View Full Version : Shutter and front Standard for my DIY ULF

Paul Kinzer
29-Apr-2018, 20:35
This is going to be a long-term project, but I've now made a start on my 14x17 ULF camera. I've chosen 14x17 because it will provide -- for me -- an ideal size for contact prints, in a size of film available in x-ray film. I could go smaller for convenience, but don't want to; and could go larger, but for cost and physical room necessary for processing. Everyone is different, and this is where I've settled.

I may be starting in the wrong place, but I got two lenses that will work for the size, and neither came in shutters. I bought a used Ilex #4 for the 19-inch Apo Artar, and had started making adapter rings to put the two together, but then came on a good deal* on a 760mm Apo Ronar, and knew I'd not find easily an affordable shutter for it. I decided to do make something that would work for both, allowing me to forego doing any modifications to the Ilex #4. I can now resell it and the lens that came in it, probably for more than I paid for it.

I bought a 3x4 Anniversary Speed Graphic on eBay that turned out to be perfect for my needs. More so than I would have guessed**. It was in rough shape as a camera for which you cannot even get film, with missing bits, corrosion, leather falling off, etc. But the focal plane shutter works great and has no light leaks, and the mahogany body was in fine shape. I chose an Anniversary because it it the newest model with the old-style, 24-speed focal plane shutter. The newer, simplified Pacemaker shutter has a lowest speed of 1/30th second. The Anniversary goes as slow as 1/10th. And my experience with Pacemakers (I've had about 100+ go through my hands) says that the speed might be even lower. I realize that I'll almost certainly be using speeds of more than a second, and that a shutter is probably not really even needed. But I can use a shutter release cable with this, which will be nicer than a hat, and it cost less than a Packard.

The shutter opens to a rectangle that is about 3-1/8 inches by 4 inches (80 x 100mm). This might be small for some faster ULF lenses, but its good enough for the narrow paths and small apertures of the f/11 Artar and the f/14 Ronar.

I designed the lens board holder for the 'shutter' based on the size of the camera and the rear of the Apo Ronar's mounting flange. I used some spare sliders from a Pacemaker Graphic, and placed them as far out as I could, but I still had to mill a bit off the back of the flange so the sliders could get a good bite onto the Ronar's board. It worked okay without the milling, but I just bought a milling machine, so why not use it?

I've decided to use the front standard for a Toyo 45G as the front for my ULF camera, partially because it I already have some other Toyo parts that I will be using.

The photos don't really show how nice the color looks; at least not on my monitor.

* I can only afford this project with good deals! The Artar was $45; the Ronar will be about $100, after I sell the 240mm that came with it. The Speed Graphic cost $60. The front standard for a Toyo 45G cost less than $90.

** A couple of the photos will show that the Speed graphic just fits onto the Toyo front standard. It fits easily if I mount the Toyo board the camera is attached to at a 90 degree turn (which another photo shows), but gravity seems to help the shutter in its normal position, so I might want keep it that way.

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Paul Kinzer
29-Apr-2018, 20:38
More images.

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Paul Kinzer
29-Apr-2018, 20:40
And just a few more:

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Tin Can
29-Apr-2018, 23:14
Looks good nice work

Steven Tribe
30-Apr-2018, 05:11
Very nice solution, especialy if spare parts for the 4x5" version fit this 3x4" version. I have always found this and the laterT-P focal plane shutters to be the best.

The two uprights on the standard look a bit short for getting much rise from the central position? My limited experience with ULF tapered bellows is that the "sag" problem increases in direct proportion to the increasing difference in size between the front and rear standards.

Paul Kinzer
30-Apr-2018, 09:13
Thanks, Steven. For the kind words and the information.

My plan right now is for the central position of the camera to be where the lenses sit in the photos. All of the distance of the uprights (145mm) will be for rise. Fall will happen using tilt of the front and rear standards. It makes sense in my head, and in drawings, but the nice thing about DIY is that I can always change my mind. I have a maybe-weird way of going about DIY projects: I like the challenge of using what I already have on hand in whatever it is I'm designing and making. And even if they won't work, they help me to plan. I have Graflex and Toyo parts and accessories, and knowledge about them, so there they are.

I was not aware of the relationship between the taper and sagging, but it makes intuitive sense now that I am. I expect it in a camera this large, and will keep it in mind while I build. I'm expecting delivery today of six samples of different blackout material as possibilities for making bellows. I've never made bellows before, so experimentation is on its way.

Some, including me at times, might think this project involves biting off more than I can chew. But I've made about a dozen telescopes, and refurbished over a hundred old cameras. And there are no deadlines for this; I can chew slowly.

Paul Kinzer
30-Apr-2018, 09:29
Oh, and thanks, too, Randy! I somehow missed you post. Your own posts on ULF stuff has been a big part of why I've taken this on. You are a doer.

james zhou
3-May-2018, 19:24
Nicely done! This is what I always wanted to do!

Paul Kinzer
4-May-2018, 19:36
Thanks, James!

I have seen others who've done this, but they always used a 4x5 Speed Graphic, as far as I've seen. That would be ideal, since it would allow the use of physically-bigger lenses. But I had already both found two smaller lenses and chosen the Toyo 45G front standard as my choice for the front of my camera. When I found the beat-up 3x4 Anniversary Graphic on eBay, I only hoped it would work well for my purposes. It was cheaper than a Packard shutter, and it turned out to be such a perfect fit that I could not have designed it better if I had tried!

And each time I've seen a Speed Graphic being used as a front standard shutter on a big camera, it has been completely utilitarian; just taking the bed off and using the box as is. I knew there was a lovely box-jointed mahogany thing under there, so why not make it look nice? Much of my 14x17 camera is going to be made of 3/4-inch square aluminum tube (yes, I found a great deal on a bunch of it), but the rear standard and some other parts will be made of wood. I think this piece will balance well with the other things I have in mind.

I don't plan to completely refurbish the wear and tear on the Toyo standard; it will only get wear and tear again. But who knows? If the rest of the camera looks really nice, maybe I'll at least sand and repaint the black bits. The chrome wear is beyond my skills.

4-May-2018, 20:02
Hi Paul, I did the same thing a couple of years ago so I could use my large brass lenses. I converted mine into a shutter to be used on any of my big cameras that took a 4x4 lens board, just put the female fitting to the front to accept a lens board,and a male fitting to the rear, to fit on a lens board.
Here it is fitted to a 10x12 vageeswari with a Ross 16inch petzval on the front. I have just finished making a new male fitting for the back of the shutter so it will fit my new nagakoa 8x10, which has a slightly smaller lens board.

Paul Kinzer
5-May-2018, 08:51
Nice, but that huge lens is making your camera say 'ouch!' But, hey, if it works...

One of the things I like about ULF, and film photography in general, is the potential mixture of the extremely precise and the 'just put a clamp on it'!

5-May-2018, 15:18
The vageeswari has a small clip on the bottom of the front standard to hold the lens plate vertical, if you look at it sideways it will pop open, Hence the clamp. Yes it was a lot of burden on the front of a lightweight 10x12, but it got the job done.

5-May-2018, 17:16
Looks nice Paul!

neil poulsen
5-May-2018, 17:48
I had a 8x20 for a brief period (1 photo :o) that used a Toyo G 8x10 as the underlying system. It was interesting how the person who did the conversion was able to remove the 8x10 back and fairly easily install the 8x20 Wisner conversion. It was still possible to easily change back and forth.

My For-Sale listing does a decent job of showing how the 8x20 Wisner conversion attached to the 8x10 G rear standards . . .


To revert back to 8x10, once the 8x20 conversion is removed from the 8x10 G standard, on can reattach the 8x10 back onto the standard. See the 2nd and 3rd posts in the listing.

Paul Kinzer
6-May-2018, 12:05
The camera I'm working on will work in a similar way, but since I have a 760mm lens, I plan to have the camera capable of about 50-55 inches of bellows draw. I haven't settled on just how it will all be made, so won't describe it yet. I keep finding cool ideas, and even coming up with some of my own.

andrewch59: Sorry if I came across as dissing your camera. I like it a lot, and envy your huge lens.

Paul Kinzer
6-May-2018, 12:05
And thanks, jp!

6-May-2018, 17:21
No Probs Paul, I think your idea is great and possibly sturdier than mine, and yours looks a million dollars. The only drawback is it cannot be used on other cameras. Good luck with our build.

Paul Kinzer
13-May-2018, 12:20
Thanks, Andrew! I was careful to do as little modification to the Speed Graphic as possible, so putting a different adapter on it, for use with a different camera/front standard, would be easy enough. I've put it aside for now, reluctantly, while I raise funds and work on other projects.

This is my first ULF DIY project, but it's already giving me ideas for others. That may be both a good thing, and a bad one....