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Thread: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

  1. #1
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    11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    I am just getting into LF photography and want to do paper negatives (which I have a lot of other questions regarding).
    It seems quite cheap and relatively easy. It is really practical as well, as I don't want to deal with enlargements.
    I love the look of it too.

    Now, a 8x10/11x14 camera is just too expensive. Maybe I could shell out the $2000 a 8x10 costs (I've looked around on eBay), but the 11x14s are just way too pricey. Being 19 and not having too much cash, I thought a box type camera would be a good solution to that problem.

    I am debating whether to use a pinhole or a lens. It would be really nice to be able to meter my scenes, which is why I am considering a fixed lens.

    How closely can a pinhole focus?
    Does it just require some testing (in different lighting, using different exposure times) to figure out a table for exposure times?

    How do I figure out which distance there needs to be between the lens and the film plane, in order to reach infinite focus and still covering 11x14?


    I also want to shoot interiors and still lives. For this I really do need a real camera, don't I (except if I make several cameras)?


    For the design, I was thinking of basically making a box with hole/cutout to fit a film holder (I would of course make this light tight), much like how one does with a regular camera.


    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

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    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    Pin hole it, pal! Nothin' cheaper.

    For me, the killer with 11x14 cameras was the cost of the film holders (never mind the film!)
    8x10 dosen't need to break the bank. Make contact prints and you don't have to deal with the added expense of an enlarger. Over time you can build a decent 8x10 kit on a budget. Ansco 8x10 cameras are way under appreciated, IMHO. Pinholes in the bellows can be effectively patched with goop from Equinox Photo. You will require a heavy duty tripod and film holders---look around for deals, they're out there if you're patient. If you're shooting paper negatives a barrel lens is slow enough that you won't need a shutter. There is also x-ray film to explore.
    Have fun!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  3. #3
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    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    hi pbryld ..

    i make cameras just like you are talking about ..
    and have made ones as large as 11x14 and as small as 2x3 ...

    the hardest part is making the paper-holder ...

    if you want to do chemical free photographs
    you can make it so it is like a view camera, so the lens + paper standard
    move to correct for distortion, or to create distortion ...
    the exposures are very long though, anywhere from 45mins to 6-7 hours depending on the light ...

    have fun !
    john

  4. #4
    Jonathan K. jcoldslabs's Avatar
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    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    8x10 doesn't have to be all that expensive necessarily. I picked up a Kodak 2D 8x10 camera for $150. The seller said the bellows were shot and while the corners are full of holes I have yet to patch them. I just throw the dark cloth over the camera and have never had a problem. I've never built my own camera but it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Even foam core can work:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dairequinlan/4300741225/

    Best of luck!

    Jonathan

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    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    yeah mine have all been out of foam core too ... lots of fun !
    john

  6. #6
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    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    With a pinhole, everything will be in equal focus. Exposure will vary from calculated based on reciprocity of the film which is different for each film brand/speed.

    If you build a box camera, you could use a $100 wooden 8x10 back meant for a kodak/b&j, etc... so as to have the holder receiver and groundglass. Otherwise study the cam system some of the pinholes use to hold film holder in place.

    You should be able to buy a nice 8x10 for $300 without a lens. $50 for a film holder. Lenses could range from $1 for a magnifying glass, $100 for a reinhold wallaston, $400 for a shuttered 300-360mm modern lens.

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    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    Thanks for the quick replies!

    As far as the price of a 8x10 goes, I guess I'll have to be patient and wait for a good deal (perhaps on the sales board here, which I don't have access to yet).
    If I were to purchase that, it would be fun to just make a 11x14 pinhole camera. I'll be willing to pay for a holder, even though they are a bit pricey.

    How do I know how long the pinhole needs to be from the film plane so it covers 11x14?

    I was thinking I'd use a post card with the thinnest needle I have.
    Will the focal length be too high though? Is it better to use tinfoil?

  8. #8
    David Lobato David Lobato's Avatar
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    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    I made an 8x10 pinhole camera from black matt board and black gaffer's tape. I simply taped a sheet of film on the inside back panel, about 10x12 inches. No film holder necessary. Use a piece of brass shim stock, available in hardware stores, for the pinhole. I may even have an extra piece of brass shim stock. PM me if you're interested. That 8x10 pinhole camera was the gateway to the Deardorff I now use. Seeing and holding an 8x10 negative you made is pretty awesome.

  9. #9

    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    The diameter of the coverage for a pinhole is approximately 3.5 times the focal length of the pinhole.

    Find a copy of Eric Renner's book, "Pinhole Photography: Rediscovering a Historic Technique". It will tell you all you need to know. Building your own pinhole camera is easy and fun, and the results can be amazingly good, especially if you contact print the negatives.

    Peter Gomena

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    Re: 11x14 or 8x10 box type camera

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    If you're shooting paper negatives a barrel lens is slow enough that you won't need a shutter. There is also x-ray film to explore.
    Have fun!
    Yes, X-Ray film seems interesting as well for contact printing. The film seems incredibly cheap, even the huge negs (here: http://www.cxsonline.com/text/summar...sterskudatarq=[blank]&skusort=1&cart=13360692361296516&location=10011004&startat=1&max=15), but do you know the sensitivity of the film?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Lobato View Post
    I made an 8x10 pinhole camera from black matt board and black gaffer's tape. I simply taped a sheet of film on the inside back panel, about 10x12 inches. No film holder necessary. Use a piece of brass shim stock, available in hardware stores, for the pinhole. I may even have an extra piece of brass shim stock. PM me if you're interested. That 8x10 pinhole camera was the gateway to the Deardorff I now use. Seeing and holding an 8x10 negative you made is pretty awesome.
    I was just thinking that handling the film would be a bit easier if I just had to load the film in a holder (my "darkroom" is unbelievably small), but I get that it cuts costs, which can be used for other luxuries :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Gomena View Post
    The diameter of the coverage for a pinhole is approximately 3.5 times the focal length of the pinhole.

    Find a copy of Eric Renner's book, "Pinhole Photography: Rediscovering a Historic Technique". It will tell you all you need to know. Building your own pinhole camera is easy and fun, and the results can be amazingly good, especially if you contact print the negatives.

    Peter Gomena
    I would ask you how I know the focal length of the pinhole, but I hope the answer is in the book. I am waiting to receive it from amazon.co.uk :-)

    Thanks!

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