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Ash
16-Feb-2007, 09:53
Well essentially the same mod that was forgotten about.

The SI MkII Kodak Ground Camera (military marked) - Half Plate

I want to FIIIINALLY make use of it, and since it's lighter than (but probably just as bulky as) the Cambo monorail, it may be good for actual field use, and I can go out and use some large format film up!

So here's a list of the problems.

I want to repaint it, or restore the ugly brown/grey air-force colour. I'm thinking either a straight washover with black would look nice but really isn't too good if I take it on a sunny day. Oh yea, I'm in England, that's not gonna happen! Maybe woodstaining would look nice, a rich colour to make it look more classy.
....Either way the bellows (which are in great condition and not worth chucking) will look out of place, unless I painted them to suit.


I need a modern back.
I spent (sit down before you read it) 100 on a Sinar 4x5 back, especially for this camera.
One of the previous owners had cut out a 4x5 reducing back, with two little metal bolts. The GG spring part fits under. Course you lift the GG and the whole thing unclips with a TWANG!. I repositioned the metal bolts with a thin nail under each to clip onto the hook of the Sinar back. This kiiinda works but it's ugly as hell, and I don't trust it is completely flat and gives a correct view.
A quarter inch under 8x8 (back can rotate), the back area is large enough to accomodate 5x7 I think.

So here's my next problem.
Do I sell the Sinar 4x5 back, and raise funds for a 5x7 back?
-This means I need a 5x7 back, 5x7 holders, 5x7 film
Do I buy a 4x5 reducing back that is in working order?
-This means no more worry about the DIY back, and I can sell the Sinar 4x5
Do I attempt to build a 'proper' reducing back, using the Sinar 4x5 base built into a wood/metal frame, so it is light tight, and definitely flat and 'ok'?
-Probably the most effective choice, but finding the time/means to build the back would be difficult, especially with the sturdiness to allow constant use for the next few years without falling apart.



The camera came without lens, without shutter.

I have my Goerz Dagor in its mounting flange perched on the front of the camera, but it isn't really secure. I also have a Aldis Uno, and a Wray Supar, both in DIY recessed lensboards I made for the camera. I have a Empco Silent Shutter. I'm only really keen on using the Dagor.

I would like to get another Packard shutter, or else modify the Empco to act like a packard - the Empco requires 110V to work properly.

Do I devise a cunning front standard mod, like with the cambo?
-I'll be able to use multiple lenses on one shutter, but all my lenses are in their mounts for the Cambo, and I don't want to mess up that system, the front standard of the Kodak isn't large enough to accomodate the same mod as the Cambo.
Do I attack the front standard and fit a single solid front panel with the Dagor, and the shutter attached to the rear of the dagor?
-this means pulling the camera apart, and doing irreversible damage (the front standard shows enough of that damage already!)



Any thoughts? I'll get some photo's of the camera up shortly, I'm sure in my message history there are enough photo's previously posted.

My main concern is USING this camera. That means fitting the front lens semi-permanently with a working shutter, and an international back.



If anyone out there has a reducing back to 4x5 (modern/universal) then please let me know!

Ash
13-Mar-2007, 10:46
ok so I didn't get any help to my roundabout post above.

Here's the update.

I drilled some holes in the front of the camera, tried to attach the Packard shutter. It didn't go down too well.... Now I have four more holes in the front standard.

The bellows will be painted black.
I can't afford to replace the bellows right now, and as far as I can tell there is only one tiny tear, where I popped a screwdriver through the leather by accident. I'll replace the bellows one day, but for now I'm going to repair the hole then get some paint and attack those grey folds!

Frank R is selling me some wood 5x7 holders - hopefully this means the original half plate back can be used as 5x7. We'll see.

BradS is selling me a broken 4x5 back - I'll repair that and hammer it onto a nice piece of wood to attach to the camera. That means I'll have a working 4x5 back I hope. It also means I'll either keep the Sinar/DIY back as spare, or sell the Sinar back.

Dave is selling me a Packard shutter - Not sure if this will fit well with the camera. I'll work that out when it arrives.

If the Packard shutter isn't exactly what I'd like, I have a new plan:
I'll work out a cunning way to attach Cambo SC lensboards to the front of the camera. This will add a lot of weight, after all the lensboards are metal, BUT it means I can transfer the WHOLE Packard Shutter Mod (see sig) from the Cambo and attach it directly to the Kodak SI.


Today I started to strip the camera. It's REALLY painful to sand off all that grey paint. REALLY REALLY is!!! It took a LOT of sandpaper to get this far, and it'll take a helluva lot more. Below is about 3 hours work. That's it. A tiny tiny fraction of the camera.

Here are the photo's of the work in progress:

Goodbye grey paint :)
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00818.jpg
(note holes all over the front standard from abusive previous owners)

Starting to sand
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00820.jpg

One side done!
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00819.jpg

Ash
13-Mar-2007, 10:48
Wood-Goo stuff applied
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00824.jpg

The top is mahogany I think, is the bottom beech?
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00826.jpg




Here's the original state of the camera http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00033a.jpg
that also shows the cheap and cheerful recessed lens-board I made to accommodate a Wray 4.5inch

The camera images from the seller, this is the 'original' original state - looks ok in these pics, huh?
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSCF0185.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSCF0187.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSCF0188.jpg
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSCF0189.jpg
He had a rose tinted lens I think!


If you look at the metal bar across the top of the front standard on the original photo's (removed during sanding and everything) - I just looked on the back and noticed some text covered by red paint. I scrubbed off the paint and found "NEWEY BROTHERS B'HAM LTD" - looks like the Newey Bro's did SOME metal work on the camera. Nice to find little things like that.

Pete Watkins
13-Mar-2007, 12:58
Oh my gawd. You're in a mess. Sort out your priorities.
A) What size negative film do you want to use?
B) Have you got an enlarger?
C) Have you considered pinhole?
D) Don't paint leather, if you want to change the colour dye it with the right type of dye.
E) You are creating a bit of an abortion, what matters more, the colour of the camera or the images produced by the contraption?
F) Do the world a favour, bin your collection of hammers and buy some screwdrivers.
G) If you're stripping the paint use Nitromores (Homebase, B & Q's etc.). Do NOT get this stuff on the bellows. Wear protective gloves, the proper ones!
H) Fill the holes in with wood filler and finish off with Brummer Stopping, this is a really fine filler and gives a really smooth finish.
J) I thought that Wray Suprars were enlarging lenses. They have a poor reputation and are "two a penny" to quote a phrase.
K) Look for suitable LUC shutters, camera fairs happen and are advertised. You're planning a trip to The Smoke for Photographica 2007, be patient somthing might turn up there.
L) Look at front mounting the Packard, slow down, look at the options. Consider the Repromaster lenses (I bought three on the Bay for six quid, the mugs are out there. Look in the darkroom side, lots of people think that they're enlarging lenses (I've seen G-Clarons up cheap as enlarging lenses). I bought a 5 1/2" lens in a working Compour shutter for £4-12p this year. God knows how everybody else missed it, but I got it. Some lenses on U.K. E-Bay are sold during the working day. These usually go a bit cheaply as most people are working at these times.
I've now run out of ideas, if you outbid me on the Bay I'll never forgive ya, but never mind.
Best wishes,
Pete.

Ash
13-Mar-2007, 13:19
The original post was a lot of waffling - I can no longer edit it, so I cannot sort out the mess of text up there.


Oh my gawd. You're in a mess. Sort out your priorities.
-Thanks.


A) What size negative film do you want to use?
-Either 4x5 or 5x7. I have the Calumet 45N, and I'll have this field camera as 4x5 at least. I'd prefer 4x5 and 5x7 since

B) Have you got an enlarger?
-Not for Large Format.

C) Have you considered pinhole?
-Why?!??!!?!!?

D) Don't paint leather, if you want to change the colour dye it with the right type of dye.
-It has already been painted over, check the pictures. I'm just painting over paint, using the grey as primer.

E) You are creating a bit of an abortion, what matters more, the colour of the camera or the images produced by the contraption?
-Both.
I think you're missing the point. The camera was already in a state. I wanted to sort it out and have it working fully. I needed to dismantle it, so I may as well strip off the horrid colour while I'm at it.


F) Do the world a favour, bin your collection of hammers and buy some screwdrivers.
You shouldn't diss the Irish Screwdriver. Those things are useful.
I was being ironic, I wouldn't hammer anything into this camera. Like I said, that front standard was munched by previous owners. I think giving to charities does the world more of a favour.

G) If you're stripping the paint use Nitromores (Homebase, B & Q's etc.). Do NOT get this stuff on the bellows. Wear protective gloves, the proper ones!
-That may actually be some useful advice there.

H) Fill the holes in with wood filler and finish off with Brummer Stopping, this is a really fine filler and gives a really smooth finish.
-That's what I was thinking. Thanks for the name-brand.

J) I thought that Wray Suprars were enlarging lenses. They have a poor reputation and are "two a penny" to quote a phrase.
-They are. I bought one really cheap when I got the camera last year, prior to purchasing any 'real' lenses.

K) Look for suitable LUC shutters, camera fairs happen and are advertised. You're planning a trip to The Smoke for Photographica 2007, be patient somthing might turn up there.
-I was hoping to see a fair in my area, but it's rare. The packard shutter is cheaper than searching for a Luc.

L) Look at front mounting the Packard, slow down, look at the options.
-Did you miss my original modification post where this is what I did? Not in front of the lens, but in front of the camera.

Consider the Repromaster lenses (I bought three on the Bay for six quid, the mugs are out there. Look in the darkroom side, lots of people think that they're enlarging lenses (I've seen G-Clarons up cheap as enlarging lenses). I bought a 5 1/2" lens in a working Compour shutter for 4-12p this year. God knows how everybody else missed it, but I got it. Some lenses on U.K. E-Bay are sold during the working day. These usually go a bit cheaply as most people are working at these times.
-I've not ever seen lenses go that cheap. You must have bagged the few there were

I've now run out of ideas, if you outbid me on the Bay I'll never forgive ya, but never mind.
-Eh?

Ash
16-Mar-2007, 13:05
Hmm. It looks like this really is a WWII era camera.

Every possible scrap of hard wood went into the bloody thing!

Extension rail, front standard, front standard bracket, rear standard shell.... EVERYTHING has a new type of wood!


Still some work to be done as you can see!
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00842.jpg


Front view, look at all those wood-tones!
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00844.jpg


Side view, with extension rail folded up:
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00848.jpg


I'm thinking I may buy some woodstain, and stain the whole camera a rich brown like the mahogany colour on the front bracket. Not sure though!!


I've yet to sort the bellows, and the earliest I'll receive the Cherry 4x5 back is this time next week!

Randy H
16-Mar-2007, 15:22
Ash,
If you can find it where you live, and you don't have all the paint off yet, there is a product called "Citri-Strip". It works very well on old wood, is environmentally (as well as can be) friendly, works extremely well, and will not "lift" the grain of the wood. I have used it on several old beaters over the past years. Works great. Bit of advice found the hard way, if you plan on stain and lacquer, seal the wood before lacquer. The grain on old wood tends to raise, and a shot of sealer prior to lacquer or shellac, will keep it nice and smooth looking. After stain, and again after your final coat has set for a couple days, get some #0000 steel wool and buff the finish, then wax it. "LIGHTLY BUFF", not aggressively. I learned a lot of this on an old 5x7 Agfa Ansco that they originally painted some gawd-awful grey metalflake. It, too was made of about six different woods. Stained it all cherry/walnut mixture (a little red in the brown) and six-coat lacquered. Looked good. Had a blast! Post pics of finished product. I enjoy rebuilds from fire-place items myself. Latest was a Conley 8X10 BW View. Looked like s**t. Now looks gorgeous. Try making your own bellows. 'Tis fun, and is well worth the "bragging rights" when you are done. Look at pics of my Conley and an old New-Vue in the thread "show me yours".
Have fun

Randy H
16-Mar-2007, 15:28
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=20520

Try this link to the thread.

BTW, the Conley was painted brown, mounted on a slab of plywood, used as an enlarger. Bellows were shot, (rotted) glass was gone, really a trash piece that I bought for pennies. I built the bellows, cut and ground the glass, made a new lens board, stripped, steel-wooled, stained, steel-wool, sealed, steel-wool, lacquered, steel-wool, waxed. The light places in the wood are reflections. Camera is all same colour throughout.

Ash
16-Mar-2007, 16:03
Randy, that Conley looks amazing now!!

Sadly that thread has made my Kodak look even uglier!!


I think I'll be spending a lot of money on sexy wood field cameras in the future. They look so much sweeter than small format cameras :D


I think I'll seal the wood with the stuff from the shed (it's like a honey coloured goo) THEN get some wood stain.

To be honest I just want this thing finished and looking 'good'. I don't have the patience to make new bellows. I tried once and failed. The camera has about 24" extension as well, that's a lot of material to buy!

Randy H
17-Mar-2007, 11:08
Nothing on earth can give you the thrill,
That puttin your hands on a woodie will.
:D

Ash
17-Mar-2007, 11:10
Wood jokes? Oh dear... (apparently grinning emoticons count as images, so I couldn't grin at your comment Randy!)

The sun went behind some nasty clouds by two hours of work. I hate Englisch weather! It's meant to snow now!

lensboard and rear standard
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00858.jpg

rear standard movements, and the nasty irremovable piece!
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00865.jpg

rear standard after wood-goo stuff
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00866.jpg

Ash
17-Mar-2007, 16:09
Here's the camera as it stands....

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00871.jpg

Still a lot of work to be done. the grey bellows don't look so ghastly now. They WILL change colour eventually.

Anyone ever put woodstain on leather, by errrr.... accident? :D

Shen45
17-Mar-2007, 18:45
Congratulations Ash, the project is coming on really well. Wonderful to see the transition made from military to marvellous :)

Look forward to the first images you post from it.

Steve

Randy H
17-Mar-2007, 20:05
Ash, me amigo, I fear you have done went and screwed up. The camera is lookin good. BUT... it only takes one to get hooked. I have noticed your looking for more and more "woodies" to work with. My first "hook" was an old 6.5x8.5 long-focus Korona. It had the double-drop bed, double extensions, no front standard, no glass. I spent two months stripping old leather and varnish and rebuilding that monstrosity, and got hooked on refurbing old cameras. I sold it on the 'bay and used the money to buy two more junkers. Now I have eight, and one on the way. And rebuilt and sold five others. (And currently a bid in on another). Ya see, what they do is let you have the first one real cheap. Then when they got you hooked, they start upping the availability and you just can't stop!! I AM NOT CRAZY!! It's an addiction, I tell you. Or a conspiracy.

Any way, your work and diligence is paying off. The camera is indeed lookin good. Now go out and shoot something with it. To borrow another's phrase: "Fresh Eyes"

Ash
18-Mar-2007, 06:18
Thanks Steve, it's looking a lot nicer. The work is far from done though! There are currently about 30 screws taped to a piece of paper labeled up for each part of the camera they came from.

I maybe throw the thing back together to try and get a photo or two soon... but I still need to sort out the back.
I'm waiting for the nice cherry 4x5 back to arrive (and the packard shutter, and the ground glass). I'm not too keen on the current DIY 4x5 back.

I'm tempted to try doing a paper neg with some 5x7 paper sometime, but I haven't stripped down the original half plate back.


Randy you are SO right!
I was watching the paint come off and thought "hey, I could do this more often!" - I've been forcing myself to remember I can only do one camera at a time, and I still have 15-20 hours work to get this one looking great.

I daren't show the angles where I've cheated or cut corners :D

Dean Jones
18-Mar-2007, 13:47
Ash you are doing a fine job....'tis a shame you don`t have access to a belt sander, although you have to be careful not to reduce the dimension. Being grey, perhaps it was a Navy camera, but which war, perhaps it belonged to Nelson?
You are to be commended for taking on such a bugger of a job, no fun in sanding off paint to be sure. Keep thinking of the finished camera.....document the whole thing, then write an article for some magazine like JPG...they pay you.
Can`t wait to see pics taken of and by your labour of love. :)

Cheers from OZ.

Ash
18-Mar-2007, 14:20
Dean many thanks. There are AM (air ministry) reference numbers all over it. Pretty sure it was RAF, not navy - there aren't sea-salt stains either!

It was kinda the same colour as a spitfire.


Here's the first coat

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00874.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00875.jpg


I kinda forgot to sand down the wood first (having sealed it with the wood-goo stuff) so I'll need to re-sand off the stain and reapply all this stuff.

Martin Courtenay-Blake
18-Mar-2007, 14:43
Hi Ash

I have exactly the same camera but still in it's original RAF grey. I've actually had it for about 15 years but have only recently started working on it. I am debating keeping the original half plate format (picked up a lot of Velvia on ebay) and possibly building a seperate 5x7 back.

I have ruled out the down to wood and stain approach so I'm going to use a solid colour - probably Burgundy and restain the bellows grey. I do have a major problem though - almost all the gearing is shot, especially the focussing racks and the front rise. To date I have not been able to source small enough rack and pinions so I'm thinking along the lines of making my own (not too appealing) or using friction drive. At the moment the racks are so variable the whole camera goes from perfectly stable to about to fall to bits at various points along the rack.

I am determined to conquer this one but I feel I may be some time.

Martin

Ash
18-Mar-2007, 14:52
Good luck Martin!!

Mine has waited a year as even this level of work seemed 'too much' for a while :)

The camera is actually perfect for 5x7, the rear is well-sized. I'm better with 4x5 due to cost efficiency.

The removable/rotating back means you can have a reducing back as well.

I decided to strip the wood down as I thought it'd be all the same underneath.

If you like, once I have sorted my 'proper' 4x5 back, you can have the DIY shell afterwards. (literally the base, no GG or back piece - maybe worth expanding into a 5x7, or for building a template from)

John Cahill
18-Mar-2007, 20:48
Ash,

Heath Robinson would be proud of you!!

John (Rube Goldberg) Cahill

Pete Watkins
19-Mar-2007, 06:26
Martin,
Have a look at the HPC Gears website for gears and racks. If they can't help you they might know who can.
Best wishes,
Pete.

Ash
20-Mar-2007, 09:35
Here's the finished product. As in, it's had some coats to the surface, it's not yet finished though. I got REALLY bored of the pieces laying around so I re-assembled it prior to launch.

The wood stain turned a bit nasty in places. I've coated it in the wood-goo stuff, but that was before the stain was completely touch dry. 24 hours later and it was still sticky. I then used beeswax, and finished it off with a rub of furniture polish. Generally un-stickified now.

With use it'll improve I bet.


http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00882a.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00883a.jpg

Just for kicks, here's the original condition:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSCF0187-1.jpg

Rob_5419
20-Mar-2007, 11:32
a nice civilian take on the blander grey model. I thought Kodak Specialist cameras came with half-plate backs in the 1950's. Or if they were the later versions on monorails, they had modified 5x7" compatible spring backs so that you could just stick in a 5x7" DDS.

Ash
20-Mar-2007, 17:24
Now for the dodgy DIY!

Here's the current lens panel. I've re-attached the old hooks and latch. This is my grandfather's Dagor, begging for use.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00885.jpg

With the camera came a metal bracket that takes 4"/100mm lens panels. I'll soon mock up 'real' lens panels to fit.

The original DIY 4x5 back

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00886.jpg

Looks like soft mdf or something, came with the camera, I bought the Sinar back and mounted it on the DIY frame. Once the Cherry-wood frame arrives from the USA, I'll find a new use for the Sinar back :D



Rob, I'm still awaiting some 5x7 backs from Frank R, no doubt caught up in customs. Once they arrive I'll report back on their fitting into the halfplate back. The image will be cropped either way.

Rob_5419
20-Mar-2007, 17:42
It looks like a Kodak Specialist camera alright. Lol - the rear GG attachment is definitely an aftermarket add-on.

Btw- the connecting holes at the base of your ground glass is for a monorail extension panel, which enables your camera to undergo 1:1 reproduction . I think the original bellows were designed so that macro/studio reproduction was possible. This was considered an advance on the original Kodak Specialist which was built without the weighted monorail construction that yours has.

As you seem to be missing the original back panel, you may be fortunate to get 7x5" however the camera's original rear plate was not large enough to impress a 7"x5" image, even if the 7x5" holders fitted flush into its spring back.

Ash
21-Mar-2007, 01:56
Rob, If you check the 'original' pictures you'll see that I not only have the extension rail, but I also have the half plate back.

As my post above yours says, I had already anticipated a cropped image from the 5x7 backs if they DO fit into the half plate back.


The camera is VERY close to being a 'specialist', but something tells me it was one of a much smaller run designed for the Air Ministry. All the knobs have totally different detailing, and even the front nameplate has the Ref No 14A/xxxx on it.

Rob_5419
21-Mar-2007, 04:19
Sorry Ash - I must have missed that post from the voluminous set already.

If you have a half-plate back......was this too difficult to use, such that you had to go for an aborted 7"x5" variant size?




The camera is VERY close to being a 'specialist', but something tells me it was one of a much smaller run designed for the Air Ministry. All the knobs have totally different detailing, and even the front nameplate has the Ref No 14A/xxxx on it.

Glad to see you have a sense of humour. There's something special about this camera alright. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of attention it might attract one you flog it as the military Frankenstein take from Kodak on Ebay. Kodak made numerous variations of the Kodak Specialist; having one type of knob or other is neither knob here nor knob there. After the mods that you've made, plus the mods' that previous owners have already made, it's going to be impossible to tell what era the camera comes from, other than all over the place. But at least you get a usable camera with a half-plate format. Dunno about the 7x5" bit....you're going in for greater film expenses having a greater redundant film negative which is less efficient and less economical. 7x5" wooden DDS's of 149mm width should fit into a standard Kodak Specialist camera back, since the 7x5" format was well and truly alive in the 60's and the Specialist catered for both markets. Measure the film holder plane of your half-plate back and set your mind at ease: if it is 149mm, then you don't need to worry. If it isn't, then I'll have to echo Pete's views. "Gawd, you're in a mess!" :)

Ash
21-Mar-2007, 09:30
I don't think I'd be able to sell this camera. Once I've had my hands on something, it is instantly devalued ;)

I'm going to sort a tripod head to mount the camera onto an old surveyor's tripod I acquired today for pennies (huge wooden tripod), to complete the look :D

Frank R
21-Mar-2007, 16:37
I mailed your film holders on March 13th; you should be getting them soon. Let me know when you get them.

Ash
22-Mar-2007, 07:47
Will do :)

Rob_5419
22-Mar-2007, 10:42
I don't think I'd be able to sell this camera. Once I've had my hands on something, it is instantly devalued


Errr yes.

http://www.apug.org/forums/forum192/36936-kodak-plate-camera.html

Looks like yours. 'Looked' like yours rather. There's some description of it by a former user in the thread as well. Nice makeshift lensboard. Hard to make?

I like these Kodak SI cameras a lot - they have a vintage je ne sais quoi about it.

Ash
22-Mar-2007, 10:49
That's the exact same camera.

£100 more expensive, and all it has extra is a working lens/shutter and a knob that's missing on mine (I've since replace). It was on the bay for at least a year.

Randy H
22-Mar-2007, 13:43
Ash,
I told you earlier that rebuilding old junkers is addictive.......
Welcome my latest "mission". I just purchased this 8X10 Century View (first model, Pat 1902) along with holders, contact printer, copy board and studio tripod tilt bed. for a whoppin $30 USD. Got some major issues going on with it. Bellows have been replaced with a smaller size, gears and tracks are out of kilter, etc. Plus side, holders have inserts for 8x10, 5x7, 4x5 AND 3.25x4.25. All hardware is present and wood is all there, as is original back and ground glass. All movements are geared; front rise/fall, rear tilt/swing, front/rear focus. Pretty cool.
The pictures are very flattering in comparison to reality.

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2760&stc=1&d=1174596086
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2761&stc=1&d=1174596086

Ash
22-Mar-2007, 13:50
Randy, you should start a thread like this one, and document the whole restoration.

That looks like a true mission!!

Did you say you can make your own bellows?

Randy H
22-Mar-2007, 15:22
"Did you say you can make your own bellows?"

After several really bad attempts, a lot of searching, a lot of reading on this and other sites, a lot more bad attempts, I think I finally have it. Last two sets came out impressive. I applaud those that do bellows full-time. It is truly an art. One that I shall never master. I will make them for my own, but that is as far as it will ever go.
I will not start a thread for it, but I will be documenting the procedure as I go, and "MIGHT" post it when done.

Rob_5419
22-Mar-2007, 16:22
" All movements are geared; front rise/fall, rear tilt/swing, front/rear focus. Pretty cool.
The pictures are very flattering in comparison to reality."

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2760&stc=1&d=1174596086
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=2761&stc=1&d=1174596086

[/QUOTE]

The images of your vintage camera also show movements unknown to most view camera photographers: front rise, fall, rear tilt, swing, bellows crumble, front standard crackle and lung collapse as the dust shifts around.

Randy H
22-Mar-2007, 16:32
The images of your vintage camera also show movements unknown to most view camera photographers: front rise, fall, rear tilt, swing, bellows crumble, front standard crackle and lung collapse as the dust shifts around.

You got no idea!! When I started looking the camera over and checking the tracks and all, the bellows did completely crumble.
Thanks for the jocularity. :D
Question though. Is the lung collapse the camera's, or mine from choking on the 104 year old collection of crap that was in the camera?

Rob_5419
22-Mar-2007, 16:56
Hi Randy,

Wandering around old antique shops, I haven't seen anything quite as crumbly looking. Only Ebay could offer this :)

I admire your patience in restoring this one - it looks like it'll be rewarding. Also like Ash's idea of a blog to chart it's repair for posterity will be a great momento of its former.. err, decay.

Randy H
22-Mar-2007, 17:21
It came off eBay in a round-a-bout fashion. There was a posting for an old lens, and he mentioned that it came off an 8x10 view camera that he purchased with an estate sale "lot". I contacted him to see if he would be interested in selling the camera. He sent pics, and I bit and bought. Actually my Conley looked "almost" as bad. And I purchased and restored an old photogravure process camera that looked nearly as bad. I guess I am just a glutton for punishment. I gotta hand it to Ash. He has done remarkable considering the condition he started with.

Ash
23-Mar-2007, 00:48
Thanks Randy. I'd hate to lie, but I'm a good photographer, so the restored Kodak was caught in the best light I think!

There's more to be done on it, and some edges that need polishing. I hope once it's all sorted it gets some use. Awful seeing a camera go to waste, especially when it (now) looks so good :D


Can't wait for that Korona to arrive. If it's lighter and easier than the Kodak, it may possibly become a go-to camera.

You're right though, this really does get you trawling ebay for bargain cameras.

I nearly bought a Kodak specialist in worse condition than that Century View. It was literally half a carcass - some wood rails, the standards, and a few metal clips. In hindsight it would have been amazing to restore, but also very costly (no bellows, most hardware missing).

Ash
24-Mar-2007, 06:17
Small update.

The two 4x5 backs have arrived (thanks Brad/Simon).

I now have a real nuisance on my hands!

The smaller back (from Brad) is painted the original army grey and the underside's shape fits nicely on the back of the camera. BUT the overall size is a half-inch short on all sides and sits too low. It is also made from a much lighter wood and I don't fancy woodstaining both it, and MORE wood to make the frame to fit.

The Cherry-wood back (from Simon) looks the part. BUT the size is all wrong. It's a little too short to be the same outer dimensions as the camera, and the shaping on the underside is going to be a pain to adapt. Also, there are metal pins popping out from each corner that will be a pain to remove or hide.


Looks like I'll be using a lot of brain power and trial and error to mount the cherry-wood back to the camera.- I've also fitted the GG from the Sinar back temporarily, until the SS GG's arrive :D

I'm tempted to use the other 4x5 back for a mini-project. Point and shoot 4x5 :D

No sign of the 5x7 holders from Frank though, and I'm sitting on my hands patiently for Dave's GG's and the packard shutter :)

Ash
24-Mar-2007, 07:03
Here's a couple shots of the 4x5 back + sinar GG (upside down, lol)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00896.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00895.jpg

You can see the obvious gap where the back isn't secured. I want to sort that today, but I'm not sure it's possible (lack of funds til I'm next paid/next have work - and lack of materials)

Simon Benton
24-Mar-2007, 08:45
Ash

Another possible solution is to have a piece of 1/4 inch ply (mahogany, Baltic, cherry or whatever you can get in England) cut to fit the camera back, add the internal baffle to fit your camera back, cut an appropriate opening in the plywood and then mount the actual back to the plywood. I used this method to fit a 4X5 back to my Kodak 2-D 8X10 and it works fine.

Needs a bit of woodworking and wood finishing savvy but if done properly looks and works just fine. Good luck.

Ash
24-Mar-2007, 08:52
Simon, that may be the best approach.

I've removed the nail/pins from the corners and now the back sits loose, (you can see in the above photo's how much clearance there is).

I'm afraid that I need the wood to be thick enough to meet the retainers on the top and bottom, but thin enough not to add too much distance between the back and the bellows.

Playing with the cherry back on top of the DIY shape, bellows draw was a few inches less because of the added distance on the back - that meant movements were even more limited. I'd like to avoid that. Unfortunately I think securing the back is just as important.

Ash
24-Mar-2007, 09:01
EDIT:

I've taken the DIY back next door (my neighbour's well into carpentry - he helped with the Packard Shutter Mod) and he's going to take off the top half of the back, leaving the basic shape that I need. I'll then attach the cherry-wood back on top.

That saves me measuring up some wood to make a new back, and then worrying about shaping and sizing.

If all goes to plan I'll have a perfectly fitting 4x5 back within a few days :D :D

Rob_5419
24-Mar-2007, 09:32
Ash,

your lounge uplighter is wonky ;)

A stapled/glued strip of plywood may be enough though if it is causing tolerance problems as you are mentioning.

I'm looking for a 4x5" reducing back too, although I've been careful not to end up too short since I've already slipped the knife when cutting a lensboard and sheared it 4mm too short. It's probably easier to start off with an oversized reducing back and pare it down to size..

Have you considered using a thick non-supporting rubberised light seal to close off the remaining gap [glue on], and drill two metal peg fittings onto the reduction back to snap and interface neatly into the the overhanging metal clips?

Ash
24-Mar-2007, 09:39
Rob, I'll be waiting to see what comes of the neighbour's helping hand.

I've removed the outer frame from the 4x5 back, reducing its size significantly. It's ready to be attached to a correct-sized frame.

I don't fancy using any other method to secure the back to the camera, as I also have the half-plate back, and am awaiting to hear from customs/RM about where the hell my 5x7 holders are :D

The plastic 4x5 back from Brad would be offered to you, but I'm tempted to make a point and shoot with it.

Rob_5419
24-Mar-2007, 09:46
I don't fancy using any other method to secure the back to the camera, as I also have the half-plate back, and am awaiting to hear from customs/RM about where the hell my 5x7 holders are :D

Not sure you understood...the modification I described wouldn't affect the use of a half-plate back - it would only affect the 5x4" reduced back and secure it tightly as well as preventing light leaks.



The plastic 4x5 back from Brad would be offered to you, but I'm tempted to make a point and shoot with it.

Hey thanks - but I'm not in a rush to get a 4x5" reducer. Another year or two waiting for the right part to turn up....

Ash
24-Mar-2007, 09:54
Rob, as I read it, it sounded a little, well, ugly :)

I'm trying to keep as much as possible made from timber, metal, and glass (exception being the eventual shutter)

BradS
24-Mar-2007, 10:04
Ash, from the photo above, it almost looks as if the cherry back would fit as is in the recessed area of the back - or very nearly so. If that be the case then couldn't a couple of strips of wood be laid up along the top and bottom of the back (as shown) and on the outside - so as to engage the securing hardware...Im afraid it's easier to see than to explain with word. Basically, I'm trying to say, make the back fit in the recessed area and then add materiaal to the outside to engage the hardware on the camera that is meant to hold t in place - does that make sense?

Funny, I was holding the old B&J back to make a 4x5 p&S or pinhole...ended up making a 4x5 pinhole camera out of block foamcore and duct tape. Too fun! There are some photos from the pinhole here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bks62464/).

Rob_5419
24-Mar-2007, 10:16
Rob, as I read it, it sounded a little, well, ugly :)


Yes, things can be ironic sometimes.

A stepped wooden L shaped piece to fit/close off the gap and support the exterior of the plate then sounds like a more robust option although it is harder to craft..

Ash
24-Mar-2007, 10:17
Brad, I'm surprised how well your pinhole shots came out! Most appear pretty shoddy in all honesty!

There is a lot of effort involved in reducing the overall size of the 4x5 cherry frame, it turned out that frame was easily removed leaving the 4x5 back intact. Hopefully the back will sit happily on a new frame, otherwise I may go back and try one or more of the ideas proposed :)


Rob, that is the best solution if I cannot mock something else up. Light-tightness and no play in the back is the most important thing.


...Annoyingly I can't get this quotation into my signature:

"I drifted into photography like one drifts into prostitution. First I did it to please myself, then I did it to please my friends, and eventually I did it for the money." -Philippe Halsman

Rob_5419
24-Mar-2007, 10:26
This isn't that kind of forum - this is a respectable forum Ash!

Ash
24-Mar-2007, 10:37
Rob, are you saying you don't have any respect for Halsmann? :eek:

Rob_5419
24-Mar-2007, 10:47
I wouldn't recognise her in a blonde wig and rubber latex in the thick of night ;)

Ash
26-Mar-2007, 05:07
Here's the 'new' DIY back, all shaved down to a flat surface.

Whoever made it wasn't the best carpenter, but they saved me the hassle of buying a piece of wood in the correct size ;)

I'm leaving it lighter-coloured. Maybe it'll force me to make a better reducing platform in the future.

I'll buy some screws a little later and attach the two pieces together.

All that's left is a shutter!

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00900.jpg


EDIT:

Here's the tripod:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00901.jpg


I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, it's a surveyor's tripod, made in Manchester I think. Solid wood legs and SOLID in general! I'll be making a basic tripod head shortly. I'm not sure whether to have a typical mounting screw or whether a clamping system might be better. That way I can balance correctly on the tripod. £20 for a small tree trunk wasn't bad though.

Ash
26-Mar-2007, 09:10
Aaaaaand here's the 4x5 reducing back. As I said, I didn't bother woodstaining it, so it looks a bit duff. Should work fine though

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00902.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00903.jpg

Many thanks to Andy next door, who helped with the Packard mod..

Not only had he sanded down the original DIY back to a flat for me, on my request this afternoon he opened up the original 4x5 hole to a much larger size, and helped with placing the screws and adding some hot glue to seal the structure and make it light tight.

I was afraid that the original hole in the DIY back may have caused vignetting, as there was about 1.5inch distance between the ground glass and the inside of the frame. Of course the ground glass is from the Sinar back, as it's the only thing available until I get my SS gg's (I'm so impatient!!) so it's a bit funny-looking.

I'll try taking a photo with the setup later and report back.


Oh, and I'd lost one of the screws for the rear metal bracket piece (where the rear standard tilts on the arm) but managed to find it on the ground before I started on the 4x5 back - talk about luck, it had been lost on the patio slabs in the garden for over a week! :D

Ash
26-Mar-2007, 09:31
Here's the camera 'in action' or rather balancing delicately atop the tripod.

Looks good if I do say so!

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00908.jpg

Ash
27-Mar-2007, 06:34
I've adapted a bolt to fit through the tripod, and the camera sits tight, it is in fact more sturdy than any other tripod/camera combo. The tension + solid wood legs must really kill any wobble.

Here's the first photo from the camera:

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/sundial_dagor3_full.jpg

Bad scan, but that's the best I could do without blowing even more highlights in the watch. Sadly I've found the watch no longer works. I may have to get it fixed. :(


Goerz Dagor 180mm at f/22, 1 second exposure on Kodalith Ortho, darkcloth as shutter

Randy H
27-Mar-2007, 13:43
WOO HOO!!!!!
Cool.

Ash
3-Apr-2007, 11:02
Here's the Ross Xpres wide open (f/4,5) on the Kodak.

Once the Packard shutter arrives I'll make a rear bracket to attach it to the sunk barrel and have a shutter on the lens - no more lenscap :D

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/contax1fulled.jpg

Rob_5419
3-Apr-2007, 18:12
It seems unusually soft for a Ross Xpres lens, even wide-open. Any exposure artifact?
I wonder if the developer/film combination contributes to that softness.

Unless you've just "straight-scanned" and included computer artifact, by omitting to simulate the negative.

Arrgh. I just can't work with computers. I need to see a negative to make any sense out of images.

Here's your Ross shot, tweaked exposure levels and sharpened on PS - that's all.

Ash
4-Apr-2007, 01:28
Rob, the look of the scan was deliberate. The lens was wide open and a lower contrast look fits my own view of the camera.

Your 'tweak' just kills off some tone and makes the camera look dark. I don't like it, I prefer my scan :)

Ash
11-Apr-2007, 09:58
Many thanks to Scott -- who provided me with some custom lens panels for the camera.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00984.jpg

Perfect fit :)

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00985.jpg

Looked good in the garden!


But then the most horrible thing happened, I snapped the panel!!!! Actually I snapped two. But the following shot shows my third attempt which has worked, fortunately - I only have 2 spares left!!!

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00988.jpg

Ash
11-Apr-2007, 10:04
The hole for the cable release needed to be oversized to fit the metal mounting through. I couldn't dismantle it, so no tight fit around the cable unfortunately.

This doesn't matter though, as the shutter/shutter mounting acts as a light-trap.

This is my prototype shutter mounting, using a bracket and bubble-wrap. The shutter originally used a solenoid coil and power supply, but I replaced it with a spring. Hah!

the big blob of white is an old cable-release mount that has bee loctite'd into place, and a piece of a Pepsi can has been used on the lever arm to promote longevity, as a lot of pressure is held through the spring mech.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00989.jpg

Closed, and nasty - lucky it's on the inside of the camera!! I need to paint the majority matte-black

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00990.jpg

Locking cable release for long exposures. No vignetting either. The tape on the side has since been removed. It was temporary to relieve gravitational pressure on the mount.

for a laugh, here's my 'workshop'

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y43/second-belated/DSC00991.jpg

All I have to hand is a power drill and a junior hacksaw!!!

big_ben_blue
11-Apr-2007, 14:10
Note to self - do not hire Ash to do the renovation of my house:D

Well, with all the camera rebuilding going on here, I REALLY have to get some of my prject cameras finished now (there's a pile of about twenty or so bubblewrapped projects waiting for me :eek: ).

Chris

Ash
11-Apr-2007, 14:45
I don't do houses, I am trained to build low-level decking in your back garden though.

Scott --
11-Apr-2007, 15:31
Now, Chris, if you should have a beater 5x7 wooden field camera in that project list that you just can't find time for... ;)

Ash
11-Apr-2007, 15:39
Hey yea Chris, rather than make you put your money/skill where your mouth is, how bout you share your project cameras with the rest of us :D

and for the record this was my first full camera mod/restoration. I did better than I expected to, and now I have an externally aesthetic and fully working field camera :)

big_ben_blue
11-Apr-2007, 17:00
Hey yea Chris, rather than make you put your money/skill where your mouth is, how bout you share your project cameras with the rest of us

and for the record this was my first full camera mod/restoration. I did better than I expected to, and now I have an externally aesthetic and fully working field camera :)

Hear ya :D - guess I just couldn't keep my big mouth shut :cool:
was only commenting on the pics of the "prototype shutter mounting", which looks alot like my attempts at car body repair - duck & run (won't tell ya that the car is now in car heaven, LOL).

But alright, since I have to eat crow now anyway ;) , I'll put a few pics of my "projects" and some of my finished one's together (just give a little wee bit time). So stay tuned ...

Chris, who sometimes talks too much for his own good

big_ben_blue
11-Apr-2007, 19:46
Alright, here are the pics, straight from the "get a life soon" file :D

One pic shows my temporary kitchen "workshop", with a bunch of dissasembled lenses and shutters.
Then we got the grand view of the storage room (bonus points for guessing what's in all the boxes and bubble wrap :D ).
And last but not least we got a partial family shot with a few of the projects (some finished, some not).

Chris

Ash
12-Apr-2007, 05:58
You are officially banned from buying any more bargains/beaters until they are all restored - save some for the rest of us!!! :D

Scott --
12-Apr-2007, 06:23
Aw, c'mon Chris - you sure you don't want to unload something? PM me... ;)

Ash
12-Apr-2007, 06:27
Just think, give a couple of them away to me and Scott, and you'll have room to sit down in your own house! :D :D

Dan Coakley
5-Feb-2008, 19:08
http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=20520

Try this link to the thread.

BTW, the Conley was painted brown, mounted on a slab of plywood, used as an enlarger. Bellows were shot, (rotted) glass was gone, really a trash piece that I bought for pennies. I built the bellows, cut and ground the glass, made a new lens board, stripped, steel-wooled, stained, steel-wool, sealed, steel-wool, lacquered, steel-wool, waxed. The light places in the wood are reflections. Camera is all same colour throughout.

Hello - Could you tell me more about how you "cut and ground the glass"? I am restoring a 2.25"x3.25" Watson press camera. The ground glass is missing. I seems
to be an odd size and will take some work and trashed glass to get to the right one.
Any advice would be appreciated.

Dan Coakley

Ash
6-Feb-2008, 02:09
Dan this is a very old thread. You're best off starting a new thread, or better yet, searching for others who have done the same. Or else google "diy ground glass" as there are tutorials out there.