View Full Version : First post and 5x7 project

24-Jan-2011, 22:24

As the title says, this is my first post to the forums. I have been away from large format photography for many years, but I found this place and got inspired, especially by all the home-brewers. There are some fantastic projects here!

I'm starting in on a 5x7 project of my own, and hoped you'd enjoy reading a bit about it. The project camera is a 5x7 B&J Watson portrait camera, purchased as sort of a basket case. I've started by fabricating a new back for it, which I just finished a blog post about here:


I'm definitely not the craftsman that many of you are, but it's a fun project so far. I will be tackling the bellows next. I've already made one paper model (no good), and am learning from my mistakes and trying again.

For those of you who like background, I am an engineer and technical editor in Silicon Valley, and have lived here most of my life. I bought my first view camera in 1985 or so, a Wista 45DX, and had a great time with it. My weak point was always in the darkroom, but I think this time I will tackle the print portion with a scanner and printer.

The adventure continues. Cheers!


Justin Cormack
25-Jan-2011, 04:13
Looks great! Enjoy 5x7.

Do try contact printing as well as scanning, it is not hard....

25-Jan-2011, 04:56
Welcome to the site-
very informative progress pictures-

Ken Lee
25-Jan-2011, 05:17
Excellent - You're a craftsman, definitely.

25-Jan-2011, 05:34
Excellent job on that new back, well done :D


Scott --
25-Jan-2011, 06:17
Very nicely done. A milling machine? That must be useful to have around!!

25-Jan-2011, 09:08
Thanks! I do intend to try contact printing - that's one of the reasons I thought I'd try 5x7, just forgot to mention it. When I was doing 4x5 before, my big limitation was that I couldn't afford an enlarger, nor did I have room for it if I could. Now, used ones are affordable, but I still don't have room!

Yes, the milling machine is very handy. It's one of the Harbor Freight micro jobs, and I've used it on more little projects than I ever imagined I would. I have one of the mini lathes as well, and it's also pretty useful.


Scott --
25-Jan-2011, 09:15
After seeing this post earlier, Fred, I went and checked the HF website. They no longer list that mill. Too bad - it's been on my want list for years... :(

25-Jan-2011, 09:57
I'll admit that if I had it to over again, I'd spring for the larger mini-mill. The table on the micro isn't quite stable enough. The micros do turn up used from time to time, though, sometimes converted to CNC.