View Full Version : Camera suggestion for large scale copy work.

9-Aug-2011, 21:42
I am interested in setting up a camera in a copy stand style position on a large scale. Does anyone have any recommendations for a camera which would be strong and sturdy when shot solely in the lens-down position? I have shot toyo 4x5 and 8x10 in this position but have found that the rear standard will give slightly and move towards the front standard when the film holder is inserted. I have been looking at ebony for the titanium construction but I am not sure that these cameras would be best.

Jim Jones
10-Aug-2011, 04:32
If 4x5 siffices, an Anniversary model Speed Graphic in good alignment has no swings and tilts to get out of alignment. It is simple, rugged, and durable. It is inexpensive enough to be dedicated to just one use. Sometimes old mahogany is more suitable than new titanium.

10-Aug-2011, 05:44
What size originals are you wanting to photograph. A Polaroid MP4 Copy Camera is a good choice. I wall mounted one which allowed for 5 foot wide originals. I also exchanged the lens for a couple of Componon S lenses mounted in Compurs shutter. I wore out the 150mm shutter and a seiko replacement too, since I was shooting up to 80 negs a day for more than 20 years. Worked well. Did not sag.

If you still want to go with a normal camera then your production will be much slower. I used both a Sinar P and a Norma. Both were hard to keep in alignment. A Zig alignment mirror system will help get you aligned, but to lock it down you will need to use rods connected to both the front and rear standard to help with this task. Sinar Norma rods were invented for just this purpose but they are almost impossible to find.

The Camera Ecentric website has the original Norma manual which shows the rods in use.

But for my sanity I would use the MP4 copy stand...


10-Aug-2011, 06:53
polaroid mp4



designed for it

can be used as an enlarger column or studio stand or horizontal....

Bob Salomon
10-Aug-2011, 08:50
We sell a lot of Linhof Kardan re 45 cameras for just this purpose. Usually on either the motorized 60" Kaiser copy stand or one of the 40, 50 or 60" column non motorized copy stands with the largest base board. These stands can point the camera stright down or straight ahead (with the proper camera arm) for very large originals off the wall.
The camera is used with 45 scanning backs, chip backs and, of course, 45 film or roll film backs.

10-Aug-2011, 13:56
I'd look into an older, simpler monorail like the early Arca Swiss models. These are quite sturdy, and amazingly cheap these days.

I would add that the larger the subject matter (and camera), the more preferable it is to shoot horizontally. Having to get on stools to focus gets tedious after a while. Conversely, with a nice gridded GG, I found I could get things square pretty quickly after shooting in the horizontal mode for a while.

10-Aug-2011, 15:25
Will back the mp4 as an efficent and affordable choice.
Ebony is expensive and better suited for field work, probably.

Think about getting an MP4 used and with the money you save
you can get a whole range of great lenses for copy work:
G-Claron, Ronar, Componon-S.

10-Aug-2011, 16:41
Is there a way to shoot the MP-4 with cut film or will it only shoot instant?

10-Aug-2011, 17:52
Sheet film works well in the MP4. I have 2 of them. 1 could be sold. But I am in Canada on Vancouver Island and shipping could present a problem. Perhaps if you are in Washington State...

Any way I shot upwards of 80 sheets per day--- colour neg / colour tranny and or b & W neg film. A small stepping stool was used and yes it did get tedious. But the MP4 included a sliding back and a above average viewing system complete with a face shield . 4X5 sheet holders are at home with this system. The sliding GG spring back can incorporate either a polaroid 4X5 or a cut film holder-- included is a fresnel for bright viewing. The viewing system can be lifted to insert a cut sheet holder too. The head fits into a round locking collar --- modular devise --- which will accommodate other attachments such as an SLR camera mount for medium and small 35mm formats.

Ends up being a very versatile copy stand. I wall mounted.

If you set up at a corner the camera can be swung horizontal and aimed at another wall for really big copies.

Then it is all about the lighting.


11-Aug-2011, 07:54
Agfa Repromaster
All kinds of scales for magnifiication, etc
Film/originals up to rrrrreally big
Vacuum "back"
Reeeaaaaaly big and heavy