View Full Version : Anyone else build a Bender camera?

Ryan McIntosh
26-May-2005, 12:50
I recently built a Bender 8x10, and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for inproving the spring back/film holder on the camera. Also, has anyone replaced the back with one from another camera? I cannot get it to hold tight, and it seems to really enjoy leaking light into my film.



Scott Kathe
26-May-2005, 14:00

I finished building the Bender 4x5 a couple of months ago and haven't had a light leak but I modified the way my back is attached. I didn't use the 2 L-screws, one in the upper left, the other in the lower right. I used two 8-32 threaded brass rods epoxied into the back holder. The rods line up with two sets of holes in the back, one set for portrait mode, one for landscape. I use two knurled brass knobs to hold the back onto the camera. I'm not sure how the back of the 8x10 is held on but if it's similar to the 4x5 the method I use may work but I'd make the following modifications for the larger camera: 1-maybe use 1/4 inch threaded rods, 2-use four instead of two so you can clamp down each corner.

Did you paint the light traps black? Also, 4x5 film holders have a 'lip' near the end the darkslide slides out of so the back holder has to have a corresponding recess to accomidate this. If 8x10 film holders have the lip make sure to put in the recess. I've had good luck talking with Jay Bender, he can probably straighten out your problem.

Good luck and let us know the solution.

Graham Hughes
26-May-2005, 15:28
I built the 4x5, and I think the 8x10 back is similar; if your back is loose then the L-screws need to go further in to the wood. I've never had any light leaking on mine.

Ryan McIntosh
26-May-2005, 15:57
Thank you for your suggestions. I have got the small L screws to hold the back on tight, but the main problem is light leaking in around the film holder when it is placed into the camera back. Maybe would running strips of velvet where the film holder rests, stop it from leaking light?

Its is mainly the plastic sitting on wood, that is not making a light tight seal. I carved out the groved for the film holder notch...so that is not the problem. I think the problem is plastic against wood, does not make a very light tight seal.

Any suggestions on this matter?

Thanks again so much,


Jon Shiu
26-May-2005, 16:38
Take the back off and insert a film holder. See if it is seated flat against the back or is hung up in some way, eg tab not getting into slot etc.


Graham Hughes
26-May-2005, 17:10
I second Jon on this. I've had no trouble with mine, and have no reason to believe that wood-on-plastic cannot make a good light seal. That said, if there's a little play in the slot for the holder then yes, it's possible it's too big/loose, and black velvet would help that a little. But it's not really necessary.

Scott Kathe
27-May-2005, 12:23
Hi Ryan,

I had a couple more thoughts. When I built my 4x5 Bender I had some pretty big gaps between the pieces of wood on the bottom of the back (portrait mode) that fit into the recessed part in the rear of the camera. If I were to do it again when I built the back I would make the rectangular frame that fits into the recess first which would insure no light leaks there, then attach the three pieces of wood to the completed frame. I used wood filler to fill in my gaps.

I was really worried about light leaks around the film holder too but I haven't noticed a problem. With my camera I've found I have to put my film holer in and then pull it out slightly till it drops into the slot that corresponds to the ridge on the film holder.

Hope you can find and fix your problem.

Robert Eaves
28-May-2005, 03:21
Ryan, I too built a Bender 4x5 about 5 years ago. I also replaced the L shaped holders with 8-32 thread studs and use small nurrled brass knobs to hold the back tight. No leaks to this day.