View Full Version : Century Master Studio Camera on a Tripod

Chris Usher
31-Jan-2011, 21:23
A couple of years ago I found a huge 9 lb petzval lens for $100--of course my Wisner 8x10 would be no match for it so I needed something that could support it. I found an old institutional gray Century Master Studio camera for $200 and I was in business. The problem is that this combination was never meant for location work and there was no way I was going to use a giant iron and wood traditional studio camera stand.

My first answer was a pair of adjustable height plastic Stanley saw horses and a plank of plywood-- it worked but was difficult to level on lawns etc and was still a lot of stuff to move around. I have a Ries tripod with the J250 head, both which are rated for the 65 lbs that it all weighs, but no way to mount it.

Then I saw a NOS 6" Deardorff baseplate on ebay and I got the idea-- I got a 1x24x12 piece of oak from Home Depot for $12, routed out for the plate, put a front edge and some rubber at the front for traction. I figured out the balance point for the lens and carriage at a normal portrait distance which is why the plate is off-center. It works great! :-)

Chris Usher
31-Jan-2011, 21:27
A couple more pics.

Chris Usher
31-Jan-2011, 21:29
....and finally the camera on the new Studio Platform after some paint and stenciling.

31-Jan-2011, 21:37
Nicely done! Man, that Deardorff plate is a fancy touch. I have a smaller (and cruder) version for my half-plate sliding box camera. That looks like a nice stable platform for your studio camera.

Steven Tribe
1-Feb-2011, 03:50
I have just proposed the same solution to a buyer of a sliding box base tailboard 30x40cm. I would have thought that total cloth covering (as on the Century Stand) would help adjustment and stability - at least in cases where there is no tripod thread to be seen on the camera?

Chris Usher
1-Feb-2011, 05:33
Thanks for the compliments and the ideas!

I thought about doing the whole thing in traditional felt, but decided that the way I operate, it would be filthy and torn in no time, plus I like the look of the wood. The rubber grip is shelf liner that I glue sprayed (oddly, no one makes a self sticking shelf liner that is rubbery--yet they make rubbery ones that only roll out). Then I use a torpedo level on it before placing the camera.

I also thought about making it wider, but it turns out that our standard-cut 12 inch board is really 11 3/4 which snugs perfectly along the length of the inside rails for added side-to-side stability.

Cheers, Chris

"I would willingly exchange every painting of Christ for one snapshot." - George Bernard Shaw

Chris Usher
1-Feb-2011, 05:40
I decided to put fleur de lis on the knobs too-- I love it, but what a pain-- I doubt that I will ever do stenciling again!

Chris Usher
1-Feb-2011, 05:47
Here is an image I shot with this set-up (the old gray camera on a plank of plywood)--the lens makes it worth all the hassle and weight!

1-Feb-2011, 05:51
Nice work Chris

1-Feb-2011, 06:07
Excellent.... Gold Star in the book of names...

1-Feb-2011, 06:52
Wow--Obama through a big Petzval on a studio camera--very cool. I'm guessing you got a few comments on the camera. :)

1-Feb-2011, 07:38
Made friends with Security first.?.;-)..Excellent image!



1-Feb-2011, 07:54
A lot of work, but most things that are worthwhile are.

Kent in SD

Chris Usher
1-Feb-2011, 09:17
It was quite a scene--especially bringing it all in at the NW gate-- it took 45 minutes including a special visit from EOD dogs and agents.