So, I’ve posted my 8×10 camera on several photography groups and I’ve gotten a lot of interest. I figured I’d do a little write up for anyone that wanted to know more about the camera as well as see some images of the building process.
Large format film still holds a huge draw for a lot of photographers. It has a look that the relatively tiny digital sensors today (yes, even the medium format ones) just aren’t capable of. But shoot large format on film can be a laborious task. For many, the end result is worth it, but if you want slightly more immediate results, digital scanning backs are the solution.
The problem is, digital scanning backs for 4×5 cameras can be very expensive (and they’re not exactly common). In this video, Sean at Fotodiox shows us how we can turn a simple small portable flatbed scanner into a digital scanning back for a large format camera.
These days, if you want to shoot large format, you might have difficulty finding replacement parts. Large format cameras aren’t exactly as common as they used to be, and there aren’t many companies making spare parts for older ones these days, or creating custom pieces for odd-sized cameras.
In this video, though, photographer Markus Hofstätter walks us through how we can make our own ground glass focusing screens at whatever size we need.
What would you do with a computer you used 20 years ago? Most of us would take it to a recycling center, perhaps feel a bit emotional about ditching it, and that’s about it. But Iranian photographer Alireza Rostami had other plans for his old, broken computer. He dismantled it and turned it into a working large format camera.
Austrian photographer Markus Hofstätter has published plenty of interesting wet plate projects. In his latest project, he brings together large format wet plates and stereo 3D photos. This was Markus’ most time-consuming project so far. It took him working six months to finish it, the first three just modifying his camera so it can take stereographic images. But judging from the results – it was well worth it.
PART 1 – The Camera
Starting back in May of 2014, I finally put my first foot forward in the making of a 16×20 inch bellows camera. The idea to build a camera was nothing new to me, but I was always hesitant to begin construction since I am the type of person that prefers to work off a set of blue prints and directions. Unfortunately, since my drawing skills aren’t amazing, it was pretty difficult to visualize and plan a solid blueprint of the project – which ultimately forced me to bite the bullet and simply begin construction of the camera and problem solve along the way.
Animation filmmaker and self-taught photographer Ursula Ferrara has made her own 16″ x 20″ camera entirely from scratch. She shares some images of the creating process, as well as the resulting photos. Her daughter, Annick Emdin, describes the magical process of being photographed by this camera, made with a lot of passion and devotion.
We’ve seen a few remarkable experiments with large format cameras. But young photographer Zev Hoover added something new to it: motion. He made a working 8×10 large format digital video camera, most likely the first of its kind. He shares a video he shot on this unusual camera but also talks a bit about how he made it.
And when we say from scratch, we are not kidding. This isn’t just ordering a bunch of components online and bolting them all together. Other than the lens and a few hinges, every piece on this camera is hand made. Right down to the perfectly hand ground glass.
The camera is the wonderful creation of very talented camera builder, Dieter Schneider. Whether you want to build your own camera or not, it’s a fascinating video to watch. The attention to detail, and ridiculously accurate workmanship is remarkable.
I found a WWII British Air Ministry Pentac 8 inch f2.9 lens in a second hand store about a year and a half ago. It was made under a military contract during the war and a number of British manufacturers filled this contract. The best of the lot were made by Dallmeyer, the original designer of this lens. This lens sample isn’t marked to indicate the manufacturer, and it doesn’t have a traceable serial number, so the maker remains a mystery. Like many lenses that were made for aerial reconnaissance work, they were intended to be mounted on a camera with a built in shutter. To make this lens usable in a modern sense would involve controlling the timing of an exposure. Mounting this lens in a large format leaf shutter can be an expensive undertaking, and due to it’s size, the shutter options are somewhat limited. Because I’m of dutch descent (thrifty, cheap, frugal…), I took it upon myself to find an inexpensive solution to this particular problem… Bonjour Marie Antoinette.