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Thread: Should I build a LF TLR? What would it take?

  1. #1

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    Should I build a LF TLR? What would it take?

    I would love to have a close look at one of those cameras for a while and take pictures and measurements. I've tried some LF portraits maybe from too close therefore too little DOF and definitely w/o strobes indoors is not enough light for sensible exposure times. Between the two, it's hard to get focus where I want. I rather doubt I will ever have $$ for buying a Gowlandflex but there are days I could imagine building one. But, I'd want a chance to see one up close so as not to reinvent the wheel. Might also be smart to see what I could do with a MF TLR first, too.

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Who Has the Gowlandflex 8x10??

    Quote Originally Posted by Fr. Mark View Post
    I would love to have a close look at one of those cameras for a while and take pictures and measurements. I've tried some LF portraits maybe from too close therefore too little DOF and definitely w/o strobes indoors is not enough light for sensible exposure times. Between the two, it's hard to get focus where I want. I rather doubt I will ever have $$ for buying a Gowlandflex but there are days I could imagine building one. But, I'd want a chance to see one up close so as not to reinvent the wheel. Might also be smart to see what I could do with a MF TLR first, too.
    Look here. Simple really...http://glennview.com/sinarTLR.htm
    2022

  3. #3
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    Re: Who Has the Gowlandflex 8x10??

    Quote Originally Posted by Fr. Mark View Post
    I would love to have a close look at one of those cameras for a while and take pictures and measurements. I've tried some LF portraits maybe from too close therefore too little DOF and definitely w/o strobes indoors is not enough light for sensible exposure times. Between the two, it's hard to get focus where I want. I rather doubt I will ever have $$ for buying a Gowlandflex but there are days I could imagine building one. But, I'd want a chance to see one up close so as not to reinvent the wheel. Might also be smart to see what I could do with a MF TLR first, too.
    if you have the energy it wouldn't be hard to build a 8x10 slr camera.
    the only thing that would be difficult to fabricate is the roller blind shutter ( if you want one )
    you can get away WITHOUT the rollerblind shutter like
    ron wisner did when he made his 4x5 wisner slrs IDK 13 years back.
    it would just require ground glass a the top, a 45ºmirror
    film in the back and a shuttered lens and a focus rack.

    probably can be made in a weekend if you are fast

  4. #4

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    Re: Who Has the Gowlandflex 8x10??

    I hear what you are saying about the SLR.

    On the other hand, Based on zero real TLR experience I think I'd like the fact I could watch the subject and click the shutter whenever I wanted and not monkey around with the mirror moving or the blackout period.

    I see this as analogous to target shooting where you take a mental picture of the sights when the shot breaks and if you are good at it you know the score and position your shot will score. And if it didn't land where you saw it going, you adjust for the wind.

    I'd like to see the photo as the flash pops or the shutter clicks or both if appropriate.

    Before I go to all the trouble of building a TLR from scratch I probably ought to spend some time with a 35 mm or MF one. But then again, I do like large sheets of film. My family puts up with my LF obsession but on trips together it's really obvious it's not fair to set up the Busch press camera or the Sinar etc., a Rollei probably makes more sense (or just the iPhone).

    I've thought that sheet film suits me more than rolls of film because you can develop at any time w/o the inhibition of using up or wasting exposures that I've also thought about making a 2x3 or 3x4 TLR for a walk around camera. Or if really ambitious, make tiny film holders for 6x6 or 6x7 sheets. Now you are sure I'm nuts!

  5. #5
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    Re: Should I build a LF TLR? What would it take?

    Discussion spun off as its own thread.

  6. #6

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    Re: Should I build a LF TLR? What would it take?

    Hmm. Granted that you're a good enough machinist to fabricate a TLR, what are you going to do for lenses? You'll need a pair whose focal lengths match. Since actual focal lengths aren't always equal to design (what the prescription realized perfectly would give) or to engraved, can you accumulate enough lenses to select a well-matched pair and can you measure focal length well enough?

  7. #7
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Should I build a LF TLR? What would it take?

    Why not use a 4X5 rangefinder camera?

  8. #8

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    Re: Should I build a LF TLR? What would it take?

    Jac, don't be so practical.

    More seriously, when I was a child we made an annual trek to the photo studio for portraits. The photographer had a set up -- stand or sit here, young person, now look at the camera -- that included a 4x5 view camera. He adjusted focus while under the dark cloth, did mysterious things that I didn't understand at the time, and watched the subject until he saw the expression he wanted, then pressed the cable release. If I recall correctly, he exposed two sheets of film for every subject, always got at least one shot/subject that pleased.

    My point is that the OP's idea is essentially an answer looking for a question. The commercial art he seems to want to practice was at one time highly developed. If he's too young to have seen how it was done, there are books and since he has the gear he can experiment and invent it all over again.

  9. #9
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    Re: Who Has the Gowlandflex 8x10??

    Quote Originally Posted by Fr. Mark View Post
    I think I'd like the fact I could watch the subject and click the shutter whenever I wanted and not monkey around with the mirror moving or the blackout period.
    you'd just need a linkage between the mirror button and the shutter.
    no black out period .. but the mirror would be kind of big, unless you used
    "dollhouse" mirror they use to repair TLR mirrors and side view mirrors.
    the thing about a graflex slr is that it is easy to use and easy to carry around
    and you don't need a tri/mono pod a 8x10 one would be kind of heavy and a real pain to use.

  10. #10
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Should I build a LF TLR? What would it take?

    The focal spread for an 8x10 camera with a 5.6 lens wide open is about 1 mm. Maybe the lenses on your 8x10 TLR that are marked the same and focus differently were disassembled and put back together wrong.

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