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Thread: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

  1. #1

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    Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    A few weeks ago I bought a Calumet 45N. Or at least kinda. From what I can gather, it has the 45N uprights and knobs, but with the 45 NX monorail, tripod mount, and rotating back. The ground glass and fresnel that came with it are pretty cheesy though. Neither the gg or fresnel are cut square. The fresnel has a bunch of scuff marks, the gg has no grid lines, and it just seems overly dark. Maybe I'm just expecting too much compared to my RZ67's gg?

    I'm thinking of picking up a new gg. My searching for one has just confused me all to hell. Most places say that the gg for the 45N is exactly 4"x5". There's no way that would fit in this back. Even seeing the Yanke Ultra Bright on ebay says the dimensions are 101.5mm x 126mm x 1.8mm, which by my measurements won't fit width-wise. Using a piece of thin card the max width is 125mm and the height is 101.5mm.

    Am I looking for the right glass here? Also what would be my best options? This is my first LF so I'm not too concerned with buying the absolute best, most expensive gg possible. I'm thinking that ordering a custom-sized gg from Steve Hopf is probably the route I'm going to go. Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    Did you try washing the ground glass with some dish soap and warm running water? Sometimes these can get pretty dirty.

    Sorry, I don't have any experience with Cambos, and so I can't help with the ground glass size.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  3. #3

    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    Try cleaning the ground glass (as Peter suggested) and then waxing it (the ground glass not the fresnel). I did this on my Speed Graphic and it worked wonders. I used Butcher's Wax, but I am sure you could use any number of wax products. I also did this with an old Ikoflex and the difference was remarkable. It went from "too dark" for normal use to being usable inside at night.

    If you end up replacing the fresnel make sure the registration is correct. It gets a little tricky with a fresnel.

  4. #4
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    Steve Hopf is a good choice, I've bought a few GGs from him, and I was always satisfied.
    I decided to try the Yanke GG/fresnel thing on eBay; it's ~$85, but if it isn't any better than what I have already, they promise a full refund.
    I got it for my Toyo 45, so it should be an easy fit.
    Also Surplus Shed has Kodak GGs, if they're a little too large, you can always apply some sandpaper to get them to fit. I think it's something like $2 a pop.

  5. #5

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    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    My Cambo SC ground glass is 126.4mmX102.25mm and the Surplus Shed 4x5 ground glass won't fit. It is 127.26mmX101.74mm. I think you would need glass cutter and nippers instead of sandpaper to get it to fit.

  6. #6

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    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    I'll second Steve Hopf. Contact him on his Ebay store and he'll get you taken care of. He will give you detailed instructions on how to measure your camera as well to make sure its a perfect fit.

  7. #7

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    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    Thanks guys. I did clean it beforehand without much effect. I sent an email off to Steve so we'll see how that goes.

  8. #8

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    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    Quote Originally Posted by el french View Post
    My Cambo SC ground glass is 126.4mmX102.25mm and the Surplus Shed 4x5 ground glass won't fit. It is 127.26mmX101.74mm. I think you would need glass cutter and nippers instead of sandpaper to get it to fit.
    I suspect it would be hard to cut or nip 2mm. I have found a belt sander will do a quick job and plain old sandpaper a slower job. Most 4X5's are a bit different in size make to make.
    Do a search here for do it yourself instructions and discussions
    You can draw lines on with pencil.

  9. #9

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    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    for a minor trim 1 or 2mm 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper works well. A lot faster than you might expect.

  10. #10

    Re: Advice for replacement ground glass - Cambo 45NX

    If you can wait a couple of days, go with your gut feel - just get one made from Steve Hopf. You'll end up with precisely the right dimensions, you'll have a nice, fine grip, and you can have the corners clipped (so as to check for vignetting) etc.

    Steve's ground glass is absolutely superb if you car about being able to see the absolutely finest detail, such as shooting at wide open aperture and focusing on minute detail way off-centre.

    I actually tried the (famous) Maxwell Precision Optics screen, but ended up switching back to Hopf's ground glass for most purposes. I guess I am just a regular ground glass kind of guy; the complex Maxwell fresnel screen - though producing wonderfully even illumination - has just too many trade-offs for my style of shooting. I hated being forced to view the ground glass from one position (where it is fabulously bright and even), otherwise it goes completely black.

    My point in telling you this, is that when you get a Hopf screen - though very cheap - you are getting among, if not the, best focusing solution for traditional-style LF shooting. If you don't like using a dark cloth, you should best be sticking to medium format I think - i.e. you'd continue to use your RZ. (I use an RB, by the way!)

    Good luck, looks like you got nice camera - big! (I use a much smaller Linhof Technika), but very flexible. Good luck!

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