View Full Version : bender camera

31-Jul-2009, 18:46
anyone had any experience with build your own camera:D

Greg Blank
31-Jul-2009, 19:02
There have been many people make these cameras over the years. I made one about ten years ago. Straight out of box they are not perfectly rigid. Although perhaps they are constructed somewhat differently now. Some people have gone to great lengths to shore them up. I bought a Tachihara after my initial playing around with the Bender got old. That stated I added a focusing bed to my Bender and after doing some research was able to make it foldable.

For the 8x10 version I would invest the money in a Lens or a Tachihara instead of the Bender....It is a nice project though and if done well has lots of interesting variation potential and can teach someone that is interested in camera building, key insights....I keep telling myself to build the 8x20 :)

31-Jul-2009, 19:52
I just checked the web site, and www.benderphoto.com still shows closed down. However, there are plenty of web sites with various designs and plans.

Do a search on...... DIY large Format Camera

or......... build your own large format camera

31-Jul-2009, 20:40
Are you wanting to build your own for the beauty and asethtic of it?
Or for the economics?
There are cheaper ways. Example, I just purchased a beauty of a Busch pressman d with all kinds of extras for 400 bucks.
Giving me awesome negs.

3-Aug-2009, 19:16
Bender has produced good quality kits for years and closed last November. The only other kit I am familiar with is the Bulldog out of the UK. Other than that its build from scratch. You can shop around for used view cameras or Crown Graphics next in line price wise are the Chinese Field cameras , Shen Hao and Chamonix. You go up in price from there. I bring up these examples cause if building is your desire go at it! If cost is an option there are used bargains if you seek them out.

4-Aug-2009, 00:12
Madmax12, what type would you like to build ?
A mono-rail or a field ????

I will be starting in September building a Shen Hao HZX45-IIA and a Shen Hao PTB54, with my HZX45-IIA as reference point.
I will be making drawings of both designs with measurements that will become available as time passes.
I am getting the brazilian wood together these comming weeks and I will keep a blog.
PM if you are interesed in the project.

The PTB requires less metal-work and might be for a beginner easier.


rob cruickshank
5-Aug-2009, 15:20
I had fun, and learned a lot building mine. It's a bit of a commitment, though, and not something you'll just throw together in a weekend. It does take a bit of care to get everything fitting right- I had the advantage of having a few friends who were cabinetmakers who gave me advice as I went along, since I'm hopeless with wood. The instructions are very good, though, Jay Bender put a lot of thought into how to explain things unambiguously. As someone who has written a few manuals and kit instructions, I can appreciate how much work went into that.
Its big advantage as a camera is that it's very light- easy to backpack or bike with.
If you want short lenses, you will want a bag bellows on it.
All this would be moot, except that there is someone selling one on the buy/sell section, so that may be your last chance. (although built-up models do show up on ebay from time to time) I don't have any connection with them, I just noticed it the other day.
Also, there are still some parts and accessories available from Bender last I heard, although the kits are no longer in production.

5-Aug-2009, 16:08

The reason why I choose for a Shen is the availability of both a standard bellows as a bag bellows. I want to go wide, at least with the 75 SA or even the 58XL.

Most of the parts on a PTB can be made your self uptill the knobs, just a few parts, like the guide rails have to be bought at a model train shop.
And ofcourse I will have to buy a GG.

Wood can be MDF with vernier (thin top layer of real wood) or solid wood as I am planning.


22-Nov-2009, 10:38
i ran across on site of a person who made his owned view camera out of mdf. some how i lost the link that led to him. i would dump the mdf to baltic birch and use some thicker grade veneer for the finish skin. my first option would be the best grade of solid figure lumber and have it cut down into a 1/16" slices to reglue together to limit warping or wood movement if used as a outdoor camera. my three no. 1 would be wild american black cherry, Lacewood or Bubinga. if anyone in this forum has come across that linkplease send it along to me. thanks

Pete Watkins
22-Nov-2009, 16:24
I know that this is an old thread but there is bulldogcameras.com here in The U.K.