View Full Version : JT Chapman British coming back to life in South Africa

2-Dec-2012, 06:54
The original thread started here:


I hope to give updates from time to time on here and also on my blog at www.antonroland.com on how this machine is being restored to life.

I am hugely excited about both the camera being operational soon and also about the very interesting history of this specific camera.

Have a great day everyone.

17-Dec-2012, 10:10
Hello Everyone

Just to let you know that things are coming along nicely. The cracked bit has been glued back into place and the lens is fitted.

Further to that she is getting some regular TLC and the wood is starting to show the most beautiful colours.

The next big thing to happen is the arrival of the replacement ground glass from the good Mr Steve Hopf and then the final test and play can begin!


5-Jan-2013, 17:17
Some great progress I think...

Have a looky here if you like:


9-Jan-2013, 05:06
Hello everyone

So I built one prototype balsa sheet film holder and it works a treat. I was worried that the film plane would be off but it works very well and I will now build two more on the same principle.

The camera is now completely functional and she now shoots 4x5 in stead of quarter plate with what I consider to be very nice results...as soon as I can get my exposure right...

I plan to show a pic of my prototype soon when the day job allows me...

The amount of detail this lens captures is mind-blowing to me and I cannot wait to capture one decent landscape so I have a reason to do a drum scan. Considering that this lens is 1890's vintage with two elements and zero coatings!

Give me ONE good reason why I should not sell my D-SLR cameras? LOL

Steven Tribe
9-Jan-2013, 07:17
Well, I can't think of a reason not to sell them.
They loose value every week and have a lifetime which is unknown (10 years?).
You just need a small one, with good macro, to post images here.

10-Jan-2013, 04:18
Well, I can't think of a reason not to sell them.
They loose value every week and have a lifetime which is unknown (10 years?).
You just need a small one, with good macro, to post images here.

Sounds about right Steven! LOL


Here is the first image worth showing and simply because I am finally getting better exposures. My first two were badly over-exposed and the next two TERRIBLY under...

So number 5 not too horrible...

This is a crop of the full 2400 dpi 4x5 neg scan on an Epson V750 with the Epson neg carriers. Absolutely no other PP performed.

Oh, BTW, the light blotch top left is the result of light damage to the box of negs when Dopey here switched the light on before putting the film back in the box!

Fortunately only a box of 25 and about 16-17 remaining only...it has been too long since regular darkroom times but catching up fast!

10-Jan-2013, 04:20

Here is a 100% crop from the 2400 dpi scan after two adjustment layers and very standard USM applied.

I see the start of a beautiful thing here...:D

Tim Meisburger
10-Jan-2013, 05:14
Looking good! That is a beautiful camera, and I simply love the ebony splines in the miters of the book holder, especially with the aligned screws. Nobody does work like that anymore...

15-May-2013, 23:10
Hello Everyone

Just a quick update...

Yesterday I picked up the shutter at the Post Office, rebuilt by Ian Grant. What a fantastic guy! If ever you can, please support him...his service is legendary and his workmanship possibly even better!

The old girl is now finally complete and good to go except for one or two very minor bits of detail that can be improved from a cosmetic point of view.

Pics to follow soon!

16-May-2013, 00:28
Thanks Anton

This is the shutter :)





Steven Tribe
16-May-2013, 01:43
And very nice too!
Ian, what is the tensioning system for the lower roller?
I imagine the adjustment/stop device has to be reset by trial and error to obtain the approximation of indicated speeds?

17-May-2013, 10:48

This is what she looks like now:cool:

The shutter runs beautifully but it is a tricky little animal to get used to. I will probably be using her in the 1/4 second to 1 second range and long timed exposures.

I think I set it up well as I had to reset it due to some over-eager hamfistedness...I will probably not really worry about shutter speeds of 1/30 to 1/90 second even if it runs true.

My idea is to run it at the least tension where the shutter opens and closes without creeping...this way the springs should last a long time.

Playtime now starts...:D:D...with the Missus having a birthday tomorrow and scuba diving on Sunday I will probably only do some serious shooting with her by next weekend.

I hope to get a decent blog article up somewhere over the weekend...

Thanks again to the awesome Mr. Ian Grant!

Tim Meisburger
18-May-2013, 06:37
Take it diving! But you will need a big housing...

Looks lovely.


21-May-2013, 23:56
I've been following this on the TP thread and have to say it's a joy to see a thing of beauty brought back to life, looking forward to seeing the results.

20-Jun-2013, 12:23
Well folks, tomorrow is the big day! We are on the farm where it all happened 110 years ago and tomorrow at 12:00 and 12:05 GMT +2 it all happens.

I have built a complete darkroom in a box with developing tank for this and future outings...please feel free to see more on the last preparations here:


Steven Tribe
20-Jun-2013, 14:03
Thanks, I had forgotten the other thread!Good luck on Friday.