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Thread: Bender 4x5 kit

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Okotoks, AB, Canada

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    I just built a bender 4x5 just a few months ago and have only taken exactly 10 shots with it so far. I like mine because it is light and I can put it in my backpack if you take it apart a bit though it is a bit of a pain to put it together again when I want to use it. I am finding focussing fine so far though I don't have a loupe yet and just step down the aperture a lot to ensure focus but my pictures so far have been sharp. I like it because of all the possible movemets which is good as it teaches me what they do. Not the greatest though but it is my first LF camera ever.

  2. #12
    grumpy & miserable Joseph O'Neil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    London, Ontario

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    I built a Bender some years ago (see my avatar ). I still keep an outdated Bender FAQ on my web page at

    It's hard for me to beleive that I built the thing ten years ago. I think I had less grey har then too.

    The new Bulldog looks very tempting, and if I were starting brand new today, I think I woudl be torn between the two. The Bender clearly has more movements, but the Bulldog is much more portable looking.

    As for building VS buying, I am happy I built my Bender. Building that camera, and taking the time to do so, I think, taught more more about how a view camera works than any book I ever read (no insult intended). Even the total PITA of buying a micrometer and measuring the ground glass depth and double checking to a film holder wiht a sacraficial sheet of film to get it just right taught me a lot about variations between film holders.

    Well I can honestly say I've built my own telescope and I've built my own view camera, and both events taught me a ton about the use of each instrument. If nothing else, it looks cool to have my gear setup in my office and say "yep, I built that. "

    eta gosha maaba, aaniish gaa zhiwebiziyin ?

  3. #13
    SF Bay Area 94303
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    SF Bay Area

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    If you are into camera building as a hobby great, go for it, but if you just want to take pictures and save money buy an old Calumet CC401 for ~$100. Build like tanks and work great, just don't fold up and travel well.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    Re: Bender 4x5 kit

    I built the Bender 10 years ago and have had a blast with it. I have also built custom accessories, like adapters to recess the front assembly to use super wide angle lenses. I have taken it through the SW USA, Alaska, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand in a backpack. I use an old monster Calumet for my work that does no involve a lot of lugging around, but the Bender is a good travel companion.

    Advantages: It is light and can be repaired with local materials. Travels well. Cheap to accessorize (the front standard brackets cost me $8 US in materials). See the recent discussion on APUG.ORG.

    Disadvantages: Not as precision as other cameras (see earlier posts). Butt joint construction invokes snickers around other woodworkers.

    It is kind of hard to explain, but it is nice to have a LF camera with you while traveling that you do not have to worry about. At this point I have my money's worth out of it, so if it gets stolen/trashed/etc it is OK. I will remember it as the big box of cherry wood blocks that appeared on my doorstep 10 years ago that worked for me as a very servicable camera.

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