« Look What Else Came | Main | Open Mike: Readings, Movies, and Music »

Monday, 26 October 2020


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The thing about view cameras. ( What an awful sentence.) Is that, in their most basic form, a monorail style base, they lend themselves well to small, one man production.
Over on Kickstarter, a platform that admittedly has it’s justified detractors, there was a couple of years ago just such a project ‘standard cameras 4x5’. At $320 for their kit it doesn’t sound too bad a price to get into the 4x5 format. At least this project creator was able to deliver the product almost on time.

Hi Mike, I thought you might be interested in a large format lens wrench I picked up (EBAY?) quite a few years ago, it works perfectly.

Wow, what a sweet setup. That rosewood is just gorgeous. You're going to make beautiful work with it, Mike. And if you want to reach out to people you don't know to photograph, let the camera be the attractor. As soon as you walk up with that open and in your hand, people light up enamored by the "old fashioned camera". It's your invitation to people photos.

Far easier lens wrench to use from Toyo!


I used to use the multi-adjustable one like you show for years until I found this little beauty! Never slipped, or had the pins loosen up. I keep it in my actual lens case!

Mike, I noticed the link you posted to Christopher's photo is an Instagram link. Without an Instagram account, which I don't need or want, I can't view the photo. Is there another way to see it?

Mike wrote: "...I'm going to do more print crits soon, by the way."

I'd rather see you complete the long awaited
Baker's Dozen: At the Museum


Your dog still seems alive. He might be old, but he is not of olden days, which you suggest by using “ancien” in stead of “vieux”. That is my school French telling me that.

Mike, why do you have to use instagram to show pics? We who do not subscribe to it are being left out.

[Added! With thanks to Chris May. --Mike]

The need for ultra precision with mounting a lens to a lens panel is comparatively negligible other than being flush on the plane of the panel itself. Some, but by no means all, camera systems do have areas of milled surfaces to ensure precise collimation (Linhof & Sinar come to mind) but on a camera with movements where all is in flux with a bellows and adjustable movements until those variables are locked in place subject to highly critical image assessment on the ground glass metal on metal (or wood/carbon fibre) positioning is perfectly adequate. I'd suggest that with both the Linhof (rangefinder calibration) and Sinar (critical focus plane calculation) there greater importance to lens and panel geometry for mechanical dictates.
Another point of immense importance is the internal positioning of the front and rear groups in relation to each other.
To this end if the front group is removed from the shutter great care must be taken not to lose or damage any fine brass shims that be present position all the components to set optical laboratory standards.

Nice project. But don't forget the flash!

[I looked all over but there's no hot shoe on this camera for that flash. --Mike]

Maybe they should call all that new-fangled sky-replaced and face-fixed stuff "fauxtography".

(I stole that idea, I didn't make it up.)

FYI, Zack Arias seems to be selling some supplies:

Hey 4x5 #film shooters. Anyone interested in some 2008 Neopan 100 quickload film and holder? Let me know!

Atlanta #film photographers. Anyone want this darkroom stuff? Any offer accepted.

Rob De Loe and Mike,

I remember lamenting about how you can't tell if a lens is being designed well any more, so it's basically a crap shoot, and we may not have those coveted lenses in the future, because a lot of cameras correct all the chromatic ab.'s, and other stuff, in the actual camera process, even before it gets to a "photoshop" program!

My sister, who is an illustrator, illustration teacher, and had a past as an art director, and still does a lot of stuff "old school", responded: "Yeah, who cares about that crap anymore."

Mike, I still use your terminology on my blog and other places. An scene recorded on a chemical based medium (glass or flexible film) is a photograph. Recorded via a CCD or CMOS device is digital image. It is really quite simple.

Ah, the precision needed is in the range I thought—but the clever designers didn't position relative to the lensboard. I should have seen that coming. The two critical parts mate directly, just sticking through the lensboard for physical support, thus leaving the parts that care in control of their own spacing.

Thanks to all for the clarifications, especially including the nice clear diagram!

About that flash - a close look at the shutter shows that it does indeed have flash sync terminals. What I can't see is which types of sync it supports: M, F, and/or X. I'd guess M at a minimum. FP sync would obviously be inappropriate with this shutter.

I use the word ‘photography’ to denote the analogue or digital process of creating images with a camera and lens (or equivalent). What is produced are ‘images’ or prints of images, if viewed in a non-electronic format; a ‘photograph’ is a subset of prints implying an analogue stage in the process but not implying any necessary non-manipulation. Identifying film with non-manipulated images is erroneous, as negatives and prints have been manipulated since the earliest days of photography, including many famous photographs. E.g. Frank Hurley’s WW1 'An episode after the Battle of Zonnebeke' by ‘’photomontage’, or Dorothea Lange’s ‘Migrant Mother, by airbrush. I can’t believe that well over 100 years later it can be even suggested that images produced by photography are anything other than an artistic rendition of human visual intention. Yet here we are debating a lexicon to avoid conflating reality with subjective perceptions of it. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, as the conflation of subjective opinion with objectively determinable reality seems to be something of a societal issue generally at the moment...

Let's see now... #8 yellow filter, lens hood, tripod, focusing cloth, focusing loupe, light meter, two cable releases, at least six film holders, quart ziplock bags to keep the dust off the holders, camel's hair brush to clean them, a box of Ilford FP4+, a few empty film boxes for exposed film, a notebook, and a bag to carry most of that in.

In the days when those flashes were current, convenience had yet to be invented. You know that you hold the stick - stop making excuses! :-)

Manny older lenses are available in "Barrel Mounts" which is essentially the front and rear components of the lens assembled around an iris , making it independent of the shutter mechanism. "universal' shutters were available for mounting in front of the lens, behind the lens, or built into the camera or attached to the back of the lens board. Like the versatile Packard shutter (even available with x-synch) there were slightly more elaborate shutters like the Ilexpo which came in a wooden box that was essentially a large recessed lens board. Mine needs a 9"x9" front lens board opening like many Century view cameras.
The Packard shutters are available in smaller sizes.
The nice part of these is that they allow the use of barrel mount lenses which are available much more cheaply than the admittedly more convenient, shutter mounted lenses.

Hi Mike,
That's such a beautiful camera; it must be a joy to use it.

From the sublime to the cheap and cheerful, a few years ago I bought a self assembly kit for a simple 5x4 and had great fun putting it together and using it. You can see some of that at: https://pbase.com/hhmrogers/bulldog_4x5_camera

It makes a change from digital; I must get going with it again. Henry

Mike, I do not believe that shutter manufacturers make an infinite variety of shutters with different specifications to fit the particular variety and numbers of lenses. Lens makers manufacture their screw-in mounts to the shutters specifications. If an older lens is swapped to a new shutter, say a pre-WWII dial-set compur to a post-WWII synchro-compur, it might simply require a spacer to get the correct focus. One can get lucky, a 180mm f6.3 Tessar from a barrel mount focuses perfectly in a modern Linhof shutter. And I do test my lenses. The biggest problem I have encountered is with lenses that were in non-standard sized shutters and/or shutter sizes that are now discontinued. They require adapters which can be expensive.

Mike - I still think of photography as distinct from digital imaging, and I think it was you who planted that concept in my mind. I’m not religious about it - it’s not worth fretting over those who don’t make the distinction.

And I also use theToyo wrench for mounting lenses on lens boards. It’s small and light, no fuss, and takes up virtually no space or weigh in my pack.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007