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Thread: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

  1. #1

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    Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    Hi, I am hopeful some of you in the group may be able to point me in the right direction.

    I have a couple old 8x10 field cameras and I was thinking I would like to make an 8x10 copy camera.

    I have a bunch of beautiful 8x10 platinum prints from my dad and I would love to make some new negatives from his prints and then spend the winter printing them in the darkroom.

    The problem is that I have never seen an 8x10 copy camera, but I understand the concept of what it is and how I could make the copy negatives, without building and making a copy camera setup.

    I have a lot of prints and I don't have a lot of extra space to leave a non copy camera setup in place for more than a day.

    I understand that I can put my 8x10 camera on a tripod, place some lights at 45 degrees to illuminate the print and place the print on a flat surface like the wall, but that would be a nightmare to do a few hundred times and a lot of wasted time to get set back up for every single print.

    I know there are a lot of smart people here, so I am hopeful that maybe someone has already tackled this type of project, or based on experience, could maybe call out some important things to know before I start the project. It doesn't have to be pretty or elaborate, just functional and repeatable and allow me to make several copy negatives in a single sitting.

    Looking forward to hearing some creative ideas.

    Larry

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    image

  3. #3
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    Why 8x10? Most artwork is not photographed 1:1, but with a smaller format like 35mm or 120 on a copy stand.
    One cheap solution to make 8x10 negatives would be to try contact printing them on film in a contact frame.

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    Frequently these cameras a lot easier to find and less expensive than 8x10 enlargers. In fact here is one on ebay for less than $400.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

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    Re: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    8x10 because my dads prints are 8x10 platinum prints and I want to make negatives of them. There are lots of examples in copy work where 8x10 cameras were made for doing exactly what I am looking to do. It just isn't common any more in our "digital crazed society".

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Why 8x10? Most artwork is not photographed 1:1, but with a smaller format like 35mm or 120 on a copy stand.
    One cheap solution to make 8x10 negatives would be to try contact printing them on film in a contact frame.

  6. #6

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    Re: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    Got a link to that listing on eBay?

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    I was told to throw out my Levy copy camera by many experts on this forum 9 years ago

    And most experts still here. insist you MUST use a Macro lens

    I am glad I still have the Levy, it's beautiful and useful. but it is just a box. I adapted the front to Horsemen/Sinar

    The back I adapted to take 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10 Calumet C1

    The Levy has rear gear rail and front worm drive, both operate from rear, which makes it easier to find focus

    8X10 Levy by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    Levy 2 by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr

    Levy 3 by TIN CAN COLLEGE, on Flickr
    image

  8. #8
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    Yeah . . .start with a large studio camera. You view this as a project, so a studio behemoth that need fixing-up might be found at a less-than-museum price. Likely a format larger than 8x10 will be available.

    As an aside: I know of a serious collector who has two huge wooden copy cameras That dominate his display room like the guns of Naverone. Some years agoAt that time, I had access to large sheets of film for CT and MRI imaging . . .and the automatic developing equipment for it in a medical setting where I worked. When I suggested that we collaborate to make some images, he broke out in a cold sweat and had an anxiety attack.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  9. #9

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    Re: Seeking Advice on Making an 8x10 Copy Camera

    I used to copy artworks for museum catalogs. I used 4x5, but the same techniques should work with 8x10.

    Just use your camera as usual. You're just making a close-up shot. No need for a dedicated copy set-up unless you've got a hundred or more prints to copy.


    Set the camera up on an easily moveable tripod. Distance between the artwork and the camera is critical - a monorail with focus controls on both standards is also helpful for fine focusing, but if you don't have that, you just have to fiddle around more with camera position - and, since your prints are all one size, once you find the right distance, you can leave everything set there. The trick is to find the right spot where the artwork fills the frame and focus is correct.

    Mount your artwork on a wall or board with magnets, etc. or hang, being sure things are plumb. Getting the camera at the right height and everything parallel is important too. An angle finder can be helpful.

    Lighting from the sides at a 45 angle is important too. I liked two or more lights per side and a little diffusion. Placement needs to be done carefully so that the field is illuminated evenly. Use a plain background and check illumination over the entire field with your meter (spotmeter works best). Since you don't have texture to emphasize, just aim for even illumination from both sides. For emphasizing texture, lighting angles and intensities need to be varied (topic for another thread).

    Setting everything up so that it's parallel and at the right distance and getting the lighting right is the trick. Once you've done that, you can just switch out the artwork in front of the camera for subsequent copies.

    Don't forget bellows extension! Make a few negatives at first and develop them for different times to get a development time that gives you a good copy neg with the right contrast and curve shape to make a copy print that is as close as possible to the original. You may need to reduce contrast on the negative and boost it when printing to get a really close copy.

    But I digress: The original point is that you don't need to build a copy camera, just set up the camera you have and make copies.

    Best,

    Doremus

  10. #10

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