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Thread: Building a 5x7 Camera

  1. #1
    LarryH
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    44

    Building a 5x7 Camera

    HI all,

    I am thinking about building a 5x7 folding field camera as a long range project. I have the wood working skills but I am looking for information on design. I may also need to source hardware and bellows.

    Any suggestions for this project would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Southland, New Zealand
    Posts
    2,047

    Re: Building a 5x7 Camera

    It will cost more in knobs, screws and bellows on a self built camera than it would to pick up an old Kodak 2D or B&J. But maybe building a camera is the point, and thats ok too.

  3. #3
    LF/ULF Carbon Printer Jim Fitzgerald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Vancouver Washington
    Posts
    3,346

    Re: Building a 5x7 Camera

    Research designs that you like. After building three ULF camera's of different designs I would recommend using the Chaminox ,Phillips or Zone VI design. Finding the gears and parts can be done through McMaster Carr and bellows from Custom Bellows in England. Bellows and holders are the expensive parts. If you build these yourself the cost will be reduced a lot. My 14x17 cost under 1,000 to build including the bellows. Holders were more than the camera. I have 4. I fabricated the metal parts myself and purchased the bellows from Custom Bellows in England. A 5x7 bellows should not be that much. The hardest part of the build is the back and getting the film plane right. If I can do it with my limited skill anyone can. Get a film holder first and build the back to your holders. I believe the 5x7 holders are a standard dimension and this is very important so be sure.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    La Quinta, CA
    Posts
    392

    Re: Building a 5x7 Camera

    What Jim says. Also, if you really want to build one and this is your first, I recommend that you consider buying the holders and a back from another camera and building the rest of the camera from it. The holder and back are the most difficult to make. Bellows aren't that difficult to make. There have been many threads before here about that.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Hudson Valley
    Posts
    159

    Re: Building a 5x7 Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by mdm View Post
    It will cost more in knobs, screws and bellows on a self built camera than it would to pick up an old Kodak 2D or B&J. But maybe building a camera is the point, and thats ok too.
    If your objective is to have a solid, useable 5x7 camera at low cost, it is hard to beat the Ansco 5x7 (usually battleship gray). Use your woodworking skills to modify the front frame for swings (quite a simple job) should you need front swings (I just added a sliding block to mine).

    Should you find an Ansco that needs a bellows, I suggest you have Jim Ormond make it for you. If you go the DIY route (admirable undertaking to be sure) Jim Ormond can make the bellows for you again. You can send him the bellows frames or the entire camera.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Poland/Poznań
    Posts
    29

    Re: Building a 5x7 Camera

    Hi,
    two weeks ago I finished my 5x7 camera. I bought bellows in HongKong, lens Fujinon 210mm in US, holders in Germany and knobs and runs from drawers in Poland . I used wood I had which at home. Nothing special, a bit tropical, a bit of pines.
    My camera isn't complicated. She was made without plans - everything was done systematically
    Look here: http://iv.pl/images/34075580513902555786.jpg
    and here: http://iv.pl/images/03867238081556654886.jpg
    Unfortunately he doesn't comprise. It is my first construction and I think that last.

  7. #7
    Lachlan 717
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    2,283

    Re: Building a 5x7 Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jedrzej66 View Post
    knobs and runs from drawers in Poland .
    Can you please provide some more information on this company? Thanks.
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Poland/Poznań
    Posts
    29

    Re: Building a 5x7 Camera

    Knobs here: http://www.elesa-ganter.com/pl/28/ic...82a-zaciskowe/
    On the top of site (right side) you can choose country.
    Runs from drawers - in each DIY store.

  9. #9
    Lachlan 717
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    2,283

    Re: Building a 5x7 Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jedrzej66 View Post
    Knobs here: http://www.elesa-ganter.com/pl/28/ic...82a-zaciskowe/
    On the top of site (right side) you can choose country.
    Runs from drawers - in each DIY store.
    Thanks!
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

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