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Thread: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

  1. #1

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    Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    Has anyone had first hand experience with fabricating a reflex back for a whole plate or 8x10 camera? I once read a one page article in VIEWCAMERA magazine about the fabrication of a reflex back for an 11x14, but I can't seem to find that issue. I have images of a Sinar 8x10 reflex back and a TOYO 8x10 reflex back, but the details of their constructions are not shown. I think ideally adapting the viewing lens part of a Sinar Binocular finder to a prefabricated trapezoidal shaped "box" containing a trapezoidal shaped front surface mirror inside would be the way to go. Construction of a 11x14 reflex back not out of the question, if I only had a construction plan to work off of....
    Comments most welcome. Construction details are more than welcome...

  2. #2

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    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    Would probably end up the size of a camera, and you wouldn't want to carry it around while shooting... But it might be designed to fold flat (if you are good with origami)... I expect there will be compromises involved (like hard to see entire image at once, fiddly etc) but possible somehow... Maybe made of black foam core for weight savings, held together with velcro or ???

    My thinking the easiest viewer would be a bag or bellows on the back over GG with a long focus loupe (or two) on the end that would swivel around to see entire image, and another more magnifying loupe to get closer to focus details... This can fold flat, live on the camera, and not add too much bulk to the rig... And not weigh down the GG frame, making it easier to load holders/slides to shoot and keep back sealed from light leaks better...

    Steve K

  3. #3

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    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    the simplest, most compact option would probably be a mirror that lays flat against the gg when not in use, hinged at the bottom with a clasp at the top so that you just unhook it and the mirror flops back 45 degrees, with blackout fabric along the sides and top to hold the mirror in place and a small cutout in the top for viewing the gg.

  4. #4

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    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    My Dad made me a wooden one for a Crown Graphic. Box with a mirror at 45 degree angle. It would be enormous scaled up. I think the plans came from ancient popular mechanics magazine.

  5. #5

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    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    One of the benefits of classical view camera work, is that the phtographer (or artist using a camera obscura) is presented with the scene on the ground glass inverted and flopped left to right. Those practitioners claimed that contemplation of that presentation, improved the final composition. Save time and effort for creativity and learn to like the inverted and flopped ground glass image.

  6. #6
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    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    years ago I photographed the test cell for the X15 (rocket)engine that CY used. it used a periscope design.
    im no engineer but you might something like a rectangular box with doll house mirrors in it ( they are easily cut with a pair of scissors )
    and make a periscope to stick against your ground glass and flip things around the way you like them.
    that said I have the monocular viewer for a 4x5 toyo that I always use to check focus on everything, and im used to the upside down and backwards ..
    much easier for me at least not to reinvent the wheel, seeing I don't really design things and LF stuffs, even simple ones seem to cost less if I don't buy them.

  7. #7
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    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    I have one for a 4x5 Linhof Technika... square mirror with a lever to bring it flush with the GG. GG and film plane are equidistant.

  8. #8

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    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    One of my (still) main cameras (Graphic View II), I was given 2 old Polaroid MP-3 viewer hoods... I thought "Kool, a direct fit for it"... But as I started installing one, some pesky issues started to arise... First, was the weight of viewer hanging on focus frame was counteracting the springs on the back that held film holders firm (but would be ok for downshooting due to gravity)... Next was the size that would be hard to lug in the field and a little delicate with the mirror inside... Next was finding the perfect fresnel FL for the most even coverage, but the mirror still needed a little tilting to even out the brightness, and the outer edges were a little darker... Then there was the inability to close loupe the image focusing... The unit would only mount in a horizontal orientation, and would require me to use a ladder if using camera at eye level as I had to look down into it, a L to R image reversal etc... And there were other things that came up...

    And that was just 4X5... Another photog I know said the worst thing he spent full price for his 4X5 Sinar was the viewer... I can't imagine what size an 8X10 or 11X14 would be like to use !?!!!

    I started thinking a viewer was not such a hot idea...

    Steve K

  9. #9

    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    8x10 18x24 Sinar Norma Overhead Shooting Table 165 Norma SA by Nokton48, on Flickr

    Sinar made one for the Norma 8x10, I leave this set up in my studio for overhead setups.

    Sinar Norma 8x10 Overhead Reflex Rig by Nokton48, on Flickr
    Flikr Photos Here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18134483@N04/

    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
    ― Mark Twain

  10. #10

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    Re: Fabrication of a reflex back for a LF camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Neal Chaves View Post
    One of the benefits of classical view camera work, is that the phtographer (or artist using a camera obscura) is presented with the scene on the ground glass inverted and flopped left to right. Those practitioners claimed that contemplation of that presentation, improved the final composition. Save time and effort for creativity and learn to like the inverted and flopped ground glass image.
    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Unkefer View Post
    Sinar made one for the Norma 8x10, I leave this set up in my studio for overhead setups.
    There are more for such a back uses than just inverting the image. I can also see the use of it when taking images from close to the ground.

    But it is also clear why this setup is left in the studio
    Expert in non-working solutions.

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