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Thread: Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

  1. #1

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    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    Hi folks,

    I have a Zone VI wood field camera and I wish it had a mm scale on the bed. The front and rear standards both move. Any advice on how to go about adding a scale?

    In an ideal world, I'd really like it if I could read the scale from behind the camera, and not have to step around to the side.

    At present I use a small retractable ruler. This works but it's one more piece of gear to deal with out there...

  2. #2
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    Being as both standards move, it would be necessary to have the scale move with the back standard to arrive at useful readings, I'd think. While possible, I'm not sure how practical such linkage between the scale and both standards would be. Your metric tape measure is probably more convenient.

  3. #3

    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    Ed,

    I'll email you what I use (a home-made scale with corresponding aperture requirements) that may be helpful. As long as you make note of where the one standard is and then how much the second one moves, you should be fine. You can print the guage out on glossy stock and use ATG tape to attach it to the camera.

  4. #4

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    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    I've put mm scales on all my LF cameras (including several with back movements, I don't understand Ralph's comment). I first find a mm paper or cloth ruler, cut it to fit along the wood rail in which the front and back standards move, then tape it down with Scotch tape. You have to make sure the tape is thin enough so that the front and back standards can move over it. It's quite simple to do, takes about two minutes once you have the ruler. Many tape measures have mms on one side and inches on the other so the ruler shouldn't be hard to find.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  5. #5

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    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    Get metric graph paper, cut a strip like Brian suggests. I use matte surface Scothc tape so I can mark it as needed with felt pen. Tape it on the edge of camera bed, eg the non moving part when you focus.

  6. #6
    Geos
    Join Date
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    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    I'm assuming that you need this for close-up/macro work. For my 4x5 and 150 G-Claron I made my own tape measure with a graphics program and some inkjet canvas. Instead of a specific mm scale, I had marks set for 0, +1/4, +1/2, +1, and +1.5 stops. This allows me to measure standard to standard (taking movements into account). This is very quick and accurate and requires no calculations in the field, where one might be tired and prone to errors. For intermediate f-stops, I just interpolate-works very well. I have the lens that it is printed for labeled right on the tape, and it folds down flat taking virtually no space. If one had several lenses, it would be easy enough to have several different scales (in different colors) on the same tape.

  7. #7
    Michael Alpert
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    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    Ed (and others),

    In what situations do you find a scale on a field camera helpful? I am asking because I have worked with a field camera for years without ever feeling that I needed one. My work has included everything from macro to architecture and landscape, using a wide variety of lenses.

  8. #8

    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    On the same subject, is it possible to buy a DOF scale somewhere? I've been making my own but they're not pretty...

    Lars

  9. #9
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    FWIW, I'm interpreting Ed's description to mean that the entire rear standard moves forward on the base (as with a Tachihara 8x10), along with the usual motion of the front standard. Ideally, the 0 point on the attached scale would stay constant in relation to the film plane within the back standard, so a direct measurement from the position of the front standard could be taken. Otherwise, you'd have to subtract the two standards positions, or reposition the scale for each (or many) measurement(s). As such, a tape is often just as convenient.

  10. #10

    Attaching a mm scale to a wood field camera

    Michael,

    Though I know some photographers that get by just fine with the "focus a third of the way into the scene," I find my scale indespensible for critical hyperfocusing when I am the limits of my lens capabilities. Fast. Sure. Happy to use it as a crutch.

    Lars, I'll send you my version for free. Of course, if you feel like sending me bunches of money, I wouldn't object. ;-)

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