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Thread: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

  1. #1

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    Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    Howdy, new member and completely new to photography.
    I built this wood box camera after seeing a video of a guy in Afghanistan using one so thought I`d give it a try.
    I`ll post a walk around video of my camera and some pictures I`ve taken with it.
    The lens is a magnifying glass that is about two inch in diam. it so far works the best for taking a negative and for taking a picture of the negative .
    The issue I`m having with the magnifying glass is the image is clear in the center but gets blurry the further out ya go.
    I bought some 135mm f4.5 lenses on ebay but they won`t give a big enough picture and I can`t slide the focus glass back far enough for taking a picture of the negative.
    I feel like a real idiot asking but can someone give me some idea of a place to start with a lens, do I need something like a 300mm f-8 ?
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Paper size is 3 1/2 x5

    Video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loZlBVQQHG4






  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    but they won`t give a big enough picture
    A 135mm large format lens should be good to use, but perhaps not just any 135mm lens. For example, a 135mm lens for a rollfilm camera won't do.

    If you are having trouble making your negative-negative copy to make the positive, and the image is too small, then you need to bring the paper negative closer to the lens. If you can't get it in focus, then you made the box too small or you are not pulling the focus rod out far enough.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3

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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    A 135mm large format lens should be good to use, but perhaps not just any 135mm lens. For example, a 135mm lens for a rollfilm camera won't do.

    If you are having trouble making your negative-negative copy to make the positive, and the image is too small, then you need to bring the paper negative closer to the lens. If you can't get it in focus, then you made the box too small or you are not pulling the focus rod out far enough.

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	124610
    Thanks for your reply, the box is 12x12 x26 so I think it`s plenty big.
    The first lens I bought was a modern camera lens and the second a enlarging lens, the second one works good for taking the first picture (the neg.) and the picture covers the whole paper with the subject at 4-5 feet away.
    That neg. is then put on the neg. board in front of the lens at about 8 inch away but I can`t focus on it with the glass all the way back.
    The simple magnifying glass will take both pictures with the glass forward about 6-8 inch from the lens but the positive picture is blurry.
    This is going to be difficult because I`m so illiterate about this.

  4. #4

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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    Picture of the lens I bought, the old one is to small and the 50 mm takes a pretty good picture but real small, about 1x1 inch.
    The 135mm is the enlarging lens.


  5. #5

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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    ic-racer, is that your camera in the picture, if it is what is the lens your using?
    What size pictures do you get?
    Thanks.

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitchy View Post
    ic-racer, is that your camera in the picture, if it is what is the lens your using?
    What size pictures do you get?
    Thanks.
    PIcture comes from this site:
    http://www.afghanboxcamera.com/abcp_camera_parts.htm

    A quick calculation shows a 135mm lens focusing on an object 8 inches in front will project that image to about 16 inches behind the lens. Do you have that much room in the camera.

  7. #7
    joseph
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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    A quick calculation shows a 135mm lens focusing on an object 8 inches in front will project that image to about 16 inches behind the lens. Do you have that much room in the camera.
    Another quick calculation might suggest that if you want to make the same size print as your paper negative positioned around 8" away from the lens, then you'll need a 4" fl lens, (around 100mm) projecting an image around 8" behind it.

  8. #8

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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    Thanks, yep I`d like to be able to project the negative on the glass at about 8 inch same as I do when taking the first picture at about 4-5 feet.
    The magnifying glass does that but as you can see in my photos they are blurry.
    So are you saying I need a large format lens that the other camera lens won`t work?
    I`ll go on Ebay and see what I can find and post links for your opinions.
    Thanks.

  9. #9
    joseph
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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    Not necessarily a large format lens for making the print, due to the same size magnification it will cover twice the image circle. Search for a 10.5 cm lens, they're common on 6x9 folding cameras- maybe search for a whole camera that has a 105mm lens, one with a broken shutter and clean glass might be particularly inexpensive...

  10. #10

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    Re: Need help choosing a lens for a home made box camera.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rodenstock-Y...item4d26ec0f85

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Industar-51-...item2a46d8a62e

    I`m not finding much, this is hard when ya don`t know what does what.
    What determines the distance from the lens the picture is on the glass, is that the mm or the f number?
    What is the lens diameter number?
    Thanks and sorry for the dumb questions.

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