's really great to use and better than some other solutions: Vs. a rangefinder like Speed Graphic - it can focus closer generally than you can focus with the Kalart (which minimum focus distance is usually 4ft or more). Vs. an SLR: no mirror blackout, full flash sync at all speeds of the lens shutter, can handle shorter focal lengths than an SLR (approx minimum 190mm-200mm on any 4x5 SLR).

Drew Bedo
5-May-2016, 14:36
in 4x5 format:

What about starting off with two Pre-Annaversary Graphics? Get two working beaters and strip them down to wood. Aligne and register the GG/Film planes, then screw them together.

The lens boards are easy to DIY—make a joint lens Board and mount two lenses. A finishing touch would be a right angle viewer from an MP-4.

jp
5-May-2016, 14:47
Working beater pre-anniversaries are to be used, not cannibalized. They are nice light weight simple speed graphics for LF with barrel lenses. I don't think you could easily synchronize/align focus.

Probably a graphic view would be better start and build the extended standards into goalposts for doubling up parts like the sinar. The graphic views use the same 4x4ish lensboard as the anniversary/pre-anniversary.

Drew Bedo
5-May-2016, 17:12
Good points IP. I withdraw the suggestion.

What about two TrsvelWides then? Dual fixed focus bodies with 90mm Angulons: An inexpensive-point and-shoot with a 20 square inch viewing screen.

Fr. Mark
5-May-2016, 19:35
Lots of good ideas!thanks

Math
5-May-2016, 23:12
OK: Seriously now (sort of)

I actually think it could be possible to put a digital mini-cam on the inside of the lensboard aimed back at the film plane. it would be wired or bluetoothed to a smart phone or tablet. A film holder with a white surface at the film plane would be inserted. The image projected by the LF lens would be seen by the mini-cam and shown on the device. Composition and focusing would be seen on the device. No problem switching out reading glasses , bifocals or using a loop; magnification to confirm focus is just a matter of twitching two fingers.

When ready, just swap the holder for a film holder and shoot.

I really think that some techy millennial could get this done.

Could be made to work on a TravelWide too.

It could work, but you run into problems that there's very little light inside the camera that has to go through another lens and another aperture. However, I just really don't see the point? You might as well just have a groundglass with a camera pointed at it, or rather, a groundglass and your own eyes! If anything it'd be more interesting to make the darkslide white on one side and mount the internal camera permanently, if you can avoid swapping at least you'll have an advantage somewhere..

Drew Bedo
6-May-2016, 05:30
It could work, but you run into problems that there's very little light inside the camera that has to go through another lens and another aperture. However, I just really don't see the point? You might as well just have a groundglass with a camera pointed at it, or rather, a groundglass and your own eyes! If anything it'd be more interesting to make the darkslide white on one side and mount the internal camera permanently, if you can avoid swapping at least you'll have an advantage somewhere..

All good points:

First off ; I don't really know this stuff, I am just spit-balling away here on an early morning coffee-buzz.

Regarding the low light issue, the low light capability of current imaging sensors is amazing. This may not be quite the problem it seems to be. Someone else with expertise wil lhave to check on this.

The dark slide is closer to the lens than the true film plane. That is why the white surface should be inside the film holder. It could merely be a reflective card that slips in where the film would sit.

Permanently mounting the sensor system on the inside of the lens board sounds like a workable option. Mounting it outside the lens board would allow for a bulkier imaging system, at least in the proto-typ or proof of concept stage of development.

The point? There are several. On a scale-focusing or point and shoot body such as the Hobo, Fotoman or TravelWide to name a few, accurate framing and correct focus closer than infinity can be had while retiming spontaneity of use without resorting to the impedimenta of tripods and dark cloths.

A second and perhaps more narrow use on a full feature view camera, would be demonstration videos on the effect of movements.

Then there is the Geek factor: " HOW COOL!" and so on. Remember the Blue-Tooth possibility. Think of all the Apps that the Smart Phone/Tablet guys would come up with!

Some things should be done just because.

Oren Grad
6-May-2016, 07:49
Alignment is always the biggest challenge with a TLR. Even assuming the viewing and taking lenses are very close together in actual (not just marked!) focal length, it doesn't take much misalignment between the viewing and taking lenses for there to be trouble. The most robust solution is having both lenses on a single rigid panel. Stacking monorails is a neat idea, but the standards would have to be awfully rigid to avoid having some variable, hard-to-detect slop between the two lenses. I doubt that my Sinar P would be up to the task.

stawastawa
6-May-2016, 10:04
Very cool, thanks for the info - I had been thinking to cannibalize my linhof color kardan for something else, but maybe it will end up in something like this! neato neato!


...
If you want to make a 45 TLR you could buy 2 old Linhof monorail cameras from the B or later, except for the ones with a telescoping rail or a fixed bellows.

Take one and unscrew the caps on top of the 4 posts, 2 for the back standard and 2 for the front. Buy 2 sets of the Linhof standard extenders and attach one to each of the 4 posts, they just screw in. Take the bellows off the second camera, it just unsnapped. Unscrew the caps on top of each post. Loosen the rise control on each side of the front and rear standards. Lift the back standard off the rear posts and slide it on to the extended posts on the first camera. Repeat with the front standard. Screw one set of rail caps on to each post. Reattach the bellows and now you have a 45 TLR. You can do this much faster then reading this.
...
The Sinar Norma also was able to do this the same way but while the Linhof post extensions are still made you would have quite a job finding 4 of them for the Norma.