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Thread: Bender 8x10 Project Camera

  1. #1

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    Bender 8x10 Project Camera

    This is a followup to the previous thread . . .

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...newthread&f=31

    that describes DIY improvements I made to a Bender 8x10 camera I recently purchased.

    This has been a really neat project. The second image below shows the camera prior to improvements; the first image shows that camera after improvements were made.

    For these improvements, I purchased a 4x5 "for parts" Bender on Ebay. I've used several parts from this 4x5, and there are many spare parts for my 8x10 that remain.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails OVERALL.jpg   Camera.jpg  
    Last edited by neil poulsen; 12-Feb-2021 at 18:28.

  2. #2

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    Re: Bender 8x10 Project Camera

    FIRST IMPROVEMENT: One improvement was to make the front function carrier stronger, so that the camera could support heavier lenses, and secondly, I wanted to make it higher, so that it wouldn't be necessary to use rise just to make the front standard on axis with the rear standard.

    With Bender kit cameras, clamps are for the most part, upside-down function carriers. So to support a stronger front standard, I used the original 8x10 clamp with its double-sized (compared to Bender 4x5 cameras) tripod base upside down to support the strengthened standard. The first photo below shows the end result. This revised standard is very strong, and I'm confident that it can support my 610mm Repro Claron lens.

    Of course, there's "no" fall with this raised front standard. But the camera has tilt on both the front and the rear standards, and these tilts can be used of course to effect fall. For me, this works just fine, as "inconvenient" as using front and back tilt to achieve fall in this manner might be. The fact is, I rarely use fall. (Once per year?) However, I use rise all the time, and this customized camera has a full three inches of real rise.

    SECOND IMPROVEMENT: While the original 8x10 camera may have had a tripod base that was double the size of their 4x5 cameras, it was still insufficient in my view. So, I used the original front function carrier of this camera, plus a second from the 4x5 "for parts" camera that I had purchased, to make the double clamp that you see in the second image below. I think this new clamp will do an excellent job of supporting this 8x10 camera.

    THIRD IMPROVEMENT: I added some additional support on the rear standard. The third photo below shows how two "inverted trapezoids" I fashioned were placed on either side of the rail and glued to the underside of the rear standard. Probably this will not strengthen the rear standard. However, these supports on either side of the rail will at provide guides to more easily fasten the rear standard to the rear of the rail using the two screws that can be seen in the image.

    FOURTH IMPROVEMENT: I mentioned in the first thread that, luckily, this camera takes Toyo sized lens boards. That's because I happened to have a Toyo sized reduction adapter for the bayonet style lensboards that I use on all my lenses. However, the "twist" locks that you can see on the camera prior to improvements weren't really long enough (in my view) to safely hold lensboards in place. So, I removed them, straightened them using a pair of pliers and a vice, and and then bent them to be longer. In the fourth image, I think it's clear that these revised twist locks will be able to securely hold lensboards in place.

    ADDITIONAL IMPROVEMENT: Not so obvious, I swapped all the washers associated with all the black knobs with large, black fender washers. I think that these black washers look really neat on the camera, and they'll help to tighten the camera as adjustments are made.

    WOOD USED: One really nice thing about this camera is the cherry wood that was used in it's construction. It gives the camera a really beautiful, wood appearance. In fact, all the wood that I used for these improvements was indeed, cherry. While it may take several months, and perhaps a second Danish wood oil treatment, all these wood parts will eventually darken towards the original cherry color finish of the camera.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FrontCarrier.jpg   Clamp.jpg   RearCarrier.jpg   Clips.jpg  
    Last edited by neil poulsen; 12-Feb-2021 at 18:33.

  3. #3

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    Re: Bender 8x10 Project Camera

    Experimenting with this Bender 8x10 has been interesting and thought provoking. It seems that there have been two design restrictions inherent in early wood large format cameras, and that likely have been institutionalized by Deardorff. One is that focus be adjustable through some sort of mechanical knob/gear arrangement. Secondly, it seems that wood cameras "must" have some sort of extendable, or telescoping base.

    Discard these two design restrictions, and a camera like this customized Bender 8x10 becomes possible. Of most consequence, this customized camera is tighter than any other wood camera that I’ve seen. Moreover, it’s functional and effective, simple, inexpensive, and it’s very light weight.

    It stands to reason, it has a single metal rail, it’s bolted to the rail in the back, and for all practical purposes, it’s bolted to the rail in front. In addition, translational and rotational fittings are all tight. For example, this camera will have no problem supporting any lens that I own. The photo below shows the camera at full extension on it’s 30” rail. There’s no doubt that this Bender could support my 610mm Repro Claron at this extension. (Let alone at 24 inches.) Once one introduces rails, expansion in the base, or mechanical knob/gear focus, etc., into a camera's design, all bets are off. This was true with a nearly new Deardorff I once owned, and it was a tight camera by Deardorff standards. Its true of Kodak 2D wood cameras, and it was especially true of a Burke and James 8x10 cameras that I owned. At 30” extension, the Bender can show some moderate vibration. That would be true of any camera with such a long moment-arm. But on this camera, it quickly dampens out.

    I can speak to focusing the camera in a separate post below.

    As for weight, without the Bogan Universal quick release plate, but with the reduction lensboard adapter seen in the images, this camera weighs 6 lbs, 13 ox. That’s really amazing for an 8x10.

    There are a couple of additional improvements that I look forward to making. While the back springs seem to work OK, I’d like to replace them with something stronger. I also want to change the lensboard clips to something more substantial. But even before making these additional improvements, this Bender provides everything that I need in an 8x10 camera.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 30inch.jpg  
    Last edited by neil poulsen; 12-Feb-2021 at 18:37.

  4. #4

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    Re: Bender 8x10 Project Camera

    I did this on two 8x10" Bender: Added an extra arm of stainless steel for vertical swing due to reposition during filmholder loading. Replaced both bottom part of standards, losing back horisontal swing when both screw where used. The new square 162mm Linhof Kardan lens board adaptors made it so easy to use the 96x99mm Technica lens boards. The bottom lens board fixing is new, as well as new springs for the back. Both where bought already made for $330 each and sold for roughly $500, the last one returned and sold the second time for a fee. Both where well made except for one of them needing shimming of the ground glass. I don't take better pictures with my Wehman ;-)

    Sent fra min SM-G975F via Tapatalk

  5. #5

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    Re: Bender 8x10 Project Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Oslolens View Post
    I did this on two 8x10" Bender:
    Thanks for your post. I have something else in mind as well. But until I have time to follow through on that project, I will use tape. That's a great idea.

  6. #6

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    Re: Bender 8x10 Project Camera

    FOCUSING:

    Focusing this camera works just fine; it’s a matter of sliding the front standard back and forth while examining the ground glass. The front function carrier moves smoothly on the rail, making very fine focus possible. Except that, there’s a logistical issue that can emerge which is related to the length of one’s arm.

    But there’s an easy fix. Looking at the rear standard construction, there’s a small pin that sticks up from the cross bar. (First photo.) When the rear standard is assembled, this pin inserts into a small hole under the standard. In this way, rear swing pivots on this pin during use. (Second photo.) But remove this pin, and all manner of rear focus becomes possible.

    Like most photographers, I prefer traditional front to back focus (versus side to side), so I installed two guides on either side of the large, four-bladed black knobs, that restricts rear focus to a front and back motion. The guides are held in place by tightening the two smaller knobs. (Second photo.) But also, loosening the smaller knobs for these guides makes it possible to effect rear swing.

    In fact, one can achieve a sort of “two point focus” swing by tightening one of the large black knobs, focusing the image on the ground glass above the alternate large black knob, and tightening that knob. And then, adjusting the focus on the ground glass above the original large black knob. (And tightening that knob.)

    I worked my way towards the above method of focusing this camera through my own experimentation. Yet in my distant memory, I seem to recall seeing something similar long ago in a wood camera. Regardless, it’s very effective. And when the two large black knobs are tightened, this camera indeed becomes very tight.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Pin.jpg   Guides.jpg  
    Last edited by neil poulsen; 12-Feb-2021 at 18:39.

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