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Thread: Bought only half a camera... by accident

  1. #1
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    Question Bought only half a camera... by accident

    Hi everyone! I'm in a bit of a pickle - when visiting an antique fair the other week, I bought a box of random photography gear, for one of the lenses that would be included in the lot. Apart from 3 lenses, two darkroom oil lamps, 2 small printing frames and 2 mystery pieces that didn't go with anything, there was half a camera in the box.

    Now I'm a sucker for boxes, and all old things made of wood..... I feel so sorry for this little guy!


    The pieces I have:


    A lens and a film plane, a film holder with 2 pieces of ground glass and a base plate. All in mahogany with a lovely patina to them. The bellows (what was left of them) came apart in my hands, but whoever owned this half-a-camera before me has made a start on some DIY bellows by doing a paper mockup. I'm sure the bellows won't be the biggest problem as I'm quite handy with fabric and glue - and got plenty of spare time on my hands


    The biggest problem will be sourcing the metal parts, in the right sizes. Apart from 2 little brass plates ALL the metal has been stripped from this thing, including hinges, knobs, standards, you name it. Besides finding the metal parts, I'll either have to make my own film/ plate holders or source some in a size 22 (2 pieces I have are stamped with this number).

    Does anyone have any recommendations on where to source my materials? The plates that it will shoot are max 12 x 16.4 cm so overall the camera is not very big.
    I'm not too bothered about historical accuracy, if it looks even slightly good and works, I'm good with it


    Thanks in advance!!


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  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    You will have to make the parts yourself. Otherwise it is probably less expensive to just buy a complete camera. This thread might give you some ideas : http://www.largeformatphotography.in...10-Restoration

  3. #3
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    Actually, I think you can buy almost all the parts you need from a supplier like McMaster-Carr. You might have to make a few struts etc. out of sheet brass, but if you can make bellows you can make those.

  4. #4
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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    McMaster-Carr don't ship to Europe which is a bit annoying as many of us would use them if they did.

    I think there's too much missing particularly the brass work. I say that because I can pick up almost intact British field cameras for very little so in this case I be looking at what you've bought for spares. I have track beds with all the gearing/fittings/hinges etc and these are great for restorations but without them some parts would be time consuming to make or relatively costly to buy from the US (with the import duty & VAT on top and the new brass not match older parts.

    Ian

  5. #5
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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    Thanks for the advise guys.

    I kinda figured it would be a long shot and it would be make-your-own or bust! Maybe I'll find another use for those wooden pieces - and just buy myself a (more) complete camera to use for photography....

  6. #6
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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirenn View Post
    Thanks for the advise guys.

    I kinda figured it would be a long shot and it would be make-your-own or bust! Maybe I'll find another use for those wooden pieces - and just buy myself a (more) complete camera to use for photography....
    I might be prepared to swap some parts, for instance the back, It depends on the exact size, let me see what I've got to swap.

    Ian

  7. #7

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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    Check out http://www.sdp-si.com/ Stock Drive Products/Sterling Instrument.

  8. #8
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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    Thanks Gleaf, that site looks very helpful. My better half suggested I should rope in his dad, as the cunning man used to be a toolmaker, and still makes little bits and pieces as a hobby...... I don't really want to bother him and make him do all the hard work tho....

  9. #9
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    I've just done your trick and bought all the wooden parts for what I think is a Thornton Pickard Quarter plate camera, I have the case but no brass fittings

    The upside was it was with a job lot of cameras and one larger, an as yet unidentified half plate camera is intact, and there's an odd German style 6.5x9 camera as well a "Gazelle" not sure who made it though.

    Ian

  10. #10
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    Re: Bought only half a camera... by accident

    Quote Originally Posted by IanG View Post
    I've just done your trick and bought all the wooden parts for what I think is a Thornton Pickard Quarter plate camera, I have the case but no brass fittings

    The upside was it was with a job lot of cameras and one larger, an as yet unidentified half plate camera is intact, and there's an odd German style 6.5x9 camera as well a "Gazelle" not sure who made it though.

    Ian

    Sounds interesting, but as difficult as my little 'project'. I am now thinking about making it into a camera-shaped box. Not one that works, but actually for storing little bits and bobs in.

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