View Full Version : My new 20x24 Studio Type Camera

30-Mar-2011, 00:00
I am not sure where to put this thread, probably "Show off your homemade camera" should fit. But this camera is not 100% homemade, so I start a new thread here ....

I was dreaming to shot and own a 2024 camera since a few years back. Until last year, I thought, as an Engineer, why not make one by myself? So, I purchased a film holder from Sandy King and start go-backward from it.

My camera is intended to use in-door, so I only focus on stability and neglect any weight-loss option. Also, I am living in Hong Kong, space in our house is limited and expensive, so the design of the camera is modular type - most of the parts can be dissemble when stored.

After approx 7 months, the "Monster" is on its way to shot!!! Here are some pictures, enjoy!!

All the parts of the camera, as you can see it is space-saving and has excellent mobility (LOL)!!!

The camera has three sections, for shooting wide angle, one module is good enough.

Side view

Front view with Fujinon 500mm Processing Len. Now, I can prove this lens CANNOT cover 2024 .... but 1620 only. The lens board size is 12 inches.

30-Mar-2011, 00:01
Camera with 2 sections, and Suter No.9 lens from Eddie at the front, this lens can cover 2024 for sure ... lots of room for movement.

Camera with 3 sections.

This camera is also suitable for Brass lens lover, as it equipments an 5 inches opening packard shutter, which I added a magnetic device to control the shutter and flash-sync.

Modified shutter with flash-sync.

30-Mar-2011, 00:02
Controller box with build in 12V battery, which should be able to work more than 4 hours non-stop. The fastest shutter speed should be around 1/8 seconds. I haven't tested it yet, but will do. The longest time should be 4 hours or until either the battery gone or the magnetic device is overheated. All the shutter speed can be set by this controller.

The wire from the controller box to the shutter box. The top is for power, the bottom is for flash-sync.

The focusing rail has two industrial type linear bearing that I took from an broken machinery.

The camera has two bellows and three sections at the bottom. Depends on the focal length of the lens / how close I want to shot the object, I can control how long / large of the camera can be. All the base-section has 3/8" screw hole underneath for tripod support.

As I said before, this camera is not 100% home-made. I ordered the bellow from Shen Hao Camera, all the wooden frame/base by local wooden-shop, all the metal parts and shutter parts are by technician from my factory. Well, at least I design and drew all mechanical drawing, and made the focusing ground glass by #1000 silicon carbide.

I still need to add some more device on the camera, e.g. locking device and ball screw for focusing back, etc. But I hope I can make some nice pictures from this monster soon.

30-Mar-2011, 00:31
That's amazing work. Made me laugh a little how you made an electric/electronic control for the shutter. I once did the opposite and cut off a near-identical magnet system from a shutter to make it hand controlled.

Steven Tribe
30-Mar-2011, 02:04
Working from a well functioning film holder is a good idea - probably the most demanding thing to make oneself - in any size!
You seen to have a double size lens board system? 12" and 9". Or is the outer lens board just the holder for the shutter - and is bigger than 12"?

30-Mar-2011, 02:33
Steven, yes, the lens board is 12 inches, and I purchased a 9x9 lens-box from Deardorff and put two things together. I can either use a 12 inches lens board (but what kind of lens need this size lens-board?), or 9 inches lens board with self-make shutter control.

Ash, too bad, a electrical shutter from packard is way more expensive than air controlled version.

30-Mar-2011, 03:33
(but what kind of lens need this size lens-board?

several BIG portrait lenses that cover 2024 will need 12x12. good thinking. i once had a huge dallmeyer 8d that had a flange with an OD of just over 9 inches......and i have held bigger lenses too!

i think i need to find you something like that for you....stay tuned.

the camera looks great. nice work. the lens looks better too.


Robert Skeoch
30-Mar-2011, 06:30
this is great looking. nice job

30-Mar-2011, 06:50
eddie, I spent two hours to polish and put on new lacquer on the lens.
it looks like new now.

tell me about the huge lens later, i am broke already, haha!

Jim Fitzgerald
30-Mar-2011, 06:54
Jack, this is great. Working from the film holder is the way to go. Same thing I have done on my camera builds.

Allen in Montreal
30-Mar-2011, 07:46
Congratulations Jack, that looks amazing. Looking forward to seeing some pix.
:) :)

Tri Tran
30-Mar-2011, 08:23
Congrats, now your dream come true. What a machine! Nice Job Jack. Have you try my film yet also are those palettes was shipped from Ilford? :) .Have fun with it and don't forget to show us your first plate.

Jeff Bannow
30-Mar-2011, 08:28
Wow! Very nice work.

Peter Gomena
30-Mar-2011, 09:02

What fun! Nice job. Post pictures once you are using it, please!

Peter Gomena

Jay DeFehr
30-Mar-2011, 10:33

That's amazing! You've done a fine job, and I hope you enjoy every release of your ingenious shutter. I spent a few hours yesterday working (re-working) the design of a 14x17 portrait camera, which looks positively petite next to yours, with a mere 48" of bellows draw, and 9" lens board. Ironically, my portrait camera is meant to be carried to location/field, so weight and bulk figure heavily in my design. I've often considered how liberating it would be to design a camera for the studio, where weight and bulk could be of secondary importance. Incidentally, I have the same shutter you do, but no controller. I think I'll make do with manual operation, should I need it at all. As of now, all of my lenses are in working shutters. Thanks for posting your inspiring work! I look forward to seeing the images you'll make with your incredible camera.

30-Mar-2011, 18:50
Beautiful and inspiring work Jack.

Jim Galli
30-Mar-2011, 19:29
Beautiful! Can't wait to see some images. Wow!

31-Mar-2011, 04:32
I'm utterly impressed and wowed. Congratulations on this fabulous creation! I would love to see pictures once you start shooting!

Sean Galbraith
31-Mar-2011, 09:41
Standing ovation.

Uri A
31-Mar-2011, 20:30
fantastic job! beautiful..

13-Apr-2011, 12:17
I'm floored. Let's see some examples of what it does next please :)

27-Apr-2011, 00:20
Someone asked me how my "digitally-controlled-Packard" works? I am going to show some pictures and write brief explanation on it. I hope it helps someone getting tired of using their hat .... :D

Here is the front view, the lens board is 12x12" square, with center opening to fit the 9x9 lens "box" from Deardorff. The Packard is attached at the back of the Deardorff 9x9 box.

On the left side, there are two plugs, one for power input of the magnetic coil, and the second one is for the flash sync.

Flip it over, the back side.

27-Apr-2011, 00:21
The original shutter that I purchased was using a HUGE coil that takes 110V DC, which is not easy for me (We are using 220V AC in Hong Kong), and not applicable for most of the small digital controller. So I decided to replace a LARGE 12VDC magnetic coil, the power consumption should be around 12V/1Ah. Also, I have attached a micro-switch at the bottom, to act as a flash sync (When the magnetic coil pull back, it will hit the micro-switch and gives out a signal as flash sync). The white plug can be un-plug when dissemble. Two springs at the top, one is for spare only, no special.



27-Apr-2011, 00:21
Here is the digital-controller with build-in 12V battery. It also has a open-close switch at the top, "open" for focus, "close" for firing shutter. The green button is for firing the shutter.

12V input, can be used as a indoor power supply or battery-charge input.

The other side we have a fuse installed and a plug that a cable can be used to connect to the shutter.

27-Apr-2011, 00:22
This is the digital controller that I used. There are different type of controller, e.g. Omron. But most of the controller can't be used. it is because when you hold the "fire" button, most of the controller will cont' to count time repeatedly until you release the button. i.e. if you set the controller to 0.1 sec, and you hold the button for 2 sec, then most of the controller will count 20 times of 0.1 sec, which means your shutter would fire 20 times during this period!!

This controller allows you to control down to 0.01 sec (look at the red square). You can select different scale, e.g. 0.1s, 1s .... up to hours (good for long-exposure lover?) Another good things of this controller is that, you can change the scale from the front panel. Some other brand controller needs you to switch the "jumper" at the bottom. In this case, it means you need to open the controller box, read the damn instruction at side of the controller (if you can read it), pull out and put back the tiny-little black jumper correctly.

This is the inside of the controller-box, good that I can put everything in it. I am sorry that I don't have a circuit drawing with me that shows how the cables connect to each other. I let you guys know once I get the drawing.

12VAh battery, I will have no problem shooting 4 hours non-stop with this fully charged battery (by calculation).

I have tested the this shutter by shutter tester, the fastest shutter speed is around 1/8 sec. Well, pretty good for a 5 inch opening shutter. I also tested the repeatability, it is very high; +/- 5%!!! Remember, you can control it down to 0.01 sec ..... which no other LF shutter can compare.

Have fun, and happy shooting!!

27-Apr-2011, 00:34
All beautifully put together- A fine looking camera-
I join the queue of people looking forward to seeing the pictures from it-

27-Apr-2011, 11:47
If only there were a "hat's off to you" icon...
Great stuff!

Daniel Stone
27-Apr-2011, 17:38
well done Jack, I hope you enjoy the 36" lens!