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Thread: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

  1. #1
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    I recently became aware of the Big Shot Polaroid and have one coming soon. I understand it is fixed focus and one does the focus with your feet, in the 'Big Shot Shuffle' manner. http://www.polaroidland.net/2012/06/...-the-big-shot/

    I want to expand/upsize the concept to 14X17 X-Ray film.

    I have no problem with making DIY film holders or GG, and would, make the box from glued up foam core and wood strips.

    The idea would to make the box exactly the right length and mount it on something adjustable, like an old enlarger rack. Obviously a studio rig.

    Then adjust focus by moving the whole box.

    I like the idea of portraits reflecting actual head, hat and hair size, giving an image series a more realistic range.

    Perhaps use a 19" Artar or maybe, a Kodak Portrait 305 mm. Whatever covers, maybe Reinhold's next lens.

    Is this possible? Is it a bad idea?

    Has it been done?

  2. #2

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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    The lens will have to cover ~ 300 mm at infinity. Many, many candidates. I'd use a process lens, speed isn't needed, a small aperture is.

    Focusing issues. Camera on wheeled stand.

    DoF issues. At f/90 set, f/180 effective, resolution on film will be no better than 8 lp/mm, i.e., maybe good enough for contact printing, but DoF will be only 45 mm.

    You'll need long exposures or bright lights (continuous or flash) and, probably, fast film.

    Don't waste time asking what to do or theorizing, just do it and see whether you like the results. Foam core and lath are certainly cheap, so is x-ray film, and process lenses aren't that expensive either. Shutters, if you'll need timed short exposures (you will) are another issue.

  3. #3
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    Thanks Dan,

    I have nearly everything here now. Enough to experiment for some time to come.

    DOF will be fine, I'll use studio flash, I can setup serious firepower with a darkened studio and a lens cap. If fact my entire studio is under red light with no light leaks.

    Last night I read Kodak's old manual for their Portrait lens', focus on the nose is my take away.

    I really need to make a lens decision first.

    I like to roll ideas out there to see what people think.







    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    The lens will have to cover ~ 300 mm at infinity. Many, many candidates. I'd use a process lens, speed isn't needed, a small aperture is.

    Focusing issues. Camera on wheeled stand.

    DoF issues. At f/90 set, f/180 effective, resolution on film will be no better than 8 lp/mm, i.e., maybe good enough for contact printing, but DoF will be only 45 mm.

    You'll need long exposures or bright lights (continuous or flash) and, probably, fast film.

    Don't waste time asking what to do or theorizing, just do it and see whether you like the results. Foam core and lath are certainly cheap, so is x-ray film, and process lenses aren't that expensive either. Shutters, if you'll need timed short exposures (you will) are another issue.

  4. #4

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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    Wish i was as handy as you, Randy.. i'd love to do something like that, but holders are stopping me.. (gg - not so much, its just grinding)

  5. #5
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    I did some experimenting last night with a Kodak Portrait 305 on my modded Levy 11X14. That lens can cover some area! Now I think I will make a 14X17 extension back for The Levy. At one point I was considering hanging a long lens cone on the front of it. It is very strong since I fixed the front standard screws with 3" deck screws making it very sturdy. I can now hang anything on the front and the back standard is extremely stable. I have added 1/4X20 threaded steel inserts to the body for mounting accessories. I can hang studio lights off the front standard.

    In this thread, I detail holder mods, very simple to scale to any size. Of course it helps to have the massive Levy single side holder with darkslide to work with. The funny thing is, nearly every Internet post about The Levy says junk it, it is too heavy and not good for anything. I find it pretty darn nice. Front focus is done with worm drive from the rear and it does have front rise. This thing can also do wet plate.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ilm-holder-mod


    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    Wish i was as handy as you, Randy.. i'd love to do something like that, but holders are stopping me.. (gg - not so much, its just grinding)

  6. #6

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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    once you saw the rangefinder deal off the Big Shot..you can open it and it has a couple screws for adjusting the mirrors - so you can adjust them for distance to some extent if needed

  7. #7
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    I am trying to wait patiently for my free Big Shot, I love my little battery run sawzall, really good at chopping up everything...


    Quote Originally Posted by DrTang View Post
    once you saw the rangefinder deal off the Big Shot..you can open it and it has a couple screws for adjusting the mirrors - so you can adjust them for distance to some extent if needed

  8. #8

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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    What kind of lens will cover that film size?

  9. #9
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    I think a lot of lenses. Right now I am checking out a Kodak Portrait 305/12". Wide open, it shines brightly well beyond that size. I am not used to it's OOF or softness, but I will shoot it soon. I also have a 16, 19 and 30" Artar to try, so I will find something to use. Now I am just staring at GG, actually for hours as I set up LED lights and leave the shutter open while I do other things nearby. Almost like having a TV on!

    The Kodak at 1 to 1 is very close to the target and may be too close for comfort.

    It's all an experiment.



    Quote Originally Posted by Minhhich View Post
    What kind of lens will cover that film size?

  10. #10
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Re: DIY 1 to 1 fixed focus 14x17 box portrait camera questions

    Randy for portraits on my 14x17 I use my 15" Darlot or my Voigtlander Portrait Euryscope III # 6 which is 16 1/4". One Petzval and one RR. When you are in close a lot of lenses will cover. What DOF and speed do you want becomes the issue. Plate work??? Then an F-4 is good. For x-ray film you can get away with F-9 or 11 and some good light. 14x17 portraits are nice especially carbon prints.

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