View Full Version : Camera-back/film-holder interface lightproofing

Ron Hughes
10-Feb-1998, 05:47
I would like to make a pinhole camera that uses 4x5 filmholders. Not ever havin g seen the inside of a large format camera, I'm not sure how to make the film-ho lder/camera-back interface light tight.

Presumably the film-holder should be pressed tightly up against the back of the camera. Is this pressure normally achieved by means of leaf springs?

Presumably the user slides the film-holder into and out of the back of the camer a at right angles to the axis of the lens, rather than moving it along the axis towards the lens.

What methods are commonly used to prevent light from leaking around the four sid es of the film-holder and fogging the film? Particularly from the top, where mo st ambient light will be coming from, and which must be open to allow access to the dark slide.

Any advice that you can offer would be very welcome. Thank you.

QT Luong
10-Feb-1998, 21:12
That's somewhat difficult to explain in words, but become clear when you see a spring back. I suggest that you visit a local store, maybe buy a holder from them (since you'll need them anyway) then ask them to try it on one of the cameras they stock, preferably a wooden one.

Ron Hughes
12-Feb-1998, 07:48
I already have some used Fidelity film holders. Unfortunately, there doesn't se em to be a supplier of LF cameras anywhere near where I am in the UK, which is w hy I posted the message :-)

LF seems to be a lot more popular among "amateurs" in the US - here in the UK th eir use seems to be limited to professionals. Maybe I'm wrong ...

Meanwhile, someone has suggested using draught/draft excluder strip. I still ne ed to devise a way of pressing the film-holder against the strip.

Rob "John Henry" Rothman
17-Feb-1998, 12:07
If you can't look at an actual camera back, see if you can find an illustration of one in a book. The way the leaf springs provide the necessary pressure is di fficult to explain, but will be quite apparent when you see it.

Most of the cameras that I've seen do not use weatherstripping or any similar so ft material to provide a light trap; they rely instead on pressure and a smooth mating surface. My guess is that a soft material could cause problems in focuss ing accuracy for a regular camera, since the exact position of the film would de pend on the degree of compression of the material. However, this shouldn't be a problem for a pinhole, which has virtually infinite depth of focus.