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Thread: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

  1. #1
    DirkFletcher
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Chicago
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    Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    I've wanted to do a Polaroid 250 conversion for years since first seeing the Sabre made by Chaminox.

    There were several challenges that I wanted this camera to address to insure its usability and integration into my digital setup.

    In addition to lightweight and hand 'holdability' I really wanted to be able to (quickly) change film holders with one hand and comfortably carry over the camera my shoulder when I'm not shooting. As cool as the Sabre is, it's reliant on either a Grafmatic or special holders that are screamed in place. After trying a bunch options, I ended up using friends CNC mill to cut a flange that held the film holder and allowed for a 1x1x1/8 inch angle aluminum frame to be built around it. This keeps stray light to a minimum and makes for a really robust standard. Modified springs from Nielson frames were installed to keep the film holder firmly in place while making it really easy to 'one-hand' them.

    The camera uses one of my favorite little (and super affordable) lenses the 125mm f/5.6 Fujinon? Using a custom cam provided by Swiss camera builder @oscaroweson (builder of the super cool @panomicron) the Zeiss rangefinder is dead on.


    Weighing in at just 1010 grams or 2.22 pounds it's lighter then my last lightweight 4x5 but with a fully functioning rangefinder! I can't find the weight of the Sabre anywhere but I'd be curious to see how this compares.

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  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    I have a Saber. I'll weigh it and let you know. nice DIY effort!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Wondervu, Colorado
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    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    Looks really cool, Dirk. Is it as easy to use as it looks?

  4. #4
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
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    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    Like the film holder solution, I bet it's fast!
    sin eater

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    246

    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    I like it a lot. I made a fix focus one with the same lens as you did, but a rangefinder is better. Can you really use it handheld without being forced to use high iso film?
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  6. #6
    DirkFletcher
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    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    Havoc, its interesting you say that because thats what I've been thinking about a lot lately. I love shooting Provia but anything other then bright (ugly) sun and you are down in the shutter speeds. I won't see my film tests for some time as I'm heading out on business for a bit but I shot a bunch of stuff.

    I actually like the look of pushed 4x5 HP5 which is a cinch to shoot HH even with an orange filter. I wish Portra 400 wasn't so expensive to push...

    here is the funny thing, as soon as I say there, here is a shot of the me doing a HP5 test photo on sticks!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    I shoot the saber handheld all the time with 100-speed film. f/11 - f/16 @ 1/125 or 1/60 is easily doable in good light.

  8. #8
    3D-Stereo-Aeropanoramas
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    149

    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    Quote Originally Posted by DirkFletcher View Post
    I've wanted to do a Polaroid 250 conversion for years since first seeing the Sabre made by Chaminox.

    There were several challenges that I wanted this camera to address to insure its usability and integration into my digital setup.

    In addition to lightweight and hand 'holdability' I really wanted to be able to (quickly) change film holders with one hand and comfortably carry over the camera my shoulder when I'm not shooting. As cool as the Sabre is, it's reliant on either a Grafmatic or special holders that are screamed in place. After trying a bunch options, I ended up using friends CNC mill to cut a flange that held the film holder and allowed for a 1x1x1/8 inch angle aluminum frame to be built around it. This keeps stray light to a minimum and makes for a really robust standard. Modified springs from Nielson frames were installed to keep the film holder firmly in place while making it really easy to 'one-hand' them.

    The camera uses one of my favorite little (and super affordable) lenses the 125mm f/5.6 Fujinon? Using a custom cam provided by Swiss camera builder @oscaroweson (builder of the super cool @panomicron) the Zeiss rangefinder is dead on.


    Weighing in at just 1010 grams or 2.22 pounds it's lighter then my last lightweight 4x5 but with a fully functioning rangefinder! I can't find the weight of the Sabre anywhere but I'd be curious to see how this compares.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Chaminox. Newest version of Minox?
    btw Cosmic Circle once had a rangefinder for sale on ebay. i have images.
    they are about to create now shorter than 58mm 4x5-bodies. no rangefinders. most probably no shift. website on ebay now working. 3s-krpc bought pinholeshutter(1/6 possible).
    www.stereopan.tk
    3DStereo-Aeropanorama-Jungfraujoch

  9. #9
    3D-Stereo-Aeropanoramas
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    149

    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    I have that fujinon W.125mm needed compur shutter(or copal 0) for 150mm apo since i killed copal 0. has good reputation for landscapes. google the fujinons.
    www.stereopan.tk
    3DStereo-Aeropanorama-Jungfraujoch

  10. #10
    3D-Stereo-Aeropanoramas
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    149

    Re: Lightweight 4x5 Rangefinder camera build (Polaroid Mod)

    doesnt option8 make such conversions? and there a another guy on FB.
    www.stereopan.tk
    3DStereo-Aeropanorama-Jungfraujoch

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