View Full Version : My new baby!

15-Jul-2006, 11:38
Kodak Ground Camera, world war 2 RAF usage apparently. It's half plate but the two double dark slides are in awful condition. It also had no lens. I hoovered out the bellows and wiped it down with a damp cloth. Looks so much better now, although it needs a lot of work.

I'm using a 4.5inch Wray Supar enlarging lens, and that photo shows it with a recessed lens board I spent all afternoon making. I'm not sure how this will affect the rise/fall however.

The recessed lensboard is a little prototype and is only held together with pva glue, i doubt its very light tight. It just about lets me focus to the end of the garden now (10metres). I've got a 8.5inch Ross Xpres lens which I'll probably end up using since its a lot bigger, its also a lot heavier!

I thought not too bad for £25 camera, £8 lens and £0 lensboard.

EDIT: It's a...
[S.I. MarkII Ground Camera, Kodak Ltd London WC2]

15-Jul-2006, 13:55
Hello Ash,

Congrats on the new baby! Was it a tough delivery?

Sorry... bad joke!

Anyway, enjoy the camera! :)


Michael Graves
15-Jul-2006, 13:58
That looks very similar to the Eastman 33. THe holes on the front standard are shaped right to have once held sliding lensboard retainers. THe ones currently on the camera look to be added on later. Anyone else have any opinions?

15-Jul-2006, 14:17
I removed the metal bracket that was in the front standard, I have no idea how it would have held the lens or other lensboard so any info would be welcomed!

Oh, on the note of delivery, my thanks to the guy who sold it to me - he came down from the north of England to deliver it in person!

If anyone can give me more info on this camera or anything that may be of use, i'll be very grateful!

I'm also looking for plans to build some darkslides, as the ones I have are practically rusted shut

16-Jul-2006, 03:10
I am a total fool when it comes to some of these unusual cameras. Please send more pictures or descriptions as you find out more about it. Nice piece of history I imagine!



16-Jul-2006, 05:32
Here are the photo's of the camera that I was sent before I bought it:


More photo's of it once I've cleaned it up.

Features I've worked out so far:

- very light
- rotating back, so it can shoot portrait and landscapes,
- holds 1/2 plates but with a bit of honey/jam/post-it-glue it holds other sizes
- grotesque DIY 5x4 wooden adapter that I can't get my head around, and may never use
- grey painted wood/metal
- serial numbers all over it apparently mean it was RAF usage WWII (these things were made in the 1940's according to one single other website)
- spring tensioned ground glass (cut corners) (dark slides slot in between)
- DIY recessed lens board (made by me)*
- apparently light tight bellows

*the lensboard is a prototype, held with super strong PVA! I'm going to fill it in to make it light tight, and nail it solid, then paint it the same colour as the body. I need to make one twice as deep though, as focusing to infinity is still a bit difficult

Considering it just about focuses to infinity with the front track closed up. This means I would not have to fold out the camera on trips, merely place on tripod, compose, and shoot (especially if at f/16 or f/32))

I'm still after plans for DIY darkslides though!!

16-Jul-2006, 05:51
you must be born with a lucky stroke. First the free Perkin monster in decept shape and now this grey beauty for a steal. And at what speed you have moved ahead in the LF territory. You leave us all behind, gasping for air. I hope the Xpres turns out to be a lovely lens. We have several Xpresses and some or better than others. It may benefit from a good hood or compendium to improve the contrast. Or do you have a coated version?
Anyway, I hope your good luck stays with you when you start shooting more negs.

16-Jul-2006, 06:48
Don't lose the rear extension -) Shouldn't be too hard to make a 4x5 back for it. If the home made back has the hardware it's not that complicated.

16-Jul-2006, 10:16
This has become a lot more of a project than I intended! I have all summer, though, so it should be worth it!

The 4x5 back is going to be the next project for the camera, but dark slides are pretty expensive, and I'm not sure how to match the distance between the ground glass and the lens for a new 4x5 DDS to ensure it focuses accurately. I'm thinking more along the lines of building some half plate DDS's and having a small bracket inserted to reduce the inside to hold 4x5 properly. (alternatively make a bracket around 4x5 DDS's so they firmly slot in the area usually filled by the half plate DDS)

I was stupid enough to go without a tshirt in the garden whilst working on the lens panels, thinking it was a nice day. I'm now all sunburnt!!

I made a smaller, deeper recessed lens panel, and *attempted* to paint it with a very coarse brush that i found laying around. I nearly matched the colour of the body, but it turns out it's dark pale umber, and I began with thinking it was a navy grey! The front standard looks very rough now, but considering the drill holes and wear and tear its had for 60-odd years, a bit of paint shouldnt be bad.

I'll probably go to the arts/crafts shops or even Homebase to their Dulux colour matching machine, get a big tub of paint the same colour as the body then give it a new lease on life. I really like the colour of it, so I must avoid painting it anything else!!

As for the Perken, it still belongs to my mother, so I'm quite afraid to use it in case I damage it. It's lovely to use but being so large and not being something easily replaced, it will probably sit out to this kodak camera.

Here's the recessed lens panel:

pre-painting, slotting in
the underside

after that I filled in all the gaps in the structure with poly-filler for light-tightness

Wray lens, with extended aperture dial, and top left arrow showing setting
full front standard

The colour is only slightly off, but noticeably. The lens panel is fibreboard, an old cupboard, and a few 16mm nails.

16-Jul-2006, 10:19
Oops I forgot to thank you Norm. My luck isn't that great, but I do look out for bargains and put some effort into my photographic ventures!

Ernest Purdum
16-Jul-2006, 19:46
You wouldn't have to worry about groundglass spacing if you use an existing back as a starting point. An 8X10 or 5X7 to 4X5 reducing back could be cut down to fit. (Perhaps I should say 10X8, etc.) This should be simpler and easier than making 1/2 plate filmholders. (Perhaps I should say D.D.S.s)

Turner Reich
16-Jul-2006, 20:33
It's nice and will clean up and look great. I have several, 4, of these type cameras in 5x7 and 8x10 and I took the hardware off and polished it, they buff up easily, and refinished the wood. None of mine were expensive but now they are worth a lot because they are stunning to look at. They are about worthless without the extension rail, I have them for all of mine, and feel lucky. They are pretty low maintenance and sold so have fun.


17-Jul-2006, 03:07
Ernest, I've seen a few reducing backs on 'bay, but none in the UK right now, and the adapter back that came with the camera doesnt have a ground glass or anything really.

Turner, that's what I'm planning. It looks old right now, so hopefully I can clean it up nicely. It'll look a mess soon enough after I give it some proper use anyways :)

I would have thought the simplest way of using DDS's/filmholders/whatever would be making a 1/2-plate-holder-sized bracket like so (first |_| on image)

This fills the cavity of a 1/2 plate DDS/filmholder, and the 4x5 holder merely slides into this thing. The film holder can be placed the correct distance, as laying a dark slide in the bracket side by side with a 1/2 plate bracket, both should be the exact same height/thickness.

Does that make sense?

so with the 4x5 in the bracket it will look like so (second part of image)

oversimplified of course :D

Aside from that I really would like to either build or source a few more half-plate holders, so shameless plug to anyone with some for sale!

EDIT: ascii art doesnt want to work - gimme 2 minutes to draw it in photoshop!