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Thread: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

  1. #1

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    5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    Given the imminent arrival of the TravelWide 4x5, I've started to daydream of seeing the design scaled up to 5x7. Some comments were made on this thread:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...RAPHICs!/page6

    specifically this from Oren Grad:

    "In general, rigid-body LF P&S cameras make most sense for wide-to-ultrawide lenses, and the larger the format, the relatively wider it needs to be, because you'll be carrying around a rigid cone long enough to allow for infinity focus, and because as FL increases you need ever more travel for the helical to allow reasonably close focus. There's a listing right now on eBay for a Cambo Wide (4x5) that's been adapted with a cone for a 180, and it looks quite unwieldy.

    I'd like a 5x7 P&S, myself."

    There was a 5x7 Speed Graphic called the top handle 5x7, but I guess it never sold well and was eclipsed by the 4x5 Speeders. This camera weighs in at 6 1/2 pounds, without lens. A plastic 5x7 would be significantly lighter.

    Is it worthwhile thinking about what it would take to produce a 5x7 plastic camera? Would we ever get enough backers for such a venture? Randy More says a 210mm lens would be the best choice for such a camera.

    Anyway, have at it. I'd love to have a lightweight 5x7 option to add to my arsenal and would be willing to pay $300-500 for such a camera. Who else would be interested in such a camera?

  2. #2

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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    I know there was a HOBO 5x7 camera produced, but I think it was made out of plywood, definitely not what I want. Here is a thread on the HOBO 5x7 and 8x10 camera.

    http://photo.net/large-format-photography-forum/0064Me

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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    Peter Gowland built 5x7 point & shoot aerial cameras---a handheld aluminum box camera built around a 200 Nikkor M, IIRC. I've got the 8x10 version. These are certainly viable for terrestial photography. I also shoot a 5x7 Speeder hand held.
    Big issue I see with 5x7 is the price & availability of film holders.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    I have an 8x10 Hobo with peephole finder and spring back. I had the camera modified with a usable GG and a focusing helical for the 120 SA that the camera was designed for. So it's no longer a fixed-focus box camera. It's fabulous: beautifully finished, compact, easy to carry and use. Surprisingly light weight, too. IIRC even with lens, it's less than what a 5x7 Speed weighs.

    For a very small run, it might be substantially cheaper to commission someone to make a batch of wooden cameras than to pay for the mold(s) needed for a plastic camera, and it wouldn't necessarily be much heavier, especially with a wide or ultrawide FL. If conceived as a body plus cone - the construction of my Hobo - it could allow for different FL's, too. Imagine, say, a box with interchangeable cones for a 90, a 120 and a 180 or 210. I could be happy, and Randy could be happy.

    It ought to be much simpler and cheaper to make a box than to build a folding camera with folding mechanism, focusing bed, bellows, etc.

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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    Yeah, but an aluminum camera is still be too heavy. What did it weigh?

    I think there are enough film holders out there for the small group of people who would buy a 5x7 plastic camera. I must have thirty film holders.

    My comment about what I would be willing to pay refers to the smaller audience for such a camera. We'll never match the 4x5 crowd in terms of numbers. The question is, could we come close to making it economical to produce the camera?

  6. #6
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Kellogg View Post
    I know there was a HOBO 5x7 camera produced, but I think it was made out of plywood, definitely not what I want.
    How about up-scaling the equivalent of a cherry and oak 4x5" with 47mm Super-Angulon? Has focusing helix, viewfinder and ground glass. Very light.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The same could be made for 5x7". Being of cherry-wood would mean that economical make-upon-demand is feasible compared to making with expensive plastic mold setup. (I do not yet trust 3D printing.)
    .

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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    I have an 8x10 Hobo with peephole finder and spring back. I had the camera modified with a usable GG and a focusing helical for the 120 SA that the camera was designed for. So it's no longer a fixed-focus box camera. It's fabulous: beautifully finished, compact, easy to carry and use. Surprisingly light weight, too. IIRC even with lens, it's less than what a 5x7 Speed weighs.

    For a very small run, it might be substantially cheaper to commission someone to make a batch of wooden cameras than to pay for the mold(s) needed for a plastic camera, and it wouldn't necessarily be heavier, especially with a wide or ultrawide FL. If conceived as a body plus cone - the construction of my Hobo - it could allow for different FL's, too. Imagine, say, a box with interchangeable cones for a 90, a 120 and a 180 or 210. I could be happy, and Randy could be happy.

    It ought to be much simpler and cheaper to make a box than to build a folding camera with folding mechanism, focusing bed, bellows, etc.
    So, what does your 8x10 HOBO weigh? Any idea about the weight of 5x7 HOBO? I still think that wood is too heavy, and I've worked with the stuff, although I like the idea of different cones for different focal lengths. The TravelWide guys avoided the whole problem of having a heavy back by having no back at all, except for the film holder. Could we somehow produce just the cones for fixed focal lengths, with no focusing helical?

    I would participate with others in commissioning a batch of cameras, although I question whether we can get enough people to cover the cost. Could we get a design that could be printed on a 3D printer, using a light tight plastic that Ben referred to in one of his posts?

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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    How about a cherry and oak 4x5" with 47mm Super-Angulon? Has focusing helix and viewfinder. Very light.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Cherry and oak, I've worked with them both in a professional cabinetmaker's shop. Beautiful, but not light enough for me to carry around the streets of New York.

    Quantify "very light". What does it weigh? ;-)

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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    There's a wonderful tradition of home-brew wooden box cameras, some of them beautiful as well as functional, as Jac's example. I'm all thumbs in the shop myself, alas, but if the cost could be kept within reason by batching a group of orders, I'd be happy to pay someone who knows what he's doing. Again, allowing for parts-making efficiencies from being able to run a batch at one time, I'd think this ought to be doable for somewhere in the mid-hundreds of dollars, maybe even including such frills as interchangeable cones and a real spring back with GG.

  10. #10
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    Re: 5x7 Plastic Camera Daydreams

    I've got a gowland 4x5 aluminum aerial camera. It is VERY light. It does not focus though. It's a worthwhile material better suited to modest production.

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